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Middle east map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Egypt’s cabinet gets to work amid Brotherhood protests | USA Today

CAIRO — Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called for fresh protests in Cairo Wednesday as the country’s interim cabinet was set to get to work after being sworn in, and as opposing political groups remain at odds over a turbulent political transition.

The new cabinet, comprised of leftists, liberals and technocrats, does not include any members of the Brotherhood or the ultraconservative Nour Party — the nation’s two principle Islamist groups that, over the past two years, dominated politics. [Read the full article]

Egypt: Morsi supporters protest outside Cabinet | Boston.com

CAIRO (AP) — Several hundred supporters of Egypt’s deposed president massed outside the Cabinet building Wednesday in Cairo, expanding their protests denouncing the country’s new government and demanding the reinstatement of Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi.

The rally came as the European Union’s top foreign policy official met with the interim leaders, the second senior Western official to visit Egypt this week. [Read the full article]

Egypt needs our help now more than ever | Washington Post

In the wake of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s eviction from office by the country’s military amid an unprecedented mass uprising, there have been calls for Washington to reduce or suspend its aid to this critical ally in the Middle East. Such action would be short-sighted and represent a vote of no confidence in Egypt, not just in the interim government.

Debating what label to put on the recent events deters from the truly important task: developing a strategy to support the restoration of Egypt’s economic and political stability. President Obama’s call for a reassessment of U.S. aid should focus primarily on how we can help Egypt, rather than on whether we should help. [Read the full article]

Egypt military retains ‘protector of the state’ image despite faults | LA Times

CAIRO — The young recruits with rifles and ragged duffels will never see the swimming pools of the officers clubs that line the boulevards of Cairo. They will not profit from the Egyptian military’s network of private business interests. They’ll eat beans and bread and earn about $30 a month.

But they will be respected as men who protect the homeland — from foreign enemies and sometimes from itself. [Read the full article]

MP: Erdogan’s Continued Support for Mursi Likely to Create Crisis for Turkey | Farsnews

“Due to its commonalities with Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimun), Turkey wants Mursi’s return but (Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar) Salehi, in his talks with the Turks in this regard, called on them to pay attention to the demands of the Egyptian people,” Rapporteur of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Seyed Hossein Naqavi told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday night.

“Turkey supports Mursi and continuing this situation may cause the country face crisis,” Naqavi said. [Read the full article]

Erdogan’s Divisive Policies Backfire | Al Monitor

While foreign and domestic policies usually move in tandem, there has never been so much overlapping as in the past two years. We can now better determine the points we have reached as a result of the policies of polarization adopted after the Gezi Park events and the Egyptian coup.

These polarization policies have created major rifts in the national mutual reconciliation process. The decision to build a mall and luxury residences at Gezi Park was wrong. It took the largest popular protests in Turkish history to make the government take a step back. [Read the full article]

Turkey Opens Fire Into Syria | WSJ

ISTANBUL—Turkey’s armed forces opened fire into Syria after stray bullets from the neighboring country killed a 17-year-old Turkish boy, marking the first deadly spillover from the Syrian conflict in two months.

Three others, including a 15-year-old, were also injured in the town of Ceylanpinar, in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, because of clashes across the border, local Turkish officials said in telephone interviews on Wednesday. [Read the full article]

Taksim shop owners call for end to Gezi protests | Worldbulletin

The Turkish Union of Credit and Guarantee Cooperatives for Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESKOMB), member businesses of which have experienced huge financial losses due to the anti-government Gezi protests, mainly in İstanbul’s Taksim neighborhood, held a press conference in Taksim on Monday, calling for the protests to end.

The businesses in the area had previously suggested that the protests calm down, but this is the first time a union has spoken out about the interruptions to commercial life. The union represents a total of 1.5 million tradesmen and craftsmen. [Read the full article]

Reframing the agents of resistance at Gezi Park | Open Democracy

As the bearer of an underlying democratization process in Turkey with all its paradoxes, AKP still goes unchallenged insofar as the different groups of opposition who became visible in Gezi Park still cannot put forth convincing arguments to win the “50 per cent”. [Read the full article]

Gezi Park protests: Need for a democratic administration | Turkish Weekly

Turkey currently faces a set of very serious problems: some   could even become unmanageable. The developments I am speaking of include the crisis in Syria, Turkey’s relations with the European Union, the drafting of a new constitution, the disarming of the PKK, the Turkish economy and the global economic crisis, the Gezi Park protests, and the democratic deficit.

