Categorized | Middle East



Mercenaries are ripe for business27 Aug 2010

Leading private military contractor CACI were deeply involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

In the world of America’s elite, the same company remains a key cyber-contractor in today’s new decade.

CACI are like Blackwater; seemingly untouchable no matter how many alleged crimes they commit.


Less US involvement in the Mid-East is what’s needed27 Aug 2010

Page one story today from Israel’s leading paper, Yediot:

The Obama administration intends to present Israel and the Palestinians with a new outline for ending the conflict. Yedioth Ahronoth has learned that the Americans will pressure the sides to sign a framework agreement for a final status arrangement within a year — but the agreement would be only implemented within a number of years, apparently up to ten years at the most. The US administration intends to invest all possible efforts to ensure that the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which will be officially launched next Thursday, will end in an agreement and not in a crisis, as happened in the previous rounds of negotiations. 

Barack Obama, whose standing in the polls is at a low, very much wants to score a first success in the Middle Eastern arena — in light of the ongoing bloodbath in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For this purpose, the US president intends to become personally involved this time: Director of the Middle East department at the National Security Council Dan Shapiro told leaders of Jewish organizations in the US that Obama intends to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the course of the coming year.  The US president wishes to take advantage of his visit to persuade both peoples to support painful compromises for peace.


The Brits speak on Afghanistan26 Aug 2010
Sarkozy (doesn’t) reach out to Muslims26 Aug 2010

A curious and timely tale about the increasing disconnect between Muslims and Western leaders:

Followers of Moroccan blogger Ahmed, who writes on Alash? [Ar] (Why?), know he is fond of the art of satire. Earlier this month he published a post about a supposed announcement by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy [Ar] of a series of measures to “encourage” French Muslims to follow a French version of this year’s Ramadan.

The blogger writes quoting his imaginary Sarkozy:

“Fellow citizens, “The French Muslim is French before being a Muslim. Therefore, the old French tradition of early morning breakfast with coffee and croissant should not be abandoned [during the month of Ramadan]. And based on fatwas (religious edicts) from Al-Azhar University and their jurisprudence concerning [Muslim] minorities, it is permissible for fasting French Muslims to start the day with the morning coffee and croissant like all other French people do, at 8 A.M. before leaving for work.”

What started as a joke is now being peddled around Middle Eastern blogs and online forums. Seeing his article being presented as a factual account, with no reference to the source, the blogger updated his original post writing a disclaimer and warning that “this article is a satirical account of an event that did not happen. The objective was to discuss the relationship between Sarkozy […] and the Muslim minority in France.”

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