Egypt Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Candidate to Push for Islamic Law - Samer al-Atrush (AFP)
The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for Egypt's presidency, Khairat el-Shater, has pledged to press for the implementation of sharia (Islamic law) if elected, a Muslim think tank said on Wednesday.
Shater said implementing sharia was "his first and final goal," said the Legal Authority for Rights and Reform after meeting with him on Tuesday.
Hamas: "Defend Al Aqsa Mosque from the Jews" (Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades-Hamas)
Ezzat al-Resheq of Hamas' political bureau urged the Arab and Muslim nations to act to defend the Al Aqsa Mosque and save it from Jewish attempts to demolish and Judaize it, in a message on his Facebook page on the anniversary of Palestinian "land day."
See also The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Report to Congress on Arms Proliferation - 2011 (CIA)
Unclassified report on the acquisition of technology relating to weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional munitions.
New IDF Combat Engineering Tools (Israel Defense Forces)
Newly declassified IDF combat engineering technologies include the
"Thunder," an anti-personnel mine so small that it fits in a soldier's pocket and is hard for enemy forces to detect during an ambush.
The "Fox" is a door-breaching charge roughly the size of a human arm, while the "Frame Breaker" is designed to cut through walls.
The "Snatcher" deploys a string of charges which upon detonation create a blast-wave, disabling mines hidden in the ground.
IBM-Israel Brings Smarter Water Tech to California - Karin Kloosterman (israel21c)
A new partnership between Sonoma County, in the heart of drought-stricken California wine country, and IBM-Israel is "smartening up" the region's water system with automatic leak detection and water-management systems to help the state reach its goal of reducing water usage 20% by 2020.
The IBM Smarter Water Program based in Haifa at the IBM Research labs has developed new software tools to optimize valve pressure, using data from gauges and sensors throughout the system.
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- Iran Balks at Holding Nuclear Talks in Turkey - Rick Gladstone
Iran's foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi raised new doubts on Wednesday about the resumption of international talks over its disputed nuclear program - a week before the talks are to take place - saying the location may not be Turkey, as previously agreed, and suggested Iraq and China as possible alternate hosts. "The fact that the interested parties can't even agree on a venue is an inauspicious sign about their ability to reach a nuclear agreement," said Karim Sadjadpour, an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
(New York Times)
- Key China Insurer to Stop Coverage of Tankers Carrying Iran Oil - Randy Fabi
Key ship insurer China P&I Club will halt coverage for tankers carrying Iranian oil from July, officials told Reuters on Thursday. China P&I Club is the first Chinese maritime insurer to confirm it will halt business with tankers operating in Iran, following similar action in Japan.
- Syria War Triggers Rifts in Palestinian Camps in Lebanon - Josh Wood
Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps are becoming "more and more of a battlefield" between those who are for or against the Assad regime in Syria, said Sari Hanafi, a professor at the American University of Beirut. During Syria's occupation of parts of Lebanon between 1976 and 2005, Damascus fostered relationships with several Palestinian groups.
(New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Seeks Multi-Year U.S. Missile Defense Aid - Yaakov Katz
Israel is in talks with the U.S. about increasing its financial aid for Israeli missile defense programs. Israel is expected to request $700 million to purchase four additional Iron Dome batteries and to speed up the development of David's Sling, a system to defend against medium-range rockets. Another $300 million will be sought for the purchase of Tamir interceptors, used by the Iron Dome.
See also Israel to Make Do with Fewer Iron Dome Defense Systems - Dan Williams
Israel is expanding the reach of its Iron Dome rocket interceptors to make do with fewer, given the prospect of reduced financial support from a cash-strapped U.S., a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday. Israel has spoken of needing 13 or 14 systems in total to protect its various fronts. But a senior Israeli official said that full deployment could be reduced thanks to planned advances to increase the interception range.
- Grad Rocket Hits Eilat - Ahuva Mamos
Terrorists fired at least one rocket at the Israeli city of Eilat Wednesday night. Residents reported hearing three blasts. No injuries or damage were reported.
