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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
July 24, 2012

In-Depth Issues:

Russia's Top Cyber Sleuth Foils U.S. Spies, Helps Kremlin Pals - Noah Shachtman (Wired)
    One of Russia's richest men, Eugene Kaspersky, is CEO of Kaspersky Lab, arguably the most important Internet security company in the world.
    Kaspersky, a former Soviet intelligence officer, maintains a deep and ongoing relationship with Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB.
    In 2010, a researcher now working for Kaspersky discovered Stuxnet, the U.S.-Israeli worm that wrecked nearly a thousand Iranian centrifuges.
    In May, Kaspersky's antihackers exposed a second weaponized computer program, which they dubbed Flame. It was subsequently revealed to be another U.S.-Israeli operation aimed at Iran. In other words, Kaspersky Lab is a leader in uncovering cyber-espionage.
    Flame, one of the most sophisticated pieces of spyware ever discovered, was another part of America's shadow war against Iran - and Kaspersky killed it.

Israeli Expert: Islamist Group, Not Free Syrian Army, Blew Up Assad's Inner Circle - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
    The bombing last Wednesday in Damascus of President Bashar Assad's national security headquarters was perpetrated by an Islamist group and not the Free Syrian Army, as was initially claimed, according to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an expert on Arab affairs at Bar-Ilan University.

In Syria, U.S. Struggles to Fill Intelligence Gaps - Greg Miller and Joby Warrick (Washington Post)
    U.S. spy agencies have expanded their efforts to gather intelligence on rebel forces and Assad's regime in recent months, but they are still largely confined to monitoring intercepted communications and observing the conflict from a distance.
    The CIA has been unable to establish a presence in Syria, in contrast to its role in Egypt and Libya during revolts in those countries.

Syrian Rebels Burn Palestinian Flag, Thinking It's Iranian - Elhanan Miller (Times of Israel)
    Syrian rebels who captured the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey last week were seen in a video posted Thursday burning what they say is an Iranian flag. In fact, it is Palestinian.

