A call to remember Gaza, which is being ignored in current peace-processing.
It's hard to tell whether this is the truth or an attempt to make Israel (which presumably carried out the strike) look bad by blaming it for the deaths of migrant refugees. And it still does not tell us anything about this convoy and what it was smuggling, although the suggestion that over 1,000 people were there makes the secret cargo for Hamas theory look slightly weird. Update: Worth reading this analysis in conjunction with the above.
An air raid in a Sudanese desert in January killed 119 people travelling in a people-smuggling convoy, the country's defence minister has said.
Abdul-Rahim Hussein told parliament that the attack was still under investigation, state media reported.
Fifty-six smugglers died as well as 63 people wanting to emigrate, he said.
Israel - battling Hamas in Gaza at the time of the attack - was suspected of being behind air raid, but has never explicitly confirmed any involvement.
. . .
In his report, Gen Hussein said there were up to 1,000 people in the convoy involved in "a smuggling process at the border with Egypt", Suna reported.
Among the convoy were people from Ethiopia and Somalia, the defence minister said.
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:
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."
The 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza affected Egypt more than any other country. While there is a possibility that Americans or Europeans would tolerate a Palestinian consensus including loosely-worded formulas that allow Hamas to participate, it is the Egyptians who are taking a hard-line approach and pressing Hamas into an unequivocal stance. Egypt wants to minimize the chances of Hamas winning future Palestinian elections. Egypt’s delicate domestic situation cannot withstand the emergence of a successful or partly successful Muslim Brotherhood-inspired experiment anywhere in the Arab world, and certainly not on its very doorstep. The situation is all the more sensitive because Hamas is confronting the Israeli occupation, deeply unpopular with most Egyptians, which provides a tool for Egyptian Islamists to use in mobilizing the street against the government. But Cairo is aware that Hamas’ position is awkward and its choices are limited, especially with escalating resentment against some of Hamas’ policies within Gaza before, during, and after the recent war, which is pushing Hamas to adopt a more flexible attitude.Iman Baibars on Ramifications of Women’s Rights Initiatives:
While the NDP appears serious about increasing the number of women in parliament, it is not clear yet exactly which seats will be designated for women or how they will be selected. Will it be, for example, by means of an individual candidacy system, in which two women from each governorate are nominated (one a professional and another a laborer), a party list system, or some combination of the two? The quota is thus part of a larger discussion of overall reform of the oft-revised Egyptian electoral system. But in any case, it seems likely that a quota for women will be in place in time for the 2010 parliamentary elections. The question is no longer whether more women will enter parliament, but rather how this will be accomplished.Also: Intissar Fakir Western Sahara and Regional Security (IMHO overstates the security issues in the Sahel region from a US perspective, ignores political expediency of creating a "jihadist situation" in that sub-region for both local and external powers.) Josh Landis on The Nexus of Economy, Diplomacy, and Reform (I like Landis but fear he's rather too sanguine about this: "President Assad has also promised to put political liberalization back on his agenda because he no longer believes Western powers seek to destabilize Syria." Forget liberalization, Assad will never do it!)
Links for February 13th through February 15th:
- ei: How Barack Obama learned to love Israel - Ali Abunimah on how Obama wooed AIPAC
- Egypt: Arab Charter for Satellite TV a Major Setback to Press Freedom in Region, Says Article 19 - On recently issued Arab Ministers of Information regulations for satellite TV
- "Six Questions for Darius Rejali, Author of ?Torture and Democracy?" by Scott Horton -
- FT.com / World - Syria arrests prominent dissident - Riad Seif latest Syrian dissident to be arrested after joining "Damascus declaration"
- Palestinian revenge was inevitable - Haaretz - Op-ed by senior Hamas advisor in op-ed, says Abu Mazen can no longer negotiate for Pals
Automatically posted links for January 25th through January 26th:
- The Arab - New London-based magazine on MENA
- MidEast Brief::Egypt - Newish website links to articles on region
- Egypt says will keep border open and help Gazans restock - Unable to stop flow of people, Egypt maintains borders open
