New Iran Launch Site Likely for Testing Ballistic Missiles - Ben Farmer (Telegraph-UK)
Iran has built a new rocket launch site which is likely to be used for testing ballistic missiles, according to military analysts publishing satellite images of the structure.
A picture of the base taken last month and published by IHS Jane's Military and Security Assessments shows a 23m tall launch tower sitting on a launch pad, together with a 125m long exhaust deflector.
Analysts said the unfinished site 25 miles southeast of Shahrud has no storage for the liquid rocket fuel used in the Iranian space program, suggesting it is built for ballistic missiles using solid fuel.
Jordan Says It's Questioning Two Syrians on Arms (AP-New York Times)
The Jordanian police on Wednesday questioned two Syrians accused of trying to smuggle antitank missiles, surface-to-air missiles and assault rifles into Jordan.
Jordan is concerned that Syria's war will spill across the border, and that insurgents linked to al-Qaeda or agents of Damascus or its allies, like Hizbullah, will stage attacks to destabilize the kingdom, an American ally.
Fact-Checking at the New York Times - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman incorrectly asserted Wednesday that Israeli settlers assassinated former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. In fact, Rabin's assassin Yigal Amir was living in the city of Herzliya at the time.
The Times made the same error in a 2005 article and was forced to run a correction.
Friedman also incorrectly states that singer Eric Burdon cancelled a concert in Israel following threats from supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. In fact, Burdon performed in Israel on Aug. 1.
PLO Factions Refuse to Back Talks with Israel - Haviv Rettig Gur (Times of Israel)
As Martin Indyk, the U.S. envoy to peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, is scheduled to arrive on Sunday for a round of meetings, all Palestinian factions belonging to the PLO with the exception of Fatah have refused to take part in a committee to oversee the negotiations, Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Wednesday.
Egypt's Morsi Fell When He Ran Out of Money - David P. Goldman (PJMedia)
Half of Egypt's people live on $1.65 a day or less and the country imports half its food. Its economy is in ruins.
Egyptian President Morsi refused to shut down subsidies, as the International Monetary Fund demanded, because he did not believe he could do so and survive politically.
Morsi fell when he ran out of money. The Saudis and other Gulf states refused to bankroll the Muslim Brotherhood, which is seeking to overthrow the Arab monarchies, but immediately lent $12 billion to Morsi's successors, averting starvation in Egypt for the next year.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- The U.S. Was Listening In on a Major Al-Qaeda Conference Call - Eli Lake and Josh Rogin
The crucial intercept that prompted the U.S. government to close embassies in 22 countries was a conference call between al-Qaeda's senior leaders and representatives of several of the group's affiliates throughout the region. The intercepted communication last week between al-Qaeda's leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, came from a conference call that included more than 20 leaders or representatives of the top leadership of al-Qaeda and its affiliates calling in from different locations.
Included in the call were leaders from Nigeria's Boko Haram, the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Qaeda in Uzbekistan, and al-Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula. "This was like a meeting of the Legion of Doom," said one U.S. intelligence officer.
During the meeting, the al-Qaeda leaders discussed plans for a pending attack and mentioned that teams were already in place for such an attack. In addition, Zawahiri announced during the meeting that Wuhayshi had been promoted to "general manager," effectively giving him operational control of al-Qaeda's affiliates throughout the Muslim world.
See also UN Experts Say Al-Qaeda Affiliates Remain a Threat - Edith M. Lederer
Al-Qaeda's senior leadership has a diminished ability to direct global terror operations but the threat from loosely linked affiliates and individuals radicalized by its "infectious ideas" is becoming more sophisticated, UN experts said Wednesday. In a report to the Security Council, the panel monitoring UN sanctions against al-Qaeda said some affiliates have gained traction by taking advantage of local conflicts in countries like Syria and Yemen.
- Egypt Heads for Showdown with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood - Richard Spencer
Egypt's military-backed government said Wednesday that mediation efforts
with supporters of deposed president Morsi had failed, threatening a forcible end to their protests. Interim prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi said he was holding Morsi's Islamist backers "fully responsible." "The decision agreed on by all to clear the sit-ins is final and irreversible," he said, reading a statement approved by the cabinet. (Telegraph-UK)
- Israeli Gas Group in Talks on Pipelines to Turkey, Jordan, Egypt - Steven Scheer
A group of energy companies that discovered large amounts of natural gas off Israel's Mediterranean coast said they were in talks to export the gas.
A spokesman for the Delek Group, led by Noble Energy, said Tuesday that the group was in advanced talks with companies in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority about buying Israeli gas and building pipelines.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Netanyahu: Iran Has 7,000 New Centrifuges Since June - Herb Keinon
Since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was elected two months ago, Iran has installed 7,000 centrifuges, indicating that he is nothing more than a new face to an old regime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday. The installation of the new centrifuges, including 1,000 upgraded models with enhanced uranium enrichment capabilities, is proof that Iran has not changed course.
