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Entries in Ehud Barak (37)


Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 156 Killed as UN Envoy Brahimi Meets Assad

See also Israel-Palestine Feature: Jerusalem's "Extreme Makeover" & "Perilous Decline"
Syria 1st-Hand: Attempting to Live a Normal Life in Insurgent-Held Yabroud
Monday's Syria Live Coverage: "94 Killed" in Regime Airstrike on Bakery Queue

2100 GMT: Egypt. The US State Department has reacted to today's official declaration of the approval of the Constitution:

The future of Egypt’s democracy depends on forging a broader consensus behind its new democratic rules and institutions. Many Egyptians have voiced deep concerns about the substance of the constitution and the constitutional process. President Morsi, as the democratically elected leader of Egypt, has a special responsibility to move forward in a way that recognizes the urgent need to bridge divisions, build trust, and broaden support for the political process. We have called for genuine consultation and compromise across Egypt’s political divides. We hope those Egyptians disappointed by the result will seek more and deeper engagement. We look to those who welcome the result to engage in good faith. And we hope all sides will re-commit themselves to condemn and prevent violence.

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Egypt, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi Backing Away from His Decrees?

2140 GMT: Egypt. Mohamed al-Qamash, a journalist for Al-Siyasi magazine, has reportedly been arrested near the US embassy in Cairo. Qamash was reportedly in Simon Bolivar Square, near a protest for Gaber Salah who was killed on Sunday, when a fire broke out. According to the report, he was beaten and his cell phone was confiscated.

2105 GMT: Syria. Earlier today, the CFDPC, a coalition of activists who report on Damascus and its suburbs, posted this dire message, with accompanying video, about the largest suburbs west of Damascus, Darayya:

A new massacre was committed by regime forces that arrested and killed at least 30 displaced people who fled their homes in Daraya and found refuge in the nearby areas. The victims were also tortured.

The LCC has reported that there were 28 bodies, and they have identified 6 of them:

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EA Opinion: Why Foreign Policy's "Global Thinker" List Is, Like, Really Brilliant

President Obama (left) is Really Brilliant. So is Dick Cheney (right). Not sure about that lady in the middle....

I mean, it's not like being the President of the US is the reason why Mr. Obama would influence our lives. Any time he thinks something quite smart --- "Hey, another drone strike will solve the world's problems!" --- that's the reason he is Number One rather than, say, the power that he holds.

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Gaza Live Coverage: Israel Rejects Ceasefire and Maintains Assault

Tel Aviv bus struck by an explosion today

See also Gaza Audio Feature: Before the Ceasefire --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
EA Video Analysis: The 4 Biggest Losers of the Gaza War...So Far
Why Netanyahu's Rejection of A Ceasefire is Bad News for the US"
Gaza Feature: The Names of Those Killed
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Damascus Shakes as Assad Regime Wobbles
Monday's Gaza Live Coverage: Israel Chooses Air Assault Over Ground Invasion...For Now

2005 GMT: Chris McGreal of The Guardian reports the scene from Gaza City:

On a street running along the Gaza City waterfront, three young men --- one armed --- were celebrating. They waved at a man driving by blowing his horn. Above their heads a loudspeaker on a mosque repeated over and over: Allahu Akbar.

Part of the celebration is relief that, hopefully, the eight days and nights of bombing and shelling are now at an end and people can sleep safely. Or sleep at all.

But there is also a mood of victory.

"Israel begged for a ceasefire because it could not stop our rockets," said Adel Mansour, who was without a gun. "They bombed us, they killed our women and children, but they could not stop the resistance. So they had to surrender and agree to stop the assassinations. They learned we cannot be defeated by their bombs."

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Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: The Conflict Escalates from Gaza to Tel Aviv

See also EA Video Analysis: Gaza --- The Top 4 Reasons For Israel's Attack (and Hamas Rockets are Not on the List)
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: International Meeting in London Discusses Support for "New" Opposition
Thursday's Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: Day 2 of Operation Pillar of Cloud

2056 GMT: The Israeli government has approved the activation of up to 75,000 reservists, according to Al-Jazeera English, citing local Israeli media reports.

2049 GMT: Global Post journalist Noga Tarnopolsky reports that Israeli media has confirmed the deaths of senior Hamas commanders Ahmed Abu Jalal and Khaled Sha'er earlier today. Abu Jalal was reportedly killed in an air strike on the in al-Maghazi refugee camp, whilst Sha'er was killed on his motorbike in Deir Al Balah.

2005 GMT: Several sources report that an extremist group with links to Al Qaeda has taken responsibility for a rocket attack from the Sinai peninsula that targeted Israel on Wednesday. This could signal a disturbing escalation in the violence.