Each of these issues contains enough serious problems and events in itself to set the entire agenda for a country. This year and next  are both going to be shaped by these processes, as well as by additional new ones. What is more, Turkey will have at least three critically important elections in 2014 and 2015. There will be local elections in March 2014; August the same year will see elections for the presidency; and in 2015 general elections are due. Indeed   speculation is even starting about the general elections  being brought forward to 2014. [Read the full article]

Iran’s Rouhani dismisses Israeli threats | Al Jazeera

Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president-elect, has brushed off threats of military action by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Referring to the US and Israel, Rouhani said: “When some say that all options are on the table and when a miserable regional country says such things, it makes you laugh.” [Read the full article]

Official: Iran open for nuke talks once team named | Miami Herald

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran will be ready to resume nuclear talks with world powers as soon as the country’s president-elect puts together his negotiating team, the foreign minister said Wednesday amid signals on both sides to try to quickly restart dialogue.

The comments by Ali Akbar Salehi follow a meeting in Brussels with members of the six-member group that reopened talks last year with Iran on its disputed nuclear program. The West fears the program is designed to develop atomic weapons, while Iran insists it is only for peaceful purposes. [Read the full article]

Israel minister criticizes EU’s decision | UPI

JERUSALEM, July 17 (UPI) — Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said Wednesday Israel will not surrender to the European Union’s pressure.

His comments came after the European Union decided to forbid funding of projects in territories Israel has occupied since 1967 –East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. [Read the full article]

State Comptroller: Israel must be better prepared for attack on home front | The Jerusalem Post

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira believes Israel’s defense establishment needs to be better prepared for an attack on its civilian population, and is calling for a unified effort by the security forces, operating under a single authority.

Shapira’s comments appear in his report on issues relating to the Israel Defense Forces, Defense Ministry, and the military-industrial sector, which was released Wednesday. The report focuses on a range of issues, including problems with the level of readiness for an assault on the home front, environmental damage by military industries, and failings in the oversight of weapons exports. [Read the full articles]

The war Israel is losing, badly | Legal Insurrection

Arab armies could not defeat Israel.

Nor could Palestinians turning their young adults into walking guided missiles. [Read the full article]

Israel’s Strategic View of Iran: Time for a Change? | Lobe Log

What a pity that Mr. Netanyahu’s interviewer on CBS’s “Face the Nation”, Bob Schieffer, chose to throw Israel’s Prime Minister a succession of softballs (the cricketing equivalents are called “dollies”).

It would have been refreshing if Mr. Schieffer had asked the PM how he squared his certainty about Iran’s nuclear intentions with the assessments that the US intelligence community has produced; queried the PM’s assertion that producing fissile material is nine tenths of the challenge of making a nuclear weapon capable of threatening Israel; reminded the PM of the numerous occasions he has claimed time to be running out for Iran diplomacy; and confronted the PM with what Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal, a prominent spokesman for an Arab state that has coexisted peacefully with Israel, said to an interviewer from Spiegel last month: [Read the full article]

Iraq violence kills 10, among them three children | Hindustan Times

A bombing killed three children at a popular swimming area in Iraq on Wednesday after a similar attack two days before, while seven people died in other violence, officials said.
The bomb was planted near Al-Shakha river in the Muqdadiyah area northeast of Baghdad. The explosion came after mortar rounds struck a swimming area on the Tigris river north of the capital on Monday, killing four people, including a child.

In another attack in the Muqdadiyah area on Wednesday, gunmen opened fire on a car carrying tribal leader Sheikh Majid Ali Jumaili, killing his wife and wounding him, his son and his cousin. [Read the full article]

Bahrain Emerging as Washington’s Next Middle East Crisis | CATO Institute

The Obama administration, already preoccupied with the unpleasant developments in Syria and Egypt, may soon be facing a new crisis in the small Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain. If violence in that country continues to grow, it will have a more immediate and significant impact on Washington’s role in the region.  Bahrain is the home port for the U.S. fifth fleet, and is, therefore, the linchpin of the U.S. naval presence in that part of the world and a crucial component of Washington’s power-projection capabilities.  It would not be easy to replace that facility—and impossible to do so quickly.  Consequently, U.S. policy makers have been more than just interested spectators to events in Bahrain. [Read the full article]

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