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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
July 18, 2017

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Threatens to Target U.S. Forces If Revolutionary Guards Are Sanctioned - Saleh Hamid (Al Arabiya)
    Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Bagheri on Monday threatened to target American bases and forces in the region if the U.S. puts Iran's Revolutionary Guards on its terrorist list.

U.S. Charges Two Iranians with Stealing Weapon Software - Justin Carissimo (CBS News)
    The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday accused Iranian nationals Mohammed Reza Rezakhah, 39, and Mohammed Saeed Ajily, 35, of hacking into software companies, stealing materials, then selling it to the Iranian government, military and educational institutions.
    In 2012, Rezakhah hacked a Vermont-based company, Arrow Tech Associates, which designs bullets and GPS-guided artillery shells.

Maccabiah 2017 Games Conclude with Ceremony - Kayla Steinberg and Isabel Feinstein (Jerusalem Post)
    Filled with record-breaking performances, team spirit, and international Jewish unity, the 20th Maccabiah Games ended with a closing ceremony in Latrun on Monday.
    Maren Angus, who won a gold medal as a player on the U.S. softball team, said, "I come from a really small town in Tennessee, so I don't think I've ever been in a place with this many Jewish people in my life."

The Myth of CIA Responsibility for the Iranian Coup in 1953 - Ray Takeyh (Weekly Standard)
    The story that the Eisenhower administration ousted Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953 is unhinged from history.
    Last month, the State Department released a cache of documents related to the period. It is hard to read these cables and come to the conclusion that America overthrew Mossadeq.
    The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

