Pressuring Syria/Syria and Iran

Pressuring Syria/Syria and Iran

July 21, 2011

This Update looks at policy options, as well as the potential benefits and costs, for Western governments seeking to pressure  Syria’s Assad regime as the protests in Syria continue to spread and the death toll continues to mount.

The opening entry is an editorial from the New York Times, which urges that while a military invention is out of the question, Western nations “can bring a lot more pressure to bear” on the Assad regime. The paper notes that “awe” is the only possible response to the courage of Syrian protesters. It goes on to castigate US and European leaders for sending mixed message and various lifelines to the regime, urges the consumers of Syrian oil to stop buying it, and calls the Arab League’s recent intervention on behalf of Assad a “disgrace”.

They think it's all over

They think it’s all over

July 20, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

The 2011 flotilla saga ended quietly yesterday when the only vessel to actually sail for Gaza was boarded without incident. As Isabel Kershner reports in The New York Times, the ship’s crew lied to Greek authorities about their destination – claiming to be sailing for Egypt before diverting in international waters and heading towards Gaza. Then, when the Israeli authorities were certain of its destination and had given up on convincing the crew to change course, the ship was boarded by Israeli naval commandos…

Entebbe

Entebbe, Mein Kampf, and the New Antisemitism

July 20, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

American author, thinktanker and foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead has used the anniversary of the publication of Mein Kampf to set out some important and valuable thoughts on modern expressions of antisemitism…

Meanwhile, some interesting thoughts on how the far left became susceptible to this sort of prejudice in their dedicated hatred of Israel have come from British academic and writer Alan Johnson, himself a man of the left…

Can Iran block America’s ‘Internet in a suitcase’?

Can Iran block America’s ‘Internet in a suitcase’?

July 20, 2011 | Geoffrey Levin

Several weeks ago, the New York Times reported an Obama Administration effort to distribute a device it had developed called ‘Internet in a suitcase’, which could bring web access to dissidents in authoritarian countries across the world. The report stated:

Financed with a $2 million State Department grant, the suitcase could be secreted across a border and quickly set up to allow wireless communication over a wide area with a link to the global Internet…The State Department, for example, is financing the creation of stealth wireless networks that would enable activists to communicate outside the reach of governments in countries like Iran, Syria and Libya, according to participants in the projects.

This week, Iranian intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi responded to the news.

Sectarian Explosion beginning in Syria?

Sectarian Explosion beginning in Syria?

July 19, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

The situation in Syria took an even graver turn yesterday. As the ruling Assad regime continues to brutalise dissenting citizens, some Syrians appear to be lashing out at the regime’s minority Alawite sect. In retaliation, several Allawites went on a rampage of their own. Nada Bakri reports in The New York Times:

On Sunday, residents of Homs, Syria’s second-largest city, discovered the bodies of three Alawites mutilated and dumped in a deserted area, according to Omar Idlibi of the Local Coordination Committees, a group that helps organize and document protests. All three were armed government loyalists, he said…

More Quiet corners of the Arab Spring

July 19, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

Following up on Geoffrey Levin’s post yesterday on the Jordanian Hashemite Monarchy’s apparent success so far in weathering the Arab Spring, it is worth noting some other Arab countries which also appear to be managing the protest movements fairly successfully – especially Iraq and Morocco.

PA rebroadcasts antisemitic cartoon

PA rebroadcasts antisemitic cartoon

July 19, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

In another example of antisemitism sponsored by the Palestinian Authority (PA), this week the PA rebroadcast an antisemitic cartoon from a Jordanian newspaper regarding the division of Sudan on official PA television.

The cartoon had the headline “Division of Sudan,” and it showed the distorted images of an American and a Jew toasting the division over barrels of Sudanese oil.

South Sudan – Implications for Israel and Palestinians?

South Sudan – Implications for Israel and Palestinians?

July 19, 2011 | Allon Lee

Amid the cheers over the birth of the new nation state of the Republic of South Sudan, some commentators are noting the largely overlooked significance of what has just occurred, not least for an Israeli-Palestinian peace process eventually leading to a two state solution.

Compared with South Sudan, Palestine is the French Riviera. This raises serious questions about the moral justification for the Palestinians to take extreme stands that make compromise so difficult, while they continue to act as a bottomless drain on the ultimately limited resources the developed world can provide in aid.

 

The Arab Spring remains mild in Jordan

The Arab Spring remains mild in Jordan

July 18, 2011 | Geoffrey Levin

Despite mass violence in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and leadership changes occurring in Egypt and Tunisia, Jordan has remained relatively quiet, with only limited protests and few deaths. As the Guardian points out:

Jordan has seen sporadic unrest since January but only on a small scale. Opposition demands – supported by youth groups, civil society organisations and Islamists – are for changes within the framework of the Hashemite monarchy. King Abdullah has pledged to pursue reforms that would allow the formation of future governments based on an elected parliamentary majority but gave no date. The slogan “the people want the reform of the regime” was in striking and deliberate contrast to demands elsewhere for the “overthrow” of rulers.

But does a recent act of police brutality signal a shift in Jordan?

Media Week – Boycott Precedents; Nuclear Naivety; This is News?

July 18, 2011 | Jamie Hyams

In his column in the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser (6/7), Andrew Bolt vented his disgust at the attempted picketing of a Max Brenner shop by pro-Palestinian activists. He wrote, “[In Australia] I never thought I’d see people picketing shops because their owners were Jewish…I’ve seen pictures of Jewish shops attacked before, of course, but they were in black and white, in another country at another ghastly time.”

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