Please let us know! Sounds a bit like the Hezbollah “sources” who say the worst things about the party… yet this lady is named…?
On November 24, the independent Al-Masry al-Yawm newspaper carried the following interview with newly-appointed Hamas spokeswoman Isra al-Modallal:
“…Q: “How do you perceive your experience as the first spokeswoman for Hamas ?
A: “I am not the first woman in Hamas’s government. There is a Ministry for Women’s Affairs, many employees and activists. But there is no doubt that for a woman to assume this post is a very positive step by Hamas’s government. To me, journalistic work in Gaza was dangerous and insecure. Therefore, my move from one difficult profession to a more difficult one was not odd at all, especially since I am a mother, divorced and a Palestinian refugee suffering like the rest [of the Palestinians]…
Q: “This shows you are aware of how difficult it will be to change Hamas’s image in the West as a terrorist movement. How will you do that?
A: “I am a Palestinian refugee with a cause. My life is an inherent part of the Palestinian people’s lives. I represent Palestinian women. Does my face show I am a terrorist? And do you think that when Hamas defends its people, this is an act of terrorism?… International Law gives us the right to defend ourselves, while Israel, the number one criminal, is trying to strip us of that right…
Q: “Is it not odd that you were chosen although you do not belong to Hamas?
A: “I do not belong to Hamas or any other political faction. I do not believe in parties but I respect all the Palestinian parties. I am a Palestinian refugee and my goal is to convey the Palestinian cause to the world.
Q: “Would you have accepted a similar position in the Ramallah government?
A: “I would have accepted it in a national unity government solely. And I will not add to that…
Q: “What do you think about the performance of Hamas’s government in Gaza?
A: “This performance can be judged from many angles, knowing that it has widely improved since the beginning after the Gaza government acquired experience… This government features few competencies and many individual mistakes were seen within the movement and the government in particular. I will not talk about the movement because it works in the opposition and calling fields. However, there are many sit-ins and protests on the Unknown Soldier Square which is similar to Tahrir Square. And a few days ago, the police suppressed a demonstration, which is unjustifiable. They always justify these acts by pointing to individual mistakes and this is not acceptable. Our people have many complaints in regard to freedom. Freedom is restricted in the Gaza Strip…
Q: “You grew up in Egypt. What do you think about the current situation, especially following June 30?
A: “I always say I wish I could live in Egypt, the platform of art, literature, music and life. It is truly the Mother of the world… I do not belong to any political party and I am not a member in the Muslim Brotherhood, but I strongly reject all the practices targeting them, as well as the violations, arrests, insults and harm. I hope the next stage will be better… I am against violence in Egypt, regardless of the side carrying it out. I visited Egypt under Morsi and there was no security, rather thuggery. I did not see one policeman and I personally was not pleased with Muhammad Morsi’s arrival to the presidency. Maybe the government in Gaza disagrees with me on that.
Q: “Why do you oppose Morsi’s presidency?
A: “Because it is very difficult for someone who was not in power to be brought in to become the head of the state…””
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: US Embassy Beirut turns over… One Cessna Aircraft (OCA) to Lebanese Army; Amb Hale calls it “strong” and “effective” move;” Hizbullah and Sunni Jihadist groups announce mutual disbanding, UN Verification
Ambassador Hale was supposed to represent something of a different turn from the darth vader years of Maura Connely that saw her outmanned by no-name politicians from the Bekaa Valley:
Look – if you are going to turn over a CESSNA embarrassment fine. But please Mr. Hale no need to embellish and exaggerate – it only hurts your Public Diplomacy mission, cant you see the obvious?
Hand over the joke aircraft and DONT DO press availability or issue a release – especially not this kind of one, with this level of soaring rhetoric, which only makes most (I would surmise) lebanese dislike the US more – m14 because it shows AGAIN the US security cooperation is and will always remain a joke, anti-hizbullah people for the same reason and m8 people for the obvious reasons.
These guys at beirut embassy never learn the lessons of the past TEN YEARS.
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador David Hale during a Ceremony to Handover a Cessna Aircraft to the Lebanese Armed Forces
Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here today as we handover this Cessna Aircraft to the Lebanese Armed Forces. This transfer is a reflection of the strong cooperation between the United States and Lebanon, particularly in enhancing Lebanon’s security. Now more than ever, it is important to show the benefits of U.S.-Lebanese security cooperation.
For some years, the LAF has been rebuilding itself from the ground up. All militaries have basic needs for standard equipment, and the United States has worked with the LAF to help meet those needs. But the military-to-military partnership between the United States and Lebanon is multifaceted, to include substantial training and equipment of increasing sophistication.
Today’s transfer of an advanced Cessna Aircraft reflects that progress and builds upon previous Cessna and Huey helicopter transfers. These aircraft will help the LAF conduct effective border security missions and combat threats from extremist groups.
Mideastwire.com and its partners – Université Paris-Dauphine I Tunis and Tunisia Live – are pleased to announce the Fourth Tunis Exchange January 4-January 18, 2014.
