FreeAllThree.com sifts through weekly dispatches, recaps the items related to Middle East developments that may be of interest to readers. Articles are from an Israeli perspective, but in most cases are objectively written. Israel lives in a tough neighborhood and these items reflect that tension. 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 often denies such involvement.
Daniel @ FreeAllThree .com
From the DEBKAfile:
Iran’s “long-range ballistic missiles with multiple warheads” are hot air
|Iranian claims to possess long-range ballistic missiles with multiple warheads are unfounded, according to DEBKAfile’s military experts. This claim was made last week by Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan who said that two newly test-launched missiles carried multiple warheads capable of penetrating the anti-missile defenses of the American and Israeli “enemies.” Our sources report that Iran has been trying for two years to develop these weapons – without success.|
UN mediator: No date set for another round of Syrian peace talks
|International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi apologized Saturday for the failure of two rounds of Syrian peace talks to make any progress. Friday, the UN halted the evacuation of civilians from Homs Old City out of concern for the men of military age held back for detention by government forces. The UN deputy team leader for the Homs mission said while some 1,400 people had been evacuated from the starving city, around 400 men aged 15 o 55 were detained. The fate of some 220 is still unclear.|
Abbas to Kerry: No Palestinian recognition of Jewish state
|According to sources in London, Mahmoud Abbas gave US Secretary John Kerry his last word on the subject: The Palestinians would not recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. DEBKAfile: This message is only important only as one of the reservations the Palestinians and Israel were invited to append to Kerry’s framework proposal.|
Iran sharply excludes missiles from nuclear negotiations
|Missiles “are part of our defense industries,” and “by no means negotiable at the Geneva talks with the P5+1 group,” said a prominent member of the Majlis Security and Foreign Committee Thursday. He was reacting to the assurance given by top US negotiator Wendy Sherman at a Senate hearing last week that Iran’s ballistic missile program would be addressed as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal.|
|High-profile Al Qaeda figure leaves Iran after years of asylum
Israel uneasy over Russian arms to Egypt, Syria
Israel’s strategists have found a new cause for disquiet. On top of concern over the concentration of al Qaeda fighting strength around its borders, they are beginning to worry about Russian President Vladimir Putin capitalizing on America’s withdrawal from the Middle East, by means of military pacts with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Egyptian strongman Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. Since Egypt’s economic woes are incurable, El-Sisi plans to build a strong regime with Russian and Saudi support and lead a pan-Arab nationalist movement – potentially on a collision course with Israel.
|UN: N. Korean officials must face justice for systemic abuse
Iran: Russia could pay for oil with second nuclear reactor
Ethiopian Airlines flight hijacker was the co-pilot
Islamist terrorists give foreigners, including tourists, 4 days to leave Sinai
Russian Air Force chief in Cairo over differences on arms deal
Three US unattainable pledges to Israel ahead of nuclear talks
The six powers and Iran sat down in Geneva Tuesday for talks on a final, comprehensive resolution of the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. But first, the Obama administration gave the Israeli government three pledges: The US would insist on the shutdown of the Fordo enrichment plant; the Arak reactor’s conversion to a light water plant; and a cap on 5-percent enrichment. DEBKAfile: There is no chance of Tehran’s acceptance of any of these demands. Binyamin Netanyahu will try to hold out for a ceiling on centrifuges when he meets Barack Obama on March 3.
|Five dead in explosions at Beirut Iranian culture center
Netanyahu visits injured Syrians in IDF field hospital, has words for Iran
Israel’s top leaders marked the second round of nuclear talks between the Six Powers and Iran with a visit Tuesday to injured Syrians at the IDF field hospital in central Golan. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “I would like to tell the world today that Iran has changed neither its aggressive policy nor its brutal character…”
|Obama’s Iran policy wins key point: Saudis drop its lead antagonist Prince Bandar Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan was reported Wednesday to have been removed from policy-making in Riyadh. Removal of the live wire of the kingdom’s drive against President Barack Obama’s détente with Tehran is one up for Obama. It is a significant loss for Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu of the only other Middle East leader ready to publicly decry US policies on Iran and Syria. Prince Bandar was widely reported in the Middle East to be in secret t[alks] with Israeli intelligence re: shared moves. He crossed the Americans by supplying weapons and money to Syrian rebels belonging to Islamist militias – though not al Qaeda. His main adversary Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, Saudi interior minister, is believed to be taking his place.|
Until next week….
Daniel @ FreeAllThree .com