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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
December 7, 2011

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Dozens of Bodies Dumped in the Streets of Homs, Syria - Elizabeth A. Kennedy (AP)
    Dozens of bodies were dumped in the streets of the Syrian city of Homs on Tuesday after up to 50 people were killed on Monday. 34 were shot execution-style, their bodies dumped in a public square.
    Activist Mohamed Saleh said all were from the predominantly Sunni district of Jabb al-Jandali. He said Alawite gunmen had raided the district after an Alawite was found dead earlier.

Documentary Explores Unsolved Case of Israeli Attache's Death - Patrick Hruby (Washington Times)
    Nearly four decades ago, Israeli military attache Joseph Alon was shot five times in the driveway of his Chevy Chase home, and one of the bullets pierced his heart.
    The ongoing mystery surrounding the death of Alon, one of the few foreign diplomats slain on American soil, is explored in the Israeli documentary "Who Shot My Father? The Story of Joe Alon," which made its American debut Tuesday as part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival.
    Fred Burton, a former State Department counterterrorism agent, recently wrote a book about his lifelong effort to crack the unsolved case. In his book, Burton claims that he knows who shot Alon.

PA Website in UK "Wiped Israel Off the Map" - Matthew Ashton (Press Association-UK)
    The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission to the UK from using a "misleading" interactive map on its website that featured the whole of Israel in the red, green and black colors of the Palestinian flag.
    The ASA said: "We concluded that the website was misleading" and argued that it breached its code of advertising practice.

Israel to Build New Desalination Plant - Ari Rabinovitch (Reuters)
    Israel's national water company Mekorot signed a financing agreement to build a desalination plant in Ashdod to supplying 100 million cubic meters of water annually, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.
    The new Ashdod plant will join four other desalination facilities that will provide, by the end of 2013, 85% of the country's household water consumption.

