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March 7, 2011

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Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Leader in Tehran Calls for Israel to Be "Wiped Off the Map" - Amir Taheri (New York Post)
    This week, Kamal al-Halbawi became the first Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader to visit Tehran. There he announced that he wanted for Egypt what Iran has today: "a true Islamic state."
    "Egypt and the world of Islam as a whole need leaders like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," he said.
    Egypt should join "a new world order with Iran and Venezuela plus Hizbullah and Hamas to chase away the Americans."
    "Every night when I go to bed, I pray to wake up the next day to see Israel is wiped off the map."

Hamas Asks Rival Fatah to Reconcile for "Jihad" Against Israel (AFP-Jordan Times)
    Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal on Sunday called for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah based on "jihad" against Israel, in a speech in Khartoum broadcast live on Sudanese state television.
    "The first step [to liberating Jerusalem] is refusal to negotiate with Israel...and to establish a new, reconciled Palestinian position based on jihad," he said.
    Sudan's President Omar Bashir said, "What is going in the region is a prelude to the battle for Jerusalem. And we are committed to supporting the [Palestinian] people of Jerusalem in their jihad."

Obsession with Israel Makes Us All Ignorant - Robin Shepherd (Jewish Chronicle-UK)
    One of the most noteworthy consequences of the current wave of protests and revolutions across the Arab world is that when you click on the Middle East section of the BBC website something extraordinary happens: you are no longer bombarded with the word "Israel."
    The obsession with Israel is not just making us sick - societally, morally, civilizationally - it is also making us stupid.
    People watching and reading the major media outlets can tell you the names of suburbs of east Jerusalem. Ask them to name the capital city of Jordan, and most will struggle.
    The bright lights of publicity suddenly go dark over the Middle East when Jews cannot be held responsible for misbehavior.

Harvard for Tyrants - Douglas Farah (Foreign Policy)
    Gaddafi's World Revolutionary Center (WRC) near Benghazi became, as scholar Stephen Ellis noted in his classic 2001 book The Mask of Anarchy, the "Harvard and Yale of a whole generation of African revolutionaries," many of them the continent's most notorious tyrants.
    There, recruits from different countries were given training in weapons and intelligence techniques, with some doses of ideological training based on Gaddafi's Green Book.
    In addition to African contingents, Gaddafi's cadres trained the Sandinistas from Nicaragua, along with other Latin American revolutionary movements.
    Its alumni still in power include Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and Idriss Deby of Chad.
    See also "Huda the Executioner" - Libya's Devil in Female Form - Nick Meo (Telegraph-UK)

