June 10, 2019

In-Depth Issues:

Iran Accelerating Uranium Centrifuge Production (Times of Israel)
    Israeli intelligence has identified a significant acceleration of work on the production of new uranium centrifuges, Israel's Channel 13 reported Friday.
    At the same time, the intelligence sources said Iran was making back-channel overtures to Washington expressing a willingness to renew talks.

Turkey Will Not Receive U.S. F-35s If It Acquires Russia's S-400 - Oriana Pawlyk (Military.com)
    In a letter to Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar, U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Thursday gave Turkey one last chance to cancel its planned order of the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system before it is removed from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
    Undersecretary of Defense Ellen Lord said Friday, "The U.S. was disappointed to learn that Turkey sent personnel to Russia to train on the Russian system. The S-400 is incompatible with the F-35."
    Turkish industries produce 937 parts for the F-35, including items for the landing gear and fuselage. Discussions to find alternate sources are "well underway," Lord said.

Israel Arrests Stowaway Suspected of Arson on Ship from Turkey - Yaniv Kubovich and Noa Shpigel (Ha'aretz)
    The Israeli Navy stormed a cargo ship on Sunday on its way from Turkey to Israel's Haifa Port, arresting a Turkish national who is suspected of attempting to set the vessel ablaze.

Man Arrested for Plotting Grenade Attack in Times Square - Doug Stanglin and Kevin McCoy (USA Today)
    Ashiqul Alam, 22, a Bangladeshi citizen who is a permanent U.S. resident, was arrested Thursday after discussing plans for months to stage a grenade attack in New York City's Times Square.

Syrian Opposition Uncovers Maps of Iranian Missiles Caches (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Syrian opposition officers uncovered on Saturday the sites of Iranian missile caches and factories in the country, saying that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has moved its leadership base from Damascus to mountainous areas north of the capital due to the latest Israeli strikes.

