Seven Israelis and seven militants killed in multiple attacks
At least seven Israeli civilians and soldiers were killed today and several scores were injured in a series of incidents in the south of Israel, in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank. Seven of the attackers were also killed after firefights. No organisation claimed responsibility, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak said attacks “originated” in Gaza via Sinai, and Israel will respond with full force. J14 weekend rallies cancelled.
Senior government official says security officials received warning of possible attack, but disagreed about its severity.
Now, being the cynic I am, I’m sure some Palestinians were involved, but, where specifically were they from…? Hmmm…? Seriously, where were those ‘Palestinians’ from…? Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and/or, possibly even Egypt…?
…An Egyptian security chief said on Thursday a military operation in Sinai against militants uncovered a bomb-making factory and netted 20 wanted men, including Palestinians and radical Islamists.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Egypt to ensure security in the Sinai following a deadly attack across the border in Israel on Thursday that killed seven people.
Egyptian military and police deployed tanks and armored vehicles in the peninsula last week to quell Islamist militants who have repeatedly attacked police and a pipeline that exports gas to Israel…
…An Israeli army commander said Thursday that four of the men behind the attacks in Israel were killed by Israeli and Egyptian fire in Egypt’s territory, but the Egyptians have denied the attack was staged from Sinai.
Militants in the thinly-populated peninsula have attacked a pipeline that exports gas to Israel five times this year and have passed out flyers in which they claimed affiliation with the global Al-Qaeda network.
Masri denied that the militants were members of Al-Qaeda, which has called for an Islamist state in Egypt.
An Israeli airstrike killed six Palestinians Thursday evening in southern Gaza, medics said, hours after a series of attacks left seven Israelis dead near Eilat.
Gaza medical official Adham Abu Salmiya said the airstrikes targeted a house in Rafah.
A Ma’an correspondent said the home belonged to Popular Resistance Committees official Khaled Shaath, who was killed instantly. His two-year-old son Malek later died of injuries sustained in the strike…
…An Israeli military source told Ma’an that operations were underway in southern Gaza following a series of attacks in the south of Israel, whose leadership has blamed Gaza.
Ismail Radwan, a senior Hamas leader, condemned the “massacre in Rafah” and told Ma’an that “this crime won’t stop the resistance and won’t stop all Palestinians.”
He added that Hamas was taking every relevant action following Israel’s threats.
Earlier, the interior ministry in Gaza said Egyptian authorities have closed the Rafah crossing amid the sharp increase in violence in Gaza and southern Israel.
So, Bibi seemingly scores a twofer, he stops the internal political turmoil, that is the ‘Social Justice’ J14 movement, and, has a renewed manufactured Casus Belli for Gaza…!
Netanyahu: Housing protests are ‘populist wave’; activists plan third mass protest in Tel Aviv
Following passage of controversial housing bill in Knesset, activists vow to escalate demonstrations; protesters block roads in several cities across Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday dismissed a growing nationwide protest movement over the spiraling cost of living in Israel as “a populist wave [that] is sweeping the country.”
His comments came shortly after lawmakers passed a controversial housing bill that will see the establishment of national committees to approve new housing projects, a move that angered leaders of the housing protest movement. In response, the activists said new protests will take place in the coming days, culminating in a mass rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday – the third such protest in as many weeks.
…Tunisian police used teargas yesterday to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators demanding progress in reforms promised after the president’s removal in the first of the Arab Spring revolutions.
More than 700 protesters gathered in Kasbah square in the centre of the Tunisian capital but were quickly dispersed by hundreds of police officers in riot gear. Protesters shouted “We are not afraid” as police pushed them out of the square, where Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi has his office.
Protests also took place in Sidi Bouzid, the central Tunisian town where a vegetable seller set himself on fire last December, setting in train protests that brought to an end the 23-year rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
An estimated 1 million Syrians took to the streets Friday to press for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, whose use of force and offers of dialogue have failed to stop a four-month revolt. At least 32 protesters were killed around the country, including more than 20 in the capital of Damascus…
…At least 10 people, mostly journalists, were injured yesterday when police tried to stop clashes between pro-reform demonstrators and government supporters in central Amman.
