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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt, Iran, Israel, and Turkey

9:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Upon the third anniversary of the Tahrir Square revolution…

What a President Sisi must clarify

…The troubling thing for Egyptians is not that they are about to elect a new soldier-president, but that they are about to elect a new soldier-president about whose policies, capabilities, democratic values, governance style and national plans they know virtually nothing.

Sisi should be aware of the fact that he is preparing to assume the presidency on the strength of the two greatest but most fickle passions that any political leader can count on to shape his or her incumbency – blind love and fierce fear – because the mass adoration he enjoys on the basis of these frenzies can disappear as quickly as it appeared. The combination of intense love for Sisi as the national savior and deep fear of the hapless Muslim Brotherhood due to its miserable and greedy yearlong performance in office means that Sisi’s strong mandate can last as long as any fleeting emotion lasts with a human being – perhaps months at best.

By summer, the three big problems that plague modern Egypt and the entire Arab region – chronic military governance, domestic secular-religious schisms and socioeconomic distress – will remain unresolved and likely could worsen. They will resurface and could damage and threaten Sisi, as they have all other Arab leaders since the 1970s, depending on how he uses the power at his disposal. {…}

This soldier-president will be unlike any other in Egypt, because of the manner in which he assumes office and the continuing desire by Egyptians for a credible democratic transition from the old ways of security-state governing. Sisi will need to reveal in the coming weeks and months if he has the character, wisdom, courage and honesty to address Egypt’s enormous political problems and socioeconomic stresses. And he has to wind down the two important stressors that he himself has been contributed to – military rule of governance and the violent antagonism toward Islamist politics in society.

Now, which Master shall Sisi serve, the Egyptians, or, the MOTU’s…?

Well, I suppose, this speaks volumes…Wall Street figure to advise Al Sisi

To be sure, the bloody Poodle even parachuted into Cairo, recently…Tony Blair Backs Egypt’s Military Government Despite Human Rights Crackdown

Interestingly… Senior Muslim scholar calls on Saudi to stop supporting coup in Egypt

Another worthy read… The hidden history of the Egyptian revolution

Moving along…

Talk about your ‘Cognitive Dissonance’…

Netanyahu: Israel not obliged to agree to U.S. peace plan framework

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday night that Israel would not be obliged to agree to all the terms of the framework document that was being proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Haaretz reported.

Netanyahu’s statements were made in a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. He told the conference that Washington is putting pressure on Israel to withdraw from the Jordan Valley in order to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, a thing the Israelis refuse because it threatens the Israel’s security.

He added that there are two main issues that are considered as the key to reaching a peace agreement: the Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state and robust security arrangements.

Regarding Iran, Netanyahu said that Iran won’t be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, nor would Israel allow Iran to create another state alongside Israel, as it has done with Lebanon and Gaza.

God forbid that saner minds should prevail…! Israel finance minister: Peace talk failure costly

And, Palestinians: Yes to Jews, no to settlers in our state

Looking at the bigger picture… Israel Welcomes Sunni-Shia Conflict

So, what’s the definition of Insanity, again…? From the Grey Lady…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Syria’s ‘Dead Man Walking’…

4:15 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Reuters reported today…

America and Syria’s ‘dead man walking’

…A peaceful solution to Syria’s protracted crisis now looks remote enough to wonder whether Bashar Assad might outlast Obama in power. The US president is not assured of winning another term in office next November. But the odds of the Assad regime surviving into 2013 look better with every passing day, even though one of the US government’s top experts on Syria has labeled the Syrian president a “dead man walking.”

There are several reasons for skepticism about a resolution to the Syrian crisis in the near future. One is the government’s military superiority over fractured and lightly-equipped opposition forces. More importantly, there is no international consensus on how to deal with what began 14 months ago as peaceful demonstrations against a 40-year family dictatorship and now includes huge suicide bombings of government targets that have raised suspicions of Al-Qaeda involvement.

At the summit of the G8 — the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and Japan —an aide to Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev made clear, again, that Moscow, unlike the West, does not see Assad’s departure as a necessary step toward ending the bloodshed.

“Some may like or dislike the Syrian government but one cannot avoid a question — if Assad goes, who will replace him?”
said Mikhail Margelov…

A very savvy question, indeed…

Beyond Bashar, Syria’s rebels are facing far more significant resistance

…China, Russia and Iran support for Bashar Assad makes a Western military intervention in Syria impossible, given the likely catastrophic repercussions for all concerned. In the eyes of this coalition, Assad is a tool and pretext. He is the façade against which the courage of the insurgents will continue to collide as long as Russia and its allies on the one side, and the United States and its allies on the other, fail to dispassionately settle their differences, therefore reach agreement over their contending interests, through negotiations…

Negotiations…? What negotiations…

U.S. considering plan that arms Syrian rebels…

…The effort, U.S. officials told The Associated Press, would vet members of the Free Syrian Army and other groups to determine whether they are suitable recipients of munitions to fight the Assad government and to ensure that weapons don’t wind up in the hands of al-Qaida-linked terrorists or other extremist groups such as Hezbollah that could target Israel.

