Obama Facing Tougher than Expected Fight to Sustain Iran Deal - Justin Sink and Billy House (Bloomberg)
The White House is confronting a tougher than expected fight with Congress over the nuclear accord with Iran.
Administration officials are increasingly finding themselves on the defensive against criticism from Republicans and some Democrats, as well, according to three officials.
Israel Now Key Hub of Anti-ISIS Operations - Orlando Radice (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
Advances by the Islamic State are pushing Egypt and Jordan to unprecedented levels of security cooperation with Israel.
"A new strategic map is being created in this part of the Middle East," said Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan and senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. "The common threat is making this cooperation essential to the security of all three countries."
IDF Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog said: "Below the radar there is productive cooperation between Israel and key Arab countries, especially its neighbors Egypt and Jordan, focused on common security threats."
Over the past two years there have been reports that Jordan has allowed Israeli drones into its airspace for surveillance flights over its borders with Syria and Iraq.
Canada Buys Iron Dome Radar Technology from Israel (Globes)
Israel Aerospace Industries' ELTA Systems subsidiary is to supply the Canadian Department of National Defense with the ELTA ELM-2084 MMR "Iron Dome" radar, which includes C-RAM (Counter Rockets, Artillery and Mortars) and air-surveillance capabilities.
Following an extensive competition process and demanding demonstrations, which included live fire testing, the radar was selected due to its superior performance and outstanding capabilities.
It will be produced locally in cooperation with Rheinmetall-Canada.
A Rare Palestinian Voice of Sanity - Khaled Abu Toameh (Gatestone Institute)
Dr. Ibrahim Abrash, a former Palestinian Minister of Culture from Gaza, recently published a scathing attack on both the PA and Hamas, holding them responsible for the continued suffering of their people.
Abrash holds the two Palestinian parties responsible for the delay in rebuilding houses destroyed or damaged in Gaza during last year's conflict.
"In light of the division [between the PA-controlled West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza], corruption and absence of accountability have become widespread."
He also claims that some Palestinians are forced to pay bribes to Palestinian officials to obtain a travel permit.
"Many people have been subjected to blackmail and procrastination [by Palestinian officials] after Israel eased travel restrictions at the Bet Hanoun [Erez] border crossing."
"Isn't it shameful and irritating that while Israel has been issuing travel permits for those with special needs, some influential [Palestinian] officials are placing obstacles?"
While Western journalists tend to ignore Palestinians who are critical of the PA or Hamas, a growing number of Palestinians have come to realize that both Hamas and the PA are responsible for hindering efforts to rebuild Gaza and are as corrupt as ever.
The real tragedy of the Palestinian people has been - and remains - bad and irresponsible leadership.
A Reformer Unwelcome in the Palestinian Authority - Chloe Valdary (Wall Street Journal)
Salam Fayyad, a World Bank technocrat, was once seen as a bright hope for peace in the Middle East.
During his six years as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority beginning in 2007, per capita GDP among Palestinians in the West Bank rose by 222%. Perceptions of Palestinian government corruption also dropped dramatically.
In 2013, Fayyad resigned after a series of policy disagreements with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, but he has continued to press for reform. That may help explain why he is in legal trouble today with the PA.
Anti-Semitic Incidents in Britain Up 50 Percent -
Siobhan Fenton (Independent-UK)
Between January and June of this year, 473 anti-Semitic incidents took place in Britain, representing an increase of 53% from the same period in 2014, according to the Jewish community group Community Security Trust (CST).
Israeli Computer Game Curbs PTSD Symptoms in Veterans, Israeli-U.S. Study Finds - Alexis Sobel Fitts (Huffington Post)
A recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry explores an alternative PTSD treatment delivered via computer.
The study tested "attention control therapy" to help neutralize the hyper-vigilance shown by PTSD sufferers by forcing test subjects to redirect their attention to completing a task, even though they'd just seen something threatening.
Led by Yair Bar-Haim at Tel Aviv University, a team of researchers worked with former members of the U.S. and Israeli military who suffered from PTSD.
The participants showed significantly diminished PTSD symptoms after completing the therapy.
Tech Investments in Israel Hit New High - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
Israeli high-tech firms set a new record for financing in the second quarter of 2015, the Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center reported last week.
