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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
December 27, 2011

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Sudan Denies Israel Hit Convoys (UPI)
    A Sudanese military spokesman has denied reports that Israel was involved in a series of attacks on weapons convoys in eastern Sudan heading for Gaza.
    The reports said an Israeli warplane targeted a convoy of six Land Cruiser vehicles Thursday and Sunday last week, killing four passengers and destroying two of the vehicles.
    Israeli security officials believe Sudan is a key conduit of weapons bound for Gaza.

Israeli Started U.S. Drone Industry - Peter Finn (Washington Post)
    In 1980, Abraham Karem, an engineer who had emigrated from Israel, retreated into his garage outside Los Angeles and began to build an aircraft.
    When Karem finished a year later, he wheeled into his driveway an odd, cigar-shaped craft that was destined to change the way the U.S. wages war.
    More than a decade of development later, Karem's drone became the Predator, whose controllers thousands of miles away in the U.S. launch Hellfire missiles toward targets they are watching on video screens.

Israel's Top 20 Greatest Inventions of All Time - Abigail Klein Leichman (Jerusalem Post)
    Indispensable Israeli inventions are being displayed and demonstrated at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem.
    Israel's top inventions highlighted at the exhibition include:
    Netafim smart drip micro-irrigation, Ormat geothermal power plants, Pythagoras Solar windows, Hazera Genetics slow-ripening cherry tomato, EpiLady electric hair remover, MobileEye safe auto navigation system, Leviathan Energy silent wind turbine, BriefCam video-synopsis technology, Better Place electric car network, Intel Israel computer processors.
    TA Count real-time microbiology detection, Solaris Synergy solar panels that float on water, HydroSpin internal pipe electricity generator, Elbit electro-optic observation system, Turbulence interactive movie, Decell Technologies GPS and phone-based road traffic information monitoring, PrimeSense 3D vision technologies, Takadu water utilities monitoring, EarlySense hospital patient monitoring, Panoramic Power energy monitoring.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Welcomes Hamas Leader in Cairo
    Gaza's Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh was in Cairo Monday for discussions with Mohammed Badie, the leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is considered an offshoot of the Brotherhood. Haniyeh described Hamas as the "jihadi movement of the Brotherhood with a Palestinian face."  (AP-Washington Post)
  • Abbas Postpones Unity with Hamas Due to Threat of Western Aid Cutoff - Saleh al-Naami
    Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas stressed during a meeting in Cairo last week that moves toward the formation of a new Palestinian unity government that included Hamas might lead the U.S. to stop offering aid. Sources said that this explains the decision to postpone the discussions on forming a Palestinian unity government until after 26 January 2012.
        Sources reported that it is necessary to work to mobilize Arab support that would reduce the impact of any international reaction to the implementation of the national reconciliation agreement with Hamas. The sources stress that most of the Arab regimes currently are preoccupied with putting their domestic house in order, and will not be enthusiastic about dedicating themselves to Palestinian affairs. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Syria Pulls Tanks from Homs as Arab Monitors Arrive
    After days of punishing assaults, Syria's army began withdrawing tanks from the city of Homs on Tuesday as a team of Arab League observers was on its way to the city. For days, Syrian military forces had pounded Homs with artillery. On Monday, security forces killed at least 42 people, most of them in Homs. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also Arab League Observer Calls Syria Conflict "Genocide"
    Mostashar Mahgoub, a member of the Arab League observer team in Damascus, told Al Arabiya on Monday that "what's happening in Syria is a genocide....This is a regime that is taking revenge on its people."  (DPA)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Backs Tough Sanctions on Iran's Energy Industry, Central Bank - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said the test of stiffening sanctions is to take action against both Iran's petrochemical industry and central bank. "There is no possibility of talking about crippling sanctions without these steps being taken immediately and with force," he said.
        Netanyahu said that while he didn't know whether such "crippling" sanctions would stop Iran's nuclear program, he was certain they would make things difficult enough for the Iranian government that it would have to reconsider its actions. But if the sanctions were not imposed, he said, this would be interpreted by the Iranians as a sign the West did not truly have the will or intent to stop them. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Report: Israel Proposes Setting Up Refugee Camps in South Sudan
    During South Sudan President Salva Kiir's recent visit to Israel, officials proposed that Israel set up camps in his country for refugees and migrants who will be repatriated to their countries of origin in Africa, Yediot Ahronot reported. In the past few months, Israel has repatriated hundreds of South Sudanese on secret flights. A record 2,676 migrants entered Israel in November, and 13,581 have entered since the beginning of the year. (Globes)
  • Israel's Unemployment Rate Falls to All-Time Low
    Israel's unemployment rate fell to 5% of the civilian labor force in October 2011, an all-time low, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported Monday. (Globes)
  • Jewish Instructors Teach Arab Women Self-Defense in Jerusalem - Julia Niemann
    In a five-week self-defense course for women run by Arab women in Wadi Joz in eastern Jerusalem, the two female instructors and the three men serving as mock attackers are Jewish, while the participants are Palestinians. Sahra, 37, a mother of three, definitely wants to send her daughter to one of those workshops, initiated by the women's nonprofit self-defense organization El Halev, once she's old enough. And how did she feel about being taught by Jewish Israelis? "They're great."  (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Why Hamas Wants to Join the PLO - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Hamas' decision to join the PLO is seen by some as a sign that the Islamist movement is headed toward "moderation" and "pragmatism." But if the agreement with Abbas is implemented, Hamas will take control over the PLO. Once Hamas takes control over the PLO, it will seek to cancel all agreements with Israel, above all the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hamas also wants the PLO to withdraw its recognition of Israel.
        Some Western analysts have begun talking about the "new Hamas" which is about to abandon the "armed struggle" in favor of a peaceful, popular uprising against Israel. But Hamas, according to its leaders, is joining the PLO because it wants to "liberate Palestine," and not because it is interested in becoming part of the peace process. (Hudson Institute New York)
  • The Arab Revolt in Retrospect - Bret Stephens
    The limited experience of democracy in the Arab world (and in Turkey) is that it's a handy vehicle for Islamist parties with illiberal ideas and unscrupulous methods to gain and keep power. Whether democracy tames and tempers those parties over time - or they tame, temper and ultimately destroy democracy - remains an open question. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Minorities and the Arab Spring - Zvi Mazel
    The shock waves breaking over the Middle East are the result of the failure of the Arab states to come up with a coherent national narrative uniting their different components and to establish modern societies where all are equals. Nearly a century after they rose on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab states have failed to cause the mosaic of ethnic, national and religious communities which form them to coalesce into nations with common goals and aspirations.
        Those societies have been torn by ceaseless internal and external squabbles, political and economic discrimination, revolts, civil wars and military coups - resulting in an estimated five million dead and countless wounded as well as a growing number of refugees. The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador of Israel to Romania, Egypt and Sweden. (Jerusalem Post)

