Period: December 2013


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DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 6, 2013, 11:31 AM (IDT) Tags: John Kerry, security, Israel-Palestinian talks, Al Qaeda, Binyamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Yemen, Terror,
Yemeni Defense Ministry after Al Qaeda strikeThe security plan, which US Secretary of State John Kerry brought with him Thursday, Dec. 5, on his eighth trip for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, entails deploying a regional international force including US troops along the Jordan Rift Valley and West Bank in a future Palestinian state. This is reported by debkafile’s military and counterterrorism sources.
The plan, drawn up by Gen. John Allen, was presented by Kerry for the first time to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
The security provisions Washington promised Israel under a final settlement of its dispute with the Palestinians are assuming a broader, regional form as a US blueprint, on which the Obama administration is still working, for a Middle East regional force to combat Al Qaeda.
This force would secure parts of Syria, as well as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the future Palestinian state and Israel against Al Qaeda attack from positions in Syria, Iraq and Sinai.
The secretary of state proposed integrating Israeli and Palestinian special forces units in the planned regional counter-terror force, alongside the American, British, French, Saudi, Jordanian, Egyptian and Qatari units enlisted to the new framework
Since its area of operation would be extensive, ranging from southern Syria to Sinai, including Israel and the potential Palestinian state, the IDF would be able to continue performing its security functions in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, as part of the new force. But by the same rule, Palestinian forces would be allowed by mutual consent to serve in parts of Israel in the same multinational framework.
The public groundwork for this plan is already being laid by means of extensive reporting in Western media which magnify the ever-present menace Al Qaeda poses to the United States and West Europe from its concentrations in Syria and Iraq. Continued: http://www.debka.com/article/23506/Kerry-brings-plan-integrating-West-Bank-security-in-

Seeking Peace or Refusing in 1990, Seeking Peace or Refusing Now
12.9.2013 - Last week, the NY Times ran an article called “In The Day a Newly Freed Mandela Came to New York” which glorified New York City’s welcome to Nelson Mandela in 1990.
But the Times overlooked an empty chair at the welcome table. Not a single “mainstream” Jewish organization in New York was willing to meet with Mr. Mandela during that 1990 visit.
That was because he had criticized the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
This abject ethical failure by the “official” line-up of Jewish organizations was a rejection of the broadest human ethical standards, as well as a denial of the prophetic tradition at the heart of Torah from the resistance to Pharaoh forward.
Perhaps more important, it was not only a blemish upon the New York Jewish community thirteen years ago, but raises some continuing profound questions about the stance of the American Jewish community today.
For the same reasons Jewish “officialdom” shunned Mandela’s pursuit of peace and justice 13 years ago, today it is shunning the search for peace and security today – peace and security for and among Israel, Iran, and the USA today. At the end of this essay, The Shalom Center and I are asking you to act on behalf of the Torah’s command to “seek peace and pursue it.” To walk step by step along the path that we honor Mandela for learning to walk.
Back in 1990, some 50,000 people waited at Kennedy International Airport and along the motorcade route. About 100,000 crowded the streets in Brooklyn as Mandela approached a high school for an appearance; 400,000 packed the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan as the ticker-tape parade passed by; and 200,000 jammed the ceremony outside City Hall.
But New York’s Jewish organizations were absent — except for one small Jewish school named for Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and committed to his prophetic values, whose faculty and students marched in the ticker-tape parade. You can see them in this photo provided us by Rabbi Jonah Geffen, who was then himself a young student at the Heschel School: Continued: http://darethefuture.com/?p=1117

