• En octobre dernier, Lea Tsemel, l’une des seules avocates en israel à défendre les Palestiniens, était de passage à Montréal et acceptait de donner une rare conférence (en anglais). Filmée, et même si la qualité du son n’est pas excellente, le document vaut la peine d’être écouté, car il n’y a presque rien d’elle sur internet :

    Lea Tsemel, Montréal 2017

    Pendant 25 minutes, elle nous emmène à ses côtés, lors de son quotidien d’avocate, de Jérusalem à Sheikh Jarrah, à la Cisjordanie ou à Gaza, nous montrant par là l’absurdité, l’illégalité et l’inhumanité des prisons, des tribunaux, des frontières et du labyrinthe judiciaire israélien pour les Palestiniens...

    #Palestine #Lea_Tsemel #Avocate #Justice #Injustice

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676993 via Dror@sinehebdo

  • Same As It Ever Was: Orientalism Forty Years Later

    January 23, 2018 By Philip Metres

    | Literary Hub

    “Why do they have to show that? That—that—violence,” I said to my mom hours later, burying my face in my pillow, unable to sleep, my little body convulsing with this strange grief.

    In the packed dark of our local theater, eleven years old, I’d been reeling, gripping the armrests in terror as Raiders of the Lost Ark flashed across the huge screen. The swashbuckling Indiana Jones had somehow escaped a trap-filled temple in Peru with the golden idol in hand, but his local guide hadn’t. The image of a wide-eyed brown-faced man with a spike piercing his forehead had seared itself in my mind, but now they were somehow in Cairo, and Indiana, having escaped a chase in the casbah, found himself face-to-face with a black-cloaked, scimitar-wielding Arab. Smiling, laughing even, the man flung and swung the comically large sword from hand-to-hand. World-weary, Indiana pulled out his pistol and blew him away. The crowd around me erupted in cheers. Was I supposed to laugh? Before I could react, we were off again, with our American hero, between local “savages” and Nazis, until in the fury of the opened ark, the bad guys’ faces literally melted off. Walking out of the theater, I did everything I could to hold back sobs.

    Growing up Arab American in the 1980s, I couldn’t escape these depictions of Arabs as vile, cruel terrorists. I was confused why so many movies I watched featured a bloodthirsty Arab vanquished by white American heroes. It wasn’t just Raiders, of course, it was also the weird creatures of the Tatooine desert in Star Wars, the vicious Sand People, who seemed more than a little familiar. And later, The Black Stallion Returns (1983), and not too long after that, the runaway time-traveling hit, Back to the Future (1985). What were Libyans doing in Hill Valley California, and why did they have plutonium? It was such a non sequitur that we never asked what they were doing there. Of course, the movie wanted us to say, those wretched Libyans! And like the Egyptian sword-wielder who was really a white stuntman, a whole parade of terrorists played by Israeli actors in “arabface” were trotted out in movie after movie produced by the Israeli-led Cannon Films.

    Later, when I read the work of Edward Said and Jack Shaheen, I learned that my experience—and these films—are not the exception. Shaheen’s Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (2001) looked at nearly 1,000 films and found only a dozen that depicted Arabs in a complex or positive way. Watching television, it was more of the same. I secretly loved the wrestler “The Iron Sheik,” who wore a keffiyah, robe, neat mustache, and played the heel. He was Iranian, actually, but he was as good as Arab to me (shout-out to my Iranian brothers and sisters). When he palled around with the Russian Nikolai Volkoff, I thought of the Russians as odd comrades. Of course, The Iron Sheik played the heel. Whenever the crowd began to jeer him—or anyone—I felt something churn in me. Some kind of fire ignited in my head. I was drawn to the one who was hated. Whether the person was black or brown or queer or just strange, I wanted to stand beside them.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/677189 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egypt Parliament in haste to approve cybercrime bill : Ambiguous provisions, loose definitions, legalized web censorship |


    In a whirlwind Tuesday meeting attended by a bevy of state officials, 14 articles of the cybercrime prevention bill were approved by Parliament’s Communications and Information Technology Committee (CITC) in a span of two hours.

    The government-drafted bill, which is composed of 45 articles and includes 29 penalties sentencing offenders to up to five years in prison or fines of between LE,10,000 and LE20 million, was referred by the legislature’s speaker to the committee early this month and has largely been approved in principle.

    The bill’s significance stems from the fact that, in the event that it is passed, it would be the first piece of legislation to regulate what is published on social media and establish principles to confront cybercrimes such as piracy and the hacking of private and government websites. Most importantly, the bill would set a precedent in regulating web censorship.

