Israel Daily News Stream 05/09/2012

Iranian Atomic Urgency

Russia is now refusing to deliver S-300 air defense systems to Iran, going so far as to return Tehran’s advance payment (with interest). More at the Fars News Agency (via Israel Matzav).

New satellite photos raise suspicions that Iran’s “cleaning up” a nuclear site to remove evidence of illicit weapons work. The Daily Telegraph writes:

The IAEA believes that a large explosives containment chamber was installed at the complex in 2000 for explosives experiments that are “strong indicators of possible weapons development.”

Arab Spring Winter

David Wearing’s Israel-Bahrain comparison is disgraceful, but what do you expect from The Guardian‘s Comment is Free section?

Washington Post correspondent Karin Brulliard visits the Golan to see where the Druze communities stand on the Syrian uprising:

Members of both sides say they are the majority.

Many Druze, who adhere to a mostly secret faith that is an offshoot of Islam, export apples to Syria; hundreds of Golan residents study in Syrian universities; and Druze pilgrims visit religious sites there. Criticizing Assad, a member of the Shiite-affiliated minority Alawite sect, could endanger relatives in Syria, residents here said.

Press freedom in Egypt’s tanking. The Committee to Protect Journalists is outraged, having documented 18 cases of reporters assaulted and arrested in Cairo over a three-day period. The LA Times adds:

The Egyptian military has refined its skills at manipulating state media while suggesting that independent reporters and bloggers are enemies of the state often controlled by foreign interests. Such portrayals have turned the public, especially a large population of poor and uneducated, suspicious of journalists. Foreign reporters are often referred to as spies.

There could be as many as 15,000 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles missing from Libya. Al-Qaida is already acquiring and refurbishing what it can. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius rightly raises the alarm. 

But there’s also some good news from the world of aviation security: Al-Qaida’s most advanced non-metallic underwear bomb was given to the CIA by a double agent. AP had me feeling upbeat.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Norman Finkelstein appears on BBC’s Hardtalk to discuss “The Israel Lobby.” My colleague, Simon Plosker, asks, BBC or Norman Finkelstein: Who is More Despicable?

Google Earth spots new Hezbollah bases in the Bekaa Valley plus considerable construction in Southern Lebanon. According to the Daily Star:

The scale of the activity hints at the enormous efforts Hezbollah has undertaken since the 2006 war to prepare itself for the possibility of another conflict with Israel. But the construction work also raises questions as to the purpose of these facilities, which are easily visible to Israel’s near daily aerial reconnaissance violations as well as to satellite surveillance by Western nations and now to anyone with Google Earth installed on their computer, assuming they know where to look.

New Hezbollah facilities in Janta, in the Bekaa Valley

Turkey says it has completed its probe of the Mavi Marmara affair and will push legal action against the commandos. More at the Jerusalem Post.

Haaretz: Attorney General mulls charges against “Jenin, Jenin” director Mohammed Bakri.

Tel Aviv Called One of the Best Places to Open a Start-Up.

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

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