• Worth reading is Abigail Hauslohner’s Correspondent’s Diary: Among the smugglers of Sinai:
But there are members of the Sawarka tribe whom I’ve known for years. And on this trip, one of them felt comfortable enough to propose a kidnapping scenario.
“Abby, what do you say we kidnap you and then we all split the profit from the ransom,” said one arms smuggler, only half-jokingly, as we sat on the floor of his home in a village less than two miles from the Israeli border.
• Daily Star: Around 4,000 Hezbollahniks have reached Aleppo to retake the rebel-controlled city.
• Are North Korean army officers in Syria helping the Assad regime? YNet picks up on foreign reports.
• Inspector Columbo, where are you? A UN team says there are “reasonable grounds” to believe chemical weapons were used in Syria, but can’t determine which chemical agents were used or who the perpetrators are.
• How many ordinary Syrians will have the nerve to file a formal complaint?
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ work action continues taking a toll on Israeli diplomacy. Haaretz reports that Ehud Barak’s the latest victim, unable to get a diplomatic passport to travel to Russia.
“We reminded Mr. Barak that ordinary Israeli citizens do not need a visa to visit Russia and recommended that he fly to Moscow with his regular passport, just like every other citizen,” the source said.
• Why did Jordan block 304 online news sites? Depends on who you ask:
Hashem Khalidi, chief editor of the blocked SarayaNews, says the government “has zero tolerance and wants to silence everyone.”
Information Minister Mohammed Momani says the move aims to regulate online media and boost their “professionalism and credibility.”
More on the story at the BBC.
• In a well thought-out LA Times op-ed, Daniel Pipes argues that the Turkish protests have a good chance of restoring some democratic, secular balance to the ruling AKP Party’s path of “despotism, Islamification and increasingly rogue foreign relations.”
See also Steven A. Cook and Michael Koplow who argue that Turkey’s not as democratic as Washington thinks, thanks to the country essentially becoming a one-party state.
The irony is that the AKP was building an illiberal system just as Washington was holding up Turkey as a model for the post-uprising states of the Arab world.
By the way, Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister apologized to injured protesters.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.