• Behind the extravagant hype of an Israeli-Saudi ’courtship’, Israel is setting the price for Riyadh to go nuclear

    The exaggerated reports and rumours about ever-closer ties are trial balloons: Jerusalem is signalling its reluctant assent to Riyadh obtaining a nuclear deterrent – but at a high price

    Victor Kattan Feb 13, 2018

    The real stumbling block between the two countries isn’t just the Palestinian issue. The elephant in the relationship, which is far less often mentioned, is Saudi Arabia’s pursuit of nuclear power.
    Israel is currently fighting a political battle in Washington to stop the U.S. from letting Riyadh develop its own nuclear energy program that would allow it to enrich uranium that could be used to develop a bomb.
    Israel has good reason to be concerned. According to reports, the Trump administration might be willing to lower certain safeguards that prevent U.S. companies from sharing sensitive nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia for fear that it might be used to develop weapons. This administration might not insist on the same precautions that Obama did in its nuclear cooperation agreement with Abu Dhabi, for example, which forfeited its right to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium.

    Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, at a news conference to mark the 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran. Feb. 6, 2018ATTA KENARE/AFP
    In its negotiations with the U.S., Saudi Arabia is not backing down from its demand to enrich uranium under its planned civilian nuclear program – using, ironically, as its rationale, the conditions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in which Iran has been allowed to enrich uranium. Prince Turki has made it clear, more than once, that should Iran acquire nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries would look at all available options to meet the potential threat, including the acquisition of nuclear weapons. 
    The only snag for Saudi Arabia is the U.S. Congress, because this is where Israel has influential friends. Even if a deal is reached between Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration, Congress could either block the deal or add clauses preventing the U.S. from selling Saudi Arabia technology needed to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium. 
    It is more than possible that through its media campaign, Israel is sending a signal to Riyadh that it understands very well Saudi Arabia’s desire for a nuclear deterrent regarding Iran - but there’s a price to be paid for Israel reducing the level of its direct and indirect opposition in Congress to an independent Saudi nuclear capability.
    What Israel appears to be saying to Saudi Arabia, via a variety of trial balloons, is that if Riyadh wants Israel’s help with obtaining support from Congress, then Israel wants something in return: Jerusalem, overflight rights for Israeli aircraft, direct military cooperation and intelligence exchanges, lucrative business deals for Israeli companies in Saudi Arabia, and so on.
    The publication of stories about Israel’s ever-closer relationship with Saudi Arabia, which are then magnified by media conglomerates in Qatar and Iran, is certainly one way of ensuring that the messages are received loud and clear.
    Saudi Arabia would likely have anticipated that Congress could give them trouble as it has done before. 
    But this time things might be different - and these changes might scupper Israel’s strategy.

    President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington D.C. March 14, 2017Evan Vucci/AP
    A deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia could aid the ailing U.S. nuclear industry and have wider benefits for corporate America. Moreover, the U.S. does not have a monopoly on nuclear technology.
    Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has already visited Moscow and signed agreements with Russia to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2030. Saudi Arabia already has nuclear related understandings with China, France, Pakistan, South Korea, and Argentina. One expert has even suggested that Pakistan could assist Saudi Arabia by supplying Riyadh with sensitive equipment, materials, and the expertise that would aid Riyadh with enrichment or processing.
    Riyadh is also expanding research at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy and developing a cadre of nuclear scientists. Saudi Arabia is home to large uranium deposits that could be extracted with the appropriate technology.
    Obviously, Riyadh would prefer Washington’s blessing and support in developing its nuclear energy program within the rules of the global nonproliferation treaty rather than having to develop the program clandestinely with the aid of other states. Israel senses this, and would be willing to help Riyadh, but has set the price high.
    Israel would far prefer a covert alliance with Saudi Arabia to contain Iran over the U.S. allowing Riyadh to develop an independent nuclear deterrent. But Jerusalem is working to prepare for both eventualities. Whether that strategy will work remains to be seen.
    But should the Iran deal blow up on Trump’s watch, and Tehran acquires the capability to develop a weapon, no one should underestimate Riyadh’s resolve for self-preservation.
    Victor Kattan is Senior Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore and an Associate Fellow at the Faculty of Law. Twitter: @VictorKattan

    https://seenthis.net/messages/668822 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Oman: UN experts denounce detention of journalist Yousuf Al Haj and warn against restrictions on freedom of the press in the country | Alkarama Foundation


    Geneva (February 12, 2018) – The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD ) has today published an Opinion on the high-profile case of Omani journalist Yousuf Al Haj, stating that his almost 15 month-long arbitrary detention was “clearly connected to his activity as a journalist”.
    The Opinion – adopted on November 24, 2017, and made public on February 12, 2018 – came after the Alkarama Foundation referred Al Haj’s case to the WGAD in March 2017. Alkarama requested that the UN experts call upon the Omani authorities to release Al Haj and to respect freedom of the press in the country.
    The WGAD considered Al Haj’s case after his October 2017 release, and expressed concern that “his conviction may serve as the legal precedent for the arrest, detention and punishment or threat thereof to silence critics in the future.”
    Establishing a posteriori the arbitrary nature of Al Haj’s detention, the WGAD found that the Omani authorities committed multiple violations of minimum fail trial guarantees and due process, and that Al Haj’s detention stemmed directly from his legitimate activity as a journalist. In this regard, the WGAD called upon the Omani authorities to provide Al Haj and his colleagues from Al Zaman newspaper with their right to compensation.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/668449 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egypt’s President Sisi Touts Megaprojects Ahead of March Vote

    – WSJ

    By Jared Malsin
    Feb. 12, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET

    CAIRO—For decades Egypt’s presidents, like the pharaohs before them, have used vast infrastructure projects to inspire a sense of national achievement and economic might. But no modern leader has claimed to launch so many in so short a time as current President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, however meager their actual impact.

