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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
August 18, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Denies Contacts with Hamas on Long-Term Truce - Barak Ravid and Jack Khoury (Ha'aretz)
    After frequent media reports of contacts between Israel and Hamas over a long-term cease-fire, Israel officially denied Monday that it is conducting direct or indirect negotiations with Hamas.
    "There are no direct contacts, no contacts through other countries and no contacts through intermediaries," the prime minister's bureau said.
    Since last summer's war in Gaza, a number of international figures have been involved in various initiatives including former Quartet emissary to the Middle East Tony Blair, the former British prime minister.
    After Blair resigned from his Quartet post in May, he was no longer prevented from talking to Hamas as per Quartet policy, and has met twice in Qatar with Hamas' political bureau chief Khaled Meshal in recent months.
    An Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear to Blair that he was not authorizing him to convey messages to Hamas and that he did not regard Blair as an intermediary.

Israel Foils Plot to Smuggle Raw Material for Rockets into Gaza (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli security forces prevented the smuggling of two tons of fiberglass into Gaza, material essential for constructing long-range rockets. The fiberglass was hidden in a a shipment of clothing and textiles.
    A week earlier, smugglers attempted to import fiberglass hidden in a shipment containing school supplies.

World Science Conference Opens in Israel - Judy Siegel-Itzkovich (Jerusalem Post)
    Some 400 talented young science students from 70 countries are attending the World Science Conference Israel (WSCI) which opened on Sunday at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
    Some 15 Nobel Prize and Wolf Prize laureates from both Israel and abroad explained how they had become scientists and what they had discovered.
    The three Israeli Nobel laureates participating include Prof. Ada Yonath (2009 Chemistry), Prof. Robert (Yisrael) Aumann (2005 Economics), and Prof. Aaron Ciechanover (2004 Chemistry).
    See also The World Science Conference - Israel (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State - Christoph Reuter (Der Spiegel-Germany)
    The architect of the Islamic State, Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, best known as Haji Bakr, was a former colonel in the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein's air defense force.
    Killed in January 2014, he left behind the blueprint for the Islamic State in a folder of handwritten organizational charts, lists and schedules which describe how a country can be gradually subjugated.
    In a sense, the documents are the source code of the most successful terrorist army in recent history.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Khamenei Calls for Vigilance Against U.S. Influence - Thomas Erdbrink
    Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned on Monday against the "economic, political and cultural influence" of the U.S.  "We will block all attempts of penetration of Iran," he said. That message is at odds with the one emanating from other officials, led by President Hassan Rouhani, who are saying it is time for new relations with the U.S. and that shouting the slogan "Death to America" has become obsolete. Khamenei also stressed that Iran would continue to support its allies in the region. (New York Times)
        See also Khamenei: Iran's Policy towards the U.S. Will Never Change (Fars-Iran)
        See also Iran Nuclear Chief: We Won on Nuclear Deal
    The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Sunday: "No matter [if] the JCPOA [the nuclear deal] is approved or disapproved by the U.S. Congress and even if Obama fails to do anything, we will be the winning party."  (Fars-Iran)
  • All Nuke Inspectors Require Approval from Iran's Intelligence Agency - Adam Kredo
    Sayyed Abbas Araqchi, Iran's deputy foreign minister, declared on Monday that international nuclear inspectors would only be permitted into the country once they receive approval from Iran's Intelligence Ministry. Iran has already stated that no American inspector would be permitted into the country. (Washington Free Beacon)
  • Israel: Iran Deal a "Tornado Coming at Us" - Pete Kasperowicz
    Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday that the Iran nuclear agreement "is a tornado coming at us that's going to knock out the whole village." "People are asking, let's have a talk about what we do after the tornado's...gone through. We say, let's stop the tornado from coming through."
        Host Joe Scarborough said those who support the deal will argue that a decision by Congress to reject it will only make Iran and Russia closer allies. Dermer responded: "You have the military commander of the Revolutionary Guard getting on a plane and going to Russia. You're going to move them closer to Russia? They're pretty close now."  (Washington Examiner)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Another Palestinian Stabs Israeli Border Policeman - Yoav Zitun
    In the third incident of its type in a week, a Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli Border Policeman at the Tapuach Junction in the West Bank on Monday. Mohammed Amsha, 25, arrived at a checkpoint and told the Border Police there that he was feeling unwell. Once he came close, he pulled out a knife and attacked one of them before he was shot and killed. (Ynet News)
        See also Israel to UN: New Palestinian Attacks Take Advantage of Israelis' Desire to Help
    Israel's UN Ambassador Ron Prosor wrote to the UN secretary-general on Monday about "a disturbing new pattern in which those seeking to murder Israelis take advantage of their humanity....Attacks of this kind are especially outrageous because they take advantage of a person's natural desire to help their fellow man in their time of need, in order to kill him."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Lone Wolf Attacks or a New Intifada? - Gideon Goren
    Avi Dichter, former head of the Israel Security Agency, on Sunday dismissed the term "lone wolves" to categorize seemingly spontaneous acts of violence by Palestinians in the West Bank. "Over the last forty-years that I have been in this business, there has not been a terrorist that attacked an Israeli target without leaving behind someone who knows about it." He "wants to get credit, either before or after he does it, whether he gets killed, injured or escapes the attack."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Enriching Iran - Gabriel Scheinmann
    The nuclear deal will do for Iran what the chemical weapons deal did for Syria. By making Iran indispensible to its own nuclear limitation, Iran has fulfilled its original nuclear objectives: the West's acquiescence - and even facilitation - of its regional hegemonic ambitions. In return for temporary enrichment restraints, the deal fuels Iran's conventional capabilities and greases Iran's path to power.
        Much like the Soviet bomb ensured Moscow's control over half of Europe, an Iranian bomb would remodel the Persian Gulf and its littoral sheikhdoms into Iranian tributaries, facilitating energy and transit shakedowns. Furthermore, an Iranian bomb would turbo-charge the Persian subversion of Gulf States through their Shiite populations, and embolden its existing proxies.
        Like the Syria deal, the Administration will be powerless to punish Iranian aggression, for it would doom Iranian nuclear compliance. Unlike the Syrian deal, no element of Iran's nuclear infrastructure will be dismantled and all substantive restrictions are time-limited. The writer is director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center. (The Hill)
  • The Iran Nuclear Deal's Fallout on the United Nations - Salomon Benzimra
    On July 20, the UN Security Council rushed to pass UNSC Resolution 2231 unanimously endorsing the nuclear treaty and committed itself to rescind six binding resolutions - passed from 2006 to 2010 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter - originally intended to prevent Iran from enriching uranium and developing ballistic missiles. Iran had systematically scoffed at these resolutions. However, Resolution 2231 is silent on other equally binding Chapter VII resolutions, especially UNSC Resolution 1566 of Oct. 8, 2004, which stresses the obligations of all nations against states or organizations involved in terrorism.
        Considering that Iran has been the world's number one state sponsor and promoter of terrorist activities for years, it is inconceivable that world powers could turn a blind eye to their international obligations and acquiesce to the ongoing atrocities instigated by Iran. Moreover, the imminent lifting of sanctions and the release of billions of dollars to Iran under the provisions of the treaty fly in the face of the equally binding UNSC Resolution 1373 of Sept. 28, 2001, which calls for "all prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts."  (American Thinker)
  • A Raw Deal for Iran's Dissidents - Saeed Ghasseminejad
    Iranian dissidents are increasingly worried that - with the nuclear deal signed and business prospects looming - the West will give Iran a pass on human rights. But now is when the West most urgently needs to support dissidents. Otherwise, a decade from now, when restrictions on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs are lifted under this deal, the West will confront the same militant and terrorist-sponsoring regime that rules Iran today - now with nuclear arms.
        Heshmat Tabarzadi, who spent the better part of the last 15 years in prison, wrote that "these days, after the mullahs achieved the agreement they needed, pressure on civil society is increasing." In the last two decades, Tehran has moderated its policies only under pressure; resuming its aggression when that pressure is relieved. Last week, Iran tried to assassinate the leaders of two major Kurd opposition groups and executed a political prisoner convicted of "waging war against God."
        The bottom line for the West: Abandoning Iranian dissidents to appease Tehran is bad policy. The nuclear deal will not encourage the regime to mend its ways. To the contrary, it feels vindicated in its actions by the flow of dignitaries and foreign delegations coming to Iran to hail the deal. The writer, a former student activist in Iran, is associate fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (New York Daily News)

