Jordan Eyes Increased Involvement in War Against Islamic State - Aron Lund (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
In a recent interview with Fox News, King Abdullah II of Jordan declared that his country is at war with the "outlaws of Islam," a reference to the Islamic State.
"We stepped up big time. We are at the moment the only Arab country
operating in Syria alongside the United States," he said, adding that
Jordan is also "the only Arab country operating alongside the Iraqis in
Iraq alongside the coalition forces.
On April 15, Bassam al-Badareen wrote in al-Quds al-Arabi that
Jordan is about to launch a new security strategy labeled "Defense in
Depth" that will include cross-border operations on Syrian and Iraqi
Jordan's northern and eastern borders now exist only insofar as the
Hashemite monarchy is able to police them. King Abdullah seems to want
to sensitize Jordanians to the idea that no one else is going to keep
their borders safe.
An increased role in orchestrating rebel and clan coalitions to firm up
border security seems quite likely - and the hard end of that strategy
could include hit-and-run raids against hostile forces.
Growing Number of Americans Believe Terrorists Are Winning (Rasmussen Reports)
39% of Americans surveyed in April believe the terrorists are
winning the fight against the U.S., up from 33% in March and the highest
level since 9/11.
Just 29% believe the U.S. and its allies are winning the War on Terror.
Only 34% believe the U.S. is safer today than it was before 9/11,
while 86% believe that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to the
Map: Iran's Nuclear Installations 2015 - Olli Heinonen and Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Russian Troops Kill Leader of Islamic Caucasus Emirate - Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn (Long War Journal)
Russian security forces killed Ali Abu Muhammad al Dagestani, the
emir of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Caucasus Emirate, during a
special operations raid in the Russian Republic of Dagestan on Sunday.
The U.S. State Department listed Dagestani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist just last month.
European-Funded NGOs Wage Political War on Israel (NGO Monitor)
A number of NGOs funded by European governments wage political war
through false and demonizing campaigns exploiting the facade of human
rights, including Zochrot, Adalah, Baladna, Combatants for Peace, and
Foreign governments that claim to promote democracy and peace
should not be funding and enabling fringe groups that delegitimize
This report includes the names of foreign donors to each of these NGOs.
Israeli Economy Grew 7 Percent in Fourth Quarter of 2014 - Zeev Klein (Israel Hayom)
The Israeli economy grew 7% in the last quarter of 2014, the highest
rate of growth in recent years, the Central Bureau of Statistics
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- U.S. Energy Secretary: Inspectors Need Full Access in Iran Nuclear Deal - Jim Snyder and Indira Lakshmanan
Nuclear inspectors will need unfettered access in Iran as part of a deal
to lift economic sanctions, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said
Monday, a day after an Iranian general said military sites must be off
limits. "We expect to have anywhere, anytime access," said Moniz, a
nuclear physicist who participated in the talks.
Moniz also said he thought it would take Iran at least six months
to meet the terms of a deal sufficient to warrant relief from the
sanctions. "I would say six months or so, to me, looks to be about
perhaps the minimum that will be required to execute all those steps,"
so that inspectors can verify Iran's compliance before sanctions relief
is given. Iran has said it will insist on an immediate end to sanctions
once a deal is approved.
See also Military Facilities Become Focus of Iran Deal - John Hudson
When the Iran nuclear agreement was announced, the State Department
released a fact sheet saying Iran would allow UN inspectors access to
any "suspicious sites." It also said Iran would grant the International
Atomic Energy Agency broader access to declared and undeclared nuclear
- State Department: No Immediate Sanctions Relief for Iran
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said Monday: "There is
absolutely no change in our position regarding phased sanctions relief
as part of a comprehensive deal. We have always said they will only
receive sanctions relief after [Iran] verifiably completes all of its
nuclear-related steps....They won't get relief until they take
nuclear-related steps, and those cannot technically probably happen on
day one." (State Department)
- Warning Iran, U.S. Sends Two More Ships to Yemen - Michael D. Shear and Matthew Rosenberg
The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and the guided missile cruiser Normandy
were headed to the waters off Yemen on Monday to join 10 other American
warships as a warning to Iran about its shipments of weapons to rebels
there, American officials said. The flotilla could be used to interdict
any supplies of Iranian arms to the Houthi rebels.
(New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- 23,320 Israeli Flags Being Placed on Graves of Fallen Soldiers
Military officials across the country are placing 23,320 flags on the
graves of soldiers, police officers, and other security personnel who
have fallen throughout the history of the State of Israel and the
Zionist movement, as the state prepares to mark Memorial Day at sundown
Tuesday. Memorial Day will end at sundown Wednesday with the start of
(Times of Israel)
See also Golani Brigade Commander: My Soldiers' Love for Their Country Is Amazing - Yoav Limor
This year's Memorial Day will honor the 67 IDF soldiers who fell
during last summer's Gaza war, including 16 fighters from the Golani
Brigade Commander Col. Rasan Alian, who was wounded in the war,
explained that in conversations with soldiers, they said, "We saw the
threat to the nation that exists and the rockets flying toward the heart
of the country." So many soldiers said: "In all of [Israel's] wars, it
was others who went. Now it's our turn. We'll do it." (Israel Hayom)
See also Stories from Those Who Survived Israel's Wars - Yair Rosenberg
Across the country, vigils will be held Tuesday night and Wednesday
commemorating those lost in war and terrorist attacks. The majority of
Israel's citizens serve in its army. Many have traumatic combat
experiences from watching friends fall under fire. Here are three
stories from those who survived Israel's wars, rather than perished in
See also An American Expat Reflects on Israel's Memorial and Independence Days - Jennifer Lang (Wall Street Journal)
- PA Ministers Visiting Gaza Placed Under House Arrest, Then Released - Khaled Abu Toameh
Ten PA ministers who arrived in Gaza earlier this week returned to the
West Bank after Hamas placed them under house arrest in their hotel,
preventing them from receiving or talking to anyone.
