Iran Dissidents: Tehran Continues Nuclear Arms Work (AP-Washington Post)
Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalk dissidents said Wednesday that Tehran is still researching nuclear arms at facilities it relocated to escape detection.
They said that Iran's Organization of Defensive Information and Research, or SPND, moved its most sensitive weapons research to a new Tehran location "in recent months."
Revolutionary Guard Brig.-Gen. Mohsem Fakhrizadeh leads the SPND, described by the U.S. as "primarily responsible for research in the field of nuclear weapons."
Russia Commanded Syrian Spy Base Against Israel - Anshel Pfeffer (Ha'aretz)
The Syrian intelligence base at Tel Al-Hara in the Golan Heights, used to carry out electronic surveillance of Israeli military forces, was under Russian command,
recent footage uploaded by fighters from the Free Syrian Army who captured the base over the weekend shows.
The symbols of Syrian intelligence and the 6th Directorate of Russian military intelligence are shown side by side on photographs and maps on the walls.
There is a list of current and previous commanders of the base, Russian officers with the rank of colonel.
UN: Syria Declares Another Four Chemical Facilities - Cara Anna (AP-ABC News)
Sigrid Kaag, a special representative of the UN secretary-general, told the Security Council on Tuesday that
Syria has declared four chemical weapons facilities it hadn't mentioned before, three facilities for research and development and one for production.
No new chemical agents have been associated with the four sites.
Concerns remain that Syria has not made a full declaration of its chemical weapons. The U.S. is worried that the Islamic State could get hold of chemical weapons if Syria is hiding any stockpiles.
Report: Turkey Traded 180 Jihadists for 49 Turkish Hostages (Hurriyet-Turkey)
Turkey handed over some 180 jihadists, including two British citizens, to the Islamic State in return for the release of 49 hostages abducted from Turkey's consulate in Mosul, Iraq, the London Times reported Monday.
Canada Votes to Join Air Strikes Against ISIS (CTVNews-Canada)
Canada's House of Commons voted 157-134 on Tuesday to join U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State militants.
Six CF-18 fighter-bombers, two CP-140 surveillance planes, one aerial tanker aircraft and 600 personnel are expected to join coalition airstrikes in Iraq for up to six months.
American Beauty Queens Get Taste of the Real Israel - Barney Breen-Portnoy (Israel Hayom)
A delegation of 11 beauty pageant winners from the U.S. got a taste of the real Israel during a five-day visit last week.
"[Israelis] have created an exquisite, highly innovative country that provides job security, democracy, health insurance, and top quality education to people of all religions and races. Most importantly, they value life over death."
"I was mesmerized by the fact that every Israeli we talked to had a genuine smile on their face and a glimmer of courage in their eyes," said Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 2009.
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- Hizbullah Attack Wounds 2 Israeli Soldiers on Lebanon Border - Anne Barnard and Isabel Kershner
Hizbullah claimed responsibility for an explosion on Tuesday along the border with Israel that wounded two Israeli soldiers. Israel responded with artillery fire toward two Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon. "The Lebanese government and Hizbullah are directly liable for this blatant breach of Israel's sovereignty," Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, said Tuesday. He said the military "responded to this unprovoked aggression against its forces." (New York Times)
See also Escalation on Israel's Border with Lebanon - Amos Harel
Initial reports suggest that Hizbullah remotely detonated a cluster of explosive devices it had planted, after spotting an IDF bomb disposal squad trying to disarm them. Since August 2013, there have been 11 incidents in the area involving rockets, small arms fire and explosive devices. Some have involved Lebanese Army soldiers, and Palestinian organizations identified with opponents of Hizbullah.
The escalation on Israel's border with Lebanon is connected to larger processes in the region. A few months after the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the Assad regime in Damascus stepped up its smuggling of weapons to Hizbullah in Lebanon, in return for its help in fighting opposition forces in Syria.