Police used batons to disperse the clashes outside city hall, beating and injuring nine journalists who were wearing orange vests marked “press,” an AFP reporter at the scene witnessed. The wounded included an AFP photographer and a female activist.
“We were beaten by police, although we were wearing special press vests,” said the photographer. “We thought we would be safe when we stood next to the police and away from the clashes.”
A photographer who works for another international news agency said he was ordered by police not to take pictures, while New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim was beaten by 10 policemen.
Around 2,000 people, including Islamists and youth groups, marched from the nearby Al Husseini mosque to the city hall before the clashes occurred with hundreds of government supporters. “Rulers, we want to reform the regime. We want the palace to hear the voices of Jordanians,” the demonstrators chanted.
They carried banners reading “We need political, economic and social reforms for future generations,” and “It’s our right to fight corruption.”
Tens of thousands of Bahrainis shouting “one man, one vote” attended a rally for political reform held by a leading opposition party on Friday, days before the group decides whether to pull out of national reform talks. Bahrain’s Sunni rulers have launched a national dialogue to discuss reforms and heal deep rifts in the Gulf island kingdom…
Now, lets put some proper perspective on the problem…
…Now, before Tunisia and Egypt even have new governments in place, the IMF has jumped to offer them loans for vast infrastructure projects in the desert—as if the fund didn’t know that young Arabs there want ways to start businesses and have careers, not temporary construction jobs.
The Greek debacle and the North African drama raise existential questions about the IMF. Responsible governments have no business borrowing vast sums from abroad, rather than from domestic sources. That’s what tinpot regimes do. And lending even more to borrowers who can’t pay what they already owe? That’s what loan sharks and mafiosi do.
The IMF’s business model sabotages properly functioning capitalism, victimizing ordinary people while benefiting the elites. Do we need international agencies to enable irresponsible—verging on immoral—borrowing and lending? Instead of dreaming up too-clever-by-half schemes to stumble through crises after they happen, why not just stop imprudent banks from accommodating foreign borrowing by feckless governments? After all, it’s French and German taxpayers who are on the hook—not just the Greeks and the Irish…
Now, today in Libya, we’ve officially recognized the Rebels, freeing up the $34 Billion that we had froze, shortly after Qaddafi had announced that he was earmarking that specified amount to the African Development Bank…
…The chief effect of recognition may be financial. The rebels have been pleading with Washington and other governments for months to release frozen Libyan assets, including $34 billion held in U.S. banks, and that now appears increasingly likely.
At the Istanbul meeting, France said it was taking steps to unfreeze $250 million, while Italy said it was moving to unfreeze $100 million. U.S. officials said it would take time to release the Libyan money because of legal restrictions, but the task is easier if the council is the recognized government.
The rebels have said they need $3.5 billion this year to prosecute the war and administer the cities and towns they control.
Here’s a juicy little tidbit about those very same Al QaedaLibyan Rebels…
Now, speaking about ‘prosecuting’ and ‘administering the cities and towns they control’. The House of Saud is in full panic mode…
Saudi Arabia’s hunger for weapons has grown with the upcoming US withdrawal from Iraq and instability in Yemen and Bahrain.
…”Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries in general realize that they must rely on themselves to defend themselves during this critical period marked by the beginning of a US withdrawal from Iraq,” said Anwar Eshki, director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies. [...]
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has traditionally bought US and British arms, but it showed no hesitation in contacting a new supplier, Berlin, with which it is negotiating the purchase of 200 Leopard tanks, according to reports in Germany.
The order is worth some two billion Euros ($2.8 billion), German magazine Der Spiegel said on its website.
“The kingdom is looking for weapons in Germany and even in Russia, knowing that with the vacuum left by the Americans in Iraq, Iran might begin to extend its influence to the Levant reaching out to the Mediterranean sea,” said Eshki.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, whose country sent about 1,500 troops to Bahrain, freeing up local security forces to crush a month-long uprising, recently reiterated Riyadh’s rejection of “foreign adventures” in Bahrain.