179 Israeli high-tech firms raised a total of $1.12 billion during Q2/2015 - beating the $1.11 billion raised in Q4/2014.
Much of the Q2 investment money came from foreign private equity investors from Asia.
See also Viber Buys Israeli Mobile Game Developer Nextpeer (Globes)
Messaging app company Viber has acquired Israeli mobile game developer Nextpeer for $9 million.
Nextpeer is pioneering a software development kit that enables game developers to add multiplayer features and a social layer to any game.
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- Top General Warns of Five Unresolved Iranian "Malign Activities" - Helene Cooper and Gardiner Harris
While the nuclear agreement with Iran will not stop it from funding organizations the U.S. considers to be terrorist groups, the pact reduces the chances of a near-term military conflict between the two countries, the top American military leader, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told Congress on Wednesday. Dempsey said the nuclear deal did not prevent the U.S. from striking Iranian facilities if officials decide that Tehran is cheating on the agreement. But if it sticks to the terms of the pact, such a strike is far less likely.
"If followed, the deal addresses one critical and the most dangerous point of friction with the Iranian regime," Dempsey said. "But as I've stated repeatedly, there are at least five other malign activities which give us and our regional partners concern," including the pursuit of ballistic missile technology, weapons trafficking, the use of surrogates and proxies, the use of naval mines, and undersea activity.
(New York Times)
See also Top U.S. General Advised White House to Keep Sanctions on Iran's Missile Program "as Long as Possible" - David Alexander
Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday he had advised the White House to keep sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program and arms trafficking for "as long as possible."
He added that with an end to international economic sanctions, "There is clearly the opportunity for Iran to use some of the revenue that they gain for malign purposes, and that bears watching and collaboration with our regional partners, including Israel." (Reuters)
- Turkey Steps Up Bombing of Kurds, Not Islamic State - Jeremiah Bailey-Hoover and Patrick J. McDonnell
Turkish war planes on Wednesday unleashed some of the heaviest bombing to date on Kurdish rebel strongholds in Turkey and Iraq, striking half a dozen targets linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. Last week, Ankara announced with great fanfare that it was joining the U.S.-led international coalition against the Islamic State. But Turkey has focused its firepower since then not on the Islamic extremists but on the PKK, whose allied forces have been at the vanguard of the fight against the Islamic State.
Turkey's push for a "safe zone" in northern Syria in cooperation with the U.S. is designed to thwart Kurdish militia fighters from extending their control of the Syrian side of Turkey's southern border, Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the Kurdish-oriented People's Democratic Party, told the BBC.
"Turkey doesn't intend to target IS with this safe zone. The safe zone is intended to stop the Kurds, not IS." (Los Angeles Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Prime Minister Condemns "Horrific, Heinous Terror Attack" on Palestinians - Marissa Newman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday forcefully condemned the arson attack on a Palestinian family - in which an infant was burned to death - as a "horrific, heinous" crime that is "a terror attack in every respect." Two homes in the Palestinian village of Duma, south of Nablus, were set alight, and Hebrew words spray-painted on their walls overnight Thursday, apparently by Jewish extremists. An 18-month-old child was killed in the attack, while his father, mother, and 4-year-old brother were injured.
The mother was in critical condition.
The prime minister said he instructed the security forces to "use all the resources at their disposal to capture the killers and bring them to justice as soon as possible." He added that "The State of Israel deals forcefully with terror, regardless of who the perpetrators are." Netanyahu said the Israeli government was "unified in its fierce opposition to these awful, base acts."
(Times of Israel)
See also Netanyahu Orders PA Be Updated on Israeli Efforts to Find Arsonists - Marissa Newman (Times of Israel)
See also Defense Minister Ya'alon: We Will Not Allow Jewish Terrorists to Harm Palestinians - Yaakov Lappin
Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, expressed their shock and outright condemnation of the terror attack in the Palestinian village of Duma. Ya'alon referred to the incident as "a most severe terrorist act that we cannot tolerate, and we condemn in every way," and he sent his condolences to the Dawabsha family.
