Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Arabs Loathe Hezbollah
Tariq al-Hamid, a prominent Saudi editor and political analyst, said that both Iran and Hezbollah have "gone haywire" as a result of the Saudi-led coalition's air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.
Al-Hamid pointed out that Iran and Hezbollah were now frustrated because of the severe blows that their allies have been dealt in Yemen. "They were hoping that the Houthi control over Yemen would boost the morale of their followers, who are already frustrated because of what is happening to them in Syria," he said. "All the crazy folks in the region are now targeting Saudi Arabia. What is the difference between Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda? And what is the difference between Iran and the Islamic State? The answer is simple; they are all trying to establish a foothold on the border with Saudi Arabia."
Addressing the Hezbollah leader, a Saudi blogger wrote: "You must pay the price for the crime you committed against Lebanon in 2006, when you destroyed Lebanon through your light-heated actions. All what you were seeking back then was to rally as many Arabs and Muslims behind you through your dirty trick." Another blogger wrote: "It is time for the Arab countries to arrest the terrorist Nasrallah and bring him to trial for his interference in Yemen's affairs and crimes against Syria, as well as his betrayal of his country, Lebanon."
Nasrallah and his Hezbollah terrorist group are now more isolated than ever in the Arab world. Until a few years ago, Nasrallah was seen as a "hero" of the Arab world because of his fight against Israel.
Now, however, many Arabs seem to have woken up to the reality that Nasrallah is nothing but an Iranian puppet whose sole goal is to serve his masters in Tehran. This, of course, is good news for moderate Arabs and Muslims in the region. But it remains to be seen whether the U.S. Administration and other Western powers will also wake up and realize that Iran and its proxies pose a real threat not only to Israel, but also to many Arabs and Muslims.
The Emergency
Let us be clear about what the White House is considering. It is threatening to cease protecting Israel from the jackals at the United Nations and other international organizations. These words from the Obama administration came the same week that the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women singled out Israel—alone among the UN’s 193 member nations—as the worst abuser of women’s rights in the world. In brief, Obama is signaling his desire to Europeanize American policy toward Israel.
Two weeks later, Obama told Friedman: “It has been personally difficult for me to hear…expressions that somehow…this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel’s interest.” Why? “Because of the deep affinities that I feel for the Israeli people and for the Jewish people.”
Translation: Some of my best friends are Jewish.
Many liberal American Jews think of Obama as their friend. He is not—not the friend of any Jew who understands his people are under unique and unprecedented threat. Obama is working to strengthen not only Iran’s hand but also the hand of those in the United States who believe the relationship between the U.S. and the Jewish state should be cleaved.
Nor is Obama a friend of Israel, for his policies are now aiding and abetting the nation that poses a literally apocalyptic danger to the Jewish people. If this deal is signed on June 30, Barack Obama will have made the world a far less safe and far more dangerous place—and by signing it, he will have signaled his willingness to see the Jewish future sacrificed on the altar of his own ambitions.
The threat is not immediate. The emergency is.
Why I began labeling Guardian Readers and their ilk “The Fascist Left”
Madeleine Albright was the first woman to become the United States Secretary of State when she was sworn in on January 23, 1997.
According to Wikipedia “Albright was raised Catholic, but converted to Episcopalianism at the time of her marriage in 1959. She did not learn until adulthood that her parents were originally Jewish and that many of her Jewish relatives in Czechoslovakia had perished in the Holocaust, including three of her grandparents.” It was during her tenure as Secretary of State that she learned of her Jewish religious background (or so she claimed at the time).
It was when her family history was mischievously ‘revealed’ by Britain’s Guardian Newspaper that I became forever alienated from that racist publication. They editorialized that the knowledge of her antecedents made for an unbridgeable conflict of interest between her Jewish ‘past’ and her senior American administration position as Secretary of State and therefore she had no choice but to resign from that position. It was a moment of shocking clarity for me, my Damascene conversion.
