Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Ehud Barak discusses the Iranian nuclear issue with CNN‘s Piers Morgan.
“There is a need to stop enriching uranium, to 20 percent, or even 3 to 5 percent, and to take all the enriched uranium out of the country. You can allow them to play with some negligible amount that will never suffice for even one single weapon.”
• Reuters got a sneak peak at a confidential UN document slamming Iran for sending arms to Syria:
“Iran has continued to defy the international community through illegal arms shipments,” it stated. “Two of these cases involved (Syria), as were the majority of cases inspected by the Panel during its previous mandate, underscoring that Syria continues to be the central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers.”
• Is anyone moved by this? Damascus losing information war, says Assad
“We cannot win this [information] war,” Mr Assad told the Russian state TV channel Rossiya 24, according to the Russian translation dubbed over his English.
He said that the West “released a large amount of false information”.
“These lies, or rumours, or false accusations – call them what you will – all these are soap bubbles, they have a short life.
“The main thing is to win in real life,” Mr Assad said, adding that this was what government officials “place our reliance on”.
• Free Syrian Army sources tell Asharq al-Awsat that Hezbollah forces are operating inside Syria.
FSA commander of Homs, Colonel Qasim Saad al-Din, revealed that Hezbollah forces raided several villages in Al-Qasir, including Al-Safsafah, Al-Masriyah, Al-Sawadiyah, Mutribah, and Zaytah. He stressed “these forces arrested 37 Syrians, including women, and also erected roadblocks at the entry point of each of these villages.”
The FSA commander asserted that the Hezbollah fighters entered these areas accompanied by Syrian security forces, adding that there were a total of around 200 Hezbollah fighters, divided into 20 separate groups, in the al-Qasir region yesterday.
• Thanks to Gulf state-funding and US coordination, Syrian rebels received an infusion of weapons to continue their resistance. The Washington Post adds:
Obama administration officials emphasized that the United States is neither supplying nor funding the lethal material, which includes antitank weaponry. Instead, they said, the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.
• Michael Totten introduces us to “The Woman Who Set the Arab World On Fire.” Faida Hamdi is the Tunisian compliance officer who drove fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi to burn himself as an act of protest.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Turkey’s breathing easier after confirming that a European bee-eater bird is not a Mossad spy. As for the hysteria described in this BBC dispatch, I think the Turks are watching too many The Avengers trailers.
An official at the ministry told the BBC that it took some effort to persuade local police that the little bee-eater posed no threat to national security.
At one point a counterterrorism unit became involved in the case.
• Police arrested several people in Glasgow for posting anti-Semitic comments on Facebook. According to the Herald Scotland:
The page had more than 1000 followers at the time police took it off the web at the end of last year. An investigation was launched after complaints from those living in the area.
In its latest clampdown on internet hate crime, Strathclyde Police said those facing prosecution were aged between 18 and 21, with a 15-year-old boy also among those charged with breach of the peace with religious and racial aggravations.
• FYI, France’s first lady, Valerie Trierweiler, is a political journalist, and she may continue her work for the Direct 8 TV channel, despite moving into the Elysee Palace and the potential conflicts of interest. The NY Times writes:
Last week she told the newspaper Le Figaro that she would have to “think” about her future role. Elle magazine and other media outlets have quoted her as saying she would continue to work as a journalist . . .
Mr. Labro hired Ms. Trierweiler for the channel in 2005, shortly after she and Mr. Hollande became involved. “I didn’t know at all that Ms. Trierweiler was with Mr. Hollande when I hired her,” Mr. Labro said. Once he knew, he said, “we agreed with the director of the channel that it wouldn’t be that which would prevent her from working.” Mr. Hollande made the relationship publicly known in 2010.
Ms. Trierweiler stopped covering politics for Paris Match in 2005 but continued her political programs on Direct 8, something that is not widely regarded in France as posing a potential conflict of interest.
(Image of Iron Dome via Flickr/Israel Defense Forces)
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