IRGC Commander: Iran Could Launch Pre-emptive Israel Strike (Reuters)
Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure the Jewish state was preparing to attack it, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, told Iran's state-run Arabic language Al-Alam television on Sunday.
"We cannot imagine the Zionist regime starting a war without America's support. Therefore, in case of a war, we will get into a war with both of them and we will certainly get into a conflict with American bases," he said.
Hamas Declares Gaza Is Not Occupied (Ma'an News-PA)
Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar told Ma'an News Agency on Friday that seven years after the Israeli disengagement, "Gaza is free of occupation, and contiguity with the outside world is easier as visitors from all over the world visited the coastal enclave."
The Hamas official boasted that economic conditions in Gaza are much better than in the West Bank; "people in Gaza receive full salaries."
Spy Device Disguised as Rock Blown Up near Iran Nuclear Site (Al Arabiya)
A spy device camouflaged as a rock near Iran's Fordo underground nuclear enrichment plant exploded last month when Revolutionary Guards attempted to move it, the Sunday Times reported this week.
Experts who analyzed remnants of the device found it had been able to intercept data from computers at the nuclear plant.
See also Iran Accuses Siemens of Sabotaging Nuclear Program (Fars-Iran)
The German company Siemens intended to sabotage Iran's nuclear program by selling booby-trapped equipment to Tehran, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, revealed Saturday.
Iranian security experts discovered small explosives embedded in equipment Tehran bought from Siemens for its nuclear program and removed them.
Siemens said its nuclear division has had no business with Iran since 1979.
Egyptian Presidential Aide Finalizing Proposal to Amend Peace Treaty with Israel - Ilan Ben Zion (Times of Israel)
Egyptian presidential adviser Mohammed al-Dawla announced on Saturday that he will submit a proposal for amending the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in the coming days.
Al-Dawla said the proposal will include major changes to the peace treaty's article which governs the "limited force zones in Egyptian and Israeli territory," contending that it limits Egypt's rights to protect Sinai and must be changed.
U.S. to Remove Iranian Group from Terror List - Joby Warrick (Washington Post)
The State Department has decided to remove the Iranian exile group Mujaheddin-e Khalq, which is fiercely opposed to Iran's clerical regime, from the U.S. government's terrorist list, officials said Friday.
The action comes just six days after the dissident group vacated its former enclave in eastern Iraq.
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- Senate Passes Measure Rejecting Containment of a "Nuclear Weapons Capable" Iran
By a vote of 90-1, the U.S. Senate on Saturday approved a resolution that reaffirms U.S. efforts to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and says containment of a nuclear-capable Iran is not an option.
The measure was introduced months ago by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., cast the only "no" vote. (AP-Washington Post)
See also Israel Welcomes Senate Move Against Iran "Nuke Capability" - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
- Obama Discusses Iran and Israel in Interview - Steve Kroft
President Barack Obama said Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes":
Q: "How much pressure have you been getting from Prime Minister Netanyahu to make up your mind to use military force in Iran?"
Obama: "I have conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu all the time. And I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu's insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race."
Q: "You don't feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand?"
Obama: "When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that's out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we're in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply. They're one of our closest allies in the region. And we've got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel's existence." (CBS 60 Minutes)
- Egypt's New Leader Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties - David D. Kirkpatrick and Steven Erlanger
On the eve of his first trip to the U.S. as Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi sought in an interview with the New York Times to introduce himself to the American public and to revise the terms of relations between his country and the U.S. He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world.
If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the U.S. must respect the Arab world's history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values.
He suggested that Egypt would not be hostile to the West, but would not be as compliant as Mr. Mubarak. He initially sought to meet with President Obama at the White House during his visit this week, but he received a cool reception, aides to both presidents said.
(New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israeli Soldier Killed on Egyptian Border - Yaakov Lappin
Terrorists in Sinai opened fire on IDF soldiers on the Israeli-Egyptian border on Friday, killing one soldier and wounding a second, before the gunmen were killed in return fire.
Netanel Yahalomi, 20, was shot as he and his unit were giving water to African migrants who had arrived on the border. A second soldier was wounded when a suicide bomb belt around one of the terrorists went off.
After the incident, IDF sappers recovered a machine gun, three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, Kalashnikovs, grenades, and a second suicide bomb belt. The terrorists were dressed in civilian clothing. IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said, "The IDF stopped a very big terrorist attack." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Co-ed Infantry Battalion Helped Thwart Terror Attack
The co-ed Karakal battalion played a decisive role in the outcome of Friday's firefight on the Egyptian border. When terrorists attacked IDF soldiers near the border, a force belonging to this battalion was led by its sergeant to the scene of the attack, identified the enemy, and confronted the terrorists.