    Since the former general came to power following a military coup in 2013, he has decreed the expansion of Egypt’s Suez Canal, ordered a second capital city be built next to Cairo, and initiated a scheme to reclaim more than a million acres of empty desert land. In December, he approved a deal with a Russian state-owned firm to build a $21 billion nuclear plant.

    Ahead of an election in March, Mr. Sisi is now again touting his role in launching massive military-led projects. When he launched his re-electioncampaign last month, he claimed the government had completed 11,000 “national projects” in his brief tenure. That number proved hyperbolic, but even the president’s landmark infrastructure initiatives have done little to defuse the economic discontent that was a key source of political upheaval seven years ago during the Arab Spring.

    Mr. Sisi, second from right, looking last month at mockups of natural-gas-extraction facilities in the northern Suez canal city of Port Said. PHOTO: HANDOUT/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
    “This is not investment money. This is political money,” said Robert Springborg, an expert on Egypt at King’s College, London. “The long-term consequences of this are very negative for the economy. You think of the waste of resources at a time when the country is in desperate need.”

    Mr. Sisi’s embrace of big but dubious projects won’t cost him the election—Egypt’s security forces have jailed or otherwise sidelined his only credible opponents. But even officials involved in the initiatives say they are designed to create the appearance, rather than the reality, of an economic recovery following the turmoil of Egypt’s 2011 uprising that ended three decades of rule by President Hosni Mubarak.

    Mr. Sisi’s government unveiled the $8 billion “New Suez Canal” in 2015, hailing it as a symbol of national rebirth and Egypt’s “gift to the world.” In a lavish ceremony on the banks of the channel, jet fighters roared past rows of visiting dignitaries alongside the channel now expanded to allow two-way traffic and vastly reduce wait times. The president sailed to the event wearing full military regalia and sunglasses.

    The project’s dividends haven’t matched the hype. In 2015, the chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, Adm. Mohab Mamish, said the expansion would more than double revenue from the channel, from about $5 billion a year then to more than $13 billion by 2023.

    Today, income from the canal remains largely unchanged from 2015 levels. Even then, the Canal Authority’s public claims were contradicted by a never-released internal government study that predicted a decidedly modest 4.8% rate of return on investment for individual Egyptians who bought certificates to finance the project, according to Ahmed Darwish, the former head of the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

    “There were many reasons for that project to be done. It’s not only about the revenue. It came at a time when the president needed to bring back confidence to the Egyptian people,” he said. “The idea of ‘yes we can’ was very important.”


    https://seenthis.net/messages/668444 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Art et Liberté : Egypt’s Surrealists | by Charles Shafaieh | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books


    In March 1938, the Egyptian poet and critic Georges Henein and a small group of friends disrupted a lecture in Cairo given by the Alexandria-born Italian Futurist F.T. Marinetti, who was an outspoken supporter of Mussolini. Six months later, Henein, along with the Egyptian writer Anwar Kamel, the Italian anarchist painter Angelo de Riz, and thirty-four other artists, writers, journalists, and lawyers, signed the manifesto “Vive l’Art Dégénéré!” (“Long Live Degenerate Art!”) that would inaugurate Art et Liberté, a short-lived but influential artists’ collective based in Egypt that is the focus of an illuminating exhibition currently at the Tate Liverpool, in Britain, covering the years 1938–1948. Printed in Arabic and French, with a facsimile of Guernica on its reverse, the declaration was a direct challenge to the previous year’s Nazi-organized exhibition “Entartete ‘Kunst’” (“Degenerate ‘Art’”), which presented art by Chagall, Kandinsky and other modern artists, largely Jewish, that the Nazi Party deemed decadent, morally reprehensible or otherwise harmful to the German people.

    Internationalist in orientation and opposed as much to fascist-endorsed art as to the Egyptian academy’s own nationalist-minded aesthetics that resurrected ancient symbols in the name of “Egyptianness,” the group declared that it was “mere idiocy and folly to reduce modern art… to a fanaticism for any particular religion, race, or nation.” Surrealism—in its rejection of tyranny in any form and by championing uninhibited freedom of expression—was a fitting counterpoint that the group believed could also be harnessed to bring about social change.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/668430 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egypt 858 : Archiving as a tool of resistance | MadaMasr

    Seven years ago, volunteers — some of whom would later make up the Mosireen collective — began collecting footage from the public at a tent in the center of the Tahrir sit-in during the 2011 revolution. On January 16, 2018, Mosireen released 858 hours of this footage, time-stamped and indexed.

    Housed today on Pandora, an open-source tool designed to provide a home for media archives of heavily text-annotated video material, this fresh archive sits there, gazing at us, waiting for us to gaze back and think of what’s next, beyond recalling the moments it froze for us on screen.

    Intrigued, editors Leila Arman, Lina Attalah, Ahmed Mongey, Yasmine Zohdi and interns Nada Nabil and Farida Hussein from Mada sat down with Mosireen members and 858 creators, all of whom have a background in filmmaking and writing. We spoke about the process of curating the 858 archive, the ways in which it could breed more archives (as well as other mediums of documentation) and, ultimately, the relationship between archives, death and redemption.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/668300 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Ankara construit un site industriel dans le nord de la Syrie – Site de la chaîne AlManar-Liban

    « La Turquie est la prolongation de l’Empire Ottoman,… c’est la même essence, la même nature », a lancé le président Erdogan. Au lendemain du crash d’un hélicoptère militaire turc près des frontières avec la Syrie, la Turquie franchit un nouveau pas dans le sens de l’occupation du Nord de la Syrie et annonce son intention de « mettre sur pied le premier site industriel dans la ville d’al-Bab » en Syrie.

