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  DAILY ALERT Tuesday,
July 9, 2013

In-Depth Issues:

International Criminal Court Weighs Probe of Israel over 2010 Marmara Raid - Revital Hovel (Ha'aretz)
    The International Criminal Court appointed a three-judge panel this week to consider opening a criminal investigation against Israel over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.
    A Turkish law firm filed the request for an investigation by the ICC on May 14 on behalf of the Comoros, a Muslim island country in the Indian Ocean.

Explosion Rocks Hizbullah Stronghold in Beirut Suburb (AP-Washington Post)
    A large explosion rocked a Hizbullah stronghold in the Beirut suburb of Beir el-Abed on Tuesday, causing an unknown number of casualties, security officials said.
    Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV said the blast was a car bomb inside a parking lot near an Islamic center.

Report: Morsi Sought to Remove Defense Minister Sisi - Ariel Ben Solomon (Jerusalem Post)
    Egypt's El-Watan newspaper reported on Sunday that Egyptian intelligence, monitoring phone calls between the Muslim Brotherhood leadership and the presidential palace, revealed a plan to remove the commander of the Egyptian armed forces, Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
    Sources said President Morsi sought to find a military leader to replace Sisi.
    Furthermore, as the mass anti-Morsi protest of June 30 approached, Morsi asked the commander of the Egyptian Republican Guard to arrest prominent judges, members of the media and members of the opposition - but he refused.

Is Gaza Still Occupied? It Depends on Where You Live (Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research-PA)
    A recent poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah asked if Gaza should be considered "occupied" by Israel.
    While 62% of Palestinians in the West Bank agreed that Gaza was "occupied," only 34% of those living in Gaza agreed.
    The poll also found that 66% of Palestinians in Gaza support armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel, while only 35% in the West Bank support such attacks.

Gazans Shun Israeli Gasoline - Asmaa al-Ghoul (Al-Monitor)
    Cars have been queuing for days in front of a gas station in downtown Gaza City that sells cheap Egyptian gasoline.
    Not far away, a station that sells Israeli gas, which continues to flow into Gaza, has no lines.
    Station owner Amjad al-Achkar explained that Egyptian gas became scarce around a month ago.
    A liter of Israeli gas costs six shekels ($1.64), while Egyptian gas [subsidized by the Egyptian government] costs four shekels ($1.09).

