'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Does Obama understand Israel's war goal in Iran?

'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Does Obama understand Israel's war goal in Iran?
Helana Cobban on Israel's motives in attacking Iran: "There is good reason to believe that the goal would be not the direct physical destruction/incapacitation of Iran's nuclear programs but rather, to trigger an all-out US-Iran war in the course of which, Israel's planners hope, the US would do the dirty work in Iran that it is unable to do itself." This makes sense if you review military experts on how difficult it would be to simply stop the nuclear program, and why regime change (through war) may be the option some Israeli strategic planners are considering.
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Asia Times Online :: Finger-pointing riles Hezbollah

Asia Times Online :: Finger-pointing riles Hezbollah
Sami Moubayed debunks Der Spiegel's accusation that Hizbullah is behind Hariri murder. Even if Moubayed is a defender of Syria and its allies, he makes some good points here, notably the ludicrous claim that Nasrallah wanted Hariri dead because he was getting too popular. What is this, grade school? Yet an interesting question is still not addressed, namely, to what extents were there rogue operations in Hizbullah, if at all?
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Marc Lynch | FOREIGN POLICY | Arab public opinion in 2009

Marc Lynch | FOREIGN POLICY | Arab public opinion in 2009
Marc Lynch analyses poll on Arab attitudes towards US, other political issues, finds skepticism on Obama, shockingly Bashar al-Assad most popular leader (arguably he deserves it in terms of competence at completely turning around Syria's isolation in recent years, and now making people believe Hizbullah killed Hariri rather than himself or his minions.)
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FT.com / Middle East / Politics & Society - Draft bill by Israel to ban Nakba is attacked

FT.com / Middle East / Politics & Society - Draft bill by Israel to ban Nakba is attacked
Bill would ban Nakba commemoration, more: "According to the draft proposal, anyone applying for an Israeli passport or ID card would have to commit to be “faithful” to Israel as a Jewish and Zionist state – a pledge that many Israeli Palestinians say they will refuse to make. Yisrael Beiteinu’s drive to deliver on its campaign slogan – “no loyalty, no citizenship” – has also exposed a rift within the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister. Several ministers from the centre-left Labour party, another member of the coalition, said they opposed the Nakba Day proposal."
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This page cannot be displayed, you naughty boy.

This page cannot be displayed, you naughty boy.
Sarah Carr: "As part of its long-term campaign against common sense swine flu, the government has put up US Aid funded posters inside metro underground trains, advising passengers on what measures to take to avoid contamination. One of the suggestions, after household members' temperature monitoring is, “avoid crowded areas”. I wondered if they're taking the piss." There's more and a funny picture as a bonus.
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Piecing together the Sudan airstrike story

Guy Gabriel at the Palestine Chronicle has done a review of the publicly available info on the alleged Sudan airstrikes of last January, a still unsolved mystery that we were very cautious in handling when it was first revealed. Here's a quick breakdown of what is supposed to have happened:
Piecing together information from various reports, this is a composite picture of what happened: The attackers were American, Israeli, or of unidentified origin, using perhaps gunships, F15s, F16s, or Hermes 450 drones and Eitan UAVs, taking off from Eritrea, Djibouti or possibly south of Tel Aviv. In January and/or February 2009, they attacked 1-2 convoys, consisting of 4-23 trucks, 1-3 times. The attacks left 39-800 dead (including some Iranian escorts or Revolutionary Guards), and there were between 0-50 survivors, which possibly included an Ethiopian mechanic. The attack left 18 craters, ranging in size from 160-430 metres (!). In addition, 0-1 ship[s] were sunk. The convoy[s] were smuggling either goods, people, G4s and Kalashnikovs, or 120 tonnes of arms and explosives, including anti-tank rockets and Fajir rockets with a 25-mile (40-kilometre) range and a 99-pound (45-kilogram) warhead.
Not exactly illuminating. He concludes:
It is quite possible that any one of these reports may be accurate, or perhaps none of them - or any combination of truth or falsehood in between. However, what is notable is that although we simply do not know the details of what happened, that has not stopped the story reaching the mainstream media with certainty that Israel's long arm stopped a conspiracy involving Iran, Hamas, and smuggled weapons bound for Gaza. Obscure or fringe sources were deemed passable in piecing together this story that in other situations would be rejected for being too unreliable. This was nearly the case here, relegated at first to blogs, but the significance of the ideal version of the story was too good to miss out on, and so graduated to mainstream Sunday newspapers and weekly news magazines.
Previous discussion of this on Arabist.net:
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