The days of divine judgment is about to begin, the Netanyahu’s waiting for the Pope.
Sara Netanyahu: “We can hardly wait for the Pope”
The prime minister’s wife, repeated the invitation. “We’re expecting you, we can’t wait”. Israeli media quoted Sara Netanyahu as telling the pontiff after the meeting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a 25-minute audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday, the first meeting between the two leaders.
Netanyahu presented the pontiff with a Spanish translation of “The Origins of the Inquisition,” a book written by the Israeli leader’s late father, Ben-Zion Netanyahu, an acclaimed historian known widely for his research on the topic. “To his Holiness Pope Franciscus, a great shepherd of our common heritage,” Netanyahu inscribed on the inside cover.
Francis thanked Netanyahu and gave him a bronze plaque of St. Paul.
The meeting was not long but covered a wide range of issues, including regional diplomacy, plans for a papal pilgrimage and bilateral issues between Israel and the Holy See.
According to a Vatican statement, attention focused on the complex situation in the Middle East, emphasizing the pontiff’s hope that renewed peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians result in a just and lasting solution as soon as possible.
Diplomatic relations between Israel and the Holy See were established in 1993. Since 1999, the two sides have been negotiating a long list of outstanding issues, including the status of the Roman Catholic Church in Israel, requested sovereignty over certain sites, and taxation and expropriation of church assets in the country. Last year, Israeli officials involved in talks said resolving these matters would bring a “historic upgrade of relations.”
Continued: http://ivarfjeld.com/2013/12/04/sara-netanyahu-we-can-hardly-wait-for-the-pope/

Published: Sunday, December 15, 2013 7:14 PM - The "End of Jewish History" is not as farfetched as Fukiyama's predictions for the world. Nor is a repetition of the fate of the Ten Tribes.
By Giulio Meotti - The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary. He has just prblished a book about the Vatican and Israel titled "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.
Everybody knows that it is either going to be “settlements” or a “Palestinian State”. Both cannot cohexist side by side.
The fate of Jewish life in Judea and Samaria is the most important single defining issue for the future of the Jewish people. After Yasser Arafat convinced the Israelis that "delivering" Arabs to the Jews is something his people couldn’t tolerate, Israel has convinced herself that she can deliver many Jews to the Arabs.
This is the real meaning of John Kerry’s “security promises”.
Declaring partial sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, the alternative suggested by those Israelis who made a religion out of security, will not ease the tremendous pressure on the State of Israel and the Jews. Partial sovereignty will lead to the point where the security situation will be even worse, and Israel might fatally decide to abandon every inch of the Biblical heartland.
However - exactly as there is no solution to the Old City of Jerusalem, where separation is impossible unless Israel relinquishes the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall, the State of Israel in Judea and Samaria has now only two alternatives: annexing all the land (at least Area C where all the Israelis live) in the name of Jewish rights, or facing a new catastrophe, a new cataclysm, a new diaspora, a new cycle of exile, or at worst, a new Holocaust, whether violent or not.
Everybody knows that it is either going to be “settlements” or a “Palestinian State”. Both cannot cohexist side by side.
And a “Palestinian State” means the deportation of at least 100,000 Jews - or up to many times that number - and the annihilation of an entire Jewish civilization in Judea and Samaria. Continued: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/