He noted that all Israeli security forces are making a "supreme effort" to find those responsible, saying, "we will pursue them until we get our hands on them. We will not allow Jewish terrorists to harm the lives of Palestinians across Judea and Samaria. We will fight them in every way, with every tool at our disposal."
The IDF has deployed additional forces in the West Bank to maintain stability and respond to potential disturbances.
"We are coordinating with PA security forces to calm the area," said IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Moti Almoz.
- Two Israelis Charged in Arson Attack on Galilee Church - Dani Brenner
Yinon Reuveni, 20, and Yehuda Asraf, 19, described by authorities as Jewish extremists, were charged on Wednesday with the June 17 torching of the Church of the Loaves and Fishes next to the Sea of Galilee.
- Don't Dismantle Sanctions Until Iran Renounces Terrorism - Robert M. Morgenthau
Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau told the Stop Iran Now rally in New York's Times Square on July 22:
Over the years, survivors of Americans murdered in Iran's terrorist acts have sued Iran, and often won large judgments. The problem is, Iran refused to pay. I fail to see the logic in returning those embargoed funds without first requiring Iran to make good on the debts it owes to those survivors.
Even the administration worries that some of those billions would go toward sponsoring terrorism - what the State Department euphemistically calls "destabilizing actions." This is not only a strategic issue, but a moral one. We simply cannot give terrorists the means to destroy innocent lives. Until Iran renounces terrorism, we cannot release those funds.
With respect to Iran, an effective international sanctions regime is the only real alternative the world has to war. We must not dismantle those sanctions until we are assured that Iran's hostile intentions have been thwarted.
We should keep those sanctions in place so long as Iran threatens the survival of its neighbors, and sponsors terror around the world. (Wall Street Journal)
- How to Make Iran Keep its Word - Dennis Ross
No agreement that permits the Iranians after fifteen years to produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) and build as large a nuclear infrastructure as they want should leave us feeling comfortable. That vulnerability could be addressed if our focus became one of deterring the Iranians from cheating. President Obama emphasizes that the agreement is based on verification, not trust. But our catching Iran cheating is less important than the price they know they will pay if we catch them. Deterrence needs to apply not just for the life of the deal. It becomes even more important afterwards, because Iran will be a threshold nuclear state and potentially capable of confronting the world with a nuclear weapons fait accompli.
The Iranians must believe that a move toward weapons once they are a threshold state will trigger the use of force against them - anything less is unlikely to deter them. It is not enough to say all options are on the table. It is essential to say we will not permit Iran to become a nuclear weapon state and that if the agreement designed to prevent it fails to do so, we will act militarily to destroy the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
President Obama should declare that he would regard producing highly enriched uranium as a trigger for the use of force and is confident that his successors will as well. Congress could then adopt legislation endorsing this position.
The writer is a former special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director.
- The Deal Won't Stop Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon - Aaron David Miller
Will the deal will stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon?
No it won't. At best it's an arms control agreement, not a disarmament accord. And over time, some of its most important restrictions will end. The fact is Iran is already a nuclear weapons threshold state. And this accord will leave Tehran with an industrial-size nuclear infrastructure and the option to break out and weaponize should it choose to do so.
Did the U.S. get fleeced? Iran clearly didn't get everything it wanted, but it got the better part of the deal. In exchange for a nuclear weapon Iran doesn't even possess, Tehran will reap billions in sanctions relief, new-found legitimacy in the international community and still be able to maintain a large enough nuclear infrastructure to remain a nuclear weapons threshold state.
Is war the only alternative to a deal? Even if Congress should override a presidential veto, there's no inexorable march to war. Nor is it a forgone conclusion that Iran would try to break out to a bomb right now. What's the point of inviting an Israeli or American attack? Better for Tehran to weigh its options and to see what it could gain by playing the political game.
Will the agreement over time produce a kinder and gentler Iran? How much time do you have? Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, didn't endorse this accord because he saw it as a way of compromising the Iranian revolution; on the contrary, it was done to preserve it and maintain control. The writer is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
(New York Jewish Week)
- Is the White House Seeking to Contain Iran? - Michael Doran
The nuclear deal with Iran is a wildly lopsided agreement. Whereas Iran received permanent concessions, the U.S. and its partners managed only to buy a little time.
