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Israel Denies Arrest of "Mossad Spy" in Egypt (BBC News)
Israel has denied Egyptian claims that a suspected Mossad spy was arrested in Cairo.
"There is no such thing, no Israeli agent has been arrested in Egypt," Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Monday.
See also Alleged Spy Is U.S. Law Student - Amy Teibel (AP)
Friends and relatives of Ilan Grapel, 27, who was arrested in Egypt on spy charges, said Monday he is a law student at Emory University in Atlanta who was spending the summer in Cairo as an intern at a legal aid group.
An Israeli official said Grapel's case was being handled by the U.S. and not Israel because he entered Egypt with an American passport.
See also Details Emerge about Alleged Spy in Egypt (AP)
An acquaintance of Ilan Grapel told Israel Radio on Monday that he moved to Israel in his early 20s from the U.S., served in the military and was wounded in combat in 2006. He has an avid interest in Islam and the Middle East and speaks Arabic.
Grapel appears to have been traveling under his real name, making it unlikely he is in fact a Mossad agent.
How the Arab Spring Has Weakened U.S. Intelligence - Christopher Dickey
With dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen collapsed or collapsing, America’s spies have lost many of their most valued allies in the war against the jihadists.
The key to defending Americans and U.S. interests from attacks by jihadists is either to insert spies into their organizations or to persuade people who are already inside to talk.
The Americans have spent long years building liaison relationships with key figures in the military and intelligence apparatuses of countries across the Middle East who might deliver that kind of detailed information.
But now, says Christopher Boucek of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "the Libyans, the Tunisians, the Egyptians, the Yemenis - they are either gone or going."
Poll: Americans Continue to Sympathize with Israel (Pew Research Center)
Far more Americans continue to say they sympathize with Israel rather than the Palestinians (by 48% to 11%), according to a poll conducted May 25-30.
50% say President Obama is striking the right balance in the Middle East, while 21% say he favored the Palestinians too much and 6% say he favored Israel too much.
Poll: 26 Percent of Americans Favor Continued Military Action in Libya (Rasmussen Reports)
A new national survey finds that just 26% of likely voters feel the U.S. should continue its military actions in Libya. 42% are opposed and 32% are undecided.
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- Syrian State Document: Assad Orchestrated Nakba Day Raids on Golan Heights - Michael Weiss
A Syrian state document leaked by the governor of Quneitra in southwest Syria suggests that the regime fully orchestrated the "Nakba Day" raids by Palestinians into the Golan Heights on May 15.
The document describes an "urgent meeting" of Maj.-Gen. Asef Shawkat, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, and the chiefs of security and military intelligence in Quneitra province.
The memorandum outlines how the regime ordered the dispatching of 20 buses to the border to precipitate a confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers and UN peacekeeping forces, thereby distracting international attention from the Syrian revolution.
"All security, military, and contingent units in the province...are hereby ordered to grant permission of passage to all twenty vehicles (47 passenger capacity) with the attached plate numbers that are scheduled to arrive at ten in the morning on Sunday, May 15, 2011, without being questioned or stopped until they reach the frontier defense locations. Permission is hereby granted allowing approaching crowds to cross the cease-fire line (with Israel)."
"Captain Samer Shahin from the military intelligence division is hereby appointed to the leadership of the group assigned to break in and infiltrate deep into the occupied Syrian Golan Heights with a specified pathway to avoid land mines.
It is essential to ensure that no one carries military identification or a weapon as they enter with a strict emphasis on the peaceful and spontaneous nature of the protest."
The writer is Communications Director of the Henry Jackson Society.
- Hizbullah Dominates New Cabinet in Lebanon - Zeina Karam
Lebanon Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced Monday a new Cabinet dominated by Hizbullah and its allies, giving Hizbullah's patrons Syria and Iran greater sway in the Middle East.
The ascendancy of Hizbullah is a setback for the U.S., which has provided Lebanon with $720 million in military aid since 2006 and has tried in vain to move the country firmly into a Western sphere and end Iranian and Syrian influence. It also underscores Iran's growing influence in the region at a time when Washington's is falling.
See also Key U.S. Lawmaker Urges Aid Cut-off for Lebanon
"The U.S. should immediately cut off assistance to the Lebanese government as long as any violent extremist group designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization participates in it," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said Monday.
"Hizbullah and its cohorts will control the Lebanese government and likely benefit from the years of U.S. assistance, including to the Lebanese military."
"The U.S. should likewise stop funding the Palestinian Authority, where Hamas appears to be following in Hizbullah's footsteps," she said.
- Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Forms Coalition with Liberal Party - Leila Fadel
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood on Monday announced it intends to join forces with the Wafd Party, a liberal party established just after World War I, to run on one candidate list in the elections scheduled for September. The move is likely to be a significant boost for the Brotherhood, a well-organized political group that expects to take a third of parliament's seats.