- Coalition Airstrikes Hit Islamic State Fighters Attacking Syrian Kurdish Town of Kobane
The U.S.-led coalition has carried out its most sustained air attacks so far on Islamic State fighters attacking the Turkey-Syria border town of Kobane. The surge of IS appeared to have been halted, although fighting around Kobane continues. It seems the Kurdish defenders of Kobane are now communicating directly with coalition forces. At least 400 people have died in three weeks of fighting, and 160,000 Syrians have fled across the border to Turkey.
While Islamic State tightens its grip on Kobane, Turkey remains reluctant to help the Kurdish militia in Syria, which has close links with Kurdish fighters in Turkey. The Kurds say Turkey's failure to act will lead to the fall of Kobane.
See also Turkish Inaction on ISIS Advance Dismays the U.S. - Mark Landler, Anne Barnard and Eric Schmitt (New York Times)
- Donors Threaten to Withhold Gaza Aid
Pledges at the October 12 conference in Cairo on rebuilding Gaza could fall far short of what is needed to rebuild. "Without a [political breakthrough], I think we'll probably end up giving but it will be repackaging the assistance that we already give. In reality none of it will be new money," a senior European official said.
Johan Schaar, the head of Development Cooperation at Sweden's Consulate General in the PA, said, "No one can expect us to go back to our taxpayers for a third time to ask for contributions to reconstruction and then we simply go back to where we were before all this began. That is out of the question."
Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said the recent conflict had made it evident that Israel was "way too liberal" in allowing construction materials into the territory after the previous war in 2012, as he said much of it had been diverted to Hamas.
"We encourage the international community to invest, but to invest responsibly - to have accountability and transparency to understand where their dollars are going," he said.
(IRIN Humanitarian News-UN)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- EU Threatening Sanctions Against Israel over Settlements - Raphael Ahren
EU officials have started working on mechanisms to impose penalties
against Israel if it fails to make progress toward a two-state solution and continues its current policy of allowing construction beyond the pre-1967 lines, a senior European diplomat told the Times of Israel. Indeed, some in the EU are currently considering implementing a mechanism that would immediately penalize Israel for every step deemed unhelpful to the peace process (such as settlement expansion), the diplomat said.
If Jerusalem were to approve another building project in eastern Jerusalem, for example, the EU could opt to introduce a labeling regime for products from West Bank settlements. The details of possible punitive measures are currently being discussed in several working-level meetings in Brussels, the diplomat said. (Times of Israel)
- Israel's UN Envoy: PA "Whitewashing" Israeli Teens' Murder - Marissa Newman
Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor fiercely denounced the Palestinian UN envoy on Tuesday for "legitimizing terrorism," after the PA ambassador penned a letter to the UN secretary-general decrying Israel's Sep. 23 killing of Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha - who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers in June.
Prosor said in a statement, "The Palestinian representative has once again obscured the facts by intentionally trying to portray two murderous terrorists as innocent bystanders. Surprise, surprise - his letter mysteriously omits a number of critical facts, namely: the individuals in question were Hamas terrorists; they were responsible for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha-ar and Naftali Frenkel; and, their act of terror was condemned by the Security Council....It is time for the Palestinian Authority to take constructive steps rather than whitewashing the actions of murderers." (Times of Israel)
- Palestinians Attack Israeli Police on Temple Mount in Jerusalem - Lazar Berman
Masked rioters threw stones, iron bars, and Molotov cocktails at Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount Wednesday morning, injuring three policemen. Policemen cleared out the rioters and restored calm to the site.
Many Jews have the custom of visiting the Temple Mount on the holiday of Sukkot, which begins Wednesday night. Last month saw violent clashes in and around the Temple Mount compound ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said Tuesday he would not allow riots to become the norm, Israel Radio reported.
