April 29/15

Bible Quotation For Today/The loaves and two fish. Miracle
John 06/01-15: "After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming towards him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?’He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.Philip answered him, ‘Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?’ Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.’So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, ‘This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.’When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

Bible Quotation For Today/Yes, you are our glory and joy!
First Letter to the Thessalonians 02/13-20: "We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.
For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out; they displease God and oppose everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they have constantly been filling up the measure of their sins; but God’s wrath has overtaken them at last. As for us, brothers and sisters, when, for a short time, we were made orphans by being separated from you in person, not in heart we longed with great eagerness to see you face to face. For we wanted to come to you certainly I, Paul, wanted to again and again but Satan blocked our way. For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!" 

Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on April 28-29/15
No miracle in sight for nuclear-free Middle East/J.Post/April 29/15
Risk assessment shows Israeli strike to thwart arms to Hezbollah worth it/J.Post/April 28/15

What did Operation Decisive Storm achieve/Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq Al Awsat/April 28/15
Regional war more likely as Arab armies go on attack /By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON/J.Post/April 28/15
De Mistora, why don’t you invite ISIS as well to Geneva/Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya/April 28/15
Pushing a nuclear deal in New York, far from prying eyes/Camelia Entekhabi-Fard/Al Arabiya/April 28/15

Lebanese Related News published on April 28-29/15
U.S. blacklists three alleged Hezbollah members 
Texas man jailed 5 years over Hezbollah links 
Ghazaleh had something to say before he died: Hariri
STL prosecution wants to explore Hezbollah-Syria ties
Hezbollah 'mouthpiece': Golan incident will only fan flames
Two mortars hit northern Israel from Syria
Syrian opposition to meet U.N. envoy for Geneva talks
Syria defense minister in Iran to discuss cooperation
Hariri Rejects Civil War Says Hizbullah Role in Syria Imported Terrorism to Lebanon
PFLP-GC Member Detained for Assassination Bids, Security Scheme Targeting Dahiyeh
Army Intelligence Detains Asir Supporters in Abra
Security Forces Kickstart Beirut, Dahiyeh Security Plan
Al-Rahi Meets Hollande on Fourth Day of France Trip
Aoun Decries Bid to 'Empty Christian Posts' in Presidency, Army Command, Says Won't Tolerate Extension
Army Intelligence Detains Asir Supporters in Abra
Security Forces Kickstart Beirut, Dahiyeh Security Plan
Alleged Hizbullah Suspects Placed on Special U.S. Terror List
President of Republic of Ireland Inspects Country’s Troops in UNIFIL
Army Arrests 2 Suspects in Hermel, Seizes Arms
Pernicious game-playing
Security plan in southern suburbs to be expanded 
Lebanon trade not hurt by Syria war: World Bank 
Irish president praises Army, UNIFIL

Anguish at hero firefighters’ funerals 
Effective border management a pipedream
Two Firefighters Killed in Mar Elias Blaze
Top engineers work to stem Lebanon brain drain 
Pedestrians won’t face traffic fines – for now 

Miscellaneous Reports And News published on April 28-29/15
Hollande offers to help end political standoff 
Kerry: World 'closer than ever' to Iran nuclear
Senate takes up congressional Iran nuclear deal
Iran slams nuclear powers, Israel at NPT meeting
Tehran Cites 'Commercial Dispute' as U.S. Says Iran Forced Cargo Ship to Iranian Port
Palestinian who clashed with Israeli troops dies of wounds
UN envoy Benomar sought to legitimize Houthi coup: Yemen FM
Boston bomber’s lawyers focus on brother’s obsession with Islam
Damascus canceled meeting with PLO over Yarmouk crisis: sources
Baltimore erupts in riots after funeral of black man who died in police custody
Fighting flares as Taliban advance on major Afghan city
China visits Pakistan as sands shift in the Mideast
Nepal tragedy shows we are all equal
Mohammad Mursi, Bassem Sabry and April in Egypt
Saudi Arabia Arrests 93 Jihadists, Says Attacks Foiled
Coalition bombs Sanaa airport to stop Iran plane

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PFLP-GC Member Detained for Assassination Bids, Security Scheme Targeting Dahiyeh
Naharnet/A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) was reportedly detained by the organization for seeking to carry out security attacks in Beirut's Southern Suburbs – Dahiyeh and the coastal town of Naameh, around 20 kilometers south of Beirut. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper published on Tuesday, Mohammed Mohammed, previously served at the organization's base in Naameh, its most prominent military position in Lebanon, which also contains a quantity of missiles. The PFLP-GC had expressed willingness to hand over Mohammed to the Lebanese Army Intelligence but is awaiting for a decision by the group's secretary-general Ahmed Jibril. Mohammed, who hails from the southern Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh, was working within a group led by Bilal Bader, a former leader of the militant groups Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam, to carry out a series of security breaches in PFLP-GC general command center in Dahiyeh's Palestinian Burj al-Barajneh refugee camp, Naameh tunnel and Beirut's southern suburbs. The suspect allegedly confessed to being tasked with collecting information to aid Bader and his militant group. The group was seeking to assassinate PFLP-GC member Bater Rateb al-Nemr, who goes by the nom de guerre of Abou Nemr, and military commander Abou Ali Qassem at Burj al-Barajneh simultaneously to cause chaos at the camp and allow the militant group's members to sneak into the PFLP-GC base. The operation reportedly seeks to create a Shiite-Palestinian strife. At the same time, the militant group would also steal Grad rockets from the PFLP-GC base in Naameh for the purpose of firing them at Lebanese army checkpoints in Dahiyeh. According to al-Joumhouria newspaper, Lebanese security agencies are contacting PFLP-GC to follow up the case.
The daily said that Lebanese security agencies received during the past two years information that indicates a rift would occur between PFLP-GC members.

