Iranian Fifth Column in Canada a Possible Threat to U.S. - Steven Edwards (Fox News)
In an interview in Farsi given to an Iran-based website directed exclusively at Iranians living in Canada, Hamid Mohammadi, the Iranian cultural affairs counselor at the embassy in Ottawa, called for expatriates to infiltrate the Canadian government and be ready to advance the interests of their homeland.
Mohammadi said recent immigrants among the estimated 500,000 Iranians in Canada have "preserved their strong attachments and bonds to their homeland," while second-generation Iranians are already in "influential government positions."
U.S. terror watchdogs noted that radicalized Iranians would be just an easy border crossing from the American heartland.
"Definitely there is recruitment - they want Iranians with Canadian passports, Iranians with U.S. passports," said Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. Terrorism experts noted Iran's recent failed plot to assassinate a Saudi official in the U.S.
See also Ottawa Warns Iranian Embassy over Recruitment of Expats - Kathryn Blaze Carlson (National Post-Canada)
Canada's Foreign Affairs department issued a warning Tuesday to Iranian diplomats who are allegedly using their Ottawa embassy to recruit Iranian-Canadians to serve the Islamic Republic's interests.
A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said, "Canadian security organizations will act to prevent threats and intimidation of Canadians."
Former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) operative David Harris said, "The embassy is in and of itself a menace to public safety and our national interests; it should have been closed down yesterday."
Iran Producing Missiles Based on Russia's Kornet - Henry Meyer (Bloomberg)
Iran is producing new laser-guided, anti-tank missiles modeled on Russia's Kornet, the rocket used by Hizbullah in the 2006 war with Israel, according to defense analysts in London and Moscow.
The Iranians may have copied the design after obtaining it from Hizbullah, said Igor Korotchenko, director of the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade in Moscow, who's also the head of an advisory council for the Russian Defense Ministry.
Iranian Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Ahmad Vahidi on July 7 inaugurated production of the Dehlaviyeh anti-armor missile system designed to hit mobile and ground targets, the state-run Fars news agency reported. The Kornet has a range of 5.5 km. (3.3 miles).
The Israel Defense Forces: First for Women - Nick Hopkins (Guardian-UK)
The Israeli military is the most progressive in the world in terms of gender equality. Almost one-third of the force and 50% of its officers are female. Some 92% of roles are now open to women.
In the UK, only 13% of the armed forces are women, while there are only slightly more in the U.S. army (13.4%).
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- Iran's Ballistic Missiles Improving, Pentagon Finds - Tony Capaccio
Iran's military continues to improve the accuracy and killing power of its long- and short-range ballistic missiles, including designing a weapon to target vessels, according to a Pentagon report to Congress.
"Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads" that extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead, according to the June 29 report signed by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
The improvements are in tandem with regular ballistic-missile training that "continues throughout the country" and the addition of "new ships and submarines," the report found. The report was provided to the four congressional defense committees last week.
"There was a theme that Iran is improving the accuracy and lethality of its missiles," said Congressional Research Service Iran analyst Kenneth Katzman. "U.S. government reports have previously always downplayed the accuracy and effectiveness of Iran's missile forces."
The report added: "We assess with high confidence" that over 30 years Iran "has methodically cultivated a network of sponsored terrorist surrogates capable of targeting U.S. and Israeli interests....We suspect this activity continues." (Bloomberg)
- Sanctions Squeeze Forces Iran to Cut Oilfield Flow - Peg Mackey and Alex Lawler
Tough Western sanctions are forcing Iran to shut off wells at its oilfields, reducing production and costing Tehran billions in lost revenues. Oil sales have now slumped to half the rate of last year and storage is running out. "I would guess that (oilfield) shut-ins will be more than 25% - if not already, then very soon," said a European oil executive whose company has invested in Iran.
- Russia Sends Warships to Syria - Tom Parfitt and Adrian Blomfield
Russia dispatched a flotilla of warships to its naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus on Tuesday in an apparent show of support for President Bashar al-Assad.
Two destroyers and three amphibious landing vessels carrying marines set sail from Russian bases in the Arctic and the Black Sea, according to Russian military sources.
Western diplomats say the purpose of the mission is to show tangible support for Assad, to warn the West against military intervention in Syria, and to prepare for the possible evacuation of Russian nationals from the country.
- Egypt's High Court Blocks Parliament - Matt Bradley
Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court suspended a decree issued on Sunday by Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's newly inaugurated president, that had reversed the military leadership's earlier order to dissolve Parliament.
(Wall Street Journal)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Iranian Document: Iran Plans to Expand, Not Suspend, Its Nuclear Program - David Horovitz
A July 3 position paper obtained by The Times of Israel, understood to have been used by Iran's negotiators at last week's talks in Istanbul, makes plain the Tehran regime's unyielding rejection of international efforts to negotiate safeguards and restrictions that would prevent Iran attaining a nuclear weapons capability.
Indeed, the document includes references to Iran's expansion plans.