    The gap in opinion between detractors and proponents of the bill does not center so much on whether cybercrime legislation is necessary, however, but on protection of data and the broad leeway the legislation would grant to authorities to place limitations on liberty.

    For Ghada Moussa, the Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform Ministry’s transparency committee secretary general, there certainly is a need for a cybercrime law. But such a law, in her estimation, can only be part of a legislative package whose primary concern would be to make information available, with the identification of confidential information and regulation and protection thereof as a second priority, appended by a law to set exceptions and outline crimes.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676928 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Stephen Hawking avait frappé Israël là où cela fait mal : la science !

    Hilary & Steven Rose – A l’occasion du décès du physicien Stephen Hawking, nous publions un article écrit en mai 2013 et publié par The Guardian, et traitant du respect par Hawking des consignes de la campagne BDS et de son refus de cautionner d’une manière ou d’une autre le régime d’apartheid qui sévit en Palestine occupée.

    Ce qui est vraiment insupportable pour Israël, c’est que ce rejet vienne d’un scientifique célèbre, alors que c’est la science qui détermine son économie, son prestige et sa force militaire.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676845 via Palestine | فلسطين

  • French arrest warrant out for Saudi crown prince’s sister: source close to probe

    France has issued an arrest warrant for the sister of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on suspicion of ordering her bodyguard to beat up a worker at her Paris apartment, sources close to the case told AFP Thursday.

    The mandate against the princess, named in the warrant under the French spelling Hussat ben Salmane, was issued in late December, a source said, confirming a report by Le Point magazine.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676715 via Nidal

  • New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has a hawkish history on Iran and Israel - U.S. News - Haaretz.com


    In November 2015, Pompeo visited Israel and met with Netanyahu, a meeting which he said left a strong impression on him. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is a true partner of the American people,” Pompeo said after their discussion at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. “Our conversation was incredibly enlightening as to the true threats facing both Israel and the United States. Netanyahu’s efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are incredibly admirable and deeply appreciated.”
    During the same visit, Pompeo met senior officers in the Israeli police and was briefed by them on the “lone wolves Intifada” that included dozens of stabbing and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians across the country. A statement by his office described the Israeli police officers he met as “a group of officers who not only bravely defend the people each day, but have also been targeted themselves by terrorists.” Pompeo said that “by putting on their uniform, the men and women of the Israeli National Police put a target on their back for terrorists who want to murder law enforcement. In the fight against terrorism, cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been more important.”
    Two weeks after his visit, Pompeo released a statement condemning “the ongoing violence in the State of Israel,” explaining that “I can tell you that the Israeli people and the Israeli National Police are demonstrating admirable restraint in the face of unspeakably cruel attacks.” He added that "We cannot let these acts of terror go on any longer. Those who carry out, encourage, or defend this violence should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We must stand with our ally Israel and put a stop to terrorism. Ongoing attacks by the Palestinians serve only to distance the prospect of peace.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676641 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • The maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel explained

    The comments made by Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at a Tel Aviv conference on January 31 sparked outrage in Lebanon. It brought the issue of the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel back into the spotlight and managed to catch Washington’s attention once again.

    Little was happening on this front after the change of Administration in the U.S. After a few months, Lebanese officials stopped announcing that a resumption of mediation efforts was imminent. Then, in October, the decision, by a Total-led consortium to place a bid for Block 9 (which includes a disputed area) in Lebanon’s first licensing round, rekindled interest once again in the topic. But the buzz was discreet, confined to experts and diplomatic circles, until it was out in the open when Liberman described Lebanon’s offshore tender as “very provocative” and urged international companies not to bid, about a month and a half after licenses were awarded (see our roadmap).

    The dispute unfolded in December 2010, when Cyprus and Israel signed a maritime border agreement that was denounced by Lebanon because it encroached on parts of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). On July 10, 2011, the Israeli cabinet approved a map of Israel’s northern maritime border, and two days later, the Israeli mission to the United Nations submitted a list of geographical coordinates for the delimitation of the northern limit of Israel’s territorial sea and EEZ. Some of the points defined in the Cypriot-Israeli agreement and submitted later to the U.N. overlap with the Lebanese EEZ.

