Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hezbollah accused of Hariri murder

BEIRUT June 30, 2011 (AP) A U.N.-backed court investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri delivered four arrest warrants Thursday, the latest turn in a case that transformed this Arab nation and brought down the government earlier this year.
...The long-awaited indictment was confirmed by the office of Hariri's son, Saad, six years after the massive truck bombing along Beirut's waterfront on Feb. 14, 2005. Hariri was among 23 people killed.
...Hezbollah, which is also backed by Syria, fiercely denies any role in the killing and says the tribunal is a conspiracy by Israel and the United States.
The dispute over the court encapsulates Lebanon's most explosive conflicts: the role of Hezbollah, the country's most powerful political and military force; the country's dark history of sectarian divisions and violence; and Lebanon's fraught relationship with neighboring Syria.
The indictment raises concerns of a possible resurgence of violence that has bedeviled this tiny Arab country of 4 million people for years, including a devastating 1975-1990 civil war and sectarian battles between Sunnis and Shiites in 2008.
Rafik Hariri was one of Lebanon's most prominent Sunni leaders.
Last year, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the group "will cut off the hand" of anyone who tries to arrest any of its members. It was a potent threat, given that Nasrallah commands an arsenal that far outweighs that of the national army.
Reverberations from the death of Hariri, a billionaire businessman, are still being felt today.
In January, the investigation triggered a political crisis that brought down the Western-backed government of Saad Hariri, who had been prime minister since 2009. Saad Hariri had refused Hezbollah's demands to renounce the court, prompting 11 Hezbollah ministers and their allies to resign from his unity government.
The move further polarized the country's rival factions: Hezbollah with its patrons in Syria and Iran on one side, and Hariri's Western-backed bloc on the other, with support by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. called Hezbollah's walkout a transparent effort to subvert justice.
After Rafik Hariri was assassinated, suspicion immediately fell on Syria, since Hariri had been seeking to weaken its domination of the country.
Syria has denied having any role in the murder, but the killing galvanized opposition to Damascus and led to huge street demonstrations that helped end Syria's 29-year military presence.

"Occupied territories" is a politically incorrect term

From Yesha Council, 8 June 2011:


Flotilla 2 supports terrorism

From the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs Vol. 11, No. 6 29 June 2011, by Ehud Rosen:

  • The second flotilla is coordinated by Muhammad Sawalha, a senior Muslim Brotherhood figure connected to Hamas. Many of the participating organizations can be directly linked with the Union of Good (UoG), a coalition of European charities affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which in 2008 was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury for transferring funds to Hamas. The UoG was initiated by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on a global scale, shortly after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000.
  •  Other main organizers include the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM), as well as far-left socialists from Europe and the United States. According to the flotilla's main organizers, its prime aim is to create provocations and harm Israel's image.
  •  Following Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which ended in January 2009, a series of international conferences was held in Turkey to restructure the struggle against Israel. A conference in February 2009 featured 200 radical Islamist scholars who came to meet with senior Hamas officials to plot a new, "third jihadi front" (in addition to Pakistan and Iraq) centered on Gaza. The conference gave birth to the infamous, pro-Hamas Istanbul Declaration, which also provided justification for attacking foreign navies which might try to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza.
  •  In general, the same organizers stand behind the second flotilla, with several changes. The most important may be the IHH decision not to send the Mavi Marmara, the ship which brought the first flotilla its publicity following violent clashes between IHH activists and the IDF in which nine Turks were killed. Rather than take a leading role, it appears that the IHH will settle this time for sending activists to sail on other ships.
  •  Thus, the flotilla is far from being a peaceful, humanitarian effort to support the Palestinians in Gaza. It should instead be seen as a major, pro-Hamas effort to delegitimize Israel by a "red-green alliance" of leftists and Islamists.

Follow the link to read more.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Announcing a breath of "Fresh AIR"

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) is pleased to announce the launch of their completely re-designed new website. This is a top to bottom overhaul with the goal of turning AIJAC's already popular site into your one-stop shop for all your daily news, information and analysis with respect to the Middle East, terrorism, racism, multiculturalism, and other public policy issues of special interest to Australian Friends of Israel. To this end, the re-vamp is designed to make the site both easier to navigate and to search, as well as an even greater pleasure to browse and read.

All of our traditional contributions are still there - articles from the Australia/Israel Review, our daily newsfeed, our twice weekly "Updates from AIJAC" electronic newsletter, articles in the general media from AIJAC staff, resources on contemporary and historical issues, as well as a much-expanded and improved multimedia section. But we also offer something completely new and very exciting, AIJAC's daily news and analysis blog, entitled "Fresh AIR".

"Fresh AIR" is devoted to bringing you all the news, analysis, commentary and media criticism AIJAC has always supplied through the Australia/Israel Review (AIR) and the "Updates from AIJAC" email service in a much more up-to-the-minute and timely fashion. Our aim is to supply readers with the very freshest up-to-date reporting and interpretation of events at they happen.

We invite readers to visit our new and much improved website on a regular basis to sample all the latest offerings written or selected by AIJAC's exclusive team of policy analysts. Or better yet, sign up for our RSS feed to receive the latest "Fresh AIR" entries as soon as they are posted.

Further, we plan to also make Twitter and Facebook access available in the near future.

We believe you will find it not only a valuable resource, but just what the name says, a breath of "fresh air" - shaking up stale conventional wisdom, providing analysis unavailable elsewhere in the Australian media, and above all, supplying the background knowledge and context that one needs to really understand the news of the day.