Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Speaks - Interviewed by James Kirchick (Radio Free Europe) Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren Hosts Ramadan Iftar with Muslim Americans - Jaweed Kaleem (Huffington Post) Libya's WMD Stockpiles Are Secure: Pentagon (AFP/Defense News) EU Diplomat says Financial Crisis Causing Some to Talk of Cutting Back Aid to Palestinians (AP/Washington Post) Israeli Experts Near Completion of Jerusalem Walls Restoration (AP/Ha'aretz) Jerusalem's Multi-Faith Train Crosses City, Creed and Gender - Anshel Pfeffer (Jewish Chronicle - UK)
Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Speaks - Interviewed by James Kirchick (Radio Free Europe)
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren Hosts Ramadan Iftar with Muslim Americans - Jaweed Kaleem (Huffington Post)
Libya's WMD Stockpiles Are Secure: Pentagon (AFP/Defense News)
EU Diplomat says Financial Crisis Causing Some to Talk of Cutting Back Aid to Palestinians (AP/Washington Post)
Israeli Experts Near Completion of Jerusalem Walls Restoration (AP/Ha'aretz)
Jerusalem's Multi-Faith Train Crosses City, Creed and Gender - Anshel Pfeffer (Jewish Chronicle - UK)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
“Sometimes you have to subordinate strategic considerations to tactical needs,” says Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister. This is one such time: Mr. Barak, backed by the current prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is going to agree to Egypt deploying thousands of troops in Sinai even though the Israel-Egypt peace treaty strictly forbids it. They will have helicopters and armored vehicles, Barak says, but no tanks beyond the lone battalion already stationed there.
Israel faces a dilemma with far-reaching strategic consequences. Thirty years of peace with Egypt have rested, above all, on a demilitarized Sinai. The peninsula is patrolled by an international force and monitored by America from the air, to ensure that both sides keep their armies out, even though Sinai is sovereign Egyptian soil. Until now, Israel had said no to Egyptian demands to let more troops on to the peninsula, beyond what is specified in the 1979 peace treaty. Yet it urgently needs Egypt to tighten security. (Economist)
Gaza militants early Friday called their second truce in less than five days in an attempt to keep more than a week of hostilities with Israel from escalating. A leader of the Islamic Jihad faction, Mahfez Azzam, said Egypt mediated the cease-fire, which is to go into effect at 1 p.m. local time Friday. More than 15 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israel on Thursday, the IDF said. (AP/Washington Post)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran was determined to eradicate Israel, ISNA news agency reported Thursday.
"Iran believes that whoever is for humanity should also be for eradicating the Zionist regime [Israel] as symbol of suppression and discrimination," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with a Lebanese television network, carried by ISNA.
"Iran follows this issue [the eradication of Israel] with determination and decisiveness and will never ever withdraw from this standpoint and policy," the Iranian president added in the interview with the Al-Manar network. (DPA)
See also Iranians March on 'Quds Day,' Chant 'Death to Israel'
Tens of thousands of people marched in Tehran on Friday at the 'Quds Day' rally, an annual regime-sanctioned demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians and against Israel, according to footage aired on state television. The television showed large crowds in major cities, carrying banners of "Death to Israel" and "Death to America." (AFP/Straits Times - Singapore)
The Iran connection to 9/11 is spelled out in a document filed by American attorneys working on a civil action known as the Havlish case. Fiona Havlish is the widow of an insurance consultant who died on 9/11 at the World Trade Center. She and six other bereaved relatives – including the widow of one of the airliners' pilots – joined Iran to a suit brought against bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
The submission tracks Iran's involvement with al-Qaeda back to 1993. That year, it states, Hizbullah's Imad Mughniyah, a terrorist credited with multiple operations against U.S. citizens, met in Sudan with Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, who, following bin Laden's death in May, has now assumed the al- Qaeda leadership.
Al-Qaeda operatives received training in Iran in airline hijacking, according to the memorandum. Significance is given to a communication four months before 9/11, in which a leading Iranian intelligence official authorized support for "al-Qaeda's future plans."
