Suspicious Iranian Dealings Could Imperil Nuclear Agreement - Elaine M. Grossman (Globalist)
U.S. intelligence agencies and their international partners are seeing a flurry of inquiries by Iran in Europe and China about importing potentially sensitive technologies controlled by last year's nuclear deal, but outside of channels specifically set up to vet these goods.
Compounding the problem: The UN hasn't yet hired a planned team of up to 11 deal-enforcement personnel, including four investigators.
Explosive Detection Drone Revealed at Tel Aviv Cyber Conference (Sputnik-Russia)
After extensive field and laboratory testing, SpectroDrone, the world's first commercial drone with explosive detection capabilities, made its debut at Israel's Homeland Security and Cyber Expo on Tuesday.
Besides explosives, the craft can also detect harmful substances in powder, gas and liquid, from up to about two miles away.
Iranian Reformist Refuses to Step on American, Israeli Flags (MEMRI TV)
A video posted on the Internet shows Iranian reformist Sadegh Zibakalam refusing to step on the American and Israeli flags and pushing students who were trying to force him to do so.
Prof. Zibakalam, who posted the footage on his Facebook page, explained: "Placing the flag of a country on the ground and stepping on it is an error, a sign of disrespect toward that nation."
UN Peacekeepers Return to Syrian Side of Golan Heights (AFP)
A first group of 127 UN peacekeepers returned Monday to a camp on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, two years after withdrawing amid clashes with Syrian rebels.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq said more troops from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) would return to Camp Faouar this week and that both Israel and Syria supported the move.
Oberlin College Dismisses Professor Who Posted Anti-Semitic Messages - Valerie Strauss (Washington Post)
Eight months after the Oberlin College Board of Trustees condemned some social-media posts by assistant professor Joy Karega as "anti-Semitic and abhorrent," it has dismissed her "for failing to meet" academic standards and "failing to demonstrate intellectual honesty."
Karega claimed that "Israeli and Zionist Jews" were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and that the Islamic State is "an operation" of the CIA and Israel's Mossad intelligence agency.
Fitch Upgrades Israel to "A+"; Outlook Stable (Reuters)
Fitch Ratings has upgraded Israel's Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) and unsecured Foreign- and Local-Currency bonds to "A+" from "A."
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Russia, Iran Plan $10 Billion Arms Deal
Russia and Iran have been negotiating the supply of $10 billion worth of weapons to Tehran following the delivery of Russia's S-300 air defense missile system to the country in October, Viktor Ozerov, the head of the defense and security committee of the Russian upper house of parliament, said Monday. He said the arms include T-90 tanks, artillery systems, and aircraft. Ozerov noted that the arms in question fall under a UN moratorium on Iran obtaining weapons, in force through October 2020. (RT-Russia)
See also Iran, China Ink Deal on Defense Cooperation
Iranian Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Hossein Dehqan and his Chinese counterpart Gen. Chang Wanquan signed an agreement in Tehran on Monday to enhance military and defense cooperation between the two countries. (Tasnim-Iran)
- House Votes to Extend Iran Sanctions in Bid to Ensure Nuclear Compliance - Rick Gladstone
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 419 to 1 on Tuesday to extend American sanctions on Iran for 10 years to ensure Iranian compliance with an international nuclear agreement. Under the deal, many economic sanctions were suspended or relaxed in exchange for Iran's verifiable pledges of peaceful nuclear work. But the deal also contained a "snapback" provision that would allow for the reimposition of sanctions if Iran were found to have violated the terms.
The legislation approved by the House would also extend longstanding American sanctions against Iran that predate the dispute over that country's nuclear activities.
(New York Times)
- Police Raid IS Suspects Across Germany
German authorities have launched simultaneous raids on mosques, apartments, and offices in 10 states against suspected supporters of the Islamic State (IS) group. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Tuesday that police raided about 190 places in western Germany and also in Berlin, seizing documents and files belonging to members and supporters of the group Die wahre Religion (DWR, The True Religion).
De Maiziere said DWR had now been banned, and that it used the promotion of Islam as a pretext to spread "messages of hate and conspiracy theories" with the aim of recruiting militants.
(Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
- Turkey Announces New Ambassador to Israel
Mekin Mustafa Kemal Okem has been named Turkey's new ambassador to Israel, President Erdogan said Wednesday. Okem, the prime minister's adviser on foreign affairs, had served as deputy director of the Directorate General of the Middle East and consultant to the foreign minister.
