Iranian Atomic Urgency
• US forces are beefing up their Persian Gulf presence. The NY Times reports:
The most visible elements of this buildup are Navy ships designed to vastly enhance the ability to patrol the Strait of Hormuz — and to reopen the narrow waterway should Iran attempt to mine it to prevent Saudi Arabia and other oil exporters from sending their tankers through the vital passage.
The Navy has doubled the number of minesweepers assigned to the region, to eight vessels, in what military officers describe as a purely defensive move.
“The message to Iran is, ‘Don’t even think about it,’ ” one senior Defense Department official said. “Don’t even think about closing the strait.”
• The Christian Science Monitor reads the latest tea leaves from Iran’s latest missile drill. And UPI reminds us of an upcoming Israeli-American missile drill in October. The exercise, dubbed Austere Challenge 12, will test how defense systems respond to a simulated Iranian missile attack. Austere Challenge 12 was rescheduled from January
to avoid raising tensions with Iran for budgetary reasons.
• Uh-oh: Morsi to Visit Iran Next Month
• After watching a power point presentation Iran negotiators recently gave in Moscow, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius is pessimistic about a negotiated end to the nuclear standoff. Spoiler alert:
Perhaps the Iranians have a bargain in mind, but it it’s hard to see it in their presentation.
• Worth reading: A retired Canadian army officer explains why On Iran, Israel Can’t Be Wrong Once:
However, what is poorly appreciated is that, while it may well be highly unlikely that the present Iranian leadership would fire a nuclear weapon at Israel, highly unlikely is not the same as one hundred per cent guaranteed. This is the deep Israeli fear. And the possibility that an irrational Iranian military commander who has the ability to launch a nuclear-armed missile might decide to do so, contrary to the intent of Iran’s political leaders, cannot be dismissed. Equally relevant, no one can be certain that future Iranian political leaders will not themselves be irrational, and willing to attack Israel regardless of the undoubted Israeli response. Finally, it is not just Israel that is a possible target. So too are countries in Europe, as Iran develops missiles of ever greater range. In this context, should the West elect to take such risks and abandon efforts, if necessary the last-resort military option, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms?
• Action/reaction (via Romenesko)
- ProPublica: Columnist Clarence Page Spoke At Rally for Iranian Militant Group
- Chicago Tribune: Columnist Clarence Page Under Review For Unauthorized Paid Speech
• Thumbs up to the Times of London (paywall) for Sheera Frenkel’s excellent dispatch from the Sinai. Islamic terror groups and weapons smugglers are setting up camps and generally feeling at home — all in spitting distance of the Zionist entity they love to hate:
But in the past year, the events of the Arab Spring have forced the Egyptian military to scale down its presence in the Sinai.
Residents said that local Bedouin groups, long mistreated by the Egyptian Government, were the first to flex their muscles. Others quickly followed. “Even while these revolutionaries were sleeping in Tahrir, new men were coming to Sinai and claiming they belonged to this group or another. They were setting up new camps and trying to establish themselves,” said Mr Ahmed.
Although Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, the governor of North Sinai, has flatly denied rumours that al-Qaeda has taken a foothold, officials in Sinai list half a dozen militant Islamist groups that claim to have established training camps and outposts in the desert peninsula in the last year alone.
Mr Ahmed admitted that many Bedouin, including himself, have found the new groups “attractive” because they seem to advance their grievances against the Egyptian Government.
• If columnist Frida Ghitis is trying to make me feel better about Israel-Egypt relations, she’ll have to try a little harder:
The Brothers waited decades for this moment, and they are not about to squander it.
The Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi have made no secret of their wish to see Islamic law, Sharia, become the law of the land in Egypt. But they say they will wait until the country is ready. They may secretly want to end peace with Israel, but they will push no such plan before it’s time.
• Bashar Assad pathetically tries defuse tensions with Turkey, telling Turkish media:
“Of course I might have been happy if this had been an Israeli plane.”
Turkish media also reported “at least 85 Syrian troops, including a general and six other officers, defected to Turkey late Monday and brought 300 family members with them in a mass bid for asylum.”
• Your daily dose of idiocy from The Guardian‘s Comment is Free section. Sami Ramadani’s accusation is too ridiculous to pass up, but the case he makes for it froze my brain in screen saver mode. The subhead was the most readable part of the whole op-ed.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Mitt Romney to visit Israel this summer. No date set, but the Washington Post and other papers expect it to coincide with the candidate’s plans to be at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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