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  DAILY ALERT Wednesday,
January 18, 2012

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Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force Planning Attack on U.S. in Turkey - Bayram Kaya (Zaman-Turkey)
    The Turkish Security General Directorate (EGM) has warned police departments in all 81 Turkish provinces that a team linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards will be sent to Turkey and that it may be planning to bomb the U.S. embassy or consulate general in the country.
    Groups linked to Hizbullah may also take part in the attacks.
    A number of Iranian officials pledged revenge on Turkey following its decision to host a NATO early-warning radar system.

Egyptian Nuclear Power Plant Ransacked (Egypt Independent-Almasry Alyoum)
    The site of Egypt's first nuclear power plant in Dabaa was looted and vandalized earlier this week, said Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abouelnaga.
    Reports suggest that the site was attacked by residents in the area who say their land had been confiscated for the project and that they did not receive compensation.
    The meteorological station, ground water station and many of the offices had been attacked by "organized looters," who took computers, monitoring devices for earthquakes, furniture, cables and transformers.
    Clashes in Dabaa with Egyptian military police on Friday left 41 people injured.

"Work Accident" in Home of Gaza Militant Leader Kills One (Reuters)
    A Palestinian man who had been preparing an attack on Israeli targets was killed on Saturday in an explosion at the home of Zuhair Al-Qaissi, chief commander of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). Al-Qaissi himself was not hurt in the explosion.

Israeli Unmanned Naval Vessel (Israel Defense Forces)
    The Protector unmanned surface vehicle (USV) is an Israeli-developed vessel, 9 meters long, that can reach a speed of 57 mph.
    Deployed by the Israeli Navy since 2009, the highly accurate, stabilized weapon station has excellent hit-and-kill probability using various small caliber guns.
    It can gather intelligence, take part in naval warfare and act as an anti-terror protection force.