- Israeli-U.S. Anti-Missile Drill Rescheduled for October - Yaakov Katz
Months after its postponement, the largest-ever Israeli-American missile defense drill is now scheduled for October.
Several days ago, Col. Stephen Richmond, commander of the 10th Army Air & Missile Defense Command at the European Command (EUCOM), visited Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming drill, which is expected to see the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel.
- Friedman's Clueless Middle East Advice - Jonathan S. Tobin
After so many years of being wrong about the Palestinians being ready to make peace with Israel, it is difficult to take New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's Middle East advice columns seriously. But his latest effort contains some whoppers.
He starts out with praise for imprisoned Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti as an "authentic leader." But what makes Barghouti "authentic" to Palestinians is his role in the murder of Israeli civilians (for which he is currently serving five life sentences).
Let's remember that Barghouti's mass murder spree took place in the immediate aftermath of an Israeli peace offer that was not much different from the scheme Friedman now thinks the Palestinians will accept. PA leader Yasir Arafat turned down Ehud Barak's offers of a state in 2000 and 2001 and answered it with a terror war that cost more than 1,000 Israelis their lives courtesy of killers like Barghouti. Arafat's successor Mahmoud Abbas walked away from another such offer in 2008.
Unlike Friedman, Israelis aren't prepared to ignore the results of two decades of Middle East peace processing during which they have traded land and received terror instead of peace.
Netanyahu has already said he'd accept a two-state solution and the vast majority of Israelis would support him if he were presented with a deal that ended the conflict. Just as in 1977 when Egypt's Sadat went to Jerusalem, the Israelis are ready to deal. The problem is that, unlike Sadat, the Palestinians aren't actually willing to live in peace alongside the Jewish state. (Commentary)
See also A Middle East Twofer - Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times)
- The Arab Spring Did America a Big Favor - Aaron David Miller
In taking to the streets, Arabs did something for America that we'd never be able to do for ourselves: Break the devil's bargain we cut with Arab authoritarians decades ago. We got some Arab-Israeli peace agreements, continued access to Arab oil, sold a lot of military hardware, and procured stability. But it proved a false stability. These arrangements were made with regimes that were out of touch with their publics and simply couldn't endure.
At some point the same forces of change that were transforming the rest of the world were bound to visit the Middle East as well. There was no way the U.S. would ever have pushed meaningful reform, let alone broken our ties with the authoritarians, unless the street did it for us. But we shouldn't kid ourselves: The process will be long and messy and may well not turn out the way we want.
- Arab Racism Prevents Peace - Giulio Meotti
An ideology that sees the State of Israel as an alien presence among Islamic nations - an undesirable island in an Arab sea that must ultimately be submerged - is the real apartheid. The PA's mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikremah Sabri, and the Palestinian chief Islamic judge, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, issued religious decrees authorizing the killing of Arabs who sell property to Jews. In December 2010, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said that "I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land." These racist views, found in Arab textbooks and taught in the schools of all Arab nations, are the ultimate bar to real peace. (Ynet News)
Iranian Complicity in 9/11? - Adm. James A. Lyons (Washington Times)
On Dec. 22, 2011, U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels in New York ruled that Iran and Hizbullah provided both material and direct support to al-Qaeda in the Sept. 11 attacks against the U.S. Part of the convincing evidence was provided by three Iranian defectors from Iran's intelligence agency, the Ministry of Information and Security, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
- One of the defectors, Abolghasem Mesbahi, formerly in charge of Iran's espionage operations in Western Europe, testified that he was part of a task force that designed contingency plans for unconventional warfare against the U.S. that included crashing hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House.
- During the summer of 2001, Mesbahi stated that he received three coded messages indicating that the plan had been activated. Mesbahi also testified that, in 2000, Iran used front companies to obtain a Boeing flight simulator for training the Sept. 11 hijackers.
- Evidence from the 9/11 Commission Report shows that Hizbullah terror chief Imad Mughniyah coordinated activities of the hijackers in Saudi Arabia, where they were provided passports with special markings so that they could proceed to and through Iran without having their passports stamped en route to Afghanistan.
The writer was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the UN.
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