Terror Threat to U.S. Is Growing - Candy Crowley (CNN)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked on Sunday if the U.S. homeland is now safer than it was a few years ago.
Feinstein: "I don't think so. I think terror is up worldwide....The numbers are way up. There are new bombs, very big bombs....There are bombs that go through magnatometers."
"There are more groups than ever and there's huge malevolence out there."
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, added:
"Al-Qaeda as we knew it before is metastasizing to something different, more affiliates than we've ever had before....All of them have at least some aspiration to commit an act of violence in the United States or against Western targets."
Netanyahu Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican - Batsheva Sobelman (Los Angeles Times)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a 25-minute audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday.
Netanyahu presented the pontiff with a Spanish translation of The Origins of the Inquisition, a book written by his late father, Ben-Zion Netanyahu, an historian known for his research on the topic.
Netanyahu inscribed the inside cover: "To his Holiness Pope Franciscus, a great shepherd of our common heritage."
Al-Qaeda-Linked Group Claims to Be Operating in West Bank - Robert Tait (Telegraph-UK)
A radical jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda has said it is operating in the West Bank, supporting Israel's assertions that three militants killed near Hebron on Nov. 26 were hardline Salafists planning attacks and kidnappings.
"By the will of God Almighty, the global jihadi doctrine has reached the bank of pride, the West Bank, planting its foothold after all attempts to thwart its presence," said a statement by the Majles Shura al-Mujahideen [Holy Warriors' Assembly] posted on an Islamist website.
Lighting Up Africa with Israeli Technology - David Shamah (Times of Israel)
In central Africa, the Kaliro School and Orphanage is located miles away from the nearest electric lines. Innovation: Africa, an Israeli organization that specializes in bringing power to the powerless in Africa, set up a solar energy system for the school, which enabled the school to run evening programs and give children greater opportunities to learn.
For the past five years, Innovation: Africa has been bringing not only solar power, but also clean water, food and medical care to more than 500,000 people in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda. Its projects also provide 20,000 liters of clean water a day thanks to solar water pumps.
Moreover, solar energy units provide refrigeration for hospitals, which for the first time can store medicines safely. Thanks to those solar-powered refrigerators, over 300,000 people have been able to receive vaccines for diseases rampant in the African interior, where medical care is almost nonexistent.
The Israeli organization received the UN's Innovation Award in Nairobi last month for its work in rural Africa.
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- UN: Bashar al-Assad Implicated in Syria War Crimes - Ian Black
Navi Pillay, the UN's human rights chief, said a commission of inquiry into human rights violations in Syria "has produced massive evidence...[of] very serious crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity" and that "the evidence indicates responsibility at the highest level of government, including the head of state [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad]."
Pillay reiterated her call for the case to be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. But an ICC referral requires the backing of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, where Russia and China have blocked any action against the Syrian government.
- Israel Has "Earned the Right to Be Listened To" about Iran - Hadley Gamble and Holly Ellyatt
Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid told CNBC in a weekend interview: "People have to remember that when they wonder why we have been so loud against this agreement with Iran, for us it's not academic or theoretical, it's existential. Here's a regime that's been loud about its wish and commitment to the destruction of Israel."
"We understand the U.S. means well and is doing its best under very complicated circumstances, [but] we think we have earned the right to be listened to." (CNBC)
- Israel Admitted into Advisory Body at UN Human Rights Council
Israel has been admitted into the Geneva-based section of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the UN Human Rights Council, officials said Monday.
The group acts in an advisory capacity but has no formal standing at the council, in which the U.S. is a member but Israel is not.
Israel joined the WEOG group at the UN in New York in 2000. (AP-ABC News)
- Muslim Brotherhood Rejects Egypt's Draft Constitution
The Muslim Brotherhood has rejected Egypt's new draft constitution that was approved by a constituent assembly on Sunday.
The draft preserves some of the military's wide-ranging powers and is to be put to a referendum in the next two months.
The draft keeps Sharia (Islamic law) as the basis for legislation, but bans political parties based on religion.
As the constituent assembly completed its work, security forces fired tear gas to disperse a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square by supporters of former Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi. (BBC News)
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- Netanyahu: Western Sanctions Against Iranians Already Unraveling - Herb Keinon and Eric J. Lyman
"There appears to be general relaxation of sanctions, and a rush to accommodate Iran, and to make it legitimate as if Iran has changed anything of its actual policies," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta in Rome on Monday. If the sanctions regime against Iran collapses, Netanyahu said, that would signal the end of chances to peacefully stop Iran's nuclear program.
- Poll: Israelis Distrust Iran Deal But Overwhelmingly Value Alliance with U.S. - Haviv Rettig Gur
77% of Israelis say the nuclear agreement between Western powers and Iran will not end the Islamic Republic's drive for nuclear weapons, according to the latest Tel Aviv University-Israel Democracy Institute Peace Index survey, conducted Nov. 26-27.
At the same time, 71% saying they are "sure" or "think" America is Israel's best ally.