Security Forces Kickstart Beirut, Dahiyeh Security Plan
Naharnet/The army and Internal Security Forces took into force a security plan in Beirut and its southern suburbs to apprehend outlaws, the military announced in a statement on Tuesday. The plan will last several days and include holding numerous stationary and temporary checkpoints. The forces will inspect the identification cards of pedestrians and deploy patrols in the area. They will also carry out raids in search of wanted suspects. The army called on the citizens to comply with the security measures “in order preserve their safety and ensure that their daily routines are not interrupted.” It also urged them to report any suspicious activity or security incident they may encounter. The security plan, which includes Hizbullah's stronghold of Dahiyeh, is reportedly widely supported by the party and its Shiite ally AMAL movement. However, the early announcement of the plan granted offenders time to evade security forces and flee to unknown whereabouts, similarly to the plan implemented in the eastern Bekaa Valley. Prominent offenders fled the Bekaa after security forces announced the zero-hour of the plan, which kicked off in February and dozens of wanted suspects have since been arrested. A similar plan was adopted by the government in 2014 and implemented in the northern city of Tripoli. Sources close to Hizbullah said in comments published in al-Akhbar newspaper Tuesday that “the residents of Dahiyeh and the parties in the area staunchly support the enforcement of such a plan.”The sources said that the plan seeks to fortify security in Beirut's southern suburbs, stressing that the state has a significant presence in the area, citing the various checkpoints erected by the army, Internal Security Forces and the General Security. “Beirut and Dahiyeh shouldn't be excluded from the security plans implemented across Lebanon.” The sources denied that the “Bekaa security plan failed,” noting that several outlaws were detained and the crime rate decreased.

Army Intelligence Detains Asir Supporters in Abra
Naharnet /The army intelligence detained three supporters of fugitive Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir, media reports said on Tuesday. Ali, Ahmed and Ali Ahmed Hijazi were arrested in a raid carried out by troops in Abra in the southern city of Sidon. Later on Tuesday, the army intelligence arrested another of Asir's supporters, identifying him as as W.B. who is said to be a security official among the cleric's backers, reported the National News Agency. Earlier, Asir called on his supporters to hide away to avoid falling in the hands of Lebanese security forces, in particular in Sidon. “I have exerted all my efforts to make my Umma triumph, but unfortunately my brothers are being chased, tortured and killed amid a fatal silence by the sons of my religion in Lebanon,” Asir said via his twitter account. On Monday, the army said in a communique that it arrested late on Saturday Mohammed Ojail and Hassan al-Dghaily for forming a terrorist cell in the region of Sharhabeel east of Sidon. A large number of weapons, ammunition, hand grenades, and rocket-propelled grenades were seized from their residence. Al-Asir and singer turned fugitive Islamist Fadel Shaker are reportedly hiding in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh that lies in Sidon. Sidon’s clashes between the army and supporters of al-Asir have resulted in the death of at least 16 troops. Many of al-Asir's supporters, who were involved in the battles that erupted on June 2013, have been apprehended.

U.S. blacklists three alleged Hezbollah members
The Daily Starظ Apr. 29, 2015/BEIRUT: The U.S. State Department has designated as terrorists two Lebanese men allegedly members of Hezbollah who are accused of involvement in the 2012 Bulgaria bus bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.
A third Lebanese man accused of being a member of Hezbollah’s “overseas terrorism unit” was also blacklisted, a statement released Tuesday said. “The Department of State has designated Meliad Farah, Hasan al-Hajj Hasan, and Hussein Atris as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism,” the State Department statement said. Farah and Hasan have been accused by Bulgarian authorities of involvement in the bus attack. Atris was jailed in Thailand from 2012 to 2014 after he was found hiding chemicals used for explosives. The statement said the three suspects are believed to be members of Hezbollah, which the State Department also considers a terrorist group, and living in Lebanon. Hezbollah has denied involvement in the Bulgaria attack.

Lebanese-born Texas man gets 5 years for lying about Hezbollah links

The Daily Star/Apr. 28, 2015/BEIRUT: A U.S. court sentenced a Lebanese man living in Texas to five years in jail for knowingly lying to federal authorities after failing to reveal his former links with the Amal Movement and Hezbollah when he applied for U.S. citizenship.
Wissam "Sam" Allouche, 45, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the San Antonio Joint Terrorism Task Force in May 2013. He became an American citizen in 2009 after marrying a U.S. army soldier. The announcement, made by the FBI office in San Antonio, Texas, said Allouche was sentenced to five years in federal prison for making a false statement to a federal agent and for unlawfully attempting to procure and obtain naturalization and citizenship. Jurors convicted Allouche on both charges in February 2015 after finding that there was evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Allouche was a member of the Amal Movement and had command authority in Hezbollah. Testimony during the trial revealed that Allouche, who emigrated to the United States after marrying his wife, failed to disclose in January 2009 to United States immigration authorities the fact that he was an Amal member in the 1980s in order to remain in the United States, according to the announcement. In addition, while seeking a position as contract linguist with the United States Department of Defense that required top security clearance, Allouche failed to disclose that he was held as a prisoner of war by Israel. Relatives also testified that Allouche later claimed he killed an Israeli pilot captured by Hezbollah in retaliation for his imprisonment.

