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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
October 24, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Plans "Death to America" Conference - Thomas Erdbrink (New York Times)
    Several hard-line Iranian groups have announced plans for a "Death to America" conference next month, highlighted by cash awards of $4,000 for the best photograph, poster, video, song or caricature.
    While the slogan in Persian, "Marg bar Amrika," means "Death to America" and is translated that way in the West, the official Iranian translation is "Down With America."
    Supported by Iran's security forces and protected by the judiciary, Iranian hard-liners are insisting that the "Death to America" slogan be shouted at all public gatherings. On Sunday, Parliament members used the slogan during their session.
    On Nov. 4, the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 by Islamic students, hard-liners are planning a "Grand Day of Death to America."
    Revolutionary Guard commanders have promised the slogan will "echo across the nation."

India Warns Against Threat to Israeli Tourists in Rajasthan - Shishir Gupta and Pramit Pal Chaudhuri (Hindustan Times-India)
    Israel was briefed last month about a possible Indian Mujahideen (IM) attack against the country's nationals visiting Rajasthan in northwest India, bordering Pakistan, said home ministry and Israeli sources.
    The threats against Israelis are being seen as further evidence that a section of the IM has adopted the pan-Islamist agenda of al-Qaeda.
    The Israeli embassy was briefed by Indian counterterrorism officials, but did not issue a warning to tourists "beyond the normal."

Israeli Cardiac Surgeons in Tanzania (Daily News-Tanzania)
    A team of cardiac surgeons are coming from Israel to conduct cardiac surgeries on 20 patients at Bugando Referral Hospital in Mwanza.
    Bugando Hospital Executive Director Prof. Charles Majinge said the aim is to bring health services closer to people and reduce the number of those seeking treatment abroad.

