• Palestinians’ new doomsday weapon has Israel scared to death

    The first field trial is next week, the day of Passover. A new weapon against occupation, wielded by Palestinian refugees. And Israel, with its layers of defense against every manner of killing devised by man, is unprepared

    Bradley Burston Mar 20, 2018


    It is the sum of all fears of Israel’s ruling right. It is a weapon against which one of the world’s most powerful, advanced militaries is at a loss.

    It could succeed where suicide bombings, ballistic missile barrages, and sophisticated attack tunnels have failed. And it’s coming on Passover, just over a week away.
    It’s non-violence.
    Beginning on the day of the Passover seder, just a week from this Friday, Palestinians plan mass marches toward Israeli and Israeli-held territory, as well as sit-ins and vigils. They will press for Israeli and world attention to UN Resolution 194, the legal basis for what is known as the Palestinian Right of Return.
    The plan is this: They will be unarmed. They will not throw stones. They will be organized by family clans rather than militant groups. They will avoid clashes with Israeli troops.
    And Israel, with its layers of defenses against attacks from space, cyberspace, nuclear submarines, and every manner of killing machine devised by man, is unprepared.
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    ‘All the announcements we’ve been hearing about mass marches - these are very, very problematic developments,’ former Shin Bet chief and ex-minister of Home Front Defense Avi Dichter said Monday. ‘This is not a military war, rather it is a war of the masses, different in its essentials.’
    “If on Friday afternoon, at the end of Friday prayers, if thousands or tens of thousands [take part], or if it turns into a number even larger than that, this is an issue which the IDF will need to prepare itself for in a different manner [than it is used to], significantly so, more so,” Dichter, a senior Likud figure and chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Army Radio.

  • Your information diet – Synaps source code
    Peter Harling

    MOST OF US only have ourselves to blame as we complain about information overload, and then go on information binging. The explosion of media platforms and communication channels is, by no means, an unsolvable problem. Consuming information in more discriminating, purposive ways must start with each one of us clarifying what, after all, is this information’s purpose. What kind of input is necessary to do my job, really? What do I find truly interesting in what comes my way? Which forms of knowledge do I actually put to practical use, and in what ways? By contrast, what feeds am I plugged into that do not add much to my work routine or overall intellectual life?
    It is likewise useful to question how, practically, we consume information. During what parts of the day, and through which mediums—digital, paper-based or interpersonal—do I acquire and retain meaningful knowledge? And when do I catch myself absorbing information in ways that distract more than they enlighten?
    Indeed, our dominant reflexes often form part of the problem. On one side, we devote excessive energy to the wrong kind of internal communication: bureaucratic processes, countless email chains and group meetings, and the consequent decisions-made-by-committee. On the other, we increasingly turn to social media to track current events, thereby relying on others to curate what might be important to us—a task for which they are not, by default, naturally inclined or well-positioned.

  • Who’s hiding Israeli air force participation in major exercise with UAE and U.S.?

    It’s unclear why Israel is not mentioned on the promotional website of the annual Iniohos exercise with the U.S., UAE, Greece, Britain, Cyprus and Italy

    Yaniv Kubovich Mar 20, 2018


    The Israel Air Force began a joint exercise in Greece with the air forces of the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Italy, the United Kingdom and Cyprus also participated in the exercise.
    A number of IAF F-16 jet fighters, along with dozens of planes from the other air forces, are participating in the annual Iniohos exercise.
    This is not the first time that the IAF has taken part in the exercise in Greece and the UAE’s participation was publicized, even though Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the UAE.

    Fighters and pilots participating in the multi-national Iniochos 2018 exercise in Greece Hellenic Air Force
    skip - IAF
    IAF - דלג

    IAFΠολεική Αεροπορία / YouTube
    This year, however, Israel does not appear on the Hellenic Air Force website that gives details about the exercise. It does not appear on the list of participants, nor does Israel’s flag appear in the group photo and Youtube video clip in which the flags of all the participating countries are shown next to an array of the countries’ planes.
    It isn’t clear why Israel’s participation is being hidden; in past years its participation was widely publicized. There is a hint of Israel’s involvement, however, in the patch worn by the pilots on their flight suits, where Israel’s flag can be seen along with the flags of the other countries.
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    Last November the air forces of eight countries took part in the international Blue Flag exercise at Uvda Air Base in southern Israel. In addition to the IAF, the air forces of the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Greece and India participated. It was the first time the air forces of Germany and France had taken part in air exercises in Israel.
    >> Blue Flag 2017: Israel’s Fighter-jet Diplomacy | Analysis >>
    At the time, the IAF said that despite the operational importance of the exercise, the real achievement was a diplomatic one. As for the exercise in Greece, the same is probably true, but the IAF plans continue the tradition of participating in this exercise.

