Israel Daily News Stream 04/29/2012

Arab Spring Winter

According to Sunday Times reporter Uzi Mahnaimi (paywall), the IDF is reorganizing to address Egyptian security concerns:

According to Israeli military sources the Southern Corps, which was dismantled after the 1979 peace accord with Egypt, will be reconstituted with three divisions, consisting of about 30,000 troops and several hundred tanks.

Egypt responded to Israel’s plans last week by staging one of its biggest-ever exercises during which, for the first time, Israel was labelled the “enemy”.

Nothing prepared me for a video posted — allegedly depicting a Syrian rebel being buried alive by men in military uniforms. I suggest reading AP’s background and possible anomalies raised by the National Post before watching. The video‘s no less chilling, but you’ll have a better sense of what you’re watching.

The video, said to have been filmed in the Syrian border town of Qusayr, shows a man buried to his neck in the ground. He wails desperate prayers as two men in military uniforms fill in the small ditch around his head with shovels. Dry mud and rocks are showered over his face and head until he is completely covered, when the video cuts out.

The authenticity of the footage cannot be verified, especially as it seems to have been posted by a member of the regime forces, most likely one of the Shabiha, the informal militia often tasked with carrying out “dirty work” on the streets. It may have been intended to frighten the opposition.

The dialogue on the video suggests that the man has been caught sending footage of the uprising to Arab satellite television channels such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya. He cries out, “there is no god but Allah”, a traditional prayer of those about to die, but is told to say “there is no god but Bashar” instead.

Where UN Monitors Go in Syria, Killings Follow, says a blunt Washington Post staff-ed:

The observers are not “changing dynamics” but providing cover and even targets for the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian rebels and Assad loyalists are both engaged in cyber warfare. More at the LA Times.

Haaretz updates the latest on the Israel-Egypt gas crisis.

Tom Friedman’s fascinated by Beirut’s graffiti wars. The NY Times columnist notes:

Both Assad and Nasrallah still have their sectarian followers, but outside of that shrinking circle they have lost the aura they cultivated from “resisting Israel.” Now both men stand naked before the Arab world for all to see — one using arms to “resist” the will of many Syrians and the other to “resist” the will of many Lebanese. Their people are no longer afraid to openly mock them.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Heart-warming story in the Boston Globe, in which Israeli, Palestinian Boston doctors worked together to save Yahya Masalma, a six-year-old boy in need of a kidney transplant.

(Image of Gantz via Flickr/Israel Defense Forces)

For more, see the previous Israel Daily News Stream.

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