    Lors d’une cérémonie, samedi 10 février, avec la participation de plusieurs responsables de la province turque de Gaziantep, Ankara a inauguré le projet de construction d’un site industriel dans la ville frontalière d’al-Bab dans le nord syrien.

    Que cherche la Turquie ?

    À en croire, le président du conseil local de la ville syrienne d’al-Bab Jamal Ahmad Othman, « le complexe industriel qui devrait s’ériger à 5 km du centre de la ville vise à donner un coup de pouce à l’essor économique de la région ». Est-ce la vérité ? Selon les sources proches de l’armée syrienne, la ville d’al-Bab, que la Turquie occupe depuis 2013, abrite désormais des dizaines d’ateliers de contrebandes où la Turquie fabrique des produits à bas coût pour mettre en place un trafic lucratif vers l’Europe, et ce pour échapper aux mesures de taxation européennes.

    #turquie #syrie

    Se souvenir des plaintes, sans suite, des industriels alépins à propos du pillage de leurs usines...

    https://seenthis.net/messages/668287 via gonzo

  • Trump: Palestinians aren’t committed to making peace – but I’m not sure Israel is either

    In interview with Sheldon Adelson-owned Israeli newspaper, U.S. president also says Israeli settlements complicate the task of making peace

    Noa Landau Feb 11, 2018 9:34 AM

    U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview published Sunday that Israeli settlements in the West Bank complicate the task of making peace with the Palestinians.
    Trump, who spoke in an interview with Israel Hayom newspaper, also said that he is not sure Israel and the Palestinians are committed to reaching a peace agreement.
    According to Trump, “both sides will have to make significant compromises in order to achieve a peace deal.”
    Israel Hayom, which is owned by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, is considered close to and supportive of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Asked when the forestalled U.S. peace plan will be released, Trump answered, “we’ll see what happens. Right now the Palestinians aren’t willing to make peace, they’re not. Regarding Israel, I’m not sure that it’s ready to make peace either, so we’ll need to wait and see what happens.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/668093 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Why does Virgin find “Palestinian couscous” offensive?

    Virgin Atlantic has removed the word “Palestinian” from the description of a dish on its in-flight menu, following complaints from Israel-supporting customers.

    The airline acknowledged that the dish was a Palestinian recipe, but simultaneously apologized for “offense caused” by its use of the word.

    The dish was offered on the airline’s menu for economy class passengers in late 2017 and was described as “Palestinian couscous salad.”

    One customer giving the name Dani Williams took to social media to accuse the company of being “terrorist sympathizers” for using the descriptor. In a tweet, Williams posted a photograph of the menu and wrote: “last time you get my money.”

    Other pro-Israel social media users responded to the in-flight meal by claiming couscous was not Palestinian.

    One tweet suggested that the dish should be called “Jewish salad.”
    A photograph of the menu was also posted on the Facebook page of a group called the Israel Advocacy Movement. An accompanying comment read: “I thought this was an Israeli salad.”

    David Garnelas, the man who made the comment, also accused Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic’s founder, of “showing his true colors,” adding that “Israelis must boycott Virgin and Israel must ask for an explanation.”

    Since these complaints were made, Virgin Atlantic has renamed the dish “couscous salad,” with the word “Palestinian” deleted.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/668039 via Nidal

  • Le FMI exhorte les pays arabes à dépenser moins

    Les dépenses publiques restent élevées notamment chez les membres du Conseil de coopération du Golfe (CCG) où elles dépassent 55% du produit intérieur brut (PIB), a insisté la directrice générale du FMI.

    La réforme devrait se concentrer sur la réduction des dépenses —très élevées— liées aux subventions et aux salaires, et renforcer l’efficacité dans des domaines tels que la santé, l’éducation et les investissements publics, a affirmé la directrice du FMI.

    J’ai eu TRES peur en lisant le titre mais je constate avec soulagement qu’il ne s’agit pas des dépenses militaires pour acheter nos armements ! Il s’agit par conséquent d’excellents conseils.

    #FMI #cuistres

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667969 via gonzo

  • La grosse question que pose la séquence de ce matin (un F-16 israélien descendu par la Syrie), c’est : alors quoi, le régime syrien se mettrait à confronter militairement Israël ? C’est déjà arrivé ? Il me semblait tout de même que, à chaque fois qu’Israël bombardait en Syrie, le régime émettait des menaces de représailles, représailles qui ne venaient jamais (ou alors, suppose-t-on, de manière très indirecte).

    Du coup, les rodomontades, sur le thème « nouvelles lignes rouges », « les règles d’engagement ont changé »…, je suis très dubitatif.

    – Possibilité d’un accident : les missiles anti-aériens partent, et oups, touchent leur cible (ce qui n’était jamais arrivé) ; possibilité la plus amusante : le pilote israélien perd son sang-froid et s’éjecte prématurément (est-ce crédible ? j’aimerais le croire…).

    – Les Russes ont besoin de « faire passer un message » après qu’Al Qaeda a descendu leur propre avion à Idlib la semaine dernière. Après tout, ça fait deux fois que la Russie se fait descendre un avions (épisode de novembre 2015), et qu’ils dénoncent les Occidentaux et leurs alliés comme directement responsables. Et peut-être, plus généralement, les opérations turque et occidentale en Syrie, que les Russes jugent comme une façon pour les Américains de provoquer l’enlisement dans le conflit syrien (voir Joshua Landis sur France 24).

