Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
February 24, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Russia Offers to Sell Powerful Air-Defense System to Iran - James Marson (Wall Street Journal)
    Russia has offered to sell the powerful Antey-2500 air-defense system to Iran, said Sergei Chemezov, chief executive of the Russian defense conglomerate Rostec.
    A 2007 contract to supply the less-advanced S-300 system was canceled in 2010 after U.S. and Israeli pressure.
    The Antey-2500 is a mobile surface-to-air missile system that can destroy aircraft and ballistic missiles at a range of 200 km.

Expert: Bad Iran Deal Neglects Weaponization - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
    Emily Landau, a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies, said Monday that the emerging nuclear deal with Iran is deeply flawed because it neglects to address the issue of weaponization.
    "Iran has violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty for decades by working on nuclear weapons capabilities. This has to be at the center of the discussion." Yet "the issue of weaponization hardly gets mentioned in the reports about the upcoming agreement."
    Another issue that should be addressed by any deal is Iran's development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, she added. "These ICBMs are not non-nuclear, they are delivery systems for nuclear weapons."
    "Most nuclear experts think it's a bad deal. The doubts, skepticism and deep, deep concern with regards to the negotiations is really much broader than Israeli officials and hawks in Congress," she said.

Iran Coordinating with Al-Qaeda Since 2007 to Target U.S. Interests in Saudi Arabia and Dubai - Nasser Al-Haqbani (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Iran has been coordinating with al-Qaeda and its affiliates since 2007 to carry out terror attacks against U.S. targets in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, informed sources have told Asharq Al-Awsat.
    Saudi citizen Saleh Al-Qarawi, founder of the Abdullah Al-Azzam Brigades, is the main al-Qaeda figure coordinating operations from inside Iran.