"This may give them [the Brotherhood] a very solid base in areas [where] they hadn't previously been strong," said Elijah Zarwan, an Egypt researcher at the International Crisis Group. "It's a very significant switch." (Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Italian PM Rejects Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Statehood - Gil Hoffman
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reiterated his opposition to UN recognition of a Palestinian state at the General Assembly session in September, following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday. He also offered to host peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in Sicily. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Netanyahu-Berlusconi Press Conference (Prime Minister's Office)
- Israel Nabs Gaza Terrorist - Hanan Greenberg
Israel Security Agency (ISA) officers operating in Gaza in May arrested Ayub Azam Abu-Karim, 22, a wanted terror suspect linked to dozens of attacks against Israeli targets, including placing explosives, shooting attacks, and firing rockets and mortar shells. Both the IDF and the ISA conduct periodic sweeps near the Gaza border. Karim's arrest was another indication of the existence of smaller terror entities in Gaza, which follow Hamas orders without officially declaring their affiliation with it. The "Defenders of al-Aqsa," a Hamas offshoot, enjoys direct funding from Fathi Hamad, the Hamas interior minister in Gaza.
- Obama's Formulation on 1967 Lines Marks a Change in U.S. Policy - Ron Kampeas
President Obama's "1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps" formulation represents a substantive - if subtle - break with his recent predecessors. While Obama's predecessors have recognized the 1967 lines as a Palestinian aspiration, Obama has embraced those lines (again, with swaps) as U.S. policy.
Under Bush's formulation, an Israeli negotiator can look at a 2011 map, assess what Israel holds, and calculate what it can safely keep and what it can "generously" cede.
Under Obama's formulation, the same negotiator starts with the 1967 map, compares it to the 2011 map - and argues Israel's case for keeping certain areas.
That's a substantive difference.
- Erdogan: Ottoman Echoes Growing Louder - J.E. Dyer
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a comfortable majority in Turkey's parliamentary election on 12 June - not enough to change the constitution but with a solid 325 out of 550 seats, and a higher margin of victory than AKP achieved in 2007. In his victory speech, Erdogan alluded to Turkey's aspiration to be a voice in the West for Muslims: "Sarajevo won today as much as Istanbul, Beirut won as much as Izmir, Damascus won as much as Ankara, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, the West Bank, Jerusalem won as much as Diyarbakir."
It is imperialist at worst, absurdly arrogant at best, to speak of your electoral victories as conferring benefits on foreign humanity - especially on those once occupied by your nation in its days of empire.
Erdogan knows perfectly well that naming cities in the West Bank and concluding with "Jerusalem" (which he called Al-Quds) implies a direct Turkish interest in the disposition of these cities that evokes the era when they, too, were under Ottoman rule. (Hot Air)
- Syria and the Arab Silence...Again - Tariq Alhomayed
The death toll of innocent Syrians has surpassed one thousand, not to mention the tens of thousands of prisoners and those reported missing, yet the Arabs have not uttered a single word.
Footage was released every day revealing the crimes committed by the regime against the Syrians, revealing the humiliation and torture of children, youths and the elderly. We saw an old man moaning as he was kicked in the face by the Syrian regime's men. We saw a group of these men take a photo standing on the back of the Syrian man after they had kicked him with their shoes. Demonstrations are prevalent in Syrian cities and towns, even the most obscure ones, with everyone coming out against the regime.
How can the Arabs rise up against Gaddafi, and call for the international community to take a decisive stand against him, while they do nothing about the Syrian regime? (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
See also Lebanon on the Verge of Crisis - Dawood al-Shirian
The Syrian-Lebanese border is witnessing a marked presence of the Syrian army. In the meantime, their presence is not met by any kind of official Lebanese objection. Furthermore, Hizbullah has deployed heavy weapons in the region, indicating that what is happening on the border line is taking place with Lebanese coordination.
There is no doubt that the Syrian regime will not remain silent while watching Syrian citizens and defecting soldiers cross to north Lebanon and Turkey, which is creating increasing international pressure.
If Damascus fails to distract everyone's attention by creating tension on its borders with Israel and Turkey, then it may try to ignite its border with Lebanon and mix the Lebanese-Palestinian cards.
Saving the Yale Anti-Semitism Institute - Walter Reich (Washington Post)
Yale just killed the country's best institute for the study of anti-Semitism - the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism. Why? The answer is simple.
- The institute held a three-day conference last August on "Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity," where more than a hundred scholars delivered papers. Some spoke, inevitably, about the fastest-growing and most virulent manifestation of contemporary anti-Semitism - the anti-Semitism in the Arab/Muslim world.
- The conference provoked a firestorm. A Syrian American law student published a broadside in the Yale Daily News attacking the institute and the conference as fueling "anti-Arab bigotry and Islamophobia." The PLO representative to the U.S. wrote to Yale's president accusing the conference of demonizing Arabs.
- Yale administrators and faculty quickly turned on the institute, accusing it of being too critical of Arab and Iranian anti-Semitism.
A requisite five-year review of the institute was held five months after the conference. Its director was told that the institute would be shut down and its staff fired.
The writer, professor of international affairs, ethics and human behavior at George Washington University, is a former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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