When Obama's critics suggest that the White House has been taken in, they tacitly assume that the president shares their goal of containing and rolling back Iran - an enemy power bent on ousting the U.S. from the Middle East and vanquishing America's allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia foremost among them. But he does not see Iran that way at all.
In Obama's eyes, the nuclear deal is a means to the larger end of a strategic partnership in the Middle East. In fact, the White House has consistently displayed an aversion to countering Iran, based on the conviction that, thanks to U.S. diplomacy, Iran will voluntarily come to place limits on its own ambitions. The deal has permanently ceded diplomatic leverage to Iran and nullified vigorous containment as a serious option. The writer, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council.
- U.S.-Israel Contingency Plans Needed for Iranian Nuclear Accord Aftermath - Amos Yadlin
It is incumbent upon the U.S. and Israel to prepare for the scenarios that may emerge as a result of the highly problematic nuclear accord with Iran. The agreement poses clear risks to Israel's national security. The two allies should formulate a strategy to respond to the threats created by the Vienna agreement that would cover intelligence cooperation to compensate for lapses in the realm of inspections, a clear definition of what constitutes a significant violation of the agreement, and response mechanisms in the event of violations.
Moreover, provision must be made for the dangerous possibility of increased nuclear proliferation in the Middle East as a direct consequence of the Vienna agreement's legitimization of Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Israel, alongside the international community, should track and prevent any signs of activity by Gulf States to reach comparable nuclear capabilities with Iran. Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, chief of Israeli military intelligence from 2006 to 2010, is director of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
- Israel Confronts the Iran Nuclear Deal - Michael Herzog
More than 70% of Israelis believe the Iran nuclear deal is dangerous and will not block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Israelis believe the stakes are higher for them than for anyone else. Israel regards Iran as the most serious threat to its national security - an assessment based squarely on Tehran's extreme ideology, its calls for eliminating Israel, its nuclear and regional ambitions, and its heavily armed proxies on Israel's borders (including Hizbullah and its 100,000 rockets).
Tehran may be discouraged from brazenly breaking out to nuclear military capabilities in the next few years. Yet the deal allows Tehran to maintain its nuclear infrastructure and advance its nuclear technical capabilities with international help. Israelis do not believe that sufficient safeguards are in place if things go wrong. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog, a former chief of staff to Israel's minister of defense, is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- Implications of a Nuclear Agreement
with Iran - Mark Dubowitz
The Iran deal is fundamentally flawed in its inherent design. Rather than block Iran's pathways to a nuclear bomb, it provides a new path. Congress should require the Obama Administration to renegotiate and fix the major flaws of the agreement and resubmit an amended agreement to Congress for review. Simultaneously, Congress should defend the economic sanctions architecture it helped create and tie all future sanctions relief to verifiable changes in Iranian conduct that prompted the sanctions in the first place.
The writer, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, testified
before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on July 23, 2015.
(Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
See also The Iran Nuclear Deal
and its Impact on Terrorism Financing - Mark Dubowitz
before the House Financial Services Committee
Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, July 22, 2015. (Foundation for Defense of Democracies)
- The Problem: Iran's Underlying Motives - Ido Aharoni
The Iran nuclear deal does not prevent Iran over time from threatening America and her allies with nuclear war. It does not permanently prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But its most significant problem is that it does nothing to address, much less curb, Iran's expansionist, anti-Israel, anti-American motivations.
Every security expert will tell you that in order for your enemy to succeed, he has to have the desire, capabilities, and opportunity to attack.
While the Iran deal might temporarily delay the capabilities and opportunity, it does nothing about the most important element: the very nature of the regime.
The mullahs' goals are Islamic rule and regional domination.
Allowing the Iranian regime to walk away with a huge diplomatic achievement will further undermine those fighting for freedom and democracy in Iran - and cement the hostile strategies of the current rulers.
The leaders of Iran have openly declared that they have no intention of stopping their war against the Western world. They have no intention to stop their brutal violation of human rights. They have no intention to stop the incitement against America and other free and open societies.
The writer is consul general of Israel in New York.