    #disputes_territoriales #frontières_contestées #Liban #Israël #frontières #frontières_maritimes
    cc @reka

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676574 via CDB_77

  • Egypt For the love of state control?
    How the Engineers Syndicate lost its moment of independence
    | MadaMasr

    Members of the Engineers Syndicate elected Hany Dahy as the new head of their syndicate on March 9, with the former transportation minister taking home 56 percent of the vote in the runoff election against the incumbent Tarek al-Nabrawi.

    The mid-term elections for the syndicate, which serves as an important middle-class professional block and is divided between a General Engineers Syndicate Council and 24 regional subsydincate councils, took place over three weeks, starting on February 23. At the local level, half of the 14 seats in each council were up for reelection, in addition to the councils’ heads, as well as seven seats on each of the General Engineers Syndicate Council’s seven specialized divisions and 11 supplementary places on the general council. The seat at the helm of the overall syndicate was the final position to be settled.

    Dahy and his electoral list, the state-supported Engineers for the Love of Egypt, dominated the elections, counting all 11 supplementary places on the general council, about half of the seats on region councils, and Dahy’s own election among their victories.

    Nabrawi’s political backing, consolidated in the Independence Current, did secure majority representation in the seven specialized divisions and a third of the seats on subsyndicate councils.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676413 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Pompeo, Big Oil and the attack on Iran Deal | Informed Comment

    By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –
    All you need to know about Mike Pompeo, the four-term congressman from Kansas who is actually from California, is that most of his life he has been in business with the Koch brothers. His appointment as Secretary of State puts a seal on Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords.
    More dangerously, Trump was straightforward that he put Pompeo in to replace Rex Tillerson in order to destroy the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action treaty between the United Nations Security Council and Iran.
    Pompeo, despite his obvious brilliance, appears to be driven by profound currents of anger, resentment and vindictiveness, and to be unable to feel remorse for purveying falsehoods. His shameful performance at the circus he ran attempting to blame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the 2011 Benghazi attack and its aftermath demonstrated a willingness to play fast and loose with the facts and an inquisitorial, McCarthyite mindset.
    His lack of a moral compass makes his connection to the Kochs especially dangerous.
    Charles and David Koch, the notorious billionaires gnawing like termites at the foundations of American democracy, are all about petroleum. They fund phony climate denialism with a Potemkin village of foundations and expert frauds, to make sure oil keeps its value for as long as possible (even at the cost of visiting catastrophes on our children and grandchildren, since burning oil is causing catastrophic global heating).

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676363 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Enquête sur les dérives de l’aide européenne au Soudan | Caitlin L. Chandler

    En l’absence d’une prise en compte des causes profondes des migrations, seuls les officiels corrompus et les trafiquants tirent bénéfice de la criminalisation des migrants. Alors que des millions de dollars de fonds de l’Union européenne affluent au Soudan pour endiguer la migration africaine, les demandeurs d’asile témoignent : ils sont pris au piège, et vivent dans un état perpétuel de peur et d’exploitation dans ce pays de transit. Source : Orient XXI

    https://seenthis.net/messages/676356 via Rezo

  • Egypt
    Study: Blocked access to websites, ad redirects and cryptocurrency mining in Egypt traced to Sandvine’s PacketLogic devices | MadaMasr

    The technology used to block access to Mada Masr and hundreds of websites, blogs, proxy and virtual private networks (VPNs) on Egypt’s service providers is also being used to redirect traffic to revenue-generating content, such as advertising pages and cryptocurrency mining scripts, according to a report published by The University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.

    The Egyptian advertisement and cryptocurrency redirect scheme, which Citizen Lab researchers have dubbed “AdHose,” is an attempt to “covertly raise money,” the Friday report, titled Bad Traffic, asserted.

    Beyond identifying the specifics of the revenue-generation scheme, the researchers also developed a digital fingerprint for the deep packet inspection (DPI) observed in Egypt and Turkey and matched it to a second-hand PacketLogic device produced by Sandvine/Procera Networks, one of several facts that they argue points to the US company’s implication in malicious activity.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/675924 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions - The New York Times


    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Businessmen once considered giants of the Saudi economy now wear ankle bracelets that track their movements. Princes who led military forces and appeared in glossy magazines are monitored by guards they do not command. Families who flew on private jets cannot gain access to their bank accounts. Even wives and children have been forbidden to travel.

    In November, the Saudi government locked up hundreds of influential businessmen — many of them members of the royal family — in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton in what it called an anti-corruption campaign.

    Most have since been released but they are hardly free. Instead, this large sector of Saudi Arabia’s movers and shakers are living in fear and uncertainty.

