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Friday, February 08, 2013

Friday links

From Ian:

Latma: Iranians in Space



Analysis: Arab daily praises Israel, gets bashed
Dr. Amal al-Hazzani receives flood of hate mail for his article published in 'Asharq al-Awsat'
“The popular Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat published two articles recently that presented a relatively positive view of Israel compared to the usual strongly negative image of the country in the Arab media.
Dr. Amal al-Hazzani, an assistant professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, wrote an article about a week ago titled “The Israel we do not know ” – and received a flood of hate mail. He went on to write another article, published Thursday, responding to the harsh reaction.
A look at the two articles, as well as the public response, is telling of where the acceptable boundaries in Arab culture lie when it comes to discussion of Israel."

The Hamas-Egyptian Alliance by Khaled Abu Toameh
"During last week's street clashes in Cairo, anti-Morsi demonstrators torched Hamas and Qatari flags. They also chanted slogans condemning Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization for bringing Hamas militiamen to suppress Egyptian protesters.There is no doubt that Hamas is prepared to do its utmost to help Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood organization stay in power, even at the cost of killing and torturing Egyptian civilians. The downfall of the Mubarak regime has been a great blessing for Hamas, which has since emerged as a major player in the Palestinian and regional arena.
Thanks to Morsi, an Egyptian prime minister visited the Gaza Strip for the first time ever last November to express solidarity with Hamas during Israel's "Pillar of Defense" military operation. Such a visit would have been unthinkable under Mubarak, who did everything he could to weaken Hamas and stop it from meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt."

CIF Watch: The Guardian takes note of a Middle Eastern country not involved in “rendition”
"On the other hand, it does not take much effort to see other countries, frequent critics of Israel, with well-organized, well-funded groups constantly threatening it with boycotts, decrying its policies and so forth, and even supporting its enemies with weapons and money.
There was a February 5th, 2013 column in the Guardian about this, too: CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries ‘offered covert support’ . To my surprise, the Guardian managed to take note of Israel’s absence from the list of 54 countries:
"Other countries are conspicuous by their absence from the rendition list: Sweden and Finland are present, but there is no evidence of Norwegian involvement. Similarly, while many Middle Eastern countries did become involved in the rendition programme, Israel did not, according to the OSJI research."

Jordan: Cartoonist rejects award over ‘Zionist links’
“The cheque I received was signed by Lurie himself. Then I did some research about him and asked colleagues in the profession about him and discovered that he has connections with the Zionist entity [Israel],” Jafari told The Jordan Times.
“I refused to accept the award because it is funded by Lurie who is known for supporting the Zionist entity and has a history of dealing with the Zionist movement. I cannot accept an award from such a person,” the cartoonist said, adding that “Lurie has never condemned any of Israel’s practices against the Palestinians”.
“Although this is a UN award that is judged by international experts, when I realised it is funded by someone who is pro-Israel, I decided to refuse it,” Jafari added."

Syria denies Israel hit arms convoy
Assad’s UN ambassador reiterates claim that the IAF struck a research facility, killing civilians

Daniel Pipes Is Turkey Leaving the West?
"Turkish steps toward joining the Shanghai group highlights Ankara’s now-ambivalent membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, starkly symbolized by the unprecedented joint Turkish-Chinese air exercise of 2010. Given this reality, Erdoğan’s Turkey is no longer a trustworthy partner for the West but more like a mole in its inner sanctum. If not expelled, it should at least be suspended from NATO."

Will we listen to the new Coptic Pope?
Pope Tawadros, and the flock he leads, need the support of his co-religionists and human rights activists in the West. Will he get it?
"In a widely broadcast interview with journalists from the Associated Press, Tawadros condemned Egypt’s recently approved constitution which many believe will be used as a tool to justify the oppression of Coptic Christians and women in the Arab world’s most populous country. He also criticized Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi for failing to protect the rights of Coptic Christians."

Egypt opposition heads get more security post-fatwas
Ultraconservative cleric goes on TV to justify sexual assaults on female protesters
"One hardline Muslim cleric on an Egyptian TV station justified sexual assaults on women protesters. Others issued religious edicts saying opposition leaders must be killed. Television screeds by ultraconservative sheiks are raising fears of assassinations here a day after a top anti-Islamist politician was gunned down in Tunisia.
Egyptian security officials on Thursday beefed up security around the homes of Egypt’s main opposition politicians, citing the possibility of a Tunisia-type killing after the edicts, or fatwas. The office of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his prime minister denounced the edicts and the top prosecutor began an investigation into one of the clerics.
Two well-known ultraconservative clerics sparked an uproar with their edicts several days ago saying Sharia, or Islamic law, required the killing of opposition figures. A third fanned the flames by justifying a string of mob sexual assaults on women protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square."
MEMRI: Egyptian Salafi Cleric Mahmoud Shaaban Calls to Kill National Salvation Front Leaders VIDEO

Iran’s supreme leader rejects direct talks with US
‘We will not be frightened by the threats,’ says Khamenei, calling sanctions a gun held to his country’s head

Iranians support nuclear program despite sanctions
Gallup survey calls into question effectiveness of sanctions regime as US urges renewed talks with Iran over its nuclear program.
"Asked whether or not Iran should continue to develop its nuclear power capabilities, 63 percent of Iranian adults responded in the affirmative, while only 17% said the country should stop. 19% either refused to answer or responded that they did not know.
The data is particularly striking considering that most Iranians believe that sanctions are indeed greatly affecting the livelihoods of ordinary citizens.

Japan inaugurates statue honoring Israeli tsunami aid
"Two years after a massive tsunami ravaged the eastern seaboard of Japan, the people of one of the hardest hit towns, Yanmei-Sanriku, have inaugurated a statue honoring the assistance that Israel provided in their darkest hour.Titled "Rebirth and Resurrection", the statue was produced by Israeli artist David Susanna, and was installed in front of the municipal offices and temporary Israeli hospitals established in Yanmei-Sanriku."

Segway’s out; Israel’s Muve a new way to move around
Car designer-inventor meets 3D software company to produce a cleantech ‘backpack on wheels’ that eases congestion
"Where the Segway failed, the Muve will succeed. Thus predicts Amir Zaid, inventor, with the help of design software company Autodesk, of what he hopes will be the next big thing in urban transportation."

Barry Rubin: Important Announcement: 13 Books full Text Free on our Site
"Today, we are launching a new and innovative project, which you might find of interest. The GLORIA Center is putting 13 of my published books on our site, free and full-text to be read online or easily downloaded. The books are available in HTML and PDF and will soon be available for download in all other formats."