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by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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June 13, 2013

In-Depth Issue:

Israel's Mossad Chief Meets Head of Turkish Intelligence (Hurriyet - Turkey)
  The head of Israel's Mossad, Tamir Pardo, met secretly with the Turkish intelligence agency's undersecretary, Hakan Fidan, on June 10 in Ankara, with Syria and Iran on the agenda. Fidan and Pardo shared information about the latest situation in Syria as well as the influence of Iran in the country such as information that Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Syrian intelligence unit, al-Mukhaberat, are working against Turkey.

India Seeks Water Management Lessons From Israel - Debra Kamin (New York Times)
  As Indian municipal officials and water engineers search for ways to provide cleaner water to their nation's 1.2 billion people, they are increasingly turning to Israel, which has solved many of the same problems that India is now experiencing.
  Last week, a delegation of 16 high-ranking Indian officials of the water authorities of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Goa and Haryana arrived in Israel for a seven-day visit. They visited wastewater treatment plants, met with some of Israel's leading environmentalists and agronomists and listened to explanations of some of the newest technologies that keep this desert country green.

Waze Deal Primes Israel's Silicon Wadi for Wave of Investment - Douglas MacMillan (Bloomberg)
  Google's acquisition of mobile map developer Waze Inc. marks one of the most lucrative outcomes for an Israeli technology startup, and is poised to fuel a wave of investment and entrepreneurship in the country.
  Tel Aviv, which has a population of about 400,000, is home to as many as 700 early stage startups, according to city data.
  Venture capitalists invested $899.2 million in Israeli companies last year, a 41 percent increase from the previous year, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

Human Rights Lawyer Anne Bayefsky Speaks at UN Human Rights Council (EyeontheUN)
  Human rights lawyer Anne Bayefsky condemned UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk at a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier this week. Ms. Bayefsky criticized Falk's recent report on Israel. "In your report you defend Ahmad Jabari, the Hamas mastermind of the kidnap and detention of Gilad Shalit who was denied visits by the International Red Cross in gross violation of international law. As recently as June 7 you [Falk] published an article in which you said, "Israel controls the world media." In a press release on June 6 you argue against Palestinians and Israelis sitting down together and directly negotiating peaceful existence now."