Hollande offers to help end Lebanon's political standoff
Wassim Mroueh/The Daily Star/Apr. 29, 2015
BEIRUT: French President Francois Hollande conveyed his country’s readiness to help end Lebanon’s 11-month presidential deadlock to the Maronite patriarch Tuesday, and reiterated France’s support for the Lebanese Army.
The National News Agency reported that Hollande spoke to Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai of the deep bonds between Lebanon and France, voicing his country’s readiness to launch international initiatives to help accelerate the election of a Lebanese president.
At an hourlong meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Hollande stressed to Rai that France would not meddle in Lebanon’s internal affairs, but believed that the election of a president would help restore the normal functioning of the country’s constitutional institutions. The French president added that his country would continue to stand by Lebanon and support the Army against terrorism.
For his part, Rai urged Hollande to help Lebanon elect a president as quickly as possible and provide further assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The patriarch returned to Lebanon after the meeting.
A short statement released by the Palace said Hollande and Rai discussed the “dramatic” condition of minorities in the Middle East, particularly the situation of Christians residing there. “Hollande reiterated his firm [commitment] to protect the Christians of the Orient.”
The French president also expressed to Rai France’s determination to help Lebanon cope with the Syrian refugee crisis and other repercussions of the Syrian war.
Elsewhere, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri wrapped up his week-long visit to the U.S. Tuesday, attending a round table discussion hosted by the Washington D.C. office of the Arab ICT Association and the National U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce.
During his trip, Hariri spoke with U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, on ways to protect Lebanon from regional turmoil.
In a speech Monday evening, Hariri highlighted the importance of supporting Lebanese institutions, particularly the Army, saying the military was playing an advanced role in the fight against terrorism.
“Hariri also talked about the challenges caused by the Syrian refugees ... this issue was discussed with U.S. officials and [Hariri] asked the international community to address this problem in Lebanon and [other] neighboring countries,” his press office said in a statement.
Hariri’s remarks came during a dinner in Washington, held in his honor by Lebanese Ambassador Antoine Chedid.
Following its weekly meeting, Hariri’s Future bloc called on Lebanon’s government to restore the normal functioning of public finances by approving the 2015 draft budget and referring it to Parliament for final endorsement, adding that it should include the proposed salary scale for the public sector in line with the Constitution and the Public Accounting Law.
“This will clearly show the Lebanese people and all relevant officials all the expected expenses and revenue sources, along with means to address the deficit,” the bloc said in a statement.
Lebanon has not had an official budget since 2005 due to political standoffs, repeated security incidents and Parliament’s failure to meet and discuss bills. Cabinet, which will convene Wednesday, has so far failed twice to approve the draft budget and political factions are divided on whether to include the figures from the salary scale.
The Future bloc also condemned continued verbal attacks by Hezbollah on Saudi Arabia and the military operation it’s leading against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, saying such “reckless and irresponsible” behavior harmed the interests of Lebanon and the Lebanese.A delegation from the Bekaa Valley and Rashaya, including Future bloc MPs and religious figures, visited the Saudi Embassy in Beirut to show their support for the kingdom.
Addressing the delegation, Saudi Ambassador Ali Awad Asiri said his country was eager to protect Lebanon’s stability.
“We stress the eagerness of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques [King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz] to preserve Lebanon’s security, stability, and prosperity.”
In another development, Speaker Nabih Berri was quoted by his visitors as saying that there were signs that MPs loyal to Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement could soften their stance on boycotting an upcoming legislative session.
“I am hearing good talk from the Free Patriotic Movement and I hope it will be transformed into action,” Berri was quoted as saying.
“Tomorrow, a delegation from the Free Patriotic Movement might take part in the Wednesday meeting of MPs,” Berri said, referring to a weekly meeting at his residence.
He added that he realized Aoun’s bloc does not oppose holding the legislative session in principle, but wants a draft law on the agenda allowing foreigners of Lebanese origin to gain citizenship.
Berri said that he supported placing the bill on the agenda, but added that it was still being studied by Parliament’s joint committees.
Aoun’s parliamentary bloc also met Tuesday, and warned after its meeting that all options were on the table if the terms of security officials were extended.
“The issue is not in discussion ... extension is forbidden,” Aoun said after chairing the weekly meeting. “As for steps we will take [in case the extension happens], all options are possible and I will not detail them,” he added angrily.
The lawmaker dismissed accusations that he opposed the extension of Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi’s term, which expires in September, in order to have his son in law, Brig. Shamel Roukoz, appointed to the top post.
“I did not say I want my son-in-law [to become Army commander], I said I want an Army commander to be appointed in line with the law,” Aoun said.
He added that he would not alter his stance on the issue, regardless of the positions of his allies. “I can abandon people just the way they can abandon me, and I can support whoever supports me.”

Pernicious game-playing
The Daily Star/Apr. 29, 2015 /Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri has the right to call a parliamentary session whenever he sees fit, but doing so with regard to all the various blocs and their various grievances and agendas makes the task an especially hard one. Unless he makes it clear to certain parties that their childish game-playing can continue no longer, nothing can move forward in this country. Despite Berri’s best efforts and intentions, over 20 parliamentary sessions now have failed to select a new president. Other important posts – such as head of the Internal Security Forces and army chief – are also to become vacant, for lack of consensus on the issue. The budget also urgently needs to be discussed, as this could significantly reduce public money being frittered away. And pressing social issues, including the salary scale for civil servants, and the rent law, are being neglected, left to fester in the drawers of Parliament, as various parties refuse to debate the issue. Rather hypocritically some of these parties seeking to stall such parliamentary debates and votes through non-attendance – namely the Free Patriotic Movement and friends – are the same ones who are holding up the sessions designed to nominate a new president. So we find ourselves in a circular situation with no sign of escape, as long as these parties insist on such games. While many MPs appear to be receiving a salary every month in return for doing little work, as Berri has highlighted, ordinary citizens in Lebanon are struggling and being neglected by the systems which are meant to help them. It must be made very clear to these certain politicians that such behavior cannot continue.

