Tag Archives: gaza

Palestine is not immune

From The Economist:

‘Since 2007 the Palestinian territories have been divided between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah, the Palestinians’ oldest nationalist movement, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank. Too busy vying with each other to confront Israel, which occupies most of their land, they have sought to consolidate their holds on their respective domains by scrapping parliament and ruling by decree.

Not everyone has taken kindly to this new authoritarian yoke. Inspired by protests against other despots, Palestinians in both territories have been crying for “revolution until we end the division”. In Gaza and the West Bank protesters champ for an interim government of the young, aligned to no party, to be followed by elections in both bits of Palestine.

Under the watchful eye of his Western patrons, Mr Abbas’s security forces have generally stopped beating up protesters and have let them erect tents in the West Bank’s main towns. Hamas has shown less tolerance, fearful lest a turnout of thousands, including many women and a few rappers, posed a secular challenge. “Hamas is worse than Mubarak, because it governs in the name of God, not the people,” says Ayman Shaheen, a professor at Azhar University, Gaza’s last remaining college outside the movement’s control.’


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The righteous anger of Turkey

I’ve written before on how Turkey’s engagement with its Middle Eastern neighbours does not signal some huge, paradigm-shifting ‘turn east’. Turkey has been reaching out towards countries like Syria for a while now for reasons that are less ideological than pragmatic – economic benefits, shared foreign policy aims, in short the reasons that any state tries to build good international networks. To view Turkey’s ‘choice’ between East and West as dichotomous and mutually exclusive is an unhelpful hangover from the clash of civilisations theory. Turkey is an ascendant power, capitalising on this ascendancy by forging links and building its presence in the region.

Yet, post- flotilla attack, the accusations levelled at Turkey have grown stronger. It’s now an ‘Islamist state’, a supporter of Hamas, an enemy of Israel, part of the menacing Muslim ‘other’. Its reaction to the flotilla killings amounts to calling for jihad, according to Joshua Teitelbaum. Well, not quite.

Whatever your views on the justice/injustice of Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara, it is a fact that eight of its citizens were killed. Erdogan’s response is hardly the ‘bellicose exhortations’ Teitelbaum claims –  and to compare it to Turkey’s response to the recent sinking of the South Korean ship is absurd. Turkey’s citizens are murdered and Erdogan’s response is entirely justified. Teitelbaum tries to twist the Turkish leader’s language, claiming that his criticism of Israel’s actions amounts to ‘warmongering’. If you want warmongering, look to the country that recently asked the US for more bombs and a doubling of its weapons cache – Israel. US military aid to Israel now amounts to $800m worth. To turn this around, to make Turkey the aggressor and the provocator, is a huge misrepresentation of the truth. So is calling this reponse a ‘call to jihad’ – Turkey has consistently been a friend to Israel in the region, despite a history of Israeli snubs and rejections. Erdogan felt ‘personally betrayed’ when Israel invaded Gaza only a few days after Turkey hosted Israel-Syria talks; how must he feel now, when his citizens and countrymen have died?

Why is it, furthermore, that whenever a country such as Turkey tries to assert itself on the foreign policy scene it’s automatically viewed as a direct challenge to the US-led Western hegemony? Is it not possible that it’s just, well, trying to assert itself? Teitelbaum claims that Turkey is trying to ‘lead the Muslim world once more’ and is promoting a ‘clash of civilisations’. This is just total balls. Turkey’s foreign policy is, again, far more complex than this, and it’s analysis like this that promotes the clash of civilisations theory by refusing to admit that it is possible for Turkey to engage with its Muslim neighbours and, shock!, still be friendly towards the West. The diplomatic rise of Turkey – hosting talks between Israel and Syria, striking the nuclear deal with Iran and Brazil – is not just them trying to ‘be’ America or, alternatively, trying to establish some kind of neo-Ottoman caliphate by leading a monolithic Muslim bloc. This kind of reductionism is not just intellectually lazy and dishonest, it’s incredibly damaging as well. The West needs to acknowledge Turkey’s right to form its own foreign policy and, occasionally, to take initative where the West has failed.

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Bukra il-hureyah

Last exam tomorrow! Links links links:

All eyes are back on Gaza

Roundup of flotilla commentary from the Arabist

Priorities in the wake of flotilla killings: Gaza, then inquiry

Deported flotilla activists tell of Israeli mistreatment

US official: flotilla activists were ‘clearly seeking a confrontation’

The US should step aside for Turkey

Ibn Kafka on the ‘arms’ found aboard the flotilla (in French)

NATO’s growing crisis over flotilla attacks

Video report on (lack of) protest in East Jerusalem

How Israel enables terror

What’s the point of the Gaza blockade?

