Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
September 3, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Iranian General: We'll Bolster Our Military until It Overthrows Israel (Fars-Iran)
    The top commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards in Tehran province, Brig.-Gen. Mohsen Kazzemeini, said Wednesday that "they (the U.S. and the Zionists) should know that the Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine."
    "And we will continue defending not just our own country, but also all the oppressed people of the world, especially those countries that are standing on the forefront of confrontation with the Zionists."

Iran Defense Minister: We Will Not to Allow IAEA to Inspect Every Site (Fars-Iran)
    Iranian Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Hossein Dehqan warned on Wednesday that Tehran would not allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit every site and facility that it wishes.
    He reiterated that the time had come for the Americans to realize that they were not the world's superpower and no one recognizes them as such any longer.

Israel Preparing to Combat Terror Against Gas Drilling Rigs (Times of Israel)
    Israeli commandos recently simulated the recapture of an offshore gas rig taken over by terrorists.
    The naval commandos had to retake the rig from the gunmen without using firearms, out of concern that gunfire could set the gas alight and cause the rig to explode.
    Israel is also working to modify the Barak 8 missile defense system to become "a naval Iron Dome," referring to Israel's land-based missile defense system that proved effective in intercepting rockets fired from Gaza.
    See also Israel Navy Drills Responses to Seaborne Terrorists - Yoav Zitun (Ynet News)
    The Israeli Navy on Wednesday revealed a series of exercises aimed at improving reactions to possible threats.
    One scenario involved seaborne terrorists making an incursion on Israel's coast, as Hamas frogmen did during last summer's Gaza war.

France Drops Investigation into Arafat's Death (Reuters)
    French investigating magistrates have decided to drop an inquiry into the 2004 death in France of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whose widow alleged he was poisoned, the prosecutor's office said on Wednesday.
    The French concluded he did not die of poisoning.

Report: Hizbullah Official's Son Arrested for Selling Arms to ISIS (NOW-Lebanon)
    Syrian security forces have arrested the son of a high-ranking Hizbullah military official on charges of buying weapons from Syrian army soldiers and selling them to ISIS members in Qalamoun, the Lebanese news site Janoubia reported.

Israel 6th in Healthy Life Expectancy - Itay Gal (Ynet News)
    A new study published in the medical journal Lancet puts Israel sixth in the rankings for healthy life expectancy among 188 countries.
    "Healthy life expectancy" takes into account not just mortality rates, but also years of life without terminal disease.
    See also Healthy Life Expectancy for 188 Countries (Lancet-UK)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Kerry: "U.S. Will Oppose Iran's Destabilizing Policies with Every National Security Tool Available"
    Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday: "Iran's support for terrorist groups and its contributions to sectarian violence...reflect the perceptions of its leaders about Iran's long-term national interests and there are no grounds for expecting those calculations to change in the near future....The United States will oppose Iran's destabilizing policies with every national security tool available."
        "In part because of the challenge posed by Iran, we have engaged in an unprecedented level of military, intelligence, and security cooperation with our friend and ally Israel. We are determined to help our ally address new and complex security threats and to ensure its qualitative military edge. We work with Israel every day to enforce sanctions and prevent terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hizbullah from obtaining the financing and the weapons that they seek - whether from Iran or from any other source."
        "I understand personally there is no way to overstate the concern in Israel about Iran and about the potential consequences that this agreement...might have on Israel's security. The fragility of Israel's position has been brought home to me on every one of the many trips I have made to that country....I understand the conviction that Israel, even more than any other country, simply cannot afford a mistake in defending its security. And while I respectfully disagree with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the benefits of the Iran agreement, I do not question for an instant the basis of his concern or that of any Israeli."  (U.S. State Department)
  • Political Skirmishing to Continue after Iran Deal Vote - Walter Pincus
    Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) have a pending bill to authorize a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires next year. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said last month that the sanctions extension would be brought up and passed after the debate on the nuclear pact. Iranian officials have said that extending the authorization for sanctions could be considered a violation of the agreement.
        Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) has threatened to withhold the U.S. contribution for fiscal 2016 to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if Congress does not get to see the side agreement between Iran and the IAEA on examining Tehran's past nuclear activities. (Washington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu to Continue to Speak Out Against Iran Deal - Herb Keinon
    Prime Minister Netanyahu will continue to speak out strongly against the Iran nuclear deal, government sources said, even though President Obama on Wednesday secured the votes needed to sustain a presidential veto of a Congressional resolution against the deal. An Israeli official said the accord "remains a dangerous deal, and it remains important to continue to point that out....Iranian leaders openly say they will continue their terrorism and aggression, and they will now - with the sanctions relief - have enhanced resources to do so, because the deal will give them billions of dollars....This issue will continue to engage us all."
        "The American people get it....They understand the dangers to Israel. They understand the dangers to the United States. That's why a clear majority believe the deal should be rejected, which is also reflected in Congress, where a clear majority seems prepared to reject the deal....The stronger the opposition in Congress to the deal, the stronger the message to Iran and to America's allies in the region, and the greater the likelihood that the message will be reflected in U.S. policy moving forward."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Gunfire from Gaza Narrowly Misses Israeli Kids
    Bullets fired from a Hamas training camp in Gaza hit an Israeli home in Kibbutz Netiv Ha'asara on Wednesday. One bullet shattered the window of a home and hit a television while two children, aged 6 and 9, were watching it. (Times of Israel)
  • Israeli Rescue Forces Attacked after Saving Palestinians from Burning Building
    Israeli rescue forces were pelted with stones after helping to extricate Palestinians trapped on the roof of a five-story burning building in the Isawiya neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem on Wednesday, police reported. In a joint operation of the Israel Police, Border Police and Fire Service, the Palestinians were evacuated without injury. The Israeli forces were then attacked as they were leaving the neighborhood. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Here's How America Can Really Make the Iran Deal Better - Robert Einhorn
    The way to get a better Iran deal is to strengthen the existing deal by supplementing it with U.S. policies designed to promote strict compliance, counter Tehran's destabilizing regional activities, and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran over the long term. First, the administration should actively build international support for rigorous enforcement of compliance, working with key partners to establish contingency plans for the coordinated re-imposition of sanctions in the event of Iranian violations, including appropriate responses to both small and major infractions.
        The U.S. should make detection of Iranian weaponization activities a top U.S. intelligence priority. It should also press potential supplier governments to comply with renewed Security Council prohibitions on transferring major conventional weapons and ballistic missile technology to Iran, step up efforts to interdict illicit shipments to and from Iran, and strengthen the conventional military and missile defense capabilities of Israel and Gulf Arab partners.
        To deter Iran from deciding to build nuclear arms once restrictions on its nuclear capabilities expire after 15 years, U.S. presidents, with the formal endorsement of Congress, should publicly commit the U.S. to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to using any means necessary, including military force, to enforce that commitment.
        Finally, the U.S. and its regional partners should mobilize their collective economic resources and military capabilities - which are far greater than Iran's - in a coordinated strategy to thwart any Iranian efforts to destabilize and dominate the region. The writer is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former member of the U.S.-Iran negotiating team. (National Interest)
  • Israel's Policy Dilemmas on Syria - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror
    The southern part of the Syrian Golan Heights harbors various radical groups. Israel cannot count any of them among its fans. But these groups are united by their desire to bring the Assad era to its end, and until this objective is achieved, they are unlikely to train their sights on Israel. Meanwhile, the central and northern parts of the Syrian Golan Heights harbor groups that support Assad. These groups have direct ties to Iran through its regional proxy, Hizbullah, and they are funded and armed by Tehran.
        Israel has no interest in making life easier for Hizbullah, Assad and their allies, even if the alternative is a potential threat by Islamic State. On the other hand, Israel stands to gain nothing by accelerating the regime's demise, or by aiding radical Sunni groups to overrun Syria.
        Israel must prevent Iran or Syria from providing Hizbullah with game-changing weapons or systems that could undermine Israel's strategic advantage in a future conflict. This should be done by mounting a surgical strike against any such delivery, regardless of how deep behind enemy lines it may take place, or how it may affect the interests of those supporting the regime, be they Syrian, Iranian, or Russian. The writer served as National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, head of the National Security Council, and head of the research division of IDF Intelligence. (Israel Hayom)

