Why doesn’t the media ever mention the lack of progress in the Middle East? | The Independent

Once, we used to keep clippings, a wad of newspaper cuttings on whatever we were writing about: Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Gaza. Occasionally, we even read books. Maybe it’s because of the internet, but in most of our reports, it seems that history only started yesterday, or last week.

For snobs, it’s called the loss of institutional memory. We journos seem to suffer from it more than most. Our readers, I suspect, do not. So here we go… [Read more]

Israel Is Captive to Its “Destructive Process” | OpEdNews

Raul Hilberg in his monumental work, “The Destruction of the European Jews” chronicled a process of repression that at first was “relatively mild” but led, step by step, to the Holocaust. It started with legal discrimination and ended with mass murder. “The destructive process was a development that was begun with caution and ended without restraint,” Hilberg wrote.

The Palestinians over the past few decades have endured a similar “destructive process.” They have gradually been stripped of basic civil liberties, robbed of assets including much of their land and often their homes, have suffered from mounting restrictions on their physical movements, been blocked from trading and business, especially the selling of produce, and found themselves increasingly impoverished and finally trapped behind walls and security fences erected around Gaza and the West Bank. [Read more]

Gaza attacks: Lethal warnings | Al Jazeera

On the night of January 9, 2009, the Salha family were sleeping, and Gaza was under attack. They were woken by a loud bang at 3am: a missile, fired at the house, entered through the roof, and landed in one of the rooms. What the family did not know was that this was a warning. From that moment of impact, they had just three minutes before the house would be destroyed.

After moments of terrified confusion they began to leave. A first group managed to escape but as the second group reached the bottom of the stairs, a bomb struck the building, killing six of them: Randa, 34; Fatma, 22; Diya, 13; Rana, 12; Baha, 7; and Rola, 1. [Read more]

A week on, Gaza war takes on deadly routine despite calls for truce | Reuters

Palestinian militants resumed rocket attacks on Tel Aviv on Monday after a 24-hour lull in strikes on the Israeli commercial capital, and Israel kept up its air and naval bombardments of the Gaza Strip despite growing international pressure for a ceasefire.

The military said it had shot down a drone from Gaza, the first reported deployment of an unmanned aircraft by Palestinian militants and a possible step up in the sophistication of their arsenal, although it was not clear whether it was armed. [Read more]

Israel’s Bloody Status Quo | New York Times

Sheldon Adelson’s right-wing Israel Hayom, the biggest-selling newspaper in Israel, has called for Gaza to be “returned to the Stone Age.” During the last Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza, in 2012, a government minister called for Gaza to be consigned “to the Middle Ages.” Before that, there was the Gaza War of 2008-2009, in which 1,166 Palestinians died and 13 Israelis, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The story goes on and on. There is no denouement. Gaza, a small place jammed with 1.8 million people, does not recess to the Stone, Iron, Middle or other Ages. It does not get flattened, as Ariel Sharon’s son once proposed. The death toll is overwhelmingly skewed against Palestinians. Hamas, with its militia and arsenal of rockets, continues to run Gaza. The dead die for nothing. [Read more]

Fears among Israelis rise as more rockets fall | DW

“If money were not an obstacle, we would have left already,” said 29-year-old Sarah Grossman, who has grown increasingly afraid in the last month.

As a young Jewish woman from New York, she moved to Israel six years ago to become an Israeli citizen. “I was living in the Golan Heights, it wasn’t the safest feeling at the time, but I confess I had a sense of early Zionist patriotism,” she said. [Read more]

Top 7 Really Disturbing News Developments From Iraq | truthdig

1.  Last Wednesday Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki angrily lashed out at the Kurds, accusing them of harboring the terrorists of the so-called ‘Islamic State.’  Since the Kurds have in fact fought the IS radicals, al-Maliki’s charge is hard to take seriously.  Rather, it appears to be a sign of how angry he is that Kurdistan president Massoud Barzani is pressuring him to step down.  I don’t think al-Maliki can get a third term without Kurdish support.

2.  Barzani responded that al-Maliki is “hysterical.”  The Kurds then withdrew from al-Maliki’s cabinet, in which they had been his coalition partners.  The ministries will likely go on running all right, but the move is symbolic of the break between al-Maliki and his erstwhile backers.  Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, one of those who suspended participation, says it will be hard for the Kurds to work with al-Maliki unless he apologizes. [Read more]

Bashar al-Assad is west’s ally against Isis extremists, says Syria | The Guardian

Syria is determined to “eliminate” the Sunni extremist group Isis, according to a senior minister, who urged western countries to recognise “new realities” by joining the battle against terrorism and ending their support for rebels trying to overthrow president Bashar al-Assad.