The plan, which has not yet been finalized, reflects U.S. frustration that none of the previous efforts — including diplomatic rhetoric from the United Nations and the multinational Friends of Syria group, and special envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for a cease-fire — has even begun to nudge President Bashar al-Assad from power. The vetting would be the first tiny step the U.S. has made toward ensuring that the Syrian opposition uses the weapons to fight Assad and not to turn it into a full sectarian conflict.

While some intelligence analysts worry that there may be no suitable recipients of lethal aid in the Syria conflict, the vetting plan has arisen as the least objectionable idea in a complicated situation…

As Steve Hynd wrote… US To Vet Syrian Rebel Arms Recipients – Really?

So if this vetting will prevent Saudis funding arms for Al Qaeda (yeah, right) how far beyond that will it go? The chances of arming some pretty nasty people that have the only virtue of being not-AQ are pretty high.

A United Nations investigation said Syrian government forces and rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad had both committed serious human rights abuses despite an attempted ceasefire in the conflict and opposition activists reported fighting in several regions on Thursday.

…The rebels, who are increasingly armed and well-organized, have executed or tortured captured soldiers and government supporters, it said. They have also abducted civilians in an apparent bid to secure prison exchanges or ransoms.

It doesn’t matter how many bad ideas you pile on top of other bad ideas, the result will never be a good idea.

Remember, it’s not just our grubby fingers at work, but, the House of Saud/GCC’s too… Syrian rebels get influx of arms with gulf neighbors’ money, U.S. coordination…

Meanwhile, the UN’s Ban Ki Moon spewed this nonsense today on CNN…

‘We have no Plan B’ to stop the violence

…With the carnage in Syria that has left thousands dead now entering its fifteenth month, the United Nations Secretary General says there is no clear path beyond the current mission being led by Kofi Annan.

“At this time, we don’t have any plan B,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview for ‘Amanpour’ on CNN International. “The joint special envoy Kofi Annan has proposed six peace proposals, among which the complete cessation of violence is number one. Unfortunately, this has not been implemented while with the deployment of monitoring missions, we have seen some dampening effect.”

Many regard the Annan mission in Syria to be a failure already.

There will be discussions in the Security Council next week about the situation in Syria Mr. Ban said, and he will make a report about the situation. But the lack of cooperation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is making the situation very difficult…

God Bless the Syrian People, from all our misguided ministrations…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

It’s Time For Unity, Not War

11:58 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today’s Lebanese Daily Star featured this editorial…

…It does not lessen the gravity or grief of what happened on Tuesday on Lebanon’s southern border to point out that Israeli aggression against south Lebanon is hardly a novelty. The communities stretching from Kfar Kila through Naqoura have borne the brunt of countless Israeli attacks since the 1950s. These villages have been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times; of course, it was the inhabitants who reconstructed their homes, because the Lebanese state was never in evidence there.

On the other hand, it was a rare occasion for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to stand up to the Israeli military. We do not mean this as any insult to the troops, who have sacrificed greatly; the truth is that the central government and political ruling class did not want the army to be a strong defender or even play any significant role in the south. Their philosophy was that if Lebanon’s military remained weak, Israel would not bother to wage war against it; in other words, they believed that a weak Lebanon was a strong Lebanon.

This approach was proved wrong again and again. Aside from not deterring Israeli assaults, it allowed for the strengthening of various Palestinian militias and Hizbullah.

The situation today has changed. The LAF has deservedly earned the support of all groups of Lebanese, even though we still lack the political and diplomatic structures necessary for a truly strong army. Israel, meanwhile, has come to take for granted that Lebanon is its whipping boy.

Israel should learn that, should it take on the LAF, it would be fighting an entire nation, not Hizbullah. This reality should give pause to the large camp in Israel itching for a battle in Lebanon; the Israeli military has a strategy for Lebanon, but that is for now complicated by what it must do for its US patron in the peace process with Palestine.

Many in Israel would love to wage a war against Lebanon, not just because of Israel’s agenda here, but also to allow the last-ditch Palestinian hopes for two-state solution to die out.

We do not know what Israel will do about Tuesday’s exchange of deadly fire; Lebanon should react with an unmitigated display of political unity to dampen the possibility for war.

At the same time, our leaders should move to spell out the dangers and potential consequences of any confrontation. President Michel Sleiman, who has already taken appropriate steps, would be wise to convene the National Dialogue, which should express unanimous support for the LAF and for a diplomatic campaign against a conflict.

Written and Reprinted with permission by Jamil K. Mroue, Editor-in-Chief of THE DAILY STAR, can be reached at jamil.mroue@dailystar.com.lb