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Gaddafi Forces Repel Libyan Opposition, Escalate Counterattack - Steve Hendrix , Anthony Faiola and Samuel Sockol
    Moammar Gaddafi's loyalists escalated a lethal counterattack on Sunday, heightening assaults on rebel-held cities near Tripoli and pushing back opposition forces attempting to advance toward the capital. Gaddafi's expanding campaign appeared to dash rebel hopes of putting a swift end to his rule. (Washington Post)
        See also Syrian Pilots Shot Down in Libya? - Michael Rubin
    The civil war in Libya has become essentially a tribal conflict, with Gaddafiís Gadhadfa tribe versus everyone else. Al-Jazeera is reporting that Gadhadfa officers executed 20 officers from the Firjan tribe who refused to fire on their fellow Libyans. Al Jazeera is also reporting that free Libyan forces have downed two Syrian planes in Ras Lanuf, about 400 km. west of Benghazi. (Commentary)
  • Egyptian Protesters Overrun State Security Headquarters in Cairo - William Wan and Liz Sly
    Hundreds of protesters stormed the headquarters of Egypt's State Security Investigations agency in Cairo on Saturday, marking another step toward dismantling the administration of ousted President Hosni Mubarak. State Security was responsible for suppressing domestic political dissent, as well as for internal counterterrorism, and had a reputation for torturing detainees. (Washington Post)
  • Middle East Protest Has Limited Impact for Palestinians - Joel Greenberg
    While throngs have taken to the streets to oust autocratic rulers and demand political freedoms in neighboring Arab countries, protests in the West Bank and Gaza have been much more modest, and protesters have not called for the ouster of their own leaders. Abed Jabaiah, an appliance store owner, explained: PA President Mahmoud Abbas, elected in 2005, is not an autocratic ruler who has seized and held power for decades; Palestinians in the West Bank enjoy a measure of free expression; and their standard of living is better than in many neighboring Arab countries.
        Furthermore, the split between Hamas and Fatah also had a chilling effect on attempts to demonstrate against the leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza. Anti-government dissent in either place is often viewed as support for the rival faction. In addition, Abbas' refusal to negotiate with Israel has resonated positively among Palestinians, blunting anti-government sentiment. (Washington Post)
        See also All Quiet on the West Bank - Josef Olmert (Huffington Post)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Netanyahu Blames Palestinians for Avoiding Peace Process - Barak Ravid
    "We are prepared to sit down and negotiate peace," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Sunday. "And the Palestinians have found a variety of excuses not to do so." Netanyahu said the Palestinians were avoiding talks because they are hoping to persuade the international community to impose a solution to the conflict. "Basically, they say, we don't have to negotiate, we can sit back, we can teach our children to idolize mass killers - they named a public square in Ramallah 10 minutes from here for a terrorist who murdered 400 innocent Israelis. They can do that and get away with it," Netanyahu said.
        After listing Israeli gestures aimed at advancing the peace process, including the 10-month freeze on settlement construction and the removal of numerous checkpoints and roadblocks, he added, "Unfortunately, everything that we did...[was] met with no response by the Palestinian Authority."  (Ha'aretz)
  • New Egyptian Leaders Not Israel's Best Friends - Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel
    The new Egyptian prime minister, Essam Sharaf, was never a great fan of the peace agreement with Israel. He opposed normalization between the countries so long as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict prevails. The leading candidate for presidency seems to be the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa. Like Sharaf, Moussa is not seen as a friend of Israel's, and Israel needs to resign itself to the fact that any new regime in Egypt will likely be less friendly than Mubarak's. Nevertheless, Moussa is not expected to damage ties with Israel.
        The sense of national pride created by the revolution in Egypt is overwhelming. Egypt sees itself as a great nation able once again to lead the way for the entire Arab world. (Ha'aretz)
        See also Egypt's New Foreign Minister Accused Israel of Genocide
    Nabil Elaraby, a former judge in the International Court of Justice, accepted the post of Egypt's foreign minister on Sunday. During an August 2001 interview with an Egyptian newspaper, Elaraby was quoted as saying, "I personally support an Arab Muslim claim against Israeli crimes." Two months later he was appointed as a judge at the ICJ, where he was a member of the panel that issued the advisory opinion on the construction of Israel's security barrier. (Ynet News)
  • Sanitation Worker Loses Hand in Terror Bombing in Jerusalem - Melanie Lidman
    A sanitation worker from the Jerusalem Municipality lost his hand on Sunday when a garbage bag he was lifting exploded in the first terrorist attack in the capital in more than a year. Another sanitation worker was injured by the explosion. The explosion was caused by a pipe bomb and was nationally motivated, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Mideast Revolution Isnít Turning Out So Well for U.S. and Israel - Leslie H. Gelb
    The uncontested winners in the still-roiling revolutions of the Middle East and North Africa are those who own, sell, and bet on oil. In the last month alone, oil prices have leaped almost 10%. To date, the revolutions have generated far more drama and hope than real change as power structures remain largely intact.
        Israel is the biggest strategic loser. The Jewish state has relied on Arab autocracies to subdue the anti-Zionist sentiments of their peoples. And Israel canít do anything to fix its plight. Times are not at all conducive for new talks with Palestinians.
        Whatever happens, Washington will confront greater anti-Americanism. The fact is that Arabs generally see the United States as the protector of the corrupt autocrats who long ruled them and the savior of the hated Israel. Counterterrorism operations and anti-Iran diplomacy will suffer. The writer is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. (Newsweek)
  • World's Top Ten Gaddafi Toads - Walter Russell Mead
    As Muammar Gaddafi, Africa's King of Kings and the Great Loon of Libya, does his hideous best to engulf his country in terror and blood for the sake of extending his despicable and destructive rule, it is worth reflecting on the degree to which the "international community" flattered, cajoled and enabled this psychopath. History will not forgive those who colluded with, bribed, defended and helped this grotesque parody of a national leader rape and ruin his own unhappy land.
        Inviting a series of American intellectuals and scholars to Libya as part of a typical PR offensive, the kind of tactic they teach in the Techniques of Tyranny 101 intro course, Gaddafi gave them the kind of snow job that Hitler and Stalin used to give visiting foreigners - and too many of them fell for it. As Benjamin Barber wrote in the Washington Post: "Written off not long ago as an implacable despot, Gaddafi is a complex and adaptive thinker as well as an efficient, if laid-back, autocrat."  (American Interest)
        See also How a U.S. Consulting Firm Used American Academics to Rehab Gaddafi's Image - David Corn and Siddhartha Mahanta (Mother Jones)
  • In Arab World, It's Not Just about Israel Anymore - Joel Brinkley
    For more than half a century, ever since the day Israel was founded, Arab leaders have used one consistent strategy to keep their people in line. Our life's goal, they would say over and over, is to take back "Palestine." Nothing else matters. For many years that seemed to work. Then came satellite television, the Internet, and over time, ordinary Arabs began to realize that Israel had nothing to do with their own circumscribed lives. All of it was the fault of their corrupt, implacable dictators.
        Even after decades of indoctrination, the protesters, in state after state, have nothing to say about Israel. That conflict is not even a tertiary concern. Few Arabs hold warm feelings toward Israel. But for nearly all of them now, Israel is just an unfortunate fact of life, not an obsession. These people now know that their dictators' alarmist warnings about Israel were cynical distractions. (San Francisco Chronicle)
        See also The New Mideast No Longer Revolves around Israel - Aner Shalev (Ha'aretz)

