Journalist’s Mea Culpa Sheds Light on Assad’s P.R. Machine

Arab Spring Winter

Al-Kibar nuclear site, before and after 2007 Israeli raid

Thank Heaven (and Israel) That Syria’s Assad Doesn’t Have Nukes:

The danger presented today by the presence of Syrian chemical and biological weapons is bad enough. Just think how much more dangerous the situation would have been if there were loose nukes lying around.

Syria’s top diplomat in London quit in protest of the Assad regime’s violence. The BBC says Charge d’Affaires Khaled al-Ayoubi is now “staying in a safe location in the UK.”

While the Syrian army focuses its efforts in the cities, the Washington Post reports rebels are seizing considerable amounts of rural territory.

The Arab media’s buzzing over unconfirmed reports that Syria assassinated Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. The Times of Israel writes:

The reports, which cited unofficial sources and for which there was no confirmation, claimed that Bandar was killed because it was he, with American support, who organized the July 18 bombing in central Damascus that killed several of Assad’s most senior ministers and aides.

One analyst said privately that, whatever the truth of the claim, it underlined the profound hostility between Assad’s regime and the Saudis.

A former ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar was put in charge of the Saudi intelligence services earlier this month.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Meeting with Vladimir Putin last month, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman complained about Russia Today’s coverage of Israel. According to Haaretz, Lieberman’s office confirmed the issue was raised, but didn’t go into specifics. RT bureau chief Paula Slier denied the allegations in a series of tweets with Haaretz’s Barak Ravid.

This would make more sense if Lieberman were referring to Russian media coverage in general without singling out Russia Today. The Russian media has lots of state-imposed restrictions, and if Russian news services are giving Israel an unfair shake, it’s understandable for Lieberman to appeal to Putin.

Russia Today and Slier are occasionally hard on Israel. But I wouldn’t call them hostile. Other satellite news stations with bureaus in Israel — namely the BBC, Al-Jazeera, and France 24 — are far worse.

 After the EU balked at labeling Hezbollah as a terror organization, Tzipi Livni deconstructed their decision in a must-read commentary. Yesterday, it was published behind a paywall, but you can now read the full article at YNet.

YNet: Did Facebook close Netanyahu’s page? Not exactly. But something’s going on.

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

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