    During months of captivity, many were subject to coercion and physical abuse, witnesses said. In the early days of the crackdown, at least 17 detainees were hospitalized for physical abuse and one later died in custody with a neck that appeared twisted, a badly swollen body and other signs of abuse, according to a person who saw the body.

    In an email to The New York Times on Sunday, the government denied accusations of physical abuse as “absolutely untrue.”

    Continue reading the main story

    The Upstart Saudi Prince Who’s Throwing Caution to the Winds NOV. 14, 2017

    Saudi Crown Prince’s Mass Purge Upends a Longstanding System NOV. 5, 2017

    In Saudi Arabia, Where Family and State Are One, Arrests May Be Selective NOV. 7, 2017

    Saudi King Shakes Up Military and Security Leadership FEB. 27, 2018

    Continue reading the main story

    To leave the Ritz, many of the detainees not only surrendered huge sums of money, but also signed over to the government control of precious real estate and shares of their companies — all outside any clear legal process.

    The government has yet to actually seize many of the assets, leaving the former detainees and their families in limbo.

    One former detainee, forced to wear a tracking device, has sunk into depression as his business collapses. “We signed away everything,” a relative of his said. “Even the house I am in, I am not sure if it is still mine.”

    As the architect of the crackdown, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, prepares to travel to the United States this month to court American investment, Saudi officials are spotlighting his reforms: his promise to let women drive, his plans to expand entertainment opportunities and his moves to encourage foreign investment. They have denied any allegations of abuse and have portrayed the Ritz episode as an orderly legal process that has wound down.

    But extensive interviews with Saudi officials, members of the royal family, and relatives, advisers and associates of the detainees revealed a murkier, coercive operation, marked by cases of physical abuse, which transferred billions of dollars in private wealth to the crown prince’s control.

    Corruption has long been endemic in Saudi Arabia, and many of the detainees were widely assumed to have stolen from state coffers. But the government, citing privacy laws, has refused to specify the charges against individuals and, even after they were released, to clarify who was found guilty or innocent, making it impossible to know how much the process was driven by personal score settling.

    Part of the campaign appears to be driven by a family feud, as Crown Prince Mohammed presses the children of King Abdullah, the monarch who died in 2015, to give back billions of dollars that they consider their inheritance, according to three associates of the Abdullah family.

    And although the government said the campaign would increase transparency, it has been conducted in secret, with transactions carried out in ways that avoid public disclosure, and with travel bans and fear of reprisals preventing detainees from speaking freely.

    Most people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid the risk of appearing to criticize Crown Prince Mohammed.

    The government said in its email that “the investigations, led by the Attorney General, were conducted in full accordance to Saudi laws. All those under investigation had full access to legal counsel in addition to medical care to address pre-existing, chronic conditions.”

    The government, and several Saudi officials contacted separately, declined to answer further questions about the crackdown.

    They have argued, however, that it was a necessarily harsh means of returning ill-gotten gains to the treasury while sending a clear message that the old, corrupt ways of doing business are over. And they have defended the process as a kind of Saudi-style plea bargain in which settlements were reached to avoid the time and economic disruption of a drawn-out legal process.

    In a separate statement on Sunday announcing new anti-corruption departments in the Attorney General’s office, the government said that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed “are keen to eradicate corruption with utmost force and transparency.”

    But the opaque and extralegal nature of the campaign has rattled the very foreign investors the prince is now trying to woo.

    “At the start of the crackdown they promised transparency, but they did not deliver it,” said Robert Jordan, who served as American ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President George W. Bush. “Without any kind of transparency or rule of law, it makes investors nervous that their investments might be taken and that their Saudi partners might be detained without any rationale to the charges.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/675904 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • What’s in Al Jazeera’s undercover film on the US Israel lobby? | The Electronic Intifada


    The leading neoconservative think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies is functioning as an agent of the Israeli government, Al Jazeera’s forthcoming investigation on the US Israel lobby will reveal.

    According to a source who has seen the undercover documentary, it contains footage of a powerful Israeli official claiming that “We have FDD. We have others working on this.”

    Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military intelligence officer, is said to state that the foundation is “working on” projects for Israel including “data gathering, information analysis, working on activist organizations, money trail. This is something that only a country, with its resources, can do the best.”

    Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, commonly known as FARA, US organizations and individuals who work on behalf of foreign governments are required to register with the counterintelligence section of the Department of Justice.

    A search on the FARA website shows that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies is not registered.

