Monthly Archives: July 2014

​Libya is now officially a failed state

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It is failed in the sense that it does not have a cohesive central government whose writ runs to every part of the country.

And of course it is failed due to the complete absence of the rule of law, and failed most of all by the West whose decision to embark on a disastrous military intervention in 2011, which led directly to the ousting and murder of former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was the catalyst for the disaster that has unfolded in the country since.

Recall the alacrity with which the West jumped aboard the Arab Spring after initially being completely wrong-footed by it when it first broke in Tunisia in late 2010 and immediately thereafter hit Egypt, resulting in the toppling of the Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Both the Ben Ali dictatorship in Tunisia and the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt had been Western clients, lavished with investment, aid, and trade deals even though their prisons were filled with pro-democracy activists and political dissidents. The hypocrisy involved here, you might think, would have shamed those same Western governments – the US, France, and the UK in particular – into non-interference in the face of what appeared to be a region-wide revolutionary movement from below.

But shame is not something that troubles policymakers in Western capitals. When another of their regional allies, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, found his government under pressure as the so-called Arab Spring arrived in Libya next, France, Britain, Italy, and the US performed a complete volte face and backed NATO airstrikes against Libyan military forces on the spurious grounds of protecting civilians.

In truth, Gaddafi was sacrificed on the altar of realpolitik, learning a harsh lesson when it comes to trusting states that had lavished his country with trade deals, oil contracts, and political rehabilitation after decades spent as a pariah. For all their rhetoric about supporting democracy and those struggling for democracy, in truth the only test of a government’s legitimacy in the eyes of the West is its willingness and ability to advance their economic and strategic interests.

Smoke billows from an area near Tripoli’s international airport as fighting between rival factions around the capital’s airport continues on July 24, 2014.

The key lesson to emerge from the Arab Spring, in fact, has been how adept the Western powers are when it comes to adapting to shifting conditions on the ground. The notion of Washington, London, or Paris being concerned with the protection of innocent human life and upholding the human and democratic rights of the people of the Arab world should by now have been so comprehensively refuted by their actions since the end of the First World War that only those drawing their arguments from a deep well of mendacity or ignorance would dare suggest otherwise.

Libya in 2014 has descended into an abyss of lawlessness of chaos and violence as a direct consequence of NATO’s intervention back in 2011. With the recent announcement by the British Foreign Office warning all British citizens in Libya to leave the country immediately due to the ramping up of violence between the various factions that have emerged from the chaos, the truth in this regard cannot longer be denied.

Libya’s value – the real reason it came in for intervention – is of course its considerable oil reserves, the largest in Africa estimated at around 47 billion barrels’ worth. Its proximity to European markets and the quality of its oil making it easier to refine only enhances its attraction to Western oil companies.

Most of Libya’s oil deposits are located in the east of the country, where opposition against the Gaddafi regime began and was strongest. The former Libyan leader had signed oil exploration contracts with a number of Western oil companies, part of the process of him opening Libya up to the West, and prior to mounting the NATO intervention that brought his government down guarantees were given by the rebels that those contracts would continue post-Gaddafi.

Three years later the country is in complete turmoil, riven with factionalism, gang violence, and the absence of a strong central government. This is the consequence of NATO’s military intervention, yet another staged by the West that can be categorized as disastrous.

Western colonialism and imperialism has never been more exposed as they have when it comes to Libya.

A leader who could once boast of a phone book containing the numbers of world leaders and royalty, who’d opened up his country for business with Western corporations and governments, Gaddafi was left to be slaughtered like an animal by an armed mob as he tried to flee his home town of Sirte during the fighting, the motorcade he was travelling in stopped by a NATO airstrike.

The Libya that once boasted the highest level of development of any African nation, where the standard of education, housing, infrastructure, and health stood as a beacon in a region that has long labored under the depredations and ravages of free market capitalism; the Libya that helped set up the African Union and invested billions in development projects throughout the African continent, working tirelessly for African unity – this Libya has been destroyed.

