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Libya's Revolution Impacts on EU Oil and Gas Supplies - Simon Henderson and David Schenker (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
Most of Libya's oil goes to Europe, with Italy importing about a third.
Germany, France, and Spain are also significant purchasers, and even China takes 10% of Libyan oil.
A 370-mile undersea pipeline transports natural gas from Libya to Sicily, from which it is piped to the Italian mainland. Libya also ships liquefied gas to Spain.
See also Libya's Impact on Oil - Javier Blas (Financial Times-UK)
Eni of Italy and Repsol YPF of Spain have shut down vast amounts of oil production in Libya.
So far, about 22% of the country's production has been lost, but the figure could very well be higher.
Oil prices have surged to a 2 1/2-year high of almost $110 a barrel because of the crisis.
Dan Shapiro to Be U.S. Envoy to Israel - Laura Rozen (Politico)
The Obama administration plans to nominate Dan Shapiro, the National Security Council's Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa, to be the next U.S. envoy to Israel.
Shapiro speaks fluent Hebrew.
Video: Muslims Demonstrate at Tunis Synagogue - (YouTube/JTA)
On Feb. 11, dozens of Muslim demonstrators gathered in front of the main synagogue in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, and chanted anti-Jewish epithets.
Mideast Upheaval Not Connected to Israel - Danny Ayalon (Huffington Post)
The UNDP Human Development Report for Arab states in 2009, co-authored by Arab scholars, is a virtual roadmap for the events that took place during the last few weeks.
The report stated that the Arab world is lacking in all areas of human development, such as freedom, women empowerment and education. In addition, nearly 40% of the Arab world lives below the international poverty line.
I didn't see any signs about settlements, the Palestinians or the stalemate in the peace process on the streets of Tunis, Sanaa or Cairo.
The writer is Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Judge: Seattle Metro Bus Company Doesn't Have to Run Israel "War Crimes" Ads (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Federal Judge Richard A. Jones has rejected an attempt to force King County to run ads on Metro buses that were critical of Israel.
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- Gaddafi's Grip on the Capital Tightens as Revolt Grows - Kareem Fahim and David D. Kirkpatrick
Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya tightened his grip on the capital, Tripoli, on Tuesday after a bloody crackdown, as the eastern half of the country was slipping beyond his control. After a televised speech by Gaddafi, thousands of his supporters converged in the city's central Green Square, where many were loaded into trucks and sent to conduct searches for demonstrators. Witnesses said that on Monday, groups of heavily armed militiamen and mercenaries from other African countries cruised the streets in pickup trucks, spraying crowds with machine-gun fire.
(New York Times)
See also Libya's Butcher - Editorial
Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya vowed on Tuesday that he would "fight on to the last drop of my blood" and die a "martyr." What he really meant is that he will butcher and martyr his own people in his desperation to hold on to power. Gaddafi's brutal suppression of antigovernment demonstrations has left no doubt that he is still an international criminal. He must be condemned and punished by the international community.
(New York Times)
See also The Mad Dog of the Middle East - Sami Moubayed
The writer is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Syria.
(Asia Times-Hong Kong)
- After Mubarak, Israel Is Unsettled Over Hamas - Richard Boudreaux and Charles Levinson
Senior Hamas military commander Ayman Nofal, who escaped from confinement in Egypt during a mass prison break, returned to Gaza where he told an interviewer: "We're preparing for the next battle." Two Israeli officials familiar with intelligence reports said this week that Hamas, emboldened by Mubarak's resignation and its own successful crackdown on popular discontent at home, had stepped up the smuggling of militants and weapons through Egypt to be stockpiled in Gaza for use against Israel. "It's not just terrorists coming in. It's dangerous equipment - Grad-type missiles, anti-aircraft missiles," a senior Israeli official said.
On Friday, the influential Islamic cleric Yussuf al-Qaradawi, speaking at a large opposition rally, urged Egypt's interim military rulers to open "dignified negotiations" with Hamas and lift a wider blockade of Gaza that Mubarak had coordinated with Israel.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Faces Prospect of Democracy Amid Internal Discord - Ernesto Londono and Leila Fadel
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition movement, soon will face competition from emerging political factions led by tech-savvy young Egyptians, as the country gears up for what could be its first fair election.
The Islamist group also is facing internal discord, with a handful of young members breaking away. Some say they disapprove of its rigid top-down leadership structure and its politics. "In light of the oppression of Mubarak, the group was cohesive, one body," said Abdel Moneim Mahmoud, an Egyptian journalist and former member. "Now there is freedom. Many ideas will come to the surface and break some of that cohesion."
Political analysts say the Brotherhood is deliberately keeping a low profile because its leaders are concerned that showing more ambition could backfire by stirring fear in the West and among secular Egyptians. "You don't know if what they say is what they want, and that's the big concern," a Western diplomat said.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- "Israel Has Shown Genuine Desire to Renew Negotiations" - Herb Keinon
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking Tuesday at the annual EU-Israel Association Council meeting in Brussels, presented EU foreign ministers with a document contrasting Israel's confidence-building measures toward the Palestinians with the PA's "confrontational conduct."