    Al Jazeera’s film reportedly identifies a number of lobby groups as working with Israel to spy on American citizens using sophisticated data gathering techniques. The documentary is also said to cast light on covert efforts to smear and intimidate Americans seen as too critical of Israel.

    Israel lobby groups have placed intense pressure on Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera, to shelve the film, fueling speculation it may never be aired.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/675782 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Iraq : Al-Sadr & Communist Party ally against Corruption, Iranian Hegemony

    Nativist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, 44, is encouraging members of his Sadr Movement to vote in the upcoming national elections for parliament. “Vote,” he said, “and save our country from corruption.”
    A newly formed political party, al-Istiqama or the Upright Party, will hew the Sadrist line.
    There have been reports that Sadr’s party will ally with the Iraqi Communist Party on an anti-sectarian ticket. Both Sadr and the small Communist Party have criticized the spoils system of Iraq where government positions and contracts are doled out according to membership in a sectarian political party.
    Both objected vigorously to the statement of Ali Akbar Vilayeti, an adviser to Iran’s clerical Leader Ali Khamenei, on his visit to Baghdad in February that he would not allow the return of liberals, secularists and Communists in Iraq.
    It was widely thought that he was criticizing Sadr for his alliance with the Communists and the “civil” or secular movement in Iraq.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/675652 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Dans le camp Al-Amari, avec les réfugiés palestiniens
    REPORTAGE. À douze kilomètres de Jérusalem vivent plus de 5 000 Palestiniens dont les parents ont été contraints de quitter leur terre à la création d’Israël.
    De notre envoyé spécial dans le camp Al-Amari, Armin Arefi
    Modifié le 11/03/2018

    Seuls seize kilomètres séparent Ramallah de Jérusalem. Entre les deux villes, la route Al-Bireh Al-Qods mène du siège de l’Autorité palestinienne au checkpoint de Qalandia, à huit kilomètres de là. Tenu par l’armée israélienne, ce poste-frontière permet aux seuls résidents palestiniens de Jérusalem, Arabes israéliens ou détenteurs d’un permis spécial délivré au compte-gouttes de pénétrer de l’autre côté du « mur de sécurité » dressé par les Israéliens et de rejoindre la partie orientale de la ville sainte, occupée et annexée par Israël.


    https://seenthis.net/messages/675612 via Loutre

  • Un projet aux relents coloniaux pour l’islam de #France

    Le consultant et essayiste Hakim El-Karoui vient de publier L’islam, une religion française, qui complète et analyse les résultats de l’enquête intitulée Un #Islam français est possible, qu’il a dirigée en 2016 pour l’Institut Montaigne. Bien que présenté comme inédit, ce travail s’inscrit dans la droite ligne de nombreuses enquêtes menées durant toute la période coloniale sur les Français musulmans pour définir les orientations et les stratégies de la « politique musulmane » de la France, reprises quasi (...)


    / France, #Colonisation, Islam, #Empire_colonial_français, #Colonialisme

    « http://www.institutmontaigne.org/ressources/pdfs/publications/rapport-un-islam-francais-est_-possible.pdf »
    « https://www.ined.fr/fichier/s_rubrique/19558/dt168_teo.fr.pdf »
    « https://blog.mondediplo.net/2011-04-05-Trop-de-musulmans »

  • A qui profite le maintien de #Gaza au bord d’une catastrophe humanitaire ? | Agence Media #Palestine

    Dans leur livre « La Condition de l’État unique », Ariella Azoulay et Adi Ophir essaient de répondre à la question : « Quel est l’intérêt d’#Israël à maintenir Gaza au bord de l’effondrement ? »

    Leur réponse demeure valable quinze ans plus tard : c’est de maintenir les Palestiniens perpétuellement au point de non retour, donnant ainsi la preuve de la victoire décisive d’Israël. Les Palestiniens ne peuvent pas considérer leurs existences comme une évidence légitime, car Israël peut prendre leurs vies n’importe quand. C’est la base du rapport de domination d’Israël sur les Palestiniens.

    Dans leur livre « La Condition de l’État unique », Ariella Azoulay et Adi Ophir essaient de répondre à la question : quel est l’intérêt a d’Israël à maintenir Gaza au bord de l’effondrement ?

    Mais si cette réponse est juste, elle n’est pourtant pas suffisante. Il y a aussi une réponse économique : Tant que Gaza demeure au bord de l’effondrement, les donateurs internationaux maintiennent le flux d’argent de l’aide humanitaire. Si la crise prenait fin et si le siège était levé, on peut être presque sûrs que les donateurs internationaux changeraient de type d’aide concentrerait à nouveau leur subsides au développement de l’économie gazaouie (comme cela s’est passé de 1994 à 2000, jusqu’au déclenchement de la Seconde Intifada).

