Links from my del.icio.us account for April 17th through April 19th:
- Egypt's state circus joins growing unrest at tough economic reforms | World news | The Guardian - On Egypt's wave of strikes, with circus performers the latest to join.
- New books grapple with national misery - The National Newspaper - "Such books as Are You Happy, Egypt?, Egypt From the Balcony, Seething Egypt and Egypt Is Not My Mother, It’s My Stepmother – playing on the title of the patriotic song Egypt Is My Mother and Its Nile Is My Blood – attempt to capture the mood of despair, and several have become bestsellers."
- Newspapers in Dubai - Saturday Breakfast RN - 18 April 2009 - An interview with Martin Rowland, editor-in-chief of The National, on his experience in Abu Dhabi.
- Wall: A Monologue - The New York Review of Books - On Israel's wall. But it contains a stupendous mistake for the NYRB: " Ramallah houses the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank—as opposed to Hamas, which was elected to govern Gaza in 2006." WTF? Hamas was elected to a majority in the Palestinian parliament for all of the territories, not just Gaza. It was not meant to control Gaza, but rather control the legislative and part of the executive of all of the territories, alongside with President Mahmoud Abbas.
- Claims of biz swindle in Dubai's ruling family - "Shahram Abdullah Zadeh accuses the brother-in-law of Dubai's emir illegally of taking over his real-estate firm and having him detained by police to help the swindle. Zadeh, a 37-year-old Iranian national who has lived in Dubai all his life, brought a civil case against the brother-in-law to get his firm back, a rare move. Even more surprising, Zadeh tried to raise criminal charges, but that step went nowhere because prosecutors rejected it."
Links from my del.icio.us account for April 16th through April 17th:
- Almasry Alyoum | 81% Heard Nothing About Nazif's TV Interview - Surreal: Nazif polling citizens response to his TV appearances. Feeling overshadowed by others, ya Mr. Clean?
- Egypt and Lebanon's Hizbullah | They really don't like each other | The Economist - Oh no they don't.
- Bibi’s ‘Economic Peace’ Faces Key Test at Quarries – Forward.com - Pillage: "WEST BANK — Complaints over Israel’s conduct on Palestinian land are well-known. Less commonly heard, however, is the accusation that Israel is actually removing the land... It is estimated that 12 million tons, a fifth of the gravel used for building in Israel each year, comes from the West Bank."
- Gaza patients demonstrate near Gaza-Egypt borders_English_Xinhua - 700 patients need treatment, neither Egypt nor Israel opening borders.
- Egypt tightens security, fearing Hizbullah will attack to avenge arrests | Middle East | Jerusalem Post - O the disinformation...
- NPR: Israel's Barrier - Life Along Israel's Barrier - Multi-part NPR special on the Israeli wall.
- Video: Baghdad: City of walls, part 1: Scars of war | World news | guardian.co.uk - Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from his hometown.
Emanuel Says Obama Insists On Implementing Two State Solution, No Ifs, Ands, or Buts | Israel Policy Forum: "Yedioth Achronoth, the largest circulation daily in Israel, reports today that President Obama intends to see the two-state solution signed, sealed and delivered during his first term. Rahm Emanuel told an (unnamed) Jewish leader; 'In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn't matter to us at all who is prime minister.' He also said that the United States will exert pressure to see that deal is put into place.'Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory,' the paper reports Emanuel as saying. In other words, US sympathy for Israel's position vis a vis Iran depends on Israel's willingness to live up to its commitment to get out of the West Bank and permit the establishment of a Palestinian state there, in Gaza, and East Jerusalem. Yedioth also reports that Obama is conveying his displeasure with the new Israeli government in several ways. 'US administration officials informed Netanyahu that President Obama will not be able to meet with him in early May, while the AIPAC conference is held in Washington. The meeting between the new Israeli premier and the president of the United States is perceived in Israel as a sign that the formation process of the new government has been completed and as a salutation by Israel's close friend. Netanyahu had hoped to capitalize on the opportunity and to meet with Obama during the annual AIPAC conference, but the Americans informed the Israelis that Obama was not going to be 'in town.' That being the case, the inclination among Netanyahu's aides is to cancel his trip to attend the AIPAC conference and to try to secure a date for a meeting with Obama later in May. 'Sources in Washington also said that the Obama administration would not continue the tradition that developed during the Bush administration of hosting Israeli premiers many times during the year, sometimes with just a phone call's advance notice.' So far neither the White House or the Israeli government has commented on the report which, it should be noted, comes from Shimon Shiffer, one of Israel's most highly respected journalists."If this is true Obama will have a tough time ahead of him, although postponing ANY meeting with Netanyahu until he comes out clearly in support of the two-state solution is a first. I wish there could be a mechanism to define the two-state solution within the parameters of 242 or Geneva, too. Update: Along with the report above, read this:
When a group of Jewish liberals formed a lobbying and fundraising group called J Street a year ago, they had modest hopes of raising $50,000 for a handful of congressional candidates. Instead, the group's political arm ended up funneling nearly $600,000 to several dozen Democrats and a handful of Republicans in 2008, making it Washington's leading pro-Israel PAC, according to Federal Election Commission expenditure records. Organizers say 33 of the group's 41 favored House and Senate candidates won their races.[Thanks, SP] Winning the support of the White House for a sane policy towards the Israel/Palestine conflict is important, but not nearly as important as winning the Congress' support -- especially for if and when the time comes to impose sanctions on companies that do business with settlements in the Occupied Territories or withholding loan guarantees. There will have to be a battle, probably against J-Street, to ensure a Palestinian state is viable and fully sovereign (esp. over its airspace, borders and underground resources, notably water.) But that's a different fight.
"'According to Marie-Christine Daunay, who is in charge of eggplant studies at the French agronomic research institute INRA, eggplant is somewhat of a mystery even to those who work with it daily. But at least we know a little about its propensity to drink. It is due partly to the spongy texture, of course, but Daunay tells me that the eggplant also contains compounds called saponins 'that have a natural affinity for lipids.' They love fat, in other words, and work as hard as they can to soak up as much of it as possible. Saponins are also responsible for the bitter flavors that in small quantities can be nice but in older or undercooked eggplant can be overwhelming. Although it's not yet scientifically proven, saponins are believed to help lower cholesterol and, if not satisfied in their craving for fat, to absorb fats present in our digestive system.' "
And that's what I feel in Jerusalem as well. Jerusalem used to be the spiritual capital—after all, that's what the argument was about. You could feel it, on every street corner, you could feel the history, but now with the hideous wall and the overbuilding and desecration of the landscape—I mean, what is going on? Aren't they destroying the very quality for which the city was meant to be precious? Aren't they killing the thing they love? Or is that my problem? Am I just a decadent Westerner who can't help thinking spirituality must have something to do with beauty? Jerusalem used to be beautiful. Now it isn't. As far as I'm concerned, Jerusalem is spoiled—How can it not be spoiled? It has a great concrete wall beside it—but then Jerusalem was never intended for me. It was intended for believers.At The National, George Packer reviews a book about an Iraqi general, his family, and their complicity in Saddam's regime; Robyn Creswell reviews Adina Hoffman's biography of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali (he says it is "a triumph of sympathetic imagination, dogged research and impassioned writing" and "the is the first biography of any Palestinian writer in any language"--can that be true?) And finally, ArteEast has a new issue of their digital magazine up; this one focuses on the Art of Engagement--on the intersection of political activism, political engagement and art, the "limits and possibilities of publicly engaged art and participatory practice in the Middle East."
Hamas militants painted murals of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit and missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad Wednesday night in the Jabalyah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The graffiti portrays Shalit as he looks in 2009 next to a mock-up of how the soldier will look after another 30 years in captivity, his hair grey and his face beset by wrinkles. The murals were painted during a demonstration held to mark Prisoners' Day, presumably in a bid to tilt Israeli public opinion in favor of a prisoner exchange with Hamas. During a rally held four months ago to mark the 21st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, the Islamic group performed a skit where an operative dressed in an IDF uniform mimicked Shalit, portraying the soldier complaining in Hebrew about how he "misses mommy and daddy."