“The only way to resolve the situation is to work with president Assad,” Faisal Mekdad, Syria’s vice foreign minister, told the Guardian. Mekdad said that “many countries” were now seeking security cooperation with Damascus, but “security matters could not be separated from the political cooperation”. [Read more]

The mullahs’ disinformation campaign regarding alleged cooperation of PMOI/MEK with ISIS | NCR Iran

The Iranian clerical regime’s campaign to spread false information about the cooperation of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) with ISIS, which started since the early days of the recent Iraq crisis, continues.

The goal is clearly preparing the ground for a large scale massacre Iranian refugees, members of PMOI (MEK), in Camp Liberty. [Read more]

Further observations on the situation in Iraq | The Hill

What happened in Iraq should not have been a surprise. The current situation in Iraq inevitably followed as President Nouri al-Maliki set upon a course of Shi’a domination and Sunni exclusion. Although some were surprised by the collapse of Iraq’s military, it is obvious that the security situation in Iraq had been deteriorating for some time. Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have been carrying on a relentless campaign of bombings, assassinations and military operations for at least two years.

ISIS’s rapid advance in Iraq had less to do with its military strength, more to do with the collapse of the Iraqi army. Maliki reportedly replaced competent military commanders with personally loyal supporters. Now faced with a national crisis, which threatens his own political survival, he is not likely to broaden his political base, as the United States would like, or install military leaders upon whose personal loyalty he cannot depend. That is not the way authoritarian leaders operate. [Read more]

Get Ready for Kurdish Independence | New York Times

In the coming weeks, Iraq’s leaders must make existential decisions. If they cannot form a unity government led by a new prime minister and motivate Sunni moderates and tribes to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Iraq is likely to disintegrate.

If the central government fails to grant satisfactory concessions to Sunnis and Kurds, the Kurds will push for sovereignty and independence. The Kurds are serious, and the international community must adapt to this emerging reality. While all Iraqi leaders bear responsibility for resolving the current crisis, the greatest share lies with the country’s Shiite politicians, who dominate the central government. Shiite parties must select a candidate for prime minister who can share power, decentralize the government and depoliticize the security forces.  [Read more]

7 Cases That Prove Online Activism is Under Siege in Saudi Arabia | Global Voices

In Saudi Arabia, the crackdown against online activists has risen to extremely worrying levels in recent months. Human rights defenders face threats and harassment, smear campaigns in the media, arbitrary detention, illegal imprisonment, torture and ill-treatment, and fabricated judicial proceedings. The Gulf Center for Human Rights is working to raise awareness about the following recent arbitrary legal measures taken against online activists in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is one of the few remaining absolute monarchies in the world and has a deeply concerning human rights record. The country’s first criminal procedure code was introduced in 2001. After King Abdullah took the throne in 2005, a series of new laws were passed and implemented including the Anti-Cyber Crime Law and the Terror Crimes Act, both of which are now being used to target human rights defenders and online activists. [Read more]

Israel’s Netanyahu on Iran: ‘Of course, they’re developing nuclear weapons.’ | Washington Post

Ongoing Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip prompted many interviews on the Sunday shows, perhaps most prominently with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He went on “Fox News Sunday” to discuss the strikes and foreign policy in the Middle East more generally.

The conversation quickly turned to Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had made an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning, too, in which he expressed his intent to convince the international community that his country isn’t interested in nuclear armament — just nuclear energy. “We don’t see any benefit to developing a nuclear weapon,” he said. “I will commit to everything and anything that would provide credible assurances to the international community that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons.” [Read more]

Giving Turkey a dose of its own medicine? | Jerusalem Post

An Israeli NGO has assisted Cypriots in filing a war crimes complaint with the International Criminal Court prosecutor against Turkey over its occupation of Northern Cyprus. The complaint, filed on Tuesday and referred to as a communication, was made on the 40th anniversary of Turkey’s occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

The NGO, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, has been involved in a wide range of human-rights cases and substantially assisted in researching and drafting the complaint on behalf of Greek Cypriot groups, including Cypriots Against Turkish War Crimes (CATWR) and MEP Costas Mavrides. [Read more]


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