News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- Iran Nuclear Talks Are Nearing a Deal - Michael R. Gordon and David E. Sanger
Negotiators are down to a small number of remaining disputes for a nuclear deal, diplomats said on Sunday. "Technical discussions are almost over, and the text regarding the technical issues with their annexes is almost finished," said Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. (New York Times)
- Iran's Khamenei: Struggle Against U.S. Will Continue Even If Nuclear Deal Signed
Ayatollah Khamenei called on the Iranian nation on Saturday to be prepared to continue the struggle against arrogant powers. There is no respite from the campaign against arrogance, Khamenei stressed in response to a student's question about the status of the campaign against arrogance after the conclusion of the nuclear talks. He said that based on Quranic principles, the campaign against arrogance will never stop. The Leader added that the U.S. admits to Iran's regional influence in their covert talks, but can do nothing about it. (Press TV-Iran)
See also Netanyahu: "Israel Will Not Accept a Reality Dictated by Iran"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday: "Iran does not hide its intention to continue its murderous aggression even against those with whom it is negotiating. Perhaps there is someone among the great powers who is prepared to capitulate to this reality that Iran is dictating, which includes its unending calls for the destruction of Israel - we will not pay the price for this." (Israel Prime Minister's Office)
- U.S. Defense Secretary: Iran Nuclear Deal Must Be Verifiable, "Can't Be Based on Trust"
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Friday, "Could you trust the Iranians if you get a deal with them, because their history isn't, let us say, spotless in that regard?...A good deal has a few things it must have within it. One of them, it has to be verifiable. That is, we have to be able to know that the Iranians are taking the steps that the agreement calls for to not get a nuclear weapon. We can't do that based on trust."
"Just like back in the old days of the Cold War when we had arms control with the Soviet Union, we didn't trust the Soviet Union either. And we wanted to make sure that all the agreements are verifiable. So that's a critical thing. And if it's not verifiable, we're not going to agree to it." (U.S. Department of Defense)
- Report: Iran Deal "Done" after Major U.S. Concession
A deal has been reached between the world powers and Iran over its nuclear program after a series of major American concessions, Ehud Yaari, Middle East affairs commentator for Israel's Channel 2television, said Friday. Yaari said the Americans "have made a series of capitulations over the past two to three weeks in almost every key aspect that was being debated." Even those in the U.S. who had supported the agreement with Iran "admit that it is worse than they thought."
One major concession involves inspections of Iranian nuclear sites. U.S. negotiators have given in to an Iranian demand that inspections be "managed" - there will be no surprise visits, only those that are pre-arranged with the Iranian regime. (Times of Israel)
- The Alliance between Hamas and Islamic State - Avi Issacharoff
When a Hamas drone crashed on Israel's side of the Gaza border fence two weeks ago, IDF officials discovered that the drone, in addition to monitoring events inside Israel, was also photographing Gaza's border with Egypt. Four months ago, the Egyptian news outlet Al Usbu reported that Egyptian radar had identified three spy drones that had infiltrated repeatedly from southern Gaza to a distance of 50 km. into Sinai. What are Hamas drones doing deep inside Egyptian territory? They are spying on Egypt, gathering intelligence about Egyptian troop movements. Knowing the location of army deployments allows Hamas to keep smuggling routes open between Sinai and Gaza.
The smuggling route between Gaza and Sinai gives both sides a constant supply of arms, combat forces, instructors and advisers, while raking in huge profits from the smuggling industry in Gaza. When Egypt began its offensive against the tunnels in June 2013, the Islamic State and Hamas were forced to cooperate to hold on to even a fraction of the ability to smuggle arms and personnel into Gaza. Moreover, members of the same Bedouin tribe are active on both sides of the border.
Over the past year, Abd al-Hila Kishteh, a former high-ranking member of the Hamas military wing who was dispatched by Hamas to Sinai, has been training Islamic State fighters in the use of advanced anti-tank weapons. IS leaders have undergone training and military studies with Hamas in Gaza, gaining the military doctrines they have been imparting to their operatives in Sinai. Hamas also pointedly takes wounded members of IS to hospitals in Gaza where they are treated under Hamas supervision.