Summers and Swan are the authors of the new book, The Eleventh Day, about the 9/11 attack. (Telegraph -- UK)
Two former CIA senior officials declared in their affadavit, "Imad Mughniyah, the most dangerous terrorist in the world in our era, who was an Iranian agent and high up in the Hizbullah hierarchy, organized the international transfers for a portion of the 9/11 hijackers through Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan, as well as other places."
This help allowed for vital aspects of the attack plan: 1.) training in Afghanistan and Iran as well as obtaining U.S. visas, 2.) entry into the U.S. Among the materials gathered for a U.S. court case against Iran are the testimonies of Iranian intelligence officials who sought asylum in the West. Witness X said that Iran had advance knowledge of the plan to blow up aircraft in strategic sites in New York and Washington. He was also present at Sunni terrorist training camps inside Iran. (Yediot Ahronot - Hebrew)
In July, the U.S. Treasury Department designated six members of an al Qaeda network based inside Iran. Some members of the network are based outside of Iran, but funnel recruits and cash through Iranian soil. The network operates “under an agreement between al Qaeda and the Iranian government.”
One member of this network is Libyan-born Atiyah (who’s known to analysts by his first name). Treasury notes that Atiyah is al Qaeda's “overall commander in Pakistan's tribal areas and as of late 2010, the leader of al Qaeda in North and South Waziristan, Pakistan.” The Treasury Department adds that Atiyah was previously appointed by Osama bin Laden to serve as al Qaeda's emissary in Iran, a position which allowed him to travel in and out of Iran with the permission of Iranian officials.
Atiyah was planning a terrorist attack against the U.S. that was potentially set to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Some U.S. intelligence officials think Atiyah is even “more important” than Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s new emir. The described Atiyah as al Qaeda’s “operations chief.”
Atiyah was appointed al Qaeda’s emissary to Iran and had an explicit deal with the Iranians that allowed him to move in an out the mullahs’ country. Atiyah is one of the beneficiaries of a deal between the Iranian government and Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, who funnels recruits and money from the Gulf States through Iran to Atiyah.
I’ll add one more dot: Atiyah was protected by the Iranian regime for several years after 9/11. He is one of the senior al Qaeda leaders who the Iranians refused to acknowledge holding in custody and was supposedly held under a loose form of “house arrest.” All of which brings us back to the original question folks should be asking: What role, if any, does Iran play in Atiyah’s plotting? (Weekly Standard)
Ali Farzat is Syria's best known political cartoonist. At 4am on Thursday morning he was picked up off the street in Damascus and dragged into a 4x4 by armed masked men. They beat him as they drove to the airport road and said: "We will break your hands so that you'll stop drawing."
Then they broke both the bones in both of his hands. His beard was singed, a bag was put over his head before he was dumped by the roadside and told: "This is just a warning." Mr Farzat is now in hospital. (Sky News -- UK)
See also View The Drawings that Landed Ali Farzat in the Hospital (Foreign Policy)
The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday demanded that Egypt once again fly the Israeli flag over the ambassador's residence in Cairo, one day after Egyptian security forces guarding the building complied with the demands of hundreds of demonstrators who urged it be taken down.
Demonstrators on Tuesday applauded as the blue-and-white flag was removed from the home of Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon and demanded that Egypt scrap the decades-long peace deal with Israel. The Egyptian military also closed the main street leading to the residence, and dozens of police were stationed on surrounding roads for fear that the demonstrators would attempt to break in. (Israel Hayom)
Iranian ambassador to Russia Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi announced on Thursday that Iran has filed a lawsuit against Moscow at the International Court of Justice for failing to deliver the S-300 air defense system to Iran, despite a UN resolution that prohibits weapons contracts with the Islamic Republic, Iranian semi-official news agency Fars News reported.
Tehran and Moscow signed a contract in 2007 which guaranteed the delivery of "at least five" S-300 air defense systems, according to the report. Although Russia originally assured Iran that it would deliver the system, considerable Western pressure eventually convinced Moscow to cancel the deal. (Jerusalem Post)
The chances that Israel will establish even low-level relations with a new regime that takes shape in Tripoli are not great. This assessment is based on a Ha'aretz interview this week with Ahmad Shabani, a Libyan opposition leader. Since the rebel government formed about six months ago in Benghazi, envoys have been trying to figure out if there are hopes of establishing a diplomatic relationship with Israel.
