May 10, 2018

In-Depth Issues:

Trump Warns Iran: "Don't Restart Your Nuclear Weapons Program" - Alexander Mallin (ABC News)
    Asked what he would do if Iran moves forward in restarting its nuclear program, President Trump said Wednesday:
    "I don't think they should do that. I would advise Iran not to start their nuclear program. I would advise them very strongly. If they do, there will be very severe consequences."

Hizbullah's "Fake News": Missiles Hit Sensitive Sites in Israel (Al-Ahed-Lebanon)
    The Hizbullah-affiliated Al-Ahed news website listed ten Israeli "military sites" in the Golan that it claimed "were targeted by dozens of missiles" on Wednesday night.
    "The enemy confessed soon after that all of its sensitive sites in the Golan have been hit. It was also learned that the Iron Dome in the Golan failed to confront the missiles."

Iran-Aligned Houthis in Yemen Fire Missiles at Saudi Capital - Sarah Dadouch (Reuters)
    Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis fired a salvo of ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia's capital on Wednesday, the group's al-Masirah TV reported.

Either the World Deals with Iran Now, or It Deals with a Nuclear Iran in the Future - Timothy Stanley (CNN)
    The Iran nuclear deal amounted to bribing Iran to suspend its nuclear program, which is like feeding a wild animal scraps of meat to dissuade it from biting you.
    The deal moved toward the regularization of a pariah state. The problem is that Iran's regime is not regular.
    Since the deal was signed, Iran has hugely expanded its power within the region. Indeed, a country's attitude toward the Iran deal depends in part on its proximity to Iran.
    Israel, for instance, cannot tolerate its neighbors being turned into military colonies of a hostile foreign power.
    The writer is a historian and columnist for Britain's Daily Telegraph.