When discussing the Fordow underground enrichment facility, it states, "Facing constant threats, we need a back-up facility to safeguard our enrichment activities." Later, it refers to the need "for at least 4 other research reactors." (Times of Israel)
- Western Anti-Israel Activists Protest Against PA - Khaled Abu Toameh
At least ten anti-Israel Western activists who came to the West Bank to take part in demonstrations against Israel participated in two anti-PA protests in Ramallah, a senior Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah charged Tuesday.
"The involvement of Western nationals in protests against the Palestinian Authority is completely unacceptable," the official said. "We will be forced to cut off all ties with non-Palestinians who incite against the Palestinian leadership." (Jerusalem Post)
- 66 Percent of Gazans Support Armed Attacks Against Civilians Inside Israel - Khalil Shikaki
A poll conducted in the West Bank and Gaza on 21-23 June 2012 asked:
Do you support armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel? West Bank - Support 30%, Oppose 68%; Gaza - Support 66%, Oppose 32%.
Do you support a return to the armed intifada and confrontations? West Bank - Support 37%, Oppose 61%; Gaza - Support 53%, Oppose 45%.
Can people in the West Bank today criticize the
authority without fear? Yes 29%, No 65%. Can people in Gaza today criticize the
authority without fear? Yes 25%, No 64%.
(Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research)
- Iran and Syria Crises Are Closely Connected - Laura Kam
Iran is the Syrian government's best friend and ally in the Middle East. Last week, a UN Security Council committee published a report that Syria remains the top destination for Iranian arms shipments, which are illegal. Iran has given the Syrian regime more than $1 billion to help it overcome international sanctions.
The U.S. State Department said that Iran's hand was clearly discernible in the killing of hundreds of people, including children, by a Syrian militia group, the Shabiha, which closely resembles an Iranian militia (the Basij) notorious for brutally suppressing peaceful demonstrations by the Iranian people. There have also been numerous reports out of Syria of Farsi-speaking commandos helping to crush anti-government demonstrations. The writer is executive director for global affairs at the Israel Project.
- Will Syria Remain a Unified State? - Harold Rhode
The war in Syria has descended into a sectarian war, primarily between the ruling Alawite minority and the Arab Sunni majority.
Is Assad trying to create an Alawite homeland in the traditional Alawite area along the Syrian coast between Lebanon and Turkey?
One of the places that the Assad regime has been most violent is against Sunnis living in the traditional Alawite homeland.
Assad understands that the trend in the Middle East is towards Islamic Sunni fundamentalism and that, in the long run, it cannot stand up to these forces.
In the early 1940s, Suleyman Assad, the grandfather of Syria's present leader, Bashar Assad, and other Alawite leaders wrote to the French government which ruled Syria until 1946, asking the French to let the Alawites have their own state in their homeland along the coast. The Alawite leaders claimed that the Sunnis had never treated the non-Sunnis fairly, and cited as evidence the way the Sunnis were treating the Jews in British-Mandated Palestine. (Gatestone Institute)
See also An Alawite State in Syria? - Franck Salameh (National Interest)
- Fabricating Palestinian History - Shaul Bartal
The tactic of denying a Jewish past to sites and holy places in the Land of Israel is of relatively recent vintage. Both in 1925 and again in 1950, Palestine's Supreme Muslim Council recognized the Temple Mount as a holy site for Jews in its A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif:
"Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the Lord.'"
The Western Wall, the place at which Jews have prayed for millennia, has been renamed by Muslims the Wall of al-Buraq after the tethering place of the horse on which the prophet Muhammad rode in his night flight to "the farthest mosque." The Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520-66) reaffirmed Jewish rights to worship at the wall, and three centuries later, the Muslim ruler Ibrahim Pasha (son of Egypt's viceroy Muhammad Ali) issued a decree regarding the site that allowed Jews "to pay visits to it as of old." The writer is a lecturer on Palestinian affairs at Bar-Ilan University.
(Middle East Quarterly)
The Negotiation Delusion: Iran Talks Fail Again - John Bolton (Weekly Standard)
- The latest negotiation charade between Iran and the P5+1 is the culmination of 10 years of innumerable diplomatic endeavors. These efforts rested on the erroneous premise that Iran could be talked out of its decades-long effort to build deliverable nuclear weapons.
- Sanctions neither restrain Iran's nuclear program nor effectively advance the goal of replacing the mullahs with a regime that would truly forswear nuclear weapons.
- What would a negotiated deal look like? Our goal is to deny Iran nuclear weapons; Tehran manifestly wants the opposite. What is the compromise? Iran gets to keep a small nuclear weapons program?
- Today there simply is no effective, enforceable sanctions regime that will compel Iran to abandon its nuclear aspirations. The piecemeal deployment of antinuclear tactics has simply provided Iran space to adjust and deploy countermeasures.
- We are told the latest round of oil and financial sanctions is different, but already analysts see them failing, because of extensive Obama administration waivers, lax EU enforcement, and massive fraud, deception, and misinformation by Iran.
- Iran took advantage of the oil price runup starting in the early 2000s to accumulate huge foreign currency reserves. It has designed and deployed worldwide money-laundering capabilities, creative but entirely false statistics, and oil-smuggling techniques that would make drug cartels envious.
The writer, U.S. ambassador to the UN during 2005-06, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
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