Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soccer Dad's Mideast Media Sampler 08/11/11‏

A sampling an analysis of commentary on the Middle East by my pal Soccer Dad:

1) Hezbollah escaping justice

Not unsurprisingly the Lebanese government has reported back to the tribunal investigating the assassination of Rafiq Hariri that it has been unable to locate the four named suspects.

Lebanon informed the U.N.-backed court investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri Tuesday that it has so far failed to arrest four Hezbollah members accused of involvement in the killing, a move that set the stage for their trial in absentia.

The four were to be arrested within 30 days of the issuing of the indictment. The time limit is to expire this week.

The Washington Post (in an editorial) reports on another Hezbollah terrorist and the administration's quandary.

But what to do with Mr. Daqduq if the administration maintains custody? Because Mr. Daqduq is an unlawful enemy combatant, the laws of war allow his detention until cessation of hostilities. But prosecution would be preferable, and a trial before a military commission appears to be the most obvious option.
Mr. Daqduq is alleged to have targeted military personnel in acts that violate the laws of war. The Military Commissions Act of 2009 allows prosecutions of unlawful enemy combatants, such as Mr. Daqduq, who engage in hostilities against the United States and its allies. The administration charged alleged USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in a military commission for many of the same reasons.
There is one significant difference, however: Mr. Nashiri was already in detention at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he was charged. The administration may have serious misgivings about transferring Mr. Daqduq to Guantanamo in light of the president’s pledge to close the facility.

The editorial points out that under an agreement with Iraq, the United States may have to hand him over to Iraq, but that Iraq "...has a spotty track record in prosecutions, and inmates routinely escape from its shoddy prisons."

2) Getting serious about Syria

In an editorial, Stopping Syria's slaughter starts with President Obama the editors of the Washington Post note the inconsistent international response to Assad's slaughter and conclude:

This is the sort of situation in which the United States has historically stepped in to exercise leadership. But Mr. Obama has been passive throughout the Syrian crisis. He has spoken about it in public only twice in five months, while the State Department has performed an excruciating rhetorical striptease. It started with describing Mr. Assad as “a reformer”; a month ago the rhetoric finally progressed to calling the dictator “illegitimate.” But the last handkerchief — a demand that he leave office — has yet to drop. The time for those words is long overdue — and Mr. Obama should utter them, in person and in public.

In other news related to Syria ... a few days ago the Gulf Cooperation Council condemned Syria. This was followed in short order by the recall of the Saudi ambassador to Syria, followed by the recall of the Qatari, Kuwaiti and Bahraini ambassadors.

Going through MEMRI, it appears that much of the Arab world is now giving Syria the Israel treatment. Perhaps most notable is an editorial in the English language Saudi news source, Arab News:

"This is no time for stalling and procrastinating. The time for forming committees to explore the possibility of reforms in some remote future is long past. What Syria needs is real and meaningful change. Instead of blaming Israel, America, the Muslim Brotherhood and 'armed gangs of outlaws and criminals' for what is clearly a peaceful and indigenous movement, Assad should address his people's genuine craving for freedom. The government in Damascus must peacefully engage the reform movement in his own interest, if not in the interest of his nation's stability. No one wants instability or turmoil in one of the largest and strategic Arab states. That doesn't however mean you should stand and stare while innocent people are killed for demanding what is their due.

3) Who said it?

“It’s very informative to hear the prime minister of England describing the riots and the rioters in England by using the term gangs,” Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari told reporters. “They don’t allow us to use the same term for the armed groups and the terrorist groups in my country. This is hypocrisy. This is arrogance.

“London, Birmingham, Bristol is only 1 percent of what happened in some restive areas of my country,” Ja’afari said.

Ambassador Ja'afari is the Syrian ambassador to the UN. Fortunately, the British deputy ambassador was not silent.

Britain’s deputy ambassador Philip Parham, who addressed reporters alongside other European envoys earlier in the evening, returned to the microphone outside Security Council chambers to reject Ja’afari’s statements as an “absurd comparison.”
Parham said the British government is handling the riots with “measured, proportionate, legal, transparent steps to restore the rule of law.” In Syria, “you have a situation where thousands of unarmed civilians are being attacked and killed,” Parham said.

One could only wish that Western countries would be as scrupulous of defending Israel when Israel is demonized with exaggerated and false charges by its enemies.

please helps me write more gooder!

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