We do not ever repudiate a persons’ right to express themselves because of their race, their religion, their color, their ethnicity, their sex or their sexuality. That is one of the fundamental rights that inhere in a democratic system. To state that a politician should not have an opinion is absurdly illogical. In fact, I cannot stress enough how infantile the Guardian editorial was. If we assume the sanity of the Guardian Newspapers’ editorial staff then the only possible explanations for making such a statement was either temporary insanity or a concealed agenda.

Russia Wants to 'Redesign' the Middle East
Russia’s goals in the region have been opaque for analysts, even more so for people unfamiliar with Russian politics. Spokesman for the White House Josh Earnest belittled the Russians by suggesting the missile sale was all about badly needed currency.
But Fainberg says that that is hardly the entire picture. The money Russia would make from the deal is extremely limited and cannot hope to make a massive impact on a Russian economy in its sixth year of recession.
“Basically we often quote economic reasons and these are valid, real reasons. But the ultimate and decisive reason is of a geopolitical nature meaning Russia wants to ultimately redesign the Middle East to its best interests and this explains the intensification of its activities in the past weeks whether in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen or Iran. For Russia it is also about containing the spread of Sunni fundamentalism through its Southern borders. The number of Chechen fighters in Iraq and Syria has been on the rise.”
Abbas is an interesting point in the Russian approach to the region. While Russia is clearly closer to Iran and Syria than the Turks or Saudis, they are doing more outreach to the Palestinian Authority than Hamas, the latter being more closely aligned to Iran. That is indicative of a Russian effort to have influence in every place that it can, even to the point where it sometimes has to make choices that will inversely upset one country while benefiting another.
How would Putin “redesign” the strategic layout of the region? By running Russian interests through what it perceives as the potentially most powerful country in the Middle East: Iran.
Should Israel Abandon Neutrality on Ukraine?
Russia has worked hard to improve its relationship with Israel since the end of the Cold War, so while Russia would not be affected dramatically by an Israeli shift into Ukraine’s corner – a scenario Fainberg does not advocate nor consider realistic – it would still be an affront to the Kremlin.
“It would create a crisis in ties, but would not affect Putin’s image within Russia and wouldn’t affect Russia any more than the [European] sanctions affect Russia already.”
Some have suggested Israel and Russia have had a mutual understanding about the balance of power in the region, which by the looks of thing has eroded with the S-300 announcement. Yet, there is no clear indication as of now that Russia is looking to sell even more armaments to Israel’s rivals. That could change if Israel plays too assertive a hand in responding to the sale, suggests Fainberg.
“A crisis with Israel would not harm selling of arms to Israel’s enemies. On the contrary, there are plenty of potential buyers.Yet Russia does consider Israel as a military superpower and a key actor to deal with in the region.”
More PA Lobbying from the State Dept Briefing Room
Can you imagine if some Jewish reporter for, say, JewishPress.com, repeatedly prodded the State Department spokesperson to provide additional funding to Israel during the daily State Department Press Briefings?
How long do you think something like that would go on before someone, whether from the State Department, one of the other media outlets, or one of the reporter’s employers told the Jewish reporter to stop being so unprofessional or they would be removed from the State Department press briefings?
So what is the deal with Said Arikat?
Why does no one raise an eyebrow when when, month after month, Arikat acts as a lobbyist for the Palestinian Authority instead of a professional journalist? Why is Arikat permitted to whine over the reduction in funding to the PA, and to beg the State Department to intervene?
Jennifer Rubin: Obama is prepared to give Iran anything and everything for a deal
If Israelis are expressing “shock and amazement Friday night at US President Barack Obama’s stated openness to Iran’s demand for the immediate lifting of all economic sanctions, and his defense of Russia’s agreement to supply a sophisticated air defense system to Iran,” they should not be. The president will give the Iranians anything and everything to get his deal. “It’s deeply troubling that President Obama declined to publicly reject Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s demand that all economic sanctions against Iran be lifted upon concluding a final nuclear agreement,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told Right Turn. “The president is clearly leaving open the door for significant sanctions relief to Iran up front to secure a controversial deal that will neither significantly nor permanently dismantle Iran’s vast capabilities to make nuclear weapons.” Remaining sanctions would be rendered a mere nuisance after that.
