The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Links March 27th to March 28th

Links from my account for March 27th through March 28th:

  • Egypt, Saudis bend over backwards to extricate Syria from Iranian grip - Haaretz - Israel News - "The Arab world's top powers are eager to block regional rival Iran's influence in the Middle East. Their key for doing so is to woo Iran's Arab ally Syria, so they have begun engaging Damascus after years of shunning it in anger over what they see as its role in fueling turmoil around the Mideast.
    The administration of President Barack Obama is also starting to open up to Damascus, which Washington treated as a pariah for the past eight years because of its support for militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas"

  • U.S. surveys flashpoint West Bank settlement - "JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. diplomats assessed Jewish settlement activity at an Israeli-occupied district near Jerusalem on Friday, in a public signal of greater activism by the Obama administration in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

  • Hamas denies link with convoy hit in Sudan - "GAZA CITY (AFP) – The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip on Friday denied that alleged weapons convoys hit in an airstrike in Sudan were destined for the Islamist Palestinian movement.
    "First of all we are not sure any convoy has been hit, but it is ironic to link these convoys to Hamas," one of the movement's leaders, Salah al-Bardawil, told AFP.
    "Should it turn out that there were raids and a high number of people killed, this would mean Israel is seeking to use the opportunity to blame Hamas and hit Sudan," he said.
    The fact that the Gaza Strip is not a neighbour of Sudan, with" Egypt in between, "shows these are false claims," he added.

  • US judge orders Iran to pay $25M for Hamas killing - Ridiculous.

  • / Middle East - Prince Naif appointed deputy Saudi PM - "Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday appointed his half-brother Prince Naif as the new second deputy prime minister, signalling that he would be next in line for the throne after the ailing Crown Prince Sultan."

  • Mondoweiss: Jeffrey Goldberg guilt-trips Ari Roth over Jewish requirement to 'love Israel'--but Roth is tortured by Gaza - Phil Weiss on Jeffrey Goldberg's ethno-bullying: "In Goldberg's bullying--and Goldberg is a very smart guy--you can see what I spoke about a couple of weeks ago in a post about My Tribal Minder. He is being Roth's tribal minder. He is reminding Roth about the limits of Jewish identity, and urging him to be loyal to the tribe. He invokes the Holocaust and very much as Gershom Scholem lectured Hannah Arendt about her failure to love the Jewish people, you will see that Goldberg instructs Roth of his obligation to love the Jewish people near the end, or to be accurate--"We in the Jewish community are motivated to do things because we love Israel" (which is a truly scary reflection on the Iraq War journalism Goldberg did for the New Yorker)."

  • MIDEAST: Path to Peace Needs New Realism on All Sides - Helena Cobban thinks Obama can pull off a major change in US policy towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict and address Hamas: "Some U.S. Jewish organisations and Christian Zionist organisations might continue to lobby strongly against including Hamas. But the numbers from J Street show that if Obama is decisive, clear, and sensitive in explaining a Hamas-including policy, he could hope to win substantial support for it - including within the U.S. Jewish community. "

  • Exclusive: Three Israeli Airstrikes Against Sudan - Political Radar - Three attacks, not one.

  • Atomic Agency Fails to Elect New Head - - Can't wait for Baradei to publish a tell-all book, as Hans Blix did after he stepped down.

  • Anti-tank missile fired at IDF patrol | Israel | Jerusalem Post - Anti-tank missile fired at IDF by Hamas, after new "Iron Dome" anti-rocket system tested and revelations on Sudan air strike.

  • The Foreign Policy Initiative - New neocon think tank headed by Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol. Sends shivers down my spine.

  • David Ignatius - How a U.S. Tax Deduction Aids Israeli Settlements - - "For many years, the United States has had a policy against spending aid money to fund Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which successive administrations have regarded as an obstacle to peace. Yet private organizations in the United States continue to raise tax-exempt contributions for the very activities that the government opposes."

  • With its recent political maneuvers, Israel may be heading for apartheid -- By John J. Mearsheimer | Stephen M. Walt - "In fact, the Israeli press is reporting that Netanyahu and Lieberman agreed in their negotiations to form a government that Israel would build 3,000 housing units in an area between Jerusalem and Maale Adumim (a huge settlement bloc) known as E-1. Once that is accomplished, Israel will have effectively cut the West Bank in half, making it almost impossible to create a viable Palestinian state. This deal was supposed to be secret, because the United States is opposed to Israel building in the E-1 area."

  • Documenting the Global Jihad — jihadica - This really is a fantastic resource on the fun world of international jihad. Thomas Hegghammer has put up tons of documents and videos recently.

  • Some Israeli soldiers say military rabbis cast the offensive against Hamas rockets as a fight to expel non-Jews |מגזין הכיבוש Occupation Magazine - "The winter assault on the Gaza Strip was officially portrayed in Israel as an attempt to quell rocket fire by militants of Hamas. But some soldiers say they also were lectured about a more ambitious aim: to banish non-Jews from the biblical land of Israel.
    `This rabbi comes to us and says the fight is between the children of light and the children of darkness,` a reserve sergeant said, recalling a training camp encounter. `His message was clear: `This is a war against an entire people, not against specific terrorists.` The whole thing was turned into something very religious and messianic.`"

  • Purification rites - The National Newspaper - Comparing religious-nationalist extremism in India and Israel.

  • Atonement - The National Newspaper - George Packer reviews a book about Iraqi officer under Saddam.

  • Boats against the current - The National Newspaper - Very interesting economic history of the Gulf by Greg Gause, arguing it has always been integrated with the global economy.

  • Egypt and beyond: "This country is on the brink of a revolution" - Per reports on angry workers in 10th Ramadan City.

  • Visitors to Yemen Report That Jews Are Reluctant To Be Rescued – - They don't want to be rescued to end living on the dole in some desert town in the Negev: "In recent weeks, Jewish organizations have insisted that Yemen’s tiny Jewish population is in grave danger and that a secret evacuation is necessary to bring the people to safety. But a new report written by on-the-ground observers suggests that one of the primary barriers to the Jews’ departure is the resistance of the Jews themselves."

  • Israel's shadow war against Hamas' arms sources | The Cable - More on the East Sudan air strike

  • Heather Robinson » Elliott Abrams predicts Obama, Bibi faceoff - "On the subject of Israel, Abrams predicts some friction in the near term between Obama and Netanyahu because the Obama administration believes that the main problem in brokering an Israeli/Palestinian final status agreement is Israel’s settlement expansion. This, according to Abrams, is false.
    “I can illustrate why [this is false] very simply,” said Abrams. “Look at what [Ehud] Barak proposed ten years ago. Look at what Olmert offered recently. Olmert offered more.”
    In other words, what has repeatedly made a final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians impossible is Palestinians’ refusal to accept a deal, not settlement expansion, since the latter has coincided with more generous offers of land for peace, according to Abrams."