Links from my del.icio.us account for April 16th:
- Egypt's security services accuse Hizbullah of planning a terrorist attack | Accusing Hizbullah | The Economist - EIU analysis.
- Dar Al Hayat | What is Left of Egypt's Mediation between the Palestinians? - Argues that new Israeli govt, Hamas and Fatah's unwillingness to budge, Egypt's security concerns over Hizbullah all make reconciliation process more distant.
- The IDF can't be satisfied - Haaretz - Israel News - 10% of Israel's budget goes to IDF.
- En Mauritanie, le chef de la junte démissionne - Afrique - Le Monde.fr - Coup leader resigns to he can run for president.
- FT.com / Middle East / Politics & Society - Kuwait stymied by political infighting - "As Kuwait has drawn up plans to transform its economy it has sought out the services of some big guns – from the World Bank to McKinsey, the international consultants, to Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, who has been hired as a government adviser."
- Invisible hands: The secret world of the oil fixer—By Ken Silverstein (Harper's Magazine) - Good profile of a Lebanese oil middleman.
- In Lebanon's wild east, Hezbollah finds itself on left foot - Hizbullah and the druglords.
- When the Brotherhood Supports Iran Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English) - Sharq al-Awsat comes out against the MB's early position on the Hizbullah-Egypt affair, signaling Saudi displeasure. But then yesterday the MB's parliamentary bloc sided with the NDP on calling Hizbullah's presence in Egypt unnaceptable.
- Egyptian FM: Lieberman not welcome in Egypt - Haaretz - Israel News - "His feet will not step on Egyptian soil as long as he maintains his positions," Aboul Gheit told Russia Today TV.
- Saudis eye Tanzanian farmland - Politics & Economics - ArabianBusiness.com - More Saudi agro-biz ventures in Africa.
BEIJING, April 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Thousands of dolphins blocked the suspected Somali pirate ships when they were trying to attack Chinese merchant ships passing the Gulf of Aden, the China Radio International reported on Monday. The Chinese merchant ships escorted by a China's fleet sailed on the Gulf of Aden when they met some suspected pirate ships. Thousands of dolphins suddenly leaped out of water between pirates and merchants when the pirate ships headed for the China's. The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned away. The pirates could only lament their littleness before the vast number of dolphins. The spectacular scene continued for a while.The Chinese have the best propaganda.
Links from my del.icio.us account for April 15th:
- Bacon: the Other White Heat | Popular Science - Behold the power of pork: a guy uses the energy in bacon to cut through steel.
- The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: Official Surrender - A translation of As'ad AbuKhalil's article on Camp David.
- Maan News Agency | Israeli ad campaign links marijuana to Hizbullah - "In one poster, Nasrallah’s head appears rising like a genie on smoke from a bong. The poster reads: (In red) “Nasrallah aims at destroying Israel entirely.” The campaign is based on the allegation that Hizbullah funds its activities in Lebanon and alleged activities in Palestinian areas through drug trafficking."
- Families of Egyptian "Hezbollah" detainees allege intimidation - Monsters and Critics - State security telling families to stay away from lawyers.
- MIDEAST: Aid Rots Outside Gaza - Tons of aid stuck in Arish will be thrown away because of Israeli refusal to open crossings.
- Ron Paul's plan to fend off pirates - Erika Lovley - POLITICO.com - Ron Paul (and some others): US should send privateers after pirates.
- In the army now - Pro- and anti- draft dodging Israeli ads. [h/t SP]
Links from my del.icio.us account for April 14th through April 15th:
- Jordan convicts three Hamas militants who operated in country - Haaretz - Israel News - More closing in on Hamas.
- Going Down The Rabbit Hole | GOOD - Cool: "By the late 2020s, nanobots in our brain (that will get there noninvasively, through the capillaries) will create full-immersion virtual-reality environments from within the nervous system"
- The Age of Nasrallah « Qifa Nabki - On the Hizbullah leader's impact.
- Drug barons face off Lebanese army - The National Newspaper - Drug barons, Hizbullah, the Lebanese army and Emad Mughniyeh's son.
- Tony Blair wins million-dollar prize for global leadership | Politics | guardian.co.uk - From Israeli foundation. Tony Blair is on the world stage what he was as PM: corrupt and easily bought.
