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Middle East Strategic Threats
Media Point-Counterpoint

Media Point-Counterpoint Archive :

No more incitement of Palestinian Authority run television?
"They [Israel] said there is a problem with incitement in speeches in mosques during Friday prayers. Today there is no more incitement at any mosque," Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said." (Ha'aretz)
"Jews are the enemies of Allah and humanity. The Prophet says: 'Kill the Jews,'" said an Imam from Nablus on Palestinians Authority Television, which is partly funded by the European Union. (Palestinian Media Watch)
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What is to blame for the drought in parts of the Middle East?
Water is also playing an increasing role in shaping relations between other states across the Middle East. Construction of upstream dams, without the consent of downstream states has long been a problem in the Middle East, but never before have the consequences of these dams have been so evident. (BBC News)
Blamed on a combination of climate change, man-made desertification and lack of irrigation, up to 60 percent of Syria's land and 1.3 million people (of a population of 22 million) are affected, according to the UN. (Arab Environment watch)
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Is Egypt a help or a hindrance to Obama's Middle East policy?
While peace brought criticism from many Arab quarters, Egypt remains the only Arab country all parties look to for strategic consensus. With the region divided among numerous fault lines, Egypt still convenes all groups to dialogue the Palestinian factions, Israelis, Sudanese and Iraqis. These parties rarely agree, but all want Egyptian fingers plugging the region’s violent dikes. Over decades, Egypt has consolidated its role as the indisputable arbiter of peace. (Gulf News)
US President Barack Obama's Middle Eastern strategy isn't working, but his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was unlikely to help him understand why and what was needed to be done to achieve better results. Sources that Obama needs to consult about his strategy are right in his backyard: public opinion and congress. American public opinion doesn't support Obama's promotion of Egypt as the key US ally in the Middle East, and Mubarak's visit in Washington is unlikely to alter this view. While Mubarak and the officials are reinforcing Obama's failing outlook, the senators, including the most influential from his own party, advised him to rethink and revise his approach. (Jerusalem Post)
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Will the recent events brought about major change in Iran?
The Iran of yesterday will not survive regardless of the outcome of the current events. The unified Iran, with regards to a unified regime, a unified public, and a unified ideology, is over. The hardliners will not be able – even if they remain in power – to ignore the large portion of society which has rejected and protested against their ideology, and this includes their foreign policy strategy. (Asharq Alawsat)
The widespread protests in Iran, even in the improbable event they deliver presidential challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi to power, are unlikely to dramatically change the country's nuclear ambitions or the strategic complications the West faces in countering Tehran's political gambits across the Middle East. (Los Angeles Times)
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Is Iran Ready to Negotiate with the West over its Nuclear Program?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that the country favored dialogue with the West over the Islamic republic's nuclear program and that he would soon give an official response to an offer of negotiations by the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany. (Jerusalem Post)
According to BBC Persian, on the 15th of April, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a speech in the city Kerman stated that “the people of Iran are people of logic and dialogue. However the time for discussions over the nuclear program has come to an end, and the clock will not go back”. (Middle East Analyst)
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Did Israel Shoot at an UNRWA School in Gaza?
"There's nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorized and traumatized. These men, women and children are all seeking safety and there is no safety in Gaza at the moment, even in an UNRWA school. This is unacceptable," said John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza. (UN Official Website)
John Ging, UNRWA's operations director in Gaza, acknowledged in an interview this week that all three Israeli mortar shells landed outside the school and that "no one was killed in the school." "I told the Israelis that none of the shells landed in the school," he said. (Globe and Mail)
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Is Israel using White Phosphorus against civillians in Gaza?
U.S. Congress member Dennis Kucinich, "We’re seeing white phosphorus used against the people in Gaza. This should be a great concern to every person in this country." (Middle East Online)
The international Red Cross said that Israel has fired white phosphorus shells in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, but has no evidence to suggest the incendiary agent is being used improperly or illegally. "It's not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it's being used in any other way," said Peter herby of the International Committee of the Red Cross. (Reuters)
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Food shortages in Gaza
Food and Medical Supplies Grow Scarce in the Gaza Strip. "There's no food in the market," Um Shadi al-Bardaweel, a Palestinian living in Gaza, explained in an interview with a reporter. (Washington Post)
The World Food Programme has informed Israel that they will not be resuming shipment of food commodities in to Gaza due to the fact that their warehouses are at full capacity and will last for approximately two weeks. (National Review)
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Is there a humanitarian crisis in gaza?
