Egypt Uncovers Terror Plot Against Sinai Tourists (UPI)
Egyptian security officials arrested five armed terrorists who had planned to attack tourist resorts in Sharm el-Sheik and Dahab in Sinai, the London newspaper al-Hayat on Tuesday quoted Egyptian officials as saying.
The five were arrested inside a tent and were armed with explosives, ammunition, grenades, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons.
The officials described the five as "jihadist elements" and said one was a former officer in the Egyptian army.
China: Chinese Muslims Battling Syrian Government Forces - Christopher Bodeen (AP)
Chinese Muslim separatists from the northwest region of Xinjiang are battling Syrian government forces alongside al-Qaeda, the official Chinese newspaper Global Times reported Monday.
Radicals among China's ethnic Turkic Uighur minority have been traveling to Syria since May to join the fighting.
The report singled out two groups as funneling fighters to Syria: the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and the East Turkestan Education and Solidarity Association based in Turkey.
Egyptian Child Preacher Prays for the Destruction of Israel (MEMRI)
Egyptian child preacher Ibrahim Adham said on Al-Rahma TV on October 19, 2012:
"Oh Islamic nation, oh all Muslims, by virtue of 'there is no god but Allah' in the hearts of all monotheists, martyrdom on the path of Allah is a religious duty incumbent on you, oh believers. It is your path for salvation in the eyes of the Lord. Pray: 'Oh Allah, destroy Israel.'"
UNRWA Teachers Refuse to Teach Holocaust Studies - Adam Nicky (Media Line)
Earlier this month, officials in UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said Holocaust studies would be part of the school syllabus given to students in elementary classes.
But the idea has met with fierce criticism from teachers.
"It's impossible that I would teach my students about the so-called Holocaust. UNRWA is planning to impose this on us, but we refuse to teach the history of our eternal enemies," insisted Riyadh, 37, a teacher in Amman, Jordan.
UNRWA runs nearly 700 schools for nearly half a million students in Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.
An official source in the Jordanian Education Ministry said the Jordanian government, which has made peace with Israel, is also contemplating incorporating the Holocaust in its history books.
He admitted, however, that the political atmosphere in the region, including the Arab Spring, has discouraged plans to implement the project.
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- Netanyahu Wants France to Push for Tougher Iran Sanctions
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is visiting France on Wednesday and Thursday, says he will urge French leaders to help strengthen sanctions against Iran and efforts to fight terrorism.
In an interview with Paris Match, he said he wants to talk to French President Francois Hollande about "concrete ways to intensify sanctions against Iran. We also need to work together to fight terrorism." (AP-Washington Post)
See also Netanyahu: Strike on Iran Would Be Welcomed by Arabs - Herb Keinon
A military strike on Iran and neutralizing its nuclear threat would benefit the Arab states in the Middle East and ease tension throughout the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview published Tuesday in the French magazine Paris Match.
"Five minutes after [an attack], contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region," said Netanyahu.
"Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear-armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel."
Netanyahu underlined that although he is perceived as a "hawk," Israel has not gone to war once during the seven years over two terms that he has served in office. "Your enemies keep away when they know that you won't hesitate one minute to defend yourself," he said.
See also below Observations: Israel's Barak Says Iran Has Pulled Back from the Brink of Nuclear Weapon - For Now - David Blair (Telegraph-UK)
- Syrian Air Force General Killed by Rebels
Senior Syrian air force general Abdullah Mahmoud al-Khalidi was shot dead on Monday by rebels in central Damascus, state television reported.
One of Syria's foremost experts in aviation, he was a member of the Syrian Air Force command.
- Syria Rebels Clash with Pro-Regime Palestinians
Fierce clashes broke out Tuesday in the Al-Hajar Al-Aswad district between rebels and the army, spreading into the adjacent Yarmuk Palestinian camp. "The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command joined on the side of the army," the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP.
- U.S. Works to Launch New Syrian Opposition Council - Josh Rogin
Syrian opposition leaders of all stripes will convene in Qatar next week to form a new leadership body to subsume the opposition Syrian National Council, which is widely viewed as ineffective, consumed by infighting, and little respected on the ground. The State Department has been heavily involved in crafting the new council as part of its effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and build a more viable and unified opposition. Over the last several months, according to U.S. officials and Syrian opposition figures, the State Department has worked to broaden its contacts inside the country, meeting with military commanders and representatives of local governance councils in a bid to bypass the fractious SNC.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Egypt Court: Only President Can Annul Peace Treaty with Israel
A Cairo administrative court on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit calling for the abrogation of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, saying the issue constituted a "matter of sovereignty" that could only be decided by the president. Last month, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said Egypt's peace treaty with Israel did not require modification at the present time. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
- Egypt Military Dismisses Rumors of Israeli F-35 Overflights
The Egyptian military on Tuesday denied online reports that Israeli F-35 military planes on Monday had trespassed on Egyptian airspace as "lies and disinformation." It said the aircraft that had broken the sound barrier over Cairo belonged to the Egyptian Air Force and had been testing the country's air-defense systems. Egypt noted that the advanced F-35s were not even in use yet by the U.S. Air Force, and would not be available to Israel's air force before 2016. (Al-Ahram-Egypt)
- Bernard-Henri Levy: Jews of Diaspora and Israel Are Under Attack - Jeremy Sharon
Prominent French-Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy told the Jewish People Policy Institute on Tuesday that Jews in Israel and around the world are under attack from the twin threats of anti-Semitism in the guise of anti-Zionism, and total war against the State of Israel.