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محمد العرابي يكتب : السيسي ومرسي وغزة

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وهذا هو هدف قطر وتركيا، إظهار مصر كأنها فقدت دورها في القضية الفلسطينية، وأن النظام السابق كان أكثر قدرة علي التعامل مع حماس

لماذا نكتب، ونحن نعتقد أحياناً أن الكتابة كالحرث في البحر، لم أجد اجابة علي السؤال، ولكنني بعد دعوة كريمة من الاستاذ ياسر رزق قررت إعادة المحاولة بعد أن مارست هذا الأمر في صحيفة الجمهورية وبعدها في مجلة أكتوبر في فترة صعبة مرت بها مصر خلال حكم الإخوان , وعندما أراجع هذه الكتابات اجدها متسقة تماماً مع نضال الشعب المصري في تلك الفترة الحالكة من تاريخ الوطن
عدت من زيارة للعاصمة الفرنسية، حيث التقيت بمجموعة من السياسيين والخبراء في محفل لمناقشة التطرف الديني في المنطقة، ووجدت أن مصر وأحداثها تحتل اهتمام الجميع ولن أبالغ إذا قلت أن هناك شبه إجماع علي أن استقرار الأوضاع في مصر سيؤدي الي استقرار المنطقة وأنحسار التطرف الديني
ولكن مشاهدات كثيرة قد تدلل علي مدي الاهتمام بالشأن المصري والحرص عليمتابعة كل ما يجري في وطننا العظيم
كان سائق السيارة المخصصة لي شابا من بنجلاديش وعندما عرف إنني من مصر سألني هل تؤيد الرئيس السيسي فقلت له نعم، فبادرني بقوله أنا أحب مرسي، فكان ردي حاداً وقلت انت شاب من بنجلاديش وتعيش في باريس لا أعتقد أنك تستطيع تقييم رئيس دولة أخري وماهي المقومات التي تدفعك الي حبه وتقديره؟
وكان رده الديمقراطية، طبعاً تتوقعون الجدل الطويل حول هذا الموضوع مع  هذا السائق
المهم هو مدي تأثير هذه الجماعة، وأن هناك من لم ير أو لا يريد أن يري أن هناك شرعية جديدة تدحض أي دعاوي آخري
في الجانب الآخر نجد أن أحداث غزة الأخيرة يتخذها أنصار الجماعة ذريعة للهجوم علي النظام المصري واختصار الأمر في ضرورة فتح المعابر، أمرغريب .. تصادف اثناء وجودي في باريس انعقاد مؤتمر لوزراء خارجية بعض الدول الغربية بالإضافة إلي قطر وتركيا وكأن الحرب في غزة وسقوط القتلي من الفلسطينيين يأتي في المرتبة التالية لإشراك قطر وتركيا في جهود وقف إطلاق النار، وأن المسألة تمس كرامتهم ودورهم ولا يهم الدم الفلسطيني وليتهم توصلوا الي هدنة حقيقية

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مشعل يستجم فى الدوحه واطفال غزه يقتلون

وخلال هذا المحفل تلاحظ أن هناك تأييداً لمصر ودورها من السياسيين والخبراء من عدة دول عربية وغربية والاهم ان ممثلي دول (غيررسميين) من تونس والمغرب واليمن وسوريا يرون في النموذج المصري الحل  الامثل لمشاكل دولهم والاقليم
هناك نظرة واضحة  لخطورة الجماعات التكفيرية المتطرفة التي اصبحت عابرة للحدود بتسليح متقدم وأعداد يصعب دحرها
كنت أقول أننا ننتظر صيفاً ساخناً، وبالفعل هذا الصيف سيشهد حسماً لقضايا كثيرة ورسماً لحدود جديدة
ولكن أين نحن من كل هذا؟
مصر في قلب هذه الاحداث بل أدعي أنها في قلب العاصفة وستظل مستهدفة بل ان كل حدث في المنطقة سوف يتم استغلاله ضدها مثل ما حدث فيالحرب علي غزة كان نظام الإخوان يروج نفسه فيالغرب علي أنه ولي أمر حماس، ويستطيع كبح جماحها إذا لزم الأمر قد دلل علي ذلك في أحداث غزة العام الماضي وقت حكم الرئيس المعزول
وهذا هو هدف قطر وتركيا، إظهار مصر كأنها فقدت دورها في القضية الفلسطينية، وأن النظام السابق كان أكثر قدرة علي التعامل مع حماس
هل ستظل المنطقة اسيرة لمنطق الإخوان؟
أعتقد أن امامنا بعض الوقت وخاصة أن قوي إقليمية ودولية مازالت تراهن علي قدرة الإخوان علي الصمود والوجود، لذا نحن في حاجة شديدة لبلورة نظام عربي جديد يصون الأمن القومي العربي ويضع محددات صارمة لتدخل دولة عربية في شأن دولة عربية أخري
هل سنفكر في ذلك قريبا، لا اعتقد
كانت احداث غزة كاشفة لأمور كثيرة وللاسف دفع الشعب الفلسطيني الثمن غاليا ومازال
الولايات المتحدة متمسكة برؤيتها الاستراتيجية وتزج بحلفائها في المنطقة في عملية سياسية مظهرية وبغض النظر عن إحتمالات نجاحها ولم تقدم واشنطن دعمها للفكرة المحورية وهي وقف اطلاق النار والضغط علي اسرائيل لتنفيذ ذلك حماية للمدنيين الفلسطينيين
ودول اقليمية مصرة علي التزاحم للحفاظ علي بريقها السياسي بعد أن انتظرت لفترة طويلة أثارت الاستغراب وبدون تحقيق أي حل عملي لوقف اطلاق النار
للأسف حاول الجميع استغلال الدم الفلسطيني للتذكير بأهمية الإخوان علي الساحة السياسية للمنطقة، اما اسرائيل فكعادتها تجيد فن الخسارة،واقصد الخسارة السياسية والأخلاقية ولا أعلم ماذا جنت من هذه العملية العسكرية بعد أن كانت تشعر براحة استراتيجية منذ بداية ما عرف بثورات الربيع العربي
هل قصدت إعادة تفتيت القوي المناهضة لها في ظل صمت حزب الله وإيران وداعش وغيرها من القوي التي تدعي نصرة الشعب الفلسطيني
فعلاً نعاني من فوضي غير خلاقة كادت أن تطيح بالمنطقة وتدخلها في مرحلة عدم استقرار لن يتمكن أحد من إعادته مرة أخري
من هنا  نري صدق رؤية الدول التي تقف مع مصر لأنها مقتنعة أن مصرالجديدة هي العامل الفعال والمؤثر للحفاظ علي المنطقة. ولكن الطريق طويل والأخطار محدقة وستظل مصر مستهدفة وهنا نؤكد أن قوتنا الذاتية هي الاساس في تعاملنا مع المعطيات الجديدة بالمنطقة، وقوتنا الذاتية تعتمد في الاساس علي شعب مصر الذي يملك قدرات عظيمة لكن ينقصه روح العمل الجماعي. لا يوجد بديل الا النجاح والنجاح  فقط والإ ستكون المنطقة كلها مهددة بالتفكك والانحدار إلي نتائج كارثية
الصبر والصمود وتحمل حرب استنزاف جديدة نستطيع الفوز فيها بالوقوف صفاً واحداً خلف قيادتنا، ندعمها لكي تنجح مصر وتنطلق إلي مستقبل أرحب