    Ce type d’aide entrerait vraisemblablement en concurrence avec certaines branches des sociétés israéliennes et menacerait donc l’#économie israélienne. Maintenir Gaza au bord de l’effondrement assujettit l’arrivée de l’argent de l’aide humanitaire internationale exactement là où il sert les intérêts d’Israël.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/675305 via Kassem

  • Egypt and Sudan : Diplomatic pacification, unresolved affairs | MadaMasr


    Quietly and without an official announcement is how Osama Shaltout, Egypt’s ambassador to Sudan, returned to his post in Khartoum on Tuesday. On the same day, Abdel Mahmoud Abdel Halim, Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt, returned to Cairo two months after he was recalled due to tension between the neighboring countries.

    Shaltout spent the better part of two months in Cairo, as the Egyptian government worked to resolve the tension. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told Mada Masr on Wednesday morning that the reason for the ambassador’s stay in Cairo had been to “take part in official meetings.” Abu Zeid also stressed that Cairo did not recall Shaltout, either in response to Khartoum’s January decision or at any point since.

    Although the return of both ambassadors to their respective posts is an indication of the end of the public escalation of tensions, several Egyptian and Western diplomats as well as observers believe that the matters which originally triggered the crisis earlier this year have yet to be settled, even if the restoration of diplomatic relations is a step in the right direction.

    “The kind of escalation we saw in the January [between Sudan and Egypt] was kind of a negotiation being carried out in public, with a ratcheting up of rhetoric that didn’t necessarily match what was happening on the ground,” International Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Analyst Magnus Taylor tells Mada Masr. “Of course, there are some real structural problems in the relationship on the Renaissance Dam, on the Muslim Brotherhood, the border conflict over Halayeb. But I’ve never really seen any of those issues as escalating into a border war or proxy war.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/675159 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Nouvelle étude de l’USJ : 3 % du territoire libanais abrite 79 % de sa flore ! - L’Orient-Le Jour

    Le Liban, considéré comme un point chaud de la biodiversité du bassin méditerranéen, se caractérise par une richesse floristique estimée à 2 612 espèces végétales, dont 108 sont endémiques (uniquement au Liban et nulle part ailleurs dans le monde). Cependant, l’urbanisation anarchique de la période de reconstruction post-guerre (1975-1991) ainsi que l’augmentation sans précédent de 30 % de sa population entre 2011 et 2013 ont largement contribué à la perte de biodiversité.

    L’affirmation que l’arrivée des réfugiés syriens a contribué à la dégradation de la biodiversité libanaise est complètement gratuite, manifestement en contradiction avec la carte qui montre des zones de bioversité principalement en montagne et dans les zones humides, alors que les réfugiés sont installés en ville et, dans la Beqaa, dans qqs zones agricoles où l’usage immodéré des pesticides a depuis longtemps toute biodiversité... Impossible si cette affirmation typiquement raciste vient du rédacteur de l’OJ ou de l’étude (ce qui ne m’étonnerait pas). Cela rappelle, il y a qqs mois, une étude gouvernementale accusant les réfugiés syriens des dysfonctionnements de l’électricité au Liban.
    #réfugiés #biodiversité #Liban #racisme

    https://seenthis.net/messages/674843 via rumor

  • Mahmoud Abbas’ health deteriorates, and Israel prepares for bloody succession fight -

    Head of West Bank’s Palestinian Authority was hospitalized for tests in U.S. at end of February


    Amos Harel Mar 07, 2018

    ❝In recent months there has been a deterioration in the health of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who will be 83 at the end of the month. Information about his health has been submitted to Israeli political and security officials.
    Although the security cooperation between Israel and the PA continues to be managed well, Israel is readying itself for the possibility that a continued worsening of Abbas’ health will intensify the succession wars in the PA and undermine the relative stability that now prevails in the West Bank.
    At the end of last month, while he was in the United States to address the UN General Assembly in New York, Abbas was hospitalized for a few hours for tests in a Baltimore hospital. He also underwent tests in a Ramallah hospital last July. In both instances, the PA spokesman issued denials regarding illnesses Abbas supposedly had and insisted that his medical condition was satisfactory. Abbas himself, in an interview with Palestinian television on February 22, said he was in good health.
    However, Palestinian activists opposed to Abbas’ regime claim that he’s ill and getting worse. There was even a claim on social media that he was suffering from cancer of the digestive system. This claim was never confirmed.
    Some 20 years ago Abbas was operated on for prostate cancer, and the surgery was said to be successful.

