Israel Protests to NATO over New Hamas Headquarters in Turkey - Shlomo Cesana (Israel Hayom)
Israel has recently appealed to NATO and demanded it take action against Turkey, after learning it has allowed Hamas to set up its diplomatic and military operational headquarters in Istanbul.
Israeli officials said it was inconceivable that a NATO member would maintain ties with a terrorist organization.
Hamas' new operation is said to be headed by Saleh al-Arouri, an arch-terrorist believed to be responsible for dozens of attacks against Israelis.
A senior Israeli source said Tuesday there was little doubt that Turkish President Erdogan, a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, was aware of Hamas operations in Istanbul, and that he had most likely authorized the move.
See also Israel Foils Hamas Plot to Attack Jerusalem Soccer Stadium - Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel)
A Hamas terror ring in the West Bank, run from its headquarters in Turkey, sought to carry out attacks on Jerusalem's soccer stadium and its light rail line, the Israel Security Agency said Thursday.
More than 30 Hamas operatives were arrested in September. The majority were recruited while studying in Jordan and trained in Syria or Gaza.
They were preparing to kidnap Israelis in Israel and abroad, enter Israeli villages, detonate car bombs, perpetrate roadside attacks, and execute a terror attack in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem.
Rescuers in Yemen Sought American, Officials Say - Eric Schmitt and Saeed al-Batati (New York Times)
An American journalist held hostage in eastern Yemen by an al-Qaeda affiliate was one of the main targets of a raid this week by U.S. commandos and Yemeni troops, but he was not found.
Hero's Welcome for Hater of Israel at MESA - Martin Kramer (Commentary)
Steven Salaita, who was "de-hired" by the University of Illinois,
isn't a critic of Israel. Steven Salaita is a hater of Israel. It's a title he's proud to claim, and that hatred runs like a thread through all he writes and says.
"'Hate' is such a strong word," Salaita tweeted. "That's why it's my preferred verb when discussing racism, colonization, neoliberalism, sexism, and Israel."
If Steven Salaita enters the room, and you rise to your feet in an enthusiastic standing ovation reserved for a true hero, that's not a gesture of support. It's an outpouring of adulation.
At this year's Middle East Studies Association (MESA) conference, I found myself in an audience of Israel-haters wearing MESA badges, who received Steven Salaita with a standing ovation.
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- Islamic State Subdues Sunni Muslim Tribes in Syria and Iraq
The Islamic State group is employing multiple tactics to subdue the Sunni Muslim tribes in Syria and Iraq under its rule, wooing some with gifts while brutally suppressing those that resist with mass killings. The result is that the extremists face little immediate threat of an uprising by the tribes, the most powerful social institution in the area. Any U.S. drive to try to turn tribesmen against the militants, as the Americans did with Sunnis during the Iraq war, faces an uphill battle.
Haian Dukhan, a researcher at the University of St. Andrews Center for Syrian Studies, says there's little chance for a revolt unless tribes are confident the extremists are losing.
"I think that for the time being, seeing a large-scale uprising against IS is just a fantasy."
See also U.S. Adds Air Power But ISIS Presents Elusive Target - Eric Schmitt (New York Times)
- IRGC Commander: Iran's Strategic Borders Stretch to Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa
Lt. Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brig.-Gen. Hossein Salami said Wednesday that Iran "has expanded its strategic borders in this fight against enemies to the east of the Mediterranean and north of Africa."
"Iran is more powerful than any other time and our defense power against the enemies cannot be compared to the past," Salami said. "We are able to hit all the vital interests of the enemies at any point in the region....The security of the world energy and regional and international shipping and trade in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman is in the hands of Iran."
Earlier this month, Salami said the country was growing into a world power. "Today, the regional Iran is turning into a global Iran."
- Former French President Sarkozy Opposes Palestine Recognition - Jack Moore
Former French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has condemned the upcoming French vote on the recognition of Palestine in the French parliament on Dec. 2. He told members of his UMP party that they should reject the resolution in light of the "heinous and bloody" killing of five Israelis at a Jerusalem synagogue last week. "I will fight for the Palestinians to have their state. But unilateral recognition a few days after a deadly attack and when there is no peace process? No!" (International Business Times-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Dennis Ross: Iran Showed No Flexibility in Nuke Talks - Rebecca Shimoni Stoil
Iran was unwilling to show flexibility during recent nuclear negotiations, veteran U.S. diplomat Dennis Ross said Tuesday in a conference call with the Jewish Federations of North America.
Ross said the U.S. had demonstrated flexibility during the talks, including a willingness to back down on demands over the Arak heavy water facility and the Fordo enrichment facility.