STL prosecution wants to explore Hezbollah-Syria ties
Elise Knutsen/The Daily Star/Apr. 29, 2015/BEIRUT: The prosecution at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon made explicitly clear Tuesday its intention to explore the security and military ties between Hezbollah and the Syrian regime prior to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.Prosecution attorney Graeme Cameron asked witness MP Atef Majdalani to discuss the security relationship between Hezbollah and the Syrian army in south Lebanon before 2000. Defense attorney Iain Edwards objected, saying that the military relationship between the two entities extended beyond the scope of permissible witness testimony, which to date has focused on political relationships in Lebanon at the time of Hariri’s assassination. “The two major entities at the time in Lebanon were Syria and Lebanon,” Cameron countered. “The connection between Hezbollah and Syria is of significance in this case, not of a political nature, but in both sides’ capacity to contribute to an assassination of this nature.” While five Hezbollah members have been charged with plotting the blast that killed Hariri and 21 others in February 2005, the prosecution’s narrative of the crime has moved toward implicating, if not outright accusing, the Syrian regime. Cameron’s statements threw into relief the prosecution’s erstwhile veiled insinuations that Syrian officials cooperated with and possibly instructed the five Hezbollah members suspected of the assassination. Later in his testimony, Majdalani said that he was contacted by a Beirut-based Syrian general in August 2004, just days after Hariri and Syrian President Bashar Assad had a tense meeting over the extension of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud’s term. The general “told me that ‘we [the Lebanese-Syrian security apparatus] are present everywhere, and whoever does not abide by our orders should be responsible for his own safety and bear the responsibility,’” Majdalani said. Majdalani added that he took the statement “as a direct threat.”Majdalani is scheduled to continue testifying Wednesday.

Ghazaleh had something to say before he died: Hariri
The Daily Star/Apr. 28, 2015/BEIRUT: Former Syrian intelligence general Rustom Ghazaleh had a desire to reveal something before he died, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri claimed in remarks published Tuesday. “Rustom Ghazaleh called us before his death and wanted to appear on television and announce something we don’t know,” Hariri said during a dialogue session at the Wilson Center in Washington as part of his current visit to the United States. “Immediately after that he was beaten and one day before the beating, Ghazaleh called someone I know and we gave him the contact number for Future TV because he wanted to say something through television, but he didn’t have the opportunity; just like what happened with Ghazi Kanaan, who committed suicide with five bullets,” Hariri said. Ghazaleh, a native of Syria’s southern province of Deraa, was buried in Damascus Saturday one month after reportedly suffering a beating at the hands of another Syrian officer. Taking his secrets with him to the grave, Ghazaleh left behind a myriad of questions about his possible role in the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, five-time Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Irish president praises Army, UNIFIL
Mohammed Zaatari/The Daily Star/Apr. 29, 2015/TIRI, Lebanon: Ireland’s president Michael Higgins Tuesday thanked the Lebanese Army for maintaining a collaborative relationship with the Irish troops of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in south Lebanon. He also hailed the warm ties between Irish peacekeepers and community leaders in south Lebanon and the Lebanese population in general. Higgins also hoped that the Lebanese would live in “peace, prosperity and happiness.” “I’m happy to be here and check on the Irish battalion working as part of the UNIFIL in south Lebanon,” Higgins told reporters at the Irish force’s base in the southern village of Tiri, in the district of Bint Jbeil, according to a Defense Ministry statement. “The battalion has implemented many missions and development projects in the area and has achieved great success ... and here I would like to praise the role played by the Lebanese Army in this vein, and the relationship of solidarity and support between the Army and the Irish battalion.” Higgins spoke at a military ceremony which was held in his honor in the presence of the Lebanese and Irish defense ministers, as well as UNIFIL commander Brig. Gen. Luciano Portolano. On the sidelines of the ceremony, Lebanese Defense Minister Samir Moqbel also held a meeting with Portolano, during which the latter updated Moqbel about the performance of the forces and the situation in their area of operations. Higgins said he got a chance to see the efforts and sacrifices Irish peacekeepers make on a daily basis to contribute to the UNIFIL mission. He laid a wreath on the memorial site for fallen Irish peacekeepers in the close by village of Tebnine. Forty seven Irish peacekeepers gave their lives while in service with UNIFIL. Higgins, who was also welcomed by Lebanese students from schools in the Bint Jbeil area, saluted the “warm” and “close relations” Irish peacekeepers entertained with local communities, saying the battalion was involved in several projects in its area of operations. Irish peacekeepers give English language courses and assist in infrastructure, health care and sports projects. “This is a feature of Irish forces reflected in their work throughout all the missions in the world, wherever they may be,” Higgings said. “This attitude of having a relation between the heart as well as the head is a key dimension of Irish peacekeeping.”Higgins, who has been in Lebanon since late Sunday, will be heading back to Ireland Wednesday morning, according to the statement.

