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Archive for April, 2011

Pentagon: "Reports of atrocities committed against black African members of Qaddafi’s forces…"

April 30th, 2011 Comments off

“Over the coming weeks, US foreign policy attention will be focused on the Middle East. Here, the way ahead in the maze of conflicting pressures is not becoming any easier to discern. On the Middle East peace process, the announcement of a rapprochement between Fatah and Hamas has been greeted with caution in Washington. When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses Congress later on May 22nd, US officials expect him to take a hard line against any accommodation with Hamas as well as to possible recognition of a Palestine state at the UN General Assembly in September. With Republicans rallying firmly to this position, President Obama’s freedom of maneuver is limited. As we have reported, a speech addressing the peace process is in draft, but we do not expect Obama to risk much if any political capital on this issue. In parallel, he faces political pressure to take a firmer line against Syria. The Administration’s cautious response is being contrasted to the ongoing military actions in Libya. State Department officials have sought to reconcile the two positions, but we see little possibility that the Administration’s actions will go beyond tougher economic sanctions. On Libya, Pentagon officials tell us privately that their assessment is that the war is headed toward a stalemate. They are also receiving private reports of atrocities committed against black African members of Libyan government forces. For the moment, however, the State Department is leading policy on Libya, with Secretary of State Clinton due to make the case for sustained engagement at the May 4th-6th meeting of the Libya contact group…”



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Israeli-American-Mubarak-Suleiman resistance to dealing with Hamas in power & according Israel greater importance than Palestine, prevented a reconciliation earlier

April 30th, 2011 Comments off

“… The Egyptian government’s constructive and impartial mediating role that brought about Palestinian reconciliation stands in stark contrast with the pro-Fatah and anti-Hamas tilt of the Mubarak regime and its prime purveyor of political and intellectual dishonesty, former intelligence chief General Omar Suleiman. The differences between Fatah and Hamas were all related to political and security matters that had logical solutions, because they emerged from short-term political actions rather than long-term structural differences. Israeli-American-Mubarak-Suleiman resistance to dealing with Hamas in power and the decision to accord Israeli concerns greater importance than Palestinian rights prevented a reconciliation earlier on. The agreement now, so soon after Mubarak-Suleiman have left the scene, is a telltale indicator of where the problems really were. So was the speedy, almost Pavlovian, comment by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu within hours of the reconciliation accord that Fatah could have peace with Hamas or with Israel, but not with both… … … 

The reactivation of Egypt’s regional role is also significant because it comes at a time when four other important foreign policy developments are under way in the Middle East. The first is the dynamism among some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, three of which (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar) have, unusually, sent troops beyond their borders to engage in martial diplomacy in Bahrain and Libya. The second is the global intervention in Libya through the U.N. Security Council, now aiming to overthrow the Libyan leader, Moammar Gadhafi. The third is the increasingly important counsel and role of Turkey in the region. And the fourth is the increasing regional and global pressure being brought to bear on the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah axis, combined with Damascus’ preoccupation with its domestic condition.

In this context of an ongoing structural reconfiguration of Middle Eastern foreign policy actors and influences, an Egyptian foreign policy refreshingly based on integrity, national self-interest and plain old common sense represents the first significant move toward redressing the most glaring imbalance in the region since Egypt slipped out of the Arab order in the late 1970s. The region’s security architecture since then has been defined by interactions among four non-Arab powers – Israel, Iran, Turkey and the United States – which has left this area as a playground for their scheming and rivalries. A robust Egypt that may coordinate more closely with the GCC states, while Syria is preoccupied at home and the Palestinians present a unified face to Israel and the world, means we should expect important changes ahead in the four overriding regional dynamics that continue to link the Arabs, Israelis, Iranians and major Western powers in mostly uneasy relationships…”



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"General Petraeus is submissive to Sharia’ law!"

April 30th, 2011 Comments off

… and Obama appointed this guy to head the CIA?

GAFFNEY: We won’t have time here to go through this. Let me just mention several different ways in which this kind of influence operation is being run against those sorts of target sets. An important part of it is keeping us ignorant of what they are doing. I’m sure most of you witnessed General David Petraeus, the much admired military leader, responding to the Quran burning down in Florida by Pastor Terry Jones. Saying that the holy Quran – repeatedly – the holy Quran must not be desecrated, and in other ways, suggesting that what we are doing here is a kind of submission to this program, lest we give offense, which is a blasphemy and a capital crime under Sharia…”



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US sends key diplomat to Jordan for talks (AFP)

April 30th, 2011 Comments off

Jeffrey Feltman, a top US diplomat for Middle East affairs, pictured here in 2010, is traveling to Jordan for talks next week on Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Libya conflict and Jordan's domestic reforms.(AFP/File/Mahmud Turkia)AFP – A top US diplomat for Middle East affairs is traveling to Jordan for talks next week on Israeli-Palestinian peace, the Libya conflict and Jordan’s domestic reforms.

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Israel tells UN of ‘concern’ at Palestinian unity (AFP)

April 30th, 2011 Comments off

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak (L) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem in 2009. Israel expressed its concern Saturday to the UN about a reconciliation deal between Palestinian factions, as Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya said he was ready to resign as part of the pact.(AFP/POOL/File/Jim Hollander)AFP – Israel expressed its concern Saturday to the UN about a reconciliation deal between Palestinian factions, as Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya said he was ready to resign as part of the pact.

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‘Six die’ in besieged Syrian city

April 30th, 2011 Comments off

Six people are killed as Syrian troops seize control of a mosque which was a centre for anti-government protests in the city of Deraa, witnesses say.
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Gaddafi talks offer is dismissed

April 30th, 2011 Comments off

Rebel leaders and Nato dismiss a call by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for a ceasefire and negotiations.
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Spring 2011 Middle East Journal

April 30th, 2011 Comments off
Time to earn my paycheck by plugging the day job. The Spring 2011 issue of The Middle East Journal is now online. Subscribers should already have (or soon have) their hard copy issues, but the online access is here. (For subscribers wishing to access the electronic edition, instructions are here. You can find information about subscribing here. Non-subscribers can purchase individual articles for a fee.)

The articles (click through to read the abstract or order a download copy if you’re not a subscriber) are:

Two articles on Syria, accepted long before the current events, but essential background:
And two articles on issues in Israeli society:
  • Matt Evans,  “Exacerbating Social Cleavages: The Media’s Role in Israel’s Religious-Secular Conflict.”  The haredi/secular divide and how newspapers reflect it.
  • William F. S. Miles, “Border Pedagogy in Israel.” A study of geography texts and atlases and how they reflect the ambiguity about borders.
And an addition to the historical record:

And of course, as always, our Book Reviews cover the field, with a main review article by Neil Caplan dealing with books on competing narratives of the Holocaust, while our Chronology continues a record begun in 1947.


You can buy individual articles or the whole issue at the site, but you’ll save money money by subscribing or joining MEI, which includes online access and downloads.


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Any doubt about the Israeli-Saudi alliance?

April 30th, 2011 Comments off
Israeli officials want a public commitment from Washington to protect the Saudi regime should it come under threat” (thanks Fadi)


PS Full text is here if you are not a subscriber.

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I call on NATO

April 30th, 2011 Comments off
Aljazeera was interviewing a member of the lousy Libyan transitional council.  He was speaking from the studio on Doha.  Suddenly, he said: “I call on NATO to bomb”, and then named a certain location.  He did not indicate whether he wanted fries with that.

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