Giulio Meotti: The writer has just published a book about the Vatican and Israel titled "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.
Pope Francis has praised Jews for keeping their faith despite the Holocaust and other “terrible trials” throughout history, and reaffirmed Judaism as the “holy root” of Christianity.
In a letter, published on the front page of La Repubblica Italian newspaper, the Pope writes that "since Vatican Council II, we have rediscovered that the Jewish people are still for us the holy root from which Jesus germinated".
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio had celebrated Rosh Hashana in local synagogues, he had voiced solidarity with Jewish victims of Iranian terrorism and co-written a book with a rabbi, Avraham Skorka. He attended a commemoration of Kristallnacht, the wave of Nazi attacks against Jews in November 1938.
But as this new letter shows, one of the grave dangers in the Vatican's dialogue with Judaism is the Church's attempt to drive a wedge between the “good” and docile Jews of the Diaspora and the “bad” and arrogant Jews of Israel.
Pope Francis has never addressed the Israelis in his messages, nor has he openly defended the Jewish State since he was elected by the college of the cardinals. It seems that there is no room for stubborn, faithful Zionists in the Pope's lenient smile. In his speeches, Jewish national aspirations are ignored, if not denigrated.
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By Barry Chamish Mon Sep 22 1997 - Did Shimon Peres make a deal with the Vatican?
Consider the evidence: •On Sept. 10, '93, just three days before the signing of the Declaration of Principles in Washington, the Italian news magazine La Stampa reported that part of the peace deal was an unwritten understanding that the Vatican would receive political authority over the Old City of Jerusalem by the end of the millenium. The newspaper reported that Shimon Peres had promised the pope to hand over the holy sites of Jerusalem the previous May and that Arafat had accepted the agreement.
•In March '94, the Israeli newsmagazine Shishi published an interview with Mark Halter, a French intellectual and close friend of Shimon Peres. He said he delivered a letter from Peres to the Pope the previous May, within which Peres offered the Vatican hegemony over the Old City of Jerusalem. The article detailed Peres's offer which essentially turned Jerusalem into an international city overseen by the Holy See.
•In March '95, the radio station Arutz Sheva announced that it had seen a cable sent by the Israeli Embassy in Rome to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem outlining the handover of the Old City of Jerusalem to the Vatican. Two days later Haaretz published the cable on its front page. The Foreign Ministry explained that the cable was genuine but someone had whited out the word "not." ie We will not transfer authority to the Vatican. Incredibly, numerous Bnei Brak rabbis who had cancelled Passover meetings with Peres over the issue of the cable accepted the explanation and reinvited him to their homes.
The Foreign Ministry's Legal Affairs Spokesperson, Esther Samilag, publicly complained about "various capitulations" to the Vatican. She was immediately transferred to a post at the Israeli Embassy in Katmandu, Nepal.
MK Avraham Shapira announced in the Knesset that he had information that all Vatican property in Jerusalem was to become tax exempt and that large tracts of real estate on Mount Zion were given to the pope in perpetuity.
Jerusalem's late Deputy Mayor Shmuel Meir announced that he had received "information that properties promised to the Vatican would be granted extra-territorial status."
Beilin was forced to answer the accusations. He admitted, "Included in the Vatican Agreement is the issue of papal properties in Israel that will be resolved by a committee of experts that has already been formed." If so, this committee has not since released any proof of its existence.
With all this in mind, how do we interpret the Vatican's current position on Jerusalem?
The following report, circulated by MSANews may shed some light on that: Continued:

Hear from Israelis all over the country about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
12/15/2013, 11:33 PM - A7 Radio's "News & Call-In with Tamar Yonah" with Tamar Yonah
Listen Now! Follow Israel Radio - The biggest snow storm in over a century smothered Jerusalem and the hilly areas with tons of snow. How did Israelis cope? We'll get a weather news summary from Arutz Sheva's TV/Video Director Yoni Kempinski, and hear from Israelis from all over the country on how they survived the storm, whether from torrents of wind and rain, or from heavy snow. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/News.aspx/5066

Warns of loopholes on centrifuges, undeclared sites - Published: 11/27/2013 at 8:29 PM WND - TEL AVIV – The deal between Iran and Western powers leaves Tehran just two months away from enriching enough uranium to assemble one nuclear weapon, according to an analysis by Olli Heinonen, the former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector. Heinonen was the IAEA’s deputy director-general for safeguards until 2010. In an email to WND, he explained that the deal that requires Iran to cap its uranium enrichment at 5 percent instead of its current 20 percent constantly would leave the country two months away from the technical ability to build a nuke.
Wrote Heinonen:
“Let us look at the current the facts on the ground. With Iran’s inventory of 20% enriched uranium, it would take about 2 weeks using 6000 IR-1 centrifuges, operating in tandem cascades, to produce enough weapons grade material for one nuclear device. If Iran uses 3-5 % enriched uranium as feed material at all its currently installed 18,000 IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz and Fordow, the same result would be achieved in two months.
“The current agreement retains Iran’s fleet of more than 18000 IR-1 centrifuges. Operational restrictions are placed that allow 10000 centrifuges to continue to enrich at up to 5% at any given point of time. These measures, together with a cessation of 20% enriched uranium production and conversion of the 20%-level stockpiles to oxides, extend the current breakout times to about two months.” Continued:http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/ex-u-n-inspector-deal-

By Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) December 17, 2013 12:25 pm Advocacy groups for polygamy and individual liberties on Saturday hailed a federal judge's ruling that key parts of Utah's polygamy laws are unconstitutional, saying it will remove the threat of arrest for those families.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said in the decision handed down Friday that a provision in Utah law forbidding cohabitation with another person violated the First Amendment right of freedom of religion.
The ruling was a victory for Kody Brown and his four wives who star in the hit TLC reality show "Sister Wives" and other fundamentalist Mormons who believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.
The Brown family filed their lawsuit in July 2011 and fled Utah for Las Vegas last year under the threat of prosecution.
Anne Wilde, of Salt Lake City, co-founder of the polygamy advocacy group Principle Voices, said polygamous families have lived under the threat of arrest for decades and no longer have to worry about being charged with a felony. There are an estimated 38,000 fundamentalist Mormons who practice or believe in polygamy, most living in Utah and other Western states, said Wilde, who was a plural wife for 33 years until her husband died. Continued:

BY Denise Noe - The Near Escape
The driver floored the accelerator of the five-year-old green Mustang. The overweight man, sporting aviator-style eyeglasses below a receding hairline, was in a gut wrenching, dry-mouthed, sweaty-palmed, and heart pounding panic. His attractive redheaded wife sat in the passenger seats, holding Dusty, the family cat, on her lap. Having just undergone an operation, she was in physical discomfort and mentally groggy. Her mind was clear enough, however, to be afraid. The woman had in her possession a variety of important papers, including birth and marriage certificates and the vaccination records for the cat, that the couple would need in starting the new life that they hoped against hope that they were speeding toward.
[Israeli flag (AP)] The couple was driving to the Israeli embassy in Washington, D. C., believing that they would be given refuge there. When they got within sight of the light beige brick building, they saw its flag, made up of a crisp blue Star of David on a background of purest white, flying proud and high. That flag seemed to beckon them to safety and freedom. [...] "I want to invoke my right under the Law of Return to Israeli citizenship!" he cried. "We're Jews. We're on Israeli territory. You can't throw us out."
[...] Cars and vans carrying FBI agents surrounded the embassy ... he was arrested on charges of spying
Continued: http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/spies/pollard/1.html

Kerry reportedly says he will consider freeing Jonathan Pollard as part of prisoner swap. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to the Middle East in the first week of the new year amid a flurry of reports in the Israeli press that he has said he would consider freeing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. Israel's Channel 10 TV station first reported Friday that Kerry offered to free Pollard as part of an exchange for the release of a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails as peace talks resume between the two sides. The third of four groups is scheduled to be released Monday, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Pollard, a former U.S. intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty to passing national defense information to the Israeli government in 1986 and was sentenced to life in prison the following year. Continued: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/29/kerry-returns-to-israel-to-talk-with-leaders-about-peace-negotiations-amid-new/

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has used charm rather than coercion to keep Netanyahu and Abbas at the negotiating table. Now the ball is firmly in their court. By Barak Ravid | 07:18 03.01.14 | 0 http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.566852
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 Officials: Pollard release to be part of peace negotiations. Officials: Pollard release to be part of peace negotiations PM Netanyahu will include release of Israeli spy from American prison as part of talks with Palestinians, according to Israeli officials. Ministers push for spy's release after disclosure of US tapping on Israel Itamar Eichner - YNET Published: 12.24.13, 11:38 / Israel News http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4469021,00.html
Following the exposure of US surveillance on top Israeli leaders, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to demand the release of Jonathan Pollard, who has been jailed in US prison for nearly three decades, from American prison as part of negotiation efforts with the Palestinians, Israeli officials estimated.
"With regard to things published in the past few days, I have asked for an examination of the matter," Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks, in a clear reference to the alleged espionage.
According to undisclosed Israeli officials, Netanyahu's demand for the release of the Israeli spy through the platform of peace talks with the Palestinians could be executed in one of two ways: A release of the Israeli spy as part of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement pushed by the Americans for next month, or through a deal aimed at releasing Arab-Israeli prisoners.
Documents leaked on Friday by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ had in 2009 targeted an email address listed as belonging to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and monitored emails of senior defense officials.
"In the close ties between Israel and the United States, there are things that must not be done and that are not acceptable to us," Netanyahu said, speaking during a Likud party faction meeting.
On Sunday, several Israeli cabinet members and lawmakers said disclosure of US spying on Israel was an opportunity to press Washington to free jailed Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard. Netanyahu informed Likud party members on Monday that he had met with Pollard's wife Esther "and updated her on our unceasing efforts to free Jonathan." http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62698

