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Archive for July, 2011

Old World Travel 90 years on: #4 Cheops’ Anthill

July 31st, 2011 Comments off


Exactly 90 years ago a four-volume set of encyclopedia-like human interest books was published as The Human Interest Library: Visualized Knowledge by Midland Press in Chicago. In a previous post I commented on its thoroughly “Orientalist” flavor. The section on Egypt covers mainly the archaeological history with only a few brief comments on the then contemporary state of Egypt. One of the great mysteries over the years has been an explanation for how the massive pyramids were built. Here is a novel idea, if a picture is worth a thousand scholarly words: ants.

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Obama: "Assad is completely incapable & unwilling!"

July 31st, 2011 Comments off
” President Barack Obama is stepping up his criticism of Syria’s crackdown on protesters, charging that the Syrian president is “completely incapable and unwilling” to respond to what Obama calls the legitimate grievances of the Syrian people… “



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Is Al Akhbar comfortable with someone who says that Libya’s rebels’ solicitation of NATO bombings & weapons is "understandable"?

July 31st, 2011 Comments off

"…The al-Qaeda threat may be waning but not that posed by Hezbollah"

July 31st, 2011 Comments off
“Of all the leftover business for the Obama administration as U.S. troops prepare to leave Iraq at the end of the year, nothing is more symbolic of the continuing threats there — and throughout the region — than the case of a Lebanese Hezbollah operative named Ali Mussa Daqduq.
Daqduq has been one of Iran’s top covert operatives in Iraq, according to U.S. officials. He was captured in March 2007 by U.S. forces in Basra who had evidence he had plotted (with Iranian help) a kidnapping in Karbala that January that resulted in the deaths of five American soldiers. U.S. satellite photos showed the Iranians had even built a mockup of the Karbala facility inside Iran to practice the kidnapping. Daqduq is now a prisoner at Camp Cropper, a U.S. detention facility near the Baghdad airport. Thousands of other detainees have already been released, and the U.S. must close Camp Cropper by year-end, under the status-of-forces agreement negotiated by the Bush administration. The detainees will be handed over to the Iraqis (who would likely free many of them) unless they are transferred elsewhere.
Herein lies the Daqduq conundrum, which has been the subject of weekly interagency meetings this summer: The White House is leaning against releasing a prisoner who has American blood on his hands. But how should he be prosecuted?
The administration is weighing several options. First, Daqduq could be tried by a U.S. military commission, presumably at Guantanamo Bay, under the laws of war. A second option is to try him in a civilian court. That’s what the Justice Department decided to do earlier this month with a Somali terrorism suspect named Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame. He was indicted and transferred to New York for trial, after being held for months in a naval vessel in the Persian Gulf…

Back in Tehran, Daqduq was told to organize “Special Groups” of Shiite extremists that would operate like Hezbollah fighters. According to Bergner, Iran was, at that time, funding the Special Groups with $750,000 to $3 million a month, as well as training them to use “Explosively Formed Projectiles,” the sophisticated roadside bombs that have killed so many U.S. troops.These Hezbollah cadres, backed with Iranian money and intelligence support, have in recent years fanned out across the region. As Arabic-speaking Lebanese, they can work with Shiite activists from Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia, as well as Iraq. Iran’s leverage in Iraq will be especially important if its ally, Bashar al-Assad, is toppled in Syria.
At a time when Iranian-made weapons are killing a rising number of U.S. troops who remain in Iraq, U.S. senior military commanders have warned the White House that releasing Daqduq would send what one calls “a horrible message.” The Obama administration seems to agree — and is weighing how to try this Hezbollah operative. I favor a trial, but not in the heart of Manhattan. The al-Qaeda threat may be waning but not that posed by Hezbollah.”



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Two rockets fired from Gaza ‘hit Israe’l: army (AFP)

July 31st, 2011 Comments off

Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Sunday, without causing any damage or injuries, the Israeli military said.(AFP/File/Said Khatib)AFP – Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Sunday, without causing any damage or injuries, the Israeli military said.

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Palestinian govt pledges pay after strike threat (AFP)

July 31st, 2011 Comments off

Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad pledged on Sunday that government workers would be paid within 48 hours after their union in the West Bank threatened an open-ended strike.(AFP/Abbas Momani)AFP – Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad pledged on Sunday that government workers would be paid within 48 hours after their union in the West Bank threatened an open-ended strike.

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Indian girls finish fourth in World junior squash

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Indian girls finished fourth after losing the play-off 1-2 to Hong Kong while Egypt overcame hosts United States 2-1 in the final to retain the title in the World junior team squash championships here
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Syrian army kills dozens in Hama

July 31st, 2011 Comments off

Syrian forces crack down on protests across the country, killing at least 100 people in the city of Hama alone, in one of the bloodiest days since protests began in March.
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Professionalism of Israeli media

July 31st, 2011 Comments off
This propaganda newspaper of Israel relies on a website that relied on rumors.  Here is the description of the website by the same newspaper:  “The marginal website...” (thanks Laleh)

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Not in the US press: the Likud connection

July 31st, 2011 Comments off
Islamophobic parties in Europe have established a tight network, stretching from Italy to Finland. But recently, they have extended their feelers to Israeli conservatives, enjoying a warm reception from members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition. Some in Israel believe that the populists are Europe’s future.” (thanks Nabeel)

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