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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
August 20, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Islamic Militants Execute 25 Egyptian Policemen in Sinai (AP-CBS News)
    Islamic militants on Monday ambushed two mini-buses carrying off-duty policemen in northern Sinai, killing 25 of them execution-style.
    The militants forced the two vehicles to stop, ordered the policemen out and forced them to lie on the ground before shooting them, officials said.
    Initially it had been reported that the policemen were killed by rocket-propelled grenade fire.

Counter-Terror Bureau Warns: Terrorists Aim to Hit Israeli, Jewish Targets Worldwide - Gavriel Fiske (Times of Israel)
    Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world are likely to be sought out by terrorist organizations in the coming weeks, the Israeli government's Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned on Monday.

30,000 Syrian Kurdish Refugees Pour into Iraqi Kurdistan (AP-Washington Post)
    30,000 Syrian Kurds have swarmed into neighboring Iraq's northern self-ruled Kurdish region since Thursday, UN officials said Monday.
    See also Kurdish Militias Clash with Al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels in Syria (AP-Washington Post)
    The Kurdish Awakening in Syria: Could It Lead to Regional War? - Jacques Neriah (ICA-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Activists Launch Egypt-Style Campaign to Overthrow Hamas in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Following the Egyptian example, a group of activists has launched a Palestinian version of the Tamarod ("Rebellion") campaign to remove Hamas from power in Gaza.
    Denouncing Hamas as medieval gangsters, the group accused the Islamist movement of torture, sabotage, smuggling, bribery and thuggery.