Hamas security forces also stopped dozens of Palestinians from
approaching the hotel where the ministers were staying, witnesses said.
- The Case Against the Iran Deal - Max Fisher interviews Michael Doran
Doran: What makes the administration believe Iran has made a
strategic shift away from a desire to have, if not a nuclear weapon,
then a turnkey capability? I don't believe they have made a strategic
shift, and I don't see why the administration believes they have. If the
argument is that the very willingness of the Iranians to sit down and
negotiate with us and to stick to the agreement over the last 18 months
is proof of a strategic change of some kind, I don't buy it for a
second. It's just proof to me that they want sanctions relief.
They have pursued this nuclear weapons program doggedly and at
enormous cost to themselves. They have been willing to take their
economy to the brink of disaster in order to preserve this program. They
belong to a category of regimes, like the North Koreans, that
calculates that if they can get this weapon, then the world will treat
They have a very well-known ideology that is hostile to the
American order. They have a vision of Iran's place in the world, in the
Islamic world especially, that they have not given up on.
The basic assumption of the Obama administration that Iran is a
fundamentally defensive power is wrong. The Iranians want hegemony in
the region. The goal of Iran's nuclear weapons program is not to defend
against the U.S. or Israel - it's to advance its regional agenda. Michael
Doran, who oversaw Middle East policy on the U.S. National Security
Council from 2005 to 2007, is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute.
- Israel Alone - Bret Stephens
In recent conversations, senior Israeli officials can't understand
what's become of U.S. foreign policy.
They fail to grasp how a president who pledged to work toward the
abolition of nuclear weapons is pushing an accord with Tehran that
guarantees their proliferation. They are astonished by the nonchalance
with which the administration acquiesces in Iran's regional power plays.
That leaves Israel alone to deal as best as it can with a
broadening array of threats: thousands more missiles for Hizbullah, paid
for by sanctions relief for Tehran; ISIS on the Golan Heights; an Iran
safe, thanks to Russian missiles, from any conceivable Israeli strike.
Israel must seek its security with an America that, say what it will,
has nobody's back but its own. (Wall Street Journal)
- Why Palestine Has No Chance at the International Criminal Court - Andrew Novak
Palestine's membership in the International Criminal Court was
formalized on April 1, 2015. Israel has little to fear from the ICC. The
threat is overblown.
First, the ICC may prosecute all parties to a conflict, and that
includes Palestinian crimes. Allegations that Hamas fighters used human
shields and fired unstable rockets at civilian areas, if proven, almost
certainly constitute war crimes. By contrast, allegations against Israel
are much more complex, and largely matters of proportion.
Second, the ICC Prosecutor has always been cautious. Investigations
in Afghanistan and Colombia have dragged on for years. Third, the ICC
cannot arrest suspects, gather evidence, or enforce its own judgments
without at least some state cooperation. Any potential prosecutions are
many years away, and that's only if the parties cooperate, which seems
A Longstanding Nonproliferation Standard Is Dead - Matthew Kroenig (Weekly Standard)
The U.S. has always opposed the spread of sensitive nuclear
technologies to all states, including its own allies, because the risk
of proliferation was simply too great, and it is a mistake to make an
exception for Iran. The U.S. even played hardball with friends, forcing
Taiwan and South Korea to shut down reprocessing programs in the 1970s
and convincing France to cancel the sale of a reprocessing plant to
Pakistan in 1978. The agreement with Libya in 2003 was a textbook
example of successful nuclear diplomacy. But then, suddenly, the Obama
administration abandoned this cornerstone of American foreign policy.
In the interim agreement struck in November 2013, Washington
granted Iran the right to enrich, and over the past 18 months it has
engaged in the unprecedented act of bargaining over the scale - not the
existence - of an aspiring proliferator's enrichment program. Moreover,
the Iran deal sets a dangerous precedent.
The U.S. is making this exception to its nonproliferation
policy for a longstanding U.S. enemy, a leading state-sponsor of
terrorism, a country that has violated its nonproliferation commitments
in the past, and a country that at present stonewalls the International
Atomic Energy Agency's questions about the military dimensions of its
In the wake of the Iran deal, it will be difficult for
Washington to explain that it trusts Tehran with sensitive nuclear
technologies, but not other countries, including its allies and
partners. Expect additional bids for enrichment and reprocessing
programs as countries follow Iran's example and assemble the components
of a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of "peaceful" nuclear
The Obama administration claimed a zero-enrichment deal with
Iran was impossible. Perhaps it was. But it would have been much better
for Iran to enrich in the face of strong international condemnation than
for its dangerous enrichment program to receive the solemn blessing of
the international community.
abandoned a clear international standard we had established in order to
meet Iran halfway in its unreasonable demands. What we have to show for
it is not a historic deal, but the death of a 70-year-old bipartisan
pillar of American foreign policy.
The writer is associate professor of government at Georgetown
University and a senior fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on
International Security at the Atlantic Council.