Among the soldiers was a markswoman who rushed forward and struck one of the terrorists. Her actions resulted in the deaths of two of the three terrorists and the explosion of the explosive belt that one of the terrorists was wearing. (Israel Defense Forces)
- 30,000 Arab-Israelis Rally Against Anti-Islam Film and the West - Eli Leon and Daniel Siryoti
Some 30,000 supporters of the Islamic Movement in Israel participated Friday in a rally titled, "The Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger," in the town of Umm el-Fahm. Speakers at the rally condemned an amateur film on the Internet that was deemed offensive to Islam. MK Talab el-Sana (Ra'am-Ta'al) said: "The United States has brought only evil, such as the murder of the Indians, abduction of Africans to make them slaves and using atomic weapons against citizens of Japan. It isn't surprising that this insult to the prophet and Islam comes from the U.S. of all places."
Muhammad Zidan, a member of the Arab-Israeli Higher Monitoring Committee, said: "These are despicable people who must be punished. Islam is spreading throughout the world, and in the end the victory will be ours." (Israel Hayom)
See also The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Ahmadinejad Wants Iran to Maintain Persian Gulf Security - David Ignatius
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in an interview on Sunday called "for forces that are from outside the region to leave the Persian Gulf area....For thousands of years the Iranians maintained the security of the Persian Gulf."
"We did shut down all of the nuclear installations once. But not only the wishes and limitations [of the U.S.] did not decrease, but they were multiplied," he added. (Washington Post)
See also An Unfazed Ahmadinejad - David Ignatius
In this third interview I've had with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I had the sense that he genuinely believes the world is going Iran's way. He sees an America that is facing reversals across the Muslim world - in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and most recently, in dealing with the Arab uprisings. Close U.S. allies such as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak are gone, and Ahmadinejad is still standing. (Washington Post)
- Israel: Peace Requires Just Resolution of Jewish Refugee Problem - Chemi Shalev
Speaking at a conference on Friday at UN headquarters in New York, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, "We will not arrive at peace without solving the refugee problem - but that includes the Jewish refugees. Justice does not lie on just one side and equal measures must be applied to both." The conference heard eyewitness accounts by Jews whose families had been persecuted and expelled from Arab countries. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said, "the total area of land confiscated from Jews in Arab countries amounts to nearly 40,000 square miles. That is five times the size of Israel."
Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said "the evidence proves" that there was "a coordinated campaign by the Arab League" against their own Jews, who were persecuted and discriminated against in their lands. Professor Alan Dershowitz said that "the situation faced by Jews in Arab countries was much worse than that faced by Palestinians in Israel."
- Egypt's Shiite Minority: Between the Egyptian Hammer and the Iranian Anvil - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
While some 90% of Egyptians are Sunni Muslims, the number of Shia in Egypt has been estimated at up to 2.2 million, including "Twelvers" and Ismailis. The new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammad Morsi, is reported to have said that the Shia are more dangerous to Islam than the Jews, while former Muslim Brotherhood leader and presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh warned during the campaign that Shiism must not be allowed to enter Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood's initial enthusiasm for the Iranian revolution soon soured as it was increasingly perceived as a Persian nationalist and distinctly Shiite revolution. This perception became widespread in Sunni Arab societies after Iran attempted to export its revolution to Gulf Arab states, and after it formed an alliance with the Syrian regime, which was engaged in an open clash with the Brotherhood's Syrian branch.
The writer was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The Satanic Video - Bill Keller (New York Times)
Salman Rushdie's new memoir recounts a decade under a clerical death sentence for the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses. The fatwa was dropped in 1998 and Rushdie is out of hiding, but he is still careful.
- Rushdie will tell you that the stormy Arab Summer is not about religion. When the founding zealot of revolutionary Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued his Rushdie death warrant in 1989, the imam was not defending the faith; he was trying to regenerate enthusiasm for his regime, sapped by eight years of unsuccessful war with Iraq.
- Likewise, Muslim clerics in London saw the fatwa against a British Indian novelist as an opportunity to arouse British Muslims, who until that point were largely unstirred by sectarian politics. "This case was a way for the mosque to assert a kind of primacy over the community. I think something similar is going on now," said Rushdie.
- It's pretty clear that the protests against that inane video were not spontaneous. Anti-secular and anti-American zealots, beginning with a Cairo TV personality whose station is financed by Saudi fundamentalists, seized on the video as a way to mobilize pressure on the start-up governments in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
- Rushdie notes that there are characteristics of Islamic culture that make it tinder for the inciters: an emphasis on honor and shame, and in recent decades a paranoiac sense of the world conspiring against them. "You define yourself by what offends you. You define yourself by what outrages you."
- In his new book, Rushdie recounts being urged by the British authorities who were protecting him to "lower the temperature" by issuing a statement that could be taken for an apology. He does so. It fills him almost immediately with regret, and the attacks on him are unabated. He "had taken the weak position and was therefore treated as a weakling," he writes.
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