August 29, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

European Draft of Iran Nuclear Deal Leaves Critical Matters Unresolved - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
    A close look at the final draft of the nuclear deal with Iran, proposed by the EU in July, reveals the pace of sanctions' removal is greater than the schedule for Iran to quit its uranium enrichment and get rid of its stocks of already enriched material, as well as its centrifuges.
    The emerging deal addresses only the fissile material needed to build a bomb, and not other components of Iran's military nuclear program, including its development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.
    The deal also ignores Iran's belligerent policies in the Middle East and its use of proxies to destabilize the region.
    In practical terms, in the first three months of the agreement, the IAEA will be unable to inspect Iran's nuclear program. Iran will be able to produce advanced centrifuges and hide enriched material.

Iranian Media React to a Possible New Nuclear Deal - Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall and Iran Desk (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    In discussions on renewing the Iran deal, there are three main issues in dispute: lifting the sanctions, guaranteeing the sustainability of the new deal and the economic benefits for Iran even if the U.S. administration is replaced, and the issue of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) oversight and inspections.
    Fereydoon Abbasi, the former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Aug. 20, 2022, that even if a deal was signed, the West would not change its attitude toward Iran.
    "Its ideology and its principles lead it to seek Iran's destruction and curtail its revolutionary activity throughout the world, particularly in Asia and Africa. The West will try in every way to continue the heavy economic pressure on Iran and the Iranian people."

Hundreds of Iranian Missiles Struck in Syria (Ha'aretz)
    A weapons storage facility containing hundreds of Iranian-made ground-to-ground missiles was damaged in an attack attributed to Israel, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.
    Explosions were heard in the area of the warehouse for six hours after the strike on Thursday in the city of Masyaf.
    The missiles were manufactured in a secret scientific research center supervised by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
    Israel has attacked in Syria 21 times since the beginning of the year.

Russia Redeploys S-300 Air Defense Battery Out of Syria - Ron Ben Yishai (Ynet News)
    Russia removed a S-300 missile defense system from Masyaf in northwest Syria recently, to bolster its military offensive in Ukraine. This may have facilitated a strike on targets there last week attributed to Israel.
    Masyaf has become the primary center for the production of Syrian and Iranian precise missiles, for use by Hizbullah and other Shi'ite militia groups.
    24 Russian S-300 batteries were deployed to Syria. Syrians operate the systems under the command of Russian "military advisors."

UN Reports Blatant Security Violations by Armed Groups in Southern Lebanon - Luke Tress (Times of Israel)
    The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said on Friday that it has recently observed at least four illicit shooting ranges in its area of operations where individuals "dressed in combat attire" were conducting live fire exercises.
    "The presence of weapons and the training activities that appear to be taking place are blatant violations of UN Security Council Resolution 1701," the UNIFIL spokesperson's office said.
    Lebanon's Armed Forces confirmed that it did not operate the shooting ranges.
    UNIFIL also said its freedom of movement has been increasingly restricted.