Analysis: Regional war more likely as Arab armies go on attack
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON/J.Post/04/28/2015
The period of proxy wars and dependency on Western military leadership in the Middle East is ending as Arab states show their growing confidence in carrying out military operations in Yemen and with the US-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria, increasing the likelihood of regional war. Since the first Gulf War (1990-91) when Iraq invaded Kuwait and the Syrian army withdrew from Lebanon in 2005, the Middle East has not witnessed full-scale state army invasions into neighboring states – but times are changing.
With the exception of Israel, Middle Eastern states have been relying on attacking their enemies by proxy, supporting terrorist groups such as Hamas or Hezbollah, attacking their own citizens in civil uprisings, or supporting clandestinely specific ethnic groups or parties in opposing states. Iranian support for the Houthis in Yemen is but one recent example.
For the most part, especially since the first Gulf War, Middle Eastern states have participated in wars against other regional states only when part of a Western-led (mainly US-led) coalition. The Libyan intervention in 2011, where France, Canada, and other European countries took the lead, but did have some Arab participation, is similar in nature to the US-led airstrikes against Islamic State today, where some Arab forces are also participating. But the intervention in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition is something different as it is for the most part a completely Arab-run endeavor with some background US intelligence or logistical support.“Watching Saudi Arabia spend hundreds of billions of dollars on sophisticated weapons in the past decade, many friends and foes of the oil-rich kingdom often wondered to what extent it would be capable of using them,” wrote Yaroslav Trofimov in the Wall Street Journal last week.
“By sustaining nearly a month of intensive airstrikes in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has shown that—from a purely military standpoint—it can lead a lengthy and complicated campaign,” he added. Could growing Arab capabilities and confidence lead to future interventions – even ground invasions - in the region – perhaps in Syria? Moreover, the chance of a small incident triggering a regional war cannot be dismissed. Last week Saudi jets intercepted two Iranian cargo planes headed for the capital Sanaa, forcing them to turn back and prompting the Foreign Ministry in Tehran to summon the Saudi charge d'affaires. Imagine that the Saudi jets shot down the Iranian planes and escalation ensued.
Prof. Efraim Karsh, a Middle East and Mediterranean studies scholar at London’s King’s College and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post that he sees the Saudi-led offensive on Yemen as essentially defensive. “The Saudis are justifiably alarmed by the prospects of a neighboring country falling under the influence of a resurgent militant Islamist power, and these fears are exacerbated by Washington's seeming acquiescence in Iran's regional hegemony and likely transformation into a nuclear power.” Karsh asserts that the Saudis could even “establish covert collaboration with Israel to this end.”“The Arab states and Israel collaborated tacitly during the 1991 Gulf War, foiling Saddam's attempt to break the war coalition by firing missiles at Israel,” he said. Asked if he sees a Saudi-led coalition taking military action in Syria, Karsh responded, “Syria is not Yemen” as the former is not a neighbor and is infinitely stronger.
*Reuters contributed to this report.

Hezbollah 'mouthpiece': Golan incident will only fan flames
Roi Kais/Ynetnews
Published: 04.28.15/ Israel News
Hezbollah's newspaper in Lebanon responds to IDF hit on terror cell that infiltrated Israel, attempted to place explosive on border with Syria. A newspaper with close ties to Hezbollah responded Tuesday to recent events in the north, in which a terror cell infiltrated Israel and attempted to place an explosive on the border with Syria in retribution for an alleged Israeli attack an arms shipment intended for the Lebanese terror group.
Sources in southern Syria, where Hezbollah is fighting alongside pro-regime forces, responded to the attempted attack by four terrorists who were killed by IDF troops before completing their mission.
The Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese newspaper al-Ahbar cited the sources as saying: "The killing of our people by Israel will not stop the resistance, but will rather inflame it. Although Israel thwarted this action, the scope of our activities is growing."
In addition, the magazine's editor wrote in another piece that Israel has no information about the organization's next steps – an issue he said will lead Israel to make mistakes that will give Hezbollah the upper hand. Four terrorists were killed by IDF troops Sunday evening as they were trying to place a bomb along Israel's border with Syria. The incident came after reports in Arab media said Israel launched an attack in Syria late Friday night, hitting a convoy of long-range missile intended for Shiite terror group Hezbollah.
An IDF patrol identified four figures approaching the border near Mt. Dov in the Golan Heights at around 9:30 pm and alerted IAF planes to the scene. The air force then took out the terrorist with at least three confirmed killed in the attack.
The incident took place in Israeli territory, in an abandoned IDF base located outside the fence acting's as the buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon. . "A short while ago, the IDF eliminated a terror cell attempting to place an explosive device against IDF forces on Israel's border with Syria. The IDF will not accept any attempt to attack or infringe Israel's sovereignty," the IDF said in statement
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the event, saying "any attempt to harm our soldiers will be met with a firm response, like the one led by the IDF tonight who stopped an attempted terror attack. I praise the IDF alertness which responded quickly and accurately." The area in which the attack took place was scene to a previous incident in March 2014 in which the IDF shot two Hezbollah fighters who tried to plant a bomb on the border fence between the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and the Syrian-held territory. The incident took place after another alleged Israeli attack in along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
The alleged Israeli strike was reported in Al-Arabiya, which claimed the target was a cache of Syrian Scuds. The Saudi-owned network further claimed that Israel had also struck the area on Wednesday.
Al Jazeera reported on Saturday morning that Israeli warplanes bombed positions belonging to the Syrian army and Hezbollah in the al-Qalamoun region near the border between Syria and Lebanon, with reports claiming the attack occurred in two waves and left a number of casualties.
**Yoav Zitun contributed to this report