  • محمد العرابى، وزير خارجية مصر السابق، تولى العرابي مهامه وزيرًا للخارجية خلفًا لنبيل العربي الذي انتخب في 15 مايو أمينًا عامًا للجامعة العربية. يعده كثيرون رائد العصر الذهبى للعلاقات المصرية الألمانية

المقال الاصلى – اخبار اليوم – محمد العرابي يكتب –

ذيل الافعى الاخوانى ” مرتزقة حماس ” والخطه البديله لأتفاق الجاسوس محمد مرسى | WORLD NEWS.

4 Hamas Billionaires and 600 Millionaires Turning Civilian Suffering into Hard Cash | WORLD NEWS.

Hamas’s Civilian Death Strategy – WSJ | WORLD NEWS.

4 Hamas Billionaires and 600 Millionaires Turning Civilian Suffering into Hard Cash

By S.M. Lightening

The media in Israel, but more so in neighboring Egypt, is full of condemnations of Hamas leaders, who live in luxury hotels at the expense of the Qatar oil sheiks, or in mansions with the latest fitness equipment, while instructing the downtrodden civilians in the Gaza Strip to become martyrs in service of the Palestinian cause.

Middle East expert Col. (res.) Dr. Moshe Elad spoke to Globes this week about the estimated wealth of those Hamas leaders, who are beginning to be known popularly as the Arab world’s new tycoons.

Elad spent 30 years in the IDF, as Governor of Jenin district, Bethlehem district , Tyre district (in South Lebanon), and as Head of Security coordination with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, during the implementation of the “Oslo Accord” (’95-’98). Since his retirement, Elad has been teaching today at Western Galilee College, and at Galil – the International Management Institute.

“The vast majority of Hamas founders and leaders were refugees or second generation refugees,” said Elad. “They had no money at all. When they and Hamas were just starting out, the organization (not in its own name) was nurtured by the Israeli military government, which fostered the Islamic associations working in the Gaza Strip as a counterweight to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Their phenomenal wealth started accumulating when they decided to disassociate themselves from Israel and search for alternative financing sources.”

The money, says Elad, came from wills of the deceased, charity funds, and contributions from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and these days Qatar.

To remind you, the strongly pro-Hamas Al Jazeera Media Network is also funded by the ruling family of Qatar, the House of Thani.

