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 27, 2010
U.S. Tries Restart of Talks with Iran - Jay Solomon (Wall Street Journal)
Israel Sees No Movement in Talks with Palestinians Until After U.S. Midterms (Xinhua-China)
IsraAID to Send Team to Haiti after Cholera Outbreak (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli MK Turns Down Speech in Spain for Fear of Arrest - Gil Hoffman (Jerusalem Post)
Settlers Deny Ruining Palestinian Olive Grove (AFP)
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
The Obama administration, already struggling to stave off a collapse of Middle East peace talks, is increasingly alarmed by unrest in Lebanon, whose own fragile peace is being threatened by militant opponents of a politically charged investigation into the killing in 2005 of a former Lebanese leader. The White House sent a senior diplomat to Beirut last week to reassure Lebanon's president, Michel Suleiman, of President Obama's support for the investigation and his country's stability. The visit by the diplomat, Jeffrey D. Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, came on top of a telephone call to Suleiman by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"The president felt very strongly that we need to reconfirm our commitment to Lebanon's independence, Lebanon's sovereignty and Lebanon's stability," Feltman said. "There are people inside Lebanon who are arguing that it faces a choice of justice versus stability. That's an artificial choice." "You don't want the perception of a vacuum," Feltman said. "You don't want the perception that Ahmadinejad is the only game in town." Analysts said that the U.S. was right to reassert its commitment to Lebanon, but that it may be acting too late. Rising prices for weapons suggest that militias other than Hizbullah are rearming, increasing the threat of a civil war. (New York Times)
See also Hizbullah: New Iranian Role - Alex Fishman
Since Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated in Damascus a few years back, the involvement of Iranian officers from the Revolutionary Guards has deepened throughout the Hizbullah chain of command. Today a military council deals with all the areas that were Mughniyeh's, like terrorism outside of Lebanon. Above this body is an Iranian general, Hossein Mahadavi, the commander of the Lebanon corps of the Revolutionary Guards, who sits in Beirut. At his side is a team of dozens of Iranian specialists who serve as professional advisors to Hizbullah in intelligence and weapons systems. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew, 26Oct10)
See also Syria Spurns U.S. Bid to Mend Ties
Syrian President Bashar Assad told Al-Hayat in an interview published Tuesday that the U.S. has created chaos in every place it entered, snubbing Washington's efforts to improve ties with Damascus. President Barack Obama has made repeated overtures to Damascus this year, nominating the first U.S. ambassador to Syria since 2005 and sending top diplomats to meet with Assad. Assad also warned that expected indictments in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri could destroy Lebanon. (AP-Ha'aretz)
See also Is Lebanon About to Collapse? - Martin Peretz
In the next weeks, the judgment of the international panel set up to examine the assassination of the Sunni billionaire Rafiq al-Hariri - also the Lebanese prime minister - will be rendered. It is all but certain that the judges will conclude that the killing of Hariri (and 22 others) was committed in 2005 by men of Hizbullah, Shi'a thugs. This could crush what's left of the parliamentary alliance between the Sunni middle class and what's left of Maronite influence. Hizbullah tried to deflect blame for Hariri's killing onto the Israelis. But some lies are just too preposterous even for one's own. The fact is that no one could grasp why Jerusalem would have wanted Hariri and his men blown up.
Despite the intentions of the big powers to curb Hizbullah through Security Council Resolution 1701, the effect of its mandate was to accomplish just the opposite. Iran has now claimed a border with Israel, and it is the frontier which the Shi'a mob patrols. Please don't tell me that the threat to peace lies in the West Bank. Lebanon is the scene of the next battle. (New Republic)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
Amid the strained relations between Ankara and Jerusalem, Turkish intelligence has severed its working relations with the Mossad following a Turkish government decision on the matter, the Turkish newspaper Sabah reported on Monday. In June, Ha'aretz reported that Israeli security officials were deeply concerned by the appointment of Hakan Fidan to lead Turkey's National Intelligence Organization. Fidan, a close associate of Prime Minister Erdogan, is viewed as a proponent of closer relations between Turkey and Iran.
Meanwhile, Turkey has conditioned its consent to stationing a NATO missile-defense system on its territory on a guarantee that no information collected by the system be transferred to Israel. Since the American-sponsored plan's original purpose was to defend NATO countries against an Iranian attack, Turkey is essentially demanding that Israel not be given vital information about Iranian missiles. Turkish sources said Washington has agreed that no information from the system will be shared with Israel, since Israel has its own advanced missile-detection systems for tracking Iranian threats. (Ha'aretz)
See also Turkey in Dilemma Over NATO Shield - Marc Champion (Wall Street Journal)
Under orders from the Defense Ministry, the IDF has drawn up contingency plans for the transfer of security control over certain West Bank areas to the Palestinian Authority. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that Israel transfer security over major West Bank cities. One area under consideration is the Ramallah region.
Some IDF officers say that even though PA security forces are currently doing an effective job in cracking down on terrorist infrastructure, the IDF's operational freedom still plays a key role. "Even though the IDF does not go into the cities every day, its presence helps keep terrorism down to a minimum," an official said. The decision will likely depend on progress in the peace talks with the Palestinians, currently deadlocked. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
Iranian President Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon constitutes an additional stage in the process of the Lebanese state's collapse. From now on, Hizbullah supporters will find it difficult to argue that theirs is a national Lebanese party operating in the Lebanese reality on behalf of Lebanese objectives. In contrast with the display of force by the Iranian president in Lebanon, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah cut a sorry figure, orating from his bunker without the courage to stand at Ahmadinejad's side. The only place where Nasrallah feels secure is at the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
U.S. plans to sell Saudi Arabia advanced weapons systems worth $60 billion to counter Iran could turn out to be more of a problem than a panacea. The Saudis have always had problems absorbing high-tech Western systems. They already have more top-line equipment than they can effectively use, such as an air force with more aircraft than it has front-line pilots or commanders able to deploy them in combat. Saudi Arabia traditionally bankrolls part of Pakistan's military purchases and in return gets experienced Pakistan pilots to fly its U.S. and British combat jets, as well as seasoned naval personnel to run its navy.
"The new deal will do little to balance the resurgent Iranian regime in the near-term," concludes the U.S. global security consultancy Stratfor. It could take a decade for the Americans to deliver the package, so it's unlikely the Iranians are quaking in their boots at the prospect of their main rival in the Persian Gulf region being deluged with top-line weaponry. (UPI)
"They do give us bags of money - yes, yes, it is done, we are grateful to the Iranians for this." This is the East, and baksheesh is the way of the world, Hamid Karzai brazenly let it be known this week. Karzai saw the scorn of Iran's cruel leaders for America's diplomatic approaches. He could see Iranian power extend all the way to the Mediterranean, right up to Israel's borders with Lebanon and to Gaza. The Iranians were next door and the Americans were giving away their fatigue. Why not accept the entreaties from Tehran? The writer is a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. (Wall Street Journal)
The Palestinian Unilateral Threat - Alan Baker (Jerusalem Post)
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