Stephen Hawking and a Black Hole of Confusion

Arab Spring Winter

Syria’s Internet goes offline (Is it The Onion’s revenge?)

Syrian rebels along the Golan border abducted “saved” four Filipino members of a UN peace keeping force. The Washington Post writes:

In a statement posted on Facebook, the rebel Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade announced that it seized the peacekeepers to “secure and protect” them from heavy shelling by Syrian government forces.

CNN‘s Sara Sidner visited Ghajar, a very unusual village: It’s on the Lebanese side of the current border but administered by Israel, which says it captured Ghajar from Syria back in 1967.

Must read: Michael Herzog, a retired IDF Brigadier General took to The Guardian‘s op-ed pages to explain Israel’s airstrike on Syria. If you only read this in the print edition, you’ll miss out on some amusing comments posted on the web edition. Also in The Guardian, associated editor Seumas Milne slams the airstrike.

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Here’s some dim-witted logic in The Scotsman. Allan Massie dismisses Israeli statements that air strikes are aimed at the Iran-Hezbollah arms pipeline, not at intervening in Syria’s civil war. The second reason already played out with the airstrike itself!

Yet, for two reasons, it is hard to believe that the facts are just as represented by Israel. First, the Syrian civil war may yet go either way. One would think that the Assad regime needs all the missiles it can lay its hands on. Why would they pass them on to Hezbollah? Second, doing so, and encouraging Hezbollah to use them against Israel, would be very dangerous for Assad. It would surely invite Israeli retaliation, not only against Hezbollah, but against Syria. It certainly isn’t in Assad’s interest to provoke Israeli intervention and widen the war. He would have to be very stupid to do that.

Massie’s musings on the peace process should be taken with a grain of salt too. He completely missed the latest settlement freeze and diplomacy.

For more commentary/analysis, see the NY Times, Professor Barry Rubin (Globe & Mail), Dexter Filkins (New Yorker), Elliott Abrams, and a Toronto Star staff-ed.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Foreign Correspondent, the Australian investigative TV show which blew open the Prisoner X affair follows up to learn why he was imprisoned. Reporter Trevor Bormann says Ben Zygier wrecked a Mossad mission to recover the remains of Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman, who disappeared during the 1982 Battle of Sultan Yakoub.

But Rami Igra, the Mossad’s former head of the MIA and Captive Persons Division denied there was any such mission to retrieve the three bodies. IsraellyCool uploaded the full report on YouTube.

• ‘Israel Under Fire slogan damaged Israeli tourism marketing efforts’

The slogan “Israel Under Fire,” used by various Israeli government bodies during Operation Pillar of Defense last November, was disastrous for Israeli tourism, the head of the Tourism Ministry’s marketing department said Monday . . .

Many people inside the tourism ministry were in shock when they saw the ‘Israel Under Fire’ website, because every rocket that lands and is reported on sets us back in terms of marketing tourism in Israel,” he said.

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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