    – L’idée que le régime syrien serait réellement en position de faire monter la tension, histoire de montrer sa « légitimité » à, soudainement, confronter Israël, ou à montrer que son armée est désormais suffisamment « forte » sur le terrain pour affronter encore un ennemi de plus, je n’y crois pas. Prendre un tel risque, de la part d’un régime qui n’a pas confronté Israël directement depuis… (pfiou… quarante ans ?), ça ne me semble possible qu’avec l’assurance d’un soutien russe. (Et l’idée que le régime syrien pourrait tenter une telle opération pour « forcer à la main » à la Russie, ça ne me semble pas plus crédible non plus. Ce régime est violent et criminel, mais extrêmement pragmatique.)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667972 via Nidal

    • venant d’un pays, la France, qui vient juste avec l’aide de la Grande Bretagne et de bombes US, de massacrer 80 000 libyens en 20 000 sorties aériennes létales pendant 8 semaines de pilonages intensifs de la Libye, dire que le régime syrien est « violent et criminel » ne manque pas de sel !

  • Egypt Analysis : How Sisi has been sidelining his opponents

    | MadaMasr

    “Angry” was the way many described President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s improvised speech during the inauguration ceremony of the Zohr natural gas field on January 31.

    The president declared that the only way Egypt’s national security could be compromised was over his “dead body” and the “dead body of the military.”

    But who exactly the president is angry at is not clear. Sisi did not specify whether he was addressing opposition leaders — many of whom have called for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections — or individuals within state institutions who have antagonized him as of late.

    The speech follows a series of high-level shuffles within the security apparatus, with Sisi unexpectedly dismissing Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy in October of last year. According to a family friend, Hegazy had been under house arrest until December 16, when he appeared at a small event held to honor him — which the president attended — and where the dismissed official was permitted limited movement under strict surveillance.

    In January of this year, Sisi also dismissed Khaled Fawzy, the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service (GIS). Fawzy’s movement has also been restricted, according to a source close to his family. He was removed from his post after calls were allegedly leaked in which a man who appears to be affiliated with Military Intelligence speaks to media talk show hosts and celebrities and instructs them to appear understanding of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The man is also heard condemning Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for political stances that Cairo is not pleased with, especially with the rapprochement between Kuwait and Qatar and the fear of a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood. The leaks have yet to be independently verified.

    According to a Foreign Ministry source and to a European diplomat who has recently visited both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the leaked calls have made officials from both countries unhappy, and compelled the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to release a statement of apology to Kuwait and take unannounced measures to placate Saudi Arabia.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667950 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Mennel quitte “The Voice”, Isabelle Morini-Bosc reste à “Touche pas à mon poste !” | Samuel Gontier

    Les chroniqueurs de “Touche pas à mon poste !” militaient pour exclure immédiatement la “candidate voilée” de “The Voice”, jugeant impardonnables ses anciens tweets complotistes. Ils ont été exaucés. De son côté, C8 maintient sa confiance à Isabelle Morini-Bosc, qui prétend que chanter en arabe n’est pas opportun “par les temps qui courent”. Source : Ma vie au poste

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667883 via Rezo

  • Crisis Group : Averting Disaster in Syria’s Idlib Province | Crisis Group

    What happened? The de-escalation zone in north-western Syria is on the brink of collapse. Boosted by Russian air support, Syrian regime troops are advancing toward the Idlib region. Amid obstruction by the Syrian regime and Iran-backed militias, Turkish troops took up positions near the front lines in early February.

    Why did it happen? The area is controlled by the jihadist alliance Hei’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which until now has rejected de-escalation. Russia, Iran and Western powers consider HTS an irreconcilable terrorist organisation that must be defeated militarily. Turkey has a more nuanced view, but it has been preoccupied with its fight against Kurdish forces.

    Why does it matter?  A regime offensive into the heart of Idlib may be imminent. It would likely involve aerial bombardment and a battle against thousands of militants in densely populated areas, creating another humanitarian catastrophe and prompting an exodus toward the Turkish border, further straining Turkey’s ability to cope with large numbers of Syria refugees.

    What should be done?  Turkey should deploy along the front line in cooperation with Russia, which should press the Syrian regime to delay, or even desist from, its assault. This would buy time for renewed Turkish efforts to curtail transnational jihadist influence within HTS in favour of militants more open to de-escalation and compromise.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667891 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • « Jusqu’à la garde » | Geneviève Sellier

    Saluons d’abord ce film courageux, efficace et d’une brûlante actualité. Pour traiter de la violence conjugale (c’est-à-dire de la violence de certains hommes contre leur conjointe) qui provoque, rappelons-le, la mort de plus d’une femme tous les trois jours en France sans que les pouvoirs publics s’en émeuvent outre mesure (le discours d’Emmanuel Macron sur le sujet ne s’est assorti d’aucun financement supplémentaire pour cette soi-disant « grande cause nationale »), Xavier Legrand (auteur d’un court métrage multi-récompensé sur un sujet voisin) réalise ce premier long métrage après s’être longuement documenté sur le sujet et avec une distribution impeccable, où les quelques acteurs professionnels (Léa Drucker, Denis Ménochet, Jean-Marie Winling) sont entourés de beaucoup d’inconnu·e·s, ce qui (...)

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667882 via Rezo

  • Egypt : Army blocks all access to Sinai, schools close indefinitely and residents brace for military operation | MadaMasr


    On the eve of the first day of the Armed Forces’ new major counter-terrorism operation in Sinai, authorities have restricted access to and movement within North Sinai, while residents of the peninsula’s main cities steel themselves for the new military campaign.

    According to residents, authorities prohibited entry to and exit from Sinai starting Thursday night by preventing traffic coming through the Suez Canal and the Ahmed Hamdi tunnel. On Friday morning, authorities also blocked the main road linking North Sinai’s cities to one another, and cut off passage to and from the cities of Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafah.

    Despite a sense of anxiety following the Armed Forces’ statement on Friday — in which the military announced the launch of a major operation aiming to “end terrorism” in the peninsula — the day progressed quietly in Rafah, Arish and Sheikh Zuwayed, save for sounds of explosions coming from desert areas south of each city and military aircraft flying over them during the early hours of Friday.

