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Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Links Part 1

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: Who Are These Moralists?
With Israel, every death is investigated, every movement protested against. Yet when it comes to the wholesale slaughter in Syria, there is just a single global shrug. People cannot be wholly surprised if some of us choose to observe that many of those who comment with fury about Israel have revealed themselves to be neither humanitarians nor journalists but pure and simple anti-Israel political activists.

Hamas on the defensive
In desperation, some Hamas men are looking to Israel to let Gaza freely export its produce, reopen its port, and allow its businessmen and labourers to cross the buffer zone, as they did before Hamas took over in 2007. The longer the ceasefire, the more Israel has eased the flow of trade. But for Hamas this is a mixed blessing. Overland traffic only partially compensates for the shortfall through the tunnels. It also makes Hamas more dependent on—and subservient to—Israel, to ensure vital supplies continue. Hamas’s security forces have begun acting on Israeli intelligence passed via Egypt about wayward militants planning attacks, say Western officials.

Love letter to Hamas - Paul McGeough's front-page profiles of Khaled Meshal
This looks far more like advocacy than journalism. In exchange for access, Mr. McGeough appears to be willing to act basically as Hamas' advocate and lobbyist in Australia. The obvious question is why his employers at Fairfax are so ready to help him do so.

Americans said to be training Syrian rebels in Jordan
Der Spiegel says 200 opposition fighters have been trained by uniformed US personnel; Washington declines to comment on report

What’s Wrong with the US Embassy in Egypt?
Here’s the kicker: Guess who seems to be a finalist under Secretary of State John Kerry for a promotion to become assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern affairs? That’s right, Anne Patterson. If Samiragate was truly the result of incompetence, then Patterson could use her new position to bring that quality to the broader Middle East. Conversely, if it really was illustrative of the cultural and political bubble that Patterson imbued or let develop in her
staff, then get ready for several more years of self-inflicted wounds.

Afghan leader alleges US, Taliban are colluding
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday accused the Taliban and the U.S. of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if most foreign troops leave - an allegation the top American commander in Afghanistan rejected as "categorically false."

Christian protesters decry Muslim mob's arson spree following blasphemy charge
Demonstrators denounced the burning of more than 100 homes of Christians on Saturday -- a spree spurred by allegations that a Christian man made remarks against the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

Danes use game as Syria fill-in
Head of division admits employee mistakenly thought image from Assassin’s Creed was the Damascus skyline, and used it for a backdrop
TV2 Head of News Jacob Nybroe said Sunday the picture that was used as a backdrop behind news anchor Cecilie Beck on Feb. 26 came from adventure game Assassin’s Creed.

Putin’s patriotic Israeli army rip-off
Local blogger identifies image on patriotic billboard for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party as picture of Israeli tank from IDF’s official Flickr account
Russia’s ruling party put up patriotic billboards around the city of Orel last month showing an image of a soldier in a tank and wishing residents a Happy Defender of Fatherland Day. Rather than showing a Russian soldier and tank, however, the photo actually featured an Israeli soldier in an Israeli-made Merkava III tank.