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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
July 11, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Exile Group Claims Evidence of Hidden Nuclear Site (AFP-Fox News)
    The Paris-based Iranian opposition group the People's Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) claimed on Thursday to have evidence of a hidden nuclear site located in tunnels beneath a mountain near Damavand, northeast of Tehran.
    "These revelations demonstrate once again that the Mullahs' regime has no intention of stopping or even suspending the development of a nuclear weapon," the MEK said, calling on the IAEA to visit the secret site.
    The MEK has provided information about the Iranian nuclear program on several occasions.

Saudi Arabia Targeting Iran and Israel with Ballistic Missiles - Colin Freeman (Telegraph-UK)
    New satellite photography suggests that Saudi Arabia is targeting both Israel and Iran with powerful ballistic missiles.
    Experts at IHS Jane's Intelligence Review revealed a missile base deep in the Saudi desert, with two launch pads with markings pointing northwest towards Tel Aviv and northeast towards Tehran.
    They are designed for Saudi Arabia's lorry-launched DF 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton payload.

Why Iran Wins from Morsi's Fall - Meir Javedanfar (Al-Monitor)
    The recent toppling of President Mohamed Morsi by the Egyptian army is likely to be to Iran's advantage, at least in the short to medium term.
    Morsi's closeness to the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the most powerful Sunni political organizations, made him a powerful enemy of Tehran.
    Morsi's ties to the Brotherhood also helped him to pull Hamas toward him. With their increased isolation, Hamas leaders may find Iran to be the only one willing to help them.
    The return of democratic legitimacy to Egypt would be bad news to Iran, as this is likely to make Cairo a powerful rival - again. For now, however, the chances of the realization of such a scenario seem remote.
    The writer teaches contemporary Iranian politics at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

