• According to Dutch media reports, the Netherlands took a brief stab at brokering a breakthrough in long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Irwin Cotler notes plenty of less-than-moderate skeletons in Hassan Rohani’s closet:
Rohani was the one who boasted that, even when Iran had suspended uranium enrichment, it was able to make its greatest nuclear advances, saying, “While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing equipment in parts of the facility in Isfahan,” a crucial nuclear site. “In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.”
Simply put, Rohani had patented the strategy of using negotiations – or negotiations about negotiations – as a cover for the uranium enrichment program.
And more: Rohani is the same person who, while calling in campaign speeches for greater responsiveness to the needs of young people, had presided over the crackdown on student protesters in 1999, declaring then that student demonstrators who had damaged public property were “enemies of the state,” a charge that carried with it the threat of execution.
• Worth reading: Michael Totten brilliantly articulates why Rohani “lipstick on a pig.”
First of all, Rowhani is not the head of state. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is. Rowhani is basically a powerless figurehead. So there’s that.
Second, Iran’s election only looks democratic and meaningful if you squint hard enough at it. So stop squinting and look at it squarely. Khamenei, Iran’s actual tyrannical ruler, wasn’t elected. He was hand-picked by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. And Khamenei and his claque of appointed jurists hand-picked all the presidential candidates who just stood for election. Those they didn’t approve of (and they were legion) did not get to run.
How would you feel about the next American election if Barack Obama or Dick Cheney were to select all the candidates you could choose from?
• The mullahs are sharpening their knives:
• For more commentary/analysis, see Haaretz (Rohani’s rise delays Israel’s military option by at least a year), NY Times (Room for Debate featuring six takes from the experts), plus staff-eds in the Christian Science Monitor and NY Times.
• Bashar Assad to Europe: I’ll export terror to your backyard if you arm Syrian rebels. Reuters coverage.
• Maan News: Bomb kills six Palestinians in Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp; other camps “showered with missiles.”
• Lebanese Shiites are divided over Hezbollah’s fighting in Lebanon:
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat, Sheikh Hassan claimed that more than 300,000 Lebanese Shi’ites oppose Hezbollah and its policies, adding that this figure is rising after the Shi’ite militia revealed itself to be nothing more than “a party of fighters and murderers following its intervention in the Syrian crisis.”
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The Zionist media conspiracy flexed its tentacles in Greece. The Greek government’s austerity measures included the unpopular decision to shut down and reorganize the state-run Hellenic Broadcasting Corp (ERT). According to The Guardian, “defiant journalists occupying ERT studios in Athens and Thessaloniki have been able to keep an unbroken skeleton news service going” with help from an Israeli company:
Efforts to keep Greek state TV alive after the government ordered it to be shut down were dealt a blow after a diplomatic intervention in Israel.
The Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, requested the assistance of his ambassador in Tel Aviv after it emerged that one of the companies keeping ERT on air was owned by an Israeli firm.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.