When Islamic State Starts Hitting Ships - Seth Cropsey (Wall Street Journal)
    Former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan recently told the Times of London that unless order is restored in his country, ISIS will secure territory on Libya's Mediterranean coast within two months.
    Greater ISIS access to the Mediterranean could mean that small boats and merchant craft that carry concealed weapons could hijack or sink commercial shipping including cruise liners and expose Europe's southern littoral to attacks.
    The writer served as deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Phased Iran-U.S. Nuclear Deal Taking Shape - Bradley Klapper and George Jahn
    The U.S. and Iran reported progress Monday on a deal that would clamp down on Tehran's nuclear activities for at least 10 years but then slowly ease restrictions on programs that could be used to make atomic arms. The core idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement, gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment and slowly easing economic sanctions. (AP)
  • Palestinian Groups Are Found Liable at Manhattan Terror Trial - Benjamin Weiser
    The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004 in which Americans were killed and injured. The damages are to be $655.5 million, under a special terrorism law that provides for tripling the $218.5 million awarded by the jury in Federal District Court.
        The decision could serve to strengthen Israel's claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian forces were directly linked to terrorism. Citing testimony, payroll records and other documents, the plaintiffs showed that many of those involved in the planning and carrying out of the attacks had been employees of the Palestinian Authority, and that the authority had paid salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and had made martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers. (New York Times)
        See also U.S. Court Decides Not to Let the Palestinians Get Away with Murder - Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu: U.S. Verdict Confirms PA Responsibility for Murderous Terror Attacks
    Following the U.S. court verdict in New York, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "The U.S. federal court decision determines the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority for the murderous terrorist attacks of the previous decade....We expect the responsible elements in the international community to continue to punish those who support terrorism just as the U.S. federal court has done and to back the countries that are fighting terrorism."  (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Ya'alon: Nuclear Deal with "Messianic, Apocalyptic" Iran Will Endanger Israel and West - Gili Cohen
    "The deal with Iran, as it is now being consolidated, is a danger to peace in the Western world and threatens the security of the State of Israel," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said in a statement Monday. "Every deal that will be signed between the West and this messianic and apocalyptic regime will strike a severe blow to Western and Israeli interests and will allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state and continue its terror activities."
        "Iran came into these negotiations from a point of weakness and great fear of economic collapse as a result of the sanctions. The deal now being consolidated will allow it to free itself from the economic siege and continue to enrich uranium as well."  (Ha'aretz)
  • Israel Sees Erosion of Western Resolve on Iran - Herb Keinon
    In 2006, "the position of the world powers was that Iran should have no centrifuges," said an Israeli official, referring to a binding UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. "Then, in the [2013] interim agreement, they [the P5+1] accepted the concept of some sort of symbolic enrichment, to allow the Iranians to save face. If we are now talking about thousands of centrifuges, it is clear that we are not discussing something symbolic but a vast industrial capacity which is ultimately very, very dangerous." According to reports, an emerging deal would allow Iran to retain some 6,500 centrifuges. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Appalling Talk of Boycotting Netanyahu - Alan M. Dershowitz
    As a liberal Democrat who twice campaigned for President Barack Obama, I am appalled that some members of Congress are planning to boycott the speech of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under the Constitution, the executive and legislative branches share responsibility for making and implementing important foreign-policy decisions. Congress has a critical role to play in scrutinizing the decisions of the president when these decisions involve national security, relationships with allies and the threat of nuclear proliferation.
        Congress has every right to invite, even over the president's strong objection, any world leader or international expert who can assist its members in formulating appropriate responses to the current deal being considered with Iran regarding its nuclear-weapons program. Indeed, it is the responsibility of every member of Congress to listen to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who probably knows more about this issue than any world leader, because it threatens the very existence of the nation state of the Jewish people.
        The idea that some members of Congress will not give him the courtesy of listening violates protocol and basic decency to a far greater extent than anything Mr. Netanyahu is accused of doing for having accepted an invitation from Congress. (Wall Street Journal)
  • An Iran Nuclear Deal Is Coming into Focus, But There's One Glaring Problem - Armin Rosen
    U.S. negotiators believe restrictions on enrichment and rigorously enforced enriched uranium stockpile limits will be able to prevent Tehran from accumulating enough highly enriched uranium to construct a nuclear weapon undetected. By this logic, the problem with Iran's nuclear program isn't its 19,000 centrifuges, secretive and heavily guarded nuclear facilities, weaponization and advance centrifuge research, Revolutionary Guards Corps involvement, ballistic-missile program, and plutonium reactor.
        If Iran were really building a nuclear program for purely civilian reasons, it could just purchase all of its enriched uranium from a foreign seller. Even the U.S. actually imports the vast majority of its enriched uranium and has no currently operating industrial-scale enrichment facilities, says Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general for safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency.
        Allowing Iran to keep 4,500-6,500 centrifuges would be to let Tehran remain within striking distance of building a nuclear weapon. Under an agreement that allows Iran to keep thousands of centrifuges, Iran will be given a green light to enrich uranium - something it has no practical need to do - thanks to decades of recalcitrance, single-minded policy dedication, and outright deceit. (Business Insider)
  • Ex-U.S. Envoy No Longer Backs Arming Syrian Rebels - Hannah Allam
    Former U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has dropped his call to provide weapons to the rebels. Instead, he's become increasingly critical of them as disjointed and untrustworthy because they collaborate with jihadists. Ford explained in an interview last week that without a strong central command or even agreement among regional players that al-Qaeda's Nusra Front is an enemy, the moderates stand little chance of becoming a viable force, whether against Assad or the extremists.
        Ford said part of the problem was that too many rebels - and their patrons in Turkey and Qatar - insisted that Nusra was a homegrown, anti-Assad force when in fact it was an al-Qaeda affiliate whose ideology was virtually indistinguishable from the Islamic State's. The U.S. already has suffered a string of embarrassments involving supplies it's donated to the rebels ending up in the hands of U.S.-designated terrorist groups.
        Ford also said the latest U.S. approach of building a new, handpicked paramilitary to focus on the Islamic State was doomed; there are far too few fighters to take the project seriously. (McClatchy)

Now We Know Who to Believe on Iran - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)

  • After anonymous sources in Jerusalem leaked in recent weeks the ostensible terms of the deal being hammered out with Iran, various U.S. government spokespeople contended that the Israeli government was misrepresenting the specifics and sneered that Israel didn't actually know what the terms were.
  • Yet among the terms of the deal being reported by the Associated Press from Geneva on Monday are precisely those that were asserted in recent weeks by the Israeli sources. Iran is to be allowed to keep 6,500 centrifuges spinning, and there will be a clause providing for an end to intrusive inspections in some 10-15 years. There is also no indication of restrictions on Iran's missile development.
  • Israel's most respected Middle East affairs analyst, Channel 2 commentator Ehud Ya'ari, noted that the isolation of Iran even by Israel's key allies was already cracking, with the firmly pro-Israel foreign minister of Australia, Julie Bishop, announcing an imminent visit to Tehran.
  • Ya'ari also noted that the International Atomic Energy Agency has made clear that it lacks the tools to effectively monitor the kind of nuclear program that Iran will be allowed to maintain under the emerging deal.
  • The P5+1 is about to legitimize Iran as a nuclear threshold state. From there, it will be capable of rapidly breaking out to the bomb, well aware that the international community lacks the will to stop it.
  • The Obama administration would evidently like to believe that 10-15 years from now, the ayatollahs will be gone. But if the deal now taking shape is indeed finalized, the chances of the regime being ousted from within will drastically recede. This deal will help cement the ayatollahs in power, with dire consequences for Israel, relatively moderate Arab states, and the free world.

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