Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 06/28/2011

From DG:
1) Iranian silos

Good news from the New York Times: Iran Unveils Missile Silos as It Begins War Games

Iran unveiled underground silos on Monday that would make its missiles less vulnerable to attack, marking the country’s latest show of force in the long standoff with the West over its nuclear program.

State television broadcast images of an unspecified number of silos deep underground, saying they held medium- and long-range missiles ready to hit distant targets. Subterranean silos are considered harder to destroy than surface installations, and Iran hailed them as a defensive asset meant to thwart attackers.
For some reason the world seems more concerned with where Israelis live, than Iran's latest show of force, which potentially (according to the article) threatens Iraq, Turkey and Israel.

More Iranian belligerence: Guard chief: Iran is capable of manufacturing even longer-range missiles but won’t make them

No that's not reassuring.
A senior Revolutionary Guard commander says Iran is capable of producing even longer range missiles than the ones it has now but won’t make them because Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf are already within its reach. Amir Ali Hajizadeh says the Guard’s arsenal includes missiles with a range of up to 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers), which puts Israel, U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf and parts of southeastern and eastern Europe within Iran’s reach.
Challah hu Akbar has the video.

2) Trade off

A deal to free Gilad Schalit has been rejected ... by Hamas, a German offiicial acknowledged.
On Monday, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert confirmed that Israel had accepted a German-mediated offer.
He said that “so far, Hamas regrettably has not yet accepted this proposal.” He gave no details of the proposed deal.

3) Sanctions off

Israel has decided not to pursue legal sanctions against reporters on the flotilla:
Israel on Monday set aside a warning it issued the previous day that foreign journalists aboard a flotilla planning to challenge its naval blockade of Gaza risked being barred from the country for up to a decade and having their equipment impounded.

Also, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Monday that he had instructed the relevant authorities to devise a special procedure for journalists covering the flotilla bound for Gaza, on the assumption that they would end up in Israel. In contrast to the activists on board, it said that the journalists would not be subject to the “regular policy against infiltrators and those who enter Israel illegally.”
But Ethan Bronner of the New York Times yesterday reported:
But the real purpose of the flotilla is less to deliver goods and building supplies, which are increasingly available in Gaza now, than to challenge Israel’s control over Gaza’s borders. The American vessel, for example, will not be loaded with any goods.
This is why I'm skeptical of the journalists who are on the flotilla. Is it because of the news value of the flotilla? Or is it because they're promoting the political agenda of the flotilla?

4) The layers of bias

Also in the previously mentioned article, Bronner writes:
Israel’s relationship with the foreign news media has grown strained in recent years; the country increasingly believes that foreign portrayals of its conflict with the Palestinians are harsh and one-sided.
Barry Rubin brilliantly deconstructs that sentence (and more) peeling away and exposing the layers of bias in those words:
Since Israelis have been quite aware of media bias since the mid-1980s and provided hundreds (thousands) of examples this should not exactly be a discovery. But American newspaper readers or television watchers are rarely informed of this fact by the very institutions that stand accused of bias, ignorance, and just plain bad reporting.
Note the way the sentence (perhaps revised by editors in New York) is written:
–This is an Israeli perception, not a fact nor necessarily a view held by anyone else in the world.
–It is just happening now (“recent,” “increasingly”)
–And the result is Israeli hostility toward the media (that is, the action involved is Israel becoming more aggressive in its treatment of foreign journalists.
–No examples are provided which thus undermines the claim. Actually, while space is of course limited, it would have been easy to mention in regard to a specific event cited–Israel banning foreign journalists from Gaza durin the 2008-2009 fighting–that Israel was concerned that it might accidentally kill foreign correspondents during operations and that reporters could tip off Hamas (inadvertently or otherwise) about Israeli actions thus causing casualties.
Thus, the hint is clearly–though it is equally quite deniable–that Israelis are irrationally and suddenly believing that the media is biased against it and this makes it take bad actions that restrict media freedom.
In other words, it’s good that this view is being reported but the framework signals the reader to disbelieve it.
(emphasis mine)

5) Opposition gathering in Syria

Syria allowed a gathering of opposition activists.
Scores of opposition figures met publicly Monday in Damascus for the first time since Syria’s antigovernment uprising began. The officially sanctioned gathering underlined the changes the rebellion has wrought in Syria as well as the challenges ahead in breaking a cycle of protests and crackdowns that have left hundreds dead.
The gathering was remarkable foremost for its rarity — a public show of dissent in a country that has long conflated opposition with treason. But it also cut across some of the most pressing questions in Syria today: whether a venerable but weak opposition can bridge its longstanding divides, whether the government is willing to engage it in real dialogue and whether it can eventually pose an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad’s leadership.
Not everyone was there:
“They contacted me but I refused the invitation as long as the atmosphere is not right,” said Hassan Abdel-Azim, a veteran party leader and opposition figure in Syria. “What kind of dialogue can you have in the midst of a security crackdown?”
Even some organizers — among them, Aref Dalila, an economist, and Hajj Yassin Hajj Saleh, a longtime activist — decided at the last minute not to participate in the gathering.
“Unfortunately what I have seen on television is a silly scene,” Mr. Saleh said by phone. “That’s my impression, so I guess I made the right decision.”

The meeting offered no answers, but in speech after speech, participants insisted the three-month-old revolt could end only with Mr. Assad’s surrender of absolute power.
Technorati Tag: and and .

1 comment:

NormanF said...

Assad is not going to step down from power. The "dialogue" is just a phony PR show intended to divert attention from his regime's relentless assault upon the Syrian people. And the so-called Syrian opposition has no real power, that is why they are being allowed to meet.