“Persian [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) states have strategy to maintain their security,” Faisal said on July 5…
As, b at M of A, pointed out some of the unique features of those 200 Main Battle Tanks…
…But the question is not really about a $1+ billion tank deal with the Saudi, they do have lots of U.S. build M1A1 as well as British Challengers and could easily get more, the question is about the specific version of this first class tank the Saudis have asked for.
The Leopard II A7+ (PSO) variant was specifically developed for “Peace Support Operations”. Such Orwellian termed operations, as this video of a pretty lousy military show depicts, consist of suppressing demonstrations and rebellions as well as general fighting in urban terrain.
Hmmm… Yeppers, it’s all those pesky Iranians fault…
Btw, can we finally be rid of this annoying Beach Boy earworm…?
…There is almost “near certainty” that Netanyahu is “planning an attack [on Iran] … and it will probably be in September before the vote on a Palestinian state. And he’s also hoping to draw the United States into the conflict,” Baer explained.
….It should be noted that the Iranian regime is quite capable of triggering a war with the United States on its own through some combination of colossal stupidity and sheer hatred. In fact, Baer says, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would welcome a war. They are “paranoid.” They are “worried about … what’s happening to their country economically, in terms of the oil embargo and other sanctions.” And they are worried about a population that increasingly despises the regime.
They need an external enemy. Because we are leaving Iraq, it’s Israel. But in order to make this threat believable, they would love an attack on their nuclear facilities, love to go to war in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and Iraq and hit us where they could. Their defense is asymmetrical. We can take out all of their armored units. It’s of little difference to them, same with their surface-to-air missile sites. It would make little difference because they would use terrorism. They would do serious damage to our fleet in the Gulf.
Given all that, is it possible that the United States would allow Israel to attack when the president knows “we would be forced” to join the war on Israel’s side?
Baer’s response: “the President is up for re-election next year” and Israel is “truly out of control.”
What happens when you see 100 F-16′s approaching Iraq and there is a call to the White House [from Netanyahu] that says “We’re going in, we’re at war with Iran”? What does the President of the United States do? He has little influence over Bibi Netanyahu. …We can’t stop him. And he knows it.
Hmmm…! I suppose not…!
Now, this was some great news which actually did instill some hope in my cold, cynical heart…
The Arab League will ask the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians to full member status, a draft statement from a league meeting in Qatar said yesterday. “It was decided to go to the United Nations to request the recognition of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to move ahead and request a full membership,” said the communique.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the move, saying if the Palestinians really wanted peace, “they would sit down for negotiations, without preconditions. There is no replacement for negotiations. Unilateral steps will not bring peace closer and will not bring any solution.”…
First and foremost, I do want to emphasize the fact that this bit of news is a definitive positive step forward for the besieged Gazans…! However, as noted above and recently reported by Ma’an…
Report: Egypt working with Israel on Rafah policy
Egypt has explained to Israel that the Rafah crossing will not be used to transfer goods, and restrictions will be imposed on the movement of individuals, Israel radio reported Thursday.
According to political sources quoted in the report, Egyptian authorities are aware of the risk that “terrorist elements” could pass through Rafah, the sole non-Israeli entrance point, and Cairo will act accordingly.
Egypt said Wednesday it would open the crossing on a daily basis in a bid to ease the blockade.
The measure, which will come into force Saturday, will give Gazans a gateway to the world as Rafah is the only crossing which does not pass through Israel.
The frontier will now be opened for eight hours a day from 9:00 a.m., with the exception of Fridays and public holidays, Egypt’s official MENA news agency said. [...]
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum hailed the move as “a courageous and responsible decision which falls in line with Palestinian and Egyptian public opinion.”
“We hope that it is a step towards the complete lifting of the siege on Gaza,” he said in a statement, calling on the world “to follow Egypt’s example” in breaking the Israeli blockade which has been in place since 2006.
