Media Cheat Sheet 12/21/2011

Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.

The Syrian army’s falling apart, the Saudis arrest dozens of Christian foreign workers at a prayer gathering, and what to make of Tom Friedman’s “apology?”

Arab Spring

Judging from Haaretz‘s sources, the Syrian army’s crumbling:

More than 10,000 soldiers have deserted the Syrian army, sources say, with as many as half the conscripts not reporting in the last three call-ups.

According to Western intelligence agencies, even though the top brass is still loyal to President Bashar Assad, lower-level officers are deserting in large numbers, and in some cases, whole units have deserted en masse.

And UPI adds:

At least 60 Syrian soldiers attempting a mass desertion were mowed down with machine-gun fire by loyalist soldiers, opposition groups said Tuesday.

The blood flows on and on: Activists say at least 100 killed in Syrian town.

• Sanctions on Syria create bad spillover on Jordanian business. Farmers are foregoing lucrative sales, and factories can no longer send and receive goods usually delivered via Syria. And where does Israel fit into this?

Experts say other trade partners will have to be considered, including next-door Israel. But with the government already suffering I public opinion over the economy and political reform, expanding trade with the Jewish state would be a risky move. The two countries have a peace treaty but Jordanian popular opinion is hostile to Israel.

Iranian Atomic Urgency

US Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN he’s concerned Iran will miscalculate and attack Israel.

Rest O’ the Roundup 

Tom Friedman expressed a strange regret for his Israel lobby comments. I’d respect him more if he just jumped into bed with the Walt and Mearsheimer camp. See my post earlier today for more.

Manfred Gerstenfeld‘s fed up with Big Media’s spin games with Israel.

Nice to see AP’s recognizing that Israel’s foreign workers can openly celebrate Christmas. Contrast that with Saudi Arabia, which arrested 42 Ethiopian Christians for holding an unauthorized prayer gathering — in a private home.

AP: Israel to begin pumping 1 billion cubic feet of clean water to restore the Jordan River in 2013.

The Globe & Mail visits the protests at Nabi Saleh. Patrick Martin makes it clear that the IDF was not doing anything lethal or untoward. ‘Nuff said.

The Columbia Current sat down with Jeffrey Goldberg for an extended discussion about Israel-related issues.

(Image of Jordan River via Wikimedia Commons/Bcrawford92)

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