Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 08/17/2011

From DG:
1) "What me worry" and crying "Wolf"

The New York Times reports Syrian Enclave of Palestinians Nearly Deserted After Assault. Two aspects of this article are worth noting. At the beginning, Secretary of State Clinton is quoted:
On Tuesday in Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said it was more effective to forge international consensus against Mr. Assad — as well as intensify economic pressure through sanctions — than for the United States alone to lead the way. 
“It’s not going to be any news if the United States says Assad needs to go,” Mrs. Clinton said at the National Defense University. “O.K., fine, what’s next? If Turkey says it, if King Abdullah says it, if other people say it, there is no way the Assad regime can ignore it.”
 This is an abdication of responsibility; a perfect example of leading from behind. At first I thought this was an example of what President Obama and PM Cameron had written about Libya.
We must never forget the reasons why the international community was obliged to act in the first place. As Libya descended into chaos with Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi attacking his own people, the Arab League called for action. The Libyan opposition called for help. And the people of Libya looked to the world in their hour of need. In an historic resolution, the United Nations Security Council authorized all necessary measures to protect the people of Libya from the attacks upon them. By responding immediately, our countries, together with an international coalition, halted the advance of Qaddafi’s forces and prevented the bloodbath that he had promised to inflict upon the citizens of the besieged city of Benghazi. 
That approach was "we acted because we were asked;" now Secretary Clinton is saying, "Assad would listen others but not us." That's even more passive. What if the Arab League had asked for intervention, would NATO have intervened in Syria? Is Clinton saying the answer would be "no?" If so, then not only is the West being passive, but it is announcing to Assad that he need not fear intervention.

Later on in the article, the Palestinian response is reported:
The refugee neighborhood, Raml, was set up after 1948, when Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes during the fighting at the creation of Israel. It grew into one of the city’s largest neighborhoods, drawing poor job-seekers, but it still lacks some basic services. Demonstrations have erupted there and nearby since the country’s uprising began in March, and activists there insisted that the crackdown would fail to quell the spirit of dissent.
“The residents in Raml will rally the same day the army pulls out,” said one, Ahmed Bogdash. “They are poor and they have nothing to lose.” 
 So a neighborhood has existed for 63 years and still doesn't have all its basic services.
The reports from Latakia made headlines in Palestinian newspapers in the West Bank on Tuesday and prompted a strong response from Palestinian officials, though there was no evidence that the Raml neighborhood itself was a specific target of the crackdown. 
“We urge the Syrian authorities to stop the attack on the refugee camp immediately,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. “It is unacceptable, we cannot accept it,” he said. 
Another senior Palestinian official, Yasser Abed Rabbo, has described the attack on Raml as “a crime against humanity.” Speaking on the official Voice of Palestine Radio on Tuesday, Mr. Abed Rabbo said that the Syrian government had “lost rationality.” 
The official Palestinian response sounds like the regular complaints about Israel. If the Palestinians weren't regularly (falsely) claiming that Israel was committing crimes against humanity, these claims would have a bit more force. The article explains that Hamas - because it is an ally of Syria - has been much more muted in its response. Maybe with the marriage already shaky this will be a decisive blow to the Fatah-Hamas unity pact of convenience.

2) Paying

An American court has reversed an earlier ruling and allowed the family of an American in Gaza to sue the Palestinian Authority.
A three-judge U.S. Appeals Court panel has ruled that the family of murdered American security contractor Mark Parsons can sue the Palestinian Authority (PA) for providing material support to terrorists.
Parsons was one of three Americans providing security for a U.S. diplomatic convoy traveling from Tel Aviv to Gaza City on Oct. 15, 2003 to interview Palestinian applicants for Fulbright scholarships. Minutes after the convoy crossed into Gaza, a massive roadside bomb went off, killing him and two colleagues.
Parsons' relatives filed suit in federal court under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991 charging that the PA had provided material support for and conspired with the killers. The district court granted summary judgment to the PA in May 2010, saying there was insufficient evidence to tie the PA to the attack.
 Daled Amos has summarized the case so far.

3) How would the UDI work?

International law expert Avi Bell has explained the various aspects of the threatened Palestinian unilateral declaration of a state. It's been published at Elder of Ziyon. Here's a sample:
What’s the legal process for becoming a state?
Under customary international law, there is no fixed procedure for becoming a state. International law recognizes a state when it has the required ingredients of territory, a permanent population, a government with effective control and the capacity to carry on international relations. UN recognition is not part of a legal process for becoming a state. Although the Palestinians appear not to have the requisite ingredients, more than one hundred states in the world already recognize the “state of Palestine.”

The UN has a legal procedure for becoming a member, assuming one is a state. Membership requires a recommendation by the Security Council (which is subject to veto by the permanent members), and then a two-thirds vote by the General Assembly.

 4) An Iraqi writer

MEMRI has reproduced parts of an article by liberal Iraqi-born writer, Dr. Abdul Khaliq Hussein. Here's an excerpt:
"People's demand for democracy and liberty comes after they have fulfilled their basic needs. It would appear that the Arab people have come close to this stage not only because they achieved the minimum in terms of basic needs but because of the growth of the political and social awareness among the new generation thanks to the informatics revolution and the development of the tools of communications. There is also the growing interaction between nations as a result of mass immigration and tourism, the internet and the satellite televisions that have turned the world into a small global village and have tied the economic and cultural interests of nations into a globalized system. All these factors have expedited the development of awareness among the youth, given that 70% of the population in the Arab world is below the age of 31. Most of them are educated and they all suffer from similar problems such as unemployment and despotic regimes but they aspire for a better life." 
MEMRI also has quotes from Syrian dissident Riad Seif:
"Dialogue cannot take place between a hangman and his victim, between a wolf and a sheep, or between a criminal and his victim. Dialogue could have taken place ten years ago, and indeed, in the Damascus Spring, we proposed holding a dialogue. The regime's response was to throw us into prison. We proposed dialogue again in the Damascus Declaration in 2005, and in 2007, we were imprisoned again. 
"Today, after all the sacrifices made by the Syrian people, I believe that the word 'dialogue' between us and the regime has become anathema in the eyes of the entire Syrian public.

 5) Not quite coals to Newcastle 

Also from MEMRI:
Musa'ed Al-Hadithi, an official in the Saudi ministry of Islamic affairs, called to combat the import and sale of fake copies of the Koran that contain serious misprints.
The reason for the ruling Korans published by non-Muslims are produced as objects for commerce, not religion.

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