This massive concession is bound to run into widespread opposition in Congress and from our Gulf allies who already fear Obama is ceding domination of the Middle East to Iran. Such a deal would also test how far Hillary Clinton is willing to appease the left in the Democratic Party. Will she embrace the sort of deal that gives Iran cash up front for terrorist activities, leaves it with a nuclear infrastructure, does not allow go anywhere/anytime inspections and does not force Iran to reveal possible military dimensions of its nuclear program? If so she is destroying her image as a tougher-than-Obama foreign policy thinker and ceding the biggest foreign policy issue of our time to the Republicans.
The president who once declared the framework a “historic” deal has been forced to concede there is no deal. Now he’s signaling the final deal will be much worse than he or his defenders ever suggested was possible. He promised to dismantle Iran’s nuclear weapons program; now he is locking it in. He once insisted on robust inspections and gradual lifting of sanctions. Those will go by the wayside too. Ultimately, Congress, the 2016 presidential candidates, our allies and the American people will need to explain that total appeasement — which is where this is heading — will not be acceptable. They will then have to devise the means for stopping Obama or immediately reversing his “diplomacy” (which is more like promising to make a ransom payment). Unfortunately for the Saudis, that likely means beginning an arms race as they seek a bomb of their own. It’ll be quite a legacy if Obama gets his way.
Obama Kept Iran's Short Breakout Time a Secret
The Barack Obama administration has estimated for years that Iran was at most three months away from enriching enough nuclear fuel for an atomic bomb. But the administration only declassified this estimate at the beginning of the month, just in time for the White House to make the case for its Iran deal to Congress and the public.
Speaking to reporters and editors at our Washington bureau on Monday, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged that the U.S. has assessed for several years that Iran has been two to three months away from producing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. When asked how long the administration has held this assessment, Moniz said: "Oh quite some time." He added: "They are now, they are right now spinning, I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000. Plus all the . . . . R&D work. If you put that together it's very, very little time to go forward. That's the 2-3 months."
Brian Hale, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed to me Monday that the two-to-three-month estimate for fissile material was declassified on April 1.
France’s Position on the Emerging Nuclear Agreement with Iran
In sum, France favors taking a tough stance toward the Iranians. The stick of sanctions must be waved during the negotiations, while acting from a position of strength and demanding additional concessions on Tehran’s part. At the same time, France understands that President Obama has made a strategic decision and is very determined to sign an agreement. Although France is neither interested in confronting the United States nor able to, it will maintain its firm policy while realizing that, in international relations, compromise is necessary. France will wait for a final decision by the U.S. Congress and try to gauge the mood in Tehran, being well aware of Iran’s domestic struggles and of the illness of Supreme Leader Khamenei. (According to French intelligence he has terminal prostate cancer and, according to medical assessments, no more than two years to live.) In light of all these considerations, France will toe the line with the United States and sign the agreement along with it, whether at the end of June or later depending on these various factors.
This posture also affords France a certain advantage, especially with regard to the Arab states. If and when new problems should arise in the future over implementing the agreement, France will put the full onus on President Obama. Indeed, regarding the conflict in Syria, France has accused the United States of irresolution, and the relations between Hollande and Obama have been tense ever since.
Even though France’s position is closer to Israel’s, France does not explicitly demand that all Israeli concerns be reflected in the agreement – whether recognition of Israel’s right to exist, the ballistic-missiles issue, or Iran’s terror activity. France, like the United States, has been focusing on Iran’s nuclear program, not on its overall strategy and hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.