Breaking the rules Now that it turns out Americans spied on every possible target, they must free Pollard By Ronen Bergman - YNET - December 23, 2013

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Davos, Switzerland from 22-25 January. Prime Minister Netanyahu acceded to the request of the Annual Meeting co-chairs and will address a special plenary meeting devoted to the Israeli economy. He will present the Israeli cyber industry, which is among the world's leaders, and will also hold a series of working meetings with heads of state and corporate leaders in order to encourage investment in Israeli high-tech and other sectors of the Israeli economy.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - UPDATE 2: Egypt govt declares Muslim Brotherhood 'terrorist group' An anticipated step against Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood materialises as the government officially brands the Islamist group as 'terrorist' Ahram Online, Wednesday 25 Dec 2013 http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/90037/Egypt/Politics-/UPDATE--Egypt-govt-declares-Muslim-Brotherhood-
Egypt's interim government officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails, a terrorist group. In a press statement released on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Hossam Eissa said the cabinet decided the Brotherhood is a terrorist group, making it subject to Article 86 of the Egyptian penal code, which defines terrorism and the penalties for engaging in it. Eissa mentioned that the deadly bombing in the Delta city of Mansoura as well as attacks on churches and other violent incidents attributed to members of the group led to the decision. Prosecutors are still investigating the Mansoura bombing that left 16 dead, which happened Tuesday. It was claimed by the Islamist militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis. It is not yet known if the group has any link to the Muslim Brotherhood. http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62698

Thursday, December 26, 2013 106 Israeli MKs appeal to Obama to release Pollard Days after information about US spying on Israel emerges, huge Knesset majority demands jailed spy’s freedom By Marissa Newman - Times of Israel - December 25, 2013 http://www.timesofisrael.com/106-israeli-mks-appeal-to-obama-to-release-pollard/
After a lengthy debate at the Knesset Wednesday, an overwhelming 106 of the 120 Knesset members signed off on an official request to US President Barack Obama to free American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard after 28 years of incarceration. http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62698

Who will save Jonathan Pollard? By STEWART WEISS - The Jerusalem Post - December 26, 2013 http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/In-Plain-Language-Who-will-save-Jonathan-Pollard-336244
‘The mass of men,” observed American poet and historian Henry David Thoreau, “lead lives of quiet desperation.” Among the many thing which frustrate and depress me, as well as countless other decent Jews and non-Jews, is the continued incarceration of Jonathan Pollard. Arrested in 1985, after being refused asylum at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Pollard pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to deliver national defense information to a foreign government.
He agreed to a plea bargain, and though federal prosecutors asked for “only a substantial number of years” in prison, Judge Aubrey Robinson, Jr. – who was not legally obligated to follow the recommendation of the prosecutor – imposed a life sentence upon Pollard after a “damage assessment memorandum” from then-secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger.
For more than 28 years, Pollard has languished in prison, his sentence exceeding by far any punishment meted out to others convicted of the same offense. Some of the world’s best attorneys, including Alan Dershowitz, have failed in their attempt to free Jonathan.
Appeals to numerous presidents for an executive pardon have fallen on deaf ears. Parades of former and present American officials – including those who had a direct part in Pollard’s arrest and conviction – asking for clemency are met by stony silence.
No one who is in a position to know will say why it is that Pollard has been singled out for such cruel and unusual punishment; even Pollard himself is not privy to the memorandum that led to his stiff sentence. When Sen. Joe Lieberman shockingly said, “If you saw what I saw [in top-secret documents], you would agree with Pollard’s continued imprisonment,” fellow Sen. Charles Schumer asked to see the same documents. After reviewing them, he concluded, “Nothing I have seen justifies his staying in prison one more day.”
For its part, Israel’s protestations have proven equally impotent. Behind-the-scenes pleas and petitions have failed to move the Americans. In 1998, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had secured a promise from US president Bill Clinton to pardon Pollard as part of the Wye River peace talks; the agreement was signed, but Clinton reneged on his pledge. On January 4, 2011, Netanyahu formally submitted a letter to President Barack Obama requesting clemency. Though the White House issued a statement saying the letter would be reviewed, no official response has ever been given. http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62698
"The Israeli Knesset is turning to U.S. President Barack Obama to request, on humanitarian and humanistic grounds, in light of his grave medical condition, to shorten the sentence of Jonathan Pollard and order his immediate release," read the plenum summary. "This humanitarian gesture is essential, and even necessary for Israel-U.S. relations at this time. The Israeli Knesset is saying in a single voice, 'The time has come to free Jonathan Pollard.'" http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62698
Barack Obama calling for the immediate release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who has spent 28 years in jail.
Jewish Parliamentarians [ICJP] Urge Clemency for Pollard

