Hamas says Egypt ceasefire deal gives Israel ‘upper hand’ | Times of Israel

Hamas negotiators met with the Islamic group’s political leadership in Qatar Friday to discuss a proposal for a long-term truce deal with Israel, amid conflicting reports over whether it would accept the proposal, and no comment on the terms from Israel.

AP quoted an unnamed Hamas official saying the radical Islamist organization was inclined to accept the Egyptian-mediated offer. It said the group had all but accepted the offer and was currently finalizing the wording. This, even though the official acknowledged that the proposed terms gave Israel “the upper hand.”  [Read more]

Gaza Blockade Hangs Fire in Cairo: Where Is the Antiwar Left? | truthout

The greatest struggle facing the antiwar movement in the United States is the struggle to get people who come to antiwar demonstrations after a war starts to engage politically to prevent the same wars in the future. In the case of US policy toward Iran, we created a political movement to support diplomacy with Iran to prevent war in the future. But in the case of Gaza, there is no political movement in the United States to support diplomacy to prevent war in the future. [Read more]

This is the outline forming for cease-fire | Jerusalem Online

The Egyptian newspaper “Al Shorouk” published at noon (Friday) a document that it calls “framework of understandings to stabilize the cease-fire” between Israel and the Palestinians, in which are detailed 11 clauses from the agreement Egypt has suggested in the past few days to the Israeli and Palestinian delegations. A decision has not yet been reached by the Palestinians or the Israelis.

According to knowledgeable sources in Egypt, the document was formed in Cairo, after many consultations with the Palestinian and Israeli delegations. As part of the document, Egypt calls out to both parties to show commitment to the understandings. These are the clauses from the document, according to the newspaper: [Read more]

Iraq: The ‘Humanitarian Catastrophe’ That Petered Out | Anti War

I’m dating myself, but the recent hysteria over the alleged “humanitarian catastrophe” which absolutely required quick US military intervention in Iraq – accompanied by familiar cries of “Genocide!” and numbers as high as 100,000 potential victims – brings to mind Emily Litella. Played by Gilda Radner on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1970s – I told you I was dating myself – the hearing-challenged Emily would appear on SNL’s “newscasts” giving her usually strong opinions on matters large and small, to be invariably corrected by the news anchor who would say something like: “No Emily, he didn’t say genocide – he said insecticide!” To which she would invariably turn her face to the audience and say “Never mind …” [Read more]

Engaging the enemy | The Economist

IN JUNE, when extremists from the Islamic State (IS) took over the Iraqi city of Mosul and hurtled south towards Baghdad, the Kurds in the north reacted with glee. They had no love for IS, a group which grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, later re-emerged in Syria and now operates in both countries. Indeed IS is sufficiently vile and disobedient, not to mention power hungry, that not even al-Qaeda likes it any more. But the Kurds saw its success as a deserved kick in the teeth for Nuri al-Maliki, the Shia prime minister. And if the fight with IS broke Iraq into sectarian pieces, semi-autonomous Kurdistan would achieve long-dreamed-of independence. [Read more]

Dual Threat Has Mainstream Syrian Rebels Fearing Demise | Syria

Far from being depleted by its recent sweep into Iraq, the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is pressing deeper into Syria, regaining territory it had lost to the mainstream Syrian insurgents just as the Syrian Army has come within five miles of encircling the insurgent-held section of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city.

The dual advance is on the verge of dealing a potentially fatal blow to mainstream Syrian insurgents, leaving them besieged in the city while ISIS, a group deemed too extreme even by Al Qaeda, faces the Syrian government across a crucial front line at the city and surrounding province of Aleppo, the linchpin of northern Syria. [Read more]

ISIS Baffling U.S. Intelligence Agencies | The Daily Beast

The U.S. intelligence community is still trying to answer basic questions about the jihadists who tried to wipe out Iraq’s remaining Yazidis and who now threaten to overrun the capital of the country’s Kurdish provinces.

In a briefing for reporters Thursday, U.S. intelligence officials said the government is re-evaluating an estimate from early this year that said the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) had only 10,000 members. These officials also said intelligence analysts were still trying to determine the real names of many of the group’s leaders from records of Iraqis who went in and out of American custody during the U.S. occupation of Iraq. [Read more]

Can Abadi be the PM that Iraq needs? | Al Jazeera

On August 14 Iraq witnessed another moment of peaceful transition of power, in a region that is unfamiliar with it. Nouri al-Maliki, who has held the post since 2006, and winner of the elections in April, decided to withdraw from his pursuit of a third term and backed another candidate from his own Dawa party, Haider al-Abadi, who was already nominated by a large alliance of parties and politicians.

It was at times an acrimonious process, with Maliki insisting that he was the only legal nominee for PM and threatening legal action against President Masum for nominating Abadi in a move he called a “constitutional violation”. But in the end the overwhelming support for a change in the premiership, both at home and abroad, convinced Maliki that his time was up. [Read more]

Libya’s Last Stand | Huffington Post

If there was ever a J.R.R. Tolkien moment in the Libya conflict, it has arrived. The forces of good and evil, abstracted here to represent ‘those who want progress’, and ‘those who would rather have nothing, if not their version progress’, are fighting the future of Libya — not in Mordor, but in concentric circles around Tripoli Airport and Benghazi. From the outside, the rapidly escalating violence looks to be the result of hopeless confusion and self-debasement. In fact, it is the direct outcome of some clarity, and some success. The West needs to get off the fence and help, before Libya’s fragile new infrastructure is wiped completely clean. [Read more]

Libya’s pleas for international help go unanswered | Deutsche Welle

The appeal came from Libya’s far northeast in the coastal city of Tobruk, near the border with Egypt and around 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of the capital Tripoli. That’s how far the newly appointed parliament has fled to escape the attacks and shootings in the capital.

Libyan politicians urged the United Nations to take steps to protect civilians and institutions in the north African conflict zone. They did not specify what the international assistance should look like in Wednesday’s appeal, issued amid continued unrest around the country. The majority of international embassies and the UN aid mission for Libya, UNSMIL, pulled out their staff long ago. [Read more]


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