(Times of Israel)
See also Hundreds of Gazans Visit Jerusalem
500 residents of Gaza age 60+ traveled Sunday to pray at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque for the first time since 2007, in honor of the three-day Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice, known as Id al-Adha, that commenced Friday evening. (Ha'aretz)
- Why Turkey Is Hesitating to Prevent Fall of Kobane - Alexander Christie-Miller
As the Islamic State's three-week assault on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane appeared to enter its endgame, its last hope likely hinges on Turkey, which is resisting mounting pressure from its own Kurdish minority to assist Kobane's defenders. "Kobane is about to fall," President Erdogan told Turkish television on Tuesday.
Turkey remains wary of the Kurdish-nationalist militias defending the besieged town. The Democratic Union Party (PYD), that has run Syria's Kurdish-populated region since the Assad regime withdrew in 2012, has close links to the PKK, the Kurdish rebel group that fought a 30-year insurgency against Turkey and is regarded by Ankara as a terrorist group. "Turkey is more than happy that the semi-autonomy declared by Syria's Kurds is being demolished by the so-called Islamic State," says Cengiz Aktar, a political scientist at Istanbul's Suleyman Sah University.
(Christian Science Monitor)
- Why the Gaza War Looked Different on Israeli TV than It Did on CNN - Yonit Levi and Udi Segal
During the 50 days of war in Gaza, Israelis and the rest of the world were watching two completely different wars. In Israel, the country was under attack and it was all happening on live television: The camera leaped between different cities being targeted - showing the rocket's trajectory from the Gazan border, the subsequent sirens, and civilians taking shelter in Israel and, often, the rocket's interception by the Iron Dome anti-missile system several minutes later - moments of deep anxiety, followed by relief, over and over, throughout the day.
Israeli networks co-operating with the IDF's Home Front Command aired banners clearly stating which region was under attack, and in some areas where the sirens weren't loud enough, this turned out to be life-saving information. The story Israelis saw on television was this: We left Gaza, dismantled all settlements, completely retreated to the 1967 lines, and the outcome was that Hamas took over Gaza and we got rockets, which at any moment might strike our homes. The world, in contrast, heard the story of Israel bombing innocent civilians.
Israel sees a dark reality in which a piece of land that was evacuated and turned over to the Palestinians became a haven for terrorists who shot missiles into homes and dug tunnels into communities in order to launch further attacks. Good luck to anyone trying to convince Israelis to withdraw again. Yonit Levi is anchor of the evening news on Israel Channel 2, where Udi Segal is senior diplomatic correspondent.
Europe's Alarming New Anti-Semitism - Jonathan Sacks (Wall Street Journal)
- Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe within living memory of the Holocaust. Never again has become ever again. In France, worshipers in a synagogue were surrounded by a howling mob claiming to protest Israeli policy. In Brussels, four people were murdered in the Jewish museum, and a synagogue was firebombed. In London, a major supermarket said that it felt forced to remove kosher food from its shelves for fear that it would incite a riot.
- More than once during the summer, I heard well-established British Jews saying, "For the first time in my life, I feel afraid." A survey in 2013 by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that almost a third of Europe's Jews have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism.
- Europe today isn't Germany in the 1930s. Hatred of the Jews isn't being incited or even condoned by European governments.
- The politics of hate that begins with Jews never ends with Jews. Ultimately, this campaign amounts to an attack on Western democratic freedoms as a whole. Anti-Semitism has always been, historically, the inability to make space for differences among people, which is the essential foundation of a free society.
- Today's anti-Semitism differs from the old. Today, Jews are hated for their nation state. Israel is the only country among the 193 in the UN whose right to exist is routinely challenged. There are 102 nations in the world where Christians predominate, and there are 56 Islamic states. But a single Jewish state is deemed one too many.
- The anti-Semitism that has taken hold in the Middle East isn't endemic to Islam. Coptic and Maronite Christians introduced the blood libel - the slander that Jews use the blood of gentiles in religious rituals - into Egypt and Syria in the 19th century.
Lord Sacks is the emeritus chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth.
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