Lieberman said Israel has taken numerous steps to improve life for the Palestinians and shown a genuine desire to renew negotiations.
By contrast, "during this time the Palestinians have worked in the opposite direction and have done everything to upset relations between the sides, in the belief that this will win them sympathy and support in the international community."
Lieberman said "poverty and misery" are the main reasons for the unrest in Arab countries, and that there was no link between that turmoil and the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process.
A paper prepared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the Palestinians were "violating the Oslo Accords" by attempting to change the status of the disputed territories, inciting against Israel, acting against Israel within international organizations, organizing boycotts, glorifying suicide terrorists and encouraging terrorism.
- Israel: Arab Protests Offer an "Opportunity for Peace" - Ora Coren
Israeli President Shimon Peres told the Spanish Parliament Tuesday that he sees the revolutions that toppled the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes as "opportunities for peace." "We believe the biggest guarantee of peace is having democratic neighbors. We are happy to witness this democratic revolution taking place in the Arab world." (Ha'aretz)
- Is the Arab-Israeli Conflict the Axis of Global Conflict? - James Kirchick
The notion that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the deus ex machina of global politics - that most of the problems in the Muslim world will be easier to solve, or will solve themselves, once it is fixed - is something that has been drummed into the heads of Westerners for decades by Arab propagandists. Deal with the Palestinian issue, they say, before telling me how to reform my own decrepit and corrupt political system. The obtuseness of these instructions is now on full view in the streets of Cairo, where a sclerotic and oppressive political order is facing an existential challenge, and the protesters who brought it down have done so for reasons having absolutely nothing to do with their Arab brethren in Gaza or the West Bank.
To fully appreciate the silliness behind linkage, ask yourself, every time a suicide bomb goes off in Karachi, Baghdad or anywhere else in the Muslim world: "Would this not have happened if the Palestinians had a state?" The Palestinians are a mere talking point for Islamists, who have far greater grievances. Will the Iranians will stop arming Hizbullah and Hamas if Israel just returns to the 1967 borders?
The condition of Palestinian statelessness is a symptom of both Iran's hegemonic ambitions and Arab rejection. Deal with these first-order problems and the Palestinians would have a state in short order. To mistake the consequence for the cause, and to invest Palestinian statehood with monumental importance by trumpeting it as the world's most pressing concern, is delusional.
The writer is a contributing editor of The New Republic.
- How Freedom's Foes Exploit Arab Unrest - John Bolton
Iran's power is dramatically enhanced by the consequences of the region's anti-regime demonstrations. When strong Sunni Arab governments are replaced by newer, unsteady regimes, Iran sees weakness to exploit for its own strategic purposes. In Egypt, Mubarak's fall inevitably means more internal focus, and less energy opposing Iran's regional hegemonic efforts. Moreover, Mubarak's successor will likely be less sympathetic to the Camp David Accords. The writer is a former U.S. ambassador to the UN.
(New York Post)
- Little Hope of Democracy as Arab Despots Overthrown - Kevin Myers
Across the Western world, as massacre and oppression mark the last days of secular Arab despotisms, there is almost silence. Had the butchery of Tripoli or Cairo or Yemen taken place in Israel, hundreds of thousands of protesters in European capitals would have been denouncing the cruel Jews.
Had U.S. journalist Lara Logan been grabbed and sexually violated by a mob of Israeli men, feminists across the world would rightly have been protesting. But she was instead the victim of a frenzied sex attack in Cairo by a score of Arabs, and there is accordingly silence.
In an ever-changing world, some things never change: to some in the West, the only real villains in the Middle East can only ever be Jewish.
Amnesia on the Muslim Brotherhood - Arnaud de Borchgrave (UPI)
The Muslim Brotherhood, under a different name, still managed to pull 20% in elections rigged to favor Mubarak's party. Now the Brotherhood plans to enter candidates under its own name - and straw polls indicate it may muster up to 40% of the vote.
- Like Hizbullah in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood has camouflaged its strategic objectives in charitable social work, sports clubs and prayer meetings. Its disinformation arsenal contains the political equivalent of dental laughing gas, designed to elicit lightheadedness as well as warm and fuzzy feelings.
- Sheik Yussuf al-Qaradawi, 84, the Muslim Brotherhood's chief theoretician, returned to Egypt after a 50-year absence to address a million-plus crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The hero of Egypt's revolution, Wael Ghonim, the head of Google marketing in the Middle East whose Tweets and Facebook postings were credited with laying the groundwork for the popular uprising, was barred from the stage by Qaradawi's bodyguards.
- The Muslim Brotherhood's official Web site says Jihad is Islam's most important tool in a gradual takeover, beginning with the Muslim nations and moving on to restoring the caliphate over three continents for a conquest of the West.
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