July 25, 2014

Arab Spring Reaches The West Bank; Sisi Regime Gives US Officials A Taste of TSA's Abuses; Gaza's Nightmare Should Not Take Our Attention Off of Other Crises

 A Palestinian protester behind a barricade of burning tyres uses a slingshot to throw stones at Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Ramallah

1. An excerpt from, "Protests over Gaza bloodshed roil West Bank" Al Jazeera, July 25:
Israeli police have shot dead at least two Palestinians just north of Jerusalem during massive protests in support of those under siege in Gaza in several areas of the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian security and medical officials named one of the men as Mohammed al-Aaraj, 25, who was among thousands of people clashing with soldiers and border police in Qalandia, between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Scores of people have been reported injured, several of whom were shot. Protests, which Palestinian activists say were the largest in the West Bank in years, were also reported in Nablus, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
What did Israel think would happen when it attacked Gaza? That Palestinians would go quietly into the night? This protest seems to be only the beginning.

2. An excerpt from, "Kerry, Aides Undergo Metal Detector Screening Before Meeting With Egyptian President" CBS, July 23:
Kerry flew to Tel Aviv from Cairo, where he met Tuesday with Egypt’s president and other high-level officials.

An unusual screening process occurred involving Kerry and his State Department team as they were subjected to a metl detector before meeting with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Egyptian presidential palace.

Reuters reports that Kerry and his aides were checked with a metal detector. Security personnel reportedly raised a handheld metal-detector wand to Kerry’s suit jacket before waving him through.
Kerry’s aides were also subjected to the handheld wand and were told to walk through a metal detector.
This is the only decent thing that the disgraceful Sisi regime has done during this crisis. Egyptian security should have gone full TSA and stripped them naked. US politicians and top officials must learn what it feels like to be humiliated at airports by total strangers. Maybe then they will change their repulsive airport security policies.

3. An excerpt from, "Obsessing About Gaza, Ignoring Syria (and Most Everything Else)" by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, July 23:
The second reason is audience interest. Stories about Israel, and about Jews, almost automatically rise to the top of the Times’ “most-emailed” list. Stories about Miramshah or Fallujah, not nearly as much. I’m guessing this is true for other American outlets as well. And then there is a sound political reason why this conflict becomes the focus of so much coverage. Israel is a close ally of the U.S., and a recipient of American military and non-military help. This may make you very happy, or very unhappy, but the fact of it is incontrovertible. Therefore, the U.S. has a direct relationship with one of the players in this conflict (both, actually, because the Palestinian Authority is the recipient of a great deal of American aid as well). There is also the issue of double standards, which I wrote about here at length, but in short, Israel is a Western-style democratic state and so reporters are more apt to be interested in its behavior, and judgmental about its behavior, than in the behavior of despotic regimes.

But the Arab Spring (or Awakening, or whatever word you choose) has given lie to the idea—shorthanded as “linkage”—that the key to American success in the broader Middle East is dependent on finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This idea, that all roads run through  Jerusalem, has traditionally motivated a great deal of journalistic and foreign policy expert interest in this conflict. Finding a solution to this conflict is very important to the future of Israelis and Palestinians, of course, but not nearly so much to Americans. A peaceful resolution to this conflict would do little to bring about good governance in Arab states, or an end to Islamist extremism in the greater Middle East. Which brings me back to Syria. The war in Syria (and Iraq, since it is more or less a single war now) is of greater national security importance to the United States than the war in Gaza, and it should be covered in a way that reflects this reality.
What's happening in Gaza is not nearly as interesting, on a political, strategic, and historical level, as what's happening in Mosul and Iraq. There, the barbarians of the Islamic State are marking houses with Arabic letters to threaten Christians, Shiites, and other minorities.

It's gotten so bad that Iraqi Christians are reminiscing about the days of Genghis Khan. It's scary that the barbarism of the 21st century is worse than that of the 12th and 13th centuries. Butchers and raiders, who pose with chopped off human heads (warning: graphic), are marching across Mesopotamia on US Humvees.

These Jihadist terrorists are not strategic masterminds, they are brainless wild animals who have been let out of their cages by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and local beneficiaries in Iraq. Those who let the dogs of war out will pay the most, both in Iraq, and in Gaza.