Prepared for the |
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
View this page at www.dailyalert.org|
October 25, 2010
U.S. Army and IDF Completed Joint Training Exercise (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli SWAT Team Takes First Place at U.S. Urban Shield Training Exercise - Harry Harris (Oakland Tribune)
Iran Renews Nasser's Three "No's" - Anthony Shadid (New York Times)
Hizbullah to Refuse to Hand Over Suspects to Hariri Tribunal - Yusuf Diyab and Michel Abu Najm (Asharq Alawsat-UK)
Iran Restricts Social Sciences Seen as "Western" - Nasser Karimi (AP)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
During the administration of President George W. Bush, critics charged that the White House had exaggerated Iran's role in Iraq. But field reports disclosed by WikiLeaks underscore the seriousness with which Iran's role has been seen by the American military.
The reports recount Iran's role in providing Iraqi militia fighters with rockets, magnetic bombs that can be attached to the underside of cars, "explosively formed penetrators," or EFPs, which are the most lethal type of roadside bomb in Iraq, and other weapons. Those include powerful .50-caliber rifles and the Misagh-1, an Iranian replica of a portable Chinese surface-to-air missile, which, according to the reports, was fired at American helicopters and downed one in east Baghdad in July 2007. A June 25, 2009, report about an especially bloody EFP attack that wounded 10 American soldiers noted that the militants used tactics "being employed by trained violent extremist members that have returned from Iran."
The reports make it clear that the lethal contest between Iranian-backed militias and American forces continued after President Obama sought to open a diplomatic dialogue with Iran's leaders. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force, under the command of Brig. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, has responsibility for foreign operations and works though surrogates, like Hizbullah. Quds Force objectives include efforts to weaken and shape Iraq's nascent government and to diminish the U.S. role and influence in Iraq. (New York Times)
See also How Iran Devised New Suicide Vest for al-Qaeda in Iraq - Richard Spencer
A threat report dated Nov. 17, 2006, claims that new techniques for suicide bombing, a favored al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgent practice in Iraq, had "surfaced" in Iran and Syria which involved the use of miniature cameras to allow remote monitoring of the attack. "Al-Qaeda remains the strongest organization among the insurgent groups in Iraq and directs the majority of attacks that take place in Iraq," says the assessment. "Instructors at the Islamic Jihad Center in Tehran are teaching a new tactic for SVIED (Suicide Vest Improvised Explosive Device) deployment." (Telegraph-UK)
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas haven't met since Secretary of State Clinton brought the two together on Sept. 15 in Jerusalem, two weeks after President Obama launched the resumption of negotiations on Palestinian statehood in Washington with much fanfare. The Arab League said it would wait a month - until Nov. 8 - before ending Abbas' mandate for negotiations, thus pushing the issue beyond the U.S. midterm elections.
Asked whether he was still a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, Muhammad Shatayeh said Friday: "That's right. But there are no negotiations.'' Shatayeh said, "We are going to go to Washington to recognize a Palestinian state on 1967 borders. If that doesn't work, we'll go to the UN Security Council and will ask Washington not to veto.'' If Washington vetoes, he said, then the Palestinians will take their case to the UN General Assembly. (Washington Post)
See also Netanyahu: We Expect the Palestinians to Honor Their Commitment to Direct Negotiations
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "We are holding intensive contacts with the American administration in order to restart the diplomatic process. Our goal is not just to resume the process, but to advance it in such a way that it cannot be halted in a few weeks or months, and will enter into approximately one year of continuous negotiations on the fundamental problems, in order to try and reach a framework agreement ahead of a peace settlement."
"In these negotiations, we will - of course - uphold the vital interests of the State of Israel, with security first and foremost. We expect the Palestinians to honor their commitment to hold direct negotiations. I think that any attempt to bypass them by appealing to international bodies is unrealistic and will not give any impetus to a genuine diplomatic process. Peace will only be achieved through direct negotiations." (Prime Minister's Office)
Catholic bishops from the Middle East concluded a conference in Rome, Italy, with a call for the international community, especially the UN, to work "to put an end to the occupation" of Palestinian territories. Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, who leads the Greek Melkite Church in the U.S., said Saturday: "We Christians cannot speak of the 'promised land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people....This promise was nullified by Christ."
On Sunday, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said: "We are especially appalled at the language used by Archbishop Bustros during his press conference....We call on the Vatican to distant themselves from Archbishop Boutros' comments which are a libel against the Jewish people and the State of Israel and should not be construed as the Vatican's official position." "These outrageous comments should not cast a shadow over the important relationship between the Vatican, the State of Israel and the Jewish people," he added. (CNN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Israeli government and defense officials felt somewhat vindicated Sunday by the WikiLeaks reports released over the weekend, which detailed how the U.S. conducted itself in the war in Iraq, and also expose Iran's extensive aid to Iraqi militias, providing weapons, rockets and lethal roadside bombs. It will be interesting to see whether the UN establishes a Goldstone-like commission to investigate the U.S. for alleged war crimes - or if Goldstone-type investigations are reserved solely for Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs approved a bill on Sunday defining Jerusalem as a national priority area of the first order in the housing, employment and education sectors. This means that construction priority will be given to Jerusalem's many neighborhoods - including in east Jerusalem, a measure which could lead to friction between Israel and the U.S. and Europe. The new bill will give Jerusalem the same financial and national priority given to periphery cities. Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon said that by passing the legislation the Israeli government is sending a "clear, unequivocal political message that Jerusalem will not be divided." (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
It seems that a new round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 has been set for mid-November. Iran is dictating the pace and is now trying to take the lead as far as decisions regarding the content of the talks as well - by clarifying what it is and is not willing to discuss. U.S. leadership is sorely missing.
Is there anything more central to Obama's nonproliferation agenda than stopping Iran on the road to a military capability? In June and July significant sanctions against Iran were agreed upon in the UN framework, followed by even stronger unilateral sanctions by a number of states, led by the U.S. To allow this impressive show of international determination to be squandered in another ineffective negotiation focused on a meaningless fuel deal - with Iran dictating the pace and content of the proposed three-day discussion - will be an enormous step in the wrong direction. The writer is director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies of Tel Aviv University. (Jerusalem Post)
Palestine was one of Obama's spiritual obsessions, firing his delusions of making harmony with Islam, which cares little about his delusions. One has to be fair, however: the president has finally admitted that the land the Romans called Palestine is the "historical homeland of the Jewish people."
The Palestinians are going to the Security Council to get it to arrange a state for them. Of course, they can't. But they can go through the motions. This would not be the first time that the Palestinians have announced a state. They now have embassies in 100 world capitals and they sit in the General Assembly behind a desk labeled "Palestine." It is all a joke, save for the six real Palestinian battalions in the West Bank, thanks to the State of Israel.
The failure of the peace talks was easily foreseen. Obama encumbered them with his ingenious prerequisite: that Israel stop building in the settlements. Never before had such a condition been put forth. (New Republic)
Can Israel Be Jewish and Democratic? - Douglas J. Feith (Wall Street Journal)
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