"The fact that the Iranians did not take advantage of U.S. flexibility raises questions in my mind as to whether they are really capable of doing a deal," Ross said, arguing that Iranian negotiators' hands may be tied by the anti-American ideology of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
"If there is going to be a deal, the Iranians must have a perception that they don't have today - that they want a deal more than we do," adding that the negotiators need to "make clear to the Iranians that there is a high price to pay" if a deal is not struck. (Times of Israel)
- Netanyahu: European Recognition of Palestinian State a "Big Mistake"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Tuesday:
"These twin needs of mutual recognition and solid security arrangements on the ground, which are so essential for peace, these are not addressed by the European countries that unilaterally give recognition to a Palestinian state. I think it's a big mistake for peace....These European positions actually push peace away, and I believe that they make reaching a solution much harder."
"I appreciated the fact that you said you believe what is needed is a negotiated arrangement and not unilateral actions."
(Prime Minister's Office)
- Islamic State Says Its Flag Will Wave over Jerusalem - Yasser Okbi
The Islamic State's official magazine, Dabiq, threatens that IS will make it all the way to Jerusalem "even if the Jews and Crusaders despise it," in an article announcing plans to widen its rule into the Arabian Peninsula, the Sinai Peninsula, Yemen, Libya and Algeria. IS vows that its flag will fly over Jerusalem, as well as over Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. "The eyes of the Islamic State were scanning east and west, preparing for the expansion that - by Allah's permission - would put an end to the Jewish State."
"The shade of this blessed flag will expand until it covers all eastern and western extents of the Earth, filling the world with the truth and justice of Islam."
(Maariv Hashavua-Jerusalem Post)
- The Many Iranian Obstacles in the Way of a Strong Nuclear Deal - Jeffrey Goldberg
An Iran with nuclear weapons would pose an acute challenge to pro-American moderates across the Middle East and to the cause of nuclear non-proliferation. And it would pose a genocidal threat to Israel. The goal of a deal is to make it as hard as possible for Iran to reach the nuclear threshold.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, explained three potential weaknesses in an Iranian nuclear deal. First, any agreement that contains an expiration date is an inadequate agreement because it will, in essence, grant Iran time-delayed permission to build nuclear weapons.
A second concern is that the U.S. will agree to lift the most biting sanctions now in place before guaranteeing real progress in the deconstruction of Iran's nuclear program. The third issue concerns our ability to access any enrichment, research, or military sites. Deutch's position is fairly representative of a broad swath of Democratic thinking. (Atlantic)
- What Difference Would an Iran Deal Make? - Patrick Clawson and Mehdi Khalaji
Negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran will only be the first part of resolving the nuclear impasse. At least as important will be persuading Iran to abide by the deal over time. In 2003-2004, Tehran reached two nuclear agreements with the EU3 and then walked away from them. In 2009, the regime reached a deal with the P5+1, but Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vetoed it. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- To Help Quell Riots, Israeli Police Deploy Spy Balloons over Jerusalem - Aron Heller and Ami Bentov
Israeli police have been flying surveillance balloons over the city's eastern sector and Old City to monitor protests and move in on them quickly.
The "Skystar 180" balloons can stay aloft for 72 hours and carry highly sensitive cameras. Rami Shmueli, CEO of the company that makes them, says the balloons give police an aerial view of those who are throwing stones. "When we see their activity, we can direct the police forces to their location. And even if they escape we can follow them and make sure that police catch them."
The balloons are part of a broad collection of surveillance equipment that includes security cameras throughout the city, including 320 of them in the Old City - as well as undercover units, riot-control forces and intelligence gathering.
Kicking the Can Down the Road: Another Extension of the P5+1 Talks - Amos Yadlin (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
- The target date for concluding a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear program between Iran and the P5+1 world powers has been postponed yet once more, and many doubt whether Iran and the Western powers will ever be able to achieve an agreement.
- On July 1, 2015, if a "bad agreement" is signed or if the talks collapse, Israel will face a strategic situation that will demand difficult decisions.
- From the Israeli government's perspective, any agreement that could have been achieved on November 24 would have been a "bad agreement," because any agreement would have legitimized Iran's nuclear enrichment program, left Iran with a very short breakout time to the bomb, would not have resolved the questions regarding the Iranian missile programs or Iran's encouragement of terrorism, and would have removed the sanctions against Iran, enabling the regime to survive and thrive.
- An agreement that can be accepted by Israel, even if not ideal, must include rolling Iran back from a period of months to a period of years from a bomb, closing all routes of Iranian progress towards nuclear capability on the uranium and plutonium tracks, clarifying the military dimensions of the program over the years and constant monitoring of those dimensions in the future, implementing a comprehensive intrusive verification regime, insisting on a period of more than a decade during which the agreement is valid, and removing the sanctions gradually - only in exchange for full Iranian compliance.
- Israel must take proper advantage of the extension of the interim agreement to prepare and enhance all its options regarding the Iranian nuclear threat.
Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, who served as the IDF's chief of Defense Intelligence, is director of INSS.
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