Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Links Part 1

From Ian:

Missing Peace: Haniyeh: Palestinian reconciliation dependent on non recognition of Israel
On Thursday Gaza’s Prime Minister Ishmael Haniyeh made clear that for Hamas Palestinian reconciliation is dependent on non recognition of Israel. Haniyeh said that Hamas wants reconciliation that ‘does not concede national constants and will not serve policies that have proven failed’. A clear reference to the Oslo peace accords.
Meanwhile Fatah Central Committee Azzam Al Ahmad called upon the international community to support the Palestinian reconciliation which he called a ‘stabilizing factor’.
It is hard to phantom how this reconciles with Haniyeh’s demand for non recognition of Israel.

Israel and Hamas said to hold indirect talks in Cairo
Senior Israeli officials negotiate easing of Gaza blockade with Islamist group’s officials, working through Egyptian intermediaries
Israel and Hamas have been engaged in indirect negotiations in Egypt, most recently on Thursday, to resolve the remaining details of the ceasefire agreement that ended November’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
Senior Israeli defense officials have met in Cairo over the past several weeks to negotiate, indirectly with Hamas, the reopening of the Rafah Border Crossing with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip to construction materials and basic commodities such as gasoline, Channel 10 reported Friday night. Egyptian defense officials have served as the intermediaries in the contacts.

Hamas Slams Bulgaria for Expelling its Delegation
"Zionist pressure" led to a Hamas delegation being expelled from Bulgaria, claims the terror group.
The Hamas government in Gaza on Friday condemned Bulgaria's expulsion of a delegation on its behalf that was visiting the country, the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported.
The terror group reportedly blamed Israeli pressure for Bulgaria’s move.
Bulgarian security forces on Friday raided the hotel rooms of a visiting Hamas delegation, ordering them to leave the country, a party statement quoted by Ma’an said.
"We condemn this act, which reflects the scale of compliance with Zionist pressures," Hamas spokesman Taher al-Nunu said, according to Ma’an.
Hamas leader and MP Yahya al-Abadseh said the Bulgarian government's actions were contrary to all diplomatic norms.

Hundreds protest joint Iran-Argentina bombing probe
Legislators in Buenos Aires scheduled to ratify establishment of ‘truth commission’ in late February
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Some 300 people attended a protest rally against Argentine-Iranian cooperation in investigating the deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.
Among the protestors on Feb. 14 in the Argentine capital were relatives of the survivors of the bombing of the AMIA center. Israeli and Argentinean justice authorities blame Iran for the attack.
“We ask Argentine society’s forgiveness for wasting a great privilege that democracy gave us,” Sergio Bergman, a lawmaker and Reform rabbi, said in a speech at the rally. “We had the first Jewish foreign minister and that is why we say sorry.”

Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Certain Hizbullah was Behind Attack
Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov: We know the real name of the Burgas terrorists.
Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov reiterated on Friday his belief that two of the attackers in the July 2012 bombing in Burgas are part of the Hizbullah terror group, the Sofia News Agency reports.
"The Burgas bombers were maintaining part of Hizbullah’s structures in Canada and Australia and had contacts with other representatives of this organization," Tsvetanov said in an interview with the local TV7 network.
The Bulgarian Interior Minister first announced he had "grounded reasons to believe" that "Hizbullah’s military wing" is involved in the Burgas bus bombing on February 5, stirring international controversy.

Not even the Nazis did what Assad’s doing, says ex-Syrian PM
Defected leader claims Iran is ‘actively running’ Syria days after reports surfaced that Islamic Republic, Hezbollah are building networks of militias there
The former prime minister of Syria delivered a harsh critique of the country’s president during an interview with al-Arabiya Friday, claiming that “not even the Nazis did what Bashar Assad’s doing in Syria.”
Riad Hijab, who defected from his post in Damascus six months ago, also told the Arabic-language news outlet that Iran is “actively running” Syria.
“Syria is occupied by the Iranian regime,” he said. “Who runs the country isn’t Bashar Assad but Kassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s al-Quds Brigades [within the Revolutionary Guards].”

Iran calls allegations it transferred weapons to Somali militants an 'absurd fabrication'
Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council obtained Thursday by The Associated Press that the allegations in a report by experts monitoring sanctions against Somalia and Eritrea were part of a "malicious campaign."
According to a U.N. diplomat, the report links Iran and Yemen to the supply of weapons to al-Shabab militants. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because the report has not been publicly released.

Iran temporarily bans exports of pistachios to control prices on home market
Iran has ordered a six-month ban on pistachio exports to try to control the price of the nut, which doubled in the past month.
Pistachios are among Iran's top non-oil exports and widely consumed at home, bringing in an average of $1.5 billion a year and providing work for hundreds of thousands of people. Iran was long the world's largest pistachio exporter, with over 200,000 tons a year, but was surpassed last year by the United States.

Egypt foils smuggling attempt of 2 tons of explosives, weapons
In separate incident, undercover Israeli border guards seize 250 kg of hashish heading from Sinai to Israel
Egyptian forces foiled a smuggling attempt that included two tons of explosives and weapons in the Sinai Peninsula Friday.
Police forces intercepted a truck that was carrying the objects, Ynet reported. An unnamed Egyptian senior security official told local media that the police were tipped off about the attempt and that the weapons were to be used by terror groups in Sinai or smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

Turkey arrests 8 ex-officers over ouster of Islamic government in 1990s; more questioned
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have arrested eight more retired officers over their alleged involvement in the ousting of an Islamic-led government in the late 1990s.
Anadolu Agency reports say the eight, including seven retired generals, were detained on Wednesday and late Thursday pending a trial over a military campaign that forced former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to resign. No trial date has been set.