State Department won’t rule out $50B ‘signing bonus’ for Iran
The State Department on Monday would not rule out giving Iran up to $50 billion as a so-called "signing bonus" for agreeing to a nuclear deal later this year, according to comments made to journalists following reports that the Obama administration had formulated a plan to release tens of billions of frozen Iranian funds.
Experts have said this multi-billion dollar "signing bonus" option, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, could be the largest cash infusion to a terror-backing regime in recent memory.
A cash release of $30 to $50 billion upon reaching a final nuclear agreement would come in addition to the more than $11 billion in unfrozen assets that Iran will already have received under an interim nuclear accord reached in 2013.
When asked to address these reports on Monday, State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf attempted to dodge the issue and then accused reporters of getting "spun up" on the issue.
Asked whether Iran could receive $50 billion "on day one after signing" or verbally agreeing to a nuclear deal, Harf told reporters that she would "look into it."
Watchdog Group: White House Gaslighting Journalists Over Iran
The group cited President Obama’s move on Friday to placate Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s latest demand for immediate sanctions relief upon signing a deal. While the Obama administration insisted it had not shown flexibility and offered no new concessions, it was simultaneously preparing to phase out sanctions in such a way that would offer the Iranians immediate and significant economic relief, the Israel Project said.
“They’re trying to borderline-gaslight journalists by insisting that there was no new concession, that the President didn’t signal any new flexibility, and that sanctions relief will still be phased out. That line is falling a bit flat – Obama said what he said – but now the question is how they intend to square the circle,” the group asked in an email sent to reporters. “How do they make sanctions relief phased in principle, so they can keep saying they didn’t cave, but instantaneous in practice, so that the Iranians will take the concession?”
An infusion of $50 billion dollars would increase Iran’s GDP by more than 10 percent and “signal the end of meaningful financial pressure,” the group wrote. It would allow Iran to “march across the Middle East, which would panic our Arab allies.”
Former White House Official: “Coercive Component” Needed in Deal to Prevent Iranian Nuke
When Fisher pressed about how enforcement could work if Iran was found to be cheating over the course of the deal, Doran termed this question “the crucial one.”
The way the president has set this up, he has incentivized Iran to pocket huge benefits up front. This has put them in a position to be able to go for a bomb when they want in a position of much greater economic strength and diplomatic strength. Because the very process of the negotiation is destroying the sanctions regime we established, which is the greatest nonmilitary instrument we have for coercing them. This is the fundamental flaw at the heart of the coercion strategy.
He’s going to use his waiver authority to free up all this money that is in escrow accounts across the globe that is going to pour into Iranian coffers nearly immediately. At the same time, the United Nations Security Council is going to bless the agreement, which is then going to free up the Europeans and others, including the Russians and the Chinese, to engage in commercial activity with the Iranians. And so we will have effectively gutted the sanctions regime.
Iran’s status in the international community is going to be greatly improved, and then there’s going to be an international commercial lobby and a diplomatic-military lobby, which includes the Chinese and the Russians, in favor of the new order in which Iran is a citizen in good standing in the international community that they can do business with.
Iran refuses IAEA inspectors second entry to Parchin base
Iran will not grant the International Atomic Energy Agency a second entry to the Parchin military base, the spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said on Monday.
"Parchin is a military base," Behrouz Kamalvandi said at a news conference in Tehran. "They [the IAEA] have been raising the issue for years. It is important for their propaganda. They know we will not allow them to visit the Parchin base again, but they think raising the issue benefits the propaganda."
Kamalvandi said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while serving as Iran's chief negotiator years ago, had allowed the IAEA to enter the Parchin military facilities for inspection.
"In a meeting between President Rouhani and [IAEA chief] Yukiya Amano, President Rouhani reminded him that 'when you requested to visit the facilities in Parchin for the first time, I said yes, you can go to Parchin and everywhere else, and you can collect samples. But it can be allowed just for once as it is a military base. A second visit will not happen.'"
