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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Qatar’

Israeli Military Intel Warns Of Impending Crises

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

JERUSALEM – According to Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Israel’s Military Intelligence head, the Jewish state will face a more unstable and Islamist environment than in previous times. This is being fueled by the unchecked rise of radical Islam, and could force Israel into unwanted conflicts.

Kochavi outlined his ominous assessment of Israel’s tactical position in the Middle East during his presentation of Military Intelligence’s annual evaluation. His briefing was offered to IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and top army, air force and naval commanders. “It will be an environment that deals with a series of crises, regional and internal, which raises the level of sensitivity of all the players, and which could lead, without prior warning, to an eruption,” said Kochavi.

The general said that Iran is deliberately using its position as host of the Nonaligned Movement gathering in Tehran to justify its nuclear program and stall any diplomatic attempt by the UN to stop them from producing an atomic bomb, which would almost certainly destabilize the entire Middle East and an action that could provoke a military strike by Israel or the United States.

Against the backdrop of Kochavi’s report, Israel and the U.S. are conducting a series of behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts to forge new alliances in the region, with the goal of staving off an attack on Israeli and American interests in the Middle East.

Sources report that the semi-autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq is working with high-ranking Israeli government officials to help create an internationally recognized Kurdish national entity, one that would also encompass swaths of Turkey and Syria.

Turkey’s government currently treats the Kurds as enemy aliens within their midst. The Syrian Kurds have officially broken ties with teetering Syrian President Bashar Assad. And a British newspaper reported that the northern Iraqi Kurds have allowed Israeli commandoes to use their territory to train for a possible attack on Iran, which is located opposite the Iraqi border.

There have also been reports that French, German, American and Israeli intelligence officials have been using European towns for secret meetings between pro-Western Lebanese Druze, Sunni and Christian politicians in order to put pressure on the pro-Assad Shiite Hizbullah militia.

Fierce gun battles between pro- and anti-Assad militias have broken out in Tripoli and Beirut over the past few weeks. Military and political officials in the U.S., Israel and France fear that if Assad falls, Iran will instruct Hizbullah to reignite a sectarian civil war in Lebanon that could spill over the border into Israel.

The region’s instability and the potential for either a Hizbullah or Iranian Revolutionary Guard terror attack on Israel and its interests have also had a deleterious effect on Israeli participation in UN-sponsored events taking place in Persian Gulf nations.

According to several Israeli media reports the Shin Bet has, for the moment, scrapped Minister of Environment Protection Gilad Erdan’s participation in the UN’s annual climatology conference in Qatar, scheduled for November.

This follows Qatar’s rejection of allowing Israeli security personnel to enter the Persian Gulf oil sheikhdom. In the past, Qatar, which has informal relations with Israel, has allowed Israeli politicians and athletes to partake in various events in their country.

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Iran Warns Saudi Arabia, Qatar:
Don’t Cooperate With Israel, Or Else…

Iran has warned Saudi Arabia and Qatar that if either country allows Israel to use its airspace, Tehran may retaliate directly against them, according to informed Arab government officials speaking to this column.

One official said that in talks with Gulf nations, Iran “hinted” that a couple of Iranian missiles “may lose their way” and strike Qatar, Saudi Arabia, or any other Gulf country that allows Israel to use its airspace in any attack against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Such threats may help to account for a reported change in Saudi Arabia’s attitude toward an Israeli strike on Iran. Last week, Israel’s Yedioth Aharonot newspaper reported that Saudi Arabia has informed the Jewish state that it will intercept any Israeli aircraft crossing its airspace en route to Iran.

Saudi Arabia does not maintain an open diplomatic relationship with Israel. But the Sunni Muslim country, together with Qatar, Jordan, and others, feels threatened by the growing and opposing influence of Iran, dominated by Shiite Islam.

There have been multiple reports of Saudi cooperation with Israel on the Iranian nuclear issue. There were claims in both 2009 and 2010, for example, that then-Mossad chief Meir Dagan met with Saudi intelligence officials. One report said Dagan went to Saudi Arabia in 2009 to gain assurances that the country would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets violating Saudi airspace during any raid on Iran’s nuclear plans. Both governments denied the reports.

Egypt Mulling Keeping Tanks In Sinai

Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi is considering keeping tanks in the Sinai Peninsula on a permanent basis, according to a senior Egyptian military official who spoke to KleinOnline. The military buildup would violate a key provision of the peace accords signed with Israel in 1979 that calls for the total demilitarization of the peninsula.