  • Syrie : scènes de pillage à Afrine après l’entrée des forces pro-turques
    AFP - 18/03/2018

    Des rebelles syriens alliés à Ankara se sont livrés dimanche à des pillages dans la ville kurde d’Afrine, dans le nord-ouest de la Syrie, après avoir pris avec les forces turques le contrôle de la cité, selon une ONG et des correspondants de l’AFP.

    Vidée de sa population de 350.000 habitants, la ville était le principal objectif de l’offensive lancée le 20 janvier par la Turquie pour chasser de sa frontière la milice kurde des Unités de protection du peuple (YPG). Cette faction qualifiée de « terroriste » par Ankara, est un allié précieux de Washington dans la lutte antijihadistes.

    Après l’entrée des forces turques et leurs supplétifs syriens dans la ville, les rebelles « ont commencé à piller les biens des habitants, ainsi que des bâtiments politiques et militaires, mais aussi des magasins », a rapporté l’Observatoire syrien des droits de l’Homme (OSDH).

    Des correspondants de l’AFP ont vu des magasins pillés, et des rebelles charger pêle-mêle dans des pick-up cartons de nourriture, chèvres, couvertures, et même des motos empilées les unes sur les autres, avant de quitter la ville.

  • The debate over the use of violence within the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after 2013

    Since the Muslim Brotherhood rule was overthrown in 2013, Egypt’s largest Islamist organisation has been witnessing an internal debate over how to face the new regime: whether to continue its non-violent political approach or to turn to violence to achieve its political goals. The majority of the movements’ members remain undecided, however. This policy paper seeks to look closely at the debate over the use of violence within the Muslim Brotherhood. Whose are the voices calling for violence and whose are those rejecting it? What is each group’s strategy to advance their respective approaches? And on which resources are they relying? What is the balance of power between the two groups, and is it likely to change in the future? The answers to these questions are expected to have a profound impact on stability in Egypt.

  • Dahlan encouraged to form Palestinian party outside Fatah

    Citing anonymous Palestinian sources, the Nabd news agency reported Feb. 5 that Dahlan was asked by the UAE to form a political party dissociated from Fatah, given Abbas’ refusal to end his and Dahlan’s dispute, which goes back to 2010. Dahlan lives in exile in the UAE but is still a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The UAE also wants Dahlan to run in the next presidential election.

    Although Nabd didn’t report Dahlan’s specific response to the UAE request, it said he is reluctant to form a new party. The article said that in January and February, Dahlan held a referendum in Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan, where supporters for his Democratic Reform Current reside, to gauge support for a new party. The referendum produced mixed results.

    Imad Mohsen, a spokesman for the Democratic Reform Current, told Al-Monitor, “The UAE’s interference in our work is out of the question. … Some members of the Democratic Reform Current are indeed calling for complete dissociation from Fatah, in light of all the exclusion, separation, marginalization and trials carried out by Abbas and his entourage against his opponents.”

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/03/uae-request-dahlan-form-new-party-dissociated-from-fatah.html#ixzz5ADV0u

    • Le déclin économique et politique de la ville d’Aden après la guerre de 1994, provoquée par la première contestation de l’unification, est un évènement significatif de l’évolution de ce rapport au monde dégradé à partir de 1990, dans une ville qui a longtemps été un carrefour mondial et cosmopolite (p. 67-70). La logique de l’antiterrorisme qui s’est imposée depuis les années 2000 dans les rapports internationaux a favorisé plus que limité l’insécurité croissante du pays en installant un climat de guerre aveugle et permanente, et en facilitant l’assimilation de toute contestation de l’État central à un mouvement terroriste. Elle a progressivement déformé la lecture des évènements par les chercheurs et les diplomates en imposant des prismes sécuritaires et en limitant les contacts avec la société et les groupes en question.
      Seule manque, dans cette lecture des réalités du Yémen contemporain, une analyse de sa démographie, marquée par la persistance d’un indice de fécondité très élevé (près de 6 enfants par femme). Brièvement évoquée, elle constitue à n’en pas douter un des traits distinctifs du pays, que Youssef Courbage et Emmanuel Todd décrivaient, avant la révolution de 2011, comme un « diplodocus démographique ».