The two-week course will immerse our participants in the politics of Tunisia, with a particular emphasis on direct engagement with high-level academic, political, intellectual and religious figures active across the spectrum.
TO REQUEST AN APPLICATION for this Winter’s Tunis Exchange, email email@example.com.
APPLY BY NOVEMBER 20, 2013 (applicants are accepted on a rolling basis and spaces are limited).
Note that tuition discounts are available for those applicants with demonstrated need as well as alumni of our previous Exchanges. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn Arabic in Tunis!
For more information about our new series of Arabic Language classes – including private lessons – offered at several different levels, visit:
All classes take place at our Hotel – Villa 78 – located at 78 Avenue Mohammad V in Downtown Tunis (www.villa78tunis.com).
Background on Five Years of the Exchange in the MENA Region:
The Exchange is an effort by Mideastwire.com and its partners to promote direct engagement and understanding through a variety of city-focused politics conferences.
The First Exchange was launched in June 2008 in Beirut, Lebanon. Now, several years on, over 325 students from 44 different countries have participated in 18 different Exchange programs across the region, with many going on to work as diplomats in their home countries, for NGOs serving the region and as social entrepreneurs.
The Exchange welcomes applications from current students as well as professionals and post-professionals interested in better understanding the Middle East and North Africa, and, we hope, their own country’s involvement in the region.
To view previous Exchange itineraries in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Tunis and the Gulf, as well as media coverage of our efforts, visit http://www.thebeirutexchange.com
THE FOURTH TUNIS EXCHANGE
January 4-18, 2014/Application deadline November 20, 2013
Limited spaces available/Rolling acceptance
As with our other Exchanges, the two-week program January 4-18 will engage students from around the world in a multifaceted discussion of some of the key issues facing Tunisia and the wider region. The Tunis Exchange program specifically rests on two tracks:
Academic – Participants will attend a series of lectures led by leading professors and public intellectuals in Tunisia. Topics will include, among others: Economic challenges facing Tunisia and North Africa; Political Islam and electoral politics; The status of women in Tunisia and the MENA region; Media coverage of the Arab revolts; Trade union politics in the post Ben Ali era; Emerging security challenges in the MENA region, as well as a range of other topics.
Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political, religious and economic leaders from across the spectrum in Tunisia.
Program Format – The Tunis Exchange will be held over fourteen days total at the conference room of the Le Pacha hotel in downtown Tunis. Students are expected to stay at our hotel, Villa 78 (located across the street from the Pacha) or at the Pacha hotel itself, unless permission for offsite stay at alternative hotels or accommodations is requested, since most meetings will take place in the conference room at Le Pacha.
Off-site meetings will entail bus travel as a group in and around Tunis. At least three days of the program will entail travel to other cities and regions in Tunisia for meetings with local activists, intellectuals, academics and political/religious leaders, including in Sidi Bouzid, Sfax and Gafsa.
Previous Institutional Participants in the Tunis Exchange (Partial list only):
Congress for the Republic Party
Constitutional Democratic Rally Party
The Democratic Modernist Pole Party
Worker’s Communist Party
Progressive Democratic Party
Tunisian General Trade Union
Union of Tunisian Journalists
The Central Bank of Tunisia
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Ministry of Human Rights
Association of Democratic Women
Tunisian Network for Social Economy
Tunisian Observatory for a Democratic Transition
Tunisian League of Human Rights
Tunisian-American Chamber of Commerce
Tunisian Association of Young Entrepreneurs
Committee to Protect Journalists
To view a schedule for a previous Tunis Exchange, visit:
Tuition – $2000; Partial financial aid is available for those students and individuals that can demonstrate need as well as alumni of our previous programs.
Accommodation – Eleven nights of the program will be spent at our facilities in downtown Tunis, while at least three nights will be spent at hotels outside of Tunis. Room rates vary depending on arrangements, but generally fall within the range of $600-$700 total for a shared double room during the duration of the program (breakfast is included). Alternative accommodation, including in a single room, is available upon request.
Airfare – $450, approximate from the European Union.
REQUEST AN APPLICATION via email@example.com
For more about Université Paris-Dauphine I Tunis, visit http://www.tunisdauphine.tn/
For more about Tunisia Live, visit http://www.tunisia-live.net
For more about Le Pacha Hotel, visit http://www.lepacha.com.tn/
Where this goes: have we entered a post WMD stage? A broad resistance front, a new resistance strategy?
Actually – we must consider maybe the “strategic” aspect of syrian WMDs was far overrated. Consider this new logic emerging in the arabic media, attributed to hizbullah:
(translated by mideastwire.com today)
“Commenting on the plan by which the regime of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to hand in its chemical weapons, the officials said that “the era of trying to find a military balance by brandishing the issue of the chemical weapons is long gone.” They considered that “the will of the resistance is now the basis to achieving balances and is therefore the real force of deterrence in the face of any offensive.” They also indicated that “Syria is proceeding down the path of building an effective Resistance force. This will be one consequence of the ongoing war and this force will reveal its existence in due time.”
