Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Egyptian Collaborators

Egypt destroys Gaza smuggling tunnels: report (AFP)
AFP - The Egyptian authorities have destroyed six tunnels used to smuggle contraband fuel and food to the Gaza Strip, the official MENA news agency reported on Tuesday.*

Cairo's American uni denies links with Pentagon
The American University in Cairo and the American embassy in Egypt denied Monday allegations that the university was receiving secret funding from the Pentagon after an Egyptian paper exploded the controversy in a press.

Arab Irrelevance
"...Meanwhile, Hosni Mubarak has now skipped two summits in a row, without even bothering to provide an official explanation (even if his efforts to convince others to stay away failed miserably). Jordan's King Abdullah reportedly went home early because he was upset that he wasn't met by the Emir at the airport (of such stuff is high politics made in the Arab world). Much of the summit was overshadowed by the pyrotechnics between Moammar Qaddafi and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, and the Qatari Emir's efforts to smooth over the public spat. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki seems to have gone home empty-handed after the Saudi King refused to meet with him, nobody agreed to cancel debt, and the vacuous official statement declined to include boilerplate praise for improved Iraqi security or democracy. Hamas issued a statement complaining that the Summit did nothing for the Palestinians and ignored the threat posed by Netanyahu. (And that's not even getting into the support for Omar Bashir, which I'll write more about later.)
Above all, the Doha summit simply punted on all of the major issues facing the region. No effort was made to deal with Palestinian divisions, as Hamas was kept away. No effort was made to deal with disagreements over Iran, as Ahmedenejad was kept away out of deference to Saudi and other Gulf sensibilities and Iranian issues were kept out of the final statement. No real effort was made to overcome the persistent gap between the moderate and resistance camps, despite all of those efforts for the last two months. Perhaps the problem, as one Palestinian columnist argued, was that the Summit tried to get reconciliation without addressing the substantive differences... leading to inevitable failure. But what's more telling than the failure is the lack of evidence that there was even much effort.
It's unlikely that Arab summits will actually be abolished, of course. They play a symbolic role and are well-institutionalized. But at the same time, their significance and relevance may well be in steep decline. The wider Arab public is simply disgusted with the whole affair, and takes the summit's failure as just one more example of the irrelevance and impotence of the official Arab order. Qatar itself shifted smoothly from the desultory one-day Arab summit to a festive Arab-Latin American summit featuring Hugo Chavez. The growing role of non-Arab powers in the region -- especially Iran and Turkey, along with Israel and the U.S. -- along with the chronic inability of the Arabs to unify their ranks contributes to a sense of Arab irrelevance..."

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