Americans Eager to Sell Iran the Rope to Hang Them
Back in the 1970s, columnist George Will memorably characterized the eagerness of American businesses to do business in the Soviet Union as proof that they loved commerce more than they loathed Communism. Propping up a tottering evil empire that threatened Western freedom was nothing compared to the chance to make a buck. A generation later, we’re seeing the same phenomenon on display as other groups flock to Iran now that President Obama has made it possible, if not likely that it will be legal for Americans to do business in the Islamic Republic. As the New York Times reports today, though they were chaperoned by minders who kept them out of the presence of dissidents or other victims of the regime, one such group still found it impossible to escape being confronted with evidence of the theocracy’s hate-filled ideology. But, as with other hopeful, profit-minded pilgrims to other totalitarian regimes, participants preferred to see the country as one big market rather than one big prison whose rulers are intent to do harm to the West.
Like the Times’s own disgraceful journalistic tourists to Iran, such as Roger Cohen and Nicholas Kristof, the group featured in today’s article gushed over the welcome they received and the wonders of Iran’s ancient culture, friendly people, and market potential. The delegation of venture capitalists and business executives organized by a group called the Young President’s Organization got a red carpet tour as well as constant assurances that they and their money will be safe in Iran. When they had the temerity to ask about billboards across the country that proclaimed the regime’s trademark “Death to America” slogan, they were told that this was the product of a bygone era and that a “new Iran” was emerging. That seemed to comfort them, as did the likely inference that the presence of American cash would speed along the transformation of Iran.
But it’s likely that along with tourist sites and meetings with Iranians that said the right thing about wanting to re-engage with the West, these young entrepreneurs and executives didn’t find out much about the way the theocracy oppresses dissidents and religious minorities. Nor is likely that they learned much about the way the regime and its various military arms operate businesses that finance international terrorism as well as an arms buildup that threatens the region. It’s likely they also heard the same tripe about Iran’s right to civilian nuclear energy (in a nation overflowing with massive oil reserves).
WaPo Reporter To Be Charged with Espionage in Iran
Jason Rezaian, 39, a reporter for the Washington Post, will be charged by the Iranian government with espionage, “conducting propaganda against the establishment,” “collaborating with hostile governments” and “collecting information about internal and foreign policy and providing them to individuals with malicious intent,” according to his attorney, Leila Ahsan, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Ahsan said that her client, who has been jailed for nine months, was in good health but his isolation from the world has sapped his well-being. Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said Ahsan and Rezaian met for 90 minutes on Monday and that Rezaian could receive a 20-year sentence.
Last July 22, Rezaian, his Iranian wife Yeganeh Salehi, who writes for the National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, and two other anonymous journalists were arrested; his wife and the two journalists were later released. Rezaian had previously written for The San Francisco Chronicle.
PreOccupied Territory: Obama Vows ‘Ironclad’ Support Of Israel If Israel Destroyed By Iran (satire)
President Barack Obama sought to reassure Israel and its allies in the US that an impending deal with Iran over the latter’s nuclear ambitions would not compromise his commitment to backing the Jewish State if it is completely obliterated by Iran’s atomic weapons.
The president met with Jewish leaders at the White House today, and told them his administration does not intend to withdraw even an ounce of support for Israel in the event of a ballistic missile attack that wipes the country off the map, a goal Iran’s leadership has publicly declared. Jews and israelis need not worry, said Obama, for if Iran follows through on its goal of destroying Israel, the US would maintain its commitment to vetoing UN Security Council resolutions that single out the Jewish State for condemnation. He also promised that existing trade agreements would be honored, and that offers for help would remain open.
Jewish leaders welcomed the president’s declaration, but admitted they had hoped for more concrete demonstrations of Obama’s commitment to Israel. “I must confess I was looking for a statement that the US might be willing, for example, to extend loans or some other form of aid to Israel after Iranian nukes remove her from the face of the Earth,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, a former Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations. “Alternatively, he could affirm his resolve to pay lip service to the notion of a Jewish national home. But what the president did say is certainly a step in the right direction.”
