Israel Daily News Stream 03/12/2012

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 Iranian Atomic Urgency

LA Times: Skeptics doubt US can be certain about Iran’s nuclear progress. Henry Kissinger told CNN we have to assume the mullahs are developing a bomb.

I am very uneasy with the so-called intelligence reports that say we don’t know whether they’re actually working on nuclear weapons. I think we should start from the premise that they are undergoing all this in order to achieve a military capability. I don’t think that is a disputable point.

US foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead had a fascinating discussion with Chemi Shalev of Haaretz:

But with Iran showing signs that it may soon “start to offer U.S. compromises” – things will become murkier. Tehran, he believes will be trying to drive a diplomatic wedge between both the U.S. and Israel and between the U.S. and Europe.

Read or watch the full 60 Minutes interview with ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan.

Responding to Dagan’s suggestion that Israel can aid Iran’s opposition, Eli Lake wonders if that’s really possible.

For more commentary and talking heads, see Emanuele OttolenghiPeter WorthingtonAndrew Sullivan (paywall), and Peter Beinart. Last — but not least — a JTA op-ed says Israel has a legal case for striking Iran:

If Israel deems that Iran is actively preparing for a nuclear attack against the State of Israel (an opinion amply supported by Iran’s continuous bellicose threats) and that failure to act would put Israel in grave danger of being unable to prevent that attack, the threat against Israel would in fact be imminent. As such, Israel would be justified in making a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, as long as the attack were proportional and Israel had exhausted all other meaningful alternatives.

Arab Spring Winter

As many as 47 people were found dead in Homs. That’s more Syrians killed than Palestinian terrorists and bystanders in the last four days. Arabs accusing Israel of massacring Palestinians do a big disservice to Bashar Assad’s victims. Here’s what the BBC had to say:

One activist in Homs, Hadi Abdallah, told AFP news agency the bodies of 26 children and 21 women were found, some with their throats slit and others bearing stab wounds.

Both the opposition Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC) and the Local Coordination Committees (LCC) put the toll at 45.

The SRGC said that some of the victims had been burned alive with heating fuel poured over them and others had their necks and limbs broken.

US soldiers in Iraq examine PMN anti-personnel mines. The Syrian army has planted similar mines along its border with Turkey.

 The Syrian army lays anti-personnel mines along Turkish border, civilians and army defectors dig ‘em up. McClatchy News describes the dangerous job of extracting and defusing the cheap, $10 mines:

After a family of five were reported severely injured in a new minefield last month, Syrian civilians, operating with primitive means — an axe, a rope and the guidance of a volunteer who’d had mine- clearance training in military service — unearthed hundreds of those mines and reopened the way to safety, volunteers said.

 The mines were Russian made PMN-2 pressure mines. They consist of a green plastic casing and a black cruciform-like pressure plate, which detonates the charge inside. They were laid about a foot apart in two bands that were set about two feet apart, just three or four yards from the fence that demarcates the border with Turkey, according to the volunteer who directed the mine-clearance operation.

An LA Times analysis wonders: Where’s Turkey’s ballyhooed regional leadership on the Syrian crisis?

Although Erdogan talks tough, Turkey has been neutralized, at least for now.

I couldn’t agree more with this commentary: Annan . . . the new star of the Arab League’s charade

Kofi Annan meets Bashar Assad, March 10, 2012

Rest O’ the Roundup

Nice debunking of Israel Apartheid Week at The DePaulia — if you can avoid being distracted by the March Madness video towards the top of the page. Nothing like an overhyped national basketball tournament to blow Israel/Palestine off the campus radar till next year.

Must read: Irish filmmaker Nicky Larkin (Irish Independent) explains how he went from posing with a PLO scarf to being ostracized by peers for supporting Israel.

What happened to the notion of the artist as a free thinking individual? Why have Irish artists surrendered to group-think on Israel? Could it be due to something as crude as career-advancement? . . . .

Any artist worth his or her salt should be ready to change their mind on receipt of fresh information. So I would urge every one of those 216 Irish artists who pledged to boycott the Israeli state to spend some time in Israel and Palestine. Maybe when you come home you will bin your scarf. I did.

Habara headache: The Christian Science Monitor reports lights out for Palestinian solar power initiative.

(Image of mines via Wikimedia Commons/Derek Gaines, Annan and Assad via UN/Reuters/SANA)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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