  • En octobre dernier, Lea Tsemel, l’une des seules avocates en israel à défendre les Palestiniens, était de passage à Montréal et acceptait de donner une rare conférence (en anglais). Filmée, et même si la qualité du son n’est pas excellente, le document vaut la peine d’être écouté, car il n’y a presque rien d’elle sur internet :

    Lea Tsemel, Montréal 2017

    Pendant 25 minutes, elle nous emmène à ses côtés, lors de son quotidien d’avocate, de Jérusalem à Sheikh Jarrah, à la Cisjordanie ou à Gaza, nous montrant par là l’absurdité, l’illégalité et l’inhumanité des prisons, des tribunaux, des frontières et du labyrinthe judiciaire israélien pour les Palestiniens...

    #Palestine #Lea_Tsemel #Avocate #Justice #Injustice

    • Merci Dror, Total respect pour Lea Tsemel est une très très grande.

      Une petite anecdote confié par Mikado lors d’un passage à Jéru, qui raconte qu’elle a décoré sa bagnole comme le font certains palestiniens, et quand elle roule en Cisjordanie, elle se fait systématiquement contrôler ce qui lui permet de hurler sur les soldats israélien ou la police des frontières.

      La résistance et le combat, c’est partout et à chaque occasion.

  • Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top three stunning admissions from the top U.S. general in the Middle East

    Assad has won, Iran deal should stand and Saudis use American weapons without accountability in Yemen: head of U.S. military’s Central Command’s stunning Congressional testimony


    Haaretz and Reuters Mar 16, 2018

    The top U.S. general in the Middle East testified before Congress on Tuesday and dropped several bombshells: from signaled support for the Iran nuclear deal, admitting the U.S. does not know what Saudi Arabia does with its bombs in Yemen and that Assad has won the Syrian Civil War.
    U.S. Army General Joseph Votel said the Iran agreement, which President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from, has played an important role in addressing Iran’s nuclear program.
    “The JCPOA addresses one of the principle threats that we deal with from Iran, so if the JCPOA goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program,” said U.S. Army General Joseph Votel. JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is the formal name of the accord reached with Iran in July 2015 in Vienna.
    Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the accord between Tehran and six world powers unless Congress and European allies help “fix” it with a follow-up pact. Trump does not like the deal’s limited duration, among other things.
    Votel is head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iran. He was speaking to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the same day that Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy, including Iran.
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    Tillerson had joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing a skeptical Trump to stick with the agreement with Iran.
    “There would be some concern (in the region), I think, about how we intended to address that particular threat if it was not being addressed through the JCPOA. ... Right now, I think it is in our interest” to stay in the deal, Votel said.