"Of course he [Rouhani] wants more talks. He wants to talk and talk and talk. And while everybody is busy talking to him, he'll be busy enriching uranium." "Iran is determined to get the bomb, and we must be even more determined to prevent them from getting it." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Israel: Iran's Nuclear Program Must Be Stopped - William Booth
Yuval Steinitz, Israel's minister for international affairs, strategy and intelligence, said Tehran should hear from the U.S. and the international community that it has only two choices - voluntarily shutter its uranium enrichment program or "see it destroyed with brute force," which he envisioned as "a few hours of airstrikes, no more." (Washington Post)
- U.S. to PA: School Curriculum Must Teach Tolerance - Herb Keinon
The U.S. will not fund curriculum in the Palestinian Authority that does not teach tolerance and mutual respect, visiting U.S. Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat in Ramallah on Wednesday. Hoyer said that he intended to pursue the issue "with the State Department and others.
Clearly, the U.S. does not want to fund efforts that do not fairly portray other peoples." (Jerusalem Post)
- How Al-Qaeda Made Its Comeback - Ali Soufan
While al-Qaeda central has been badly weakened by U.S. counterterrorism efforts, the group was never close to being extinguished. It adapted and gave greater power to semi-independent affiliates, such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Boko Haram in Nigeria.
The West failed to effectively tackle these affiliates, dismissing them as local problems irrelevant to the war against al-Qaeda. Yet terrorists who endorse bin Laden's jihadist message inevitably move on to the global war against the West. Thus, despite all the successes in the war on terror, al-Qaeda has maintained a steady stream of new recruits, replacing the members that have been killed or captured by the U.S. The writer was an FBI supervisory special agent from 1997 to 2005.
(Wall Street Journal)
- What's Wrong with Throwing Rocks? - Micah Stein
In Monday's front-page article in the New York Times about the culture of rock-throwing among West Bank youth, Muhammad Abu Hashem is portrayed as a sensitive hero, a freedom fighter driven to symbolic and self-destructive violence by the odious Israelis. "Children have hobbies, and my hobby is throwing stones," he says. The article tells the story of the Abu Hashem family of Beit Omar, whose seven male members have all spent time in Israeli prison over the past three years for a variety of offenses - including rock throwing. Ten-year-olds are said to "feel happy" when they pelt soldiers with stones.
There is a story here - about the toxic culture of victimhood among Palestinians, the abject failure of adult leadership, and the potential consequences for the peace process.
Throwing rocks at cars is extremely dangerous. It is also illegal around the world. In the U.S., tossing rocks at cars can be a felony assault, or get you charged with "throwing a deadly missile" in some states, which comes with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. There is nothing at all unusual or extreme about Israel's treatment of rock throwers.
- What Has Israel Ever Done to Us in Ireland? - Carol Hunt
Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan told me, "Israel has been demonized by an Irish media slavishly dancing to the Palestinian drumbeat for decades, [yet] Israel has a far better and more progressive record on human rights than any of its neighbors." He added: "The truth must be told."
Disturbingly, the truth is that a study conducted in May 2011 revealed that, of those Irish citizens questioned, over 1/5 would deny citizenship to Israelis, with 11.5% stating they would deny Irish citizenship to all Jews, and less than 60% saying they would accept a Jewish person into their family.
Bloody hell - what did the Jews ever do to us?
Why International Peacekeepers Cannot Replace the IDF in the Defense of Israel - Dore Gold (Friends of Israel Initiative)
- The Jordan
Valley has been viewed as a vital defense line in the event of conventional
warfare, as well as for dealing with terrorist challenges and efforts to launch
an insurgency campaign against Israel.
- Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin declared on October 5, 1995, that "the security border of the State of
Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that
- By agreeing to the deployment of international peacekeepers instead of the
IDF in the Jordan Valley, Israel would be placing its security in the hands of
a force that might be easily removed, leaving Israel completely exposed in
- Recognizing that no foreign forces can realistically be expected to
risk their lives for the defense of Israel, the national security doctrine of the
Jewish state has been that Israel must defend itself by itself.
- Part of the reason why the U.S. and Israel have had such a unique
security relationship emanates from the fact that, unlike West Germany
during the Cold War, or South Korea today, Israel never asked U.S. forces
to risk their lives for its defense.
The writer, a former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Under the leadership of former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, the "Friends of Israel Initiative" has been joined by such notable figures as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate David Trimble, Peru's former president Alejandro Toledo, Italian philosopher Marcello Pera, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, British historian Andrew Roberts, and others. Their key aim is to counter the growing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and its right to live in peace within safe and defensible borders.
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