No-one seems surprised at Obama’s silence

Hamas says the Rafah crossing is open…

…but not much is happening, according to the Guardian

The Egyptian opposition just can’t get along

‘Skirmishes’ did not undermine Shoura elections, says interior ministry

Shoura results to be declared on Thursday

MB to lend support to ElBaradei?

Taliban suicide bombers attack Afghan peace conference

The decline of Israel’s military power

How do you translate insha’allah?

Israel’s war against non-violence

Hamas must take initiative now

ElBaradei speaks on flotilla and Egyptian democracy

New Saudi marriage contracts ask age of bride

Analysis of the recent Algerian cabinet reshuffle

Iranian govt prepares for protests as students demonstrate

How to end the Gaza siege

Coalition negotiation continues in Iraq

Leading AQIM figure surrenders in Algeria

America and Turkey: friends to frenemies

Why the Afghan jirga will fail

Lifting the siege in Gaza and Cairo

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Gaza flotilla attacks, Shoura Council elections, wa kul shii akhr

(from 3arabawy)

Most links are on the flotilla killings and their aftermath and the Egyptian Shoura council elections held today.

Gaza flotilla

I won’t link to all of them, but 3arabawy has been posting excellent photos and videos throughout the day

Irish aid boat keeps course for Gaza despite attack

Taoiseach warns of consequences if Irish citizens meet with harm

Egypt opens the Rafah crossing

IDF soldiers describe ‘lynching’ on the Mavi Marmara

It’s the blockade, stupid

Anti-Israel protests intensify worldwide

Activists say IDF opened fire before boarding ship

Journalists caught up in flotilla attack

Israeli media generally critical of attack and aftermath

The view from America by Michael Tomasky

Roundup of Arab media responses to the attack

Israelis protest in Turkey

Erdogan’s furious response; Israeli-Turkish relations in tatters

US waters down UN statement, says Israel should lead enquiry


The Guardian explores the legality of the flotilla and raid

‘We fired because we were attacked’, says Israeli captain

Military ops cannot be a substitute for comprehensive strategy

It’s time to shift the American debate over Israel

Detailed analysis of what this means for Turkey

The true cost for Israel

The IDF’s presentation of the attack

What went wrong for the Israelis

The attack was not piracy, but war

40 British citizens in Israeli desert prison following flotilla raid

What does this mean for the Palestinians?

Criticism won’t stop blockade, says Netanyahu

Activists cast doubt on Israel’s presentation of events

The importance of non-violent resistance

Flotilla attack shows Israel’s decline into clumsy, confused policy

‘We’re the only ones who believe [Israel]’, says US official

Iran reaps benefits of flotilla killings

Suspicions surround possible Israeli sabotage of flotilla

Weak US response includes no condemnation of Israel

Calls grow for full enquiry

Gingrich can eff right off

Protests in Egypt call for cutting of ties to Israel

Was any of this worth it for Israel?

Shoura Council elections

Egyptian Shoura Council elections: four shot in polling station disputes

The Egyptian state is a ‘psychotic librarian’: Sarah Carr on the Shoura elections

The inimitable Egyptian Chronicles on her day of voting

Video from Helwan (the main centre of election disputes) as voters accuse govt of fraud


Coptic Church upholds ban on second marriages despite court ruling

US kills al-Qaeda’s no.3, again

…and what it means for the organisation

Iraqi poll results approved

Syrians reckon new British govt more sympathetic to Arab causes

Afghanistan: the rock and roll years

Five female anchors resign from Al-Jazeera over harassment case

Georgia getting friendly with Iran

OK, khalas. There’s a ton more stuff out, especially on the flotilla, but I have a three hour MSA exam tomorrow so I urgently need some naam. Good night…

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Attack on the Gaza flotilla

A collection of reports and reactions to Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla this morning:

Report from the Guardian

Initial report from Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem/Ashdod

Guardian live blog of reactions

Report from Al-Jazeera

Al-Jazeera footage of IDF attack

Report from NYT

Report from AlMasry AlYoum

Summary from Egyptian Chronicles

Video of world reaction from Al-Jazeera

A Q&A from the Guardian

Video from Haaretz of Israeli navy storming the ships

A ‘disastrous own goal’ for Israel

Turkish protesters storm Israeli embassy

Turkey recalls its envoy to Israel

Israel’s PR offensive

The furious reaction from Syria

Israel blames activists for violence

The reasons behind the attacks

Nasrallah’s reaction

Haaretz column calling for national enquiry

Is this a huge blunder for the Israelis?

