worth reading today… Articles of Note

Our thanks once again to TSTI member and AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Northeast Regional Director Mike Sachs for gathering these.

A Second Iranian Nuclear Facility Has Exploded – Sheera Frankel
An Iranian nuclear facility has been hit by a huge explosion, the second such blast in a month, prompting speculation that Tehran’s military and atomic sites are under attack. Satellite imagery seen by The Times confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran. The images clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction. Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was “no doubt” that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was “no accident.”
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland, Israel’s former director of national security, told Army Radio that the Isfahan blast was no accident. “There aren’t many coincidences, and when there are so many events there is probably some sort of guiding hand, though perhaps it’s the hand of God,” he said. (Times-UK-The Australian)

Al-Qaeda Group Claims Responsibility for Rocket Fire from Lebanon – Mohammad Zaatari (Daily Star-Lebanon)
The militant al-Qaeda-affiliated group Abdallah Azzam Brigades has claimed responsibility for the rocket attack from southern Lebanon into Israel overnight Monday.
According to the el-Nashra news website, “On Tuesday morning, 29 Nov. 2011, a unit from the Abdallah Azzam Brigades shelled Zionist settlements in North Palestine from south Lebanon and the missiles have hit their targets.”
On Nov. 23, the U.S. placed a suspected Saudi member of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades on its list of international criminals. The State Department said Hamad Al-Hablain was an explosives expert for the group.
A Lebanese security source said Lebanese troops found two rocket launch pads.

The Arab Spring and Anti-Semitism – Jeffrey Goldberg
The desire of Arabs to be free of their dictators is sometimes expressed in grotesquely anti-Jewish terms. Now in Cairo, and across the Arab Middle East, Israel and the Jews are serving once again as universal boogeymen. This truth doesn’t conform to the generally accepted narrative of the Arab Spring, but ignoring it won’t make it disappear.
Cairo is rife with anti-Semitism. On my last visit, I met with leaders of ostensibly liberal parties who were convinced Jews were conspiring to bring about the collapse of the Egyptian economy (something that Egypt’s military rulers are accomplishing all by themselves).
Expressions of anti-Semitism are common even at the higher reaches of Egyptian politics. Presidential candidate Tawfiq Okasha, speaking on the television station he owns, recently said, “Not all the Jews in the world are evil. You may ask: Tawfiq, what is the ratio? The ratio is 60-40. 60% are evil to varying degrees, all the way to a level that words cannot describe, while 40% are not evil.” He added that even among the 40% of non-evil Jews there is only one in a million who is blameless. In Cairo today, this might count as a progressive idea. (Bloomberg)

Egypt: From Arab Spring to Economic Winter? – Zvi Bar’el
Egypt’s foreign currency reserves, estimated at $36 billion at the beginning of 2011, dropped in October to $22 billion. Tourists have almost entirely left the country, new foreign investments are staying away, and local manufacturing has taken a beating. Iron and steel production has dropped 40% since January, as new projects have stalled. Over a thousand small and medium-size factories have closed over the past two months.
Foreign investors in Egypt’s stock exchange have been withdrawing alarming amounts, causing the stock market to lose about $8 billion in the last month alone. Expected economic growth in Egypt, according to the World Bank, will be 1.2%, compared with 5.5% during Mubarak’s last year in office. (Ha’aretz

What the Storming of the British Embassy in Tehran Tells Us – Michael Rubin
According to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency, the radical students who stormed the British embassy in Tehran carried placards with photographs of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Qods Force. Suleimani is responsible, according to American diplomatic cables, for running terror networks across Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon and is perhaps responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and dozens of British troops. As the Revolutionary Guards consolidates power inside Iran, Suleimani maintains an increasing chance to become president as Ahmadinejad finishes his last term.
Iran’s latest outrage at the British embassy indicates that the Iranian leadership is far more sensitive to international sanctions than they will ever admit. Tehran scarcely reacted when the UN Security Council designated specific companies and individuals involved in proliferation or Iran’s nuclear program, but as soon as London went after Iran’s Central Bank, Iranian officials reacted. The attack on the British compound suggests that the Iranian government fears economic isolation much more than diplomatic isolation. The writer is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (Fox News)

Islamist Group Hosts Tunisia’s Muslim Brotherhood Leader on Capitol Hill – Andrew C. McCarthy (National Review)
The Muslim Public Affairs Council was given space on Capitol Hill Tuesday to welcome Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of theEnnahda, the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate that recently won the election in Tunisia.
MPAC is an Islamist group whose founders included disciples of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna as well as admirers of Hizbullah.
After 9/11, MPAC’s current director, Salam al-Marayati, immediately pronounced that Israel should be on top of the list of suspects.
Only a few months ago, in an interview with an Arab-language website, Ghannouchi called for the destruction of Israel and expressed optimism that the Jewish state would soon disappear.

 

 

 

Mike Sachs
Northeast Regional Director
212-750-4110 • Fax 212-750-4125
msachs@aipac.org
AIPAC • The American Israel Public Affairs Committee
Attend the AIPAC Policy Conference, March 4-6, 2012
Visit www.aipac.org/PC for more information.
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