Sunday, April 19, 2009

Egypt opens Rafah crossing 2 days

Authorities will allow those who have permits of residence in Egypt and the Arab and foreign countries, the students, the patients, and humanitarian cases to cross the border, the official said, but did not mention the number of those who will be allowed to cross.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Israel stands ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites

The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Algerian writer, Anouar BenMalek:

"Today, the Arabs Constitute Nothing But Thousands of Zeroes... [They] Have Lost Their Worth, Their Humanity, Their Culture"


Netanyahu demands Palestinians recognize 'Jewish state'

"Israel expects the Palestinians to first recognize Israel as a Jewish state before talking about two states for two peoples," a senior official in Netanyahu's office quoted the new prime minister as telling Mitchell, U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to the Middle East.

Obama's Foreign Policy: A real Change ?

Mr. Obama so far appears to be presiding over a foreign policy that may seem more different than it really is.

CIA's Torture Techniques

The Justice Department on Thursday released detailed memos describing harsh interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency. President Obama said that C.I.A. operatives who carried out the techniques would not be prosecuted.
Read the MEMOS.

"One technique authorized for use by the C.I.A. beginning in August 2002 was the use of "insects placed in a confinement box", presumably to induce fear on the part of a terror suspect. According to a footnote, the technique was not used.
The interrogation methods were among the Bush administration’s most closely guarded secrets, and what was released on Thursday afternoon marked the most comprehensive public accounting to date of a program that some senior Obama administration officials contend included illegal torture."
Stephen G. Bradbury: “Interrogators may combine water dousing with other techniques, such as stress positions, wall standing, the insult slap, or the abdominal slap,”

Glucksmann décoré par Sarkozy

Je te tiens, tu me tiens, par la barbichette...

"A national security strategy needs a named enemy"


Strategic Studies Institute army publication (pdf)



A sustainable national security strategy is feasible only when directed by a sustainable national security policy. In the absence of policy guidance, strategy will be meaningless. The only policy that meets both the mandates of American culture and the challenges of the outside world is one that seeks to lead the necessary mission of guarding and advancing world order. The author considers and rejects a policy that would encourage the emergence of a multipolar structure to global politics. He argues that multipolarity not only would fail to maintain order, it would also promote conflict among the inevitably rival great powers. In addition, he suggests Americans culturally are not comfortable with balance-of-power politics and certainly would not choose to promote the return of such a system. Various “pieces of the puzzle” most relevant to national security strategy are located; leading assumptions held by American policymakers and strategists are identified; alternative national security policies are considered; and necessary components of a sustainable national security strategy are specified. The author concludes that America has much less choice over its policy and strategy than the public debate suggests. He warns that the country’s dominant leadership role for global security certainly will be challenged before the century is old.

Cartoon: Mohamed-Abdelsalam (UAE)

At least 700 Palestinian patients are waiting for the opening of the Rafah border

At least 700 Palestinian patients are waiting for the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip so they can access medical treatment, according to the department responsible for border crossings. The department report, issued on Wednesday, said that many of those waiting are people who were injured during the Israeli Cast lead offensive on Gaza.

Israel's 22 month-long siege of Gaza has claimed the lives of 320 Palestinian patients. Doctors say the number may increase rapidly if the closure continues. The Cast Lead military attack on Gaza started on December 27th 2008, and ended on the 18 of January 2009. It left 1,400 Palestinians dead and 6,000 injured. An estimated further 10,000 were made homeless.

The most recent victims of the siege were two women who died on Tuesday. Both had applied for permission to leave Gaza for treatment but, according to medicals sources, their applications were turned down.

Committee to protect bloggers

The sad story of online repression in Egypt continues with blogger and journalist Ahmed Seif al-Nasr being arrested. Al-Nasr was arrested in Fayoum in Egypt days after covering the many arrests of Fayoum University students and was taken to Qohafa Police Station in Fayoum.

Abdel Aziz Bouteflika by Plantu

Le président algérien Abdelaziz Bouteflika, vu par Plantu, dans L'Express daté du 9 avril.

Moderate Arab States Feel Popular Anger

Picture taken just before the attack against Gaza.
Gaza under attack. What did Abul Gheit do ? Nothing.
Moubarak insulted by Lieberman. What did Abul Gheit do ?

Kill Palestinians, it's fine. But don't you dare insult our beloved President....

We won't forget that.

How the US should put pressure on Israel

 The United States will have to pursue a more even-handed policy than it has in the past, and put strong pressure on both sides to come to an agreement. Instead of the current "special relationship" -- where the U.S. gives Israel generous and nearly-unconditional support -- the United States and Israel would have a more normal relationship, akin to U.S. relations with other democracies (where public criticism and overt pressure sometimes occurs).  While still committed to Israel’s security, the United States would use the leverage at its disposal to make a two-state solution a reality.

Shlomo Avineri lecturing George Mitchell

Former senator George Mitchell does not need much advice; he's an experienced statesman whose greatest achievement is the agreement between the Protestant majority and Catholic minority in Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, the U.S. president's special envoy to the Middle East would be well-advised to pay closer attention to certain distinguishing features of the local conflict.