Israeli 8-Year-Old Wins 2nd Place in European Chess Championship - Ilanit Chernick (Jerusalem Post)
    Israeli chess prodigy Or Shatil, 8, won second place in the European School Chess Championships in Mamia, Romania, a press release reported on Sunday.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Ambassador Says Israel Has Right to Annex Parts of West Bank - David M. Halbfinger
    "Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank," U.S. Ambassador David M. Friedman said in an interview in Jerusalem last week. "Certainly Israel's entitled to retain some portion of it."
        Friedman also accused Palestinian leaders of wrongheadedly using "massive pressure" to deter business leaders from attending an economic conference that the U.S. is organizing this month in Bahrain. "It's unfair the way the Palestinians have described this as a bribe or as an attempt to buy off their national aspirations. It's not at all. It's an attempt to give life to their aspirations by creating a viable economy." He said there was a "silent majority" of Palestinians who would jump at the U.S. peace plan if not for the "real-life consequences" they could face from repressive West Bank officials. (New York Times)
  • Iran-Linked Terrorists Caught Stockpiling Explosives in London in 2015 - Ben Riley-Smith
    Hizbullah terrorists linked to Iran were caught stockpiling tons of explosive materials on the outskirts of London in a secret British bomb factory, the Daily Telegraph can reveal. The plot was uncovered by MI5 and the Metropolitan Police in the autumn of 2015, just months after the UK signed up to the Iran nuclear deal. Three metric tons of ammonium nitrate was discovered - more than was used in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people. For years, the incident has been kept hidden from the public.
        The discovery followed a tip-off from a foreign government. It became clear, according to well-placed sources, that the UK storage was part of an international Hizbullah plot to lay the groundwork for future attacks. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Iran Expands Morality Police in Response to Women's Hijab Protests - Ahmed Vahdat
    Iran has introduced 2,000 new morality police units in Gilan province in reaction to what officials call "increasing defiance" by "bad-hijabi women" over the compulsory wearing of hijabs. Each unit is made up of six women who have the power to arrest and detain those they deem to be flouting the country's strict veiling laws. Iran's police have also recently installed special cameras on the highways to take photos of female drivers who remove their hijab once they leave the town centers.
        A campaign by rights activists called "White Wednesday" encouraging women to wear white and discard their hijabs has gained support. Mohammad Abdulahpour, commander of Gilan province's Revolutionary Guards, has said that the survival of the Islamic revolution depends on the full implementation of Islamic traditions and that "the issue of hijab is...a serious political and security issue for our country."  (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Jordan: Abbas Rejects Solution to Financial Crisis - Alex Winston
    A senior Jordanian source said a proposal to solve the economic crisis facing the PA was rejected by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and that he forbade senior Palestinian officials to meet with Israeli officials, Israel Hayom reported. Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE offered to solve the crisis by supplementing the amount that Israel deducts for the salaries of terrorists and their families. Several meetings on the matter have taken place between Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Palestinian Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Attacks on Israelis in West Bank Continue
    The Israel Security Agency reported 100 attacks on Israelis by Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem in April compared to 125 in March. The April attacks included 70 firebombs, 21 pipe bombs, four cases of arson, three stabbing attacks and two shooting attacks. Rocks thrown at Israelis driving on West Bank roads were not included.
        Israeli security forces carry out near nightly raids in the West Bank to arrest Palestinians suspected of violence against Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • IAEA Should Inspect, Possibly Destroy Iran's Nuclear Archive, Ex-Deputy Says - Raphael Ahren
    Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director-general for safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency, urged the agency Thursday to demand the right to visit, inspect and possibly destroy the remaining parts of Iran's secret nuclear archive, which Israel had revealed last year. Heinonen said only one-fifth of the archive was smuggled to Israel. "There is another 80% that stayed behind," he told the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
        Heinonen said that Iran's nuclear weapons program had "proceeded substantially further than what was stated by Iran and concluded by the IAEA." "There was a cohesive plan to manufacture nuclear weapons, and when and after the plan was halted, the IAEA was not provided, as was stated by Iran, with a full disclosure of the past nuclear program."  (Times of Israel)
  • Egypt's Ramadan Soap Operas Contradict Sisi's Outreach to Israel - Haisam Hassanein
    In the past five years, Egyptian-Israeli relations have steadily improved. Yet this warmth has not been shared by the Egyptian media, much of which are reportedly controlled by government intelligence organs. Egyptian television series are specially produced and broadcast during Ramadan throughout the Arab world. It is discouraging to see negative representations of Israel and Jews still appearing frequently on Egyptian television.
        In the current season of the show Kalabsh, one of the major villains is a local businessman who had a suspicious affair with an American Mizrahi Jewish woman. This woman recruits him to help international NGOs that aim to harm Egypt's national security. In another soap opera, Al Dahar, an Egyptian military officer's love affair with a Jewish girl makes him deceive his country. The writer is a former Glazer Fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Why Does the Iranian Ruling Clique Hate America? - Amir Taheri (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Between 1957 and 1979, an estimated 200,000 Iranians attended colleges and universities in the U.S. The Khomeinist ruling clique has continued the tradition. According to an estimate by the Islamic Majlis (parliament), over 2,000 children of Khomeinist civilian and military officials are studying in the U.S.
  • Dozens of former members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Islamic media, and Islamic security agencies are working in U.S. universities and think tanks. Hundreds of senior Khomeinist officials hold U.S. passports and/or "Green Card" permanent residencies.
  • Iran as a nation has no reason to hate America and every reason to harbor good feelings towards it as a friend in need. However, Iran as an Islamic Republic, as a vehicle for Khomeinist ideology, must regard the U.S. as a direct threat to its hegemony in Iran.
  • An Iran that is friendly with the U.S. and is inspired by "American values" such as freedom of expression and the rule of law would not long tolerate the despotic and lawless system created by the ayatollah. Normal relations with the U.S. would spell the death of Khomeinism in Iran.
  • In sum: Khomeinists must be anti-American to remain in power while they and their children benefit from the best that America offers.
  • Will the U.S. help Iran in its struggle to break the shackles of a sick ideology and re-become the nation-state it had been for millennia?

    The writer was executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979.

Today's issue of Daily Alert was prepared in Israel on Isru Chag.