Plans to open the crossing on a permanent basis were first announced at the end of April, a day after Hamas reached a surprise reconciliation deal with its Fatah rivals who control the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority…
The Egyptians’ promise to open Rafah provided the necessary impetus for Hamas to reconcile with Fatah and/or the various Palestinian factions…
There will undoubtedly be those trying to proclaim that life is on the up and up in Gaza now and that the siege is over. But Gaza and the siege that entraps it is immensely complicated. Ignoring the nuances of this policy and thinking that Gaza is equivalent to a solid black box that just had its lid opened is entirely misleading…
What the Opening of Rafah Does Not Mean: The siege is over … By retaining total control over the other crossings, Israel is still able to maintain its siege policy to practically the same exact extent as before the opening of Rafah. Unless Egypt and Palestine completely revamp the Rafah crossing and the infrastructure around it on both sides of the border, this is unlikely to change …
Electricity and Water: …Gaza is overwhelmingly dependent on Israel when it comes to electricity … The Blockade: …Israel enforces its illegal naval blockade at the 3-nautical mile mark (most of the fish native to Gaza’s territorial waters are beyond this mark) and when Gaza’s fishermen get too close, they get shot… What the Opening of Rafah Does Mean: The Closing of A Dark Chapter in Egypt’s History…
…The siege of the Gaza Strip is a disgraceful policy that collectively punishes civilians in direct opposition to international humanitarian law and is an ugly scar on the conscience of the international community. Egypt, sadly, played an undeniable roll in this policy under the Mubarak regime despite the fact that most Egyptians vehemently disagreed with this policy. While the Egyptian closure of Rafah was a minor contributor to the overall effects of the siege compared to Israeli restrictions, Mubarak regime complicity was viewed as treacherous in the eyes of most in the Arab and Muslim world…
Basically, this only represents itty-bitty, baby steps towards alleviating the true hardships caused from Israel’s brutal, and illegal, siege of Gaza…
Protesters took to the streets on Friday for nationwide rallies against the ruling military council’s handling of post-Mubarak Egypt, in a call that has exposed political rifts.
In Cairo, tens of thousands of protesters packed into Tahrir Square — the symbolic heart of protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February — for the Muslim weekly prayers. [...]
Youth groups that helped to launch the uprising posts calls on Facebook urging Egyptians to take to the streets on Friday to rally for “an end to political corruption.”
Three months after the revolt, they are frustrated by the slow pace of democratic change, and are this time directing their anger at the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
While the revolt achieved its aim of ousting Mubarak, the unelected military retains absolute power in Egypt.
Protesters want a civilian government, a new constitution, the acceleration of trials of former regime figures and their removal from top jobs in the police, universities and other public institutions.
Naturally, Israel wasn’t so accommodating for Friday’s Palestinian ‘Day of Anger’…
…Israeli forces shut down anti-wall protests in villages across the West Bank on Friday.
The Israeli army says the unarmed weekly protests in Palestinian villages are illegal.
Asked why the protests were illegal, an army spokesman said the areas between Israel’s separation wall and villages Ni’lin and Bil’in, near Ramallah, were declared “closed military zones” every Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Any civilian who entered the area was breaking Israeli law, the army official said,
Palestinians, Israelis and foreign nationals join protests every Friday in villages along Israel’s separation wall, which runs deep inside the West Bank and confiscates villagers’ land.
The International Court of Justice and Israel’s Supreme Court have ruled that the route of the wall is illegal under international law. [...]
“Popular committee coordinator Mahmud Zawahra said villagers would continue to protest Israel’s confiscation of their land “despite Israel’s suppression.”
…”Things will get better,” said a Palestinian engineer from Gaza, who once studied and now works in a Swedish town south of Stockholm.
What he meant was that things will get better at the border crossing, in terms of the relationship between Gaza and Egypt. Without a decisive Egyptian decision to reopen the crossing — completely — Gaza will continue to reel under the Israeli siege.
Others agree, but Gazans have learned not to become too confident about political statements promising positive changes.
