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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 25, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Muslim Terrorists from Arab Countries Operating Inside Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Muslim terrorists from Arab countries are operating inside Gaza.
    These men, some of whom are affiliated with al-Qaeda, are said to be behind the recent terror attacks from Gaza and along the Israel-Egypt border.
    Recent reports in the official Egyptian media have held Hamas and other radical Islamist groups responsible for turning Sinai into a center for jihad.

Syria's Maturing Insurgency - Joseph Holliday (Institute for the Study of War)
    As of June 2012, the opposition controls large swaths of Syria's northern and central countryside.
    The insurgency has expanded to an estimated 40,000 men and new local rebel groups continue to form.
    Viable provincial military councils - operating under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army but making their own operational decisions - have formed in Homs, Hama, Idlib, Deraa, and Damascus.
    External support must flow into Syria in a way that reinforces the growth of legitimate and stable structures within the Syrian opposition movement.
    See also Six Syrian Army Officers Defect (Al Arabiya)
    Six Syrian officers, including a general, and 33 soldiers have defected and arrived in Turkey, Turkish state television said on Monday.
    The news channel CNN Turk said the soldiers had arrived with their families, comprising 224 individuals.
    On Sunday, three additional Syrian military pilots defected to Jordan, Al Arabiya reported.

Report: Venezuela Supplied Iran with F-16 - Barak Ravid (Ha'aretz)
    Venezuela transferred at least one F-16 fighter to Iran in 2006 to help it calibrate its air defenses, the Spanish newspaper ABC reported.
    In 1983, years before Hugo Chavez came to power, Venezuela purchased 23 F-16 fighter jets. At least half have been transferred in recent years to other states in breach of an agreement with the U.S.
    See also Venezuela's Chavez Hosts Close Ally Ahmadinejad (AFP)