    The PA president has cut down his work hours over the past year. People around him say he seems to be getting more short-tempered and argumentative with his aides and other senior PA officials. Aside from his health and advancing age, Abbas’ behavior seems to indicate that the PA, and his leadership, are facing a crisis.

    The main reason is the bad relationship with the Trump administration and the United States clearly positioning itself on Israel’s side with regard to its diplomatic dispute with the Palestinians. This American position is accompanied by other moves that are liable to undermine the Palestinian economy, like pushing the Taylor Force law through Congress (which limits American aid to the PA because of its financial support for imprisoned terrorists and their families) and the plan to reduce support for UNRWA, the United Nations’ refugee agency.
    At Abbas’ orders, the PA security agencies are continuing to closely coordinate with the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service, and they are regularly assisting in the rescue of Israelis who stray into Area A, which is under PA control. In closed forums with foreign diplomats, senior PA officials admit that the IDF is showing restraint in the West Bank and its approach is preventing violent flare-ups.
    But as Abbas’ health gets worse, the battle among the many contenders hoping to succeed him will intensify. There are nearly 10 Palestinian politicians and security officials who see themselves worthy of the job, and there could be temporary alliances formed between some of them in an effort to win the leadership of PA. Israel is concerned about the instability that could ensue the closer the end of Abbas’ tenure seems – and is concerned that the internal tension will impact the degree to which the PA security services will work to prevent attacks on the IDF and Israeli civilians in the West Bank.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/674607 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Where the Islamic State hides – Peter Harling archive

    THE ISLAMIC STATE WAS LONG IN THE MAKING. It is here to stay, if not in the Iraqi city of Mosul, then in people’s minds and our own memory. Under its current name or its next avatar, it likely will linger on in our lives like a trauma—a familiar fear, quick to surface, however deeply burrowed.
    Indeed, it fills a hole we cannot plaster over: decaying power structures and social compacts throughout the Middle East, in parts of Africa and Central Asia, and in places closer to home, such as the urban fringes at the heart of Western societies. It taps into the same groundswell of inchoate anti-establishment anger that has been molded into virtually anything: from dissident democrats to insurgent republicans in recent American elections; from Occupy Wall Street to the Tea-Party movement; from a leftist takeover in Greece to its rightwing equivalent in Poland; from the British Brexit to the French Front National; and from hopeful uprisings in the Arab world to “ISIS,” their nihilistic antithesis.
    The problem we face is an old one: the banality, the oddity of evil, which can seep into our lives and become the new normal. As this collection of images will show us, the “true” Islamic State may not be a beheading video, but a more ordinary scene.
    To deny its hold on our reality, we make the Islamic State into something extraordinary, exogenous—a creature from the past, from an exotic elsewhere, with an inhuman rationality. But it doesn’t just mangle: it mingles too. Craving attention, it keeps creeping up on us, seeking ways to photobomb the course of history. And it is, without doubt, media-savvy: digitally-native, almost geeky in its use of modern communication tools, it promotes itself much less through a coherent ideology than via the equivalent of an aggregated, gigantic snuff-selfie.
    Paradoxically, this portfolio is filled with the Islamic State’s absence. The movement is, indeed, a small one: it has far fewer troops than any of its opponents; its resources are mostly limited to what it can plunder; its paltry weapons pale in the tall shadows of the guns arrayed against it; its popular support is ambivalent at best; its violence is staged to maximize effect; and its territorial empire always comprised much desert and rubble.
    This lesser militia nevertheless prompted the greatest de facto coalition of forces ever assembled in history: a US-led alliance of more than thirty countries, to which one must add Russia, Iran, the Syrian and Iraqi regimes, the Lebanese Hizbollah and others, all of which have declared the Islamic State as the epitome of evil and their paramount enemy. And still it is there, bizarrely hard to defeat.
    This publication appears to revolve around this mystery: the truly massive disruptions we pin on such a diminutive entity. Perhaps there are three clues to this riddle. The first is that the Islamic State magnifies itself through the media’s echo chamber, by turning its opponents’ grandstanding into a multiplying factor, and by leveraging their truly superior power. It deliberately provokes the kind of response that serves its purpose—another “war on terror” that plays up the importance of its foes while further dilapidating the urban and social fabric they already prey upon.
    Certainly ISIS ravaged archeological artifacts and stole many lives; but the wholesale destruction of large parts of Syria and Iraq is a service it owes to its proclaimed enemies. Only in that void can it thrive. The photographs in this collection capture, incredibly, this inhabited vacuum—a place of ample misery and so little meaning.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/674271 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Emails show UAE-linked effort against Tillerson - BBC News