IDF a Magnet for U.S. Jews - Itamar Eichner (Ynet News)
    Some 350 young Jews from North America will immigrate to Israel this summer to join the Israeli army, Yediot Ahronot reported Monday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Shifting Syria Focus from UN Diplomacy to Aiding Rebels - Matt Spetalnick and Warren Strobel
    The Obama administration, shifting its focus away from deadlocked UN diplomacy over Syria, is now seeking ways to further bolster Syrian rebel forces, including increased supplies of communications equipment and sharing of intelligence, U.S. sources said on Monday. "The policy's moved a little bit," said one source. "We're not doing anything lethal, but we're assisting more."  (Reuters)
        See also Obama Warns Syria Not to Use Chemical Weapons
    President Barack Obama said Monday: "Given the [Syrian] regime's stockpiles of chemical weapons, we will continue to make it clear to Assad and those around him that the world is watching, and that they will be held accountable by the international community and the United States, should they make the tragic mistake of using those weapons."  (White House)
  • Syrian Government Regains Initiative in Damascus - Austin Tice and Liz Sly
    The bomb that killed four top aides to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week provided a huge boost to the morale of the rebel movement. On Monday, however, Syrian troops moved house to house in neighborhoods that had briefly fallen under rebel control, detaining opposition sympathizers. State television broadcast pictures of the bodies of dead fighters, of handcuffed, blindfolded prisoners, and of soldiers hunting down the rebels. Col. Malik Kurdi, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army command, said the rebels had no choice but to pull out of the Damascus neighborhoods they seized last week. (Washington Post)
        See also Clashes Flare in Syria's Aleppo for 4th Day - Paul Schemm (AP)
  • EU Move to Upgrade Relations with Israel - Phoebe Greenwood
    The EU will offer Israel upgraded trade and diplomatic relations in more than 60 areas at a high-level meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. The EU will widen its relationship with Jerusalem in such areas as migration, energy and agriculture. It will remove obstacles impeding Israel's access to European government-controlled markets and enhance Israel's co-operation with nine EU agencies, including Europol and the European Space Agency.
        The boost to bilateral relations stops just short of the full upgrade that was frozen after Israel's invasion of Gaza in January 2009. "The upgrade process may be frozen but both parties are finding ways to increase cooperation when it suits them," said Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Guardian-UK)
  • Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Calls for Jihad to Liberate Palestine
    Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Muhammad Badi, in his July 5, 2012, weekly sermon, stated: "Every Muslim must act to save Jerusalem from the usurpers and to [liberate] Palestine from the claws of occupation. This is a personal duty for all Muslims. They must participate in jihad by [donating] money or [sacrificing] their life, in order to save [Palestine]."
        In another sermon, published on June 14, Badi said: "How glad the Muslims will be if all Muslim rulers make the Palestinian cause a pivotal matter, and [if] the rulers and subjects rally around it with the single goal of restoring the Al-Aqsa Mosque, saving it from the filth of the Zionists, and enacting Islamic sovereignty over the beloved land of Palestine."  (MEMRI)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel to Turkey: No Apology for Marmara Raid - Cihan Celik
    Israel is ready to solve any outstanding disputes with its former ally Turkey, but it will not apologize for a deadly May 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told a group of journalists from Turkey visiting Jerusalem. "[The Mavi Marmara mission] was a clear provocation and it was our right to protect the lives of our soldiers. Frankly speaking, Israel has no reason to apologize," he said.
        Lieberman noted: "[Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan has repeatedly said that an apology will not improve the relations and that [Turkey] has additional conditions. Turkey has a long [list of] other conditions, including the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, [returning] to the border lines before 1967, compensation, etc."
        "We don't have any disputes with Turkey - [either] territorial or historical. The opposite is true. The Jewish people have lived for hundreds of years in [Turkey] in safety, even during World War II," he said. (Hurriyet-Turkey)
        See also Syrian Rebels Reject Offer of Israeli Humanitarian Assistance - Sam Ser
    Israel has offered humanitarian assistance to Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime, but the rebels have rejected the offer, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Turkish journalists Monday. (Times of Israel)
  • PA TV: Israel Is a Monster that Eats Palestinian Children - Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
    On July 13, 2012, PA TV hosted Palestinian artist Abd Al-Hai Msallam, highlighting his painting of the Palestinians' problems in Gaza. The painting shows a monster wearing a Star of David impaling children on his bayonet and eating them. A pile of dead children is depicted, ready to be eaten, while two baby monsters with Stars of David are also shown eating children. (Palestinian Media Watch)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Invisible Red Line: The Futility of Trying to Detect an Iranian Order to Build the Bomb - Dany Shoham and Raphael Ofek
    At what point will Iran's drive for nuclear weapons necessitate Western military action against it? It is practically impossible and very unlikely that Western intelligence could detect an unambiguous order from Iranian leadership to build a nuclear bomb, making this an unwise "red line" marker. Instead, the threshold at which no practical surgical operation can deprive Iran of its nuclear capability is a much more relevant "red line" on Iran's path to nuclearization. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham is a former senior intelligence analyst and a senior research associate at the BESA Center. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Raphael Ofek, an expert in nuclear physics, also served as a senior intelligence analyst in the IDF. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
  • Revolt in Syria: Eye-Witness to the Uprising - Stephen Star
    Jdaydieh Artouz, a town 11 miles southwest of Damascus, is home to a mix of Sunnis, Christians, and Alawites. Ask the Christian, Shiite, and Druze families whom I lived among in Jdaydieh if they support the revolution, and the vast majority will answer, in private, that they do not. Today, Christians fear that their churches will be tightly controlled by what would likely be a conservative Sunni government, should the rebellion succeed.
        The new Syrian middle class also feels threatened by the revolt. Many in this group clearly fear losing the privileges they have enjoyed during Assad's reign. The reality is that many Syrians back neither the regime nor the revolt. They are Syria's silent majority, and they will likely pay a heavy price. (Foreign Policy)
  • 90th Anniversary of Palestine Mandate - Eli Hertz
    July 24 marks the 90th anniversary of the League of Nations' "Mandate for Palestine." The entire League of Nations unanimously declared on July 24, 1922: "Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."
        Article 6 states that "the Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage...close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands."  (Breitbart)

Tony Blair: "The West Is Asleep on the Issue of Islamist Extremism" - Charles Moore (Telegraph-UK)

  • According to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, since September 11, 2001, the power of the bad ''narrative" of Islamist extremists that ''the West oppresses Islam" has grown.
  • That narrative seeks ''supremacy, not coexistence." He fears that ''the West is asleep on this issue," and yet it is the biggest challenge.
  • The Middle East ''won't achieve democracy unless it understands that democracy is a way of thinking as well as voting. The key question is how the majority treats the minority."
  • The West, he says, has been too slow to help the people of Iran: ''The people would undoubtedly boot their government out at the ballot box if they could. It is important they know we are prepared to help them. A Persian spring would be very welcome."

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