"The challenge we have to face is the new shape of old anti-Semitism, a new system of legitimacy to express anti-Semitism that revolves around hatred of Israel and anti-Zionism." Hatred of Israel, denial or partial denial of the Holocaust, and the identification of Palestinians as the only legitimate victims, he explained, form the basis of the anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic onslaught.
In addition, he said, "when you listen to Hamas, to Hassan Nasrallah, to the men in power in Tehran including the so-called moderates such as Rafsanjani, the words they speak have to be considered as a plan for a form of total war." (Jerusalem Post)
- Palestinian Elections: Which Fatah Won? - Khaled Abu Toameh
The Oct. 20 local elections in the West Bank were anything but a victory for Fatah. Boycotted by Hamas, this was an election where Abbas' Fatah leadership mainly competed with Fatah candidates who decided to run on an independent ticket.
In the end, the Fatah "rebels" scored major victories in important cities, such as Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah, as well as many villages.
For decades, Abbas and his veteran loyalists in Fatah have blocked the emergence of fresh and younger leaders - something that has seriously affected Fatah's credibility. Even in places where Abbas' candidates won, the vote was on the basis of clan affiliation. Perhaps most worrying for Abbas is the fact that a large number of his policemen and security officers voted for the dissident Fatah candidates who ran against the PA's nominees.
In the wake of the local elections, it has become obvious that Abbas does not have a mandate to embark on any significant political move, such as applying for membership for a Palestinian state in the UN.
- Al-Qaeda's Gift to Jordan's King Abdullah - Jillian Schwedler
The foiled al-Qaeda plan to attack multiple sites in Jordan was a gift to Jordan's King Abdullah.
With increasing dissent among the regime's loyal opposition as well as its traditional support base, the arrest of the al-Qaeda plotters inside Jordan provided a welcome diversion. It refocused attention on domestic security and away from the unpopular presence of U.S. troops in the kingdom and widespread demands for real political reform.
Tribal sheikhs have complained bitterly of being ignored and of having their loyalty taken for granted. But as angry as tribal elements are at the regime, they fear even more the empowerment of the majority Palestinian population. The writer is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Israel's Barak Says Iran Has Pulled Back from the Brink of Nuclear Weapon - For Now - David Blair (Telegraph-UK)
See also Iran Steps Back - Editorial (Telegraph-UK)
Iran has drawn back from its ambition to build a nuclear weapon but the respite is only temporary and Tehran will still have to be confronted by next summer, Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, said on Tuesday.
- A crisis was avoided in the summer when Iran quietly chose to use over a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes, delaying the moment when it could have built a nuclear bomb, Barak told the Daily Telegraph.
- Iran delayed the "moment of truth" by "eight to 10 months," but Barak predicted that sanctions and diplomacy would still fail to resolve the stand-off. If so, he said that Israel and its allies would probably face the decision over whether to strike Iran's nuclear facilities in 2013.
- He noted that during the past five years Tehran's stockpile of enriched uranium had grown from 850 kg. to 6.8 tons.
- Israel reserved the right to act alone, added Barak, who stated that any "operation against Iran" would be less dangerous "now" than when the country had crossed the nuclear threshold.
- In his interview, Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister, argues that Iran's decision to consign a proportion of its enriched uranium stockpile to civilian use has averted a crisis. But that is only half the story. Iran still possesses significant quantities of enriched uranium, which could be used for a nuclear weapons program.
- The ayatollahs may have decided to give themselves some breathing space by playing along with the IAEA's demands, with the aim of returning to their nuclear weapons program once the international pressure has eased.
- But that would be a grave miscalculation. The stand-off between Iran and the Western powers is unlikely to be resolved so long as Tehran fails to provide satisfactory guarantees that its remaining stockpiles of enriched uranium are for peaceful purposes, and not for making atomic bombs.
- Barak believes that Israel now has the military capability to launch unilateral air strikes against Iran - and the Jewish state will not hesitate to use them while its existence remains under threat. (Telegraph-UK)
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