    The BBC has obtained leaked emails that show a lobbying effort to get US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sacked for failing to support the United Arab Emirates against regional rival Qatar.
    Major Trump fundraiser and UAE-linked businessman Elliott Broidy met Mr Trump in October 2017 and urged him to sack Mr Tillerson, the emails reveal.
    In other emails, he calls the top US diplomat “a tower of Jello”, “weak” and says he “needs to be slammed”.
    Mr Broidy says Qatar hacked his emails.
    “We have reason to believe this hack was sponsored and carried out by registered and unregistered agents of Qatar seeking to punish Mr Broidy for his strong opposition to state-sponsored terrorism,” a spokesman for the businessman said.
    He said some of the emails “may have been altered” but did not elaborate.
    Saudi Arabia, UAE and a number of Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 over its alleged support for terrorism, a claim which it denies. The unprecedented move was seen as a major split between powerful Gulf countries, who are also close US allies.
    Qatari royal ’held against will’ in UAE
    Nations silent on Tillerson Qatar blockade plea
    The BBC has asked the Qatar embassy in Washington for a response to the accusations.
    Mr Broidy’s defence company Circinus has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts with the UAE, according to the New York Times newspaper.
    He had recently returned from the UAE when he met Mr Trump at the White House in October.
    What did the emails say?
    According to a memorandum he prepared of the meeting, Mr Broidy urged continued support of US allies the UAE and Saudi Arabia and advised Mr Trump against getting involved in last year’s row with Qatar.
    Mr Broidy called Qatar “a television station with a country” - alluding to broadcaster Al Jazeera - and said it was doing “nothing positive”, according to the emails.
    He said he touted a regional counter-terrorism force being set up by the UAE that his company was involved with, and suggested that the US president “sit down” with Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and a top UAE military commander.
    “I offered that MBZ [the crown prince] is available to come to the US very soon and preferred a quiet meeting in New York or New Jersey. President Trump agreed that a meeting with MBZ was a good idea,” Mr Broidy wrote in an email.
    He also said he advised the president on Mr Tillerson - who was “performing poorly and should be fired at a politically convenient time”.
    Mr Tillerson had criticised the blockade of Qatar and called for it to be eased, in comments that contrasted with Mr Trump’s support for the move.
    Mr Tillerson spent most of the first year in his position embattled and weakened.
    Last autumn, in a rare move for the soft-spoken secretary, the state department held a press conference in which Mr Tillerson pushed back against reports he had called the president “a moron”.
    Who did Mr Broidy email?
    He emailed a detailed account of his meeting with the president to George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman with decades of experience serving as an interlocutor between the Middle East and Washington.
    Sources familiar with the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election and possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, tell the BBC that Mr Nader has become a person of interest and has been questioned in recent weeks.
    Investigators questioned Mr Nader and other witnesses on whether there were any efforts by the Emiratis to buy political influence by directing money to Mr Trump’s presidential campaign, according to a New York Times report.

    What else was in the leaked emails?
    Mr Broidy also detailed a separate sit-down with Mr Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, according to the emails.
    After Mr Broidy criticised Qatar extensively to Mr Kushner, “Jared’s demeanour was very passive and pleasant but he seemed to not want to engage on this issue,” he wrote to Mr Nader.
    Kushner Companies - owned by the family of Jared Kushner - is reported to have in April 2017 sought financing from Qatar for its flagship property at 666 5th Avenue, New York.
    However, Mr Kushner has maintained that he has had no role in his family’s business since joining the White House last year.
    Has anyone else claimed to have been hacked?
    UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba - who in diplomatic circles is known as the most effective and influential ambassador in Washington - has himself been a recent victim of email hacking.
    It’s well known in Washington that Mr Otaiba and Mr Kushner have enjoyed close relationship.
    Industry experts looking at both hacks have drawn comparisons between the two, showing reason to suspect links to Qatar.
    “This is rinse and repeat on Otaiba,” a source familiar with the hack told the BBC.
    The UAE has also been known to use similar tactics, and was accused of hacking Qatari government websites prior to the blockade, according to the FBI.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/674149 via Nouvelles d’Orient