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Syria’s Collapse and How Washington Can Stop It: Andrew J. Tabler, Foreign Affairs, July/Aug., 2013
Killing of Pakistani Terrorist is a Possible Turning Point: Daniel S. Markey, Washington Post, Nov. 7, 2013
"I understand the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva, as well they should be…Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal," — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, prior to the P5+1 nuclear discussions with Iran in Geneva over the weekend. Netanyahu added that Israel "is not obliged by this agreement" and that it will do "everything it needs to defend itself and defend the security of its people." (Los Angles Times, Nov. 8, 2013)
"There was unity. But Iran couldn't take it at that particular moment; they weren't able to accept that particular agreement," — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, commenting on the failure to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 11, 2013)
"Mr. Secretary, was it Iran that gutted over half of [the] U.S. draft Thursday night? And publicly commented against it Friday morning?…No amount of spinning can change what happened within [p]5+1 in Geneva from 6 P.M. Thursday to 5:45 P.M. Saturday. But it can further erode confidence…We are committed to constructive engagement. Interaction on equal footing key to achieve shared objectives." — Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a message posted on Twitter, hit back at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late on Tuesday. (Ha’aretz, Nov. 12, 2013)
[It’s a] “fool’s game” world powers risked being sucked into by Iran — warned France's foreign minister Laurent Fabius at the nuclear talks last weekend in Geneva. That resistance helped upend a landmark deal that would have offered Iran some relief from punishing international sanctions in return for suspending elements of its nuclear program. (Wall Street Journal, Nov. 12, 2013)
“Practically speaking, [a deal] shuts the [Israeli military] option down… It doesn’t matter what we think about the deal. Israel won’t be able to do a thing” — Maj. Gen. (res) Giora Eiland, who served as head of the National Security Council under prime minister Ariel Sharon. (Times of Israel, Nov. 11, 2013)
"You know, the French are very irritating. When the Americans absolutely want to do something, the French have this terrible habit of somewhat disagreeing…We actually have experience in dealing with the Iranians directly. There used to be negotiations between the Europeans (and the Iranians) between 2003 and 2005." analyst Francois Heisbourg, of the Foundation for Strategic Research think-tank in Paris, reacting to France’s hard line at the nuclear talks last weekend in Geneva. (National Post, Nov. 10, 2013)
“It cannot be that the Palestinians are forever pampered by the international community…It’s time that the international community, certainly the serious members of the international community, understand this is a two-way street, because peace is not a one-way street and it won’t be. — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an address to Jewish leaders from North America. He added “If the Palestinians expect us to recognize a Palestinian state for Palestinian people, they must recognize a Jewish state for Jewish people…Cold peace is better than hot war, but I’m hoping for warm peace,” (Times of Israel, Nov. 10, 2013)
“We will consider it a declaration of the termination of negotiations…This is not going to be tolerated…Either they revoke this order [Israel’s new housing plans] or they will be held responsible for the end of the peace process.” — Saeb Erekat, the lead Palestinian negotiator, in an interview with American, European, Russian and Arab diplomats on Tuesday evening. (New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013)
[Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel] "to reconsider all of the steps for evaluating planning potential [of the settler homes] that he distributed without any advance coordination" He said the plan was "an action that creates an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran" — statement from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office. (The Telegraph, Nov. 12, 2013)
"The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos. I mean does Israel want a third intifada?" —U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, using the term for past Palestinian uprisings against Israel. Kerry added "If we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel. There will be an increasing campaign of de-legitimization of Israel (that) has been taking place in an international basis," he said. "What is the alternative to peace?…Prolonged continued conflict." (Montreal Gazette, Nov. 7, 2013)