    When a lawmaker asked whether he agreed with Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford’s position on the deal,Votel said: “Yes, I share their position.”
    Mattis said late last year that the United States should consider staying in the Iran nuclear deal unless it was proven Tehran was not complying or that the agreement was not in the U.S. national interest.
    A collapse of the Iran nuclear deal would be a “great loss,” the United Nations atomic watchdog’s chief warned Trump recently, giving a wide-ranging defense of the accord.
    Iran has stayed within the deal’s restrictions since Trump took office but has fired diplomatic warning shots at Washington in recent weeks. It said on Monday that it could rapidly enrich uranium to a higher degree of purity if the deal collapsed.
    Votel also discussed the situation in Syria at the hearing.
    During the Syrian army’s offensive in eastern Ghouta, more than 1,100 civilians have died. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russia and Iran, say they are targeting “terrorist” groups shelling the capital.
    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned on Monday that Washington “remains prepared to act if we must,” if the U.N. Security Council failed to act on Syria.
    Votel said the best way to deter Russia, which backs Assad, was through political and diplomatic channels.
    “Certainly if there are other things that are considered, you know, we will do what we are told. ... (But) I don’t recommend that at this particular point,” Votel said, in an apparent to reference to military options.
    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked whether it was too strong to say that with Russia and Iran’s help, Assad had “won” the civil war in Syria.
    “I do not think that is too strong of a statement,” Votel said.
    Graham also asked if the United States’ policy on Syria was still to seek the removal of Assad from power.
    “I don’t know that that’s our particular policy at this particular point. Our focus remains on the defeat of ISIS,” Votel said, using an acronym for Islamic State. 
    Saudi Arabia
    In a stunning exchange with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, Votel admitted that Centcom doesn’t know when U.S. fuel and munitions are used in Yemen. 
    “General Votel, does CENTCOM track the purpose of the missions it is refueling? In other words, where a U.S.-refueled aircraft is going, what targets it strikes, and the result of the mission?” Warren asked.
    “Senator, we do not,” Votel replied.
    The Senator followed up, citing reports that U.S. munitions have been used against civilians in Yemen, she asked, “General Votel, when you receive reports like this from credible media organizations or outside observers, is CENTCOM able to tell if U.S. fuel or U.S. munitions were used in that strike?”
    “No, senator, I don’t believe we are,” he replied.
    Showing surprise at the general’s response, Warren concluded, “We need to be clear about this: Saudi Arabia’s the one receiving American weapons and American support. And that means we bear some responsibility here. And that means we need to hold our partners and our allies accountable for how those resources are used,” she said.

  • Same As It Ever Was: Orientalism Forty Years Later

    January 23, 2018 By Philip Metres

    | Literary Hub

    “Why do they have to show that? That—that—violence,” I said to my mom hours later, burying my face in my pillow, unable to sleep, my little body convulsing with this strange grief.

    In the packed dark of our local theater, eleven years old, I’d been reeling, gripping the armrests in terror as Raiders of the Lost Ark flashed across the huge screen. The swashbuckling Indiana Jones had somehow escaped a trap-filled temple in Peru with the golden idol in hand, but his local guide hadn’t. The image of a wide-eyed brown-faced man with a spike piercing his forehead had seared itself in my mind, but now they were somehow in Cairo, and Indiana, having escaped a chase in the casbah, found himself face-to-face with a black-cloaked, scimitar-wielding Arab. Smiling, laughing even, the man flung and swung the comically large sword from hand-to-hand. World-weary, Indiana pulled out his pistol and blew him away. The crowd around me erupted in cheers. Was I supposed to laugh? Before I could react, we were off again, with our American hero, between local “savages” and Nazis, until in the fury of the opened ark, the bad guys’ faces literally melted off. Walking out of the theater, I did everything I could to hold back sobs.

    Growing up Arab American in the 1980s, I couldn’t escape these depictions of Arabs as vile, cruel terrorists. I was confused why so many movies I watched featured a bloodthirsty Arab vanquished by white American heroes. It wasn’t just Raiders, of course, it was also the weird creatures of the Tatooine desert in Star Wars, the vicious Sand People, who seemed more than a little familiar. And later, The Black Stallion Returns (1983), and not too long after that, the runaway time-traveling hit, Back to the Future (1985). What were Libyans doing in Hill Valley California, and why did they have plutonium? It was such a non sequitur that we never asked what they were doing there. Of course, the movie wanted us to say, those wretched Libyans! And like the Egyptian sword-wielder who was really a white stuntman, a whole parade of terrorists played by Israeli actors in “arabface” were trotted out in movie after movie produced by the Israeli-led Cannon Films.

    Later, when I read the work of Edward Said and Jack Shaheen, I learned that my experience—and these films—are not the exception. Shaheen’s Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People (2001) looked at nearly 1,000 films and found only a dozen that depicted Arabs in a complex or positive way. Watching television, it was more of the same. I secretly loved the wrestler “The Iron Sheik,” who wore a keffiyah, robe, neat mustache, and played the heel. He was Iranian, actually, but he was as good as Arab to me (shout-out to my Iranian brothers and sisters). When he palled around with the Russian Nikolai Volkoff, I thought of the Russians as odd comrades. Of course, The Iron Sheik played the heel. Whenever the crowd began to jeer him—or anyone—I felt something churn in me. Some kind of fire ignited in my head. I was drawn to the one who was hated. Whether the person was black or brown or queer or just strange, I wanted to stand beside them.

  • Stephen Hawking avait frappé Israël là où cela fait mal : la science !

