Report: Over 60,000 Iranians Fighting Alongside Assad Forces (AKI-Italy)
There are more than 60,000 Iranians fighting alongside forces loyal to Syrian President Assad, opposition leader Ahmad Jarba claimed on Oct. 22.
For this reason Iran should not attend Syrian peace talks dubbed Geneva II scheduled to take place next month, Jarba told Arab and Western foreign ministers in London.
"Assad's regime would already have fallen were it not for the Iranian presence in Syria," Jarba claimed.
Iran's Secret Night Flights to Arm Syria's Assad Revealed - Phil Sands (The National-Abu Dhabi)
Iran provides military support to Syrian President Assad by way of regular clandestine flights between Tehran and Damascus.
"There are private flights every week, sometimes three a week, and they are controlled by an Iranian officer in Damascus," a Syrian official said.
"Everyone must follow this [Iranian] man's orders. We have been told he is the second most important man in Syria and that we are to do as he says without question," said the official.
"We know the flights are being organized by the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guard."
Another Syrian said at least some of the Iranian aircraft had been seen transporting fighters to help regime forces battle rebels.
Iranians to Keep Chanting "Death to America" - Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
Iran will not suspend its uranium enrichment nor will it stop the custom of chanting "death to America" in public gatherings, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the foreign policy and national security committee in the Iranian parliament, told Iran's Arabic-language news channel Al-Alam on Saturday.
The underground enrichment facility at Fordo "is one of Iran's red lines and will certainly not be closed," Boroujerdi added.
NYT: Telling Readers How to Think about Israel (CAMERA)
"Shrill." "Strident." "Stubborn." "Abrasive." "Derisive." "Cynical." These are adjectives used by New York Times journalists this month to describe Israel's prime minister or cabinet ministers.
And that was just in news articles. New York Times editorialists added a few additional descriptors - "aggressive," "combative," "sarcastic," "eager for a fight," and "sabotaging diplomacy."
First Bedouin Tank Commander in IDF - Yaakov Lappin (Jerusalem Post)
Cpl. Mustafa Tabash is the IDF's first Bedouin tank commander.
"My parents were proud of me when I enlisted," Tabash said. He sees his military service as enabling him to better integrate into the wider society.
"When it's hard for the other soldiers, they look at me, who as a Bedouin did not have to enlist, and this helps them and sets an example."
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Former IAEA Official: Iran Could Soon Be Able to Build Nukes in Just Two Weeks - Alana Goodman
Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters on Monday that Iran could soon have the ability to enrich enough missile-grade uranium to build a bomb in just two weeks. Heinonen said the advanced centrifuges that Iran recently began installing will "radically reduce the so-called breakout time." "I believe that if certain arrangements are done, [the breakout time] can even go down to two weeks," said Heinonen. But he estimated that Iran would need around one year to complete the weapons component and delivery system to actually launch an attack. (Washington Free Beacon)
- Most Syrian Chemical Warfare Equipment Destroyed - Joby Warrick
International inspectors have destroyed in four weeks nearly all the equipment used by Syria to prepare munitions for chemical warfare, dramatically reducing the country's ability to launch a large-scale attack, U.S. and European officials said. The organization in charge of the inspections said Monday that its teams had visited all but two of the 23 chemical-weapons sites declared by Syria, in some cases smashing with hammers the machines used to fill chemical warheads with sarin and other lethal toxins. The two remaining sites are located in areas contested by rebel fighters.
See also Syria Had 1,230 Missiles Ready to Be Loaded with Chemical Weapons
UN inspectors revealed on Monday that the Assad regime in Syria admitted to possessing 1,230 missiles ready to be loaded with chemical weapons, according to a report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons obtained by The Times of London.
The UN report also suggests that Syrian rebels may have obtained small amounts of chemical weapons.
(Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Talks with West Buy Iran More Time
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday:
"I just heard Iranian officials say that the most recent round of talks [on Iran's nuclear program] were useful and constructive. Well, I'm sure for Iran it's useful and constructive, because they just gain time in order to continue their enrichment program to create fissile material for nuclear weapons.
I think the talks will be useful and constructive when the pressure on Iran will get them to cease and desist their nuclear program, to stop enrichment, to stop their heavy water plutonium reactor." (Prime Minister's Office)
- Israel's UN Envoy Files Complaint over Gaza Rockets - Yoel Goldman
In response to two rockets fired from Gaza at the Israeli city of Ashkelon on Monday, Israel's UN envoy Ron Prosor lodged a complaint with the Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Instead of committing itself to improving the lives of Palestinians, Hamas proves time and time again that its only commitment is to terrorism," said Prosor.