Two mortars hit northern Israel from Syria
Ron Ben-Yishai, Ahiya Raved
Published: 04.28.15/ Israel News
IDF confirm moratrs were 'spillover' from conflict in Syria, where heavy battles have been reported in recent hours; no injuries reported.
Two mortars fell in northern Israel early Tuesday afternoon, shortly after air raid sirens blared throughout the area of Kibbutz Ein Zivan in the northern Golan Heights, warning of fire from Syria. Local residents reported hearing blasts in the area shortly after.
The mortars landed in an open area near orchards and a UN base. The IDF has confirmed that the two mortars were errant fire from battles raging in Syria, near the border with Israel, and not an intentional attack.
"From an initial investigation it seems that the blasts heard in the Golan were a result of internal Syrian fighting on the other side of the border," the IDF said, adding that at least two projectiles hit Israel. No injuries have been reported.
"It was probably errant fire," an IDF source said. Another military source called it "spillover". The IDF said that at present, they do not know why the sirens blared throughout such widespread areas.
Ein Zivan is located across the border from Syria's Quneitra - where battles have been waging between pro-regime forces and rebels in recent days. The incident could be spillover from the Syrian conflict. During the morning hours, reports emerged of battles between different Syrian rebel factions across from the central Golan Heights.
According to Iranian media, a group calling itself “National Resistance” has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.
The last time rockets hit northern Israel was last July, when two rockets fired from Lebanon slammed into northern Israel, followed by another rocket, this time from Syria, which landed in a town in the north of the Golan Heights.
The rocket sirens were activated in the Kibbutzim of Gonen, Lehavot HaBashan, Neot Mordechai, Amir, Sde Nehemia and Shamir, as well as in the towns of Had Nes, Kanaf, Ma'ale Gamla, Kidmat Tzvi, Katzrin, Sha'al, Odem, El Rom, Buq'ata, Majdal Shams, Masada, Neve Ativ, Nimrod and Ein Qiniyye.
On Sunday evening, four terrorists were killed by IDF troops as they were trying to place a bomb along Israel's border with Syria. The incident came after reports in Arab media said Israel launched an attack in Syria late Friday night, hitting a convoy of long-range missile intended for Shiite terror group Hezbollah.
An IDF patrol identified four figures approaching the border near Mt. Dov in the Golan Heights at around 9:30 pm and alerted IAF planes to the scene. The air force then took out the terrorist with at least three confirmed killed in the attack. The incident took place in Israeli territory, in an abandoned IDF base located outside the fence acting's as the buffer zone between Israel and Lebanon. .
"A short while ago, the IDF eliminated a terror cell attempting to place an explosive device against IDF forces on Israel's border with Syria. The IDF will not accept any attempt to attack or infringe Israel's sovereignty," the IDF said in statement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the event, saying "any attempt to harm our soldiers will be met with a firm response, like the one led by the IDF tonight who stopped an attempted terror attack. I praise the IDF alertness which responded quickly and accurately."
The area in which the attack took place was scene to a previous incident in March 2014 in which the IDF shot two Hezbollah fighters who tried to plant a bomb on the border fence between the Israeli side of the Golan Heights and the Syrian-held territory. The incident took place after another alleged Israeli attack in along the Lebanese-Syrian border. The alleged Israeli strike was reported in Al-Arabiya, which claimed the target was a cache of Syrian Scuds. The Saudi-owned network further claimed that Israel had also struck the area on Wednesday.
Al Jazeera reported on Saturday morning that Israeli warplanes bombed positions belonging to the Syrian army and Hezbollah in the al-Qalamoun region near the border between Syria and Lebanon, with reports claiming the attack occurred in two waves and left a number of casualties. Last week, a code red siren was sounded in Sderot and other Gaza border communities in southern Israel as the country celebrated Israel's 67th Independence Day.
The last time the air raid siren blared in southern communities was at the end of December. The rocket hit an open field in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, near Sderot. No injuries or damages were reported.

What did Operation Decisive Storm achieve?
Tariq Alhomayed/Asharq Al Awsat
Tuesday, 28 Apr, 2015
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its allies last week announced the end of Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, and the beginning of Operation Restoring Hope. But now we must ask: What did Operation Decisive Storm achieve, and what can we expect from Restoring Hope?
In order to see what Decisive Storm achieved, we must realize the sheer quantity and quality of arms that the Houthis and ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s fighters possessed. Saudi Arabia and its allies were ultimately successful in destroying these stockpiles.
So, who were the Houthis and Saleh seeking to target with all these arms and missiles? What would have happened if Riyadh did not take action at this time? It is clear that these arms were being amassed in order to attack Saudi Arabia, which has always had only the best intentions for Yemen—otherwise why else would Saudi Arabia and its allies have waited for so long before militarily intervening to deal with this threat? Therefore, the biggest achievement of Operation Decisive Storm is that it neutralized a great threat not just to Saudi Arabia but also one the rest of the Gulf region, destroying Iran’s stranglehold on Yemen. This also sent a decisive message to Tehran and its followers that Saudi Arabia is more than prepared to respond to any provocation and preserve its security and defend itself.
With Operation Decisive Storm, Saudi Arabia has drawn a regional red-line for Tehran and its followers. This red-line is even more historic than the one drawn by Saudi Arabia for Iran and its allies with regards to Bahrain. The Saudi-drafted Gulf Initiative for Yemen is internationally backed by the UN, under Chapter VII. This means that the international community, not just Saudi Arabia or Yemen’s neighbors, are closely monitoring what is happening in the country. There is a specific deadline for Yemen’s various parties to disarm and refrain from violence. If this deadline is not met, then it will be international forces that will respond—not Saudi forces alone or the current Gulf alliance. This represents a political victory to accompany Saudi Arabia’s military victory that came following the end of Operation Decisive Storm, which destroyed the Yemeni rebels’ arms supplies. Moreover, this demonstrates that Iran is not capable of securing victory for its agents and allies.
As for Operation Restoring Hope, this gives Riyadh and its allies the right to deal with the Houthis and Saleh’s forces if they represent a new national security threat. It also means that Saudi Arabia remains fully committed to protecting its territorial and maritime borders, in addition to preventing any arms from abroad from entering Yemen. This is not Saudi saber-rattling or muscle-flexing, but simply Riyadh fulfilling the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2216, which prohibits the supply of arms to Yemen, and particularly to fighters belonging to either the Houthis or Saleh. Restoring Hope, of course, has an important humanitarian and reconstructive dimension, in addition to pushing all parties to reach a political solution. This second phase is now more likely to meet with success after Saleh and the Houthis’ wings have been clipped, and their forces weakened on the ground.
Therefore, the main priority today is to back the political process in Yemen, while Riyadh keeps a vigilant eye on everything that is going on beyond its southern border. Saudi Arabia successfully broke Saleh and the Houthis’ stranglehold on Yemen while avoiding all-out war. Riyadh successfully exposed the Houthi coup, and what it is doing now is opening the door, for all Yemeni parties, to save face and reach a much-needed political solution.