Lebanese on Trial in Nigeria Admit Being Trained by Hizbullah (Guardian-Nigeria)
    Mustapha Fawaz (49), Abdullahi Thahini (48), and Tahal Roda (51) confessed on Monday at the Federal High Court in Abuja to being trained and paid by Hizbullah.
    The three face a six-count charge bordering on terrorism after mortars, land mines, AK 47 rifles, anti-tank rocket launchers and hand grenades were found in their custody "sufficient to sustain a civil war."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Egypt's Government Broadens Its Accusations Against Islamists - David Kirkpatrick
    Egypt's new government accused Mohamed Morsi and his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday of a campaign to incite violence against their foes before and after his ouster as president. New arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for the Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Mohamed Badie, and eight other well-known allies. (New York Times)
  • Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi - Ben Hubbard and David Kirkpatrick
    Since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, life has gotten better for many people across Egypt: Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street. Morsi's supporters say the sudden turnaround proves that their opponents conspired to make Morsi fail.
        It is the police returning to the streets that offers the most blatant sign that the institutions once loyal to Mubarak held back while Morsi was in power. Posters have gone up around Cairo showing a police officer surrounded by smiling children.
        Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and an outspoken foe of the Brotherhood, said Wednesday that he had publicly predicted that ousting Morsi would bring in billions of dollars in aid from oil-rich monarchies afraid that the Islamist movement might spread to their shores. By Wednesday, a total of $12 billion had flowed in from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. (New York Times)
  • Congress to Qatar: Stop Funding Hamas - Jonathan Schanzer
    Congressmen Peter Roskam (R-IL) and John Barrow (D-GA) are seeking to challenge Qatar over its financial ties to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. A draft letter addressed to Qatar's ambassador to Washington, Mohammed Bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi, states: "We believe that Qatar's relationship with Hamas empowers, legitimizes, and bolsters an organization committed to violence and hatred."
        Of particular concern is Qatar's pledge of $400 million in financial aid to Hamas last year, and the fact that Hamas' leader, Khaled Meshal, now hangs his hat in Doha. Meshal recently delivered a sermon at Qatar's Grand Mosque in which he affirmed Hamas' commitment "to liberate Jerusalem."  (Politico)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Gunmen Fire at Military Commander's Car in Sinai
    Gunmen on Wednesday opened fire on the car of a senior military commander in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula in the Sheikh Zuwayed area near Gaza, an Egyptian army spokesman said. Security forces returned fire and a girl was killed during the exchange of fire. (AFP-Maan News-PA)
  • IDF Reports Drop in West Bank Terror Attacks - Ron Friedman
    The head of IDF Central Command, Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, said Wednesday that "intensified IDF action and improved cooperation with the Palestinian security forces" have resulted in a two-thirds drop in the number of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis in the West Bank over the past two months, Maariv reported. The upsurge, which began after Israel launched its military operation in Gaza in November 2012, involved dozens of rock and firebomb attacks on Israeli vehicles. Firebomb incidents declined from 79 in March to 29 in June. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Egypt's Preferable Tyranny - George F. Will
    It is difficult to welcome a military overthrow of democratic results. It is, however, more difficult to regret a prophylactic coup against the exploitation of democratic success to adopt measures inimical to the development of a democratic culture.
        The tyranny portended by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood promised no separation of politics and religion, hence the impossibility of pluralism, and a hostility to modernity that guaranteed economic incompetence.
        The idea that the strong have a right to unfettered rule if their strength is numerical is just the barbarism of "might makes right" prettified by initial adherence to democratic forms. (Washington Post)
  • Getting the Muslim Brotherhood Wrong - Michael J. Totten
    Political liberals were right when they warned the rest of us that the Muslim Brotherhood would transform Egypt into a theocratic dictatorship. The idea that the Brotherhood is a moderate and democratic party became an article of faith here in the U.S., particularly among academics and journalists who should have known better.
        The group was founded in 1928 and its ideology has been documented exhaustively. Not for even five minutes has it been a democratic or moderate party. It has been struggling for theocracy since the day it was born, sometimes peaceably and sometimes by force. Every Sunni Islamist terrorist organization in the region is a spin-off of the Brotherhood or of one of its spin-offs. (World Affairs)
  • Syria Is Iran's Stalingrad - Gary C. Gambill
    The influx of thousands of foreign Shiite fighters into Syria in recent months has enabled pro-regime forces to regain some ground. But the surge won't prevent the overwhelmingly Sunni Arab rebels from eventually prevailing on the battlefield, where Sunni Arabs have a 5-to-1 demographic edge over the Alawites who comprise most uniformed and paramilitary pro-regime combatants. The rebels are strongly supported by the overwhelming majority of Arabs and Muslims worldwide who are Sunnis, and their four principal sponsors - Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan.
        Iran's massive infusions of cash into Syria ($12.6 billion, according to one estimate) and stepped up training of pro-Assad forces has greatly inflamed animosity toward the Islamic Republic and its proxies throughout the Arab-Islamic world. A recent survey by James Zogby shows that Iran's favorability ratings have fallen to an all-time low in majority Sunni countries. Syria, he writes, has become the "nail in the coffin" of Iran's standing in the region. (Foreign Policy Research Institute)
  • Anti-Semitism Runs Deep in Turkey's AKP - Walter Russell Mead
    An excellent analysis in the Turkey Analyst of how the Gezi Park protests have concretely set back Erdogan's political program includes the following passage digging into the recent anti-Semitic drivel seeping out of the party leadership:
        "On June 16, 2013...the main pro-AKP daily newspaper Yeni Safak claimed that it had uncovered evidence that the Gezi Park protests had been orchestrated by the 'Jewish lobby' in the U.S. and even published the names and photographs of a number of prominent Jewish Americans who it alleged were the leaders of the conspiracy. The article was publicly endorsed by a succession of leading members of the AKP, who maintained that the government also had concrete evidence of the plot."
        Anti-Semitism is not just morally reprehensible; it's more often a symptom of a political mental disorder - a sign of an inability to govern rationally. Erdogan's lack of effort to condemn this kind of rot certainly doesn't bode well for his party's future - or his country's. (American Interest)
        See also Improvement in Israel's Relations with Ankara Unlikely - Ariel Ben Solomon (Jerusalem Post)

Honor and Compromise in Middle East Leadership - Harold Rhode (Gatestone Institute)

  • In the Middle East, leaders almost never admit that they made mistakes: doing so would bring shame on them. The Western concept of compromise - each side conceding certain points to the other side in order to come to an agreement - does not exist in the Middle East.
  • People will go to any lengths to avoid shame; they are prepared to go to jail, risk death, and even kill family members (usually females) to uphold what they perceive as their honor and that of their family. This battle to avoid shame at all costs indicates why Morsi, Erdogan, Saddam, Assad, Arafat, and Abbas can never back down.
  • Both Arafat and Abbas could not sign any agreement with Israel to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict and recognize Israel and a Jewish state. When, at Camp David in 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat 97% of everything said he wanted, Arafat said he could not sign such an agreement: he "didn't want to have tea with Sadat" - a reference to the Egyptian leader who had been assassinated after having signed an agreement with Israel. Arafat knew that had he signed, he would have been considered a traitor by his people, and most likely killed.
  • Why Secretary of State Kerry and the Obama administration believe they can persuade Abbas to sign an agreement guaranteeing Israel's right to exist in any form is astonishing. It is pointless, therefore, for Western and Israeli political leaders to try to provide Middle Eastern leaders with incentives to reach compromises where, in Western eyes all sides win, but - to their fellow Arabs and Muslims - their side loses.

    The writer served in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment.

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