– There is a lot to say on this – but this seems likely as the new trend.
– I doubt the russians or the americans understand this yet – and I suspect the israelis are still living in the old wmd logic. Is it possible that this logic can and is being surpassed?
What does this look like in the next 6 months to a year?
I was struck by this comment noted in the NYT. It suggests the US is utterly convinced that Hizbullah now has scuds… Indeed that they had it as early as 2009…!
This means Kerry is saying that Hizbullah had such weapons for 4 years…. and that Israel has lived with this fact?
“..Mr. Kerry said that he confronted Mr. Assad about intelligence confirming that Syria had transferred Scud missiles to Hezbollah.
Mr. Kerry said that Mr. Assad had “denied it to my face,” adding, “This is a man without credibility.”
This is of course michael young’s moment: the war he has been itching for over the past decade to remove Assad and strike a major blow against Hizbullah – he calls the approach a “liberal” war since it uses massive violence to clarify freedom – is almost here.
In his euphoria, he demonstrates his “Neo-LiberalCon” love for using violence as the main way to achieve freedom with this very unfortunate phrasing:
“…Some may speculate that the best way to neutralize Hezbollah and Iran would be to push the Lebanese into a sectarian war that diverts their attention and depletes their resources. But that view is shortsighted. Worsening Sunni-Shiite conflict spreading outward from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon would only exacerbate religious extremism everywhere, engulfing or threatening key American allies, and perhaps America itself.”
Michael I know of course loves lebanon, especially since he is comfortably placed to live well in beirut and leave with another passport: but how could he have the detachment to call provoking sectarian war as a “shortsighted” strategy rather than the 1) stupid 2) morally reprehensible 3) plain evil?
Anyway, his Wall Street Journal piece yesterday is the culmination of his analysis and demonstrates how intensely illiberal he is at his core, first as champion for the Iraq war and then as champion of strategies to use violence and force throughout the region to advance his version of freedom.
BUT – he also serves up the best, over used and just illogical analysis which summarizes the neo liberalcon position:
“…Mr. Obama never seemed to appreciate that the uprising in Syria provided an opportunity for him to reduce Iranian power in the Levant. In failing to exploit that opening by assisting the Syrian opposition, he allowed the Iranians to regroup after early gains by the rebels and, with Russia, prop up the Assad regime. One result is that any U.S. intervention today would be vastly more complicated than it might have been when the uprising against Assad began in 2011.”
As many of us have long argued, the idea that it would have been better, easier, smarter, less bloody etc to start a hotter war early on is really not serious. The US military laughed this idea out of the room in 2011 and 2012 FOR VERY GOOD REASONS. It is simply illogical to think more violence earlier on WITH A MANIFESTLY STRONGER REGIME AND ALLIES would have yielded better results. But they keep saying it anyway…
Another Redline, falling: Transfer of weapons to Hizbullah…. the geopolitical border has already fallen
One of the least discussed, but perhaps most vital field developments of the past few months, and especially the past few weeks, is that Israel has yet another serious problem on its hand vis-a-vis Hizbullah: With Hizbullah fighting in Syria, and “reports” and speculations and off record comments from Hizbullah “sources” saying a counter strike would likely come from WITHIN syria, but with Hizbullah manpower and expertise and command and control, there is no longer really an effective distinction between Syria and so called Hizbullah controlled areas when considered from several angles.
This means the geo-political discourse long pursued by the Israelis to keep things contained – i.e. if syria transfers advanced weapons to Hizbullah IN LEBANON, then this could lead (and has led in syria at least!) to an Israeli strike(s), is all effectively dead as both an effective deterrent and as a tactic of international relations.
Hizbullah is fighting IN SYRIA
Hizbullah now presumably has access (or easy pathways should push come to shove) to most if not all weaponry in sryia
There is no longer as much of a NEED to “transfer” material to Lebanon proper. Indeed, it is much more attractive now for Hizbullah to exercise its hard power against Israel and the US VIA SYRIA, not least for the plausible deniability of it all!
This means that Israel’s potential “hot” areas of conflict and threat now decidedly extend with Hizbullah (as well as the regime of course) through syria AND lebanon.
What does this mean for the Israeli threats, for their posture and for their planning – much less the justification in international forums? It’s not a comfortable picture.
Should the US strike Syria and a focused response comes from southern syria into OCCUPIED territory it will be very hard to blame Hizbullah even though they would likely be involved at this point. Harder still will be convincing potentials allies in Lebanon that a strike WITHIN Lebanon is warranted (and lets leave aside international law, the UN etc).
The bottom line is the active battlefield has extended in an unprecedented way over the last year for Israel when just considering Hizbullah, only. This has weakened its position with its bitter enemy and given Hizbullah a range of new surprises available for the party to use in the field, at home with various constituencies and internationally.