Over the last two weeks, there have been reports of Egypt sending in light tanks, armored vehicles, and attack helicopters in the Sinai purportedly to fight Islamic groups blamed for a spate of attacks and attempted attacks against both Israel and Egyptian police. The Jewish state has kept largely quiet about the Egyptian military deployments, choosing instead to let Cairo’s military attempt to root out the jihadists that have taken up positions throughout the Sinai.

The Egyptian military leadership has long been considered a quiet ally of Israel. However, Morsi’s most recent unilateral sacking of the Egyptian military brass has sent alarm bells ringing across Israel. The move signals the centralization of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood coalition and his presidency’s dominance over the military, which has long been seen as an independent force.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders over the years have called for Egypt to abandon the peace treaty with Israel. The treaty was the basis for the opening of billions of dollars in U.S. aid that built the Egyptian military into one of the strongest forces in the Middle East today, second perhaps only to Israel.

U.S. Makes Life Easier For
Charity Helping Syrian Rebels

A charity now operating out of Washington, D.C., recently received U.S. nonprofit status to raise money for the Free Syrian Army.

The D.C.-based Syrian Support Group boasts on its website that it received “a license from the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control that permits the organization to raise funds and provide certain services to the Free Syrian Army.” The group says it is raising funds in the U.S. to provide “certain logistical, communications and other services to the [Free Syrian Army].”

Brian Sayers, director of government relations for the Syrian Support Group, admitted in an NPR interview the money raised by his organization will go to weapons purchases as well. The Syrian Support Group addresses concerns on its website about whether some of the money will go to Al Qaeda organizations fighting with the Free Syrian Army. There have been scores of reports worldwide of Al Qaeda and other jihad groups joining the ranks of the Free Syrian Army in its insurgency against Bashar al-Assad.

“SSG acknowledges reports of increasing Al-Qaeda and other extremist activity within Syria. SSG hopes to serve as a counter-weight to this development and will only provide financial support to military councils who have adopted the Free Syrian Army’s Proclamation of Principles.”

Rep: Arab League Will Support PA if Israel Halts Tax Payments

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says Arab nations will pay the Palestinian Authority  $100 million a month if Israel stops monthly tax payments to the group in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

Erekat made the statements on Saturday in Doha, Qatar during a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers.

Despite the statement of support, the overwhelming majority of aid to the Palestinian Authority comes from the United States, the European Union, and other Western organizations and donors.  Only 22 percent of the payments received in 2010 to the PA came from Arab donors.

Cartoon Rehab: It’s Miller Time, Sort Of

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Today’s cartoon is from Al-Watan (Qatar), from way back in May 13, 2003. The U.S. and Israel are shown eating from two sides of an apple that represents “the Arab states.” According to the middle-east-info.org, where we found it, this cartoon is noteworthy because it was published in Qatar, home to the Al Jazeera TV network. Qatar is considered by many in the U.S. State Department to be a U.S. ally and a relatively moderate state.

The first thing I had to do was remove the Israeli hat on the right and make this a contest between two Uncle Sam lookalikes. That took out the anti-Jewish bite, making the cartoon just a depiction of two ugly guys trying to get at something delicious.

Then I tried different objects they could fight over, including all manner of fruit and several different ice cream cones, with and without hot fudge pouring over it. But the beer was clearly the best option, especially since it came with the ready-made Miller’s commercial lines from the 1980s.

Source: middle-east-info.org

 

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Welcome to the Jewish Press Online Cartoon Rehabilitation Project (JPOCRP), or, in short (suggested by our colleague Rafi Harkham) Cartoon Rehab. We collect the most obscene, terrifying, anti-Semitic cartoons from the Arab world, and make them nice. It’s a harsh process, requiring long sessions of Photoshop treatment and a minimum of 90 meetings in 90 days at Antisemitic Anonymous, but in the end it is well worth the effort. Cartoons come in with the obvious effects of the Antisemitism scourge, unshaven, bleary eyed, fangs exposed, noses hooked, and they come out clean and fluffy.

Please send us your own Photoshop efforts in rehabilitating Arab cartoons. We’ll publish those we deem appropriate enough (don’t worry, our standards are not so high). You can also send us wayward cartoons you found lurking online – as long as they come from the Arab world.

We have a special interest in beautifying this region which has so long been suffering from rampant addiction to Antisemitism. Help us do our little bit for Tikun Olam.

J.E. Dyer: Syria – Going, going, gone?

