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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
January 7, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Iranian Cleric: "Having a Nuclear Bomb Is Necessary to Put Down Israel" - Adam Kredo (Washington Free Beacon)
    Iranian lawmaker and cleric Muhammad Nabavian said on Friday that Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb in "two weeks" if it gets "access to 270 kg. of 20% [enriched uranium], 10 tons of 5%, and 20,000 centrifuges," according to Iran's Radio Farda.
    "Having a nuclear bomb is necessary to put down Israel," Nabavian said.

Israelis Document Incitement by the Palestinian Authority (New York Times)
    View the PowerPoint presentation presented to the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday by the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs.
    See also Israeli Official Points to Incitement by Palestinians - Jodi Rudoren (New York Times)

Palestinians Attack Israelis near Bethlehem - Noam Dvir (Ynet News)
    Palestinians threw a pipe bomb at the parking lot near Rachel's Tomb, just north of Bethlehem, on Monday, wounding one person.
    Earlier, Palestinians threw an improvised grenade at an IDF base near Bethlehem.
    On Sunday, Palestinians threw four firebombs at an Israeli car near Hussan, west of Bethlehem.

Israel Denies It Killed Terrorists behind Argentina Attacks - Shlomo Cesana (Israel Hayom)
    Israel has vehemently denied recent statements by its former ambassador to Argentina, Yitzhak Aviran, that Israel had killed most of the terrorists behind the deadly bombings of the Israeli embassy and Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.

A Deadlier Strain of Al-Qaeda - Faeq Muneef (Asharq Al-Awsat)
    The newly-emerging Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a mutant strain of al-Qaeda that threatens everyone and everything around it.
    The videos which ISIS members have uploaded presage a fiercer form of criminality than we have ever seen before.
    These individuals boast about decapitation and the mutilating of corpses, filming their awful crimes and broadcasting them online like trophies for all to see.

