A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
April 19, 2009--Egypt vs Iran, US Not to Participate in Durban II
The news from the Middle East continues to be dominated by accusations heard in Egypt claiming Hezbollah (as an agent of Iran) attempting to overthrow the Egyptian government. The verbal attacks on Hezbollah and Iran have been gathering speed since the announcement last week of the arrest of Hezbollah agents in Egypt, coupled with Nasrallah’s statement admitting that at least one of those arrested was indeed an agent of Hezbollah (although Nasrallah claimed the Hezbollah agent was only there to help the Palestinians.)
The Mubarak government has been waiting for the moment to attack Iran, as well as the government of Qatar and Al Jazerra TV, who the Egyptians claim have been aligned with the Iranians. Mubarak has a ledger full of claims against Al Jazeera, which he claims covered every demonstration in Egypt against food price increased and turned it into events that would end Mubarak's rule in Egypt. The Egyptian government has been very successful in uniting Egypt in the last few days against the Iranian-Shites. The newspapers have been full of articles attacking them. The TV station was full of interviews with officials describing Nasrallah in the most unflattering terms, calling him a liar, who is not really a Sheik. The Egyptian opposition parties have been quick to rally around the Egyptian flag. One of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood stated that while we will fight with all our blood for our Palestinian brothers, we will also fight with all our might against any danger to the sovereignty of Egypt.
The Egytian government is requesting the death penalty against the leader of the Hezbollah cell, who has admitted his actions.
The US has decided not to participate in the Durban II Conference on Human Rights. It tried for a number of months to insure the event would not be a replay of the earlier anti-Israeli meeting. In the end, it failed and has decided not attend as a result. The wording of the State Department includes: “There remain, however, elements of the current draft text that continue to pose significant concerns. The U. S. believes any viable text for the Review Conference must be shortened and not reaffirm in toto the flawed 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA). In addition, while references to “defamation of religion” have been removed from the current draft text, we cannot support restrictions on freedom of expression that could result from some of the document's language related to “incitement” to religious hatred -- a concept that the United States believes should be narrow and clearly defined and made consistent with human rights obligations ensuring freedom of expression. ”
The second US objection to the conference is the attempt of Muslim countries to make verbal attacks on a religion a violation of human rights. An example of that being the Danish cartoon making fun of Mohammed.
An interesting group of visitors came to an Israeli Air Force installation today. A group of Holocaust survivors visited an F-16 squadron at Hatzor. The survivors questioned whether the pilots could reach Iran and avoid a second Holocaust. The government seems to be giving the Obama administration a clear message, to go speak to the Iranians, however, we do not believe anything is going to happen, so we will continue to prepare to attack.
There was an investigative piece on Channel 10 tonight on the actions of the Israel’s Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi Metzeger. As background... the police had previously recommended he be indicted for receiving illegal gifts. The chief prosecutor declined to bring charges, but recommended Metzger be removed from his job. Metzeger appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed that without an indictment there was no basis to remove him. The new investigation shows that Metziger is spending over 25% of his time overseas, and during his time there, fundraising for private groups, something that is illegal for a government official to do.