The Final Conversation between Morsi and Egyptian Military - Raymond Ibrahim (FrontPage Mag)
On July 5, Egypt's El Watan published the final dialogue between Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Muhammad Morsi, which took place on July 2, a few hours before Morsi's final speech to the Egyptian people.
Morsi: What if I don't want to leave?
Sisi: The matter is settled and no longer up to you. Try to leave with your dignity and tell those whom you call supporters to go back to their homes in order to prevent bloodshed.
Morsi: Don't think the Brotherhood is going to stand by if I leave office. They will set the world on fire.
Sisi: Just let them try something and you'll see the reaction of the army.
Morsi: Okay, if that's the case, I'll make it war, and we'll see who will prevail in the end.
Report: Advanced Anti-Ship Missiles in Syria Targeted (Reuters-Ha'aretz)
Qassem Saadeddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, said a strike by foreign forces on Friday hit a Syrian navy barracks at Safira, near Latakia, where newly supplied advanced Russian Yakhont anti-ship missiles were being stored.
A former senior Israeli security official said the area was known to have been used to store Yakhont missiles.
See also Israel Denies Involvement in Latakia Blast - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon responded to accusations that Israel attacked Syrian military arsenals in Latakia on Friday, and stressed that it was not Israel's doing.
Ron Dermer Appointed as Israeli Ambassador to U.S. - Attila Somfalvi (Ynet News)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Ron Dermer as Israel's Ambassador to Washington, replacing outgoing Ambassador Michael Oren.
Dermer, 42, a chief advisor to Netanyahu, served in the past as an economic attache to the embassy. He is the co-author, with Natan Sharansky, of the best-seller The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror.
IDF Finds Remains of Rocket Fired from Egypt at Eilat (Reuters-Ha'aretz)
Israeli troops on Tuesday found the remains of a rocket fired from Egypt at Eilat last Thursday in the hills north of the city.
A Salafist Islamist group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes, claimed responsibility.
Fragment of Ancient Egyptian Sphinx Discovered in Northern Israel - Eli Ashkenazi (Ha'aretz)
Hebrew University researchers announced Tuesday the discovery of a fragment of a sphinx at Tel Hazor in northern Israel with an inscription mentioning the Egyptian King Mycerinus, who ruled Egypt about 3,400 years ago and was one of the builders of the Giza Pyramids.
According to Dr. Daphna Ben-Tor, curator of Egyptian culture at the Israel Museum, "Nowhere else in the Levant has a royal, monumental Egyptian statue of this size been found. It is also the only surviving sphinx of King Mycerinus - none have been found even in Egypt."
The fragment of the front feet of the sphinx, made of granite, is 30 to 40 cm. high, and weighs about 40 kg.
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- Egypt Names New Prime Minister, Sets Timetable for Elections - Abigail Hauslohner and Michael Birnbaum
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour on Tuesday named former finance minister Hazem el-Beblawi as the country's new prime minister, the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported. Mohamed ElBaradei was appointed vice president in charge of foreign affairs.
Mansour on Monday called for a referendum on a revised constitution within 4 1/2 months, parliamentary elections within six months and presidential elections after that. Muslim Brotherhood officials dismissed the new political appointments Tuesday as the illegitimate actions of an unelected leader.
See also Saudi Arabia, UAE Announce $8 Billion in Aid for Egypt - Shashank Bengali and Paul Richter
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced a total of $8 billion in economic aid to help shore up Egypt's military-backed interim leaders. Saudi Arabia's $5-billion pledge and the Emirates' $3 billion will provide Egypt a much-needed economic lifeline.
(Los Angeles Times)
- Egypt's Islamists Settle In for a Long Fight - Evan Hill
Supporters of overthrown President Mohamed Morsi have settled in for a long fight. By the tens of thousands, if not more, they packed the square and streets around Cairo's Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque on Tuesday night and vowed not to leave until Morsi is reinstated.
The Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in has waxed and waned since it began more than a week ago, but on Tuesday the demonstration grew huge and festive, taking on the atmosphere of an Islamist Tahrir Square. A swarm of vendors sold Egyptian flags, religious trinkets, black banners bearing the Islamic testament of faith, and a seemingly endless number of Morsi posters. A crowd surrounded a group of men who danced in a circle, singing "Egypt is Islamic."
Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who had been elevated by Morsi shortly after he took office - and helped orchestrate the popular coup that ended his presidency - is now seen as the enemy, a traitor.
Outside the sit-in, many citizens, political elites, and privately owned media have already begun to move on. They're characterizing Morsi's supporters as "extremists." The two worldviews seem cleanly separated, the lack of overlap a dismal sign for reconciliation, even as the military-backed interim government begins to lay a roadmap for elections which it says the Brotherhood can join.
- Argentina Prevents Iranian Terrorism Investigator from Testifying in Washington - Guy Taylor
Argentina refused to let Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, testify in Washington on Tuesday
about Iranian ties to terrorism in the Western Hemisphere.
Nisman made international headlines in May when he issued a 500-page report claiming that Iran has spent the past three decades growing terrorist networks throughout Latin America, infiltrating several nations in the region with the goal of executing future attacks.
Nisman's recent report "underscored a critical issue to U.S. homeland security, showing that Iran was 'the main sponsor' of an attempted attack in June 2007 on American soil to blow up JFK airport in Queens, New York," U.S. lawmakers said Monday as they protested the decision to deny authorization for Nisman to testify before Congress.
Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Nisman's probe of the Buenos Aires bombing has shown "the Iranian presence in the Western Hemisphere is greater than we imagined."
"Iranian infiltration within countries in our region presents a clear and present danger to our homeland, as do attempts to silence or downplay this threat," he said.
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- Islamists Attack Egyptian Security Forces in Sinai, Kill Two
Two were killed and six wounded when Islamists attacked an Egyptian security forces checkpoint on Tuesday using rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns at Sadr El-Heytan in northern Sinai. Two additional attacks were reported, including one in Rafah.
See also Egypt Closes Border with Gaza to Prevent Hamas from Joining Pro-Morsi Struggle - Amira Hass
Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border until further notice on Friday amid insecurity in the Sinai Peninsula, and out of fear that Hamas activists would join in the struggle on the side of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
See also Report: Sinai Terrorists Target Arab-Israelis - Roi Kais
Terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula are planning to target Israelis, including Arab-Israelis, as part of a larger plan to cause damage to the Sinai tourism industry and Egypt's economy in general. Al-Sharq Al-Awasat quotes an "Israeli defense source" who speaks of a number of armed terror cells affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and even Hamas.
"They have come out of hiding to carry out terrorist attacks in an attempt to create anarchy in the Sinai Peninsula, to undermine the Egyptian army and avenge Morsi's ouster," he said.
The Egyptian Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted a defense source saying that the terrorists are planning to lay explosives near defense facilities and tourist centers in Sinai and fire missiles at those targets.
- Palestinians in West Bank Planning New Wave of Anti-Israel Activity
Statements made recently by prominent figures in the West Bank's popular committees against Israel's security fence and settlements reflect their intention for a new wave of defiant anti-Israel activities. Salah al-Khawaja, a senior activist in the popular committees, told official Palestinian Authority radio on July 3, 2013, that the objective was to initiate direct confrontations with Israeli security forces as a way to escalate the popular resistance.
In our assessment, these and similar remarks reflect the feeling among Palestinian activists that the weekly demonstrations and riots against the security fence have become routine and do not attract attention (and cannot compete with the dramatic events unfolding in Egypt). Therefore, they feel a need to breathe new life into the popular resistance.
(Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
- Egypt's Chaos and Its Implications for Israel - Ehud Yaari
The security situation in Sinai is grave and perceived by the top echelon of the Egyptian military to be very dangerous. There are different militias of Salafi Jihadists, Bedouins and volunteers from abroad that are attacking, at will, Egyptian military and security positions in Sinai. We are witnessing a state of semi-open rebellion by many tribes in Sinai, led by Salafi militias who have declared the establishment of a "war council" to fight the Egyptian military.
The military is especially worried about the possibility of anti-tank missiles being used against ships in the Suez Canal, and they have taken unprecedented precautions around the canal and oil installations in the city of Suez at the southern end of the canal, following an attempt to fire a Grad missile in the area. The Egyptian army is showing the flag by manning roadblocks and defending sensitive government installations, but this is still mostly talk, and there is no concerted effort to tackle the jihadist militias. The writer, a veteran Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel 2 News, is an international fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
- Creating an Atmosphere Conducive to Real Negotiations - Alan Baker
Clearly, the present atmosphere between Israel and the Palestinians cannot really be seen to be encouraging for any genuine negotiation.
With Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas repeatedly trying to undermine Israel's Jewish heritage in the area, running to the UN and attempting to bypass negotiations, as well as threatening prosecution against Israel's leaders, one might assume, correctly, that he simply does not really want to engage Israeli negotiators in any genuine negotiation.
Clearly, prior to any possible return to a negotiating mode, a number of key principles, in the form of a code of conduct or negotiating rules, need to be accepted. Without such a code of conduct, it will be impossible to establish even a minimum of mutual trust in order to conduct genuine negotiations.
The leaders and negotiators of both sides should undertake to cease all public statements relating to the content and progress of the negotiations, including derogatory comments and criticism of the other side.
During the negotiating process, neither side should initiate any action or sanction in any international body aimed at undermining the issues under negotiation. Furthermore, each party should avoid actions or decisions that might prejudge the outcome of the negotiations. Both sides should refrain from demanding preconditions for entry into, or continuing, the negotiations and should seek to ensure ongoing public support for the negotiations. The writer, former legal adviser to Israel's Foreign Ministry and ambassador to Canada, is director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Fatah Condemns Palestinians Who Met with Israelis in Ramallah - Khaled Abu Toameh
Fatah and other Palestinian factions on Tuesday condemned a meeting that took place in Ramallah earlier this week between PLO representatives, including Yasser Abed Rabbo and Nabil Sha'ath, and Israeli politicians. The meeting took place in spite of an ongoing campaign by Palestinians to combat any form of "normalization" with Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
A Dangerous New Phase in Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program - Joseph Lieberman (Wall Street Journal)
- The struggle by America and its allies to stop the Iranian nuclear project is entering a critical new phase.
The victory by Hasan Rouhani - reputedly the most moderate of the approved presidential candidates - may lead the Iranian regime to shift its international behavior, but rather than abandon its goal of a nuclear-weapons capability, Tehran may instead simply adopt a shrewder, more effective approach.
- The risk with Rouhani, who takes office next month, is that the Iranians will adopt a smarter strategy that accepts tactical compromises at the negotiating table, but only to buy the time and space necessary to push ahead with the most important elements of their nuclear program.
- This is precisely what Rouhani himself boasted in a 2004 speech that he had done as Iran's nuclear negotiator: suspending enrichment as a sop to the international community, even as Iran moved forward on other fronts. Such a strategy is even more dangerous today because the Iranians are so much closer to the nuclear finish line.
- According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran is rapidly installing hundreds of next-generation centrifuges that, within a year or sooner, will give the regime the capacity to produce enough weapons-grade uranium in just a few weeks to produce a nuclear weapon.
- Iran is also making progress on a plutonium reactor that could be operational as early as next year and provide the regime with an alternative path to the bomb.
- The U.S. and its allies should refuse to offer any sanctions relief unless Iran immediately stops all activities that could lead to a nuclear-weapons breakout. This means, at minimum, a freeze on the installation of next-generation centrifuges, suspension of 20% enrichment and an end to work on the plutonium reactor.
The writer is a former four-term U.S. senator from Connecticut.
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