    The military spokesperson had stated on Friday that the operation started with the bombing of militant ammunition storehouses in north and central Sinai.

    Residents said that the shelling targeted locations close to Egypt’s border with Palestine. A local on the Palestinian side of the border city of Rafah told Mada Masr that the explosions could be heard clearly in the city and residents saw smoke close to the borders from 7 am to 8 am.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667853 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Armed Forces orders emergency medical measures in Sinai as military presence intensifies | MadaMasr


    The Armed Forces requested the urgent deployment of medical reinforcements to the Sinai Peninsula and Ismailia as hospitals implement emergency measures, following an increase in military presence in the area sources told Mada Masr on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    A high-ranking military official asked that the Health Ministry prioritize surgeons and anesthetists and send them to the region within two days during a recent meeting, according to a source from the ministry.

    A large number of doctors were recently assigned to compulsory postings across Sinai, the source said, adding that the ministry told them: “Something is going to happen in the area in the next few days.” The doctors come from several governorates, including Cairo, Giza and Gharbiya, and were told their postings will last between one and three months.

    The posting of additional medical personnel and requests for further reinforcements come on the heels of emergency measures and the cancellation of staff leave, which were recently announced in Ismailia and Sinai hospitals, another medical source based in North Sinai told Mada Masr. 

    The announcement was concurrent with an “unusual increase” in the number of military vehicles in North Sinai, the same source added.

    The North Sinai Security Directorate has similarly recalled all staff members from vacation, according to a security source who works in the directorate. The directorate employee told Mada Masr late on Wednesday night that this was to ensure that it is operating at its full capacity within the space of several hours.

    In January, sources told Mada Masr that additional Armed Forces equipment and reinforcements had arrived in Hassana, the closest central Sinai city to Arish, in preparation for an “unprecedented” military operation.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667460 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • The sinister reason behind Qatar’s wooing of the Jews

    Doha wants to influence D.C. elites. But rather than targeting Congress or the media, they’re lavishly, and disproportionately, focusing on right-wing, pro-Israel Jews

    Jonathan S. Tobin Feb 08, 2018 2:20 PM

    A debate over the good name of Qatar has become a burning issue in Washington. The Emirate has been waging an all out charm offensive aimed at convincing Americans not to back Saudi Arabia’s efforts to isolate it. 
    But while efforts seeking to influence D.C. elites are commonplace, the most prominent targets of Qatar’s public relations push aren’t the usual suspects in Congress or the media.
    Instead, Qatar’s PR team has focused on winning the hearts and minds of a very specific niche of opinion leader that is not generally given much attention, let alone love, by Arab states: the pro-Israel community in general and right-wing Jews in particular.

    Women walk past artwork on the corniche waterside looking towards the city skyline in Doha, Qatar. Nov. 22, 2012Bloomberg
    This has not only reaped some benefits for the Qataris but also set off something of a civil war on the right between those who buy the Emirate’s arguments and those who dismiss them as propaganda intended to cover up its support for terrorism.
    But as interesting as this nasty intramural quarrel might be, it’s worth pondering if there’s something more to Qatar’s efforts than a generic Washington influence operation. It is, after all, logical for them to seek out those who may have Trump’s ear.
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    Yet the disproportionate attention given the Jews may have a more sinister origin that should be familiar to students of Jewish and Zionist history.
    The obvious explanation for Qatar’s strategy is the increased importance of pro-Israel opinion in the Trump administration, especially when compared to its predecessor. With supporters of the settlement movement appointed to posts like the U.S. ambassador to Israel and an Orthodox Jews like presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner at Trump’s side, the Jewish right’s stock is at an all-time high.
    That elevates the importance of pro-Israel organizations and lobbyists who might otherwise be assumed to be hostile to any Gulf nation, especially one that is host and sponsor of the rabidly anti-Israel Al Jazeera network and is believed to have played a major role in funding Hamas.

    Alan Dershowitz addresses an audience at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass. Jan. 23, 2007ASSOCIATED PRESS
    That has led to a stream of invitations for pro-Israel figures to visit Qatar and to hear its leaders make the case that it has gotten a bum rap from critics. Some, like the Zionist Organization of America’s Mort Klein, insist they were only there to insist that the emirate cease funding terrorism. Others returned from a tour of Qatar singing its praises or at least, willing to give its assertion that it no longer has ties with Hamas the benefit of the doubt.

    One prominent convert to the pro-Qatar side is attorney and author Alan Dershowitz, a longtime liberal Democrat who is also a pillar of the pro-Israel community. Dershowitz was impressed by Qatar’s efforts to put its best face forward to the Jews noting that Israeli athletes were welcomed to compete in Doha while Saudi Arabia - which has established strong under-the-table ties with Israel and is a Trump administration favorite - continued its discriminatory attitude towards Israelis. Dershowitz even went so far as to call Qatar “the Israel of the Gulf States.” 
    That in turn generated some fierce pushback from other pro-Israel figures with scholar Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies pointing out there is proof that Qatar’s alibis about Hamas and terror ring false and urging Dershowitz to stick to topics he knows something about. More extreme was the reaction from the always-incendiary Rabbi Shmuley Boteach who branded Dershowitz a sellout.
    Who is right in this dispute?

