Middle East Upset

Column One: Playing Israel’s good hand
The shift in the regional power balance following Mubarak’s fall has caused Fatah leaders to view their ties to the US as a strategic liability.

If they wish to survive, they must cut a deal with Hamas. And to convince Hamas to cut a deal, they need to abandon the US.

And so they have. Fatah’s first significant move to part company with Washington came with its relentless bid to force a vote on a resolution condemning Israeli construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria at the UN Security Council. In an attempt to avert a vote on the resolution that the US public expected him to veto, Obama spent 50 minutes on the phone with Mahmoud Abbas begging him to set the resolution aside. Obama promised to take unprecedented steps against Israel in return for Abbas’s agreement to stand down. But Abbas rejected his appeal.

Not only did Abbas defy the wishes of the most pro-Palestinian president ever to occupy the White House, Abbas told the whole world about how he defied Obama.

Abbas’s humiliation of Obama was only the first volley in the Fatah leader’s campaign against the US. Abbas, Salam Fayyad and their PA ministers have sent paid demonstrators into the street to protest against America. They announced a boycott of American diplomats and journalists. They have called for a boycott of American products. They have scheduled a “Day of Rage” against America for Friday after mosque prayers.

Egyptian Armed Forces Fire At Christian Monasteries, 19 Injured
Monk Aksios Ava Bishoy told activist Nader Shoukry of Freecopts the armed forces stormed the main entrance gate to the monastery in the morning using five tanks, armored vehicles and a bulldozer to demolish the fence built by the monastery last month to protect themselves and the monastery from the lawlessness which prevailed in Egypt during the January 25 Uprising.
“When we tried to address them, the army fired live bullets,

Libyan minister warns of WMD use amid mass killings
Former justice minister of Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi has warned of the possibility of the use of weapons of mass destruction to maintain control over the North African state

Pajamas Media » Iran’s Africa Fiasco
There is another important element in this story: weeks before the “sudden” discovery of the 13 containers, Iran secretly hung a Nigerian and a Ghanaian in the horrific Vakilabad prison in the city of Mash’had.
The two were arrested for drug trafficking, a no-no in Iran as that market is cornered by the Revolutionary Guards themselves.

AFP: Iran’s Karroubi isolated but determined: website
Karroubi and his wife, as well as the other pro-reform opposition leader, former premier Mir Hossein Moussavi and his wife, are living in complete isolation, their residences under surveillance and cut off from the world.

PressTV – Iran’s Navy ‘foiled Western threats’
“This [the presence of our country's naval group in the strategic area] was meant to prove that the Islamic Republic of Iran has …extremely advanced industrial and scientific capabilities, “

PressTV – Iran, Syria navies ink cooperation deal
Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari and his Syrian counterpart General Taleb al-Barri signed the cooperation agreement aboard Iran’s supply vessel Khark in Syria’s Lattakia Port, IRNA reports.

Shutdown’s ‘essential’ question: Which workers are indispensable? – Washington Times
“The broader point is that the uncertainty created by this, the number of consequences that could unfold if this does happen, would create the kind of environment that would be harmful to the economy overall,”

NTI: Global Security Newswire – Obama Pressed to Penalize Syria Over Alleged Atomic Site
Ros-Lehtinen in a statement said she was “gravely concerned by reported new evidence showing that Syria’s nuclear weapons program may have been much more extensive than previously thought.”
“Israel’s destruction in 2007 of Syria’s suspected uranium enrichment facility may have ended the immediate threat, but this new evidence indicates the regime has yet to abandon its nuclear goals,” she added. “It is dangerous that the [Obama] administration continues to ignore Syria’s threatening behavior and policies, and instead makes concessions to Damascus such as the recent appointment of a U.S. ambassador.
“The administration should increase pressure on the Syrian regime by fully implementing the sanctions in the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act,”

Global Security Newswire – Print_Friendly -
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen yesterday said Ukraine is open to taking part in establishing a European missile shield, RIA Novosti reported

NYT: Iran suffers major setback at nuclear plant – World news – The New York Times – msnbc.com
The new report from the I.A.E.A. — a regular quarterly review of the Iran nuclear program to the agency’s board — gave the reactor unloading only brief mention and devoted its bulk to an unusually toughly worded indictment of Iranian refusals to answer questions about what the inspectors called “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program.
The report alluded to “new information recently received,” suggesting continuing work toward a nuclear warhead.

Harper plans sanctions – Canada – TheChronicleHerald.ca
“Canadians who are not already at Tripoli International Airport should not attempt to reach it as the situation at the airport is extremely chaotic,” the website read.
Foreign Affairs didn’t respond to an email asking for an explanation of how people are to be evacuated if they are warned away from the airport.

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