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

It’s not clear how much longer the US will have discretion in what – if anything – to do about Syria.  While the Obama administration pesters Russia and China in the UN, Russia and China are shuttling diplomats around the Arab world, coming up with separate plans.  The Syria crisis has become as much about a contest for leadership between East and West as it is about the terrible death toll in Syria – and there is little time left for the West to act decisively.

Clearly divided global leaders

The confrontations in the UN have been emblematic of the Asian-Atlantic divide over Syria, but perhaps not as much as a less-publicized sequence of events.  In the hours after Russia and China vetoed the Western-sponsored UN resolution in February, Nicolas Sarkozy proposed the “Friends of Syria” vehicle for coordinating international action.  The US and Turkey quickly joined forces on the Friends of Syria effort, and a first meeting was scheduled for 24 February in Tunisia.

Russia and China both declined to participate.  And their non-participation has taken the form of competing efforts to put a plan together to resolve the Syrian crisis.  On 10 March, at a meeting in Cairo – shortly before this week’s UN confrontation with the US – Russia and the Arab League announced a set of agreed principles for ending the conflict.  One of those principles is that both sides – the Assad regime and the insurgents – must lay down their arms.  Russia will not buy into any proposal that has Assad’s forces observing a unilateral ceasefire.

The Arab League’s agreement on Russia’s “five principles” is a milestone in the effort to get some kind of coalescence around a way forward.  Arab League agreement is not universal; it won’t surprise Middle East-watchers that Qatar – home of Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi and recent host of the anti-Israel “Jerusalem conference” – called last week for a military solution in Syria, with Arab troops in the lead.  But the Arab League agreement with Russia tends to highlight Qatar as an outlier in that regard.

It appears that Qatar is hoping to urge the West to intervene in Syria, in combination with military forces from Arab partners; i.e., replicate the action in Libya last year.  From a Muslim Brotherhood standpoint, wresting Libya from Qadhafi opened the country up to shariazation.  But the Arab League as a whole is publicly agreeing with Russia rather than backing Qatar’s play.  (And this in spite of Arab League participation in the Friends of Syria meeting in Tunisia.)

China chimed in a few hours ago with supportive comments about the Russia-Arab League agreement.  (Beijing has also gone Russia one better with a six-point plan.)  The Chinese had an envoy in Syria last week talking to both the Assad government and the insurgents in an effort to broker a ceasefire, and they are dispatching diplomats around the region to “explain China’s position” and affirm the need for a political solution.

Meanwhile, Turkey plans to host the second Friends of Syria meeting on 2 April.  (The dilatory schedule mimics the US-EU approach to Libya in 2011.)  Nothing much came out of the first one, and the second meeting is already haunted by the report – denied by Turkish authorities – that Sarkozy had not been invited to it because of the recent French resolution condemning the World War I-era slaughter of Armenians as a genocide.

The lack of momentum for Western-brokered proposals is a serious problem.  While it would be too much to say that the Russia-Arab League agreement has momentum at this point, it would also be too much to say that anything put forward by the West is a credible challenge to it.  The Arab League doesn’t have the unity to deal with Syria by itself, and has been looking for a strong horse to run with.  There is no guarantee at this point that the strong horse will be the US and EU.

Turkish press opined this weekend that the reelection of Vladimir Putin would induce a notable warming trend in Russian-Turkish relations.  Putin is a personal friend of President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan; this prediction is solid, although of course it will not eliminate all of the natural sources of friction between the two nations.  What it may well do, however, is change the dynamic in which Turkey has found it convenient to throw in with the US on the Syria problem.

If the US is not going to back decisive action in Syria, Turkey may quietly migrate to an accord with Russia on ending the conflict  (If Ankara can present this as Russia migrating toward Turkey, so much the better for Erdogan; but Moscow has the agreement in hand with the Arab League.).  What we may count on with both Turkey and Russia is a desire to wield the primary influence over the process of establishing a new government in Syria.  With the current US administration, the utility of the United States as a patron for this Turkish purpose may not be as great as that of Russia.

Israelis Risk Flying Through Enemy Countries To Save a Buck

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

In recent years, Israelis have been choosing to fly to the Far East through Arab states which do not recognize the State of Israel, according to Israel Channel 2 News. Israel’s Foreign Office says that those enemy countries prohibit the entry of Israelis – but Israeli passengers report no special problem at those stops, and they get to save as much as $500 per ticket.

Israeli passengers arrive—on a plane or by car—at Amman Airport in Jordan, and then fly through the Gulf states – Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates – to the Far East.