    Members of Qatar’s armed forces during national day celebrations in Doha. Qatar is using its extraordinary wealth to fund a massive push in defense spending. December 17, 2017 STRINGER/AFP
    Until proven otherwise, the skeptics about Qatar have the better arguments. Qatar’s involvement in Gaza can’t be written off as mere philanthropy.
    But as even Schanzer pointed out, there’s no harm in Jews going there to learn more about the place. Nor, despite the close ties it is establishing with Israel, is there any reason for pro-Israel figures to get involved in the politics of the Arabian Peninsula, let alone take the side of the Saudis in their feud with Qatar. The Gulf emirate has always had an ambivalent relationship with the West, with Doha being a U.S. Navy base while also serving as a beachhead for Iranian influence. Drawing firm conclusions about its behavior is probably unwarranted.
    But there’s another factor here that needs to also be examined.
    While their Washington PR representative — a former aide to Senator Ted Cruz - may have told his client that winning over supporters of Israel is the path to success, the attention given the American Jewish community is still disproportionate. Conservative Jewish groups may have loud voices and some influential backers but their ability to influence events, let alone national opinion is limited. That’s why most lobbyists don’t squander that much attention on them.

    The newsroom at the headquarters of the Qatar-based and funded Al Jazeera English-language channel in Doha. February 7, 2011REUTERS
    Another plausible explanation for all this attention stems from the traditional anti-Semitic belief that Jews and Zionists can exert mysterious control over major powers like the United States. Just like the well-meaning British statesmen who really thought the Balfour Declaration would boost the Allied war effort because of the unique and sinister ability of Jews to influence the United States and Russia, others have similarly bought into unfounded notions about Jewish power.
    The contemporary Arab and Muslim world has become a place where anti-Semitic texts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion freely circulate. Those who demonize Israel and its supporters are prone to attribute exaggerated powers to Jews in this way. If the Qataris are that focused on American Jews and right-wingers at that, it’s just as likely to be as much the product of this sort of distorted thinking as anything else.
    Seen in that light, the dustup on the Jewish right about Qatar is even sillier that it seems. Reports about Qatar dangling the prospect of spiking an Al Jazeera documentary about pro-Israel lobbyists is particularly absurd because few in the U.S. take the network seriously.
    Rather than argue about the virtues of the Emirate, supporters of Israel need to wonder about the reasons they are being wooed and conclude they’d be better off staying out of this dispute altogether.
    Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS.org and a contributing writer for National Review. Twitter: @jonathans_tobin

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667370 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Liban L’insulte - le genre et l’écran

    L’Insulte raconte le procès qui oppose deux hommes, dans un Liban contemporain qui nous renvoie aux années de guerre civile (1975-1990). Le propos est d’ailleurs bien celui d’une guerre qui n’en finit pas, bien qu’interrompue par les accords de Taëf de 1989 et par l’armistice qu’ils actaient – au Liban, beaucoup parlent plutôt d’amnésie. La paix fut imposée par le pardon général accordé par ces traités, qui coulèrent du même coup une chape de plomb sur les massacres commis durant ces quinze années d’une guerre civile qui opposait, disait-on schématiquement dans les mass-médias internationaux, une gauche prétendument « musulmane » alliée aux Palestiniens à une droite chrétienne.

    Le réalisateur libanais Ziad Doueiri ne tente pas de nuancer le tableau, puisqu’il oppose dans son film un Libanais de Damour, un village chrétien au sud de Beyrouth ravagé en 1976 par des milices notamment palestiniennes, à un Palestinien vivant dans un camp de réfugiés aux abords de Beyrouth – peut-être est-ce Sabra ou Chatila, théâtres connus du terrible massacre perpétré par des milices chrétiennes contre les civils palestiniens en 1982 ? Dans les deux cas, le passé est lourd à porter. L’astuce manque de délicatesse, mais elle a le mérite d’offrir à nos deux personnages toutes les justifications nécessaires à leur haine mutuelle et à leur colère, que les clichés de la virilité se doivent de transformer en accès de violence incontrôlables.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/667334 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Asset Bayat : ‘Revolution without Revolutionaries:’ Making sense of the Arab Spring | MadaMasr


    In this conversation, sociologist Heba Khalil engages Asef Bayat on several of his main points. We publish their conversation as we remember the January 25, 2011 revolution.

    Heba Khalil: The Arab Spring continues to be a complex set of events: unpredicted, unplanned and with unforeseeable, unintended consequences. Your new book, Revolution without Revolutionaries, is about making sense of the Arab Spring. What, in particular, are you trying to make sense of?

    Asef Bayat: I want to understand the Arab Spring in the sense of how the revolutions proceeded, why they happened in the way they did, what the various forms of mobilization were, who were among the protagonists and critical mass, and what the immediate outcome was. But, above all, I am very interested in exploring the meaning of the Arab Spring historically, as I sense these revolutions were different from those I had studied and experienced before, I mean those of the 1970s.

    HK: The Iranian Revolution of 1979 has often been referenced in relation to the Arab Spring as an Islamic revolution that produced an Islamic state. This oversimplification misses the nuanced dynamics of the Iranian Revolution, and its ideological innovations. How is the Iranian Revolution a relevant lens for understanding the Arab Spring?

    https://seenthis.net/messages/666907 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Ce que révèle l’« agression antisémite » de Sarcelles | Le Club de Mediapart

    L’emballement disproportionné des premières heures – aujourd’hui retombé - a suscité son lot habituel de commentaires tendancieux sur les « banlieues musulmanes ». Mais pas seulement. Un nouveau palier vient d’être franchi dans la construction du discours sur le « nouvel antisémitisme ». Dont on vient d’apprendre par ailleurs qu’il ne repose sur aucune statistique officielle !


