DEBKAfile 1.24.14: Briefs on Israel, Iran & Mid-East Issues sifts through several news items related to Iran that may be of interest to readers. The articles are written from an Israeli perspective, but in most cases are objectively presented. Israel lives in a tough neighborhood with enemies on every border. The long reach of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard  (IRG) often results in that country’s fingerprints on much of the mayhem. Iran does that through proxy militias that it establishes, funds, trains and occasionally participates with – yet sits back and denies involvement.


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From the DEBKAfile:

January 17, 2014

Obama releases nine pages of the Iran nuclear accord – just to lawmakers

President Obama responded to   congressional demands for details of the Agreement for the implementation of   the Interim Nuclear Accord with Iran by releasing nine pages, to be viewed in   a secure room in the capital to a restricted audience. Also released was a   public version of the accord with sensitive details blacked out – at the   request of the UN nuclear watchdog, according to White House spokesman Jay   Carney.

Obama to send Egypt Apache helicopters — after all

President Obama will next week   seek congressional approval for resuming arms supplies to Egypt, including   Apache helicopters, indicating a change of heart towards the interim   government in Cairo headed by Gen. Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. It follows this   week’s national referendum on a new constitution and a decision to hold   elections for the Egyptian Parliament and Presidency.

Putin accepts invitation to visit Tehran.  King of Morocco invites Iran to “Jerusalem Committee” – with Kerry’s approval

Tehran’s offensive for   establishing itself as the leading Middle East power bar none is in full   flight. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif used his recent Moscow visit to invite   Vladimir Putin to visit Tehran, which the Russian President accepted. The   King of Morocco offered Iran full membership in the Al Quds [as Palestinians,   Muslims refer to it; Jerusalem to Israel and rest of the world] Committee of   the Organization of Islamic States, with the approval of U.S. Secretary of   State John Kerry. Iran also sent out invitations to Gulf rulers for a tour of   its nuclear reactor at Bushehr combined with a round table discussion on   regional nuclear cooperation.

January 18, 2014Israel mounts counter protest against Europe on settlements The Foreign Ministry summoned four European ambassadors Friday to complain about their governments’ “perpetual one-sided stance against Israel” on the settlement issue while never condemning systematic Palestinian incitement for Israel’s destruction. Israel Ambassadors had previously been summoned to the British, French, Italian and Spanish foreign ministries for a rebuke on Israel’s settlement projects on the West Bank and in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said that it was ”time to stop this hypocrisy” and ”to inject some balance and fairness into this discussion.”

 January 19, 2014

Canadian Premier Stephen Harper visits Israel on 1st Mid East trip

The Canadian Prime Minister     Stephen Harper arrived in Israel Sunday with his wife Laureen for a state     visit at the head of a large delegation of six ministers and 30 business     and community leaders. This is his first Middle East trip and first to     Israel since he was elected in 2006. Israel has rolled out the red carpet     in honor of this supportive Western leader. Several ceremonies have been     arranged for his four-day stay, including an invitation to deliver a speech to the Knesset in Jerusalem. Harper will also make stops in the West Bank and Jordan.

 UNESCO’s last minute cancellation of exhibit of Jewish ties to Land of Israel

Under Arab pressure, UNESCO     suddenly called off an exhibit on Jewish ties to the Land of Israel on Sunday,     the day before it was scheduled to be opened in Paris. The U.S. and Canada     protested the decision, but the State Department opted not to sponsor the exhibit. “People, Book, Land” depicting the 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Holy Land was organized by UNESCO and the Simon Wiesenthal Center after more than two years’ work.

January 20, 2014

Harper pledges to continue sanctions on Iran

In his speech to the Knesset, Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper declared Israel’s right to exist as     a Jewish state was “absolute and non-negotiable.” Canada’s     support of Israel was, he said, “a moral imperative.” Harper was     warmly applauded by a packed House. Harper went on to pledge that his     government would maintain sanctions against Iran until that country proves     it’s no longer pursuing nuclear weapons. Israel is being targeted by a     “new anti-Semitism,”” said the prime minister and went to     call on the Palestinian people to “choose a viable, democratic” state that is “committed to living peacefully along side” Israel.     He was loudly heckled by two Arab Israeli lawmakers, who walked out of the     chamber.

 Harper makes side-trip to Ramallah  

Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced at a news conference with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud     Abbas in Ramallah Monday that his government would extend $66 million in     new economic aid to the Palestinians. Abbas said, when the time comes,     he believes Canada will help absorb Palestinian refugees. Meanwhile, he     said there had been no progress in the peace process. The Canadian prime minister     said he supported the two-state solution, but refused to be drawn into     criticizing Israel. Canada has provided more than $650 million in     development assistance to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 

Hanegbi: Even after accord, Iran is enriching uranium Even after Natanz and Fordo closed production of 20-percent enriched uranium Monday, thousands of centrifuges continue to turn out enriched uranium of less than 5 percent, said Israeli lawmaker Tzahi Hanegbi. Iran has accumulated 7.2 tons of this low-grade enriched material which within months can be transformed into enough weapons-grade uranium for six nuclear bombs.