An Israeli travel agency named Flyeast brokers these flights for Gulf Air, the principal flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Headquartered in Muharraq, near Bahrain International Airport, GA operates scheduled services to 45 destinations in 28 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe. Its hub is, of course, Bahrain International Airport, connecting to London, Paris, Dubai, Karachi, and Mumbai.

GA operates two daily flights from Amman to Bahrain and Muscat. Israelis enjoy a tremendous advantage flying with GA, because companies who take off from Ben Gurion International, in Israel, charge more for the Tel-Aviv to the Far East leg.

Some Israelis fly with the Qatari national airline, through the capital city Doha, also saving between $200 and $500.

But according to Channel 2 News, Israel’s Foreign Office is much less enthusiastic than those passengers (and travel agents). “The passengers should realize that they are in countries where there is no Israeli representative who can help them if something happens,” a Foreign  Ministry spokesman cautioned. “There is no difference between the UAE and Qatar, and Syria and Iran on this matter. They’re all defined enemy states, and we instruct Israeli citizens not to enter them.”

It is also worth mentioning that Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum, a reserve IDF colonel, was kidnapped in 2000 and held for more than three years by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, after being lured into Dubai and the UAE.

Israeli insurance companies refuse to insure passengers for their stay in enemy countries.

Abbas, Arab MKs Incite Against Israel in Qatar

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Comments by Palestinian Authority President and the presence of Arab Members of Knesset at the International Conference for Defense of Jerusalem in Qatar have sparked outrage back in Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas, in a speech to the conference, warned of Israeli intentions and efforts to ‘Judaize’ Jerusalem. “The Israeli occupation authorities are using the ugliest and most dangerous means to implement plans to erase and remove the Arab-Islamic and the Christian character of east Jerusalem.” He suggested that the best response would be for Muslims and Arabs from around the world to visit Jerusalem: “This move will have political, moral, economic and humanitarian repercussions, showing that Jerusalem belongs to all of us and no one can stop us from accessing it.”

Abbas also accused Israel of “surrounding Jerusalem with an Apartheid wall and a band of settlements in order to isolate the city from its surroundings in the West Bank.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu released a statement in response to Abbas’ speech, condemning him for incitement:

“This is a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace. The time has come for the Palestinian leadership to stop denying the past and distorting reality. For thousands of years Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People. Jerusalem, under Israeli sovereignty, will continue to be open to believers of all faiths. There is freedom of worship for all and Israel will continue to carefully maintain the holy places of all religions…The State of Israel expects that one who supposedly champions peace would prepare his people for peace and coexistence and not disseminate lies and incitement. This is not how one makes peace.”

In related news that once again brought the loyalty of Arab Mks to the fore, Raam-Ta’al MKs Taleb Al-Sana and Ahmed Tibi appeared at the conference as representatives of ‘Palestine’, and joined Abbas in accusing Israel of ‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem.

Both MKs were unapologetic when explaining their participation. El-Sana said: “The Doha conference focuses on the matter of Jerusalem and Israel’s policy is to Judaize Jerusalem, carry out a transfer of Palestinians and damage the holy sites – including al-Aqsa.”

No stranger to controversy himself, Tibi said the process of Judaization going on is a breach of international law: “Israel is an occupying power in east Jerusalem and withholds the Palestinian people’s freedom of religion.”

Other Members of Knesset responded with shock and disgust, and insisted that such a state of affairs is untenable. “There is no doubt that the Knesset speaker needs to realize that Arab MKs are a fifth column in the Knesset,” Likud MK Miri Regev said, adding that “[t]his is not the first time that Arab MKs speak out against the State of Israel. I suggest they be sent out on a VIP plane to serve Hamas and other terrorists.”

Yisrael Beitenu MK Alex Miller also spoke out against Al-Sana and Tibi. “The absurd situation where MKs work against the State day and night must be nipped in the bud.”

Mark Regev, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, condemned Tibi and Al-Sana in harsh terms, saying they were spreading a “dangerous libel” and that their behavior “is both dishonest and irresponsible.”

Report: Abbas to Serve as PM of New Palestinian ‘Unity Government’

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Chief Khaled Mashaal have reportedly agreed to an arrangement whereby Abbas would lead the interim unity government for Judea and Samaria and Gaza – replacing Salam Fayyad as prime minister – in the lead-up to general elections.

The agreement was based on a proposal by Qatar’s emir, who is hosting the reconciliation talks.

Abbas and Mashaal are expected to meet again Monday, according a top Abbas aide.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-abbas-to-serve-as-pm-of-new-palestinian-unity-government/2012/02/06/

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