However, the Egypt of today belongs to an entirely different political category to the Egypt of Hosni Mubarak’s leadership. Palestinians, especially those trapped behind the shut borders in Gaza, are well aware of this. Still they are cautious…
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs chairwoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., released a statement saying:
According to existing U.S. law, such a hybrid government cannot be a recipient of U.S. taxpayer funds because the law stipulates that the PA government must recognize the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist, among other things. Therefore, in order to implement existing law, the U.S. must end assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
The congresswoman’s sentiments were echoed by Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the highest-ranking Democrat on the House foreign aid subcommittee, as the Washington Post reports. The White House too reiterated that Hamas is a “terrorist organization.”
“The purported deal, which does not require Hamas to accept Israel’s right to exist, or the binding nature of prior Palestinian commitments, or even to require Hamas to temporarily forego violence against Israel (as if it were some kind barbaric of addiction, or compulsion), is a recipe for failure, mixed with violence, leading to disaster. It is a ghastly mistake that I fear will be paid for in the lives of innocent Israelis.
“Rather than seizing the dynamic of this amazing Arab Spring to simply push for national elections and constitutional reform, the leadership of the Palestinian Authority has once again naively decided to test the trustworthiness of a bloody-handed bunch of terrorist want-to-be theocrats. While this step may be popular among Palestinians, many of whom wish to preserve the fantasy that they can have peace and so-called ‘resistantance’(also known in English as terrorism), the reality is that they can’t.
“As in prior cases, the United States will be compelled by both law and decency to withhold any assistance that could fall into the hands or control or even partial control of anyone reporting to, or belonging to a terrorist entity, as is Hamas. And in the current political climate, even assistance that would otherwise have gone to parts of the Palestinian Authority untainted by terrorism may no longer be salvageable.”
“For months, President Abbas has refused partnership with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in pursuing peace negotiations. It now appears that he is writing off partnership with the United States in helping to govern and develop Palestinian society.”
“It’s certainly historic leadership. Just not the good kind.”
What a fool tool…!
Now, one of the under-reported stories, at least in our Israeli-centric MSM, fundamental to this whole push for ‘Unity’, is the fact that both, Hamas and Fatah, are being forced to the ‘table’, by the Palestinians themselves…! Do you seriously think Hamas and Fatah are doing this willingly? They’ve tried and failed many times already…!
Arab Spring Pushes Palestinian Rivals Hamas and Fatah to Reconcile
…Changes in the region were key in pushing both sides to the table. While Fatah’s Abbas has sought to bridge the divide in recent months, he was motivated by the failure of his talks with the US and Israel to deliver tangible progress, says Abusada, pointing to the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank. Fatah was also facing popular pressure for reconciliation. [...]
Gad says the upheaval currently under way in Syria, which hosts Hamas’s politburo, was likely a factor pushing the organization to the table. And it also couldn’t ignore the impatience of Gazans, who were tired of living under the blockade Israel imposed after Hamas took control of Gaza. As the wave of protests swept the region, Gazans organized protests of their own against Hamas, which were swiftly put down by Hamas security forces.
But the initial signs on the ground in Gaza were not positive, says Abusada. When Gazans went to a central Gaza City square to celebrate the announcement, they were dispersed by baton-wielding Hamas policemen. “That makes me wonder whether Hamas on the ground and Al Qassam is going to accept this and is ready to implement it,” he says.
…Al Jazeera’s Cal Perry in Ramallah said that there was a feeling among Palestinians that the peace process was at an impasse.
“There is clearly a feeling here on the ground that the peace process has broken down, that there is no more point in negotiating unless the Israelis are willing to bring more to the table,” he said.
On the matter of Erekat’s successor, he said that his sources were saying “there’s no point. Why would we have a chief negotiator if there are no negotiations?”
Hanan Ashrawi, who is on the PLO’s Executive Committee, told Al Jazeera that the peace talks were in trouble long before the Palestine Papers were released.
“There has not been a [peace] process. There have been sporadic attempts by the Americans to replace substance and objectives with negotiations, as though that was the end.
“We said no to that; either you make Israel comply to the freeze and stop all settlements and you articulate the objectives and the terms of reference [of the negotiations] with in a specific time frame, or there is no use of entering into an endless process which Israel exploits in order to create facts on the ground and to annex East Jerusalem,” Ashrawi said.