IDF, JNF Planting Trees for Protection from Gaza Snipers - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF has launched a new program in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund to make targeting Israeli homes harder for Gaza terrorists.
    "Trees are being planted around Israeli towns and communities that are close to the border, making it more difficult for terrorists to accurately target homes and residents," a senior officer from the IDF's Gaza Division explained.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • 34 People Killed in Syria as Monitors Are Unable to Quell Violence - Nada Bakri
    Violence surged in Syria on Tuesday as activists reported that at least 34 people had been killed across the country, including six soldiers who had defected and three members of the security forces. (New York Times)
  • Israeli Defense Minister: Decision on Iran "Very Far Off"
    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio Wednesday that his country is "very far off" from deciding on whether to launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear program. He also denied media speculation that Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, would use his visit to Israel on Thursday to pressure Israel not to attack. Barak said the U.S. respects Israel's freedom of action and that the Israeli government doesn't "have the luxury" to "roll over responsibility" for Israel's fate to the U.S. (AP-Washington Post)
  • Hizbullah Rejects Call by UN Secretary-General to Disarm - Dominic Evans
    Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah dismissed on Saturday a UN call for his militant movement to disarm. Mocking a demand by visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Hizbullah lay down its weapons, Nasrallah said he was happy that Hizbullah's military prowess was a cause for concern. Ban said in Beirut on Friday that he was "deeply concerned about the military capacity of Hizbullah." "All these arms outside of the authorized state authority, it's not acceptable," he declared. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • IDF: Nuclear Iran Will Make Israel's Enemies More Aggressive - Gili Cohen
    Israel is concerned that Syria, Hizbullah, and Hamas could one day find reassurance in a nuclear-armed Iran, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, head of IDF strategic planning, told foreign journalists and diplomats at a briefing at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on Tuesday. "They will be more aggressive. They will dare to do things that right now they would not dare to do," he said. "This is going to create a dramatic change in Israel's strategic posture, because if we are forced to do things in Gaza or Lebanon under an Iranian nuclear umbrella, it might be different." "When the other side has a nuclear capability and is willing to use it, you think twice," Eshel said. "You are more restrained."
        Eshel said there are now some 100,000 rockets and missiles that could be fired at Israel by Hizbullah, Hamas, Iran, and Syria. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Fate of Syrian Chemical, Biological Weapons Concerns Israel
    Israel has serious concerns about what will happen to "huge stockpiles" of chemical and biological weapons in Syria when the Assad regime collapses, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said on Tuesday. He said the working assumption was that the Assad regime would eventually fall. "The question is when, not if. And the big question is what's going to come the day after." "The immediate concern is the huge stockpiles of chemical and biological (weapons), strategic capabilities that are still going into Syria, mainly from eastern Europe," Eshel said. "I don't know who is going to own those the day after....What will be transferred to Hizbullah? What will be divided between those factions inside Syria?"  (AFP-Ynet News)
  • Hamas Attacks Shiites in Gaza - Avi Issacharoff
    Armed Hamas men attacked a gathering of 30 Shiite worshippers in Gaza last Friday, arrested 14 of the men and beat the rest. Gazan sources said that Islamic Jihad now contains a group of converts to Shia Islam, led by Iyad al-Hosni. Becoming Shiite is a growing trend in Gaza, where hundreds of Sunnis are known to have converted. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Gap between Resistance and Governance in Gaza - Mahmoud Abu Rahma
    Neither the government nor the resistance in Gaza is willing to step in to protect people who dare to criticize them. Every day we see detention and summoning of citizens by the dozens; not for unlawful acts they committed, but mostly for who they are and what they think, or for their mere political affiliation. There are reports of hundreds of cases of torture and abuse.
        Numerous people have been injured from live fire coming from resistance group training sites. Training sites function in places very close to neighborhoods and/or schools, from where firing rockets also occurs. The state of carelessness on the part of the resistance is also causing continued victims of the misfiring of rockets that fall on houses inside Gaza.
        If the people do not enjoy respect and rule of law from the resistance groups and the government, they will all go down together. The writer has been a human and civil rights activist in Gaza for 15 years. (Maan News-PA)
        See also Palestinian Rights Activist Stabbed after Criticizing Gaza Government
    Mahmoud Abu Rahma, 38, international relations director at the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, was stabbed multiple times by several masked attackers on Friday. Abu Rahma has received many threats since he published an article warning that both the Palestinian "resistance" groups and government were failing ordinary citizens. (AFP)
  • Who Is Behind Cyberattacks on Israel's Airline and Banks? - Eli Lake
    On Monday, hackers attacked websites associated with Israel's stock exchange, its two largest banks, and the national airline, El Al. The offensive was launched less than a week after a hacker published thousands of credit-card numbers he claimed to have pilfered from Israeli commercial sites. That hacker claimed to be from Saudi Arabia, but Ron Meyran, director of security for Radware, an Israeli web firm, said the attack originated from servers mainly in Europe.
        Bob Gourley, a former chief technology officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the attack against Israeli sites was not groundbreaking in a technical sense. "It's important to keep things in context," he said. "What are they doing? They are defacing web pages; they are stealing credit cards. That's been done before."  (Daily Beast)
        See also Israeli Hackers Bring Down Saudi, UAE Stock Exchange Websites - Oded Yaron and Iris Margulis (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Misunderstood and Misrepresented - Andrew Percy MP
    I was indifferent about Israel and the Middle East. However, last year when I visited Israel and the Palestinian territories for the first time, I was left with a very different impression of the place: Israel is a country misunderstood and misrepresented. Looking across the border with Lebanon and peering at Hizbullah strongholds, no more than 100 yards away from where I was standing, underlined the significance of Israel's strategic frailty in the face of constant threat.
        Touring the security barrier I was surprised to hear that the architect of the barrier had appeared before the Israeli Supreme Court on countless occasions to defend his decisions regarding its route. On occasion, when his planned route was ruled illegal, the barrier was removed and re-built according to the judgment. (conservativehome-UK)
  • What Abdullah and Abbas Hope to Achieve from Amman Talks - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Israeli-Palestinian negotiations which resumed in Amman are mainly intended to help PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah bolster their stature among their constituents and the international community. For King Abdullah, the meetings are a way of distracting attention from street protests at home. Abbas is hoping the talks will ease U.S. and EU pressure on him to resume the peace process. (Stonegate Institute)

Who's Really Killing Those "Nuclear Scientists" in Tehran? - Michael Ledeen (PJ Media)

  • Several Iranian officials and scientists involved in the nuclear project have been blown up in the last two years, but a closer look at the Iranian victims raises questions.
  • The first was an academic with no apparent connection to the nuclear project, a political activist who supported the Green Movement. The second was a theoretical physicist. On the very same day, another physicist was attacked, a regime supporter and a member of the Revolutionary Guards who was an active participant in the nuclear program. The news stories spoke of a bomb, but the photographs of the crime scene don't show evidence of an explosion (they do show some bullet holes in his car). He wasn't killed. Shortly after the event, he was promoted to head the nuclear program.
  • The fourth case was a university student gunned down in front of his house. He wasn't a nuclear anything, he was studying electrical engineering. There is an Iranian nuclear physicist with a similar name, but that man was out of the country. The latest victim was a chemist, not a physicist, and his main connection to the nuclear program was administrative: he worked in the purchasing office for the Natanz operation.
  • There's a lot of killing in Iran, and the overwhelming majority of murders are carried out by the regime, and the victims are Iranian citizens from all walks of life. From this standpoint, the regime is the most likely perpetrator.
  • Scads of writers are quite sure that the Jews did it. But the rush to judgment smacks of political passion rather than cool analysis. And I'm struck by the uncritical expertise that would have us believe the Jews can do anything, even operate at will in the center of their most formidable enemy's capital city. That one's right out of the old anti-Semitic scrolls: whenever anything happens that upsets you, just blame the Jews. They can do anything, anywhere. If only it were true.

    The writer served as a consultant to the U.S. National Security Council, State Department, and Defense Department.

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