Iran Is Already Gloating - Amir Abbas Fakhravar and G. William Heiser (Real Clear World)

  • The website of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) accidentally published the minutes of an off-the-record briefing with Iranian deputy nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi on Aug. 5, before it was removed hours later.
  • Araghchi quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov, who headed the Russian negotiating team. Reportedly, Rybakov said: "I was telling my associates last night that these Iranians are truly geniuses. They came to get a green light for their enrichment program from the Security Council in exchange for what? In exchange for their sanctions to be lifted. Not only do they not give anything in exchange, but they receive something in exchange for what they receive! Their sanctions will be lifted and their enrichment will continue."
  • Regarding daily inspections of Iranian facilities, Araghchi said: "Even before the Geneva agreement, the inspectors were in our sites four to five times a week. Therefore, we have no problems with inspections. Now in Natanz, they can not only stay there for 24 hours, but they may even sleep there if they so wish. In Natanz, there is nothing to be found so we have no problems with that."
  • Araghchi explains how Iran could handle the 24-day process triggered if the IAEA suspects activities in non-nuclear facilities: "The IAEA has to present us with evidence as to why it thinks there have been illegal activities occurring....In cases where their evidence is not entirely unfounded, we can even use substitute methods; for example, we will say we cannot allow you into the main facility but we can allow you access to the area behind it. The other method is for us to videotape it ourselves and present it to them."
  • The Iranian side made clear that it would not stop arming Hizbullah, and the president knew that he could not defend the deal before U.S. allies and the Congress without arms and missile sanctions. The solution: Kerry proposed relaxing these sanctions and putting them in the UN resolution. As Araghchi explained: "At the end they themselves came and said that we will separate the [nuclear] agreement from the [UN] resolution. We will include the arms and missiles sanctions in the resolution so that breaking it would not be considered as breaking the agreement."
  • Both Washington and Tehran have acknowledged that the JCPOA is not a legally binding international agreement. It is not a treaty. It is not even an executive agreement; it has no signatories. It is nothing more than a set of voluntary understandings. No American president has ever entered into such a long-term arms control agreement on his own authority.

    Amir Abbas Fakhravar, an Iranian dissident, is an adjunct professor at Texas State University. G. William Heiser is a former Reagan administration official who served as Arms Control Director on the National Security Council staff.

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