Palestinian Authority Negotiator Saeb Erekat said that a two-state solution was necessary for a wider strategy of promoting moderation and fighting extremists in the Middle East, UK newspaper the Guardian reported on Wednesday.
“If there wasn’t an Israeli embassy in Cairo,” he said, “Bin Laden would be there and if there wasn’t one in Amman [Bin Laden's deputy] Zawahiri would set up shop too.”
According to leaked “Palestine Papers,” in October 2009 the PA negotiator told US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, “Ahmadinejad is in Gaza and Lebanon. Pakistan is going failed. The Arab states are doing nothing.”
Erekat stated that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tried to persuade a Palestinian businessman to contribute $50 million to a radio station for the Iranian opposition after the country’s tumultuous elections in 2009, reported the Guardian.
He cited this request as evidence of the Palestinian Authority’s support for US strategic goals in the region. [...]
“If other countries think they can use Hamas as a card we will do the same with them. We are not running a charity. Iran is playing games, they are using Hamas as a card.”
…Commenting on the news, Dr. Hassan Abu Hashish, the head of the Palestinian government’s media office in Gaza, said that Erikat’s resignation pointed to the state of failure accompanying the negotiations process.
He told the PIC that the failure was not for Erikat alone but for the entire trend he represented, championing a change to the Palestinian rule led by Abbas, which led the Palestinian people to an abyss.
It is about time for the Palestinian political spectrum to draft a new national leadership for the Palestinian people based on rights and constants, Abu Hashish underlined.
For his part, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said that Erikat’s resignation was not enough, adding that all those involved in offering concessions as revealed by the leaked papers should be brought to account.
He demanded the formation of a national investigative committee to probe the role of each and every one involved in the corruption and conspiracies against the Palestinian people.
Barhoum, hoping that Erikat’s resignation would signal a real and rooted change in the PA, he urged the PA in Ramallah to declare failure of the negotiations and an end to the entire process.
Now, about the planned announcement of holding new PA elections that was subsequently buried by Erekat’s resignation…
…the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority watched events in Egypt on Friday, then chose Saturday to announce that they would hold new elections, after all.
Balloting for Palestinian president and the legislature was originally scheduled for 2010, but was called off because the government is divided into warring factions. According to the results of the last round of elections, the militant Islamist Hamas is the ruling party in the legislature, while Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is the president. New elections are long overdue, but the reality on the ground is that Fatah rules the 2.4 million Palestinians who live on the West Bank, while Hamas governs the Gaza Strip, home to another 1.5 million citizens. And in response to the latest announcement, Hamas made clear that Gaza would not be participating in the proposed poll.
“This procedure is invalid because President Abbas has no legitimacy and is not fit to organise such elections,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told reporters.
…Talk of reconciliation is so far just talk, as each side hunts activists of the other. West Bank security forces work with Israeli intelligence to locate and jail Hamas operatives; Hamas enforces brutal discipline over all Gaza rivals.
I should point out the fact that the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process has been brokered all along by the Arab League and it’s Egyptian head, Amr Moussa, who just happened to announce today… Amr Moussa to leave Arab League…
…“We are not clairvoyant,” said the director, James R. Clapper Jr., at a hearing of the House intelligence committee.
The intelligence community has faced criticism for failing to provide a clearer warning, or more timely descriptions, of the fast-moving developments in Egypt. [...]
But Mr. Clapper, and also Leon E. Panetta, the director of central intelligence, suggested that it would always be difficult to know precisely when a potentially critical situation would turn explosive — to know, for example, when a frustrated merchant in Tunisia would set himself afire, an event that indirectly fed into the Egyptian crisis.
“Specific triggers for how and when instability would lead to the collapse of various regimes cannot always be known or predicted,” Mr. Clapper said, at a hearing on worldwide threats to the United States. “What intelligence can do in most cases is reduce the uncertainty for decision makers, but not necessarily eliminate it.”
