Home > News > News in Brief: 16 November 2009

News in Brief: 16 November 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Palestinians Consider Going to the UNO for a State; Israeli Right threatens to Recognize its own Colonies in Retaliation. The Palestinian leadership is making medium-term preparations to go to the United Nations to ask for a declaration of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders (i.e. in the West Bank and Gaza). The move comes because the Obama administration’s attempts to kickstart the peace process have crashed and burned, as Elaf pointed out. The Obama team told far rightwing Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that Israel was to cease creating new colonies on the West Bank in preparation for the resumption of talks. Netanyahu defied Obama, insisting that new Israeli squatter settlements would be started in the Palestinian West Bank. (Informed Comment)

A Bonapartist in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lankan democracy may never be the same again now that swashbuckling army chief Sarath Fonseka has abruptly discarded his uniform to run for president. Fonseka is entering uncharted waters. But the United States Green Card holder knows that he has the full backing of a Washington seeking a malleable power structure in Colombo. (Asia Times)

Lebanon’s struggle to move forward. After months of negotiations, Lebanon has a new unity government comprising several factions but, as Natalia Antelava reports, many people there now view any government as largely irrelevant… The country’s current crisis is just the latest episode of its chronic political paralysis. The most recent one lasted for five months. That is how long it took for Lebanon’s rival politicians to divide up ministerial portfolios. In a country where in the past political stalemate has often led to violence, many Lebanese sighed with relief when politicians finally came to an agreement. (Shamel Azmeh)

Hizbullah arsenal will not hold up Cabinet policy statement. The issue of Hizbullah’s weapons arsenal will not delay the swift drafting of the newly formed unity Cabinet’s policy statement. The committee of ministers tasked with drafting the government’s platform received a draft statement over the weekend, which they are expected to discuss during a second meeting on Monday. The statement’s first draft is based on that adopted by the previous cabinet. (The Daily Star)

Israel to ship drones to Turkey, after tense two-year delay. Israel, Jordan, and Turkey conducted a joint search and rescue military drill two weeks ago, the Turkish daily Zaman reported on Monday, pointing to an apparent ease in recent tensions between Jerusalem and Ankara… The Turkish daily also reported on Monday that Israel was ready to complete a long-delayed weapons deal with Turkey cited by some sources as the catalyst for recent tensions between the allies. (Haaretz)

Canada, CSIS and the Future. When I was in High School my female guidance counsellor (also my Physical Education teacher) asked my class to write out a paragraph describing what we wanted to do in the future career wise. My answer, which was rushed and obviously forced, prompted her to ask me to stay for a moment after the class was over… That’s when she asked me if I spoke Farsi and after realizing that I did, suggested that I consider pursuing a career with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (the Canadian version of the MI6 or CIA), because “they need more people like you.” (Pulse)

Russia delays Bushehr nuclear plant launch, again. After skirting around the delivery of the S-300 air defense system to Tehran, Russia says it is also running late on the launch of a nuclear plant in southeastern Iran. Moscow had earlier said that the power plant, located in the southern city of Bushehr, would be up and running by the end of 2009. However, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said the plant would not come on-stream until next year. (PressTV)

Planned Iranian news agency yields first story line: Will elite military force act as editors? The portfolio of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard keeps on growing. Its troops watch over nuclear facilities, its rocket scientists enlarge Iran’s missile arsenal and its engineers have taken on a rail line as their latest big-ticket project. Could media mogul be next? Sometime early next year, a new voice is expected to join Iran’s state-sanctioned media blitz: a full-service news agency with video, photos and print… A brief announcement last month on plans for the news operation, called Atlas, gave no hint of who will be in charge. But there’s growing speculation among analysts that it could mark a breakout moment for the Revolutionary Guard after years of apparent behind-the-scenes influence over some of Iran’s main news outlets. (AP)

Iran Parliament approves the last three Ministers in Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet. Iran’s parliament approved on Sunday the last three ministers in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 21-member cabinet after rejecting his original choices earlier. Parliament voted to support Ahmadinejad’s new candidates for the energy, welfare and education portfolios. (Alsumaria)

Saudi cleric accuses Iran of ties to Yemeni rebels. Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric accused Iran on Monday of supporting Shiite rebels whose war with the government of neighboring Yemen has spilled across the border and drawn in Saudi firepower. Yemen and the Saudis have accused Iran of sending money and weapons to the rebels to aid their fight against government forces – a sporadic five-year battle that has intensified dramatically since August. Iran denies the charge. The rebels prompted the intervention of Saudi warplanes and artillery at the start of this month by attacking a Saudi patrol across the border. The fighting has raised concerns of another proxy war in the Middle East between the region’s dominant Shiite power, Iran, and Sunni rival Saudi Arabia, a key Arab ally of the United States. (Haaretz)

YEMEN: Malnourished children arriving at al-Mazraq IDP camp. Aid workers at al-Mazraq camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Haradh District, Hajjah Governorate, northernYemen, say more and more children are arriving at the camp in a state of moderate or severe malnourishment. (IRIN)

An anxious wait in Afghanistan. While the United States agonizes over its Afghan policy, even with the re-election of President Hamid Karzai now settled, the country remains in limbo. Warlords and powerbrokers jockey behind fortified walls in the capital, while the United Nations and other organizations keep their heads down. Only the Taliban appear unfazed. (Asia Times)

Azmeh and Zubaida Join the Neolibralism Debate. Neo-liberalism in Syria… (Syria Comment)

Another Shoe Drops in the NIAC Story. Following up on our coverage of the campaign to destroy the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), Josh Rogin at the Cable has more information on the background to the attacks. The most interesting revelation concerns Hassan Daioleslam, the Iranian-American journalist — accused by critics of ties to the Mujaheden-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group — who is being sued by NIAC for defamation and who appears to have been the source for the recent Washington Times hit piece on NIAC. Newly released documents make clear that Daioleslam (portrayed by his hawkish supporters as merely a concerned human rights and democracy advocate) has been only the public face of a group of Washington neoconservatives aiming to bring down NIAC as a way to undercut the Obama administration. (Jim Lobe)

Barack Obama does Tokyo. Obama’s Tokyo speech, delivered on November 14, 2009 at a glittering downtown concert hall gave a select audience the chance to savor the president’s trademark rhetoric, read aloud in now-familiar endearing tones, accompanied by slightly jarring Janus-like sideward glances, eyes darting back and forth between twin teleprompters. (Frontier International)

Baghdad sends oil delegation to KRG. Two of Iraq’s three deputy oil ministers arrived Sunday in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, leading a delegation aimed at patching up a bitter, three-year feud over the control of oil deals and oil laws. (Iraq Oil Report)

Pakistan: PM to chair Balochistan assembly members’ meeting. Prime Minister Gilani will be chairing a meeting of all members of the Balochistan provincial assembly on Monday. (Dawn)

In China, Obama to Press for Tough Stance on Iran. President Obama, fresh from making progress in his efforts to get Russia on board for possible tough new sanctions against Iran, now looks to China. (New York Times)

Ankara denies ‘implicit deal’ with France on its EU bid. The Turkish capital has firmly rejected recent news reports which have suggested the presence of an agreement between France and Turkey that would establish an alternative to the latter’s European Union membership prospects and has presented Turkey-France bilateral relations as “free” from Turkey’s EU membership issue. (Today’s Zaman)

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