Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time to play: Spot the Reuters bias!

Reuters has what could have been a good article, by Mara Arwad, about Bedouin in the Sinai smuggling arms to Gaza, but it just cannot resist finding reason to blame Israel at every turn.

It starts off as an interesting story:
Sitting cross-legged in the desert darkness, a 44-year-old Bedouin tribesman was describing how he smuggles weapons across Egypt's Sinai desert to the Gaza Strip when a heavily laden four-wheel drive vehicle pulled up.
"The latest deal just arrived from Sudan, come and see," said 'Aref' the smuggler, rising to greet the driver, who shut off the headlights that had briefly pierced the moonless night.
"These are 80 Kalashnikovs," said Aref, flinging open the trunk to reveal the stacked assault rifles, gleaming dimly in the flashlight held by his Bedouin assistant. "We will bury this shipment in the desert until we find a buyer."
Arms smuggling by Bedouin tribal networks, mainly by land along Egypt's southern border with Sudan, across the Sinai peninsula and into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip is on the uptick, according to an Egyptian official, who asked not to be named.
Sudan denies that it allows any kind of weapons shipments across its territory to any destination.

But then it takes its usual anti-Israel course:
"Sinai suffers a security imbalance," military analyst Safwat Zayaat said. "Under-development is fuelling the arms trade fed by unstable neighboring areas in northeast Sudan."
He said there was a ready market for weapons smuggled via a network of border tunnels into the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas since 2007.
This is a concern for Israel, which has frequently complained about Egypt's failure to stop the arms transfers.
Yet the terms of Camp David accords signed by Egypt and Israel in 1978 help explain why it is so hard for the Egyptians to police their borders and maintain control in Sinai, where well-armed Bedouin occasionally clash with security forces.
The accords, signed by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, demilitarised central Sinai and allowed Egypt to deploy only a small number of lightly armed border guards there and on the 266-km (166-mile) frontier.
After Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, Egypt proposed raising the number to 3,500 to help it secure its border with the Gaza Strip. Israel refused, citing security concerns.
So the smuggling is happening and is not being stopped - because of Israel's insistence that Egypt remain weak in the Sinai. But wait:
Sinai's border with Israel is a main trafficking route for thousands of African migrants seeking asylum in Israel. Israel has criticized Egypt for not doing enough to stem the flow.
Under Israeli pressure to secure the frontier, Egyptian police have used tough tactics including shooting migrants on sight.
The same woefully weak Egyptian forces are using deadly force on migrants - because of Israel!

Egyptian forces are simultaneously too weak and too trigger-happy, and it is all because of Israel. 

In fact, the entire article's detour into the African migrants seems designed just to throw in a dig at Israel, because it does not seem relevant at all and then goes right back to the smuggling story.

But, hey,. that's Reuters for you!