“Obama has fallen short on so many occasions it is impossible to propose his name without reservations. And yet there is a certain measure of hard and soft power generated by the White House that makes even a half-hearted effort by a lame duck impossible to ignore (see current peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians). If Obama chose to personally tackle Israeli-Turkish negotiations, to commit fully and not be satisfied until the job is done, then we could see the normalization of ties within the next six months.” — Gabriel Mitchell writing on the deterioration of Israeli-Turkish negotiations in a Jerusalem Post editorial. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 5, 2013)
“There is a sense of surreality [to United States policy] “’Assad must go.’ Well, Assad isn’t going to go…My view, which causes fear and loathing throughout Washington,” Mr. Crocker, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria, said, “is we really need to be making more of an effort to talk to regime people.”— Ryan C. Crocker, a former ambassador to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and now the dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Crocker added that the U.S. should also make direct contacts with insurgents and their supporters inside Syria. (New York Times, Nov. 8, 2013)
“I say, with all the details available about Yasser Arafat’s death, that he [without any proof] was killed, and that Israel killed him,” — former Palestinian intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi. Tirawi called Israel the “first, fundamental and only suspect,” and added that Israel had the technical means and the motive. (New York Post, Nov. 8, 2013)
IRAN, U.N. REACH NUCLEAR DEAL — (London) Iran agreed Monday to allow the United Nations to conduct additional inspections of its nuclear sites after failing over the weekend to reach a deal with six world powers on more extensive concessions. Under the new accord, Iran will give inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, more regular access to several significant parts of the country's nuclear infrastructure. However, it falls well short of Western demands that Iran open all sensitive sites as part of efforts to prevent the country from eventually attaining a nuclear weapon (the plutonium-producing Parchin site was specifically excluded).
AVIGOR LIBERMAN, TOUGH FOREIGN MINISTER, IS BACK— (Tel Aviv) Avigdor Lieberman was unanimously acquitted of corruption charges last Wednesday. On Monday, Nov. 11, Liberman was reinstated as Israel’s Foreign Minister. Liberman had been charged with suspicion of fraud and breach of trust. The 62 to 17 vote in the Knesset to reinstate Liberman took place Monday afternoon. Those voting against the Yisrael Beiteinu chair included members of the leftist Labor and Meretz parties, as well as Arabs from the Balad party. (Jewish Press, Nov. 12, 2013)
GERMANY TO FORM TASK FORCE ON LOOTED ART— (Munich) After an avalanche of criticism at home and abroad, the German government announced late Monday it will establish a task force to investigate, “as quickly and as transparently as possible,” the provenance of a cache of more than 1,400 artworks that are suspected of being traded or looted during the Nazis’ reign and that are now in the hands of authorities in Bavaria. In a statement, the government said it planned immediately to post 25 works on the website www.lostart.de, the government-funded database for works missing since World War II. (New York Times, Nov. 11, 2013)
CONTROVERSIAL FILM AFTERMATH CONFRONTS POLAND’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HOLOCAUST— (New York) Aftermath, a Polish film that began a limited run in New York last week and will be making its way to Los Angeles, tells the story of two Polish brothers coming to terms with their antisemitic village’s role in the Holocaust. The film grapples with the issue from the Polish point of view, an angle that wasn’t fully embraced in the country upon the film’s local release in 2012. Aftermath elicited a harsh response from many Polish nationalists and right-wingers, who accused it of being “anti-Polish” propaganda and an attempt to rewrite history. (Algemeiner, Nov. 7, 2013)
FORMER EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT HOSNI MUBARAK COULD BE RELEASED AS EARLY AS THIS WEEK— (Cairo) Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who was forced from power in 2011 after a popular uprising broke out against him, could be released as early as this week, according to his lawyer and a legal expert. In August, Mubarak was released from prison and placed under house arrest by Interim Prime Minister Hazem Al-Beblawi, using the power granted to him by a state of emergency implemented in August, to be lifted on Tuesday. “Mubarak is set to be released” once the state of emergency ends, said Hussain Ebrahim, a legal expert, quoted in the Gulf News on Tuesday, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 12, 2013)
