Iranian Atomic Urgency
• The head of Britain’s intelligence services said MI6 operatives prevented Iran from developing a nuclear weapon — as long ago as 2008. Sir John Sawers estimates that Iran will be “a nuclear weapons state” by 2014. A lot of papers picked up on the Daily Telegraph:
“The Iranians are determinedly going down a path to master all aspects of nuclear weapons; all the technologies they need,” he said. “It’s equally clear that Israel and the United States would face huge dangers if Iran were to become a nuclear weapon state.”
• AFP: Iran’s still vulnerable to digital ops.
• The slaughter continues: More than 100 people have been killed in the shelling of Treimseh. The LA Times writes:
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, said Treimseh had been bombarded by Syrian forces using helicopters and tanks in a bid to reclaim the town from rebels, killing more than 100 people. Another activist network, the Local Coordination Committees, later said more than 220 people were killed in Hama province, most of them in Treimseh . . .
If the Treimseh reports are correct, the killings would be one of the biggest massacres reported in Syria to date.
• A Syrian commander who fled to Jordan detailed Syrian sins to the Times of Israel:
- Soldiers received orders directly from the government “to shoot to kill five percent of the participants at any given demonstration.”
- Soldiers who refused to follow those orders were themselves murdered.
- The regime is using Shiite fighters from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon to violently suppress demonstrations.
• The Women’s Media Center charts the use of rape pro-regime forces in a special report.
The city now feels pregnant with rage, and ready to explode.
• Inna Lazareva lays out a variety of reasons Moscow’s support of Assad will undermine long-term Russian interests. She writes in the Wall St. Journal (click via Google News) that Putin’s damned if he dumps Damascus, and damned if he doesn’t:
If Assad continues to cling to power, Russia will be left with a business partner unable to trade or fulfill contracts. Syria’s economy is already in tatters after 16 months of conflict, and some of its trade deals with Russia are likely to be frozen while the civil war rages on . . .
But Russia could still lose substantially even if Assad is deposed or chooses to step down . . .
Russia’s cancelation of $9.8 billion of Syrian debt in 2005 in exchange for trade contracts could prove equally ill-advised. What future leader of Syria would be willing to closely cooperate with the country responsible for arming Assad’s regime?
• Worth reading: Aaron David Miller (LA Times) assesses the state of US-Egypt relations, and the limits of American leverage — especially to protect the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement:
The intimacy of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship began as a direct result of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. If the Egypt-Israel relationship goes south (and it will), how do we expect to keep the U.S.-Egypt relationship on the rails?
A related AP assessment of Hillary Clinton’s visit to Egypt makes similar conclusions.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Israel’s first Arabic language station, Hala TV, launches. Details at YNet.
For more, see the previous Israel Daily News Stream.
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