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman: Iran "a Threat to National Security"
    Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey slammed Iran on Tuesday as "a threat to U.S. national security," emphasizing that the Islamic republic is "certainly preserving and building on [its] options" for creating a nuclear weapon.
      "Iran is a threat to U.S. national security in many ways, not simply their move towards the potential to develop a nuclear weapon," General Martin Dempsey said during a Congressional hearing. "I choose my words carefully, because the intelligence community has not yet come to a conclusion that they intend to build a nuclear weapon, but they're certainly preserving and building on their options to do so, which should be of concern to all of us and is," he said in response to a question.
      "We have been very clear as a nation that we are determined to prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon because it would be so destabilizing to the region. But they are also active in cyber. They've got surrogates all over the region and all over the world. They proliferate arms. They are a disruptive influence globally. And so I do consider them a threat to our national security," Dempsey said. (The Tower)
  • Gas Adds Energy to Israeli Diplomacy - Calev Ben-David
    Israeli foreign policy, dominated by conflict with its neighbors,may be entering a new era as the country turns into a natural-gas producer.
      "This a new age for Israel," said David Wurmser,director of Washington-based Delphi Global Analysis Group. "While the quantities are still modest in global terms,Israel could strategically leverage marginal amounts of gas for major impact if it utilizes them correctly."
      "The gas could be a geopolitical game changer for Israel, if it makes the right decision," Gal Luft, senior adviser to the United States Energy Security Council in Washington, said on a visit to Israel last week. "That decision is whether it tries to become a minor player in the global liquefied natural gas market, or a big fish in a smaller pond by exporting to regional isolated markets." (Bloomberg)
        See also The Geopolitics of Israel's Offshore Gas Reserves - David Wurmser (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Syrian Helicopter Gunship Fires on Lebanese Border Town
    A Syrian helicopter gunship attacked the eastern Lebanese town of Arsal on Wednesday. The helicopter fired two rockets towards the square of the town on Wednesday, wounding one person, in the first such attack from Syria on an urban center inside Lebanon in the nearly 27-month conflict. Arsal is a mainly Sunni Muslim town. (Al Jazeera)
        See also U.S. Condemns Syrian Regime's Attack on Arsal - U.S. Embassy, Damascus
    The Syrian regime's aggression is an unacceptable provocation and risks dragging Lebanon into the Syrian conflict. We join the international community in reiterating our call for all parties in Lebanon to respect Lebanon's disassociation policy. We equally condemn the brutal, unprovoked gunfire by Hizbullah supporters on peaceful protestors outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut on Sunday that led to the death of a student leader. (Facebook)
  • Gaza Kids Play 'Kidnap Israeli Soldier' in Summer Camp - Elior Levy
    In a somewhat unorthodox summer camp in the Gaza Strip, children aged between six and 16 picked up AK-47s and engaged in a series of quasi-military drills, including a lively game of "kidnap an Israeli soldier" in the sand dunes of Rafah.
      An AFP correspondent listed some of the activities the Islamic Jihad summer camp offers its enrollees: Weapons use, jumping over fire and crawling under barbed wire, all performed to the tune of exploding charges. (Ynet News)
  • Syrian Doctor, in Unprecedented Note, Asks Israel to Save Patient's life - Gavriel Fiske
    A handwritten doctor's note was found attached to the clothing of a Syrian man brought to Israel in critical condition Tuesday. The note explained, in Arabic, previous surgical procedures and medical care the man had received days before in Syria. It asked Israel to save his life because the Syrian doctors could not provide the necessary medical treatment. The note, which was signed by a Syrian doctor and dated June 8, opened with "Hello distinguished surgeon" and explained that the patient, aged 28, suffered from a gunshot wound in the chest and shrapnel damage to his diaphragm and liver.
      Israel has so far treated around 20 Syrians who have been injured as a result of the Syrian civil war, and the IDF has set up a field hospital along the Israeli-Syrian border to help care for the injured. (Times of Israel)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Iran Emerging as Victor in Syrian Conflict - Liz Sly
    As fighters with Lebanon's Hizbullah movement wage the battles that are helping Syria's regime survive, their chief sponsor, Iran, is emerging as the biggest victor in the wider regional struggle for influence. Iran's supporters and foes alike are mulling a new reality: that the regional balance of power appears to be tilting in favor of Tehran, with potentially profound implications for the Middle East.
      "This is an Iranian fight. It is no longer a Syrian one," said Mustafa Alani, director of security and defense at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Council. "The issue is hegemony in the region. If Iran wins this conflict and the Syrian regime survives, Iran's interventionist policy will become wider and its credibility will be enhanced," he added.
      Iran has provided advice, money and arms to Assad's regime, but the manpower needed to bolster his forces has come from Hizbullah.
      Amr al-Azm, a history professor at Shawnee State University in Ohio who is Syrian and active in the opposition, warned, "Politically we're screwed, and militarily we're taking a pounding," Azm said. "America talked the talk while Iran walked the walk." (Washington Post)
        See also U.S. Credibility on Iran at Stake in Syria - Michael Singh (Foreign Policy)
  • Understanding the Turkish Demonstrations - Harold Rhode
    Turkey, although nominally part of the West, is in most ways culturally closer to the Middle East. People in a supposedly democratic Turkey are reluctant to air their grievances out of fear their government might take revenge on them.
      In the culture of the Middle East, there is no such thing as a win-win compromise. Turks, like their neighbors, consider backing down or apologizing dishonorable. Consequently, they blame each other and look for scapegoats but almost never admit responsibility for problems.
      Before Erdogan came to power in 2002, many observant Muslims complained that the state discriminated against them. Under Islam, there can be no separation of religion and state. Since Erdogan and his AKP ["Truth and Reconciliation Party"] came to power, they have done their best to dismantle the secular apparatus of the state and impose their version of Sunni fundamentalist Islam.
      To understand whether a revolt has staying power, one might ask if a regime has the will and ability to do what is necessary to restore calm. Will Turkey descend into chaos like most of its Arab neighbors? In terms of security forces, Turkey is better organized than its Arab neighbors so it is difficult to see Turkey in a similar chaotic situation.
      Events of the past few weeks have forced onto the Turkish agenda issues the government had pushed underground. Whatever happens, Turkey has shown that it is not the stable island of calm and democracy its allies had hoped it to be. The writer served as the Turkish Desk Officer at the US Department of Defense. He is now a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Observations:

    Iran Elections 2013: Does the President even Matter? - Saffiya Ansari (Al Arabiya)

  • As Iran's elections draw near, the six candidates are upping the ante, participating in televised debates and nationwide tours in a bid to win the vote and secure their place as the country's next president.
  • In Iran, however, the president is not the final decision-maker, and it is the only state in which the president does not have control over the armed forces.
  • Instead, Iran's political structure, including its executive branch, is ruled over by a supreme leader, currently Ayatollah Khamenei, whose position is not decided by a popular vote. Khamenei rules on the basis of vilayet-e-faqih (Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist). This essentially means he is given custodianship of the people by divine right.
  • "The constitution gives a range of functions to the supreme leader that relate to 'supervising' the presidency," explains Sasan Aghlani, a researcher at London-based think-tank Chatham House. "In this sense there's nothing in the constitution that prevents the supreme leader from intervening if he believes the president to have acted against Iran's vital interests."
  • "There's an understanding in Iran that the Ahmadinejad presidency seriously deteriorated Iran's international relations," said Dr. Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, author of the book Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic.
  • It is therefore "no coincidence" that three of this year's election candidates - Ali Akbar Velayati, Saeed Jalili and Hassan Rouhani - "come directly from Iran's foreign policy establishment," he said, adding that the next president will be key to adequately reconstructing the country's flagging foreign relations.
  • The president's key role in brokering diplomacy with the outside world is just one reason why the position matters, Adib-Moghaddam said.
  •     See also Who Brought Iran Close to a Nuclear Bomb? The Focal Point of Rowhani's and Jalili's Election Propaganda - Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

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