Arabs Attack Jerusalem Councilman's Home - For the 49th Time
In a shocking collapse of security and law enforcement, the home of Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ma'ale Hazeitim on the Mount of Olives was attacked last week - this makes the 49th time that King's house has been struck by Arab terrorists.
King announced on his Facebook page that the firebomb attack, in which two masked Arab terrorists hurled four Molotov cocktails at his home in an attack captured on security cameras, marks 49 times he has been targeted since August 2013. The attack caused damage to his possessions, and police were unable to locate the assailants.
"I told police officers that (next time - ed.) will be the 50th attack, I will not be able to stop my special team (my 4 boys) to take (sic) the law in their own hands,"
'I sought to kill Jews,' said terrorist who rammed car into Israelis at Jerusalem bus stop
The east Jerusalem Palestinian who rammed his car into Israelis waiting at a bus stop in the French Hill section of the capital last week told police that he was intent on “seeking out Jews to murder,” authorities permitted the press to report on Tuesday.
Khaled Koutineh, 37, from Anata, was arrested for running over and killing Shalom Yohai Cherki, 25, and seriously injuring a young woman.
In the initial days after the incident, police said they had not yet determined whether Koutineh hit the bus stop by accident or if it was a racially-motivated attack, saying the incident required further investigation.
“It is possible and there is a very strong basis to now say that this was a terror attack,” Danino said on Saturday, calling it one of several “devastating” terrorist attacks to strike the capital over the past few months.
Iranian spy sentenced to seven years after being found guilty of espionage.
An Iranian-born Belgian national was sentenced to seven years at Central District Court in Lod on Tuesday after being convicted of charges that he spied for Iran.
In September of 2013, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) apprehended Ali Mansouri at Ben-Gurion International Airport carrying photographs of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv and other sites.
The Shin Bet alleged that Mansouri was apart of a special operations unit within Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard, sent to Israel to locate potential terror targets for the Islamic Republic.
According to the Shin Bet, Mansouri was promised $1 million to use his position as a businessman to establish companies for Iranian intelligence services in Israel in order to "harm Israeli and Western interests."
Mansouri's defense attorney Avigdor Feldman said that no appeal was expected from his client.
Replacing carpet at Jerusalem shrine reveals religious rift
It began as a routine remodeling project: Muslim authorities replacing an old carpet worn thin by masses of worshippers at the Dome of the Rock, the iconic, gold-topped shrine that overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem.
But there is no such thing as routine remodeling when it comes to the most contested piece of real estate in Jerusalem, where the presence of a mere screwdriver can threaten to ignite religious tensions.
The carpet has sparked a verbal holy war over the hilltop compound, which is revered by Jews and Muslims whose competing claims often spill over into violence.
Israeli archaeological authorities say the repairs were carried out behind their backs, and an Israeli government minister urged an immediate halt to the work, claiming it might cause irreparable damage. Frustrated Israeli researchers say previously undocumented ancient floor designs were discovered when the old carpets were peeled off, but they didn't get a chance to document the designs before workmen covered them up with the new carpet.
And some researchers claim the Bible's deepest secrets may lie beneath some of the newly exposed floor designs.
"Something is there. I don't know what. But something is hidden there," said Israeli archaeologist Zachi Dvira, who studies the site.
Khaled Abu Toameh: PA ministers leave Gaza after Hamas placed them on house arrest
PA ministers who arrived in the Gaza Strip earlier this week returned to the West Bank after Hamas imposed severe restrictions on their movements and contacts.
Palestinian sources said Hamas had placed the ministers under house arrest in their hotel, preventing them from receiving or talking to anyone.
The 10 ministers were dispatched to the Gaza Strip as part of the Palestinian Authority government’s effort to solve the problem of thousands of public employees who have not received their salaries for several months. The ministers were accompanied by 30 senior government officials.