AL-QAEDA NETWORK LEADER KILLED IN PAKISTAN— (Islamabad) A senior leader of the feared Haqqani militant network was shot dead on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital, officials said Monday, in a new blow to the close-knit cluster of militant groups that shelter in northwestern Pakistan. The leader, Nasiruddin Haqqani — a son of the militant group’s founder, the Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani — was gunned down outside a bread store on Sunday night by a man riding a motorcycle, witnesses told Pakistani news media outlets. (New York Times, Nov. 11, 2013)
PAKISTANI SCHOOLS BAN TEENAGE ACTIVIST MALALA’S BOOK FROM LIBRARIES — (Islamabad) Pakistani education officials said Sunday that they have banned teenage activist Malala Yousafzai’s book from private schools across the country, claiming it doesn’t show enough respect for Islam and calling her a tool of the West. Malala attracted global attention last year when the Taliban shot her in the head in northwest Pakistan for criticizing the group’s interpretation of Islam, which limits girls’ access to education. (Globe & Mail, Nov. 10, 2013)
LEADING SYRIAN OPPOSITION GROUP, YIELDING TO PRESSURE, VOTES TO JOIN PEACE TALKS— (Istanbul) During the fractious weekend debates that ended with the main Syrian exile opposition coalition yielding to international pressure by dropping its refusal to hold peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad’s government, tensions ran so high that one prominent coalition member slapped another in the face, participants in the gathering said. (New York Times, Nov. 11, 2013)
CBS TO CORRECT ERRONEOUS REPORT ON BENGHAZI — (New York) As it prepared to broadcast a rare on-air correction Sunday for a now-discredited “60 Minutes” report, CBS News acknowledged on Friday that it had suffered a damaging blow to its credibility. Its top executive called the segment “as big a mistake as there has been” in the 45-year-old history of the celebrated news program. The executive, Jeff Fager, conceded that CBS appeared to have been duped by the primary source for the report, a security official who told a national television audience a harrowing tale of the attack last year at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. On Thursday night it was disclosed that the official, Dylan Davies, had provided a completely different account in interviews with the F.B.I., in which he said he never made it to the mission that night. (New York Times, Nov. 8, 2013
PEW SURVEY INDICATES GREATER ORTHODOX GROWTH, NON-ORTHODOX DECLINE IN THE U.S. — (New York) The rate at which America’s Orthodox Jewish population is growing — and the non-Orthodox population is shrinking — is more dramatic than previously thought, according to Pew Research Center survey data. In a finding first reported Tuesday in Forward, Steven M. Cohen, a Jewish sociologist, parsed the data from the center’s recent survey of American Jews to show that 27 percent of Jews younger than 18 live in Orthodox households, a sizable increase from Jews aged 18-29, where only 11 percent are Orthodox. Previously published Pew data did not indicate the proportion of Jewish children in Orthodox homes, Forward reported, and instead suggested that growth among the Orthodox was tempered by high dropout rates. (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 13, 2013)
CANADA’S LAST NOV. 11 IN AFGHANISTAN— (Kabul) The solemn occasion, which took place as most Canadians slept, commemorated their 158 countrymen who lost their lives in Afghanistan as well as the thousands of other Canadians who have died on distant battlefields. With only about 100 days left in Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan, which began late in 2001, this Nov. 11 represented one of the last chances for the 620 Canadian military trainers still mentoring Afghan soldiers and police here to quietly reflect on their fallen comrades and the future of this war-weary country. (National Post, Nov. 11, 2013)
Syria’s Collapse and How Washington Can Stop It: Andrew J. Tabler, Foreign Affairs, July/Aug., 2013 — Syria is melting down. The ruling regime’s attempt to shoot its way out of the largest uprising it has ever faced has killed over 80,000 people and displaced roughly half of Syria’s population of 22 million. If the current monthly death tolls of around 6,000 keep up, Syria will by August hit a grim milestone: 100,000 killed, a number that it took almost twice as long to reach in Bosnia in the early 1990s.
Killing of Pakistani Terrorist is a Possible Turning Point: Daniel S. Markey, Washington Post, Nov. 7, 2013 — Last week, a U.S. drone strike killed Hakimullah Mehsud, one of Pakistan’s most bloodthirsty terrorists, in front of his family’s farmhouse in North Waziristan. In every respect, the logic behind the killing appears identical to that of past U.S. attacks against top Pakistan-based terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.
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