Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From Ian:

Prosor: Israel Won't Stand By as Assad Fires Mortars
Prosor sent a letter of complaint to the Security Council after the latest incident on Saturday, when the Israeli army fired into Syria after shells from the neighboring country hit the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. The Israeli attack demolished a Syrian military position.
Israel, wrote Prosor in his letter, will not stand idly by while "Assad’s terrorist regime fires mortars at Israeli citizens."
Prosor stressed in the complaint the "blatant violation on Syria’s part of the disengagement agreement of 1974." He added, "Israel has sent repeated warnings and warned the Security Council that such provocations will not be accepted by Israel. It should not be expected Israel will stand by while the terrorist regime of Assad rains down mortar shells on Israeli citizens."
In reversal, Ban says Israel does not face bias at UN
On Friday, Ban told Israeli students in Jerusalem that Israel “has been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias — and sometimes even discrimination” at the UN.
But asked by a reporter at UN headquarters in New York on Monday if he believed “there was discrimination against Israel” and what he “intend[s] to do about it,” he said he did not believe there was discrimination, but also insisted Israel should not face bias at the organization.
“No, I don’t think there is discrimination against Israel at the United Nations,” Ban replied, according to an official UN transcript of the conversation.
Victory: Swiss parliament declares U.N. nomination of Jean Ziegler “inappropriate”
UN Watch applauded the Swiss parliament today for declaring the U.N. nomination of Jean Ziegler — co-founder, co-manager, and 2002 recipient of the Muammar Gaddafi Human Rights Prize — “inappropriate.”
The parliament called on Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter to cancel the nomination.
Samantha Power Blasts Re-election of Swiss Critic of Israel
Power took to Twitter to denounce Jean Ziegler, a former sociology professor and former Social Democrat member of the Swiss parliament, the report said.
“Indeed, Dr. Ziegler is unfit for continued service” at the UN Human Rights Council, Power wrote last week.
In her denunciation of Ziegler, she took on a 79-year-old fixture at the UN who has praised Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Cuba’s Fidel Castro, while accusing Israel of human rights abuses.
Isi Leibler: Obama appeasement will result in disaster
As anticipated, the Arab Spring has devolved into a bloody nightmare that has engulfed Egypt, leaving Israel surrounded by a sea of violence and barbarism with no prospect of stability on the horizon.
Yet while hundreds of people are being brutally killed daily, the international community remains obsessed with condemning Israel for allowing the construction of homes in the Jewish suburbs of east Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, the disproportionate levels of energy and passion invested by US Secretary of State John Kerry and other Western leaders in the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio can only be described as surrealistic.
‘Back Egypt or risk peace talks,’ says Israeli official to US
The unnamed Israeli source spoke to the newspaper’s Middle East correspondent Charles Levinson, telling him that Washington must back the Egyptian military or ”good luck with your peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians,” — a conversation the reporter recounted on Wall Street Journal Live.
“The Israeli position Saudi and Egypt have historically and still today played very crucial roles in supporting negotiations, in giving the Palestinians the support they need to stay in negotiations, to make concessions,” Levinson said of the conversation.
US reportedly secretly suspends aid to Egypt
Washington has refrained from calling the July 3 ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi a coup but has nevertheless secretly decided to temporarily halt aid, without publicly announcing it.
“The decision was we’re going to avoid saying it was a coup, but to stay on the safe side of the law, we are going to act as if the designation has been made for now,” the Daily Beast quoted one administration official as saying. “By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it.”
Portrait of a Cairo Liberal as a Military Backer
In Cairo Friday morning, before the midday call to prayer and an afternoon of protest marches that resolved in violence, chaos, and the overnight siege of a mosque, I jumped into a taxi and slipped across the Nile into the quiet, semi-suburban neighborhood of Dokki. I was there to meet with Mohammed Aboul-Ghar, a seventy-three-year-old academic and politician who has been a leading figure in Egypt’s liberal establishment, and now represents one of the most confounding elements of the country’s current crisis: the wholesale alignment of old-guard liberals with the military.
Qatar’s Risky Overreach in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Beyond
Morsi came to power in a democratic election, but misinterpreted the meaning of democracy. He and his Muslim Brotherhood backers – primarily Qatar – appeared to believe that having won the election, they could run the country according to their decree, not according to democratic principles as the majority had expected. A series of draconian laws, a spiralling economic crisis, and a feeling on the Egyptian street that the Muslim Brotherhood was paid handsomely by foreign forces, spurred street protests of historic proportions, prompting the military to intervene.
With Morsi gone, Qatar suddenly became “persona non grata” in Egypt.
Qatar sought to extend its influence and Muslim Brotherhood-inspired view of how countries like Egypt, Syria, Libya, and others should be. Qatar was also playing a power-game against Saudi Arabia, another hugely wealthy regional power whose vision of an even more strictly Islamist way of life for Muslims drove a wedge between the two parties.
Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader detained
The arrest of Mohammed Badie marks a serious setback for the heart of the Islamist movement, which had risen to power after the fall of president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, only to see its fortunes fall with the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi in early July.
Muslim Brotherhood memo blesses Egyptian church burnings
A memo posted on the Facebook page of a local office of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism shows a clear call to incitement against Egypt's Coptic Christian population, giving its blessing to the burning of churches.
Over 40 Coptic churches have been burned by Muslim Brotherhood supporters since the Egyptian police cleared demonstrators protesting the overthrow of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Tuesday. Brotherhood supporters also reportedly blocked the road between Cairo and Aswan in southern Egypt looking for Copts, taking seven Copts hostage Thursday. They were later released after a ransom of 150,000 Egyptian pounds, roughly $21,500, was paid.
Looters ransack Egyptian antiques museum and snatch priceless artefacts
According to a statement made by the Ministry of Antiquities, the museum, in the Upper Egyptian city of Minya, was allegedly broken into and some artifacts were damaged and stolen on Thursday evening.
The ministry’s official statement accused Muslim Brotherhood supporters of breaking into the museum.
It not yet clear what is missing - a list is being compiled to ensure the artefacts are not smuggled out the country.
MK Zoabi: Al-Sisi must be overthrown
Like rest of world, Arab Knesset members breathlessly follow events in Egypt, do not like what they see. ‘Muslim Brotherhood will not disappear," said MK Zahalka. ‘Blood on streets will be downfall of regime’
Photo of Friendly Embrace Between Senior Egyptian and Israeli Security Officials Sparks Online Furor
The photograph, first uploaded to Facebook on August 13, 2013, was taken from the cover of a United Nations Director General’s report from 2011. The Facebook page, titled “Brotherhood Intelligence Agency (ASA),” has a large following of 151,000 “likes” and, according to Israel’s Channel 2, was created by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The post condemned the “apparent coordination between the parties, Egypt and Israel,” which it said was “completely contrary to common logic and health.” It called for the purge of “traitors” from within the Egyptian Army and claimed that “we (the Muslim Brotherhood) are the only ones who can do it,” according to Channel 2′s translation.

Analyst: Mideast Gas a Chance for U.S. to Break with Turkey
The natural gas fields in the Mediterranean provide the United States with an opportunity to break with Turkey, according to Seth Cropsey, formerly the deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations.
“Politics and alliances in the eastern Mediterranean are shifting, and the region’s security framework is splintering,” Cropsey wrote Monday in PJ Media. “The region is now divided as much within the Muslim world as between it and the non-Muslim states.”


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