UN Agency Has New Intelligence Iran Worked on Nuclear Arms (AP-Washington Post)
Diplomats say the UN atomic agency has new intelligence that within the past three years Iran has advanced its work on calculating the destructive power of a nuclear warhead, a step toward building such a weapon.
Egypt Intelligence Warns of Terror Plot against U.S., Israeli Embassies - Roi Kais (Ynet News)
Egyptian intelligence is warning of Global Jihad terrorists' intention to carry out terror attacks against the Israeli and U.S. embassies in Cairo, Egypt's al-Masry al-Youm reported Tuesday.
Israel and Russia Join Forces over Gas - Lawrence Solomon (Financial Post-Canada)
According to media reports, the Israeli government has agreed to give the Russians a stake in its new Mediterranean natural gas finds.
Over the last half-century, Russia and Russian arms have been a mainstay of Arab nations and Muslim terrorists that sought Israel's destruction.
Israel's gas fields will benefit in part from a Russian shield - belligerents who have been menacing Israel's drilling rigs and other energy infrastructure will now think twice before an attack that could draw Russia's ire.
See also Israel's Leviathan Gas Group Gets Offers for Share of Field (Reuters)
The U.S.-Israeli exploration group developing the Leviathan natural gas field off Israel's shore said on Sunday it is considering offers to sell up to 30% of the rights to the field.
The group received offers from "leading international companies that work in the field of natural gas exploration and production," Avner Oil Exploration, one of the partners, said in a letter to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The group has said in recent months it is looking to bring in other stakeholders and raise cash to help develop the project, which is expected to begin production in 2017.
Israeli Expert: Iran Already a Nuclear Power, But Can't Deliver a Bomb - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
Professor Uzi Even, one of the founders of Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona, said in an interview that he had no doubt about Iran's intention to create a nuclear arsenal.
Even believes Iran has already, covertly, created the 20-25 kg. of highly enriched uranium necessary to conduct a successful underground test. In other words, he believes Iran is already a nuclear power.
The final stage of enrichment, to weapons-grade fuel, can be done in a small space, far from the public eye. "The critical stage can be done underground, in something the size of a storage room, and no one would know," he said. Even believes Iran has done precisely this already.
But Iran must still reduce the weight of any uranium-based nuclear explosive device
to produce a warhead that fits in a ballistic missile, and to do so requires sophistication that Iran does not have, he said.
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- Netanyahu: "Those Who Refuse to Put Red Lines before Iran Don't Have a Moral Right to Place a Red Light before Israel"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that if world powers refused to set a red line for Tehran's nuclear program, they could not demand that Israel hold its fire.
"The world tells Israel 'wait, there's still time.' And I say, 'Wait for what? Wait until when?' Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don't have a moral right to place a red light before Israel," he said.
"Now if Iran knows that there is no red line, if Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it's doing. It's continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs." (Reuters)
- U.S.: Not Useful to Set Deadlines or Redlines for Iran
State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Monday: "The President has said, again and again, unequivocally, that we will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. There shouldn't be any doubt about that.
With regard to our conversations with the Israelis and our unwavering commitment to their security...we're continuing to talk to them constantly, including about Iran."
"We are absolutely firm about the President's commitment here, but it is not useful to be parsing it, to be setting deadlines one way or the other, redlines. It is most important that we stay intensely focused on the pressure on Iran, the opportunity for Iran to fix this situation through the diplomacy that we've offered, and intensive consultations with Israel and all the other regional states." (State Department)
See also U.S. Rejects Israeli Calls for Tougher Iran Moves - Jay Solomon (Wall Street Journal)
- U.S. Seeks to Head Off New Palestinian UN Status Bid
The U.S. is trying to dissuade Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from seeking non-member status at the UN later this month.
"We continue to make clear that we believe that the only realistic path for the Palestinians to achieve statehood is through direct negotiations," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. (AFP)
- Jihadists Join Aleppo Fight, Eye Islamic State in Syria - John Irish
Foreign Islamists intent on turning Syria into an autocratic theocracy have swollen the ranks of rebels fighting to topple President Assad and think they are waging a "holy war," a French surgeon who treated fighters in Aleppo has said.
Jacques Beres, co-founder of medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, returned from Syria on Friday after two weeks working clandestinely in a hospital in the besieged city.
In an interview in Paris on Saturday, he said that contrary to his previous visits to Homs and Idlib earlier this year, about 60% of those he treated this time were rebel fighters and that at least half of them had been non-Syrian.
"They are directly saying that they aren't interested in Bashar al-Assad's fall, but are thinking about how to take power afterwards and set up an Islamic state with sharia law to become part of the world Caliphate," he said.
The foreign jihadists included young Frenchmen who said they were inspired by Mohammed Merah, an Islamist militant from Toulouse who killed seven people in March, including a rabbi and three Jewish children, in the name of al-Qaeda.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Palestinians in West Bank Economic Protests, 50 Injured - Khaled Abu Toameh
At least 50 people were injured when protests against the high cost of living in the West Bank turned violent as demonstrators clashed with Palestinian Authority security personnel. Protesters blocked roads, burned tires and threw stones at PA policemen and institutions in the worst violence since the establishment of the PA in 1994.
