Syrian Chemical Attack Kills Hundreds

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Hurriyet explains how prime ministers on Planet Erdogan climb down from a tree after making embarrassing claims that Israel engineered Mohammed Morsi’s overthrow.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency has removed a story about an online video cited on Aug. 20 by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an as proof that Israel was behind the coup that ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The story canceled by the agency cited Prime Ministry sources confirming that the prime minister referred to comments available in an online video from a seminar in mid-2011 involving French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy and Tzipi Livni, then the leader of Israel’s opposition and now justice minister. The agency, however, published the transcript of the video after it removed the story.

So the video of Bernard-Henri Levy and Tzipi Livni wasn’t such a smoking gun of Zionist conspiracies after all Yet, somebody thought there was enough lingering heat to publish the video’s transcript. Strange, indeed. Haaretz, the Daily Zaman, and Daily Telegraph assess the premier’s peeve.

2. According to press reports, hundreds of Syrians were killed in a chemical attack near Damascus. Jeffrey Goldberg hit the nail on the head:

Two questions are raised by reports of this attack. The first, of course, is whether or not it happened the way Syrian rebels said it happened. That is why immediately dispatching the UN team, already in-country, to the affected areas is so vital. If this process worked the way it should, they would be there already. If the Syrian regime denies the UN inspectors permission to visit these areas, well, that is kind of an answer in itself.

The second question is, why would the Assad regime launch its biggest chemical attack on rebels and civilians precisely at the moment when a UN inspection team was parked in Damascus? The answer to that question is easy: Because Assad believes that no one – not the UN, not President Obama, not other Western powers, not the Arab League – will do a damn thing to stop him.

There is a good chance he is correct.

3. Jerusalem Post: Arab Israeli indicted for traveling to Syria and joining Salafi rebels.

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4. Al Jazeera America Goes Live: HonestReporting will keep an eye on the controversial expansion of Al-Jazeera into your living rooms.

5. Five Thoughts on the Egypt Crisis: Observations on the media’s treatment of the upheaval and its related Israel angles.

 Egypt in flames

 

Israel and the Palestinians

AFP: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held another round of secret talks.

Israeli diplomat Ido Aharoni discussed branding and public diplomacy with AdAge.

The  Hamas justice system is under the microscope with several Palestinians to be publicly hanged in the coming days. According to AP, the Islamists have executed 16 people since 2010, while another 16 are currently on death row.

Worth reading: Israel’s Heroic Restraint. For more commentary/analysis, see YNet.

On the next page:

  1. White House denies suspending aid to Egypt.
  2. Perceived US weakness could lead to Israeli-Arab alliances.
  3. Who’s running the Muslim Brotherhood now?

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