Iranian Atomic Urgency
I’ll just give shoutout of sympathy to whoever was tasked with transcribing the president’s tendentious answers. Fortunately, Ignatius summarized and commented on the Q&A in a separate column. The low point? Morgan asking Ahmadinejad how he’d feel if one of his kids dated a Jew . . .
• Iranian trash talk continues. Reuters has the latest:
“Iran will not start any war but it could launch a pre-emptive attack if it was sure that the enemies are putting the final touches to attack it,” Al-Alam said, paraphrasing the military commander.
• For commentary/analysis, see Dan Ephron (The Daily Beast).
Spring Winter and Muslim Rage
• Worth reading: For the first time, someone clearly articulated Muslim thinking on the Mohammed video. Yigal Carmon of Memri summed it up in a Q&A with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Q: Does there seem to be any recognition at all in the Islamic world that no matter how insulting the video might be, it’s the product of a private citizen and not the United States government?
A: Yes, of course. They know it as a matter of fact, but they don’t accept it as a valid distinction. This is the discourse: It is America that is engaged in war against Islam, not on terrorists, so it doesn’t matter (that the government wasn’t involved in making the video). They say we need this international law against blasphemy against all religions, and of course monistic religions. If there is no law, then (blasphemy) is the responsibility of the state. Instead of (accepting) freedom of speech, they say (the government) may not have (made the video), but it didn’t do anything to prevent it.
• Sinai jihadi group inspired by Al-Qaida says it carried out Friday’s deadly firefight along the Israeli-Egyptian border. The Washington Post writes:
In a statement posted on militant Internet forums late Saturday, a group calling itself Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, or Partisans of Jerusalem, called the deadly raid a “disciplinary attack against those who insulted the beloved Prophet,” referring to the controversial anti-Islam YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims.”
Video shmideo. I’d respect this group more if they would be frank enough to simply say the truth: this attack was because they hate Israel and the Jewish people.
• Some Lebanese politicians who fear being dragged into Syria’s civil war are calling for a UNIFIL deployment along their border. Beirut’s pro-Syria government isn’t biting, but the Christian Science Monitor explains the basis for the talk:
The UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which defines UNIFIL’s post-2006 mission, includes a clause that permits it to help the Lebanese authorities prevent the smuggling of arms into Lebanon. The clause specifically refers to preventing the transfer of weapons from Syrian territory to Hezbollah’s arms caches inside Lebanon.
• Free Syrian Army unity is a joke, reports McClatchy News:
By one count, there are more than 600 battalions, though fewer than 10 stand out as having significant organizational capability across large swaths of territory.
Indeed, the news media convention of referring to all these groups as the Free Syrian Army is accurate only in that they all oppose the government of President Bashar Assad. In reality, they’re independent actors, sharing little in ideologies or resources.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• After becoming the first Israeli prime minister ever convicted, Ehud Olmert was sentenced to one year’s probation and a NIS 75,000 fine. But the Times of Israel says don’t get carried away with buzz over Olmert’s possible political future:
Commentators said the sentence leaves Olmert free to run for election to the next Knesset. However, he would not be eligible to serve as a minister because he is still on trial in another corruption scandal, the Holyland affair, they said.
• Team Israel knocked out of World Baseball Classic competition, but the NY Times describes fond memories of Israeli pride:
Israel did lose, 9-7 in 10 innings. Still, there was a celebratory feel about the night.
Flags waved everywhere. A woman wore a Yankees blue T-shirt with the No. 2 that said “Jews For Jeter.” Fans wore the official Team Israel hat with the Star of David on it, as well as other team gear. From the stadium loudspeaker, Jewish music blared — songs like “Ya’alili” by the group 8th Day, and “Mi Shema’amin” by the popular Israeli singer Eyal Golan.
It didn’t go unnoticed to the Israeli team.
Watch highlights of the see-saw game, which ended in extra innings.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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