"While Israel works to advance peace, Hamas responds by firing on Israeli citizens." "While Israel brings trucks with construction materials into Gaza, Hamas uses them to build terror tunnels." (Times of Israel)
See also Hamas to Target Tel Aviv in Next War - Elior Levy
Hamas' military build-up includes amassing M-75 rockets, which have a range of 70 km. and can reach the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Production of these rockets in Gaza is continuing at a fast pace. Hamas also has hundreds of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
- Syrians Capture Israeli Weather Measurement Device, Fearing Espionage - Roi Kais
Syrian opposition websites posted video of an "Israeli espionage device," which in actuality is a device used for atmospheric measurements by the Israel Meteorological Service. Nir Stav, Deputy Director of the Meteorological Service, explained, "We release meteorological balloons twice a day, every day. Every helium balloon is attached to a box, in which there is a thermometer, pressure gauge, and moisture gauge." The Transportation Ministry, which oversees the meteorological service, added, "It is a tool designed for regular weather tests," and other countries perform such testing procedures as well. (Ynet News)
- Sisi Fever: Will the General Be the Next President of Egypt? - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
Gen. Abd el Fattah el-Sisi, the man who led the overthrow of President Morsi on July 3, 2013, may be "called to the flag" as a savior in order to salvage Egypt from its enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood. There is a concentrated effort to picture Sisi as the political heir of the iconic President Gamal Abd el Nasser. Prior to the 43rd memorial ceremony of Nasser's death, there were posters with Sisi's picture adjacent to Nasser's.
While the U.S. administration is questioning his legitimacy and presenting him as the leader of a coup and a usurper of power, this is creating an opening for a possible Russian comeback in Egypt.
By deciding to cut its financial aid to Egypt and postpone the delivery of weapon systems already ordered, the U.S. has overturned the longstanding correlation between financial assistance and Egypt's honoring of the peace treaty with Israel.
Moreover, the $14 billion that Saudi Arabia and the UAE transferred to Egypt immediately after Sisi's takeover, and the $40 billion promised in economic aid, are a reminder that Egypt may not be in need of conditional U.S. financial assistance.
The mood of the Egyptians towards the U.S. is changing from friendship and admiration to open hostility. In fact, the crisis with the U.S. has helped Sisi build up his leadership credentials as a daring Egyptian nationalist who does not retreat before a superpower.
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)
- Peace Demands Palestinians Recognize Israel as "Jewish State" - Zvi Hauser
The territory intended for the Palestinian state was the "formative territory" of the Jewish people, where Jewish civilization took shape, where Jewish peoplehood was cast and where the "Book of Books" was composed and recorded. The historical and cultural relationship between Judea and Samaria and the Jewish people is not the same as the relationship between Algeria and the French or between Gibraltar and the British.
While Israel has been called on to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination and the realization of a Palestinian state, the leaders of Palestinian society refuse to recognize the Jewish people's right to national self-determination. In other words, they refuse to give up Palestinian national rights in the territory of the State of Israel. Thus, the "two-state" vision of Palestinian diplomacy consists of a Palestinian state free of any Jewish presence, alongside a binational, Jewish-Palestinian Israeli state.
The Palestinians recognize the Jewish people as a religion but not as a nation with the right to self-determination. This is the Rubicon that Palestinian leaders must cross, and they must bring their people with them. Only the recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, alongside recognition of a Palestinian national state, can achieve a historic compromise that satisfies the demands of both peoples.
The writer served as Israeli Cabinet secretary from 2009 until 2013.
How to Negotiate with Iran - Dennis Ross, Eric Edelman and Michael Makovsky (Los Angeles Times)
- The most pressing national security threat facing the U.S. remains preventing a nuclear-capable Iran. The U.S. should only pursue an agreement within certain parameters, to ensure the deal actually furthers the interests of the U.S. and its allies.
- Iran must resolve outstanding international concerns about its nuclear program, including the existence of possible military dimensions.
- Iran must adhere to international legal requirements, including the six UN Security Council resolutions requiring Tehran to "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities" and to implement transparency measures.
- Deny Iran nuclear weapons capability. An acceptable deal must not just freeze but tangibly roll back Iran's ability to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear device.
- Impose a strict inspections regime. Negotiators should require Iran to agree to more rigorous monitoring of its nuclear program.
- Negotiate from a position of strength. The success of these talks will hinge on Iran understanding that there will be very real and damaging consequences if negotiations fail. This will require the U.S. to intensify sanctions and incentivize other countries to do the same.
- Do not waste time. Iran will likely attain an undetectable nuclear capability by mid-2014. Implementing and making known a strict deadline for talks can dissuade Iran from using diplomacy as a cover while sprinting for the bomb.
- Negotiators must walk away from any agreement that violates these principles.
Dennis Ross is counselor at the Washington Institute for Near Policy and was a senior Middle East advisor to President Obama from 2009 to 2011. Eric Edelman was Undersecretary of Defense for policy in 2005-09. Michael Makovsky is chief executive of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
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