Increase in Attempted Weapons and Drug Smuggling on Egyptian, Jordanian Borders (Jerusalem Post)
    300 weapons have been seized by Israeli security forces along the Egyptian and Jordanian borders since the start of 2022, along with 2,100 kg. of drugs, according to a report released Sunday.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran: No Way Back to Nuclear Deal if IAEA Probe Continues - Nasser Karimi
    Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned Monday that any restoration of the nuclear deal must see international inspectors end their probe on man-made uranium particles found at undeclared sites in the country. Tehran and Washington have traded written responses in recent weeks on the finer points of the deal.
        As a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran is obligated to explain the radioactive traces and to provide assurances that they are not being used as part of a nuclear weapons program. The IAEA's Board of Governors in June criticized Iran over its failure to answer questions about the sites to the inspectors' satisfaction. (AP-Washington Post)
        See also IAEA Says It Will Not Close Probe into Iran's Unexplained Uranium - Adam Pourahmadi
    IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi called again on Monday for Iran to explain why traces of enriched uranium were found at previously undeclared nuclear research sites three years ago. Inspectors have also found information about a considerable amount of equipment in locations that had not been declared as places where nuclear activity was being conducted.
        After CNN's Becky Anderson asked Grossi whether the IAEA will end its probe without receiving answers, he responded: "Absolutely not....So far Iran has not given us the technically credible explanations we need to explain the origin of many traces of uranium, the presence of equipment at places. This idea that politically we are going to stop doing our job is unacceptable for us."  (CNN)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Mossad Chief Says New Nuclear Deal Is Strategic Disaster - Itamar Eichner
    Mossad chief David Barnea said Thursday that the new nuclear deal with Iran will lead to a strategic disaster because it will facilitate Iran's efforts to obtain a bomb. In briefings with top Israeli government officials, Barnea said the deal will infuse Iran with billions of dollars that will be diverted to fund terrorist groups including Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as other proxies, and will pose a challenge for both the U.S. and Israel.
        Barnea described the deal as worse than its 2015 predecessor because now there is more information about Iran's military capabilities. Barnea believed the new agreement would only add one to three months to the time Iran would need to achieve a nuclear threshold. (Ynet News)
        See also Iran Nuke Deal Will Not Deter Iranian Attacks, Mossad Chief Says - Jonathan Lis
    Israeli Mossad chief David Barnea said Thursday that signing a new nuclear agreement will not deter Iran from attempting to attack Israeli and American targets, and in fact he believes these attempts will increase in the future. Iran "is waging a terror campaign against the U.S., American targets such as John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, and American military bases in Syria. This will continue to happen in the future, first and foremost against [Israel]." In internal discussions, Barnea has made clear that Israel has the ability to handle the Iranian threat. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Community Security Vehicle Comes under Fire in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
    An Israeli security vehicle came under fire Saturday night near the West Bank community of Shavei Shomron. The car was hit by three bullets from the direction of the Palestinian town of Deir Sharaf, and four shell casings were found. The driver was conducting a patrol along a road that circles the community. (Times of Israel)
        See also Shots Fired at Two IDF Posts in West Bank - Emanuel Fabian
    Shots were fired Sunday night at two IDF positions in the West Bank near the Israeli communities of Yitzhar and Ofra. The troops returned fire. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Planned Shooting Attack in Jerusalem
    Israel Police on Thursday announced the arrest of an east Jerusalem member of a Hamas-affiliated Kutla Islamiya student cell who sought to purchase an M16 assault rifle for a terror attack in downtown Jerusalem. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • Israeli Intelligence Experts Urge Preparations for Possible Military Conflict with Iran - Tamir Morag and Hanan Greenwood
    Former head of the Defense Ministry's Political-Military Affairs Bureau, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Gilad, told Israel Hayom in an interview: "The Iranian threat is a major strategic threat to the State of Israel. It should be understood that this is not just a vision, but that the Iranians are investing enormous efforts into developing threatening capabilities. In Lebanon, according to foreign publications, they have 150,000 rockets aimed at Israel, as well as long-range missiles, cyber and terror capabilities, and above all - the fact that they are on the verge of going nuclear."
        "If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, they will terrorize the entire Middle East, and the entire region could degenerate into a nuclear race. Our advantage is that we have the image of having strategic capabilities, and we could be seen in a completely different light in a nuclear Middle East."
        According to Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence's Research Division, "although the U.S. promised to use whatever means necessary to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, at this stage it will no longer be able to prevent it as Iran is too close to the target."
        Similarly, Lt.-Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, former head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate's Iran desk, warned that "Within a short time, the nuclear deal with lead to a significant strengthening of Hizbullah, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, and the subversive Shiite elements in the Gulf countries."  (Israel Hayom)
  • On the Precipice of a Very Bad Iran Deal - Danielle Pletka
    it seems the U.S. is on the verge of reentering the Iran nuclear deal. The Islamic Republic has continued energetic work on its supposedly non-existent nuclear weapons program, making such progress that a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei claims Tehran is already able to fashion a weapon. (That raises the question of why talks are continuing.)
        The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) identified in 2019 a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities in Iran that had not been declared to the Agency and requested responses to these questions from Iran. After committing to answer IAEA questions, Iranian officials missed the agreed-upon deadline for responding. Reportedly, the current proposal to resolve the IAEA inspections dilemma is to condition implementation of the deal on the IAEA closing its investigation.
        For those countries concerned about Iran's malign intentions, a "return" to "compliance" with the JCPOA will be nearly moot, as the agreement's restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities will begin to expire in a year and a half, and almost all will lapse by the end of this decade. At that point Iran will be fully within its rights under the agreement to do all the things that the Biden administration tells us today it is too risky to permit Iran to do.
        Iran's nuclear program is largely on track; its missile and terrorism programs are untouched. The White House will likely ignore the angry denunciations of the new deal by the Israelis with conciliatory pats, new arms exports, and empty promises.
        The writer is a senior fellow in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. (The Dispatch)
  • In the Last Decade, Western Governments Funneled $220 Million to PFLP-Linked NGOs - Gerald M. Steinberg
    Recently, Israel acted against Palestinian NGOs linked to terrorists. The world media invariably presented the leaders of these organizations as selfless campaigners for human rights, unfairly targeted by Israel. Yet in these accounts, the considerable evidence of hard-core terror involvement is omitted.
        These organizations are fronts for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, a Marxist organization known for airline hijacking and banned from operating in the U.S., UK, and EU. Open-source information shows that 70 individuals occupy dual positions in NGOs and the PFLP, and there are probably more. A publicly available video depicts numerous officials from these NGOs attending a PFLP event.
        In July 2020, the Dutch government froze funding for one of the NGOs after an internal investigation confirmed that Dutch funds were used to pay the salaries of two NGO employees accused of the murder of Israeli teenager Rina Schnerb in August 2019. There are many more details on arrests, trials, plea bargains and convictions of officials from other members of the PFLP's NGO network.
        In the last decade, Western governments funneled more than $220 million for the PFLP-linked NGO network alone. The evidence of extensive terror links to these NGOs is too blatant to be erased or hidden.
        The writer heads NGO Monitor and is emeritus professor of political science at Bar Ilan University. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)
  • Israel's Move Against Terror NGOs - Melanie Phillips
    The Americans say they have found no evidence that six NGOs closed down by Israel are connected to terrorism. In fact, there's copious evidence. An Israeli security official told N12 news last October that the NGOs provided a funding "lifeline" for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), employed PFLP terrorists, and that PFLP terror operatives used their offices for meetings.
        Since 2007, NGO Monitor has published numerous reports based on open sources that have documented the close connections between these NGOs and the PFLP. The U.S. Agency for International Development described the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees as the "women's organization" of the PFLP, and described the Union of Agricultural Work Committees as the PFLP's agricultural arm.
        Unlike the EU, the U.S. hasn't funded any of the NGOs in question. So why has it called into question Israeli intelligence? The president of NGO Monitor, Prof. Gerald Steinberg, notes that the groups in question are heroes to progressives, and to acknowledge the reality would create a major backlash from those for whom the Palestinians can do no wrong and Israel can do no right.
        In reality, the EU funds many groups that operate against Israel in the diplomatic sphere, as well as helping fund illegal Arab settlements in the disputed territories and in the Negev.
        The writer is a columnist for The Times-UK. (JNS)

