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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

MESI Daily Update
 

Strategic Context
UNIFIL Confirms 'Suspicious Material' Was Found in South Lebanon  
The spokesman of the United Nation Interim Forces in Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL), Neeraj Singh issued a statement on Wednesday confirming that "suspicious material" was found in a car parked at a peacekeeping force headquarters in southern Lebanon. "The material was found in the Marjayoun headquarters of the Spanish Battalion Last Friday during a routine inspection," the statement said. (Eathtimes)

Iran, Egypt Ready for Battle at UN Nuclear Meeting  
Iran and Egypt are gearing up for battle against the United States and its allies over Israel and developing countries’ rights to atomic technology at a major meeting on the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to attend the conference, which opens on Monday and runs until May 28. He will be facing off with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who heads the U.S. delegation at the meeting at U.N. headquarters. (Khaleej Times)

Nasrallah: Egyptian Conviction - Source of Pride  
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah hailed as a "badge of honour" an Egyptian court's conviction of 26 men for plotting attacks in the Suez Canal and Sinai resorts on behalf of his Lebanese movement. "The verdicts are a badge of honour for these noble brothers of the resistance," Nasrallah said in an interview to be broadcast on Thursday by Kuwaiti television channel Al-Rai. (Al Bawaba)


Regional Affairs
Hamas Slams Egypt for Tunnel Deaths  
The Hamas movement has criticised Egyptian security forces after four Palestinians were killed when a smuggling tunnel from the country's Sinai desert region into the Gaza Strip was destroyed. Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin said Egyptian authorities had warned the Palestinians that the tunnel would be destroyed, before using gas canisters and dynamite to blow it up on Wednesday. (Al Jazeera)

Syria, Iran: Establishing Regional Economic Bloc Vital  
Syria and Iran stressed on the importance of the establishment of a regional economic bloc to achieve prosperity and contribute in stressing peace and stability. A Syrian presidential release said that came during the meeting of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Iran's First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi which was attended by Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Utri. (Kuwait News Agency)

Iraq in Talks to Buy Hawk Jets from UK  
The Iraqi government is in talks to buy Hawk trainer jets from the UK in a deal that could be worth up to £1bn and would be a boost for BAE Systems, the defence contractor that manufactures the aircraft. It would be Iraq's biggest arms purchase from Britain for more than two decades. It is understood that officials from the Iraqi Air Force will be visiting the UK next month to test the Hawk, which is used to train fast-jet pilots. (Zawya)


Commentary
Iran…Sustained Bleeding  Tariq Alhomayed
The isolation of Iran, and its sustained bleeding, is apparent from Iran’s attempt not to miss a thing in order to show cohesion of its alliances in the region, especially after it received painful two blows in the form of the Lebanese and Iraqi elections. The clearest example of this came a few days ago when the official Iranian news agency broadcast statements attributed to the Syrian president about Iranian-Syrian ties, but what was striking was that the Syrian media did not broadcast any of those statements! (Asharq Alawsat)

Profiting from Political Chaos  Francis Matthew
Failed states in the Middle East are not just an invitation to increasing political chaos, but they are also havens for all sorts of organised crime and terrorist organisations. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has not taken action on many failed states in its region, but the problems in Yemen have prompted it to action. (Gulf News)

How Iran and al-Qaeda Made a Deal  Syed Saleem Shahzad
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) regrouped in January 2009 through a merger between two regional offshoots of al-Qaeda in neighboring countries Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Led by a former aide to bin Laden, AQAP has vowed to attack oil facilities, foreigners and security forces in an effort to topple the Saudi monarchy and Yemeni government, and establish an Islamic caliphate. Iran has proxies in Yemen among the minority Shi'ite population and if the two factors - the Shi'ites and AQAP - develop ties, it would be a big blow for Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. (Asia Times)


MESI Issue of the Week

A Nuclear Free Middle East?
Siddharth Ramana   11/05/2010

A Nuclear Free Middle East? As the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) progresses this month, an initiative which was raised in the 1995 RevCon is starting to receive increasing voices of support- A nuclear free Middle East. It is interesting to note that while the present RevCon is clouded by the blatant violations to the NPT by one of its signatories- Iran, the focus of attention has been shifted to a country which has not signed the treaty-Israel. Arab countries including Egypt and Algeria have raised the specter of the Israeli nuclear program as being detrimental to the prospects of peace, while relegating to the background the Iranian nuclear program. The United States, a major strategic ally of Israel too has joined the chorus calling for Israel to join the NPT, much to the chagrin of Israel supporters within the country. The Security Council has further compounded to the voices supporting the resolution of a nuclear free Middle East. Could Israel declaring its nuclear arsenal and signing the NPT really contribute to the peace in the region? The arguments towards this end are as tenuous as the belief that the resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict would contribute to an immediate end to the purported legitimacy derived by Islamic groups engaging in terrorist activity against Israel’s allies. A better understanding of the nuclear posture in the Middle East would illustrate the differences of the suspected Israeli and Iranian nuclear programs. More...


Key Articles


Fundamental Documents
UK Policy Statements
MESI Map
Middle East Strategic Threats
In Quotes
New Publications

Iran's Race for Regional Supremacy: Strategic Implications for the Middle East 

Lt.-Gen (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Dr. Dore Gold, Maj.-Gen (res.) Aharon Farkash, Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, Daniel Diker, Uzi Rubin, Dr. Martin Kramer, Lt.-Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi

 

 


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