With US based charities starting to funnel funds to Hamas, in the early 1990s, Hamas leaders began to acquire big money. “One of those fundraisers was Dr. Musa Abu Marzook, the number 2 man in Hamas,” says Elad. “He began a fundraising campaign in the US among wealthy Muslims, while at the same time founding several banking enterprises. He himself became a conglomerate of 10 financial enterprises giving loans and making financial investments. He’s an amazing financier.”

The US arrested Marzook in 1995, on charges of supporting terrorism. After he spent two years in jail, he was expelled without a trial. And he got to keep the money.

“When he was expelled from the US in 1997, he was already worth several million dollars,” Elad says. “Somehow he evaded the clutches of the US Internal Revenue Service and was not charged with financing terrorism. People in the know say he probably became connected to the administration and cooperated with it. There is no proof, but it’s hard to think of any other reason why he escaped punishment for such serious offenses. In 2001, in the investigation of the September 11 events, it turned out that he had extensive financial connections with Al Qaeda, including the transfer of funds to the 21 Al Qaeda operatives accused of the attacks.”

Today, Marzook is considered one of Hamas’ wealthiest billionaires. “Arab sources estimate his wealth at $2-3 billion,” Elad says.

Another Hamas leader-turned-tycoon is Khaled Mashaal. “Estimates around the world are that Mashaal is currently worth $2.6 billion, but the numbers mentioned by the Arab commentators are much higher, varying from $2-5 billion invested in Egyptian and Persian Gulf banks, and some in real estate projects in the Persian Gulf countries,” Elad notes.

Another tycoon terrorist is Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. “He is a scion of a family from the Al-Shati refugee camp, and his capital is estimated at $4 million,” Elad says. “He registered most of his assets in the Gaza Strip in the name of his son-in-law, Nabil, and in the name of a dozen of his sons and daughters and a few less well known Hamas leaders. They all have homes in good neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip, where the value of every home is at least $1 million.”

The Arshaq Al-Awsad newspaper, one of the most prestigious in the Arab world, recently reported that at least 600 millionaires were living in the Gaza Strip. Much of that money came from the smuggling operations, through hundreds of tunnels that used to lead into Gaza from Egypt.

“Senior Hamas leaders charged a 25% tax and $2,000 on every disassembled vehicle coming through the tunnels,” said Elad. “From June 2007 until 2010, $800 million in cash was transferred in tunnel deals (according to information from Hamas money traders). Hamas also taxes Gaza merchants on everything traded, from boxes of vegetables to luxury cars, and the leaders scoop the money into their pockets.”

Another source of wealth for Hamas leaders was land acquisition. “They took over land mainly near the sea in good areas, such as the former Gush Katif, then sold it. In effect, they are the cat guarding the cream – the land – so they were able to take over land and loot it for themselves,” Elad explains.
“This is corruption at the highest level, Elad concludes. “What has united the Palestinian leaders all throughout the years is the saying, ‘We have to get rich quick.’ This is how the regime sees it. Their leaders have no shame. Shortly after they got power, they took control of fuel, communications, and any other profitable sectors in the country. There are get-rich-quick schemes and corruption in Western society, too, but there it’s done sophisticatedly with envelopes of money and complex structures of bribery and the like. Among the Palestinians, they tell you straight out, ‘I want to get rich.’”

Kerry, aides checked by security at Egyptian presidential palace Before Meeting Egypt’s President

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Kerry checked by security at Egyptian presidential palace

Egyptian security officers checked US Secretary of State John Kerry and his top aides with a metal detector as they arrived for a meeting on Tuesday with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, an unusual screening for a senior State Department official.

Foreign officials usually extend every courtesy to Washington’s top diplomat.

Footage taken at the Egyptian presidential palace and seen by Reuters showed an official briefly raising a handheld metal-detecting wand to the lower part of Kerry’s jacket before waving him through for the meeting, which is to discuss how to stop the two-week conflict between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Kerry appeared for only a few seconds in the footage, which showed his senior aides walking through a stationary metal detector and being checked with a handheld wand. At least one was asked to empty his pockets.

The aides included Kerry’s deputy chief of staff Jonathan Finer, senior adviser David Thorne and spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

NSA Doc Reveals ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi is U.S., British and Israeli Intelligence Asset

According a document recently released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, now the Islamic State, is an intelligence asset.The NSA document reveals the United States, Israel, and Britain are responsible for the creation of ISIS.Earlier this month Nabil Na’eem, the founder of the Islamic Democratic Jihad Party and former top al-Qaeda commander, told the Beirut-based pan-Arab TV station al-Maydeen all current al-Qaeda affiliates, including ISIS, work for the CIA.ISIS is a well-armed and trained terrorist group now in control of large areas of Iraq and Syria.The NSA document states the group was established by U.S., British and Israeli intelligence as part of a strategy dubbed “the hornet’s nest” to draw Islamic militants from around the world to Syria.Prior Evidence of al-Baghdadi Link to Intelligence and MilitaryAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi “took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech,” the documents explain, according to Gulf Daily News, a Bahrainian source.In June a Jordanian official told Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily ISIS members were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan. In 2012 it was reported the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi.