The Danger of Relying on Cold War Deterrence in the Case of a Nuclear Iran - Shmuel Bar (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The policy documents published over the last year by the Obama administration indicate that it believes in the efficacy of traditional Cold War deterrence as the remedy to the challenge of rogue states acquiring nuclear weapons. Another assumption is that the Iranian regime is "rational" and hence deterrable.
  • But the cultural propensity of a people toward "rationality" does not determine the behavior of their autocratic leadership. Furthermore, both Sunni and Shiite traditions of Jihad view the willingness to challenge superior force as an exemplary deed. In Shiite Islam, this is augmented by the idealization of suffering and martyrdom.
  • Failure to prevent Iran from nearing the nuclear threshold will undoubtedly intensify the drive of other states in the region for nuclear weapons. Given weak command and control structures in the region, nuclear weapons may filter down to quasi-states (such as Kurdistan or the Palestinian Authority), terrorist organizations, and rival ethnic groups.
  • The countries of the region will probably be more predisposed than the Cold War protagonists to brandish their nuclear weapons not only rhetorically but through nuclear alerts or nuclear tests, leading to situations of multilateral nuclear escalation that will not be mitigated by Cold War-type hotlines.
  • In addition, the absence of a credible second-strike capability may well strengthen the tendency to opt for a first strike.

    Dr. Shmuel Bar, Director of Studies at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya, served for thirty years in the Israeli intelligence community.

        See also Deterrence in the Age of Nuclear Proliferation - George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn
    From 1945 to 1991, America and the Soviet Union were diligent, professional, but also lucky that nuclear weapons were never used. Does the world want to continue to bet its survival on continued good fortune with a growing number of nuclear nations and adversaries globally?
        There is a daunting new spectrum of global security threats. Continued reliance on nuclear weapons as the principal element for deterrence is encouraging the spread of these weapons. (Wall Street Journal)

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