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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
June 4, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Speeding Up Development of Anti-Nuke Missile Defense (Times of Israel)
    Israel is speeding up its development of the Arrow 3 long-range missile interception system, Col. Aviram Hasson, who heads the project, told the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on Monday.
    The Arrow 3 would be able to target incoming nuclear or conventional missiles at a high altitude, which would minimize the threat of fallout.

Nasrallah Foresakes the "Resistance" - Ruth Pollard (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
    ''The decision of Hassan Nasrallah to remove the veil of Hizbullah's involvement in Syria, to very openly trumpet that they are not only involved but they are all in to the end...this is a very significant boundary he has crossed,'' says Mona Yacoubian, senior Middle East adviser at the Washington-based Stimson Center.
    ''This project of resistance [to Israel] that had broad street credibility and appeal to the Arab masses has now all but vanished, and when he puts the Takfiris [Muslim apostates] equal to, or even more of an enemy, than Israel, something very significant has happened.''
    Yacoubian says Nasrallah has ''catapulted a sectarian narrative ahead of a resistance narrative," and his attempts to describe Hizbullah's foray in Syria as part of the resistance against Israel are ''just so hollow."

Muslim Scholars Assert Normalization with Israel Is Treason (Al-Qassam Brigades-Hamas)
    The Muslim Scholars Association in Gaza called on the Arab and Islamic nation to place names of those who call for normalization with Israel on the wanted list on charges of treason.

Hizbullah Wary of Syrians in Beirut - Maha Houteit and Adam Rasmi (NOW-Lebanon)
    As Syrians fleeing the two-year old conflict continue to pour into the Beirut neighborhood of Dahiyeh, home of Hizbullah's security headquarters, the militia's security agents are increasingly targeting the Syrian community.
    A curfew has just been implemented for Syrians, prohibiting them from wandering the streets after 9 p.m. The recent rocket attacks in the adjacent suburb of Shiyah have only made the suspicion of Syrians grow.
    Ali al-Amin, a political analyst for al-Balad, says, "Hizbullah is aware of each Syrian present in Dahiyeh, as their identity cards are confiscated before settling in the area."