See also Israel Nominates New Envoy to Turkey - Sevil Erkus
The Israel Foreign Ministry has nominated Eitan Na'eh as the new ambassador to Turkey. Na'eh, who is currently serving as the deputy head of the Israel embassy in London, was formerly first and second secretary in Ankara. In 1999 he was the head of the Turkish-Greek and Cyprus desk in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel Hopes to Open Channels of Communication with Trump Administration Soon - Barak Ravid
The Israeli government would like to reach understandings with the incoming U.S. administration of President-elect Donald Trump as soon as possible, said Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday. "We see what's happening around us and the sooner we reach conclusions with the U.S., the better. The U.S. is our strongest ally and we try to maintain transparency and not to surprise or embarrass them and that's how we will continue to behave." (Ha'aretz)
- Jewish, Arab Fertility Rates in Israel Are Identical
The fertility rates of Jewish and Arab women were identical for the first time in Israeli history in 2015 with an average of 3.13 children per woman, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. In 2000, Arab fertility was 4.3, while Jewish fertility was 2.6. Since then, the Arab rate has dropped while the Jewish rate increased.
(Times of Israel)
- A Window of Opportunity for Israel-U.S. Coordination on Iran - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin
Iran is the most significant threat to Israel in the long run. The nuclear agreement is an established fact, and it is unlikely that the Trump administration will cancel it. Nonetheless, this is a problematic agreement in the long run, when the Iranians receive legitimacy for a wide, advanced nuclear program and are at point-blank range from a bomb.
The Israelis and Americans should agree on the principle that a regime calling for Israel's destruction will not receive legitimacy for a wide nuclear program, as the agreement gives Iran in another decade. We must restore full intelligence coordination to uncover Iranian violations, and reach an agreement that the U.S. will give Israel all the operational abilities to act, if all other alternatives are exhausted. The writer, director of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, served as head of IDF Military Intelligence.
- Europe in Shock after Donald Trump's Victory - Amb. Freddy Eytan
Interestingly, the only European state that has expressed sympathy for Trump's election is Britain. London has no further commitment to the EU. Prime Minister May seeks to renew the alliance that was once forged between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
France is very concerned that its initiative to resolve the Palestinian issue in the UN Security Council and to convene an international conference in Paris will be totally scuttled. If the U.S. embassy is transferred to Jerusalem, other countries will be encouraged to do the same. Europe also fears that toughening of the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran will create difficulties for companies trading with Tehran since the sanctions were lifted.
Eventually, Europe will adjust to the new situation, recover, and overcome its misgivings. The U.S. shares the same universal values that Europe espouses, and Europe is obligated to cooperate, reach understandings, and accept the decision of the American voter. Donald Trump will be invited to visit European capitals and the Vatican, and he will be received with all the honor that is bestowed on the president of the world's leading power. The writer served in Israel's embassies in Paris and Brussels, and was Israel's first ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Amidror: Why Iran's Economic Recovery Is Slower than Expected - Yonah Jeremy Bob
Former Israeli national security adviser Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror recently told the Jerusalem Post that Iran has not benefited as quickly from sanctions relief as he expected. He said "investors are facing two dangers....All of Iran is corrupt and inefficient," which is one reason why investors are choosing to wait on the sidelines for now. Investors' fears are standard with any country with wide corruption and predictability issues.
The second reason, Amidror said before the U.S. elections, is that many investors were waiting until "after the U.S. elections, when the U.S. situation is clear....Investors want to see there will not be a big change. Everyone sees they continue with rocket-testing and sending and assisting terrorists all over the region. So investors worry that due to Iran's behavior, that the U.S. will do something." (Jerusalem Post)
Netanyahu: Peace Imposed from Outside Never Works (Prime Minister's Office)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu answered questions at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America on Tuesday by video from Jerusalem.
- "The only way you really get a workable and enduring peace is to have the parties agree to it. This is what happened in our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. It's holding because there were mutual negotiations, mutual compromise, mutual agreement, and it sticks....We've had convulsions in the Middle East, and yet those peace treaties hold because they were directly negotiated between the parties."
- "If you try to impose peace from the outside, it never works. And...the reason we'll object to any such effort is: a) it will harden the Palestinian positions; and b) because it will harden the Palestinian positions, it will push peace back. It could push peace back decades."
- "There may be possibilities that have emerged in the Middle East as a result of the different appreciation that many in the region have for Israel's role in resisting the twin forces of militant Islam led by Iran and...by ISIS...that may...help us move towards some kind of resolution with the Palestinians."
- "But I think that one thing is certain, that trying to impose peace from the outside won't. So I very much hope that President Obama will continue the policy that he enunciated, which wasn't only his policy. It was the longstanding policy of the United States."
- "And I look forward also to working with President-elect Trump when he becomes President and his administration to further the twin interests of peace and security. These are interests of Israel and the United States, but they'll be achieved by direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions."
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.