De Mistora, why don’t you invite ISIS as well to Geneva?
Abdulrahman al-Rashed/Al Arabiya
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
A week ago, U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura defied everyone regarding an international conference for Syria and insisted on inviting Iran, saying: “The United Nations and myself have the right and will be inviting everyone, including Iran.” Dear envoy, why invite Iran when it rejects the decisions of the two previous Geneva meetings?
He justifies his concern over Iran by using the excuse that it is influential in Syria. Since invitations are being distributed based on influence, the United Nations might as well invite Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as these two terrorist groups are more influential on the ground than Iran and its allies!
After all these months since he was appointed in September, the international envoy has decided to impose Iran on the Syrians in Geneva. However, the war on the ground has not taken the path that he, Iran or Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had hoped for. The rebels have recently achieved a series of victories the likes of which we have not seen in almost two years.
Assad’ forces have been defeated in Idlib, Jisr al-Shughour and the Brick Factory Camp, and fighting is 40 kilometers from the city of Latakia. Fear has been reflected in the capital Damascus as currency trading has quickly declined from 260 to 300 Syrian pounds to the dollar.
Certain failure
Of course, it is de Mistura’s right to invite whoever he wants to Geneva. However, he has killed the conference before it even convened due to his management style and snobbish rhetoric.
He will not be capable of imposing a solution on the majority of Syrians just because he thinks Iran is influential in the war, as Tehran and the Syrian regime do not represent more than 15 percent of the people. Even the sons of the Alawite sect to which Assad belongs have begun to profess their desire to get rid of the regime’s symbols.
The international envoy can do whatever he wants, but he will not be able to stop the fighting. He will fail just like the Russians did with their conference, which was only attended by Syrian government representatives and those affiliated with it.
Even the sons of the Alawite sect to which Assad belongs have begun to profess their desire to get rid of the regime’s symbols
De Mistura has spent most of his time with Assad, and has not given any attention to the opposition. He then decided to hold a conference that matches the needs of the Damascus regime. The question is what can the conference achieve if no acceptable ideas are developed?
The participants at the two previous Geneva conferences reached a solution of forming a government consisting of the opposition and the regime but without the latter’s leadership (the Syrian regime did not agree to this, Sharif is saying). This was a middle-ground solution that represents the highest ceiling of concessions. There is no point in holding Geneva 3 without accepting this principle.
The international envoy has nothing with which to threaten the opposition, as Iran has been present with all its force in Syria for the past two years, using its men from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, Tehran has not succeeded at achieving any victory, unlike the opposition, which is fighting the Syrian regime and besieging it in its bases. The regime has nothing with which to scare Syrians, as it has already displaced tens of millions and murdered more than a quarter of a million.

Pushing a nuclear deal in New York, far from prying eyes
Camelia Entekhabi-Fard/Al Arabiya
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
Seventy years after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, a major push is under way to prohibit nuclear weapons globally. As 190 government members gathered in New York on Monday April 27 for a Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, there is so much doubts if this wish can become reality.
“The five nuclear-weapon states have shown little interest in actual disarmament, and all of them are undergoing significant modernization programs” says Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) said. “People might think the arms race is over, but instead of more warheads, the race has become about developing more advanced nuclear weapons,” she added.
While the issue of Iran’s nuclear program has dominated headlines, the present U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met in what was considered a highlight.
We still cannot imagine a U.S. embassy opening in Iran and American diplomats quartering in Tehran
Secretary Kerry on Monday paid a visit to the Iranian U.N. ambassador’s residence in Manhattan with his Undersecretary Wendy Sherman.
While both are eager to reach the nuclear deal, there is no rush or any talk about normalizing relations at all.
We still cannot imagine a U.S. embassy opening in Iran and American diplomats quartering in Tehran.
This is not what Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is wishing for, let alone the hardliners who are against the nuclear talks regardless of its economic benefits to the nation.
Even the comprehensive nuclear deal doesn’t mean the U.S. investors are welcoming to Iran directly. They are mainly conservatives and hardliners in Iran who still can’t trust Americans, regardless of the nuclear talks.
Ayatollah Khamenei said that if the nuclear talks are solved with openness and honesty, Iran may be open to other topics of discussion.
We don’t know what such topics could be but clearly there is a long way to go before embassies are opened on each other’s soil.
Complex talks
Kerry said earlier on Monday that he will use a meeting with his Iranian counterpart to urge Iran to push the Shiite rebels it supports in Yemen back to the negotiating table. This is the first time that the two have spoken on an issue other than the nuclear talks.
As much as Iran is getting closer to the nuclear deal deadline on July 1st, its regional and international obligations to act as a countable member of the international community is increasing a good example of this is Kerry’s statement on the Yemen crisis.
“We are, in fact, closer than ever to the good, comprehensive deal that we have been seeking, and if we can get there, the entire world will be safer,” John Kerry told the 191 NPT parties on Monday at the United Nations.
Zarif spoke on behalf of NAM ( Non Aligned Movement, which represents 120 countries), and will speak on April 28 on behalf of the state of Iran.
Iran’s negotiating team is to stay in New York for a while since the NPT conference is ongoing for a month.
Upon Zarif’s arrival in New York, he told Iranian state TV: “Besides taking part in the conference, we have come here to listen to the Americans.” For sure, the NPT conference is a great opportunity for Iran and the U.S. to solve the remaining issues before the deadline and to listen to each other far from prying eyes and ears.