    Hilary & Steven Rose – A l’occasion du décès du physicien Stephen Hawking, nous publions un article écrit en mai 2013 et publié par The Guardian, et traitant du respect par Hawking des consignes de la campagne BDS et de son refus de cautionner d’une manière ou d’une autre le régime d’apartheid qui sévit en Palestine occupée.

    Ce qui est vraiment insupportable pour Israël, c’est que ce rejet vienne d’un scientifique célèbre, alors que c’est la science qui détermine son économie, son prestige et sa force militaire.

  • French arrest warrant out for Saudi crown prince’s sister: source close to probe

    France has issued an arrest warrant for the sister of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on suspicion of ordering her bodyguard to beat up a worker at her Paris apartment, sources close to the case told AFP Thursday.

    The mandate against the princess, named in the warrant under the French spelling Hussat ben Salmane, was issued in late December, a source said, confirming a report by Le Point magazine.

  • Egypt Parliament in haste to approve cybercrime bill: Ambiguous provisions, loose definitions, legalized web censorship |


    In a whirlwind Tuesday meeting attended by a bevy of state officials, 14 articles of the cybercrime prevention bill were approved by Parliament’s Communications and Information Technology Committee (CITC) in a span of two hours.

    The government-drafted bill, which is composed of 45 articles and includes 29 penalties sentencing offenders to up to five years in prison or fines of between LE,10,000 and LE20 million, was referred by the legislature’s speaker to the committee early this month and has largely been approved in principle.

    The bill’s significance stems from the fact that, in the event that it is passed, it would be the first piece of legislation to regulate what is published on social media and establish principles to confront cybercrimes such as piracy and the hacking of private and government websites. Most importantly, the bill would set a precedent in regulating web censorship.

    The gap in opinion between detractors and proponents of the bill does not center so much on whether cybercrime legislation is necessary, however, but on protection of data and the broad leeway the legislation would grant to authorities to place limitations on liberty.

    For Ghada Moussa, the Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform Ministry’s transparency committee secretary general, there certainly is a need for a cybercrime law. But such a law, in her estimation, can only be part of a legislative package whose primary concern would be to make information available, with the identification of confidential information and regulation and protection thereof as a second priority, appended by a law to set exceptions and outline crimes.

  • Egypt Parliament in haste to approve cybercrime bill: Ambiguous provisions, loose definitions, legalized web censorship |


    In a whirlwind Tuesday meeting attended by a bevy of state officials, 14 articles of the cybercrime prevention bill were approved by Parliament’s Communications and Information Technology Committee (CITC) in a span of two hours.

    The government-drafted bill, which is composed of 45 articles and includes 29 penalties sentencing offenders to up to five years in prison or fines of between LE,10,000 and LE20 million, was referred by the legislature’s speaker to the committee early this month and has largely been approved in principle.

    The bill’s significance stems from the fact that, in the event that it is passed, it would be the first piece of legislation to regulate what is published on social media and establish principles to confront cybercrimes such as piracy and the hacking of private and government websites. Most importantly, the bill would set a precedent in regulating web censorship.

    The gap in opinion between detractors and proponents of the bill does not center so much on whether cybercrime legislation is necessary, however, but on protection of data and the broad leeway the legislation would grant to authorities to place limitations on liberty.

    For Ghada Moussa, the Planning, Monitoring and Administrative Reform Ministry’s transparency committee secretary general, there certainly is a need for a cybercrime law. But such a law, in her estimation, can only be part of a legislative package whose primary concern would be to make information available, with the identification of confidential information and regulation and protection thereof as a second priority, appended by a law to set exceptions and outline crimes.

  • The maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel explained

    The comments made by Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at a Tel Aviv conference on January 31 sparked outrage in Lebanon. It brought the issue of the maritime border dispute between Lebanon and Israel back into the spotlight and managed to catch Washington’s attention once again.

    Little was happening on this front after the change of Administration in the U.S. After a few months, Lebanese officials stopped announcing that a resumption of mediation efforts was imminent. Then, in October, the decision, by a Total-led consortium to place a bid for Block 9 (which includes a disputed area) in Lebanon’s first licensing round, rekindled interest once again in the topic. But the buzz was discreet, confined to experts and diplomatic circles, until it was out in the open when Liberman described Lebanon’s offshore tender as “very provocative” and urged international companies not to bid, about a month and a half after licenses were awarded (see our roadmap).

