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June 1, 2015

In-Depth Issue:

Khamenei: "I Do Not Allow Our Scientists to Be Interrogated" - Ali Hosseini Khamenei (YouTube)
  "They are saying new things in the nuclear negotiations," Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei posted on his YouTube account on May 31, 2015. "For example, they speak about visiting and examining our centers. As we said before, we will not allow any military center to be examined by foreigners."
  "They say that they should interview our scientists. In other words, they want to interrogate them. We do not allow our nuclear scientists and scientists in any sensitive and important area to endure the slightest insult. I do not allow foreigners to speak to our scientists."

Massive Crowds Celebrate New York's Israel Day Parade (Ha'aretz)
  Hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of New York on Sunday for the annual Israel Day Parade.
  The parade of some 30,000 participants, one of the city's largest and most popular celebrations, made its way down the city�s most famous street, Fifth Avenue, from late Sunday morning.
    See also New Yorkers Dodge Raindrops, Crowd Midtown for 51st Annual Celebrate Israel Parade - Chris-Sommerfeldt (New York Daily News)

Palestinian Football Association Drops Bid to Suspend Israel from FIFA - Inna Lazareva (Telegraph - UK)
  The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) dropped their bid to suspend Israel from the F�d�ration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in a dramatic U-turn. Jibril Rajoub, the head of PFA, said the change of tack came due to pressure from dozens of presidents of football associations around the world who called on him not to put Israel�s suspension to a vote. "It does not mean that I give up the resistance," said Mr Rajoub on Friday.

Iranian Military Commander Killed Fighting in Ramadi - Bill Roggio and Caleb Weiss (Long War Journal)
  An Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) military commander was killed fighting the Islamic State in Iraq�s Anbar province, according to reports in the Iranian press.
  The commander, Jassem Nouri, was reportedly killed on May 28 while fighting against the Islamic State near Ramadi. The Islamic State defeated the Iraqi military in Ramadi and drove it out of the city on May 17.
  The presence of Iranian military advisers in Anbar should come as no surprise. Several Iranian-backed militias are leading the fight in the province, a predominately Sunni Muslim area of Iraq.

Indian Navy to Test Fire Missile Jointly Developed with Israel (DNA - India)
  The Indian Navy will soon test fire a long-range surface-to-air missile, jointly developed by India and Israel, aiming to enhance its capabilities against incoming missiles, planes and drones. If the test is successful, it will pave the way for final installation of Barak 8 missiles on board Indian warships. The missile had undergone a successful test in Israel last November.
    See also Indian Prime Mininster Modi to Visit Israel Later this Year (New Kerala - India)

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News Resources - North America and Europe:

  • Countdown: Obama Has One Month to Strike Deal with Iran - Kristina Wong
    President Obama is aggressively pushing for a nuclear deal with Iran before the June 30 deadline, but various hurdles slowing the negotiations' progress have raised doubts that an agreement will be made in time. Although President Obama hopes that a successful nuclear deal will be his administration's legacy, the United States faces heavy opposition to the agreement both from within and outside the country's borders.
      France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated after meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that France will only support a deal that allows foreign inspectors into Iranian nuclear sites. With two major details in the agreement still left unsettled, there is significant doubt that the nuclear deal will be successful. (The Hill)
  • Kerry Heads Home from Iran Negotiations after Cycling Accident
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry returns home Monday from Geneva after breaking his leg in a bicycle crash. He was in Switzerland for talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on reaching a nuclear deal before the June 30 deadline.
      Those talks did not continue Sunday as originally planned after Iran rejected a Western demand to allow site inspections. (VOA News)
  • Six Powers Agree Way to Restore UN Sanctions in Push for Iran Deal - Louis Charbonneau, John Irish and Parisa Hafezi
    Six world powers have agreed on a way to restore U.N. sanctions on Iran if the country breaks the terms of a future nuclear deal, clearing a major obstacle to an accord ahead of a June 30 deadline.
      The new understanding on a UN sanctions "snapback" among the six powers - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - brings them closer to a possible deal with Iran, though other hurdles remain, including ensuring United Nations access to Iranian military sites. (Reuters)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Warns of Palestinian Boycott Campaign - Ian Deitch
    Israel faces an �international campaign to blacken its name� aimed at delegitimizing its very existence regardless to its policies, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday. The international community disproportionally singles out the Jewish state for condemnation while remaining silent on major conflicts and human rights abuses in other countries, he said. (AP/Washington Post)
  • News Resources - Israel, the Mideast, and Asia:

  • Moscow Changing Tack on Relationship with Assad
    Clear signs are emerging of a dramatic U-turn in Russia�s policy toward the regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, with Moscow even beginning to consider a �future without Assad� for the country, sources have told Asharq Al-Awsat.
      Moscow, along with Tehran, is one of the biggest supporters of the Assad regime, but the sources say there has been a recent change in comments from Russian officials as well as other, more substantive, changes, indicating a major shift in Russia�s relationship with the Syrian government.
      Sources from the Syrian opposition said Moscow had also recently transferred around 100 senior diplomatic and technical officials working in Syria back to Russia. Many of them were working in the Damascus operations center providing support to Syrian security and military officials, alongside their Iranian counterparts and members of the Lebanese Shi�ite group Hizbullah. (Asharq Al-Awsat - UK)
  • Israelis Take Part in Nationwide Security and Emergency Drill - Itay Blumenthal
    Israel is in for days of mock explosions, sirens and missile and terror attacks as its security and rescue services on Sunday launched a five-day drill across the country.
      The drill involves the Home Front Command, the Ministry of Defense�s National Emergency Authority, government ministries, local authorities, security organizations, the education system, and public and private entities. The exercises will end Thursday.
      On Tuesday, sirens will sound across Israel at 11:05 am and at 7:05 pm, with the exception of communities bordering the Gaza Strip, as part of the Home Front command drill. (Ynet)
  • Qatar Continues to Aid Gaza Reconstruction, Acknowledges Israel
    Qatar continues to aid reconstruction efforts in the war-torn Gaza Strip as new projects start, says the head of Qatar's committee for reconstructing Gaza, Muhammad al-Amadi.
      "The reconstruction process is progressing very well as construction material is being shipped to Gaza every day without any obstacles," al-Amadi said to Ma'an, adding that contracts for new projects have been signed and bids for more projects will be made.
      Israel has approved all the Qatari-funded projects in the Gaza Strip, he said. (Ma'an News Agency - Bethlehem)
  • Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

  • Transformational Diplomacy: Can a Nuclear Deal Change Iran? - Reuel Marc Gerecht
    Many supporters of an Iranian nuclear agreement believe that a deal could help to moderate, even democratize, Iranian society. Barack Obama�s constant allusions to the transformative potential of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for U.S.-Iranian relations suggest that he believes an agreement would improve the clerical regime�s behavior.
      But economic dynamism has never been the driving priority for the regime, even for Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the former majordomo of the political clergy and the father of the Islamic Republic�s pragmatic �technocrats,� and Hassan Rouhani, Rafsanjani�s most famous disciple, who�s grown rich through the revolution�s redistribution of wealth to the ruling clerical class.
      In the 1990s, Ali Khamenei and Rafsanjani welcomed billions in foreign investments�while they were also green-lighting nuclear-weapons research, terrorism overseas, and repression at home.
      If we are unlikely to see a nuclear agreement produce moderation in Iranian politics within a decade, what are we likely to see if Khamenei decides to vouchsafe to Obama the diplomatic capstone of his presidency? Probably the exact opposite of what the president intends. It is entirely conceivable that Obama will engineer what has been unthinkable in Iranian politics: a sustainable alignment between the technocrats and the Revolutionary Guards. In foreign policy, this will likely translate into more, and more skillful, Iranian adventurism. (Weekly Standard)
  • Aided by the Sea, Israel Overcomes an Old Foe: Drought - Isabel Kershner
    Israel has experienced a "water revolution" in the wake of a severe seven-year drought that threatened Israel's entire water supply. Although many of Israel's natural water reserves are still suffering, the government has pioneered a variety of methods to recycle the water that has already been in use.
      Over the past decade, the Israeli government has built four desalination plants along the Mediterranean coast and plans to open a fifth plant this year; these desalination plants will produce an estimated 130 billion gallons of potable water per year. In addition, the Israeli government has increased its efforts to recycle wastewater and sell it back to the agricultural industry. Finally, nationwide changes in home water consumption policies have cut household water use by more than 18 percent in the past few years.
      These efforts have successfully prevented Israel from suffering even further under the severe droughts plaguing the Middle East. (New York Times)
  • Israel Air Chief: Heavy Weapons for Small Wars - Barbara Opall-Rome
    Whoever thinks the F-35 or other heavily armed fighter jets are no longer relevant for urban combat better think again, said Israel's top Air Force officer.
      As counter-intuitive as it may seem to the notion of surgical strike, Israel Air Force (IAF) commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel insists small wars and counterinsurgency operations of the future will demand massive use of heavy munitions.
      "Today, the subject of achieving air superiority is a challenge even vis-a-vis small countries and terrorist groups who know how to deploy SAMs," he said. "The nature of the threat demands precision intelligence and significant firepower beyond all levels that we've known before, in quality and also in quantity," he said. (Defense News )
  • Observations:

    Peace Talks Not a Western Monopoly: China Now an Invested Shareholder - Dr. Christina Lin (Times of Israel)

  • With ISIS rapidly expanding in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya, advancing towards Jordan and making inroads in Gaza, EU and France are suddenly pushing for an imposed �peace� between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
  • However, when the Mideast region is engulfed in war, genocide, and anti-human abominations with radical and apocalyptic Islam on the march, is this really the right time to restart �peace� talks?
  • The West appears to have little understanding for the concept of stability and frozen conflicts that plague the Middle East. However, a new kid on the block gets it�China.
  • Chinese consciousness regarding the importance of defensive security fences and walls is reflected in their strategic concepts. China may better appreciate Israel�s needs for a border security fence and strategic buffer zone to defend against Hamas, ISIS, other terrorists� attacks, and have insights on how to assist in drawing realistic borders towards a sustainable two state solution.
  • Israeli defense planners likely had this in mind when in November 2013, retired General Uzi Dayan and former Israeli UN ambassador Dore Gold visited Beijing to explain the need for defensible borders in the West Bank to Chinese military brass, and presented their case on a nuclear Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians, with materials translated into Chinese.
  • Similar to Israel, China is also facing radicalization of its neighboring Muslim states and domestic Muslim population. Islamists deem Chinese and Israeli land as occupied Muslim territories.
  • Dr. Christina Lin is a Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS-Johns Hopkins University. She is a former director for China policy at the U.S. Department of Defense.

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