Egypt detains nine Bedouin over smuggling to Israel, arms trade

Egyptian security forces have detained nine Bedouin in the Sinai peninsula on suspicion of involvement in cross-border smuggling and of arms dealing, security sources said on Thursday.

Lieberman: Egypt is planning to attack Israel

Egypt is just waiting for the right opportunity to move troops back into the Sinai Peninsula, while Israel is acting like a "battered woman" regarding its southern neighbor, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday in an interview with Channel 2's "Meet the Press." 

Can you believe what he's saying... 
I invite you to read Haaretz's readers' comments on that article.

France: Foreigners excluded from 30% jobs

La Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l'égalité (Halde) exhorte le gouvernement à rétablir l'égalité entre travailleurs français et étrangers, dans le public comme dans le privé, en supprimant le critère de nationalité pour les sept millions d'emplois dits «fermés». En effet, en France, une personne qui n'a pas la nationalité française, ou qui n'est pas issue d'un pays membre de l'Union européenne, ne peut avoir accès à des métiers tels qu'architecte, vétérinaire, médecin, débitants de tabac ou de boissons ou encore avocat. Les 5,2 millions d'emplois de la Fonction publique sont également fermés aux étrangers, ainsi que certains postes dans les établissements et entreprises publiques comme EDF ou la Banque de France.

Tariq Ramadan: Obama is right

Les arguments qui placent la Turquie hors de l'histoire et de la géographie européennes ne tiennent pas à l'analyse. Pendant plus de quatre cents ans l'Empire ottoman a partagé et déterminé l'avenir politique et stratégique du continent. Il fut "l'homme malade" de l'Europe jusqu'au siècle dernier, et aujourd'hui encore son poids historique et économique reste déterminant. Redessiner les contours géographiques de l'Europe selon l'idéologie ou les nécessités politiques du moment ne trompe personne : en usant des mêmes critères, Chypre devrait aussi être hors de l'Europe, et ce découpage fait fi de l'histoire autant que des réalités concrètes du terrain où se mêlent les origines, les mémoires et les cultures. Environ 40 % de la population turque a une origine ethnique européenne, et des millions de Turcs ont déjà acquis la nationalité d'un pays européen.

Les vraies questions sont donc ailleurs, et il faut les regarder en face. Au lieu d'être obsédés par la question culturelle et religieuse (la peur de l'islam), les dirigeants européens feraient bien de développer une vraie vision géostratégique pour l'avenir : la Turquie est incontournable quant aux relations avec l'Iran, la Syrie, l'Irak et l'Asie centrale, et ses poids économique autant que militaire devraient être intégrés à une politique européenne de proximité et de stabilisation en Asie et au Moyen-Orient.

Par deux fois, récemment, le gouvernement turc a refusé de se plier aux requêtes américaines, prouvant qu'il était capable d'indépendance. L'Europe ne peut pas reprocher aux Etats-Unis leur unilatéralisme et ne se donner aucun moyen de développer une politique étrangère autonome. La cacophonie qui règne autour de ces questions est troublante : les Etats-Unis, la Chine et l'Inde n'ont pas à craindre la puissance de l'Europe, puisque celle-ci travaille contre elle-même avec ses divisions et son absence de politique commune.

Israel will not cooperate

with UN over Gaza war crimes inquiry.

Egypt says will not deal with Israel's Lieberman

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Cairo would not deal with ultranationalist Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Channel 2 television reported on Wednesday.

"We will work with any proposal by the Israeli government but not through the Israeli foreign minister," Abul Gheit said in an interview with Russia Today television, excerpts of which were aired on Channel 2.

Lieberman stirred controversy last year when he said Hosni Mubarak could "go to hell" if the Egyptian president did not want to visit Israel. He once suggested Egypt's Aswan Dam might be bombed.

"Of course he will not visit Cairo as long as his positions remain unchanged," Abul Gheit said.

On his first day at the foreign ministry this month, Lieberman said the U.S.-sponsored Annapolis declaration of 2007 on peace with the Palestinians was no longer valid. "A person has to think about the consequences of the signals he sends from his brain to his tongue during speech and there have been consequences for Egypt," Abul Gheit said.

On Human Rights, U.S. Seems to Give Egypt a Pass

“I think the American government does give Egypt leeway to deal with the domestic opposition so long as Egypt supports the American foreign policy in the region,” said Mustapha Kamel el-Sayyid.

"Let me start

with a simple remark which I earnestly hope you will never forget: Foreign policy is about you. It is about your home, your community, your safety, your well-being, your chance to live a decent life and to prepare a better world for your children. Foreign policy is not a game played by "those people in Washington" with other players from far-off distant places. It is as close to you as the members of your family, or the neighbor's boy, in close as the taxes you pay to sustain the struggle for freedom, as close as the prices and the markets for what you produce. Even more personal, it is as close as your highest hopes, your puzzled concern that man can be both so good and yet so evil, your own impulse to do something to build a better world, your own private and personal search for the answer to the ageless question: "What is the chief end of man?"

Dean Rusk, 1963