    The dispute unfolded in December 2010, when Cyprus and Israel signed a maritime border agreement that was denounced by Lebanon because it encroached on parts of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). On July 10, 2011, the Israeli cabinet approved a map of Israel’s northern maritime border, and two days later, the Israeli mission to the United Nations submitted a list of geographical coordinates for the delimitation of the northern limit of Israel’s territorial sea and EEZ. Some of the points defined in the Cypriot-Israeli agreement and submitted later to the U.N. overlap with the Lebanese EEZ.

    #disputes_territoriales #frontières_contestées #Liban #Israël #frontières #frontières_maritimes
    cc @reka

  • New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has a hawkish history on Iran and Israel - U.S. News - Haaretz.com


    In November 2015, Pompeo visited Israel and met with Netanyahu, a meeting which he said left a strong impression on him. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is a true partner of the American people,” Pompeo said after their discussion at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. “Our conversation was incredibly enlightening as to the true threats facing both Israel and the United States. Netanyahu’s efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are incredibly admirable and deeply appreciated.”
    During the same visit, Pompeo met senior officers in the Israeli police and was briefed by them on the “lone wolves Intifada” that included dozens of stabbing and car-ramming attacks by Palestinians across the country. A statement by his office described the Israeli police officers he met as “a group of officers who not only bravely defend the people each day, but have also been targeted themselves by terrorists.” Pompeo said that “by putting on their uniform, the men and women of the Israeli National Police put a target on their back for terrorists who want to murder law enforcement. In the fight against terrorism, cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been more important.”
    Two weeks after his visit, Pompeo released a statement condemning “the ongoing violence in the State of Israel,” explaining that “I can tell you that the Israeli people and the Israeli National Police are demonstrating admirable restraint in the face of unspeakably cruel attacks.” He added that "We cannot let these acts of terror go on any longer. Those who carry out, encourage, or defend this violence should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We must stand with our ally Israel and put a stop to terrorism. Ongoing attacks by the Palestinians serve only to distance the prospect of peace.

  • Egypt For the love of state control?
    How the Engineers Syndicate lost its moment of independence
    | MadaMasr

    Members of the Engineers Syndicate elected Hany Dahy as the new head of their syndicate on March 9, with the former transportation minister taking home 56 percent of the vote in the runoff election against the incumbent Tarek al-Nabrawi.

    The mid-term elections for the syndicate, which serves as an important middle-class professional block and is divided between a General Engineers Syndicate Council and 24 regional subsydincate councils, took place over three weeks, starting on February 23. At the local level, half of the 14 seats in each council were up for reelection, in addition to the councils’ heads, as well as seven seats on each of the General Engineers Syndicate Council’s seven specialized divisions and 11 supplementary places on the general council. The seat at the helm of the overall syndicate was the final position to be settled.

    Dahy and his electoral list, the state-supported Engineers for the Love of Egypt, dominated the elections, counting all 11 supplementary places on the general council, about half of the seats on region councils, and Dahy’s own election among their victories.

    Nabrawi’s political backing, consolidated in the Independence Current, did secure majority representation in the seven specialized divisions and a third of the seats on subsyndicate councils.

  • Pompeo, Big Oil and the attack on Iran Deal | Informed Comment

    By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –
    All you need to know about Mike Pompeo, the four-term congressman from Kansas who is actually from California, is that most of his life he has been in business with the Koch brothers. His appointment as Secretary of State puts a seal on Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accords.
    More dangerously, Trump was straightforward that he put Pompeo in to replace Rex Tillerson in order to destroy the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action treaty between the United Nations Security Council and Iran.
    Pompeo, despite his obvious brilliance, appears to be driven by profound currents of anger, resentment and vindictiveness, and to be unable to feel remorse for purveying falsehoods. His shameful performance at the circus he ran attempting to blame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the 2011 Benghazi attack and its aftermath demonstrated a willingness to play fast and loose with the facts and an inquisitorial, McCarthyite mindset.
    His lack of a moral compass makes his connection to the Kochs especially dangerous.
    Charles and David Koch, the notorious billionaires gnawing like termites at the foundations of American democracy, are all about petroleum. They fund phony climate denialism with a Potemkin village of foundations and expert frauds, to make sure oil keeps its value for as long as possible (even at the cost of visiting catastrophes on our children and grandchildren, since burning oil is causing catastrophic global heating).