Al-Baghdadi was reportedly a “civilian internee” at Camp Bucca, a U.S. military detention facility near Umm Qasr, Iraq. James Skylar Gerrond, a former U.S. Air Force security forces officer and a compound commander at Camp Bucca in 2006 and 2007, said earlier this month the camp “created a pressure cooker for extremism.”

“Circumstantial evidence suggests that al-Baghdadi may have been mind-controlled while held prisoner by the US military in Iraq,” writes Dr. Kevin Barrett.

Creating a Fake Terror Threat

The hornet’s nest strategy was designed to create the perception that Israel is threatened by an enemy near its borders.

According to the personal diary of former Israeli prime minister Moshe Sharett, however, Israel never took seriously an Arab or Muslim threat to its national security.

“Sharett’s diary reveals in explicit language that the Israeli political and military leadership never believed in any Arab danger to Israel,” writes Ralph Schoenman. “They sought to maneuver and force the Arab states into military confrontations which the Zionist leadership were certain of winning so Israel could carry out the destabilization of Arab regimes and the planned occupation of additional territory.”

In 1982 Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, wrote The Zionist Plan for the Middle East.

The white paper proposed “that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units” and the “dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run.”

The destruction of the Arab and Muslim states, Yinon suggested, would be accomplished from within by exploiting their internal religious and ethnic tensions.

Hamas’s Civilian Death Strategy – WSJ

Palestinians search for survivors in Gaza's eastern Shijaiyah district on July 20.

Palestinians search for survivors in Gaza‘s eastern Shijaiyah district on July 20.

By –Thane RosenbaumJuly 21, 2014 3:19 p.m. E

Let’s state the obvious: No one likes to see dead children. Well, that’s not completely true: Hamas does. They would prefer those children to be Jewish, but there is greater value to them if they are Palestinian. Outmatched by Israel’s military, handicapped by rocket launchers with the steady hands of Barney Fife, Hamas is playing the long game of moral revulsion.

With this conflict about to enter its third week, winning the PR war is the best Hamas can hope to achieve. Their weapon of choice, however, seems to be the cannon fodder of their own people, performing double duty in also sounding the drumbeat of Israeli condemnation. If you can’t beat Iron Dome, then deploy sacrificial children as human shields.

Civilian casualties will continue to mount. The evolving story will focus on the collateral damage of Palestinian lives. Israel’s moral dilemma will receive little attention. Each time the ledgers of relative loss are reported, world public opinion will turn against the Jewish state and box Israel into an even tighter corner of the Middle East.

All the ordinary rules of warfare are upended in Gaza. Everything about this conflict is asymmetrical—Hamas wears no uniforms and they don’t meet Israeli soldiers on battlefields. With the exception of kaffiyeh scarves, it isn’t possible to distinguish a Hamas militant from a noncombatant pharmacist. In Vietnam, the U.S. military learned guerrilla warfare in jungles. In Gaza, the Jewish state has had to adapt to the altogether surreal terrain of apartment complexes and schoolhouses.

There are now reports that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are transporting themselves throughout Gaza in ambulances packed with children. Believe it or not, a donkey laden with explosives detonated just the other day.

The asymmetry is complicated even further by the status of these civilians. Under such maddening circumstances, are the adults, in a legal and moral sense, actual civilians? To qualify as a civilian one has to do more than simply look the part. How you came to find yourself in such a vulnerable state matters. After all, when everyone is wearing casual street clothing, civilian status is shared widely.

The people of Gaza overwhelmingly elected Hamas, a terrorist outfit dedicated to the destruction of Israel, as their designated representatives. Almost instantly Hamas began stockpiling weapons and using them against a more powerful foe with a solid track record of retaliation.

What did Gazans think was going to happen? Surely they must have understood on election night that their lives would now be suspended in a state of utter chaos. Life expectancy would be miserably low; children would be without a future. Staying alive would be a challenge, if staying alive even mattered anymore.

To make matters worse, Gazans sheltered terrorists and their weapons in their homes, right beside ottoman sofas and dirty diapers. When Israel warned them of impending attacks, the inhabitants defiantly refused to leave.

On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen, invite them to dinner with blood on their hands and allow them to set up shop in your living room as their base of operations. At that point you begin to look a lot more like conscripted soldiers than innocent civilians. And you have wittingly made yourself targets.