On Iran, the Americans Are Not Going to Work with Israel Seriously on a Plan B - Ambassador Ron Dermer interviewed by Dr. Michael Makovsky (JINSA)
  • The Biden administration from the beginning was committed to going back into the nuclear deal. They started by saying they were going to get a "long and stronger" deal - which was absurd. The core Biden administration policy is the same as the Obama administration policy, which is to contain a nuclear Iran. It is not to prevent a nuclear Iran.
  • Once you understand that, their refusal to walk away from the table makes sense. They will never fully walk away from the table because from their point of view, the alternative to almost any nuclear deal is worse than the deal itself, because they see the alternative is military action. I don't think that's the only alternative to walking away from the deal, but the goal for them is to avoid a military confrontation at all costs.
  • If you ask the senior people in the Biden administration which of these two scenarios is worse - a military confrontation with Iran or a nuclear-armed Iran - they will actually say a military confrontation is worse. Their logic is that a military confrontation will only set the nuclear program back two or three years and then Iran will reconstitute its nuclear program and get a nuclear weapon anyway. So the best we can do, according to their logic, is to delay it for a few years, but that's better than a military confrontation with Iran. That's how they've always seen this problem.
  • You hear Israeli policymakers say, "We need to speak to the U.S. administration about different Plan B scenarios." The Israelis don't seem to understand that there is no Plan B - because they are opposed to any kind of military confrontation. So they're not going to work with Israel seriously on contingency planning, other than to put handcuffs on Israel doing military operations.
  • If there would be a deal that would actually eliminate Iran's military nuclear capability and at the same time would remove all the sanctions against Iran, Israel would accept that deal because it would have solved the one problem that it was designed to solve - to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. This deal doesn't solve that problem. It at best delays it for a few years and in the meantime makes everything worse and gives them a kosher stamp for a nuclear arsenal.

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