Hebron governor Kamel Hmeid said security forces were forced to intervene after some of the attackers had threatened to kill municipal workers and set the municipality on fire. Later, hundreds of protesters attacked a police station in the center of Hebron. Protests also took place in Ramallah, Jenin, Tulkarm, Bethlehem, Jericho and Nablus.
- Israeli Security Official Killed Trying to Stop Illegal Palestinians - Efrat Forsher
Lior Farhi, 40, the security coordinator for the community of Sha'arei Tikva, was killed Sunday as he tried to stop a car carrying illegal Palestinians into Israeli territory through a breach in the security barrier. A friend of Farhi's who documented the incident on film said the driver sped up and hit Farhi on purpose.
- Israel Seeks Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries - Yori Yalon
Israel is determined to seek justice for Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the international Justice for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries conference in Jerusalem on Sunday. The conference is being hosted by the World Jewish Congress, Israel's Foreign Ministry and the Ministry for Senior Citizens.
"The Arab world has neglected Palestinian refugees and has used them as a tool to defame Israel, while Israel, which was then a small country, was able to absorb Jewish refugees from Arab countries and turn them into productive citizens," Netanyahu said.
See also The Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands:
Toward Redressing Injustices on All Sides - Aharon Mor and Orly R. Rahimiyan
There were nearly twice as many Jewish refugees as Palestinian refugees, and the value of the Jewish property confiscated by Arab governments during their expulsion is estimated to be at least 50% higher than the assets lost by Palestinian refugees.
The rights of these Jewish refugees (and their descendants) should be recognized and addressed by appropriate measures such as an international fund, as part of any comprehensive negotiations to resolve the overall issue of refugees. Such a solution would create a connection between the Jewish and Palestinian refugee problems. Aharon Mor is Senior Director for Restitution of Rights and Jewish Property, Israel Ministry for Senior Citizens, where Orly Rahimiyan is Counselor.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Sen. Lieberman: Obama Should Define How to Stop Iran - Hilary Leila Krieger
U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) encouraged President Obama on Monday to clearly define America's red lines on Iran's nuclear program.
Lieberman told the Jerusalem Post that "the more the president can define what it means to support a policy of preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the more he will raise the confidence level of the government of Israel that it doesn't have to be forced to take action unilaterally."
He said a unilateral Israeli military strike is "not the best way" to deal with the Iranian threat. "It ought to be led by the United States of America, which has the most significant military capabilities to carry this off and can do it in a way that will not have adverse political consequences for anybody, particularly Israel, in the Middle East." (Jerusalem Post)
- The Oil Price Reaction to an Iranian Strike - Javier Blas
Conventional wisdom says that an Israeli - or American - attack on Iran's nuclear facilities will trigger an extraordinary oil price rally. But what if oil prices fail to rally or actually plunge?
Colin Fenton, who heads commodities research at JPMorgan, has just released a note to clients warning:
"If an attack occurred, we would not be surprised if the initial impulse were a smaller-than-expected and briefer-than-expected oil price spike followed by a stronger-than-expected oil price decline."
He explained that first, Western countries could order a massive release of their strategic oil reserves even if there is no supply disruption; and second, the attack could damage global confidence, weakening economic growth and, thus, oil demand.
The biggest one-day drop in oil prices occurred on January 17, 1991, as U.S. bombers started dropping ordnance over Saddam Hussein's troops in Iraq and Kuwait, and the International Energy Agency ordered the release of the strategic reserves that day. Immediately after the 9/11 attack, oil prices surged nearly 5%, but three months later oil prices were 25% lower.
Analyzing the Impact of Preventive
Strikes Against Iran's Nuclear
Facilities - Anthony H. Cordesman and Abdullah Toukan (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
This report addresses how the U.S. could take the lead in carrying out
a preventive military strike against Iran If all peaceful options have been exhausted and Iran has left no
other means to convince it to stop or change its course in pursuing nuclear weapons.
- It also examines
how the U.S. could provide a defense umbrella against any Iranian air and missile retaliation that would be
aimed at U.S. military targets and allies in the region, in particular the GCC states.
- The study shows that the initial strike should be against key Iranian nuclear enrichment and research
facilities, ballistic missile bases located around the country, numerous mobile ballistic missile launchers
dispersed around Iran and main ballistic missile production facilities.
- At the same time, it shows that the
payloads required to hit underground enrichment facilities with a high level of damage, to carry out the
scale of initial and follow-up attacks, and providing resources such as near real time intelligence required
to detect and destroy other potentially lethal Iranian military weapons, for instance ballistic missiles that
could be used in a retaliation, can only be carried out by the U.S.
- The U.S. would be the only country that has the
air power, support capability, and mix of sea-air forces in the Gulf to continue a sustained campaign over
a period of time and restrike if after an initial battle damage assessment it is found that further strike
sorties are required.
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