Israeli Device Helps Weak Hearts Pump More Blood (Xinhua-China)
    A recently-invented Israeli medical device promises to help weakened heart muscles pump blood where needed through electrical stimulation, while "training" and strengthening the muscles.
    "Optimizer III" was developed by Impulse Dynamics for patients suffering from chronic congestive heart disease (CCH), an illness that afflicts some 26 million people around the world.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Clinton Meets with Syria Opposition - Karen DeYoung
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met in Geneva with leading members of Syria's opposition Tuesday in the most high-profile encounter to date between the opposition and the Obama administration. A senior State Department official said Clinton deemed the Syrian National Council a "leading and legitimate representative of Syrians seeking a peaceful democratic transition." Council leaders had previously met with Clinton's counterparts in Britain, France and Germany. (Washington Post)
  • Administration Tries to Water Down Iran Sanctions Legislation - Josh Rogin
    President Obama's administration is working behind the scenes to water down congressional language that would impose crippling sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). The administration sent to Congress this week a list of requested changes to the sanctions language found in the Senate's version of the defense authorization bill, which was passed last week. Those sanctions, which would punish any bank that does business with the CBI, were part of an amendment authored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that passed over the administration's objections by a vote of 100 to 0.
        The administration wants to delay the implementation of sanctions not related to oil purchases from 60 to 180 days, and wants to water down the severity of sanctions measures if and when they are put into effect. (Foreign Policy)
  • New Sanctions and Whispers of War in Europe-Iran Standoff - Christoph B. Schiltz
    EU foreign ministers have now agreed to work on sanctions that could include stopping oil imports and cutting Iran's financial system off from the West in new sanctions that will be finalized in January. Germany, France and the UK expressed particularly strong support for harsher sanctions. Cutting off oil imports from Iran has been repeatedly discussed in the past, but now French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe is saying that the EU will work with Greece and Italy to increase deliveries from other countries to make up for the deliveries they now receive from Iran. "It's doable," Juppe stressed.
        According to Walter Posch, an Iran expert at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the new sanctions will make Iran's economic development - and with it, the survival of the present regime - that much more difficult. Earlier sanctions have already hurt Iran, said Posch: "They have contributed significantly to the country's underdevelopment."  (Die Welt-Germany)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Syrian Opposition Leader: Hizbullah Showed Real Face by Siding with Assad
    "The Syrian revolutionaries in the streets daily shout slogans against Iran and Hizbullah after the resistance's [Hizbullah's] mask slipped off when it sided with the Syrian regime and helped it crush its oppressed people," the head of the Syrian National Council Burhan Ghalioun said Monday in the Lebanese newspaper Al-Mustaqbal. Reconsidering Syria's strategy with Iran and putting an end to arms supplies to Hizbullah are among the Syrian opposition's demands, Ghalioun said.
        Ghalioun stressed that the next Syrian government would "not interfere" in Lebanon's internal affairs. "We send a clear message to all allies and spies of the Syrian regime in Lebanon to think about their future in their country... after the collapse of the criminal regime in Damascus," he warned. "The end of the regime is inevitable within a few months," he said. "All we need are safe zones that Syrian opposition members, who will immediately multiply, can resort to; and then the regime won't be able to hold out against this popular flood," he said. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
        See also Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah Appears in Public, Voices Support for Assad - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel Attacks Palestinian Terrorists in Gaza Preparing to Fire Rockets - Elior Levy
    Israeli aircraft attacked terror cells in two separate locations in north Gaza as the terror cells were preparing to launch rockets towards Israeli army forces. (Ynet News)
  • Lieberman: Economics Crux of Mideast Problems - Herb Keinon
    Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told European foreign ministers on Tuesday that the European experience has shown that the more successful a country's middle class is, the more successful and stable that country is itself. Long an advocate of developing the West Bank economy as a necessary prelude to being able to reach a final agreement with the Palestinians, Lieberman said: "My suggestion is to bypass highly disputed political issues, which cannot be resolved in the present....Once economic growth is allowed to take root and enable the formation of a strong middle class, I have no doubt that the difficult political issues, which seem irresolvable today, will lend themselves to resolution."  (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel Furious at Hillary Clinton's Concern for Israeli Democracy - Phoebe Greenwood
    Israeli government ministers have reacted with fury to comments made by Hillary Clinton expressing her concern for the state of democracy in Israel. An official within the Israeli Foreign Ministry asked, "Does she deal with the same urgency to the social problems in states other than Israel?" "There is capital punishment in America; this is not the practice in Israel. America's hard-line Mormons practice polygamy....We could make many more comparisons which would point out just how ridiculous her criticisms are."  (Telegraph-UK)
        See also Israeli Officials "Disappointed" by Clinton's Remarks about Threats to Israeli Democracy - Herb Keinon
    Israeli officials expressed "disappointment" during recent conversations with U.S. Jewish leaders at Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comments about threats to Israeli democracy. She was reported to have likened efforts in the haredi sector to have separate seating on buses for males and females to Rosa Parks, the black civil rights icon. "A comparison between the issue of Orthodox Jews and what happened to Rosa Parks is simply beyond the pale," the officials said. They noted that haredi buses with separate seating for men and women travel daily in New York, but that no one is saying that poses a threat to U.S. democracy.
        "Is there a law in Israel, like in France, preventing women from wearing a burka?" the officials asked. "Is there a law here, like in Switzerland, banning the construction of minarets on mosques? Is there really a threat to Israeli democracy?"  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Egypt: We've Heard What the Majority Thinks - Barry Rubin
    Let's figure out what the voting in Egypt means. Basically, nationalism has collapsed completely. Liberalism is weak. Moderate Muslims are few. Radical Islamism is the only game in town. Many Western journalists insist that the Egyptian people don't want an Islamist state. Of course they do! We are seeing the democratic election of a dictatorship. By the time the election is finished, there should be an easy two-thirds majority for an Islamist constitution.
        Still, the Muslim Brotherhood will be cautious. It doesn't want to scare people at home and internationally (it wants foreign aid and investment). Not especially wise people will conclude that the Brotherhood wants to be moderate because it doesn't want to join up with the Salafists. No - it just doesn't want to share power. (PJ Media)

Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran: Questions for Strategy, Requirements for Military Forces - Thomas Donnelly, Danielle Pletka, and Maseh Zarif (American Enterprise Institute)

  • Even without a nuclear weapon, Iran is difficult to deter: its diffuse leadership structures and constant domestic power struggles make it hard to determine which individual leaders, groups of leaders and institutions should be the objects and targets of deterrence. Furthermore, the Iranian approach to military power is a highly asymmetrical strategy that substitutes nuclear weapons, irregulars, proxies, and terrorism for conventional strength.
  • Containing Iran requires effecting the isolation of the Iranian regime, disconnecting it from great power patrons, limiting its ability to peel off neighbors and regional players to serve its agenda, limiting its use of proxies, and more.
  • The keystone of any containment policy is a military strategy of deterrence. An Iran policy of containment must meet the basic Cold War standard of credibility. The deterrent posture depends on an adequate U.S. nuclear arsenal of offensive systems; a substantial investment in forward deployed and reinforcing conventional forces; and the preservation of strong alliances that permit relatively good policy integration, military cooperation, and basing and access for U.S. forces.
  • A credible U.S. offensive deterrent must be "persistent": that is, dedicated forces must be active, available, and "present," at least in the mind of the adversary. In addition, the role of U.S. offensive nuclear forces as the central feature of a "defense umbrella" covering American allies and their interests across the greater Middle East will be critical. Current policies and plans, however, do not reflect such considerations.
  • Though containment and deterrence are possible policies and strategies for the U.S. and others to adopt when faced with a nuclear Iran, we cannot share the widespread enthusiasm entertained in many quarters. Indeed, the broad embrace of containment and deterrence appears to be based primarily on an unwillingness to analyze the risks and costs.

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