Device from Israeli Start-Up Gives the Visually Impaired a Way to Read - John Markoff (New York Times)
    The OrCam device is a small camera worn in the style of Google Glass, connected by a thin cable to a portable computer designed to fit in the wearer's pocket.
    The system clips on to the wearer's glasses with a small magnet and uses a bone-conduction speaker to offer clear speech as it reads aloud the words or object pointed to by the user.
    It recognizes English-language text and beginning this week will be sold for $2,500, about the cost of a mid-range hearing aid.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Adds to Its List of Sanctions Against Iran - Rick Gladstone
    In an executive order effective July 1, President Obama authorized sanctions on any foreign financial institutions that conduct "significant transactions" in the Iranian rial, the national currency, or maintains rial accounts outside Iran. An administration official said the order "should cause banks and exchanges to dump their rial holdings." The objective of the new sanction is to "make the rial essentially unusable outside of Iran."
        The executive order also authorized sanctions against any companies or individuals who do business with Iran's automotive industry. Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the automotive sanctions could have serious consequences for Iran, where the automotive industry is one of the biggest employers. Sanctions advocates also contend Iran's automotive industry is a major procurement network that imports material and technologies used to build uranium centrifuges instead of cars. (New York Times)
  • Iran Cuts Hamas Funding over Syria - Robert Tait
    Iran has cut up to £15 million a month in funding for Hamas as punishment for the movement's backing for the uprising in Syria, the Palestinian Islamist group's leaders have admitted. Ghazi Hamad, Hamas' deputy foreign minister, described relations with Iran as "bad." "I cannot deny that since 2006 Iran supported Hamas with money and many [other] things. But the situation is not like the past," he said, adding: "I cannot say there is military cooperation."
        Iran gave Hamas an estimated £13-15 million a month after its victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections - enough to cover its governing budget, said Dr. Adnan Abu Amer, assistant professor of political science at Gaza City's Ummah University. Tehran still sends a "tiny amount" to maintain ties, he said, but relations have been all but severed. Hamas' bureau in Tehran, long treated as a de facto embassy, no longer has a permanent representative. (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Ya'alon: No Real Peace Without End to Palestinian Incitement
    "If I open a PA textbook and see that Israel doesn't appear on the map, or that Tel Aviv is designated as a settlement, and when a 3-year-old boy is brought up to admire suicide bombers - you can sign any agreement and in the end it will blow up in your face," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
        Speaking about prospects for peace with the Palestinians, Ya'alon said, "We're ready to begin the process immediately without preconditions, and discuss all the issues....We don't want to rule the Palestinians. We're ready to advance the diplomatic process, which Abbas is avoiding by setting preconditions. We are unwilling to pay a price just for them to come to the table."
        Ya'alon added, "We are being attacked over the issue of settlements. If we're talking about peace and coexistence, why are the Palestinians demanding territory free of Jews?"  (Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas Member Freed in Shalit Deal Planned New Kidnapping - Yaakov Lappin
    Israeli security forces arrested a Hamas member from Ramallah who intended to carrying out a kidnapping and shooting attacks, under the instructions of a terror suspect who was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange and then deported, the Israel Security Agency announced Monday. Bahar Sa'ad, 26, who was arrested in May, was recruited in Jordan by Hashem Ibrahaim Hajaz, a Hamas member involved in the murder of 10 Israelis between 2001 and 2003, who was released as part of the 2011 Shalit deal. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Monthly Infiltration from Sinai Drops from 2,000 to 2
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, "The fence that we built in the south is achieving the result for which it was erected. As opposed to the over 2,000 infiltrators who entered Israel exactly one year May 2013 exactly two infiltrators crossed the border and were detained. Now we need to focus on repatriating the illegal infiltrators who are here."  (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also African Country Agrees to Take in Eritrean Labor Migrants Living in Israel - Barak Ravid and Amos Harel
    An African country has agreed to take in Eritrean labor migrants living in Israel, today numbering around 35,000, if Israel gives them agricultural training first. A senior Israeli official said Sunday that talks were underway with several countries that might accept the migrants. Israel has discussed the issue with Ghana, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Israel Reaches Deal to Deport Immigrants - Aviel Magnezi
    Israel has reached an agreement with a foreign country to transfer North Sudanese illegal immigrants to its territory, and similar deals with two additional countries are in the works, it was revealed on Sunday in the High Court of Justice. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The End of Palestinian Reform - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Many in the West have been in denial about the demise of the one genuine moderate in Palestinian politics, ex-prime minister Salam Fayyad. Far from continuing the American-educated technocrat's policies aimed at stopping corruption and facilitating development, even the New York Times admits that Hamdallah is likely to keep foreign donations "in the family" and return the PA back to the bad old days when Yasir Arafat and his cronies were pocketing billions intended to better the lives of ordinary Palestinians.
        Fayyad's intention to change Palestinian political culture was clear. He wanted to clean up the PA's act and create a new constituency for policies oriented toward prosperity and peace, rather than the perpetual war fever and hatred for Israelis and Jews.
        By appointing Hamdallah, Abbas is showing that he not only doesn't give a damn what the Obama administration thinks but that he believes a return to Arafat's ways won't bring about any consequences from Washington. Without Fayyad, the pretense that the PA is anything but a kleptocracy is now gone. (Commentary)
        See also Why Abbas Chose a New Palestinian Prime Minister - Khaled Abu Toameh
    As long as Salam Fayyad was prime minister, it was almost impossible for Abbas and Fatah to lay their hands on hundreds of millions of dollars of international aid. The new Palestinian prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, is a "yes man" with no political experience. Unlike Fayyad, Hamdallah will now serve as Abbas' obedient and faithful servant - a powerless prime minister who would rubber-stamp his decisions. (Gatestone institute)
  • Nasrallah Fights Uphill Battle for Assad - Zvi Bar'el
    Muqtada al-Sadr, the separatist Iraqi Shi'ite leader, flatly refused Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah's request to send fighters to the battle in Syria, the Kuwaiti weekly Al-Seyassah reported. Sadr accused Nasrallah of a desire "to crush what is left of Iraqi national unity. The involvement of Iraqi Shi'ites in the war in Syria means a civil war in Iraq."
        Criticism against Nasrallah in Arab countries is deep and widespread. His political rivals in Lebanon opposed his dragging the country "to its destruction" due to his participation in another country's war, according to Saad Hariri, the Sunni former Lebanese prime minister. For Nasrallah, this really is a war of life or death, and his participation is not only a goodwill gesture or a repayment to Syria and Iran for years of support. A Sunni Syria means a severance of Hizbullah's logistical and economic lifeline. (Ha'aretz)

The Roots of the Turkish Uprising - Michael Rubin (Wall Street Journal)

  • When a small group of environmentalists banded together on May 28 to save an Istanbul park from being turned into a shopping mall, their sit-in hardly seemed likely to spark what is already being called the Turkish Spring. The government's harsh response spurred popular outrage that quickly spread to Ankara, Izmir and more than a dozen other cities across the country. The unrest has been long brewing.
  • Erdogan's Justice and Development Party had won three straight general elections since 2002, increasing its popular vote to 50% in 2011. Dominating all branches of government, Erdogan dispensed with political compromise and doubled down on Islamism and old vendettas. He antagonized Turkey's minority Alevi population - one-quarter of Turkey's 75 million citizens - by naming a new Istanbul bridge to span the Bosporus after Selim I, a 16th-century sultan who massacred 40,000 Alevis.
  • Erdogan has accumulated more foreign debt in his rule than all of Turkey's previous prime ministers combined. Last year's drop in growth to 2.2% from 8.8% in 2011 was a wake-up call that Turkey might not always be able to make its payments.
  • Against this backdrop, many Turks are enraged by signs that Erdogan and his aides have enriched themselves while in power.
  • The past week's protests have highlighted the lack of press freedom in Turkey. As police attacked the protesters, CNN Turk broadcast a cooking show. Turkey imprisons more journalists than any other country in the world, according to Reporters Without Borders.
  • As Istanbul's mayor, Erdogan once said: "Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off." The West has refused to believe what Turks know: Erdogan arrived at his stop years ago.

    The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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