Hamas Bans Palestinian Journos From Working With Israeli Media

 I’ve seen a number of reports on Gaza fishermen in recent days. Credit NY Times correspondent Steve Erlanger with the best look at what has changed since the cease fire.

Run-ins with Israeli patrols are still the bane of Gaza fishermen. But in most respects, the new arrangement has been a boon.

The fishermen have raced to take advantage of broader fishing grounds, farther from the shore where sewage is pumped into the water untreated.

Catches have improved in quantity, quality and freshness, and thus price. The fish are bigger and include desirable species like grouper, red mullet and Mediterranean sea bass that were no longer present closer to land.

But the fishermen risk rapidly overfishing . . .

Don’t hold your breath waiting for snooty European left-wing condemnation of this:

Abbas aide: No plans to outlaw ‘honor killing’

Iranian Atomic Urgency

  Bloomberg News: Persian Gulf states to form unified military command amid Iranian threats.

Cyber warfare’s back in the news: Iran says a power plant and other industries were hit by another wave of Stuxnet attacks. Don’t worry — the mullahs say they fought off the attacks.

The latest Iranian sabotage reports raised the possibility that the attacks had been carried out in retaliation for assaults that crippled computers in the Saudi Arabian oil industry and some U.S. financial institutions a few months ago.

Arab Spring Winter

 The Christian Science Monitor visited Lebanese border villages shelled by the Syrian army:

Nourat al-Tahta, like other Sunni-populated villages along the border in the northern Akkar province, is deeply supportive of the Syrian revolution and shelters refugees and Free Syrian Army militants alike. The villages in the area have been subjected to Syrian artillery shelling on a near nightly basis since May. The shelling is intended to hit FSA members who slip across the border into Syria at night as well as to punish those Lebanese who provide assistance and a safe haven for the militants . . .

The Syrian shelling and clandestine FSA activities underline how little state control exists in the northern Akkar.

Meanwhile, the Daily Star reported an 11 year-old Lebanese boy was hit by gunfire from Syria.

Jabhat Al Nusra

 Syrian child holding rifle with Jabhat Al Nusra flag.

  Worth reading: Time interviewed one of the leaders of Jabhat Al-Nusra, the only group fighting Bashar Assad designated by the State Dept. as a terror organization.

If the designation was intended to isolate Jabhat al-Nusra, it appears to have done the opposite and actually enhanced its standing and reputation among some Syrians. The nationwide protest in Syria on Dec. 14, for example, used the slogan “The only terrorism in Syria is Assad’s,” a clear rebuke to the naming. Dozens of rebel groups have publicly declared, “We are all Jabhat al-Nusra,” while even the leadership of the political opposition in exile has condemned the terrorist label.

Syrian rebels report 18 incidents of chemical weapons used by the army.

Rest O’ the Roundup

• AP did its homework on the differences between Israeli and American gun control laws. Lot of nice stats and context I didn’t see anywhere else.

(Image of Hagel via Flickr/Secretary of Defense, boats via YouTube/OnlineWorldNews, Jabhat Al Nusra via YouTube/msaint2326)

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