South Korean Choppers to Be Armed with Israeli Missiles (Chosun-South Korea)
    More Israeli-made Spike missiles with a maximum range of 25 km. will be installed on 8 Wildcat maritime helicopters to be deployed by South Korea next year.
    Several Spike missiles are already installed on vehicles defending South Korea's northwestern islands.
    An officer said the missile can hit North Korea's coastal artillery as well as its high-speed boats or hovercraft if they launch surprise landings on South Korean territory.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Sanctions Bill Opposed by Obama Gains Senate Backers - Timothy Gardner
    U.S. senators pushing a bill to slap new sanctions on Iran if it goes back on an interim deal under which it agreed to limit its nuclear program have gained support since the legislation was introduced in December, aides said on Monday. The "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act," which the White House has threatened to veto, had about 48 co-sponsors in the 100-member Senate on Monday, up from 26 when the bill was introduced on Dec. 19. "Expect that number to keep growing over the next couple of days as folks who were out of town and staff get back in," a Senate aide said. (Reuters)
  • Iran Bribed Turkish Cabinet Ministers to Bypass Sanctions - Mesut Cevikalp
    On Dec. 17, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office detained more than 80 people for involvement in a bribery ring working to benefit the Iranian deep state. Media reported that the Iranian Reza Zarrab, under orders of the Iranian Babak Zanjani, was observed by investigators bribing four Turkish Cabinet ministers.
        Prof. Dr. Mehmet Akif Okur from Gazi University said Sunday that Zanjani is a "businessmen who has ties with the Revolutionary Guards. He is someone who tries to bypass economic sanctions imposed upon Iran." "In 2010, nearly half of the Iranian economy fell under the control of the Revolutionary Guard."
        "Oil extracted in Iran is sold to third countries. The revenues are transferred to Iran in the form of cash or gold. Of course, because the system is illegal, the transactions in the third countries have to involve bribery or blackmail. The mediators of course receive their entitlements and commissions."
        Zanjani "changes the [listed] origin of the oil he extracts in Iran in the ports of third countries, including Malaysia and Tanzania. In small ports, he transfers the oil from one tank to another. He changes the origin of the oil and sells it at a more reasonable price."
        "It is known that they are fairly active in Tajikistan....Likewise, it became apparent that 150 companies were established in Georgia as affiliates of the Revolutionary Guard." "Iran had $2 billion in Zanjani's hands." "Bribery and blackmail are part of the political system in Iran."  (Zaman-Turkey)
        See also Where is Turkey Going? - Veli Sirin (Gatestone Institute)
        See also Turkey's Jews Face Rising Tensions - Jenna Krajeski (Tablet)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: Kerry Framework Won't Be Binding
    Secretary of State John Kerry, who left Israel on Monday, is set to return as early as next week in his bid to broker a "framework" agreement for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that "there is no American framework document yet," and that it would not be binding on the sides, Israel Channel 2 TV reported.
        Referring to Israel's dismantling of settlements and unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, which was followed by a Hamas takeover, rocket fire into Israel, and two small wars, Netanyahu noted: "We saw what happened when we closed our eyes and dismantled settlements. In the best case we get peace; in the worst, we get Afghanistan."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Israel, PA Working to Extend Talks
    Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday that Israel is working to reach common ground with the Palestinians so that negotiations could continue beyond the agreed nine months. Ya'alon said that the two sides were not discussing a "framework agreement," but terms that would set the framework for the continuation of talks. The Palestinians have thus far expressed opposition to a position paper proposed by the U.S. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinians: No Need for New Framework Understandings - Khaled Abu Toameh
    In a letter to Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elarabi, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was trying to reach a framework agreement of understandings and not an interim or final solution for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
        Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Abbas, said, "The Palestinian-Israeli track does not need a new framework agreement of understandings. There are several old understandings such as the Oslo Accords, the Road Map and the Annapolis Conference." He added that the Palestinians remain committed to negotiating with Israel until April. "After that, we will go to the UN organizations (to seek recognition of a Palestinian state) if there are no (Israeli) withdrawals."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also PA Unhappy with Jerusalem's Status in Kerry's Peace Framework (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Will John Kerry's Mideast Peace Framework Bring Results? - Editorial
    After 10 visits to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Secretary of State John Kerry has made no visible progress toward a comprehensive peace deal - a long-shot cause that he has single-mindedly pursued even as more violent and urgent crises in Syria, Iraq and Egypt are starved of U.S. engagement.
        If Palestinians are seen as having passed up this U.S. initiative - having rejected previous framework offers in 2000 and 2008 - Abbas should lose what remains of his credibility in Washington.
        If Israelis and Palestinians prove unwilling in the next few weeks to commit themselves to the broad trade-offs a peace deal requires, Kerry should accept defeat - and spend a little more time on the wars, coups and terrorism engulfing the rest of the region. (Washington Post)
  • Multiplying Efforts to Undermine the Unique Status of Mecca in Islam - Pinhas Inbari
    The Sunnis are destroying sites that are holy to the Shiites, and the Shiites, along with the Alawite regime in Syria, are destroying sites in Syria that are holy to the Sunnis.
        This echoes the conflict between Syria and Saudi Arabia (the Hijaz) in the Ummayad period (661-750), during which the Syrian army of the Ummayads assaulted with catapults the Kaaba, the holiest structure in Islam, in the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Mecca. On August 14, 2013, former Lebanese minister Fayez Shaker, head of the Syrian Ba'ath Party branch in Lebanon, said in a TV interview that if Mount Qasioun in Damascus were to be fired upon, Syria would blow up the Kaaba.
        The Shiite crescent is challenging the status of Mecca. On December 23, 2013, the Iraqi-Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, said the direction of prayer should be Karbala and not Mecca.
        A little over a decade ago, the Islamic Movement in Israel, which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, undertook an initiative to import water from the Zamzam spring in Mecca and to pour it into ten cisterns on the Temple Mount. Presumably, its leaders hoped to elevate Jerusalem's holiness and, by doing so, increase the number of Muslim visitors to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
        The Hizbullah Party of Iraq, the twin sister of Hizbullah in Lebanon, has sworn to wrest the holy places in Saudi Arabia from the Wahhabis and make them Shiite shrines, while in the Sunni camp, the Muslim Brotherhood wants to focus on liberating the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The writer, a veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent, is an analyst on the Palestinian issue for the Jerusalem Center. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Don't Get Suckered by Iran: Fix the Problems with the Interim Accord - Mitchell B. Reiss and Ray Takeyh (Foreign Affairs)

  • As negotiations proceed over what should follow the current accord, Washington should try to revisit some of the interim agreement's provisions and broaden the scope of negotiations to include Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and its systemic violation of human rights.
  • It would be a grave error to allow the Islamic Republic to emerge from the negotiations with its nuclear ambitions intact, its terrorist activities undiminished, and its people denied their basic rights.
  • The restrictions imposed on Iran's nuclear program should be permanent and foreclose the possibility that at any point Iran can produce nuclear weapons. Among the measures that should be insisted on are the shuttering of Iran's heavy-water reactor at Arak, the closing of its fortressed enrichment installation nestled in the mountains at Fordow, and the shipping out of the country of all of its enriched uranium.
  • As a further safeguard, sanctions against Iran should be suspended rather than dismantled.
  • Iran's support for terrorist groups, particularly those attacking Israel, must also be part of the ongoing nuclear talks. Iran cannot be a custodian of sensitive nuclear technologies while remaining the world's leading sponsor of terror.

    Mitchell B. Reiss served as director of policy planning at the State Department from 2003 to 2005. Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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