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October 18, 2013

by Shmuel Rosner

October 18, 2013 | 4:06 am

The UN Security Council meeting convenes in NY
April 14, 2012, Credit: Reuters/Allison Joyce

The US

Headline: White House Weighs Easing Iran Sanctions’ Bite With Slow Release of Assets

To Read: Brookings'  F.Gregory Gause believes that the recent disputes between the US and the Saudis are nothing out of the ordinary-

 Are we headed for another "crisis" in Saudi-American relations?

In a word, no. There is nothing new here. The United States and Saudi Arabia have faced much more serious differences in the past, without the bilateral relationship being fundamentally altered — the 1973-74 oil embargo, the differences over the Camp David Accords and the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970’s, the profound crisis of 9/11 and the Iraq War. The episodic crises, both real and imagined, between Riyadh and Washington are, in fact, baked in the cake. They are the result of two enduring elements of the relationship: 1) the structural fact that the Saudis are the much weaker party in the partnership, and 2) the mistaken belief of many, more in the U.S. than in Saudi Arabia, that the de facto alliance is built on a complete complementarity of interests.  

Quote:  “If we have what I would call a high-class problem of a verifiable, sound agreement that addresses all international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, I feel pretty confident that everyone who is engaged in this process will support that outcome”, a US official addressing the widespread skepticism about negotiations with Iran.

Number: $10.8b, The Pentagon announced yesterday that it plans to sell Washington's Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates $10.8 billion worth of missiles and munitions, including "bunker-buster" bombs.

 

Israel

Headline: State officials: Talks with Turkey 'stuck'

To Read: Yossi Melman writes about the implications of the Turkey-Iran-Mossad story-

 Even during the most tense periods in relations between the two countries, intelligence ties remained intact, even if they did cool somewhat. While intelligence work is often interest-driven and unsentimental by its nature, there are still unwritten rules of conduct that govern relationships.

If it is indeed guilty of blowing the cover off of the Israeli spy network, then Turkey blatantly violated these codes. Despite the deteriorating ties triggered by the violent Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, Israel and Turkey have never been – and are not today – enemies.
 

Quote: "[the PA won’t accept the presence of] even a single Israeli soldier”, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas making a tense announcement.

Number: 70%, the 2013 rise in the construction rate of settlements according to Peace Now.

 

The Middle East

Headline: Saudi Arabia, angered over Mideast, declines Security Council seat

To Read: Barbara Slavin takes a look at  Iran's new nuclear proposal-

While the plan contains interesting new ideas, it does not meet previous demands by the United States and its negotiating partners for removing Iran’s stockpile of 20% uranium from Iran, suspending operations at Fordow and halting work on Arak. It also does not address Iran’s growing stock of low-enriched uranium — some 10,000 kilograms [22,046 pounds].

Quote:  "Major-General Jameh Jameh was martyred while carrying out his national duties to defend Syria and its people and pursuing terrorists in Deir Ezzor", Syrian state television announcing the death of a General in Battle.

Number: 850, here are some pictures of an abandoned building in Lebanon where around 850 Syrian refugees have settled.

 

The Jewish World

Headline: Hundreds of Bnei Menashe from India moving to Israel

To Read: According to John Allen Gay, a new survey on European Anti-Semitism raises some serious questions regarding European multiculturalism-

The status of Jews in Europe remains a delicate one. At least that is what a new survey by the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights suggests. The survey, to be released in full in November, found that nearly one quarter of European Jews avoid doing things or wearing symbols that could allow others to identify them as Jewish. And the numbers are worse in some places: Forty-nine percent of the Swedish utopia’s Jews avoid recognizably Jewish clothing and symbols in public. Eighty-eight percent of French Jews said antisemitism has become worse in the last five years. Thirty percent of Hungarian Jews have experienced an antisemitic incident in the past twelve months. And around Europe, two-thirds said reporting assaults and other antisemitic incidents to the police wasn’t worth it, or wouldn’t make a difference.

Surveys like this cast doubt on the belief that the history of the West has been one of steady progress. Sure, the Europeans seem to have finally been civilized, with their bloody, multicentury stream of wars and revolutions supplanted by social democracy and multinational union. But in 2012, reports Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center, France led the world in violent antisemitic incidents.

Quote:  “I don’t see it as a contradiction at all. I grew up hearing so much about the Middle East, how it was this dangerous place we can’t understand, but as I learned more, every day it felt like old ideas were being challenged, and I wanted to contribute to better understanding”, Miriam Berger, 23, one of a growing number of Jewish American students who are studying the Arab world.

Number: 51, the number of Lithuanian congress members who voted in favor of legalizing Kosher slaughter.

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