(New York Daily News)
- George Deek, One of Israel's Best Diplomats - Adi Schwartz
George Deek, 30, a descendant of a Palestinian Christian family who fled during the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, is an Israeli diplomat who serves as Israel's charge d'affaires in Oslo. His grandfather George worked as an electrician in Jaffa. In 1947, when the UN approved the Partition Plan, Arab leaders warned that the Jews would kill them if they stayed home. "They told everyone to leave their houses, and run away," said Deek. "They said they will need just a few days, in which together with five armies they promised to destroy the newly born Israel."
His family fled to Lebanon, but when the war was over, they realized that they had been lied to - the Arabs did not win as they promised, and the Jews did not kill all the Arabs. "My grandfather knew that in a place stuck in the past with no ability to look forward, there is no future for his family. Because he worked with Jews and was a friend to them, he was not brainwashed with hatred." He got hold of one of his old friends at the electric company, and asked for his help to get back into Israel. That friend not only helped him come back, but even made sure that he got his job back. "The reason we have succeeded and that I am an Israeli diplomat, and not a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon, is that my grandfather had the courage to make a decision that was unthinkable to others."
"I believe we can be proud of our identity and at the same time live as a contributing minority in a country that has a different nationality, a different religion, and a different culture than ours. There is no better example in my view than the Jews in Europe, who kept their religion and identity for centuries but still managed to influence deeply, perhaps even to create, modern European thinking."
It is clear to him that the problem with Israel, in the eyes of the Arab world, is not its policies but its identity. If Israel were a Muslim state, he says, nobody would care about its policies; after all, most Muslim states treat their citizens much worse, and no Arab cries foul at other abuses, wars or cases of occupation in the Middle East. (Tablet)
- It's Time for The Netherlands to Apologize - Abraham Cooper and Manfred Gerstenfeld
By now, almost all the European countries that were occupied by the Germans during World War II have admitted to their collaboration with the Nazi regime. Most have apologized. The one major exception is The Netherlands, the country within Western Europe with the highest percentage of Jewish citizens murdered during the Holocaust - 102,000 out of 140,000.
Those who were deported to the death camps in Poland were arrested by Dutch policemen, transported by the Dutch railways and guarded by the Dutch military police. Most of these Jewish deportees came from families that had lived in The Netherlands for centuries.
Rabbi Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Mr. Gerstenfeld is chairman-emeritus of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
(Wall Street Journal)
- When Nazi Summer Camps Operated across North America - Cathryn J. Prince
Throughout the latter half of the 1930s, 19 Nazi summer camps and family retreats operated across the U.S. Sponsored by the German-American Bund, the camps were set up to indoctrinate children and adults with Nazi ideology. "The camps basically had everything the Hitler Youth camps had in Germany. Their uniforms were similar, right down to the Sam Brown belts and swastikas on the arms," said Arnie Bernstein, author of the 2014 book, Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund.
In 1939, Bund leader Fritz Kuhn was sentenced to prison for tax evasion and embezzlement. At the same time, the FBI raided the camps and shut them down for subversive activities. (Times of Israel)
The Nuclear Deal with Iran's Fanatical Anti-Jewish Regime Fuels Racism - Ruth R. Wisse (Wall Street Journal)
- The Iranian regime is currently the world's leading exponent of anti-Jewish racism. Whereas Adolf Hitler and Reinhard Heydrich had to plot the "Final Solution" in secrecy, using euphemisms for their intended annihilation of the Jews of Europe, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweets that Israel "has no cure but to be annihilated."
- Iran's leaders, relishing how small Israel is, call it a "one-bomb state," and until the time arrives to deliver that bomb, they sponsor anti-Israel terrorism through Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militias.
- This is the first time the U.S. will have deliberately entered into a pact with a country committed to annihilating another people - a pact that doesn't even require formal repudiation of the country's genocidal aims.
- Because the most repressive and aggressive regimes continue to organize against the Jews, the Jewish people have become the "true north" of toleration and concern for human rights. Those who defend the Jews are necessarily on the side of peace and brotherhood, those who attack them invariably on the side of evil.
- "Death to the Jews!" is a call to arms against Western liberal democracies; that is why in Iran the cry is often accompanied by "Death to America!"
- Americans intent on stopping Iran are not against the president. They believe that America stands for humanity's better nature.
The writer, a former professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard, is the author of Jews and Power (Schocken, 2007).
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