Amid the anarchy in Libya, local warlords and foreign middlemen gained control of weapons looted from arsenals. The weapons black market in Libya reached new heights, Israeli intelligence officers discovered. Anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, mortars and other weapons were smuggled to Gaza via Egypt and reached Hamas. (Ha'aretz)
Qaddafi’s rule might be crumbling, but the colonel refuses to quit. On the evening of August 23, Qaddafi loyalists launched Scuds at the rebel-run town of Misrata. The missile strikes will be a footnote to the last days of the Transitional National Council’s struggle to unseat Qaddafi, but Western policymakers should not ignore them, for reasons that have less to do with Libya and far more with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In a case where regime collapse is inevitable, assumptions that the regime will act to moderate its own behavior become moot. When Qaddafi recognized his hours were numbered, he launched Scud missiles at his own people. What might the Revolutionary Guards do in a parallel situation? Ideological hatred toward the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia may be rhetorical among many Iranians, but for those in the Qods Force or other elite units, the embrace of ideology is sincere. While they might not normally be suicidal, if they believe the regime and perhaps their lives are over regardless of their actions, why not make good on the ideological goal and launch a nuclear weapon against external enemies?
Qaddafi’s last stand should provide a wake-up call for those who wish to tie American national security to deterrence. Placing a bet on a nuclear Islamic Republic’s desire for self-preservation discounts two important factors: The determination of the Iranian people to be free, and the ideological sincerity of the small elite whose fingers would be on the nuclear button. (National Review)
With the advent of the Arab Spring, several former Arab tyrannies (Egypt, Tunisia, now Libya, perhaps Syria next) have thrown off dictators and are, or will be, moving toward elections. And in Jordan and Morocco, the kings have announced new constitutional arrangements that move powers to elected officials. In every case, it is understood that free elections are central. And then there is the Palestinian case.
Palestinians therefore face, and face us with, an interesting situation: Just as they are about to go to the U.N. to demand recognition, they are farther from free elections than they have been since the day Arafat died. The Palestinian parliament does not meet much less hold any authority. There are no elections, much less fair ones. Abbas rules by decree.
The United States and the EU should be demanding elections, so that there is a legitimate government in Ramallah. Neither the United States nor the Quartet said one word criticizing that cancellation, again, of local elections. But the flimsy excuses offered by Abbas should be rejected flatly, and elections for the presidency and the parliament should be held within six months. Can it be the policy of the United States that autocracy is intolerable in Damascus, Tripoli, Cairo, and Tunis, but just fine in Ramallah? (Weekly Standard)
The establishment of any future Palestinian state depends entirely upon negotiations with Israel within a mutually agreed upon legal framework of longstanding treaties. The Palestinian Authority's unilateral move will violate all previous agreements it signed with Israel, repudiate all relevant U.N. resolutions, and treat the United States, which has supported the PA with billions of dollars and incalculable prestige and good will during the decades-long peace process, with complete contempt.
Over the past two years, the PA has avoided further negotiations in order to pressure Israel into greater concessions. Moreover, no one can reasonably argue that a Palestinian state is now viable. The PA is dictatorial, violent and corrupt; its civil society is chaotic; and it has no significant economy aside from what it receives in global charity, where it ranks first worldwide per capita. Moreover, Palestinians are now geographically split between Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza, with the governing authorities in these areas constantly battling one another.
So why is the PA pushing for a state that has no realistic chance of succeeding? The answer is that the Arab world has been more interested in isolating, delegitimizing and destroying Israel than creating a successful Palestinian state. Bartky is president of the Jewish American Affairs Committee of Indiana and a professor of political science at Purdue University. Friedman is a doctor from Carmel. (Indy Star)
Legal Opinion Challenges PLO Statehood Bid - Interview with Prof. Guy Goodwin-Gill (Al Jazeera)
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