CNN acting as apologist for Israel

A short history of Israel’s errors of judgement

Sanctions must be the price for such brutality

The Free Gaza Movement’s ongoing campaign

Israel must be wary of third intifada

Haaretz bullshit alert

Ayalon: activists had ‘al-Qaeda links’

World unites to condemn the attack

Effect on Israeli-Turkish relations

Former US paratrooper and diplomat was on board

How Israel controlled the media cycle

Netanyahu ‘regrets’ deaths

US also ‘regrets’ deaths

Article on some of the big names aboard the flotilla

The reaction in Turkey; several of those killed are believed to be Turkish nationals

Historical precedent to today’s raid

The (il)legality of the attack

The ‘weapons’ found aboard the flotilla

Netanyahu cancels Washington trip, due to return to Israel

Protests in Cairo over Israel’s actions

More pictures from Cairo protest

The view from Cairo by the Arabist

Protests in Tanta (Egypt)

Egypt’s role in the Gaza siege

Protest in Central London today

Pictures of London protest today

Video from London

Summary of reactions from around the world

Israel accused of state terrorism

UN demands explanation from Israel

The real cost of the Gaza blockade

Twitter accused of censorship over #flotilla hashtag

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Mesha’al, ElBaradei, and the Bulaq Dokrar Crazies

All my colloquial exams are over and I’m back to studying pure MSA – I’d forgotten how beautiful it is. Last push through until Thursday then insha’allah I’ll be back to posting more expansively…

Mesha’al: ‘The Americans contact us, but are not brave enough to do so openly’

Everyone’s favourite former IAEA chief takes a stroll in Old Cairo…

…delivering verbal smackdowns to nearby journalists…

…but is he losing momentum?

Freedom flotilla en route to Gaza

UK attemps to change universal jurisdiction law that is keeping Israeli politicians away

Infiltration of Iraqi police force leads to fear of US departure

‘The Bomb Iran Crowd’ from the Arabist

From nights at the circus to the Bulaq Dokrar Crazies: the Egyptian gap between rich and poor

The failure of the American liberal arts model in Iraq

Arabic literature: is no translation better than a bad translation?

One of the greatest songs by one of the greatest bands of the 80s. yaa Westerberg, bHibak.

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Assad, Al-Aswany, and Aichaaa…

No luck yet with the Iranians, but the Syrians came through for me. Trusty Syrians.

NPT agreement includes 2012 conference on nuclear-free Middle East

Assad’s interview with Charlie Rose – read read read it’s really interesting

Explosion in smuggling tunnel in Gaza kills six

New chairman of the Wafd party in Egypt

Family of murdered singer drops lawsuit

A tougher America won’t necessarily get results

Unsurprisingly, divisions persist within the American Jewish political community

Israel refuses to take part in nuclear proliferation conference

UAE considers tighter anti-smoking legislation

Gaza gets ready to welcome freedom fleet

Britain’s new, frightening far right

War ‘would grow US economy’, according to one GWB

Pakistan’s culture of conspiracy

Afghanistan’s grassroots movement isn’t so grassroots

Hillary Clinton and Nasrallah in shocking mind meld

Israel: two wins make a loss as Mesha’al concedes, Netanyahu ignores it

Interview with a Palestinian collaborator

Al-Aswany and Asfour in rather polite feud over Yacoubian Building etc.

Iranian opposition and police ready themselves for election anniversary protests

Charges dropped in horrific rape case in UAE

The shadowy world of drone attacks

Turkey is acting in a Middle Eastern ‘leadership vacuum’

Obama’s National Security Strategy a total snoozefest

Iraq is in the middle of a delicate transition

The Grand Mufti, the Holocaust, and Palestine today

Very funny and very cutting review of the racist/sexist/orientalist/anti-feminist turd that is SATC 2. (Just because I can’t possibly see how I will ever be able to link to this again in relation to Middle Eastern news, while you’re on the Stranger you should absolutely check out Dan Savage’s sex blog, I cannot recommend this highly enough.)

HA! ‘Ibn Battuta’ visits his eponymous mall, with amusing results

Aaaaand…the language of the power ballad truly is universal…

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