AFP Amends Captions: Temple Mount Closures Follow Deadly Attacks (CAMERA)
    On Sunday, Agence France Presse published a series of photographs with captions noting that "Israel took the highly unusual decision to close the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for Friday prayers, leading to anger from Muslims and Jordan, the holy site's custodian."
    The captions originally included not a word about Friday's deadly attacks, in which three Arab Israeli assailants exiting the compound fired on Israeli policemen.
    By ignoring the deadly attacks, AFP's captions left the misimpression that Israel arbitrarily made Muslims' lives more difficult for no apparent reason.
    Following CAMERA's communication with AFP, the news agency commendably amended all of the captions to refer to the deadly attacks.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • White House: Iran Legally Complying on Nuclear Deal But Defaulting on "Spirit" of Agreement - Alexander Mallin
    The U.S. has certified to Congress that Iran is legally in compliance with the nuclear deal, but senior administration officials said Iran is "unquestionably in default of the spirit of the [agreement]." The officials pointed to "a range of malign activities" including Iran's ballistic missile development, support of militant groups in the region and Syria's Assad regime, its hostility to Israel and its continued detention of foreigners including U.S. citizens. Moving forward, the administration will "employ a strategy" that seeks to address Iran's aggressive behavior in the region. (ABC News)
  • Iran Dominates in Iraq - Tim Arango
    Walk into almost any market in Iraq and the shelves are filled with goods from Iran. Turn on the television and channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran. New television channels set up with Iranian money and linked to Shiite militias broadcast news coverage portraying Iran as Iraq's protector and the U.S. as a devious interloper.
        At some border posts in the south, Iraqi sovereignty is an afterthought. Busloads of militia recruits cross into Iran without so much as a document check. They receive military training and are then flown to Syria, where they fight under the command of Iranian officers in defense of Syrian President Assad. Parliament passed a law last year that effectively made the constellation of Shiite militias a permanent fixture of Iraq's security forces. This ensures Iraqi funding for the groups while effectively maintaining Iran's control.
        In the halls of power in Baghdad, even the most senior Iraqi cabinet officials have been blessed, or bounced out, by Iran's leadership. Iran has a large number of allies in Iraq's parliament who can help secure its goals. Its influence over the choice of interior minister has given it substantial control over that ministry and the federal police. (New York Times)
  • Iranian Military Agent Caught Trying to Enter U.S. - Adam Kredo
    Seyed Mohsen Dehnavi, a senior member of Iran's Basij military force, was caught at Boston's Logan Airport trying to enter the U.S., posing as a cancer researcher. Some media outlets portrayed U.S. officials as having prevented an Iranian doctor from performing legitimate work. However, Iranian sources said Dehnavi has close ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
        "Dehnavi is a high-ranking member of IRGC's Basij, has been involved in the IRGC's military research programs, has played a key role in oppressing dissidents, and Iran's Supreme Leader has given him his own keffiyeh as a gift," said Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iranian dissident and regional expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "He is a well-known figure and a simple Google search would have shown his identity."  (Washington Free Beacon)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • U.S. Shares Israel's Goal to Prevent Iranian Influence in Syria - Michael Wilner
    The U.S. shares Prime Minister Netanyahu's concerns over Iran's presence in southern Syria and is working with Israel to prevent it, a White House official told the Jerusalem Post on Monday. "Both governments - the United States and Israel - are rightly concerned about Iran's malign influence in the region," the official said. "A core goal of U.S. policy in Syria is to ensure that no vacuum is created which Iran can fill."  (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Israel May Need to Take Out Iranian Bases in Syria - Herb Keinon
    Israel may need to take military action to prevent Iran or Hizbullah from setting up permanent bases in Syria, former National Security Council head Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror said on Monday. If Israel's interests are not taken into account by those determining the future arrangements in Syria, "that might lead the IDF to intervene and destroy every attempt to build [permanent Iranian] infrastructure in Syria," he said. "At the end of the day it is our responsibility, not the responsibility of the Americans, or the Russians, to guarantee ourselves, and we will take all the measures that are needed for that."
        Iran is implementing a strategy that for the first time in modern history places them on the cusp of establishing a land corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean. "The ability of the Iranians to do what they are doing now in Syria and all built on the legitimacy they gained from this [nuclear] agreement....The agreement is the source of all the problems. It is even more dangerous than we imagined."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Dermer: Israel Fully Supports Taylor Force Act - Amir Tibon
    Israel's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, told Christians United for Israel on Monday that the Israeli government fully supports the Taylor Force Act, legislation that would freeze all U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority as long as it continues to pay salaries to convicted terrorists and their families. "Israel will be concerned if the Taylor Force Act doesn't pass," he said. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • The Ceasefire and U.S. Interests on the Jordan-Syria Border - David Schenker and Hanin Ghaddar
    Both Israel and Jordan want to prevent Iran from establishing a foothold on the Jordan-Syria border, amid concerns that Iran-backed militias may ignore the U.S.-Russia-Jordan ceasefire agreement announced on July 7 for southwest Syria. On several occasions in 2017, Iran-backed Shia militias have violated ceasefire agreements arranged by their Russian allies.
        Given U.S. concerns about Jordanian stability, Washington should establish a red line on Iranian deployments in southern Syria. It should inform Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran that any regime or Iranian air or ground operations in the ceasefire area would be met with an appropriate U.S. response from the air. Indeed, if Washington does not take such a step, there is a distinct possibility that Israel will. David Schenker is director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute. Hanin Ghaddar, a veteran Lebanese journalist, is a visiting fellow at the Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • Syrian Ceasefire Makes Israel Nervous - David Makovsky
    Senior Israeli officials are concerned about the enforcement of the recent U.S. cease-fire deal in southern Syria with Russia and Jordan. Israeli officials view Assad as a butcher who murders and gasses his own people with virtual impunity. Yet, they believe he is unlikely to be dislodged in western Syria. In eastern and southern Syria, Israeli strategic thinkers see a growing Iranian threat that requires a much more robust response.
        For Israel, it's noteworthy that Jordan was a party to the deal. However, Israeli security experts are skeptical that the cease-fire will hold - they have seen too many similar agreements fall apart in Syria. They are also concerned that the post-Raqqa world could create a vacuum that would be filled by Iran. The writer, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served as senior adviser to the State Department's special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2013 and 2014. (Politico)
  • Lebanese Politician: Hizbullah Is Occupying Lebanon
    Lebanese journalist Naufal Daou, a member of the March 14 Alliance, told LDC TV on June 28: "The Christians and the other Lebanese should say to [Hizbullah leader] Hassan Nasrallah: 'This is wrong. Go take a flying leap. Whatever happens, we won't back you.' What will he do - occupy Lebanon? He's already done so....Our problem today in Lebanon is that Hizbullah is just like any occupying force."
        Interviewer: "But they are Lebanese."
        Daou: "So what? These Lebanese are illegitimate because they occupy us by the force of the gun. Their weapons are illegitimate. It is an occupation force that has taken over our political decision-making....The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps are here. They are called Hizbullah."
        Interviewer: "[They] are Lebanese, not Iranian."
        Daou: "So what if they are Lebanese? Whose orders do they obey?"  (MEMRI-TV)

Education to Peace Is Crucial in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (EU Reporter)

  • Long-term education to peace is crucial to reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, Palestinian and Israeli experts told a seminar for journalists organized by the Europe Israel Press Association (EIPA) in Brussels.
  • "This dimension was always neglected by both sides and the moderator," said IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog, who took part in every round of peace negotiations since the nineties and the Oslo agreements.
  • "We had then an agreement called 'people to people,' which never materialized because the Palestinians didn't want to normalize relations with Israel before any solution. This culture of peace is the critical issue. It is not only about signing an agreement between two governments. You need to educate the people," he stressed.
  • Bassem Eid, founder of the Palestinian NGO Human Rights Monitoring Group, said, "If the European Union, who is funding the education system and the schools under the Palestinian Authority, is not going to evaluate their curriculum, which is not educating to peace, it means that Europe becomes part of the conflict rather than part of the solution."
  • "The Palestinian leadership is holding its own people as hostages for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As long as Fatah and Hamas are divided from each other, forget any kind of opportunity for resuming peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That's because of the Palestinians, not the Israelis."

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