  • Enquête sur les dérives de l’aide européenne au Soudan | Caitlin L. Chandler

    En l’absence d’une prise en compte des causes profondes des migrations, seuls les officiels corrompus et les trafiquants tirent bénéfice de la criminalisation des migrants. Alors que des millions de dollars de fonds de l’Union européenne affluent au Soudan pour endiguer la migration africaine, les demandeurs d’asile témoignent : ils sont pris au piège, et vivent dans un état perpétuel de peur et d’exploitation dans ce pays de transit. Source : Orient XXI

  • Egypt
    Study: Blocked access to websites, ad redirects and cryptocurrency mining in Egypt traced to Sandvine’s PacketLogic devices | MadaMasr

    The technology used to block access to Mada Masr and hundreds of websites, blogs, proxy and virtual private networks (VPNs) on Egypt’s service providers is also being used to redirect traffic to revenue-generating content, such as advertising pages and cryptocurrency mining scripts, according to a report published by The University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.

    The Egyptian advertisement and cryptocurrency redirect scheme, which Citizen Lab researchers have dubbed “AdHose,”  is an attempt to “covertly raise money,” the Friday report, titled Bad Traffic, asserted.

    Beyond identifying the specifics of the revenue-generation scheme, the researchers also developed a digital fingerprint for the deep packet inspection (DPI) observed in Egypt and Turkey and matched it to a second-hand PacketLogic device produced by Sandvine/Procera Networks, one of several facts that they argue points to the US company’s implication in malicious activity.

  • Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions - The New York Times


    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Businessmen once considered giants of the Saudi economy now wear ankle bracelets that track their movements. Princes who led military forces and appeared in glossy magazines are monitored by guards they do not command. Families who flew on private jets cannot gain access to their bank accounts. Even wives and children have been forbidden to travel.

    In November, the Saudi government locked up hundreds of influential businessmen — many of them members of the royal family — in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton in what it called an anti-corruption campaign.

    Most have since been released but they are hardly free. Instead, this large sector of Saudi Arabia’s movers and shakers are living in fear and uncertainty.

    During months of captivity, many were subject to coercion and physical abuse, witnesses said. In the early days of the crackdown, at least 17 detainees were hospitalized for physical abuse and one later died in custody with a neck that appeared twisted, a badly swollen body and other signs of abuse, according to a person who saw the body.

    In an email to The New York Times on Sunday, the government denied accusations of physical abuse as “absolutely untrue.”

    Continue reading the main story

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    Continue reading the main story

    To leave the Ritz, many of the detainees not only surrendered huge sums of money, but also signed over to the government control of precious real estate and shares of their companies — all outside any clear legal process.

    The government has yet to actually seize many of the assets, leaving the former detainees and their families in limbo.

    One former detainee, forced to wear a tracking device, has sunk into depression as his business collapses. “We signed away everything,” a relative of his said. “Even the house I am in, I am not sure if it is still mine.”

    As the architect of the crackdown, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, prepares to travel to the United States this month to court American investment, Saudi officials are spotlighting his reforms: his promise to let women drive, his plans to expand entertainment opportunities and his moves to encourage foreign investment. They have denied any allegations of abuse and have portrayed the Ritz episode as an orderly legal process that has wound down.

    But extensive interviews with Saudi officials, members of the royal family, and relatives, advisers and associates of the detainees revealed a murkier, coercive operation, marked by cases of physical abuse, which transferred billions of dollars in private wealth to the crown prince’s control.

    Corruption has long been endemic in Saudi Arabia, and many of the detainees were widely assumed to have stolen from state coffers. But the government, citing privacy laws, has refused to specify the charges against individuals and, even after they were released, to clarify who was found guilty or innocent, making it impossible to know how much the process was driven by personal score settling.

    Part of the campaign appears to be driven by a family feud, as Crown Prince Mohammed presses the children of King Abdullah, the monarch who died in 2015, to give back billions of dollars that they consider their inheritance, according to three associates of the Abdullah family.

    And although the government said the campaign would increase transparency, it has been conducted in secret, with transactions carried out in ways that avoid public disclosure, and with travel bans and fear of reprisals preventing detainees from speaking freely.