It also calls your parenting skills into serious question. In the U.S. if a parent is found to have locked his or her child in a parked car on a summer day with the windows closed, a social worker takes the children away from the demonstrably unfit parent. In Gaza, parents who place their children in the direct line of fire are rewarded with an interview on MSNBC where they can call Israel a genocidal murderer.

The absurdity of Israel’s Gaza campaigns requires an entirely new terminology for the conduct of wars. “Enemy combatants,” “theater of war,” “innocent civilians,” “casualties of war” all have ambiguous meaning in Gaza. There is nothing casual about why so many Gazans die; these deaths are tragically predictable and predetermined. Hamas builds tunnels for terrorists and their rockets; bomb shelters for the people of Gaza never entered the Hamas leaders’ minds.

So much innocence is lost in this citizen army, which serves as the armor for demented leaders and their dwindling arsenal of rockets and martyrs. In Gaza the death toll of civilians is an endgame disguised as a tragedy. It is a sideshow—without death, Hamas has nothing to show for its efforts.

Surely there are civilians who have been killed in this conflict who have taken every step to distance themselves from this fast-moving war zone, and children whose parents are not card-carrying Hamas loyalists. These are the true innocents of Gaza. It is they for whom our sympathy should be reserved. The impossibility of identifying them, and saving them, is Israel’s deepest moral dilemma..

Mr. Rosenbaum, a novelist, essayist and professor at the New York University School of Law, is the author, most recently, of “Payback: The Case for Revenge.”

Ukrainian Su-25 fighter detected in close approach to MH17 before crash – Moscow

The Russian military detected a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet gaining height towards the MH17 Boeing on the day of the catastrophe. Kiev must explain why the military jet was tracking the passenger airplane, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“A Ukraine Air Force military jet was detected gaining height, it’s distance from the Malaysian Boeing was 3 to 5km,” said the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s military forces, Lieutenant-General Andrey Kartopolov speaking at a media conference in Moscow on Monday.

“[We] would like to get an explanation as to why the military jet was flying along a civil aviation corridor at almost the same time and at the same level as a passenger plane,” he stated.

“The SU-25 fighter jet can gain an altitude of 10km, according to its specification,” he added. “It’s equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles that can hit a target at a distance up to 12km, up to 5km for sure.”

The presence of the Ukrainian military jet can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center, Kartopolov stated.

At the moment of the MH17 crash an American satellite was flying over the area of eastern Ukraine, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. It urged the US to publish the space photos and data captured by it.

‘Ukrainian Buk missile system transported to militia-held area’

In addition, MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army’s self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air ‘Buk’ missile systems, the Russian general said.

“We have space images of certain places where the Ukraine’s air defense was located in the southeast of the country,” Kartapolov noted.

The first three shots that were shown by the general are dated July 14. The images show Buk missile launch systems in about 8km northwest of the city of Lugansk – a TELAR and two TELs, according to the military official.

Another image shows a radar station near Donetsk.

While the third picture shows the location of the air defense systems near Donetsk, he explained. In particular, one can clearly see a TELAR launcher and about 60 military and auxiliary vehicles, tents for vehicles and other structures, he elaborated.

“Images from this area were also made on July 17. One should notice that the missile launcher is absent [from the scene]. Image number five shows the Buk missile system in the morning of the same day in the area of settlement Zaroschinskoe – 50km south of Donetsk and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk,” the Kartapolov said

The question that has to be answered is why the missile system appeared in the area controlled by the local militia forces shortly before the catastrophe, he stated.

Images taken on July 18 show that the missile systems left the area of the MH17 crash, the military official said.

Kartapolov also pointed to the fact that on the day of the plane crash Ukraine’s military increased activity on the part of Ukraine’s Kupol-M1 9S18 radars, which are part of the Buk system.

..there were 7 radars operating on July 15, 8 radars operating on July 16, and 9 radars operating on July 17 in the area. Then, starting with July 18, the intensity of radar activities radically decreased, and now there are no more than two or three radars operating a day. The reason behind this is yet to be found.”

In response to Moscow’s evidence, Kiev said on Monday it had proof the missile that brought down a Malaysian airliner last week came from Russia.

There is evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council Andrey Lysenko told a news conference. “To disown this tragedy, [Russia] are drawing a lot of pictures and maps. We will explore any photos and other plans produced by the Russian side.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that Kiev has “strong evidence” of the causes of the MH17 crash.

We know exactly the place [the surface-to-air missile was] launched, we know exactly the place where it hit the civilian plane and the place where the plane crashed.