Thousands of Israeli Arabs March in Support of Egypt's Brotherhood - Daniel Siryoti (Israel Hayom)
    Thousands of Israeli Arabs staged a protest rally in the northern city of Nazareth on Saturday in support of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and its deposed president, Mohamed Morsi.
    Media reports said between 2,000 and 5,000 people participated in the event, which was led by the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah.
    Protesters waved Egyptian flags and stomped on posters of Egyptian Defense Minister and army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Khamenei Adviser: Iran Will Never Suspend Nuclear Program
    Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tehran will never again suspend its nuclear activities. In an interview published Tuesday, Velayati said final decisions on the nuclear issue are made by Khamenei, and not newly elected President Hasan Rouhani. He added that Rouhani's administration will follow "the same trend strategically as the former government."  (AP-VOA News)
  • Diplomats: Iran May Be Limiting Sensitive Nuclear Stockpile - Fredrik Dahl
    Iran appears to be holding back growth of its most sensitive nuclear stockpile by continuing to convert some of it into reactor fuel, diplomats said on Monday. Iran's stockpile of 20% uranium gas amounted to 182 kg. in May, according to the IAEA's last report, still below the "red line" set by Israel. (Reuters)
        See also Iran Says It Has 18,000 Nuclear Centrifuges
    Iran has about 18,000 first-generation centrifuges, including 10,000 active ones, Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, the outgoing head of the country's atomic agency, said Saturday. "Some 1,000 second-generation centrifuges have also been installed and are ready to start work," he added. (AFP)
  • Egypt Arrests Brotherhood Spiritual Leader; Mubarak May Be Released - Mary Beth Sheridan
    Egyptian security forces arrested Mohammed Badie, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, on Monday. Earlier Monday, an Egyptian court granted bond to the country's former ruler, Hosni Mubarak, 85, raising the prospect that he could be released from jail within days. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • World Mum on PA Incitement But Slams Israel on Construction - Herb Keinon
    The world condemns Israel for every announcement of new construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, but is oddly silent when Palestinian government-controlled media continue to incite against Israel and call for its destruction, Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev said Monday. "When Israel builds in areas which everyone understands will remain part of Israel in a final-status agreement, this is somehow perceived as a problem for peace. When Palestinians indoctrinate their people with hatred for Israel, and thereby directly undermine reconciliation, this is ignored."
        "What is required of leadership at this time is to prepare the public for respect and reconciliation. But what we are seeing from the Palestinians is the opposite: continued demonization, stress on maximalist goals and that Israel is an illegitimate creation that will eventually disappear."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel: Iran Talks Buy Tehran More Time - Herb Keinon
    The only thing talks between Iran and the world's powers have achieved until now is to buy Tehran more time, Israeli officials said Sunday, following EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's comment that the P5+1 group is eager to restart the talks. "We are skeptical in the extreme," one official said. There was no hope the talks would help "unless the Iranians feel the pressure is being upgraded."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel to UN: Hizbullah Is Using Civilian Homes in South Lebanon to Hide Rocket Launchers - Yaakov Lappin
    In Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon showed visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a map displaying civilian homes in southern Lebanon that Hizbullah is using to hide rocket launchers aimed at Israel. "We're identifying Hizbullah activity near the border with Israel, despite the fact that UN Resolution 1701 forbids Hizbullah from being there and being active there," Ya'alon said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • U.S. Delivers $148M in Aid to Palestinian Authority - Michael Wilner
    The U.S. has delivered $148 million in aid to the PA in an agreement signed by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Sunday. The aid was delivered "to help the Palestinian Authority avert a budget crisis and to support U.S. efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," a U.S. official said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Israel's Need for Defensible Borders - Uzi Dayan
    Israel's need for defensible borders is written in blood. The average width of Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is 64 km. (40 miles). The Middle East has become a realm of uncertainty. Civil wars and the lethal combination of terrorism and movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood make it necessary for Israel to remain vigilant over the possibility of an attack from the east.
        The only factor that will guarantee the demilitarization of the Palestinian entity is a permanent Israeli presence along the West Bank's eastern border. Only through full Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley can the Jewish state manage its own arrangements for security - not foreign armies. Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Uzi Dayan, who served as Deputy Chief of the IDF General Staff and as Chairman of Israel's National Security Council, headed the Israeli security committee to peace negotiations with the Jordanians, Palestinians, and Syrians. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians Accuse Peace Negotiators of Treason - Khaled Abu Toameh
    The Palestinian Authority's request for secrecy in the peace talks does not stem from its desire to secure the success of the negotiations, but rather from its fear of the reactions of Palestinians and the Arab world. Both President Mahmoud Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat are fully aware of the growing opposition among Palestinians and Arabs to the resumption of the peace talks with Israel under the terms of the U.S. Administration.
        Many Palestinians and Arabs have seized the opportunity to ridicule Erekat and accuse the PA leadership of treason. When Abbas agreed to resume the peace talks with Israel, he went against the recommendation of the PLO leadership. Now several Palestinian factions are in the process of forming a "national alliance," the main goal of which is to thwart any deal between Israel and the PA.
        PA leaders can only blame themselves for the growing opposition to the peace talks with Israel. Palestinian leaders have simply not prepared their people for peace. These leaders have, instead, delegitimized Israel to a point where it has become a "crime" for any Palestinian to be photographed talking to, or negotiating with, any Israeli. (Gatestone Institute)
  • The Islamic Insurgency that Could Soon Hit Egypt - Eric Trager
    While the old generals who sacked Mubarak (and were subsequently sacked by Morsi) saw the Muslim Brotherhood win elections, the new generals called protests against the "terrorist" Brotherhood and, after resisting international pressure for negotiations, attacked and defeated it. Yet the military's victory may prove to be pyrrhic.
        The generals struck first and focused on a strategy of decapitation, in which top Brotherhood leaders have been targeted for arrest, thereby demonstrating that they understand the Brotherhood cannot function effectively once its top leaders have been apprehended. However, this prevents the Brotherhood from re-entering the political process.
        Even worse, these moves may turn hundreds of thousands of deeply ideological Muslim Brothers into free radicals, many of whom are willing to die for Islamism, and possibly willing to fight for it as well. The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (New Republic)

In Egypt, the U.S. Should Hold Its Nose and Back the Military - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)

  • A policy is a set of pragmatic choices between unpalatable alternatives designed to achieve the most desirable realistic result.
  • Restoring the dictatorship-in-the-making that was Morsi's elected government is neither desirable nor realistic.
  • Bringing the Brotherhood into some kind of inclusive coalition government in which it accepts a reduced political role in exchange for calling off its sit-ins and demonstrations is not realistic.
  • What is realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. And it beats the alternatives of outright civil war or victory by a vengeful Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Politics in Egypt today is a zero-sum game: Either the military wins, or the Brotherhood does. If the U.S. wants influence, it needs to hold its nose and take a side.

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