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • In Egypt, Islamists Call for Uprising after Military Opens Fire - Jeffrey Fleishman
    At least 51 people were killed Monday when army and police forces opened fire on a sit-in outside Republican Guard headquarters by those calling for the release of the Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, whom the military deposed last week. Stunned but not deterred by the violence, the Islamists quickly called for a national uprising. (Los Angeles Times)
        See also Bloody Day in Unrest Widens the Rupture Among Ordinary Egyptians - Ben Hubbard and Kareem Fahim
    Egypt's bloodiest day in more than two years of unrest appeared to intensify the arguments about who should be ruling the country. Egyptians offer widely divergent accounts of what caused Monday's carnage, while both camps claim the U.S. is offering concrete support to their opponents.
        This week, the son of the powerhouse cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi publicly criticized his father for declaring his support for Morsi. Abdul Rahman Yusuf al-Qaradawi called Morsi and the Brotherhood "men greedy to seize power at any cost." In Tahrir Square, sympathy for the military and anger at Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood was unabated, while a half-hour drive away, Morsi's supporters have claimed the area around the Raba el-Adawiya mosque as their own. (New York Times)
  • Hizbullah Fighters' Families Unhappy about Syria Involvement - Zaid Bin Kami
    A source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the increasing numbers of Hizbullah soldiers killed in Syria, including some senior commanders, has raised concerns among Lebanese Shi'ites, prompting a visit by residents of Ba'albak to Hizbullah Shura member Mohamed Yazbek, demanding a halt to deployment of their men to Syria. They said while their children had fought the Israelis in 2006, their men's participation in the fight against the Syrian people, in defense of the Syrian government, was shameful and unacceptable.
        Hizbullah is experiencing difficulties because it cannot withdraw from fighting alongside the Syrian government, especially at this time. Leading figures within Hizbullah plan to send a delegation to Iran to explain the difficulties and tell the Iranian leadership that the party was no longer able to support the Syrian government alone by sending fighters from Lebanon, and that Iran had to send more Iranian fighters than it did before.
        The source said the numbers of Hizbullah fighters in Syria had increased noticeably. Following Hizbullah's leader's visit to Tehran and Damascus three months ago, more than 20 units were sent to Syria from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley by Hizbullah, each battalion numbering 100 men. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Gaza Islamists Head to Sinai to Fight Egyptian Army - Roi Kais
    Dozens of members of terrorist groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood have left Gaza for the Sinai Peninsula to fight the Egyptian army after the ouster of President Morsi. They took part in battles in El-Arish over the weekend and attacked several Egyptian army posts.
        A senior Egyptian official told Al-Hayat that Egyptian authorities have observed the entry of 150 Izz al-Din al-Qassam [Hamas] operatives into Sinai via the tunnels. "They were wearing uniforms associated with the military police before joining Jihadists in Sinai," he said.
        Egyptian security sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Muslim Brotherhood officials are overseeing terrorist activity against army and police forces in Sinai and coordinating these efforts with commanders in Hamas' military wing. (Ynet News)
        See also Egypt Foils Infiltration of Hamas Militants into Sinai
    Egyptian border guards on Sunday foiled an infiltration attempt of ten Jihadists - presumably Hamas militants from Gaza - into northern Sinai, a security source told Xinhua. "The militants were coming out of a smuggling tunnel in [the] Rafah border city and ran back when the Egyptian guards approached, leaving behind seven boxes of bombs, ammunition and live bullets," the source said, noting that they are believed to be members of the Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement. (Xinhua-China)
        See also Egypt and Hamas Part Company - Neville Teller
    Two days after the overthrow of President Morsi, Nilesat removed Hamas TV, Al-Quds, from the air. (Eurasia Review)
  • Israel Urged U.S. Not to Halt Aid to Egypt - Barak Ravid
    Israel last week urged senior U.S. officials not to respond to Egypt's coup by halting the $1.3 billion in aid America gives the Egyptian army every year, a senior American official said. The Israelis warned that cutting military aid to Egypt would likely impact negatively on Israel's security, especially given the possibility of further security deterioration in Sinai. They also warned that halting the aid could undermine Israel's peace treaty with Egypt. (Ha'aretz)
  • West Bank Palestinians Call for Third Intifada Against Israel
    Masked demonstrators marched through Ramallah in the West Bank on Monday calling for a third intifada. They called on Palestinian factions to resume military activities and to unite in resistance against Israel. (Ma'an News-PA)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • How Morsi Came Undone - Eric Trager
    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's insular, often autocratic governing style earned him so many enemies that even his basic electoral legitimacy couldn't save him. Until April 2012, when Morsi became the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate following the disqualification of its deputy chairman Khairat al-Shater, Morsi was a political unknown. During the campaign his speeches often ran for two hours, and he exuded gruffness in television interviews.
        Given the Brotherhood's unparalleled mobilizing capabilities, Morsi won the presidency without having to be liked - thereby making it easy for people to start hating him as soon as his many flaws became apparent. The writer is a Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (New York Daily News)
  • Assad Heating Up Israel's Golan Border - Ron Ben-Yishai
    For the first time in over 30 years, Syria's president has officially authorized military action against Israel in the Golan. Syria's Assad has chosen the Golan as an arena in which he can clash with Israel, but in a way that will not require Israel to threaten his regime's survival.
        In early May, heavy machine gun fire from a Syrian position in the border region was directed at an IDF vehicle in Israeli territory. Israel's response was purposely disproportional: a missile destroyed the machine gun position, killing three Syrian soldiers. On May 15, Sunni Palestinian groups that remained loyal to Assad launched rockets at an IDF position on Mount Hermon. According to Israel's cabinet-approved policy, Israel will respond quickly and fiercely to any attack in the Golan or along the Lebanese border.
        IDF Golan Division commander Arik Chen said a large part of the Sunni rebels active in the Syrian Golan operate in small enclaves of forestry terrain and villages near the Israeli border, specifically because they know that the Syrian army is unable to operate tanks and light artillery in the area.
        A month ago, after rebels took control of the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing - the sole crossing connecting Israel to Syria - the Syrian army, which still holds the majority of the territory in the Golan, coordinated its movements with Israel through the UN. Israel agreed to the movement of Syrian tanks to retake the crossing, since it has no interest in allowing rebels, in this case Sunni radicals, to become its neighbors on the border. (Ynet News)

Democracy in Egypt Needs More than an Election - Dennis Ross (USA Today)

  • The term "Arab Spring" was always a misnomer. There was never going to be a rapid transformation from authoritarian rule to democracy in Middle Eastern countries. Genuine democracy requires not just elections; it requires a political culture of tolerance and respect for minority rights; institutions that provide for the rule of law; a readiness to accept the outcome of elections even when you lose; and a recognition that governance cannot favor only one group to the exclusion of everyone else.
  • However, there was an "awakening" in many of the countries of the Middle East in 2011. Suddenly people saw themselves as citizens and not as subjects: as citizens they had a right to make demands, have a voice, expectations and hopes - and above all else, create accountability.
  • In Egypt, President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood acted in power as if they were the new authoritarians. Yes, he was elected; however, he was not anointed, and he and his colleagues acted as if they had been.
  • Rather than be inclusive, Morsi appointed mostly members of the Muslim Brotherhood and sought to rule by decree, ensure that the new constitution would be written only by Islamists, prosecute journalists that "insulted" the president, remove judges who opposed him, and ignore the economic needs of the country.
  • This is not like Algeria where the military acted to void an election and prevent a newly voted in Islamist leadership from assuming power. This was the Egyptian public literally revolting and seeking a course correction. Any future leadership, including one that may involve the Muslim Brotherhood, must start with the premise of sharing power and responsibility.

    The writer, a special assistant to President Obama and senior director of the Central Region on the National Security Council from 2009 to 2011, is now a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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