Kiev is ready to hand the information to the international investigation commission, according to the presidential press-service.

Whistleblower: U.S. Satellite Images Show Ukrainian Troops Shooting Down MH17

Source tells award winning reporter Washington lying about responsibility for tragedy

by Paul Joseph Watson | July 21, 2014

Award winning former Associated Press reporter Robert Parry has been told by an intelligence source that the United States is in possession of satellite imagery which shows that Ukrainian troops were responsible for the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

In the absence of any proper investigation, media rhetoric over the last few days has firmly pointed the finger of blame for the downing of the aircraft on Russian-backed Ukrainian rebels, but Parry’s source tells a different story.

What I’ve been told by one source, who has provided accurate information on similar matters in the past, is that U.S. intelligence agencies do have detailed satellite images of the likely missile battery that launched the fateful missile, but the battery appears to have been under the control of Ukrainian government troops dressed in what look like Ukrainian uniforms.

The source said CIA analysts were still not ruling out the possibility that the troops were actually eastern Ukrainian rebels in similar uniforms but the initial assessment was that the troops were Ukrainian soldiers. There also was the suggestion that the soldiers involved were undisciplined and possibly drunk, since the imagery showed what looked like beer bottles scattered around the site, the source said.

Although the establishment press has attempted to deride any questioning of the official narrative that Ukrainian rebels were responsible for the incident by invoking the tired “conspiracy theory” pejorative, Parry can hardly be dismissed as a crank given his key role in covering the Iran-Contra scandal for the Associated Press and Newsweek. Indeed, Parry’s investigative work on intelligence matters, for which he was awarded the George Polk Award, suggests that the information provided by his source is worthy of serious attention.

U.S. and Ukrainian authorities continue to insist that Moscow-backed separatists were responsible for the tragedy, asserting that a BUK missile system was used to bring down the airliner. However, this was contradicted by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema, who stated, “The military told the president after the passenger plane had been shot down that the terrorists did not possess our Buk missile systems.”

In a related development, audio experts who conducted a study into the authenticity of a recording released by Ukrainian authorities which implicated Russian-backed rebels as being responsible for the missile attack on MH17 concluded that the tape was fabricated.

“The tape’s second fragment consists of three pieces but was presented as a single audio recording. However, a spectral and time analysis has showed that the dialog was cut into pieces and then assembled. Short pauses in the tape are very indicative: the audio file has preserved time marks which show that the dialog was assembled from various episodes, the expert said,” reports ITAR-TASS.

Libya Militias Resume Battle For Control Of Tripoli’s International Airport

A damaged plane at Libya’s main airport, following clashes between rival militias

CAIRO (AP) — Clashes between rival Libyan militias fighting for control of the capital’s international airport killed 47 people over the last week, Libya‘s Health Ministry said, as violence in an eastern city killed five.

The weeklong battle in Tripoli began when Islamist-led militias — mostly from the western city of Misrata — launched a surprise assault on the airport, under control of rival militias from the western mountain town of Zintan.

The clashes resumed Sunday after cease-fire efforts failed. On Monday, the burned-out shell of an Airbus A330 sat on the tarmac, a $113 million passenger jet for Libya’s state-owned Afriqiyah Airways destroyed in the fighting.

“This was the pride of the Libyan fleet,” Abdelkader Mohammed Ahmed, Libya’s transportation minister, told journalists at the airport. “This airplane used to fly to South Africa, Bangladesh and China.”

Inside the airport, closed since last Monday, the fighting left holes in the ceiling and scattered bits of its roof strewn across the floor.

The ministry said on its website late Sunday that the fighting killed 47 people and wounded 120. It also said it had not yet received the full casualty report.

Libya is witnessing one of its worst spasms of violence since the ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. All the militias fighting around the airport are on the government’s payroll since successive transitional authorities have depended on them to restore order.

The rival militias, made up largely of former rebels, have forced a weeklong closure of gas stations and government offices.

In recent days, armed men have attacked vehicles carrying money from the Central Bank to local banks, forcing their closure.

Libyan government officials and activists have increasingly been targeted in the violence. Gunmen kidnapped two lawmakers in the western suburbs of Tripoli on Sunday, a parliament statement said.

In Libya’s second-largest city of Benghazi, five troops were killed in an attack by Islamist militias on a barrack occupied by forces allied with Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a renegade general who has vowed to crush Islamic militias, a security official said. The assault early Monday wounded 29, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

In the past two days in Benghazi, the birthplace of anti-Gadhafi uprising, gunmen killed an army officer while he was driving home and a former special forces officer.