- Abbas: No talks with Hamas despite Gaza border chaos - Abu Mazen turns down Cairo talks with Hamas
- PALESTINIANS CREATE NEW BREACHES DESPITE EGYPTIAN ATTEMPTS TO SEAL THE BORDER - Article mentions Egyptian tanks on their way to border
- Gaza source: Hamas planned border wall blast for months - Amira Hass
- Gaza into Egypt Middle East Strategy at Harvard - M. Kramer revives "give Gaza a chunk of Egypt" idea, good response by S. Cook
- The People in Gaza Challenge Sham Peace Process - Juan Cole's Informed Comment hosts Joel Beinin op-ed
- ANALYSIS: Gaza border breach shows Israel that Hamas is in charge - Haaretz analysis
- ?????????? ?????: ????: ???? ?? ???? ??? ??????? ????? ??? - Mahdi Akef denied that Khaled Meshaal asked him to stage Gaza siege demos
- Furlough Day for Gazans (Prospects for Peace) - Daniel Levy
- Appeal for the defense of individual freedoms - Moroccan liberals call for right to individual freedoms after Islamist gay witch-hunt
- Egypt's Gaza policy / A pan-Arab consensus? - Haaretz analyzes Egypt's tough position re: Gaza and Hamas
Automatically posted links for January 23rd through January 24th:
- Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi : "La Mauritanie n'est pas un pays de prédilection pour les terroristes" - Afrique - Le Monde interview with Mauritanian president
- Egypt holds scores from Brotherhood over Gaza protests - Backlash against MB for organizing first major protests since 2006
- Gazans flood through Egypt border - Things are not looking good, especially as Israelis have cut fuel supplies again
- YouTube - TPMtv: War of Attrition - Excerpts from Democratic debate - some good jousting there
- The worst market crisis in 60 years - George Soros in the FT on the current financial crisis
Automatically posted links for January 20th through January 21st:
- al-Qaida Solicits Questions Online - Questions include "why haven't you opened a new front in Egypt" and more depressing idiocy
- Measuring liberty | When freedom stumbles | Economist.com - Look at the charts: in 1982 Egypt was "partly free," now it is "not free"
- Economics focus | Selling sex | Economist.com - Interesting article on the economics of prostitution
- HAMAS ASKS EGYPT TO REOPEN RAFAH BORDER - Hamas puts Cairo on the spot
- Translating the Party of God into English - Quilty reviews Hizbullah in translation
- Review: Loaded Dice by Neill Lochery - Debunking of idea that UK Foreign Office is pro-Arab or anti-Israel
- The rise and decline of London as a pan-Arab media hub - Media critic Najm Jarrah
- An Israeli Law for Censorship of Web Comments - Elijah points to a bill in the Knesset that would enable libel laws for web comments
- Why does Johnny come marching homeless? - How Iraq veterans with psychological problems end up homeless
- Those troublesome engineers « Kafr al-Hanadwa - SP has a good post on why engineers are over-represented in Islamist groups
Automatically posted links for January 15th through January 19th:
- Comment is free: Out of Egypt - Khaled Diab talks about the wave of Egyptian exile
- Hussein Agha and Robert Malley - Middle East Triangle - Argument for three-way deal between Hamas, Israel and Fatah
- Rantings of a Sandmonkey » Google takes down Kefaya - SM says Google is blocking Kefaya site from its results - to be followed
- PUBLIC OUTCRY OVER TALK OF SUBSIDY REFORM - Detailed business story on subsidies
- Bread, the (subsidized) staff of life in Egypt - International Herald Tribune - Slackman writes on bread subsidies
- Bedouin named consul general to Alexandria - Israeli consul in Alex is Bedouin
- Le Monde.fr : Colère de l'Egypte après l'adoption au Parlement européen d'un texte sur les droits de l'homme - Euro parliament resolution on Egypt rights leads to 27 ambassadors being summoned
- NPR : Egypt Produces Squash Champions - Why does Egypt have 15 out of the top 20 players in the world?
Automatically posted links for December 4th:
- Israel invites bids for new settlements in east Jerusalem (AFP) - That freeze on settlements sure lasted long
- Israeli rejects talks with Hamas (AP) - "Israel's defense minister said Tuesday it is time to "kill those who carry out attacks" against Israelis, but said he was holding off on a widescale invasion of the Gaza Strip for now."
- www.mnftiu.cc | get your war on - Some good recent comics on topical issues
- Charles Johnson Axed from Pajamas Media Management - Interesting details about the pro-Israel activist money behind far-right bloggers conglomerate Pajamas Media
- PA deploys hundreds of security officers in West Bank crackdown - Haaretz - Abbas, backed by Israel, goes after enemies in West Bank
- Egyptians Demand Higher Salaries - Civil service and other labor unrest continues in Egypt, with just yesterday 10,000 tax collectors protesting, ministry of health workers threatening to do the same and still more problems in Mahalla