Interestingly, Egypt's new government has been actively engaged in fighting these extremist groups in Sinai for well over a year.

1948 GMT: War is often good for arms companies. Reuters reports that Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak "will seek cabinet approval for funds that could provide Israel with three new Iron Dome rocket interceptors". Israel currently has four Iron Dome interceptors and will soon receive a fifth, manufactured by state-owned company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

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Israel-Palestine Special: Getting the Truth in a Phone Call from Gaza

Washington Post front page with BBC Arabic's Jihad Misharawi holding body of his 11-month-old son, killed in Israeli airstrike

Can we talk about the attack?

"There is no safe place. You get some flour, some sugar, some other necessities, and you stay home and you wait the rockets out. Remember the last time they attacked Gaza?

"There were about 400 fighters killed, but 1,100 civilians. There is no safe place for people to hide. Gaza is small and pretty much all just houses. Hamas is running about between them. How do you kill Hamas members without killing civilians?"

Does Hamas care?

"It's an investment, both for the Israelis and Hamas. After this operation is finished --- whatever it is --- Hamas will be stronger, people will feel that Hamas is the one fighting israel and giving martyrs from among its leadership. It's not easy to punish the militants. You can kill a few hundred, but it doesn't hurt them. It's very easy to administer Gaza, it's small, you can do whatever you want with a few thousand men. And Israel has an election so [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu will get what he wants."

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The Latest from Iran (5 November): Questioning Ahmadinejad

2005 GMT: Sanctions Watch. Back from an extended break to find the definitive answer, from Kazem Jalali of Parliament's National Security Committee, for international sanctions on Tehran --- they are all because of the economic problems of the "West": "By imposing further sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, countries such as the US, Britain and France seek to divert the public opinion of their people."

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Israel-Palestine Live Coverage (2 November): Is Iran Still an "Existential Threat"?

1730 GMT: Following Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas's remarks aired by Israelis Channel 2 on Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called Abbas's words as "extremely dangerous". 

Abbas had stated that he would consider Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem as Palestine and the rest as Israel. When asked whether he would go to his birthplace - Safed, now a town in northern Israel - Abbas said he would go but wouldn't want to live there. This, automatically brings Abbas's standing on the issue of refugees into question. 


1540 GMT: After Bahrain signed an agreement with UN Relief and Works Agency to build three reconstruction projects worth of $5.4 million, a $25 million sports city project in Gaza City will be launched soon by Qatar, says Palestinian Minister of Sports, Youth, and Culture Mohammed Al-Madhoun.

1400 GMT: Defense official Amos Gilad criticized Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi: "Out of the desire for democracy, an appalling dictatorship has emerged inEgypt. There is no dialogue between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Israel's political echelon and there won't be. He won't talk to us." Gilad also warned that the peace treaty with Egypt must be preserved "at any cost".

1220 GMT: Israeli military censure lifted a ban on the publication of an interview made with Nahum Lev, the commander of the operation that ended up killing Abu Jihad, co-founder of Palestine Liberation Organisation, in Tunis in 1988.

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Iran and Syria Audio Feature: Why Tehran's Conference "Stunt" Means Little --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24

Iran Hosts Peace Conference While Aleppo Rebels... by NewsLook

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's report on the Iran conference on Syria

In a wide-ranging interview with Monocle 24's The Daily last night, I began by discussing Iran's "international conference" on Syria on Thursday, assessing the politics of the move and what comes next.

The interview also considered Israel's own stunt this week, with Minister of Defense Ehud Barak falsely claiming that a new US National Intelligence Estimate had found Iran was close to producing nuclear weapons.

But the take-away line may be at the end of the discussion. My reply to the question, "What can the world do to halt the instability in Syria?" --- "Nothing."

The conversation begins at the 1:12.02 mark.


The Latest from Iran (3 February): The Supreme Leader's Friday Prayer

Minister of Education Haji Babaei and the Cardboard Imam (see 1741 GMT)

See also Iran Snap Analysis: The Supreme Leader --- Strong Abroad, Weak at Home
Iran Feature: How Tehran's "Islamic Awakening" Lost Its Arab Spring
The Latest from Iran (2 February): Will There Be Protests on 25 Bahman?

1800 GMT: Food Watch. Up to five vessels, out of 10 ships waiting off Iran for up to three weeks with 400,000 tonnes of grain, have now diverted to Qatar, the UAE, and Singapore.

The ships could not or would not off-load their cargoes because of payment difficulties amidst US-led sanctions.

"There is no prohibition on discharging cargoes (in Iran) but they can't because they have not been paid. Some will be trying to find other buyers now," a trade source said.

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