Israel Daily News Stream 05/31/2012

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Iranian Atomic Urgency

Haaretz: The Saudis warned the US in no uncertain terms that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, the oil kingdom will seek to do the same.

Ross’ direct quote of the Saudi king appears to be the first public confirmation of the Saudi position and the threat of a Middle East nuclear arms race if Tehran acquires a nuclear bomb.

Time magazine visits a US radar installation in the Negev watching for potential Iranian missile launches. The servicemen on Mt. Keren are the only foreign troops stationed in Israel. Karl Vick and Aaron Klein note the signifcance:

The workaday reality of the U.S. radar — it has been operating since 2009 — also undercuts the notion of Israel launching a surprise attack on Iran that would also take Washington unawares. Not only does it see all traffic at Israeli air bases, it would certainly detect any large scale or other unusual patterns, including preparations for a massive air assault. Allowing the Americans that capability was a trade-off Israeli officials conceded only grudgingly, as TIME reported when the radar installation was announced in 2008.

Satellite images indicate that Iran razed two suspicious buildings at the Parchin nuclear facility. From Bloomberg News:

The buildings were destroyed near another structure suspected of housing a blast chamber allegedly used to contain and study the impacts of high explosives, according to ISIS

Arab Spring Winter

A Wall St. Journal op-ed (click via Google News) notes a survey of Syrian opposition members. The results in a nutshell:

The survey demonstrates that the core of the Syrian opposition inside the country is not made up of the Muslim Brotherhood or other fundamentalist forces, and certainly not of al Qaeda or other jihadi organizations. To be sure, a revolution started by secularists could pave the way for Islamists to win elections, as has occurred in Egypt. But the Syrian opposition is solidly favorable to the U.S. and overwhelmingly negative toward both Hezbollah and Iran.

Syria sees no need for journalists to investigate the Houla massacre. The Lede rounds up the latest sparring between Syrian officials and Big Media.

But he insisted that there was no need for journalists to go to the village and gather information independently to determine who was responsible for the killings, since the Syrian government was conducting its own investigation.

Syracuse U. student killed filming protests in Homs. Bassel Al Shahade, a native of Damascus, was Bassel Al Shahada Fulbright Scholar pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Film degree.

These headlines speak for themselves:

  1. LA Times: Unclear if Houla massacre a Syria turning point, experts say
  2. Sky News: Syria: Lights, Cameras, No Action
  3. Reuters: Syrian consul in US resigns over Houla killings

Asharq al-Awsat editor Tariq Alhomayed: If the West isn’t going to take military action against Assad, it should at least confront Russia’s support for the regime.

 Do you think this Baltimore Sun staff-ed is fed up with Bashar Assad?

But it’s also become abundantly clear that talks with Mr. Assad are worse than useless; they only give the tyrant more time to round up, torture and murder his political opponents, who apparently include small children still in their mothers’ arms. War is a terrible and unpredictable option, but by his defiance of international norms and murderous intent, the Butcher of Homs seems to be doing everything he can to make it all but inevitable.

 Maan News: Two US tourists were kidnapped in the Sinai town of Nuweiba.

“There are negotiations now between the security forces and the armed gunmen to release the tourists,” a police source said, adding the Bedouin were seeking the release of one of their tribe who has been jailed in a drugs case.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Business Insider’s chief editor and CEO, Henry Blodget sought the wisdom of the crowd on the question, Why Do People Hate Jews? Instead, the talking point became When Crowdsourcing Reveals You’re An Idiot.

Haaretz reporter Uri Blau is going to be indicted for illegally possessing classified IDF documents. Anat Kamm, the soldier who passed the documents on to Blau, is already serving a four-year prison sentence. British journalists like Donald Macintyre (The Independent) and Harriet Sherwood (The Guardian) showed more interest in the story than their US counterparts.

• T is for torture. The Daily Mail picks up on claims that Guantanamo Bay prisoners were subjected to hours of unceasing Sesame Street music to soften them up for interrogation. Israeli detention is five star by comparison.

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

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