(Times of Israel)
- A Nuclear Crisis in Search of a Model: Lessons from Iraq, North Korea, Libya, and Syria - Emily B. Landau
To achieve nuclear rollback via negotiations, the international community will have to be armed with a considerable degree of leverage. The North Korean model demonstrates clearly what happens when a determined proliferator faces international negotiators that are devoid of any leverage for compelling it to reverse course in the nuclear realm.
The experience of dealing with North Korea underscores the importance of the economic leverage that the P5+1 finally gained over Iran in 2012, following the set of strong and effective economic and financial sanctions that the U.S. and EU put in place. If this leverage is squandered in return for anything less than very significant nuclear concessions by Iran, the Iranian case will very likely begin looking more and more like North Korea, with the international community increasingly powerless to stop it.
The lesson of Libya (2003) and Syria (2013) is that when pressure succeeds in forcing a state to actually make the decision to reverse course, it does not take years to finalize a deal. Indeed, the details can be worked out very quickly, and the process can begin almost immediately.
Until Iran makes the strategic decision to reverse course in the nuclear realm, there is little chance that a true and lasting deal will be achieved. Keeping an eye firmly on the leverage is the only hope the P5+1 have to compel Iran to finally make that choice.
The writer, a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, is also director of its Arms Control and Regional Security Project. (Institute for National Security Studies)
- The Rocky Path to a Long-Term Settlement with Iran - David Albright
In the short run, the deal agreed to by Western powers and Iran accomplishes a great deal. In the long run, however, many key issues still must be settled.
Under the deal, Iran's nuclear "breakout" time would lengthen for the first time since its capability began approaching dangerous levels in the past year.
The time it would need to produce a weapon would expand to at least 1.9-2.2 months, up from 1-1.6 months.
To justify significant sanctions relief, any long-term deal would need to ensure that Iran's centrifuge capacity is highly limited and that these limits will further increase breakout times. It should be limited to one enrichment site, which means Fordow should be closed. These limitations should last for more than a decade. The Arak reactor will need to close or be converted to a more benign reactor.
Given its track record, Iran can be expected to resist these limitations, but U.S. officials must remain firm. The writer is president of the Institute for Science and International Security.
- Geneva: A Historic and Dangerous Agreement - Rafael L. Bardají
In terms of nuclear infrastructure, with the Geneva agreement Iran will be as close to getting its bomb in six months as it is already today.
Indeed, Geneva leaves Iran with something it was never granted before: The right to enrich uranium, an activity that the UN demanded to be completely halted.
Moreover, decoupling Iran's nuclear program from the repressive, violent, and expansionist nature of the regime in Tehran cannot yield a happy outcome.
Furthermore, this interim arrangement leads to a profound reconfiguration of the entire region according to the new U.S. orientation to advance a comprehensive dialogue with Iran, even if this requires turning a blind eye to Syria, accepting a pro-Iranian government in Iraq, reaching a tacit understanding with the Hizbullah terrorists, and allowing Iran to become virtually a nuclear state with the capability to produce a nuclear bomb in no time.
This agreement is based on a double delusion: That we can trust Iran and that, if Iranians don't honor the deal, we will be able to impose new sanctions. What it actually does is to put an end to the sanctions regime without the ayatollahs putting an end to their stated ambitions.
The writer was Spain's National Security Advisor from 1996-2004.
What a Final Iran Deal Must Do - Henry A. Kissinger and George P. Shultz (Wall Street Journal)
- For 35 years and continuing today, Iran has been advocating an anti-Western concept of world order, waging proxy wars against America and its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and beyond, and arming and training sectarian extremists throughout the Muslim world. During that time, Iran has defied unambiguous UN and IAEA demands and proceeded with a major nuclear effort, incompatible with any exclusively civilian purpose, and in violation of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- The heart of the problem is Iran's construction of a massive nuclear infrastructure and stockpile of enriched uranium far out of proportion to any plausible civilian energy-production rationale.
- Under the interim agreement, Iranian conduct that was previously condemned as illegal and illegitimate has effectively been recognized as a baseline, including an acceptance of Iran's continued enrichment of uranium (to 5%).
- Not surprisingly, the Iranian negotiator described the agreement as giving Iran its long-claimed right to enrich and, in effect, eliminating the American threat of using force as a last resort.
In these circumstances, the major American negotiating leverage risks losing its edge. This risk will be enhanced if the impression takes hold that the U.S. has already decided to reorient its Middle East policy toward rapprochement with Iran.
- We should be open to the possibility of pursing an agenda of long-term cooperation. But not without Iran dismantling or mothballing a strategically significant portion of its nuclear infrastructure.
- We must avoid an outcome in which Iran, freed from sanctions, emerges as a de facto nuclear power leading an Islamist camp, while traditional allies lose confidence in the credibility of American commitments and follow the Iranian model toward a nuclear-weapons capability, if only to balance it.
Mr. Kissinger is a former U.S. secretary of state (1973-77); Mr. Shultz is a former U.S. secretary of state (1982-89).
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