The Ongoing Iranian Threat - Yitzhak Ben-Israel (Jerusalem Report)

  • The official policy of the Iranian regime calls for "death to the U.S. and to Israel."
  • The regime of the ayatollahs has long held the view that without nuclear weapons it will not be able achieve its designs against the U.S., Israel and the Western world as a whole. It believes that possession of such weapons would afford it immunity from retaliation.
  • The revolution's revered first leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, stated in 1988 that the Islamic Republic required "the capacity to manufacture a significant number of laser and atomic weapons that would be essential for war." In the wake of that speech, a project was launched with a precise timetable and well-defined budgets for the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran. This is the project we are contending with today.
  • If Iran abides by the nuclear deal, it is likely to delay the Iranian bomb by more than a decade. But we cannot overlook the fact that the Iranians have in the past been caught red-handed several times in nuclear enrichment activities, in clear violation of international conventions to which they are party. We would be well advised to proceed on the assumption that they will try to cheat this time too.
  • Israel accepts the American distinction between the Iranian regime and the Iranian people, who, for the most part, want to return to the family of nations. But, unlike the U.S., Israel does not see how the fruits of a reinvigorated Iranian economy can reach the people without significantly enhancing the regime's aggressive power.

    Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, an expert on ballistic and cyber warfare, heads the Security Studies program at Tel Aviv University and is chairman of the Israel Space Agency.

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