Analysis: Risk assessment shows Israeli strike to thwart arms to Hezbollah worth it
By ELIEZER MAROM/J.Post/04/28/2015
The events of recent days on Israel's northern border illustrate the sensitivity of the region and demonstrate the patterns of action of the involved sides.
If the IDF did indeed carry out the air raid that has been attributed to it, it can be said that Israel is acting consistently in accordance with its stated policy and is continuing to prevent the transfer of quality weapons to Hezbollah. The organization is attempting to change the rules of the game, and despite its being mired in the Syrian civil war, it responded, relatively quickly, and tried to place explosive devices along the border with Israel on the Golan front. The IDF's tactical preparedness for Hezbollah's response is worthy of praise. An effective intelligence scheme, combined with an operational scheme - in this case aerial - that is readily available and effective, thwarted the activity while it was still at threat level and prevented IDF casualties.
It must be assumed that an attack such as that attributed to Israel over the weekend was carried out after an assessment of likely responses. This is actually a risk-management system, which the defense establishment uses to gauge the future consequences of its actions. In this type of assessment, Israel first studies the strategic situation and essential interests of Iran, which Hezbollah serves as the forward battalion for, and afterward analyzes the positions of Syria and of Hezbollah. Usually, after the consequences have been examined, the military echelon makes its recommendation and the political echelon is asked to authorize the action.
The strategic analysis shows that Iran is currently mired in battle on a number of fronts - Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon - and its forces and resources are "stretched out" to near their limit. Additionally, the Iranian regime, led by President Hassan Rouhani, was elected on the promise it would remove sanctions on Iran and it is currently in the midst of negotiations for an agreement with Western powers on its nuclear program, which will likely end in the sanctions being lifted. It is difficult to see Iran in this situation open a new front against Israel and endanger the agreement with world powers.
When analyzing the strategic position of the other forces in the area, one comes to similar conclusions. Hezbollah is busy with fighting in Syria and Iraq, and at this stage, it seems that the organization also is not interested in opening a front against Israel. Assad's forces as well are up to their necks in the Syrian civil war and they clearly want no part in adding Israel to their list of enemies.
The strategic assessments show that the risk of things spiraling out of control in the area are not high. Therefore, Israel should prevent Hezbollah, as much as is possible, from obtaining quality weapons that could hinder the IDF's freedom of action in a future conflict and hit quality targets deep inside Israel with great precision. It must be noted that despite the strategic assessment, events in the North could spiral out of control, for example, if an unsuccessful strike leads to multiple casualties on one of the sides. Therefore, increased levels of alert by the IDF along the border on which Hezbollah is likely to try to respond again, and smart risk-management before every action, can help to reduce the dangers.
The bottom line is that Israel must prevent the smuggling of quality weapons to Hezbollah. Properly managing the situation to prevent a response by Hezbollah will help the IDF continue to act in accordance with its goals, without inflaming the area.
**V.-Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom served as the commander of Israel's navy between 2007 and 2011.

Analysis: No miracle in sight for nuclear-free Middle East
NEW YORK – One thing is clear. The Middle East will not witness the creation of a miracle: the establishment in the region of a nuclear free zone (MENFZ). It neither will happen after the end of the NPT Review Conference next month nor in many years to come.
This week in New York an important international gathering is taking place. It is the Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is the fourth time such a conference is convened – once every five years. The purpose is to draft a new treaty to replace the current one, which was signed and ratified in 1970 and expired in 1995. It is still legally binding and will continue to be so as long until a new agreement is reached.
Israel – which the international community takes for granted that it possesses nuclear weapons – is not a member of the NPT. Since 1970, when the treaty went into force, Israel (as well as India and Pakistan, which are also nuclear powers, and more recently North Korea) has refused to join it.
Israel also refused to attend the last three NPT Review Conferences, arguing that it is not a treaty member. But this time the Israeli government caved in to international pressure, mainly from the US, and regional circumstances and agreed to participate as an observer.
Actually, Israel had changed its heart already after the previous NPT Review Conference in 2010. This happened because – against the wishes of Israel – US President Barack Obama agreed to join Arab and many other nations calling for preliminary talks to establish a nuclear free zone in the Middle East.
Adopting the attitude of “if you can beat ‘em, join ‘m,” Israel demanded that the terms of reference be amended and the formula redefined.
Israel’s demands were accepted and it was agreed that the talks would be unbinding, informal, and discuss not only nuclear weapons – a clear reference to Israel – but also all weapons of mass destructions; nuclear, chemical, and biological.
After many obstacles a few rounds of talks took place between 2011 and 2013 in Switzerland.
At the first meetings the attendance was quite impressive and included Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and delegates from other Arab countries. Even an Iranian diplomat attended one of the meetings.
The Israeli delegation, led by Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General Jeremy Issacharof, included officials from the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, the National Security Council, and other agencies. The aim of the talks, moderated by a senior Finish diplomat, was to enhance the notion of convening a regional conference that would negotiate the creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.
But eventually the talks led to nowhere.
Some Arab countries, like Iraq and Syria, skipped the meetings and Iran showed up for only one round. Israel insisted the talks focus on formalities and technicalities, refusing any indication of UN involvement, on one hand, and hard core issues on the other.
The Israeli officials argued that the talks should include topics such as the geographical definition of the Middle East (for example, does this include Pakistan and India?) and delivery systems – missiles.
The Israeli position was and has remained reminiscent of the chicken and the egg question.
Israel’s argument is that first all the nations in the Middle East have to recognize it, establish diplomatic relations, and reach security arrangements and only then negotiate the establishment of a zone free of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
What also helped slightly to soften Israel’s attitude and bring it to the review conference are the dramatic changes in the region. Syria was forced to dismantle its arsenal of chemical weapons – the biggest in the world. Internal conflicts are tearing apart Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen as sovereign states.
Unprecedentedly cruel Muslim terrorism is sweeping the Middle East. The schism between Shi’ites and Sunnis is growing wider. Iran aspires to be a nuclear power. All these developments have created a new reality and brought into the surface new alliances.
Arab nations – especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt – are much more concerned about a nuclear Iran and its drive for regional hegemony rather than Israeli nuclear monopoly.
Egypt, once the most vociferous advocate to deprive Israel of its nuclear weapons, has softened its position.
“Our initiative for a Middle East free of nonconventional weapons is a principle. It will not change,” an Egyptian diplomat said this week, but added, “it will not be this time too hard.”
The worst-case scenario for Israel that may emerge from the review conference would be a decision to continue the informal and noncommittal meetings about future modalities for the creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. If this happens, it most probably will once again lead to nowhere. The successful Israeli policy of “nuclear ambiguity” is not under a threat and will not be changed, and the region will continue to be violent and divisive.