The July 1 attack by IS in northern Sinai that killed scores of Egyptian soldiers was a success only in psychological terms. Roughly 250 IS operatives were killed during the raid, a huge number in proportion to the count of combat troops (1,000) the group has. (Times of Israel)
- Egypt Fights a Terror Onslaught - Zvi Mazel
Egypt's endurance is vital to the continued existence of a sane Middle East that opposes the establishment of a caliphate based on sharia law. Some in the West fail to understand Egypt's key role as a country fighting radical Islam. They view Sisi as a military dictator who overthrew an elected president, while they turn a blind eye to the fact that his predecessor, Muhammad Morsi, aimed to turn Egypt into an Islamic dictatorship.
Israel is trying to help Egypt as much as possible, pressing Egypt's case in Washington and pursuing security and intelligence cooperation far from the eyes of the media. The writer was Israel's Ambassador to Egypt from 1996 to 2001. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The Implications of Middle East Chaos - Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- Our Death-to-America Nuclear Negotiating Partners - Sohrab Ahmari
Thousands of Iranian regime supporters on Friday marked Quds Day, an annual hate festival established in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini. (Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.) The Quds Day celebrants burned the American flag and displayed a caricature of what appeared to be King Salman of Saudi Arabia with his head morphing into a Star of David, topped by a Stars and Stripes yarmulke. All accompanied by the holiday tradition of chanting "Death to America!" One father told the Fars News Agency, "Our children who are less than a year old are tomorrow's soldiers against Israel." The infant son he held in his arms was dressed in camouflage gear.
Regime leaders joined in the festivities, including President Hasan Rouhani and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Tehran's Kayhan newspaper, whose editor in chief is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote in an English-language editorial that the U.S., "which currently terrorizes humanity as the sole superpower, will one fine day cease to be visible on the map of the world." (Wall Street Journal)
- A Moment before the Iran Deal - Emily B. Landau
This negotiation is fundamentally a game of compellence, in which Iran is being forced to comply or else face punishment. Iran is trying to hold onto its option of becoming a nuclear weapons state, in violation of the NPT, and the international negotiators are tasked with stopping it. The interests of the two sides are zero sum, and only one side will win. Iran's interest in coming back to the table in 2013 was only to lift sanctions - nothing changed regarding its nuclear interest.
The P5+1 made a huge mistake by projecting an eagerness for a deal. By taking the U.S. threat of military consequences virtually off the table, Iran knows it has seen the worst that the international community can do to it in terms of pressure, and this is a major boost to its leverage. In fact, the P5+1 have boxed themselves in: they have projected to Iran that this crisis can only be resolved through negotiations, so all Iran has to do is sit tight. P5+1 concessions are already rolling in. The writer heads the arms control program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. (Times of Israel)
- Israel is surrounded on almost every side by terrorist organizations with considerable offensive capabilities. Because of their character, the possibility of passing over to real warfare without advance notice, at any moment, and without a lot of preparation, must be taken into consideration.
- All the radical Islamic organizations have a shared foundation: all of them believe that Islam should rule the world. With a belief in the supremacy of Islam, they are united in their hatred of Israel (among other countries), and in some cases they are even prepared to play down their mutual conflict and help each other fight against Israel. They perceive Israel as an alien entity - as the long arm of the West, led by the U.S.
- If Israel's power is reduced, or if it loses the determination required to use that power, then it will be destroyed, having no place in the brutal world in which its enemies use weapons of the twenty-first century, but fight and kill according to the rules of conduct of the seventh century.
- Recently, a leader of a Western state, who had already retired from his post, said to me that even if he does not say this out loud, he understands that Israel stands at the forefront of the battle of the democratic and modern world against the forces of radical Islam. It is supremely important for Israel's blade to be sharp, and for Israel to be prepared to use it, and not only for its own sake.
- Developments like the increase in power of the Islamic forces such as IS, or Iran obtaining nuclear capabilities, turn the matter of reaching an agreement with the Palestinians into a very problematic issue. In such circumstances, the chances increase greatly that whoever signs an agreement with Israel will not necessarily be the party that ultimately rules the territory. It is possible, and even probable, that the most radical forces in the Muslim world will take power, as they have elsewhere, over the West Bank and Gaza.
- Any agreement with the Palestinians must be based on the understanding that no signatory and no guarantor of the agreement will have the power to prevent Islamic radicalization among the Palestinians. No one can guarantee that the Palestinian government will be strong enough and capable enough to stand up to the wave of radical Islam.
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.
- Iran Nuclear Talks Are Nearing a Deal - Michael R. Gordon and David E. Sanger