“Hamas has banned the ministers from leaving their hotel,” the sources said.
“They are also prohibited from meeting with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. They are literally under house arrest.”
New Hamas import tax leaves Gaza merchants fuming
A new import tax imposed by Hamas on commodities entering the Gaza Strip has left local merchants fuming, with some threatening to stop importing food products into the Hamas-controlled Strip altogether.
On Saturday, members of Hamas’s parliamentary bloc Change and Reform approved the National Solidarity Tax law, imposing a new levy on “non-basic” commodities such as meat, fruits and vegetables, clothing, and electronics. Flour and medicine will be exempt from the new tax, Hamas parliament member Ahmad Abu Halbiya told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.
“The purpose of the law is to ease the suffering of the poor in the Gaza Strip,” Abu Halbiya said, explaining that the percentage of the tax will be raised gradually, eventually reaching 10% in some cases. “Residents will not feel it,” he asserted.
Ex-President Morsi beats death penalty, sentenced by Egypt court to 20 years in prison
An Egyptian court sentenced ousted President Mohamed Morsi to 20 years in prison without parole on Tuesday for the killing of protesters in December 2012, in a decision broadcast on state television.
It was the first ruling against Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi since the army toppled him in 2013 after mass protests against his rule. The decision can be appealed.
The fall of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 paved the way for what was unthinkable for decades - the Brotherhood ruling the most populous Arab country.
However, in a twist of fate, Morsi's handpicked army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, toppled him in 2013, bringing Egypt's secular-nationalist state security apparatus and intelligence service back to power after mass protests against the Islamist president's rule turned bloody.
A tough crackdown was then launched against the Brotherhood in which thousands were detained and hundreds were put on trial.
Egyptian Given Life Sentence for 'Spying' for Israel
An Egyptian court on Sunday sentenced to jail a man convicted of “spying for Israel” in the Sinai Peninsula, judicial officials said, according to AFP.
Two Israeli accomplices of the jailed Egyptian were tried in absentia and also given life terms, the officials added.
In a verdict delivered by a court in North Sinai, the three were also slapped with fines of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (about $1,130) each. In Egypt, a life sentence amounts to 25 years.
Prosecutors said the convict, Salamah Mohamed Suleiman, received money and was also given a house in Israel in return for providing his Israeli handlers with information about Egyptian security forces and jihadists in North Sinai.
Suleiman also illegally travelled to Israel five times -- the first visit being in 2011 -- to work out the details of his mission that intended to "harm Egypt's national interests", the prosecution said, according to AFP.
Sunday’s verdict comes several weeks after an Egyptian man was sentenced to life in jail and a woman to 15 years for spying for Israel.
Egypt sentences 22 members of Muslim Brotherhood to death
An Egyptian court sentenced 22 members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on Monday over an attack on a police station in a district outside Cairo in 2013, judicial sources said.
The assault was part of a wave of violence that rocked the country after the army removed elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi from power following mass protests against his rule in June 2013.
One other defendant, who is a juvenile, was given a 10-year sentence, the sources said. A lawyer for the convicted men said they would appeal.
The defendants were convicted of murder, attempted murder and the destruction of public facilities, among other charges during an attack on the police station in Kerdasa district, in which one policeman was killed.
Belly dancer is sentenced to six months in prison for 'insulting Egypt' by wearing a costume resembling their national flag during a performance
An Egyptian court has sentenced a popular Armenian belly dancer to six months in prison for 'insulting the Egyptian flag' after she wore a tight dress in its red, white and black color scheme.
The court in Agouza, west of Cairo, said Sofinar Gourian, popularly known as 'Safinaz', was fined £15,000 after being found guilty in a case raised by a private complainant.
She is expected to avoid jail time, however, after paying £10,000 bail and launching an appeal against the six month prison sentence.