Meanwhile, a helicopter crashed in Benghazi while transporting cash to the eastern city of Bayda because of technical failure, according to a Joint Security Committee of Benghazi statement, posted on its official website. One person killed in the crash, it said, offering no other details.

The deteriorating security conditions prompted the U.N. Support Mission in Libya last week to say it was temporarily withdrawing its staff. On Monday, Libya’s official news agency reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross announced its withdrawal from Libya as well.

Hamas’s war is ultimately with Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, greets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his inauguration ceremonies at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on June 8, 2014

The humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, which ran until 3 p.m. Thursday, ended abruptly. The two sides went back to fighting each other. Hamas fired rockets all over Israel, and Israel tried to strike the organization’s infrastructure, hitting Palestinian civilians along the way. Then, on Thursday night came the ground offensive — part two of Operation Protective Edge, as the IDF Spokesman put it. An Israeli delegation had returned from Cairo Thursday morning, where they tried unsuccessfully to reach a ceasefire. According to Egyptian media reports, the delegations from the two sides stayed in the same hotel in Cairo, as Egyptian mediators ran between them trying to bring about a truce

Hamas’s demands in the Cairo talks make it increasingly clear why the organization went to war. Hamas, it seems, initiated an escalation with Israel when its target was really Egypt. Hamas may be aiming its missiles at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but Israel was ultimately a hostage in the Islamists’ effort to get closer to Cairo.

Hamas wants this in order to bring an end to the blockade on Gaza, open the Rafah Border Crossing, and in many ways to ensure its own survival.

On Tuesday morning, many people in Israel raised an eyebrow at Hamas’s rejection of the Egyptian ceasefire. But if we examine the crisis from the prism of Egypt-Hamas relations, we can see things differently.

Cairo offered the organization the same language it rejected from the outset: quiet for quiet. But for Hamas, the big problem was the way the Egyptian ceasefire was presented: At the same time that Razi Hamid, Hamas representative in Gaza, received the Egyptian document, the initiative was already being published in the Egyptian media.

This was a humiliation for Hamas, since no one thought to consult with its leadership. And still, as even senior Hamas officials admit, there is no other mediator in the region. Just like real estate agents who have a monopoly on a certain area, Egypt has a monopoly on Israel-Hamas relations.

Cairo might have no patience for the Palestinian group, treat it like an enemy for its deep connection with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and want to humiliate it, but Egypt’s own regional standing is no less important. Cairo does not want to see the involvement of any other regional actor, not Turkey and certainly not Qatar. (Egypt sees the al-Jazeera channel, which is so critical of the el-Sissi regime, as the long arm of the Qatari royal family and the semi-official mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood.)

The bottom line is that the key to solving the current escalation was — and remains — in Egypt’s hands, not in those of any other Arab or international party. Hamas demanded the opening of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza from almost the first minute of the operation. Egypt rejected the idea immediately, as long as Hamas stands on the Palestinian side of the crossing. But Cairo has emphasized that, if there are Palestinian Authority forces under Mahmoud Abbas deployed there, it has no objection to opening the crossing.

Hamas security forces stand guard at the closed gate of the Rafah crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, May 2013.

And that is how the idea got rolling. The PA adopted it warmly, since it puts back Abbas at the center of things in Gaza. Israel didn’t reject it, primarily because it trusts Egyptian security oversight at Rafah. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni even held a series of consultations on the matter. And it seems as if, both in Ramallah and Jerusalem, the understanding was that Egypt would offer the opening of Rafah as part of the ceasefire package.

But Egypt didn’t play the proposal entirely right. It first offered quiet for quiet — perhaps in order to push Hamas into the corner, perhaps to keep another arrow in the quiver in ceasefire negotiations, perhaps both. Only after Hamas said no, and came out looking like a warmonger, did Abbas arrive in Cairo in order to come across as the one who proposed the idea that would save Gaza from both Hamas and Israel. A smart move.

The question remains, however, what will happen until the crossing is opened. Placing PA forces in Rafah, along the border and at the crossing, is not the work of a few hours. Abbas and Egypt made the offer to Hamas on Wednesday to first and foremost stop the firing, and then to talk about the opening of Rafah. Evidently the heads of the Hamas military wing were not prepared to do that.

In addition, Hamas has consistently presented other demands, such as the release of prisoners originally freed in the Gilad Shalit deal and re-arrested after the murder of the three Israeli teens last month, to which Israel does not agree at the moment.

And so, on Thursday evening, the possibility of a ceasefire grew dimmer and dimmer, and the ground option that Netanyahu so feared suddenly became the reality.

Who remembers now that some foreign media outlet reported a ceasefire would take effect on Friday morning at 6 a.m.?

The Times of Israel