Study: Iranian Meddling Hijacked Bahraini UprisingJanuary 2, 2013 14:20 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Cairo authorities are investigating Bassem Youssef, the Egyptian Jon Stewart. The reason? Reuters explains why:
The prosecutor general ordered an investigation into a formal complaint against Mr. Youssef by an Islamist lawyer. The complaint accuses him of “insulting” Mr. Morsi, an Islamist backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and “undermining his standing”.
Human rights activists say it is the latest in a series of criminal defamation cases that bode ill for free speech as Egypt reshapes its institutions after Mr. Mubarak was toppled.
H.A. Hellyer comments on the likelihood of Youssef being stifled. In June, Youssef appeared on The Daily Show, where he and Stewart discussed freedom of expression under the Muslim Brotherhood.
2. Why did a Fatah rally feature rockets, rifles and axes, but no PA security?
3. A new study published by the Central European Journal of International and Security Studies (CEJISS) finds that Iran “hijacked” Bahrain’s uprising. The Gulf Daily News sums it up:
The study explores how the Bahraini movement, which initially had true democratic demands, was taken over by extremists linked to Hizbollah and Iran in a bid to interfere in the GCC’s internal affairs . . .
The study states that the legitimate demands were “eclipsed when the remnants of old opposition and insurgent groups, with histories of destabilising Bahrain, and alleged ties to Hizbollah” took centre stage.
Israel and the Palestinians
• I was impressed by the nuance of this Washington Post staff-ed on settlements:
The criticism is appropriate, in the sense that such unilateral action by Israel, like the unilateral Palestinian initiative to seek statehood recognition in November from the U.N. General Assembly, serves to complicate the negotiations that are the only realistic route to a Middle East peace. But the reaction is also counterproductive because it reinforces two mistaken but widely held notions: that the settlements are the principal obstacle to a deal and that further construction will make a Palestinian state impossible . . .
The exaggerated rhetoric is offensive at a time when the Security Council is refusing to take action to stop the slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians — including many Palestinians — by the Syrian regime. But it is also harmful, because it puts pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make a “freeze” on the construction a condition for beginning peace talks . . . If Security Council members are really interested in progress toward Palestinian statehood, they will press Mr. Abbas to stop using settlements as an excuse for intransigence — and cool their own overheated rhetoric.
• Analysis: Ireland’s EU takeover bad news for Israel
Ireland, perhaps Israel’s harshest critic inside the European Union, assumed the position of the EU presidency on Monday at a time when Israel is already bracing for a rocky period with the body over the stalled diplomatic process and construction beyond the Green Line.