Dec. 26, 2013 - 02:16PM | By AWAD MUSTAFA - DUBAI — The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will have a force of 100,000 members under the newly announced and US-backed Joint Military Command, according to Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of the National Guard .
“There will be a unified command of around 100,000 members, God willing. I hope it will happen soon, and the National Guard is ready for anything that is asked of it,” Prince Miteb was quoted as saying by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) earlier this week.
The announcement by Prince Miteb comes less than one week after US President Barack Obama issued a directive to Congress to facilitate for the GCC defense article sales and defense services under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act. The joint command, according to a high-level GCC official quoted in Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, has been agreed to be headquartered in Riyadh. The new command's implementation has been mandated to the GCC Military Committee, an advisory committee to the secretary general. According to a paper by US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Glenn Kuffel published by the Naval War College, the GCC Military Committee is the closest organization the GCC has to a Joint Staff. "Although not empowered in any way similar to the U.S. Joint Staff, it has standardized 90 to 95 percent of the GCC country's army doctrine," the report read. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131226/DEFREG04/312260016/Saudi-Minister-GCC-Set-Up-Force-100-000

By Itamar Eichner and Yuval Karni - Yediot Ahronot 27 December 2013 [IMRA translation] President Shimon Peres has decided to use few months left to his position for one goal: the release of the Israeli-American spy Jonathan Pollard.
Peres, who is expected to leave the presidential office this coming July, committed yesterday to increase the pressure on US President Barak Obama, in order to convince him to release the spy imprisoned already for close to 29 years. In closed conversations Peres said that just as in Israel it is customary to reduce sentences, it is inconceivable that Pollard, even if he did terrible things, should not get clemency.
The president also responded to a request from the Knesset and agreed to give US President Obama a letter signed by 106 MKs - with the request to free Pollard. In the letter the Members of Knesset note that senior officials in previous US administrations have already maintained in the past that it is possible to free Pollard. "Pollard committed serious crimes, that he and the State of Israel have apologized for," it is written in the letter, "along with this, the great amount of time that has passed since then requires today the release of Pollard. This gesture is required for Israeli-USA relations at this time." http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62698

Excerpts:Saudi Arabia gives $3 billion to arm Lebanese army. Muslim Brotherhood retains status in Jordan - December 29, 2013 - Naharnet (Lebanon) 29 Dec.’13:”Suleiman Says Saudi to Give $3 billion to Buy Friench Weapons for Lebanese Army” President Michel Suleiman on Sunday[29 Dec.] announced that Saudi Arabia has decided to donate three billion dollars with the aim of purchasing French weapons for the Lebanese army as soon as possible.
After canceling a much-anticipated press conference previously scheduled for Sunday evening, Suleiman appeared in a televised address to declare that he managed through his talks with Saudi King Abdullah to secure “extraordinary support” for the army.
“Enhancing the army's capabilities is a unifying national and popular demand and a source of pride and it is a dream that I always had during my 41 years of military service, and it is the dream of every Lebanese since independence to confront the Israeli threat, protect democracy, face terrorism and put an end to the proliferation of arms,” said the president. http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=62725