- » Egypt, Iran, the United States: All politics is local Middle East Strategy at Harvard - Michele Dunne on the strategic context of the Egypt-Hizbullah affair.
- Saudis set aside $800m for foreign food - More Saudi agro-business in the Third World.
- Informed Comment: 25 Gays Killed in Iraq; <br> Broad Trends against Human Rights Disturbing - Juan Cole on trend against minorities including gays, a cartoonist critical of Malaki, journalists and other govt critics.
- 'Europe won't accept Israel shirking peace commitments' - Haaretz - Israel News - Let's see some substance behind that statement: freeze the Advanced Status talks and impose trade penalties for settlement expansion.
- Saudis ban 'lewd' number plates - "Saudi Arabia has banned vehicle number plates which are seen as "offensive" in English when Arabic letters are given in the Latin alphabet, reports say. Saudi newspaper al-Watan said the banned words included "sex" and "ass", but the list was topped by "USA"."
Links from my del.icio.us account for April 14th:
- abu muqawama: The Regionalization of Hizballah - Abu Muqawama thinks Hizbullah has overreached.
- Lebanese Chess: Egypt's Hizballah paranoia - "Is Hizballah trying to destablise Egypt? No, I don't think so, and I believe the Egyptians know that too. What bothers Mubarak, however, is that Hizballah can destabilise Egypt, and have the team already placed on Mubarak's turf, awaiting the orders."
- The Bush Six to Be Indicted - The Daily Beast - In the Spanish judicial system: "[US Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales, Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith—are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.”"
- Lebanese ex-general accused of spying for Israel - Part of a wider campaign to unroot Lebanese spying on Hizbullah: "The security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the retired general told interrogators he had worked for Israel for more than 10 years and regularly met with his Israeli contacts at European destinations. He also allegedly used the business he owned, which managed foreign domestic workers, as a cover for intelligence work, the official said."
- IFEX :: Journalist Roxana Saberi charged with spying for the United States - "Washington - April 9, 2009 - Freedom House is deeply concerned by reports that an Iranian judge has charged Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi with spying for the United States and calls for her immediate release. Saberi's case is expected to go to trial next week, although her lawyer has yet to see the indictment that was handed down yesterday."
- Why the Maghreb matters - Report on US policy in the Maghreb, advocacy.
- The Associated Press: Egypt says 10 Lebanese hiding in Sinai - More Hibzullah operatives on the loose?
- Daily News Egypt - Ayman Nour And Gamila Ismail Undone - On the Nour-Ismail divorce.
- Video: Obama's war: Afghanistan's failing army | World news | guardian.co.uk - US Marines frustrated with poor training of Afghan soldiers who take hashish breaks.
- Speaking about Violating Our borders and Our Sovereignty - Zeinobia: "DO NOT BLAME NASRALLAH , BLAME WHOEVER MADE US A WEAK NATION WITH NO SOVEREIGNTY"
Links from my del.icio.us account for April 13th through April 14th:
- U.S. Looks at Dropping a Condition for Iran Nuclear Talks, Officials Say - NYTimes.com - "The proposals, exchanged in confidential strategy sessions with European allies, would press Tehran to open up its nuclear program gradually to wide-ranging inspection. But the proposals would also allow Iran to continue enriching uranium for some period during the talks. That would be a sharp break from the approach taken by the Bush administration, which had demanded that Iran halt its enrichment activities, at least briefly to initiate negotiations."
- Clip - Entertaining MEMRI clip has crazy Algerian author say the Arabs are the dregs of humanity.
- SOUTH LEBANON: Globalizing Politicide - Israel's Strikes on Sudan - "These attacks represent obvious violations of international law. Not as obvious, but more importantly, the attacks also represent a renewed globalizing of Israel’s policy of politicide. They are the most recent instances of Israel making global its policy of destroying the national existence of the Palestinians. As such they represent a very real and increasing threat to individual and international peace and security, particularly to the people of the post-colonial south, but also those of the imperial north."