    Résumons. Le 31 janvier, un enfant juif de huit ans portant kippa dit avoir été agressé dans la rue par deux jeunes adolescents noirs qui l’auraient mis à terre et frappé. Ses parents portent plainte au commissariat de Sarcelles. Deux jours après, c’est l’emballement. Tous les grands médias – presse écrite, radios, télés - évoquent cette affaire sans beaucoup de recul. Les faits allégués - et au premier chef, le mobile antisémite - sont tenus pour établis. On parle alors d’un « enfant roué de coups », d’un véritable « passage à tabac ». Sur son compte Twitter, Emmanuel Macron considère que c’est « toute la République qui est agressée » par ces « actes ignobles ». A l’Assemblée nationale, lors des questions d’actualité, le premier ministre exprime le souhait que « la Justice passe avec sévérité ». 

    Mais deux jours plus tard, l’affaire se dégonfle sérieusement. Sans que les médias s’en fassent aussi bruyamment l’écho. Aucun témoin n’a assisté à la scène. Aucune caméra de surveillance n’en a capté la moindre image. L’enfant était accompagné de son frère, âgé de 11 ans « qui marchait un peu en retrait », mais qui ne semble pas être en mesure de confirmer le récit des faits avec précision. Aucune lésion corporelle ni aucune ITT n’a pu être constatée, les parents n’ayant pas suivi l’invitation des policiers à se présenter au service des urgences médico-judiciaires. Finalement réentendu le 2 février, l’enfant déclare aux policiers « ne pas avoir été blessé, car les coups n’étaient pas forts ». Aujourd’hui, des « sources proches de l’enquête » – entendez, les enquêteurs – reconnaissent que l’affaire « s’est emballée trop rapidement », sur le mobile antisémite retenu d’emblée par le parquet au motif que la kippa de l’enfant était visible, et aussi, peut-être, sur la matérialité des faits eux-mêmes. Une nouvelle « affaire du RER D » ? On ne peut l’affirmer catégoriquement. Peut-être une bousculade ou un croche-pied. Mais mettant en cause des mineurs, sans la moindre insulte, trop imprécis pour qualifier juridiquement une infraction, et encore moins son caractère antisémite. En tout cas, rien qui justifiait une importance aussi disproportionnée accordée à cette affaire dans les médias et à la tête de l’Etat. Disproportionnée et inédite.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/666565 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • L’armée israélienne détruit une école cofinancée par la Belgique

    Dimanche matin, l’armée israélienne a rasé deux classes d’une école palestinienne, près de Jérusalem. Ces classes avaient été financées par plusieurs pays européens, dont la Belgique. Israël détruit régulièrement des projets d’aide aux Palestiniens financés par l’Union européenne.
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    L’armée israélienne explique ces classes ont été construites sans les autorisations nécessaires. Les permis de bâtir sont pratiquement impossible à obtenir pour ces communautés palestiniennes près de Jérusalem. Pour le coordinateur humanitaire des nations unies Roberto Valent : « Abu Nuwar est l’une des communautés les plus vulnérables de Cisjordanie et a besoin d’aide humanitaire. » Il estime qu’Israël a créé un environnement coercitif qui viole les droits des habitants qui risquent de subir un transfert forcé.

    #israel #démolition #colonisation #occupation #palestine #jérusalem #cisjordanie

    https://seenthis.net/messages/666547 via Reka

  • « Sur les conseils de mes élèves, j’allais à l’épicerie Chez Adballah »

    Entretien long format avec Laurence De Cock sur l’éducation, l’histoire et le postcolonialisme

    Propos recueillis par Céline Picard et Ferdinand Cazalis

    À lire et écouter ici :


    À la fin du XIXe siècle, un programme commun à l’ensemble du territoire français est décidé. Cela a trois finalités : 1. identitaire, car il faut fabriquer « du Français » dans un pays qui est fragmenté au niveau linguistique et culturel, et qui est par ailleurs éclaté en colonies ; 2. civique, il faut fabriquer des citoyen·nes républicain·nes au moment où la République est instable ; 3. intellectuelle, c’est-à-dire avec l’objectif de transmettre des connaissances (mais ce dernier niveau de lecture est secondaire). D’où l’idée de structurer l’école autour de programmes et de disciplines, qui, en France, ont parfois une rigidité que l’on ne retrouve pas dans tous les pays ; le terme de « programme » est quant à lui spécifiquement français : ailleurs on parle de « curriculum » ou de « plan d’étude ». Or ces mots – « disciplines » et « programmes » – sont à eux-seuls tout un programme, si j’ose dire : c’est un carcan idéologique servant quasiment des objectifs de dressage. L’enjeu est donc immense et touche à ce qui définit la nation et la patrie, au point que toute modification dans les programmes peut devenir un enjeu de société.

    L’histoire scolaire est écrite par les dirigeant·es selon deux objectifs. Le premier est politique : un programme d’histoire reflète à un instant « t » ce que le politique souhaite laisser comme trace du passé. Le deuxième est social : le programme cible le devenir de générations de jeunes ; c’est une projection à long terme de ce que le politique souhaite que la jeunesse devienne. On suppose qu’avec tel programme, les élèves vont développer tels types de comportements civiques et politiques. Par conséquent, pour un·e praticien·ne – un·e prof –, il est très compliqué de travailler avec ce matériau qui est surveillé en permanence. On essaie tant qu’on peut d’insister sur la dimension critique de l’histoire, mais ce n’est pas évident avec de tels enjeux qui nous dépassent. Car ce que nous souhaitons réellement enseigner relève d’une autre problématique que celle des gouvernements : quelle utilité peut avoir la connaissance et le raisonnement historiques pour une meilleure compréhension du monde ?


    https://seenthis.net/messages/666527 via Jef Klak

  • Pro-Israel groups receive letters from Al Jazeera seeking response for ’lobby’ documentary - U.S. News - Haaretz.com

    Last year, the Qatari-owned network planted an undercover reporter inside pro-Israel groups in Washington. Now, those groups were given three weeks to respond to the contents of an upcoming documentary on ’the Israel lobby in America’