January 21, 2014

Moving car blows up in Hizballah’s Dahya stronghold of Beirut

A suicide bomber blew himself up     at the wheel of a moving car Tuesday on the main street of Beirut’s Dahya     district killing at least five people, wounding 27 and causing heavy damage     to buildings. It was the second time in two weeks that a bomb blast hit the     busy Shite district known as Hezbollah’s stronghold.

January 22, 2014

Kerry disqualifies Assad for   transitional government

Opening the Geneva 2 conference in Switzerland Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there can only be one outcome: a negotiated transition government set up by mutual consent. Bashar Assad can’t be part of that transitional government.

Israel air strike killed Gaza terrorist who fired rockets close to Ariel Sharon burial

Ahmed Za’anin was killed in an     Israeli air strike over Gaza early Wednesday. He was blamed for firing two     rockets shortly after Ariel Sharon’s funeral last week and a large number     of terrorist offences in recent years as a member of the radical secular PFLP.

Ayman Zuwahiri tried   plotting Palestinian–Caucuses terrorist attacks on U.S. Embassy and the Jerusalem Convention Center
The Shin Bet disclosed Wednesday that three   Palestinians were in custody, having been recruited by al Qaeda for three   suicide      operations in conjunction with five North Caucuses terrorists   arriving on fake Russian passports. The plot was orchestrated by Ayman   Zuwahiri. It targeted the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Convention   Center and Jerusalem to Maaleh Adummin transit buses. Per DEBKAfile: “It was   the first time Zuwahiri took a personal hand in setting up attacks inside   Israel and tried to use mixed teams of terrorists from the Caucuses, Gaza   Strip, Syria and local Palestinians.

Syria conference opens in   Switzerland with ‘secret Iranian presence.’  Obama and Putin aim for local ceasefire
The conference of 30 foreign ministers opened Wednesday in the Swiss town of Montreux and got off to a shaky start. Syrian   Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Bashar Assad’s presidency was a “red   line” and information minister Omran al-Zoubi said there was no civil   war – only “a fight between government and terrorists.”

After the fiasco of UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon’s withdrawal   of his invitation to Tehran, an Iranian delegation arrived under cover.   Presidents Obama and Putin agreed to limit conference goals to local ceasefires and humanitarian corridors. The Syrian opposition is seriously   under-represented by the divided Syrian National Coalition.

January 23, 2014

Rouhani: No place for nuclear   weapons in Iran’s security strategy

President Hassan Rouhani,     describing himself as a prudent moderate, assured the Davos World Economic     Forum Thursday that his country had no intention of “acquiring nuclear     weapons.” He referred to recent cooperation with the U.S. and other     powers [to recognize] Iran’s nuclear program as a major development and     urged U.S. leaders to accept Iran’s Islamic revolution as ending “a     struggle for freedom.”Rouhani predicted that Iran would become one of the ten leading world economies. He also favored good     relations with all Iran’s neighbors. When pressed to say if this included Israel, the Iranian president prevaricated: “Only those we     recognize.”

Israeli leaders’ response for Rouhani’s claims at Davos

If Iran has no intention of     acquiring nuclear weapons, then why is it developing long-range,     nuclear-capable ballistic missiles? Israel’s President Shimon Peres and     Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked Thursday, in response to the     Iranian president Hassan Rouhani’s earlier speech to the Davos Forum.As a “prudent     moderate,” they asked, how does Rouhani justify sending arms and Hezbollah     units to Syria and financing terrorist networks across the world? Is this     how the Iranian president conducts his avowed goals of peace and stability?     they asked.
Netanyahu urged the world not to be gulled by Iranian deceitful attempts to     deny any intention of developing nuclear weapons.

U.S. designates Palestinian Ziyad al-Nakhalah as wanted terrorist

Deputy Secretary General of the     Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziyad al-Nakhalah has been listed by the State     Department as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” following the Dec. 22, 2013 bus bombing in the Israeli town of Bat Yam. Islamic Jihad, which     is financially assisted and trained by Iran, is held responsible for numerous attacks against Israel and [killings abroad].

January 24, 2014

Abbas turns to Moscow, dumps U.S.-led peacemaking

Palestinian Authority Chairman   Mahmoud Abbas launched his “diplomatic intifada” against Israel and   exit from the Kerry peace initiative Thursday, Jan. 23, from Moscow. His   talks with Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev marked his breakaway from the   peace track with Israel, four months before it was due to expire, and   signaled his bid to replace it with Russian backing for a Palestinian state.

Abbas’s defection caught both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – and their intelligence agencies –   napping.  Busy in Switzerland, they were remote from the action in Moscow.

[Emphases above added]