The Israeli blockade on Gaza has sparked much international criticism as precipitating a looming humanitarian crisis in the Strip. (Al Jazeera)
Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Program for Gaza: "This is not a humanitarian crisis," he said. "It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving." (Globe and Mail)
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Expoliting the Mumbia Tragedy
The same is true of Israel-Palestine. Israel's nationalist leaders would like nothing more than to piggyback their own cause onto the western jihad against radical Islam.They conveniently label Palestinian militants as radical Islamists or jihadis, when Palestinians themselves largely do not recognise or accept the terms. While it is true that Gaza is ruled by Hamas, which is a movement with a religious identity, most Hamas leaders eschew the language of religious jihad to portray their struggle.
Intended to indoctrinate the young to its brand of radical Islam, which combines politics, social work and military resistance, including acts of terrorism, the programs of Al Aksa television and radio (Hamas-controlled), including crucial Friday sermons, are an indication of how far from reconciliation Israelis and many Palestinians are. For example, in a column in the weekly Al Risalah, Sheik Yunus al-Astal, a Hamas legislator and imam, discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that “suffering by fire is the Jews’ destiny in this world and the next.”
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What kind of nation is Iran?
My fleeting impressions from visiting seven Iranian cities nor the comments of Iranian pundits put the country anywhere close to this. On the contrary, calm and normality are what strike you. The western stereotype of a threatening and dangerous country is wide of the mark.
Would Iran cease exporting its revolutionary doctrine by force to the Arab world? Would it accept the disarming of Hezbollah? Would Tehran enforce a weapons ban on the Taliban especially that just a matter of days ago, a Taliban militant stated that the group was receiving weapons from Iran? Would Iran stop dividing the Palestinians and stop interfering in Iraq, causing disintegration and exclusion by playing off one party against another? Would Iran stop interfering in the internal affairs of the Gulf States? Would Iran stop the Shia proselytism using financial resources that are flooding the Arab world from the Gulf through to Egypt and the countries of North Africa? Can Iran desist from all of the above? And primarily, would Tehran end its nuclear program, which threatens the regional states far more than it does Israel (those who believe otherwise are deluding themselves)?
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Did Ariels Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in 2000 trigger the Second Intifada?
The second Palestinian intifada (uprising) was triggered in 2001 by then Israeli defence minister Ariel Sharon's controversial visit to the site
Imad Faluji, the Palestinian Authority Communications Minister, admitted months after Sharon's visit that the violence had been planned in July, far in advance of Sharon's "provocation." Faluji declared, "Whoever thinks that the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is wrong. It [the uprising] had been planned since Chairman Arafat's return from Camp David, when he turned the tables on the former US president and rejected the American conditions." Also, the independent Mitchell Commission Report concluded,“The Sharon visit did not cause the ‘Al-Aksa Intifada.’”
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Lauren Booth in Gaza
"Gaza is the largest concentration camp in the world today. Nutrition here has deteriorated threefold over the last two years because it is impossible to bring food through the crossings. This is a humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur."
Click HERE to see for yourself
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Does the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) state that the Iranian nuclear program is for peaceful purposes?
The Iranian nuclear energy program is for peaceful purposes.as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
The IAEA has not been able to take a conclusive stance on the matter, since there has been insufficient disclosure by Iranian regime, “the Agency remains unable to verify certain aspects relevant to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear ... Since early 2006, the Agency has not received the type of information that Iran had previously been providing... for example information relevant to ongoing advanced centrifuge research.” Iran has rejected the neutral agency's requests for access to centrifuge manufacturing sites. The agency has as yet been unable to rule out evidence regarding Iran's investment into "possible military dimensions" of the nuclear project.
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Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails
Around 9,000 Palestinians remain in jail for political crimes.
There are an estimated 8,500 Palestinian Arab prisoners from the West Bank and Gaza in Israeli custody. Over 5,000 of them are serving out sentences; 2,300 are awaiting trial, the remainder are in administrative detention. The incarcerated are menacing figures in the Palestinian "resistance," many having planned, executed or enabled attacks aimed at murdering or maiming Israelis in buses, cafes, nightclubs and hotel banquet rooms.
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