    Amir Tibon (Washington) Feb 05, 2018 3:38 PM

    A number of pro-Israel organizations in the United States received letters from Al Jazeera on Friday, informing them their employees will appear on the Qatari-owned network’s upcoming documentary on the Israel lobby in Washington.
    The letters gave the organizations three weeks to respond to the contents of the upcoming report, but did not indicate when the report would be broadcast. 
    Four sources within the pro-Israel circles in Washington, all of whom asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Haaretz that the letters came as a surprise to those who received them.
    Al Jazeera publicly admitted in October it had planted an undercover reporter inside leading pro-Israel organizations in the United States. Ever since then, though, the story has not made any headlines, and some in the Jewish community were under the impression it might not be broadcast at all. 
    Following the letters’ arrival on Friday, the sources in the pro-Israel community offered two dueling interpretations of the new development. Some said the letters indicate that the film will be broadcast within the next weeks, possibly around the time of the annual AIPAC conference in early March. Others believed the opposite was true, claiming that the Qatari government was pressuring Al Jazeera not to air the report, and that the letters are the result of an internal debate within the network about the documentary. 
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    Haaretz revealed last October that the reporter working undercover for Al Jazeera managed to do internship work at the Israel Project and had some access to that organization’s donor files. The undercover reporter also had contacts with a number of low-level staffers at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, some of whom had attended parties at a luxury apartment he rented in downtown D.C.
    His work for Al Jazeera was first reported in 2017 by Armin Rosen in Tablet Magazine. 
    To really understand Israel and the Jewish World - subscribe to Haaretz
    In recent months, leaders for a number of right-wing Jewish organizations in the United States had visited Qatar and met with its emir. All of those leaders had asked the emir to change Al Jazeera’s negative coverage of Israel and its spreading of anti-Semitic content. Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani was asked by Haaretz about those requests during an event in Washington last week, and replied that Qatar’s constitution forbids the government from interfering in Al Jazeera’s work. 

    Thani also said that complaints about Al Jazeera’s coverage should be addressed not to the Qatari government, but to official media regulators. He mentioned that in Britain last year the local media regulating body, Ofcom, investigated complaints about Al Jazeera’s documentary “The Lobby,” on the Israel lobby in the United Kingdom, and denied the allegations that it was misleading or anti-Semitic. 
    One senior official in a pro-Israel organization called the Al Jazeera documentary a “wake-up call.” According to the official, Al Jazeera invested tens of thousands of dollars in the project.
    “They rented an apartment for him that cost more than $5,000 a month,” the official said. “We don’t know what kind of recording equipment was placed inside that apartment, and what kind of equipment he took with him to meetings in offices all around town, but I assume it was of the highest quality. This is not just a television report, it’s closer to state-sponsored espionage.”

    Amir Tibon
    Haaretz Correspondent

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    https://seenthis.net/messages/666298 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • United states: Pro-Israel Democrats are in denial of Pew poll showing favorability tanking

    Last week Pew released a bombshell survey showing that the progressive base of the Democratic Party is now far more sympathetic to Palestine than Israel. “[N]early twice as many liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel (35% vs. 19%).”

    That finding is now getting pushback from Democrats who support the strong Israel-U.S. relationship. They worry that the issue is becoming politicized: that the Republican Party is becoming the address for Israel support, so before long Democratic candidates for office will distance themselves from Israel. And Israel will be under real pressure to change its Jim Crow foundations.

    The Jewish Democratic Council of America said the poll is faulty.

    Finally, a poll released by Pew did a faulty job of measuring American support for Israel, especially within the Democratic Party. While Democrats and Republicans generally disagree on certain Israeli policies, such as Israel’s settlement movement and the Kotel agreement, overall support for Israel remains strong. Just as Americans can question and criticize the Trump administration while still loving their country and remaining patriots, so too can Americans criticize Israeli policies and its leaders.

    This is not very convincing: The Council links a study done 14 months ago by Shibley Telhami showing that 60 percent of Democrats support imposing sanctions on Israel over settlements, and 55 percent of Democrats regard Israel as a burden on U.S. foreign policy. It’s only gotten worse since.

    Writing “How Not to Measure Americans’ Support for Israel” at the Atlantic, establishment Israel advocates Tamara Cofman Wittes and Daniel Shapiro can only offer a semantical argument against the poll: Pew misframed the question so that the surveyed conflate “Israel” with the “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” And nobody likes the conflict– so Israel suffers.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/665917 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Saison France-Israël: Lettre de boycott from within à l’Institut français
    BDS France | 3 février 2018

    Madame Cécile Caillou-Robert, Commissaire Générale de l’Institut Français,

    Nous sommes des citoyen.ne.s d’Israël, opposé.e.s à la politique d’oppression, d’occupation, d’apartheid et de nettoyage ethnique de notre gouvernement à l’encontre de la population autochtone palestinienne. Nous vous écrivons pour vous demander de respecter l’appel palestinien au Boycott, Désinvestissement, et Sanctions (BDS) d’Israël, particulièrement son aspect culturel , et d’annuler les événements de la Saison France-Israël 2018 financés par l’Institut Français. Nous vous remercions de bien vouloir nous lire jusqu’à la fin.

    Puisque vous voulez mettre en lumière les innovations culturelles, scientifiques et pédagogiques d’Israël, il nous semble approprié d’attirer votre attention sur la discrimination systématique d’Israël contre les Palestinien.ne.s, y compris contre ses propres citoyen.ne.s palestinien.ne.s. Pour commencer, il est important pour nous de souligner que la Commission Économique et Sociale pour l’Asie occidentale des Nations Unies (ESCWA) estime que les violations des droits humains, commises quotidiennement par Israël dans les territoires occupés palestiniens, représentent une situation d’apartheid .(...)


    https://seenthis.net/messages/665805 via Loutre