- Mossad tip led to capture of Hezbollah cell in Sinai - Haaretz - Israel News - More Zviying: "The CIA, Mossad, Britain's MI6, the German BND and other intelligence services - like those of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan who have suffered attacks by terrorist cells operated by Iran - have stepped up collaboration, information sharing and joint assessments. Egypt's chief of intelligence, General Omar Suleiman, is a frequent visitor to Israel and the doors of his counterparts in Israel are always open, as are those of the Prime Minister's bureau." Err... what terrorist attacks by Hizbullah in Egypt, Jordan or Saudi?
- Analysis: Hizbullah shows its true colors to the Arab world | Middle East | Jerusalem Post - I think there a class of Israeli journalists called "The Zvis". The Zvis - Barel, Mazel, whatever - hyperventilate wildly in their articles, which are based on two sources: Israel intelligence and the Arab press. Their lack of caution in treating both sources is staggering. There's been a spate of articles in the Israeli press where the Zvis are feeling very smug about the Hizbullah-Egypt story. And they're buying the terrorism charges that most Egyptians don't buy hook, line and sinker.
- Making Smugglers Pay: Underwriting Egyptian Border Security - The toads at WINEP want to get the US to get Egypt to formalize its seizure of Hamas funding. Surely they realize that it's a tactical move by Egypt, not necessarily a permanent one? I like the title they've given, it's meant to echo the current US concern over illegal immigrants.
- EGYPT: Cairo calls Hezbollah terrorist organization | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times - "Yet, for some observers, Egypt has gone too far by labeling Hezbollah a terrorist movement. “These harsh and exaggerated accusations show that the Egyptian position is more extremist than the position of the new American administration and many circles in the West in general which consider the necessity of holding dialogues with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and of drawing a distinction between the terrorist and the political in these groups,” said Amr Choubaki, a political analyst with Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies."
- Magharebia.com | Libya appoints new intelligence chief - "Libya leader Moamer Kadhafi appointed former deputy prime minister Abu Zaid Omar Dourdaa to head the Foreign Intelligence Services, Reuters reported on Sunday (April 12th). Dourdaa will succeed Moussa Koussa, who took over as foreign minister six weeks ago. Dourdaa once served as Libya's envoy to the United Nations."
- Khaleej Times Online - Hamas ‘surprised’ by Egypt’s Hezbollah allegations - "‘Bringing weapons to Gaza is not a crime at all,’ Hamas said in its statement Monday. ‘We express our solidarity with our brothers in Hezbollah... resisting the Zionist occupation is a duty and an honour for every Muslim." Hamas being careful about the Egyptians here...
Links from my del.icio.us account for April 13th:
- Will You Be Angry? In Egypt, April 6 Falls Short of Hopes, Expectations - An analysis of the Egyptian 6 April non-strike.
- Egypt launches coordinated campaign against Hezbollah chief - People's Daily Online - Trying to unravel Nasrallah's 2006 aura.
- ANALYSIS / Egypt anger over Iran likely led to Hezbollah spat - Haaretz - Israel News - The Israeli press is having a field day with the Hizbullah-Egypt story, but getting a lot of facts wrong.
- Egypt press brands Hezbollah chief 'war criminal' - Nasrallah could be indicted.
- Egypt state-controlled paper denounces Hezbollah - Nasrallah is "monkey".
- Circus clowns on strike!! at 3arabawy - "Egypt’s state-run National Circus clowns, performers and workers stage sit-in against privatization, demanding medical insurance, allowances and bonuses…"
Links from my del.icio.us account for April 11th through April 13th:
- America! %$#@ Yeah! - Abu Muqawama has funny Team America video.
- Almasry Alyoum - Magdi Gallad laments the closure of the Egyptian leftist daily al-Badeel. Articles also has tons of barbs against other newspapers.
- Cairo U updates تحت ضغط الطلبة رئيس جامعة القاهرة يوافق على دعم الكتاب الجامعي at 3arabawy - Hossam posts about one upswing on 6 April: campus activism.
- The gathering storm - The National Newspaper - Nir Rosen sees Iraq's current apparent safety as fragile and fleeting.
- Bombs away - The National Newspaper - Nathan Field looks at radical Islamists' reconsideration of their violent ways and sees a global trend away from violence.