New Dassault Business Jet to Include Israeli Display for Pilot - Robert Wall and Thomas Black (Bloomberg)
    Dassault Aviation's new Falcon 5X business jet will include a heads-up display for the pilot, built by Israel's Elbit Systems, that can blend infra-red images and digitally-stored data to aid pilots flying in poor visibility.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Kerry, Netanyahu Discuss Iran's Nuclear Aims - Batsheva Sobelman
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Rome for seven hours on Wednesday to discuss Iran and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Kerry stressed the U.S. will need to know that actions are being taken to make it "crystal clear, undeniably clear, failsafe to the world" that whatever nuclear program Iran pursues is a peaceful one. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Syria Seen as Haven for Mideast Terrorists Who Can Launch Attacks on West - Kristina Wong and Guy Taylor
    Intelligence officials and lawmakers are concerned that al-Qaeda-linked extremists in Syria have established safe havens in the eastern part of the country where they are considering launching attacks throughout the Middle East. "There is continuing concern that some of the foreigners fighting in Syria with the Nusra Front and other extremist factions could leave the battlefield and mount attacks in their home countries," a U.S. counterterrorism official said. "At the same time, we are watching for signs that the al-Qaeda-affiliated groups present in Syria could shift some of their focus from toppling [Assad] to launching external operations against the West."
        Andrew J. Tabler, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said jihadist groups in Syria could shift their focus to targets in Turkey or Jordan. (Washington Times)
  • Middle East Peace Talks Go On, Under the Radar - Jodi Rudoren and Michael R. Gordon
    Nearly three months into the latest round of Washington-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the very fact that the talks are continuing is something of an achievement, especially in light of the turmoil raging in the region. But many veterans of the process remain skeptical about the prospects for progress given the yawning gaps in each side's public positions, saying both are mainly participating in order to appease the American administration and improve their broader international standing.
        Several people close to the process said the sessions have generally focused on a single subject, like sharing water resources, or whether Israeli or international forces should patrol the Jordan Valley. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu to Kerry: "No Deal Is Better than a Bad Deal"
    Prime Minister Netanyahu told Secretary of State Kerry on Wednesday that with regard to Iran's nuclear weapons, "no deal is better than a bad deal." "If Assad had said, 'I am ready to dismantle 90%, 50% or 80% of my chemical weapons capability,' you would have refused and correctly so."
        Regarding peace talks with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said: "Peace is premised on mutual recognition, of two states for two peoples, of the Palestinian state for the Palestinian people mirrored by the Jewish state for the Jewish people....Equally it must be, as President Obama has said, a peace that Israel can defend by itself, for itself, against any conceivable threat."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Uneasy Calm in the West Bank - Amos Harel
    A senior officer from the IDF Central Command admits that there has been a change in the security situation in the West Bank, with local, isolated attacks undertaken primarily by individuals not associated with any organization. These attacks get widespread media attention and encourage others to act against Israeli security forces and civilians.
        In the meantime, these actions are not inspiring the masses or turning the streets into battlegrounds, but they are enough to increase motivation among other young Palestinians. At the same time, Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank have weakened. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Yadlin: The Iranians Are Very Close to a Bomb - Ben Birnbaum
    "I supported [Netanyahu and Barak] on the notion that if we come to the fork in the road [on Iran], where we have to choose between very tough alternatives - the 'bomb' or the 'bombing' - I'm with the prime minister, for the bombing," former Israeli defense intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told me. In 1981, Yadlin was one of the eight Israeli F-16 pilots who destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor.
        Like most top members of the Israeli security establishment, Yadlin believes that Israel cannot live with a nuclear Iran. "We should not let [Rouhani] drag it out two years and then realize that he deceived us, and that we don't have the military option on the table anymore."
        "We need to keep in mind that he is not a reformist. He is the flesh and blood of the radical Iranian regime. We also have to be very cautious because he does not set the course."
        "The Iranians are now very close. They may be able to produce a bomb faster than intelligence can detect that they are breaking out or sneaking out. And the breakout time may be shorter than the time necessary for the decisions and planning and execution of an operation that can stop it."  (New Republic)
  • Steinitz: Don't Give Iran Extra Oxygen - Yochi Dreazen
    Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview Tuesday that it would be a mistake for the Obama administration to relax its sanctions on Iran or free up tens of billions of dollars in frozen Iranian funds. Senior U.S. officials have said the U.S. would consider freeing up some or all of roughly $50 billion in frozen Iranian money as a confidence-building measure.
        Steinitz said that the U.S. and its allies have all the leverage in the current talks and shouldn't give up any of it unless Iran agreed to entirely abandon its nuclear push. "You can get a very serious agreement for this. Don't give it up so easily," he said. "And don't give them extra oxygen while you're negotiating with them. On the contrary, increase the pressure."  (Foreign Policy)
  • Abbas, Hamas, Flirting with Syria's Assad - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are hoping that Assad will forgive them for failing to support his regime against the rebels. More than 200,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes in Syria, while another 2,000 have been killed in the fighting.
        In his recent UN speech, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, "We have affirmed our rejection of a military solution and the need to find a peaceful political solution to fulfill the aspirations of the Syrian people." Abbas also refrained from holding the Assad regime responsible for the use of chemical weapons. Last weekend, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh also called for a "political solution and national understandings" in solving Arab disputes. (Gatestone Institute)

Ya'alon: "Israel Will Not Accept Deal that Allows Iran to Enrich Uranium"  (Israel Hayom)

  • Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday that Iran is Israel's single greatest security challenge. "Some people will be seduced by the regime's charm offensive and relent. This is a regime that for the last 20 years we have witnessed how well it knows how to lie, cheat and mislead the West."
  • "Iran's supreme leader...has been forced to make several concessions on Iran's nuclear program, but Iran's intention is not to give up its nuclear option. They are working toward retaining an independent enrichment capability. This is not acceptable to us, because this is a way to mislead and cheat as they have done in the past."
  • "Our position is that in order to ease the sanctions it is necessary to demand from the Iranians to give up their independent enrichment capability, the plutonium capability that they developed recently and to give up the [enriched uranium] material they have accumulated."
  • "We hope that the diplomatic channel, along with sanctions, will [stop Iran's nuclear program]. But ultimately we need to be prepared to defend ourselves, by ourselves, as we always say."

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