Insulting the flag was made illegal by decree under Egyptian President Adly Mansour who ruled for a year after the army overthrew an elected but divisive Islamist president in 2013.
The change in law made it a crime to raise, display or sell an Egyptian flag if it is damaged in any way, or even if the colour has faded.
'ISIS leader al-Baghdadi hurt, no longer in control of daily operations'
Reclusive Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been recuperating for weeks from serious injuries sustained as a result of a March air strike in western Iraq, the British newspaper Guardian is reporting on Tuesday.
The daily cited an Iraqi source as saying that Baghdadi’s injuries were initially so severe that it forced him to relinquish day-to-day control of ISIS.
The Guardian reported that the ISIS high command was so concerned about their leader’s condition that they began making contingency plans in the event that al-Baghdadi would die.
The ISIS leader was seriously wounded by an attack launched by the US-led coalition in the al-Baaja district of Nineveh, close to the Syrian border.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Abadi confirmed this past November on his Facebook account that al-Baghdadi was injured by a US airstrike near Mosul. The post also said Baghdadi's deputy was killed in the attack.
ISIS to Western Christians: "You Won't Have Safety ... Until You Embrace Islam"
Approximately two months after the Islamic State (IS) published a video depicting its members slaughtering 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, on Sunday, April 19, the Islamic jihadi organization released another video of more Christians in Libya being massacred, this time for not paying jizya—extortion money demanded of the "People of the Book" according to Koran 9:29.
Two scenes appear in the 29-minute-long video published by al-Furqan, the Islamic State's media wing. The first scene consists of a group of Christian Ethiopians dressed all in black, on their knees, with their arms tied behind their backs. Masked IS members stand behind the Ethiopians with rifles aimed at their heads. According to the video, this scene takes place in the city of Fezzan. The Christian captives are called "Worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian Church."
The second scene shows more Christian Ethiopians dressed in orange uniforms and standing on the shores of Barqa, the same region where 21 Egyptian Christians were earlier decapitated for refusing to convert to Islam.
Other scenes include the narrator referencing the fatwas of medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya that proclaim all Christians "infidels." Then Abu Malik ibn Ans al-Nashwan, apparently one of the group's leaders, appears saying that "The dealings of the Islamic State with Christians under its authority is according to Allah's Sharia [Islamic law]. Jizya [tribute] is imposed on those who accept, and war on those who resist."
Turkey angered by Copenhagen sculpture
Plans to install a sculpture commemorating the Armenian Genocide in one of Copenhagen's busiest squares have Turkish officials up in arms.
A sculpture that will be placed in the heart of Copenhagen in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide threatens to further derail the already-strained relations between Denmark and Turkey.
The nine-metre high sculpture, entitled ‘The Draem’ (Danish Remembrance Armenian Empathy Messenger), is to be placed in the square Kultorvet for ten days in May to mark 100 years since upwards of 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman regime.
The plans have elicited a protest from the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen.
Turkish FM says Erdoğan, Obama to open mosque in US
After Turkish Foreign Minister announced that President Barack Obama "accepted in principle" to join President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a trip to Maryland to open a mosque, a White House spokesperson has said there were "no presidential visits or travel to announce" at the moment.
On April 19, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who was on a three-day visit to Washington, visited the Turkish-American Culture and Civilization Center in Maryland that also has a medium-sized mosque, and lunched with representatives from the American Muslim community.
“During a phone call, President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan asked President [Barack] Obama to accompany him in opening the center together and President Obama accepted his offer in principle,’” Çavuşoğlu told the representatives, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency. If Obama’s schedule allows at the time of the opening, he will accompany Erdoğan, he added.
"We don’t have any conversations to read out for you. And no travel or Presidential engagements to announce," Mark Stroh, a White House National Security Council spokesman, told daily Hürriyet on April 20.
The complex has been built on a large area and consists of a coffee house, gift shops, cultural center, amphitheater and exhibition hall, computer lab, library, Turkish bath/hamam and guest house.

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