The Real Outcome of the Iraq War: U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition in Iraq - Anthony H. Cordesman, Adam Mausner, Peter Alsis, and Charles Loi (Center for Strategic and International Studies)

  • The U.S. has gone to great lengths to counter Iranian influence in Iraq, including using its status as an occupying power and Iraq's main source of aid, as well as through information operations and more traditional press statements highlighting Iranian meddling.
  • Yet Iraq needs trade and cross-border support from Iran, just as it needs aid, diplomatic, and military support from the U.S. Iraq's much-reduced military capabilities make it dependent on aid, military sales, and training from the U.S., and Iraq still lacks the resources and cohesion to resist against Iranian coercion and to defend against Iranian aggression.
  • Iran enjoys deep ties to the ruling Shi'ite parties and factions in a country with which it once fought a fierce and bloody eight-year war. It plays an active role in mediating between Iraqi political leaders, it has ties to the Sadrists that are now the largest party in Iraq's ruling collation, and the IRGC has significant influence over elements within the Iraqi security forces.
  • Iran seeks to ensure that Iraq does not serve as a base for the U.S., serve U.S. interests, or reemerge as a threat to Iran. Iran seeks to create a stable and malleable ally, not a peer competitor. It seeks to rid Iraq of American influence to the greatest extent possible.
  • Unless the U.S. acts far more decisively, Iran seems likely to be the de facto winner of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

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