    Most people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid the risk of appearing to criticize Crown Prince Mohammed.

    The government said in its email that “the investigations, led by the Attorney General, were conducted in full accordance to Saudi laws. All those under investigation had full access to legal counsel in addition to medical care to address pre-existing, chronic conditions.”

    The government, and several Saudi officials contacted separately, declined to answer further questions about the crackdown.

    They have argued, however, that it was a necessarily harsh means of returning ill-gotten gains to the treasury while sending a clear message that the old, corrupt ways of doing business are over. And they have defended the process as a kind of Saudi-style plea bargain in which settlements were reached to avoid the time and economic disruption of a drawn-out legal process.

    In a separate statement on Sunday announcing new anti-corruption departments in the Attorney General’s office, the government said that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed “are keen to eradicate corruption with utmost force and transparency.”

    But the opaque and extralegal nature of the campaign has rattled the very foreign investors the prince is now trying to woo.

    “At the start of the crackdown they promised transparency, but they did not deliver it,” said Robert Jordan, who served as American ambassador to Saudi Arabia under President George W. Bush. “Without any kind of transparency or rule of law, it makes investors nervous that their investments might be taken and that their Saudi partners might be detained without any rationale to the charges.”

  • What’s in Al Jazeera’s undercover film on the US Israel lobby? | The Electronic Intifada


    The leading neoconservative think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies is functioning as an agent of the Israeli government, Al Jazeera’s forthcoming investigation on the US Israel lobby will reveal.

    According to a source who has seen the undercover documentary, it contains footage of a powerful Israeli official claiming that “We have FDD. We have others working on this.”

    Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military intelligence officer, is said to state that the foundation is “working on” projects for Israel including “data gathering, information analysis, working on activist organizations, money trail. This is something that only a country, with its resources, can do the best.”

    Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, commonly known as FARA, US organizations and individuals who work on behalf of foreign governments are required to register with the counterintelligence section of the Department of Justice.

    A search on the FARA website shows that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies is not registered.

    Al Jazeera’s film reportedly identifies a number of lobby groups as working with Israel to spy on American citizens using sophisticated data gathering techniques. The documentary is also said to cast light on covert efforts to smear and intimidate Americans seen as too critical of Israel.

    Israel lobby groups have placed intense pressure on Qatar, which funds Al Jazeera, to shelve the film, fueling speculation it may never be aired.

  • Dans le camp Al-Amari, avec les réfugiés palestiniens
    REPORTAGE. À douze kilomètres de Jérusalem vivent plus de 5 000 Palestiniens dont les parents ont été contraints de quitter leur terre à la création d’Israël.
    De notre envoyé spécial dans le camp Al-Amari, Armin Arefi
    Modifié le 11/03/2018

    Seuls seize kilomètres séparent Ramallah de Jérusalem. Entre les deux villes, la route Al-Bireh Al-Qods mène du siège de l’Autorité palestinienne au checkpoint de Qalandia, à huit kilomètres de là. Tenu par l’armée israélienne, ce poste-frontière permet aux seuls résidents palestiniens de Jérusalem, Arabes israéliens ou détenteurs d’un permis spécial délivré au compte-gouttes de pénétrer de l’autre côté du « mur de sécurité » dressé par les Israéliens et de rejoindre la partie orientale de la ville sainte, occupée et annexée par Israël.

  • Iraq: Al-Sadr & Communist Party ally against Corruption, Iranian Hegemony

    Nativist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, 44, is encouraging members of his Sadr Movement to vote in the upcoming national elections for parliament. “Vote,” he said, “and save our country from corruption.”
    A newly formed political party, al-Istiqama or the Upright Party, will hew the Sadrist line.
    There have been reports that Sadr’s party will ally with the Iraqi Communist Party on an anti-sectarian ticket. Both Sadr and the small Communist Party have criticized the spoils system of Iraq where government positions and contracts are doled out according to membership in a sectarian political party.
    Both objected vigorously to the statement of Ali Akbar Vilayeti, an adviser to Iran’s clerical Leader Ali Khamenei, on his visit to Baghdad in February that he would not allow the return of liberals, secularists and Communists in Iraq.
    It was widely thought that he was criticizing Sadr for his alliance with the Communists and the “civil” or secular movement in Iraq.