The Only Way to Deter the Regional Bully - Prof. Eyal Zisser (Israel Hayom)
    A day does not pass without someone trying to frighten the Israel public with doomsday prophecies of impending war with Iran.
    The warnings are rooted in a naive assumption that the regional bully can do anything he wants, and that imposing boundaries on him is a mistake because it will only make him angry and cause him to respond violently.
    However, experience teaches us that setting red lines and backing them up is the only way to deter bullies and cause them to change their behavior.
    The writer, vice rector at Tel Aviv University, is former director of its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran Fires 20 Rockets at Israel from Syria - Isabel Kershner
    Iranian forces in Syria fired 20 rockets into Israel early Thursday, targeting IDF positions on the Golan Heights. IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said there were no Israeli casualties. (New York Times)
        See also Israel Attacks 50 Iranian Targets in Syria after Iran Targets Israeli Bases - Yoav Zitun
    After Iranian forces in Syria launched a rocket attack on Israeli army bases in the Golan Heights early Thursday, the IDF attacked more than 50 Iranian targets in Syria in "one of the greatest operations of the Israel Air Force in the past decade," IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis said. "It will take the Iranians a long time to rehabilitate."
        "Under Iranian command...20 rockets were fired by Hizbullah experts and Shiite militias with Iranian weapons, and none of them hit Israeli territory. Four of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome and the rest landed on Syrian territory....There were no injuries and not a single post sustained damage....We also struck five batteries of the Syrian antiaircraft system, which fired dozens of missiles at our planes."
        "If the Syrians allow direct activity against Israel they will pay a price. It will take the Iranians a long time to rebuild the operational, military and intelligence infrastructure we hit tonight. We informed the Russians about this activity in advance."  (Ynet News)
        See also Map Depicting Israeli Airstrikes in Syria - J.E. Dyer (Liberty Unyielding)
  • Dreams of a Thriving Iranian Market for European Companies Were in Doubt Even Before the U.S. Exited the Nuclear Accord - Jack Ewing and Stanley Reed
    European companies moved quickly to invest in Iran after the 2015 agreement. Yet even before President Trump pulled out of the agreement with Iran, many companies had already tempered their expectations and limited their investment. Despite its potential, Iran has largely been a disappointment for European investors. In a dysfunctional economy, many failed to gain traction in a huge bureaucracy rife with political power struggles. Companies have also been stifled by a reluctance of foreign banks to provide financing. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Defense Minister: We Hit Almost All Iranian Infrastructure in Syria - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday that the IDF had hit almost all of Iran's infrastructure in Syria. "Last night, Iran tried to attack Israeli sovereign territory and failed....If Iran hits us with rain, we will hit them with a flood." Israel "will not let Iran turn Syria into a base for attacking Israel....Iran has wasted $13 billion in the Syrian civil war and continues to spend $2 billion a year there."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Netanyahu: No Basis to Think Russia Will Limit Israel's Action in Syria - Herb Keinon
    After a meeting with Russian President Putin in Moscow on Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said there was no reason to think that Russia would limit Israel's freedom of action in Syria. He also said a Russian intelligence team will be coming to Israel to review the Iranian nuclear archive that Israel spirited out of Iran. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Prime Minister Netanyahu Attends WWII Victory Day Parade in Moscow (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Netanyahu Warns Putin that Iran Wants to Destroy 6 Million Jews - Henry Meyer
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Iran is out to destroy his country, pressing his appeal for Russian help to keep Tehran from using Syria as a launching pad to attack Israel. Netanyahu warned that seven decades after the Holocaust, "there is a country in the Middle East, Iran, which calls for the destruction of another 6 million Jews."  (Bloomberg)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israel and the U.S. Share Common Enemies Who Do Not Differentiate between Us - John Bolton
    President Trump sees the enormous benefits the U.S. has reaped from our sustained relationship with Israel. The recognition of Jerusalem and expeditious move of our embassy is a physical demonstration of the U.S. commitment to Israel, which is in fact a commitment to our national security interests. Israel's recent revelation of a trove of documentation of Iran's past nuclear weapons program demonstrates that we share common enemies who do not differentiate between us, and we are safer together than we are individually.
        In addition, Israel is a dynamic economic powerhouse. While its population is only one-tenth the size of Iran's, Israel has a gross domestic product that is roughly equal to Iran's, and the annual flow of foreign direct investment in Israel is four times greater than in Iran. Closer economic partnership with Israel will only increase America's prosperity, which leads to greater security. The writer is U.S. national security adviser. (Washington Post)
  • Video: The Iranians Are Going to Put All Their Illicit Weapons Development in Uninspected Sites - Dore Gold
    Responding to the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, Amb. Dore Gold told BBC on Tuesday: "It's no big deal to have verification in declared sites. The Iranians say, 'Here, you can look at these sites, but you have no access to undeclared sites, military sites.' So it's clear that the Iranians are going to put all their illicit weapons development in the undeclared sites. By the way, that's what they did in the past."
        "Historically in arms control, you can take a bad agreement and turn it into a good agreement. There was the SALT 2 treaty under President Carter. It was such a failure that they didn't even give it to the U.S. Senate for ratification because they knew it wouldn't pass the Senate. So what happened instead? Instead, a new set of treaties called START were negotiated by President Reagan that created stability between the superpowers and brought about a real detente. That's what you have to do now."
        "Right now, they can build all the missiles they want and at the end of the agreement, when the sunset clause kicks in, they can start enriching uranium in massive quantities. You will be facing a new Soviet Union, like you had in the Cold War, but it'll be a Shiite fundamentalist state. That's dangerous, not just for Israel, but for the world."
        The speaker, former director general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (BBC)

  • The U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal makes America, Israel and the world much safer. The deal threatened the security and the very future of Israel.
  • It legitimized Iranian aggression throughout the Middle East and funded massacres and terror through sanctions relief and business contracts. It also enabled Iran to retain its nuclear infrastructure and the ability to reactivate it in the near future.
  • Contrary to the claim that no deal would satisfy us, Israelis, in fact, sought an arrangement that would dismantle Iran's nuclear facilities, halt its building of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and ensure that the jihadist regime in Tehran could never develop nuclear weapons.
  • We sought a treaty that would link Iran's ability to do business overseas with the cessation of its support for terror, its campaign to dominate the Middle East, and its declared goal of destroying the Jewish state.
  • The Iran deal, signed in 2015, achieved none of this. All of Iran's nuclear facilities, including those intended to make atomic bombs, were retained. Iranian scientists, led by veterans of the secret nuclear weapons program, developed centrifuges able to enrich uranium at four times the 2015 rate.
  • The agreement also had expiration dates. In a short period, Iran would be able to enrich enough uranium for an entire arsenal of bombs.
  • Now, though, the U.S. is again poised to apply immense pressure on Iran, greatly reducing its ability to mount aggression in the region and abroad.

    The writer, Israel's deputy minister for diplomacy, was Israel's ambassador to the U.S. (2009-13).