Crucial Threat to Israel from Western Border
The developments on Israel's western border might be far more crucial to its strategic situation, even compared to the Iranian nuclear threat. The August 5 terror attack in northern Sinai, killing 16 Egyptian policemen, supplied the perfect excuse for the newly elected Mursi regime in Cairo. Under the pretext of finally dealing with extremist Islamic terrorism in the peninsula, the Egyptian President is aiming for something more: re-defining the terms of The Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement, especially regarding the security situation in Sinai.
Israel had previously ignored, or sometimes secretly approved, Egyptian violations of the treaty. These always concerned deploying more battalions than agreed, but only for a short period of time, in order to fight the terrorist groups. This time, Cairo is aiming for a more serious goal. Not only had it moved to Sinai more battalions and even tanks, with no prior consent from Jerusalem, but the Egyptian media is full of reports of fighter aircraft and heavy artillery batteries about to be deployed. These reports are not all necessarily accurate, but what's important is that they are part of a bigger plan – undermining the peace agreement, without actually deserting it altogether.
Why is the Islamic Brotherhood government doing this? The most logical explanation would be that it's done because of internal political reasons. Changing the security part of the treaty had been one of the party's promises during the election campaign. The Islamists claimed that the current treaty was a humiliation for Egypt's national honor. I assume they will be going for a de-facto change, believing Israel has no alternative but to agree, since the Mursi regime would find it hard to actually sit down formally and re-negotiate the contract with the Israelis.
For the time being, it's safe to assume that Mursi is not interested in escalating the military situation with Israel. He still needs the US and because of the economic situation in Egypt would not risk playing too many dangerous games in Sinai. But Israel should follow events very carefully. This is not only a matter of the situation in the peninsula. Perhaps more importantly - if Netanyahu finally decides to strike Iran's nuclear sites, shouldn't he consider a possible scenario, in which Mursi (soon to visit Teheran for a conference), orders two army divisions to cross the Suez Canal into Sinai?
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|Preparation [107 words]||A.T. Halmay||Aug 23, 2012 16:16|
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by Pierre Rehov
For terrorists, the death of innocent children is irrelevant. In a society that promotes martyrdom as the ultimate sign of success, the death of innocent children can sometimes even be seen as a public relations blessing.
In every action, intent is paramount. There should never be a moral equivalence painted between the deliberate killing of civilians, and a retaliation that tragically leads to casualties among civilians.
There is, however, one small difference: in the Middle East, reporters are threatened, except in Israel. Their choice becomes a simple one: promote the Palestinian point of view or stop working in the West Bank. Keep the eye of the camera dirty or lose your job. This show should not go on.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.
"They have money and oil, but don't care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians." — Palestinian human rights activist.
"Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas." — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.
"Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes." — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.
"Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority." — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.
"The Arab leaders don't know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don't even know what they want from Israel." — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.
by Soeren Kern
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
by Shoshana Bryen
Proportionality in international law is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about [equality of] firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.
"Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime.... even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality)." — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.
"The greater the military advantage anticipated, the larger the amount of collateral damage -- often civilian casualties -- which will be "justified" and "necessary." — Dr. Françoise Hampton, University of Essex, UK.
by Irfan Al-Alawi
"Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi" is Abu Du'a, a follower of the late Osama Bin Laden. By adding the name "Al-Qurayshi" in his current alias, he is also seeking to affirm descent from Muhammad.
The allegation of theological sovereignty over all Sunnis extends to Indonesia and Morocco. The idea that the borders between Syria and Iraq will be dissolved by the new "caliphate" defies all Islamic theology and history. As the Qur'an states, "Allah "made the nations and tribes different." (49:13) Syria and Iraq have been distinct for millennia.
The "Islamic State" seeks to obliterate these diverse identities by expelling or killing all Shias and Sunni Sufis. And it does not invoke the Ottoman caliphate in its propaganda, demonstrating decisively the fake nature of the "Islamic State."
A caliphate is obsolete and the "Islamic State" is totalitarian. All Sunnis need to repudiate them soundly, even by force of arms.