Mr. Panetta, in turn, said that last year nearly 400 intelligence reports were produced on problems in the region: “the regressive regimes, the economic and political instability, a stagnation, the lack of freedoms, the need for political reforms.” But he, too, said that intelligence agencies needed to do better in identifying triggering events.
‘Triggering Events’…? By then the horses have already bolted…!
Why can’t they see the forest for the trees…? I mean really…?
Panetta states the obvious root causes… “the regressive regimes, the economic and political instability, a stagnation, the lack of freedoms, the need for political reforms.” Yet, our only answers to those fundamental problems has been to send more American-built tanks and tear gas canisters…!
Now, Al Jazeera has an excellent shot of the Tahrir Square’s immediate response to Mubarak’s tone deaf speech, waving their shoes…
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down and transferred his authority to the Egyptian Higher Council of the Armed Forces, a senior Egyptian official confirmed Thursday.
This body is comprised of the minister of defense, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi along with the military’s chief of staff, the chief of operations, and commanders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Air Defenses.
Statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces:
“Based on the responsibility of the Armed Forces, and its commitment to protect the people, and to oversee their interests and security, and with a view to the safety of the nation and the citizenry, and of the achievements and properties of the great people of Egypt, and in affirmation and support for the legitimate demands of the people, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces convened today, 10 February 2011, to consider developments to date, and decided to remain in continuous session to consider what procedures and measures that may be taken to protect the nation, and the achievements and aspirations of the great people of Egypt.”
Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak transferred ‘all of his power’ to Vice President Omar Suleiman, making him the ‘de facto’ leader of the country, the Egyptian ambassador in Washington said in an interview with CNN.
Mubarak ‘has transferred his authority to the vice president to undertake all presidential authority that is incorporated in the constitution,’ the ambassador, Sameh Shoukry, said Thursday.
‘The vice president is the de facto president,’ he said.
Shoukry said he had spoken with Suleiman and received clarification following Mubarak’s speech, in which he said power had been transferred to the vice president. But there was some confusion about how much authority Mubarak would retain.
When pressed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about whether Mubarak no longer had power, Shoukry replied: ‘That is certainly an interpretation you can make.’
Unfortunately, one does not need to be clairvoyant to agree with El Baradei’s tweet… “Egypt is about to explode. The military must get involved and take immediate action to save the country.”
Btw, why are we only hearing *crickets* from the Obama Administration on the latest developments…? Update: A WH response finally…!
The Palestine Papers prove beyond a doubt that every party in the room has blood on their hands. The needless bloodshed needs to stop now! Many are clasping their hands proclaiming that the ‘Peace Process’ is dead… bullshit! The current cast of ‘bad faith’ actors needs to be replaced! Israel is a Sovereign nation and responsible for their’s, but, the US and the PA/Fatah actors should exit stage left. The UN needs to step in and replace every IOF soldier in the OPT, along the Gaza Wall, and, in Gazan waters with a Blue Helmet…!
The UN needs to force Israel to withdraw the IOF fully within the ’67 borders. Allow the UN to run the ‘blockade’. Have the UN mediate the Settler/Palestinian disputes, seriously, that would provide much needed breathing space for real Peace to occur…!
Now, let’s look at the current tempest in the Middle East Teapot…
Gamal Mubarak, the son and putative successor of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, fled to London on Wednesday morning.
The plane with Gamal Mubarak, his wife and daughter on board left for London Tuesday from an airport in western Cairo, the website Akhbar al-Arab said.
The report came as violent unrest broke out in Cairo and other Egyptian cities and hundreds of thousands of people reportedly took to the streets in a Tunisia-inspired day of revolt.
The protesters want Egyptian government to end its 30-year state of emergency and pass a law preventing a president from serving more than two terms, and want the Interior Minister Habib al-Adly to resign.
It would appear that Foggy Bottom is still clueless…
…U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said that the United States believed that the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in power for three decades, was stable and looking for ways to meet the Egyptian people’s aspirations.
“We support the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people and we urge that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence,” Clinton told reporters in response to a question at a news conference.
“Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” she added.
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