IDF Rearrests 15 Terrorists Freed in Shalit Deal - Yaakov Katz (Jerusalem Post)
    The IDF has rearrested 15 Palestinians who were released from Israeli prisons under the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap conducted last year.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Named Egypt's Winner, Islamist Makes History - David D. Kirkpatrick
    Egypt's military rulers on Sunday officially recognized Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of Egypt's first competitive presidential election. Morsi, 60, is the first Islamist elected as head of an Arab state. Morsi has always campaigned not as an individual with a vision of his own but rather as an executor of the Brotherhood's platform. He was the group's second-choice nominee, put forward after the disqualification of its leading strategist and most influential leader, Khairat el-Shater.
        Morsi, a close friend and protege of Shater's, has vowed to carry out the "renaissance" program that Shater devised to overhaul Egypt's ministries. The two did little to dispel the assertions of critics that Shater and the Brotherhood's board would wield the true power in a Morsi government. (New York Times)
        See also Egyptian President-Elect Morsi Wants to Expand Iran Ties
    Egypt's President-elect Mohamed Morsi told Iran's Fars news agency on Monday that he was looking to expand ties with Tehran to create a strategic "balance" in the region. (Al Arabiya)
        See also Egypt's Secular Forces Condemn U.S. Support for Muslim Brotherhood Candidate
    Egyptian secular and liberal parties sounded dissatisfaction over the reported support of the U.S. for the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi, but affirmed they would accept the results of the elections. Morsi's victory was hailed by Iran as a "splendid vision of democracy" that marked the final phase of an "Islamic Awakening."  (Al Ahram-Egypt)
  • Syria Downs Turkish Military Jet - Patrick J. McDonnell
    The Turkish military jet downed by Syrian antiaircraft batteries on Friday was back in "international airspace" when it was hit without warning after having inadvertently wandered into Syrian skies, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday. Syrian officials made no effort to contact the aircraft or Turkish authorities. Turkey is calling for a meeting of NATO to discuss the issue.
        U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday described the attack as "yet another reflection of the Syrian authorities' callous disregard for international norms, human life, and peace and security."  (Los Angeles Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Hopes for Continued Cooperation with Cairo - Herb Keinon
    Responding to the election of the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in Egypt, the Prime Minister's Office said it hoped to continue cooperation with the Egyptian government. "Israel appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects the results of the presidential elections," said a statement. Israel "looks forward to continuing cooperation with the Egyptian government on the basis of the peace treaty between the two countries, which is a joint interest of both peoples and contributes to regional stability."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel's Missile Defense System Intercepts Five Rockets Fired toward Ashkelon - Avi Issacharoff
    As rocket fire toward Israel from Gaza continued on Saturday, Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted five rockets fired toward the Ashkelon area. More than 20 rockets were fired from Gaza on Friday night and Saturday. An Israeli man was wounded when a Kassam rocket directly hit a factory in the Sderot industrial zone. One rocket hit a school in Sderot, which was empty at the time. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Despite Win, Egypt's New President Will Have His Hands Tied - Zvi Bar'el
    After nearly six decades in which the Muslim Brotherhood was banned by law, its representatives have won the presidency and control nearly half the seats in parliament. But Morsi's slim margin of victory - just over three percentage points - shows that the Muslim Brotherhood is not all-powerful. He and his movement will have to tread lightly in their political and diplomatic conduct.
        Morsi will not be able to ignore the army's strong standing or the need to have a good relationship with Washington - not just because of the financial aid Egypt gets but also because any Egyptian president who wants to improve his country's geopolitical standing needs American - and Saudi - assistance. Even if there is a hidden plan to reexamine or change the Camp David Accords, it won't be discussed any time soon. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Will Egypt's New Leader Islamize Largest Arab State? - Joanna Paraszczuk
    Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said Morsi's election victory meant that Egypt's 2011 revolution had failed. Morsi had said many times that his plans were to conquer Jerusalem, Mazel noted, adding that the Brotherhood would likely work to gradually create an Islamic state in Egypt.
        He said it was likely Morsi would move to overturn a recent order by the military to disband Egypt's Brotherhood-dominated parliament, and could also move to retire high-ranking generals and replace them with his own men. (Jerusalem Post)
  • President Putin's Middle East Gambit - Jonathan Marcus
    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday begins a two-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Zvi Magen, a former Israeli ambassador to Russia and now a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, says, "Russia is now viewing the Middle East as a cause of trouble."
        "Russia is finding itself challenged by the Islamists' rising power and is feeling isolated in the Arab world." "The ouster of the secular regimes and their replacement by Islamists raises concern in Moscow, with the Kremlin fearing the events of the Arab Spring might inspire similar developments in Russia's soft belly - the Caucasus - and also inside its own territory." "In addition, it views the geo-political activities of Turkey with some suspicion."
        Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Endowment's Moscow Center, describes Putin as "the most pro-Israeli Russian president since the end of the Soviet Union." "Mr. Putin knows many Israeli leaders well - that cannot be said of his relations with many leaders in the Arab world." "Russia is on the map in Syria in quite the wrong way, so a visit to Israel may help to counterbalance that."  (BBC News)
        See also Putin's Mission in Israel - Andrei Kozhinov (Moscow Times-Russia)
  • The West Lags Behind on Syria - Editorial
    Reporting from inside Syria, including by Western journalists, shows that big pieces of territory have already been taken over by opposition groups and that significant quantities of weapons are flowing to their fighters. What's needed is an aggressive effort to shape and support the emerging rebel organizations, aimed at helping them to consolidate control over territory, communicate with each other and establish governing structures.
        The Obama administration should also be asking itself and its allies whether it can speed the rebels' military development; the longer the war lasts, the greater the chance that extremists will win. (Washington Post)

Iran and the Bomb - Walter Russell Mead (American Interest)

  • It should be obvious by now to all reasonable observers that Iran is an unstable regime shot through with dangerous anti-Semitic impulses, apocalyptic fantasy and convoluted conspiracy thinking that has no business anywhere near nuclear weapons.
  • Jew-hatred is an irrational passion that overmasters common sense and destroys the ability to perceive one's own best interests. Enough Israelis have enough historical memory of the irrationality that Jew-hatred brings in its wake that it's unrealistic to expect Israel to accept an Iranian bomb no matter how rational the experts say the mullahs really are.
  • It's important to remember that Israel didn't start the clandestine war between the two countries. Way back in 1994, Iran was implicated in the bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires which killed 85 people and wounded scores more. It was an act of unprovoked overseas terrorism for which Interpol has charged five Iranian officials - including current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi.
  • The U.S. must stop any Iranian bomb drive because the effort to contain a nuclear Iran will make everything in the Middle East even worse than it is.

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