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US Sends Warships to Libya; Anger at Morsy; Film Maker not Israeli

The United States has sent two warships armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, to waters off the Libyan coast in the aftermath of the riots that killed the US ambassador and three others in the American Consulate in Benghazi. The melee was ostensibly sparked by outrage over an anti-Islam film produced in the United States, but other theories are now surfacing, including possible links to 9/11. The deployment of the two destroyers is said to be contingency-based and not indicative of a specific mission-at-hand despite President Obama’s vow to seek justice. Reports from Washington indicate the administration is not satisfied with the Egyptian government’s response to the incident and that President Obama made that fact known in a phone call to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy. It took Morsy 24-hours to criticize the rioters, and even then it was a mild rebuke at best, issued through Facebook. Rioters were also allowed to continue into a second day. Meanwhile, counter-demonstrations were held in Tripoli and Benghazi in which participants expressed regret over the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and distanced the Libyan people from the mob that attacked the consulate. Initial reports that the filmmaker behind the film that ignited the deadly riots in Libya and Egypt is an Israeli citizen are untrue according to sources in Jerusalem. In addition, an aide to filmmaker Sam Bacile told Atlantic Magazine that the name bantered around is a pseudonym and that “the producer of the film, Sam Bacile, is not Israeli and is most likely, not Jewish.”

 

Russia and China Finally Agree to Support Resolution Against Iranian Nuclear Weapons

Russia and China have agreed for the first time to support an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution critical of Iran’s nuclear intentions. The reason for the change-of-heart is believed to be its presentation as a means to persuade Israel that diplomacy and sanctions are working and therefore, it is not time to exercise the military option. The resolution, which is unenforceable, demands that Iran halt all activities that are associated with making nuclear weapons. Investigations by the IAEA support Israel’s conclusions that the goal of its nuclear development program is to make nuclear weapons and that Iran has been working clandestinely toward that goal. The Associated Press reported seeing a draft of the text that retains a nod to Tehran, effectively supporting its right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes by issuing a broad caveat supporting all nations’ rights to do so. According to AP, the resolution also notes that no nuclear material has been found missing from Iranian plants, to the Iranians proof that no secret work with the nuclear material is proceeding.

President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Spend Hour “Talking it Out”

Following several days during which tension between the American president and Israeli prime minister appeared to be soaring to new heights, the two leaders reportedly spent an hour on the phone Wednesday night in an attempt to lower the level of antagonism. The angst peaked when Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly criticized “those in the international community” who refuse to draw red-lines over Iran but “place red lights before Israel,” comments seen as direct criticism of the Obama administration after Secretary of State Clinton dismissed red-lines in favor of further diplomacy. More tension followed reports that a request by Netanyahu to see President Obama while in the US for the opening of the UN session was rejected. The White House and the Prime Minister’s Office offered distinctively different versions of events. Netanyahu’s office said after the telephone conversation that the prime minister will continue to demand red-lines be drawn for Iran. The dissonance between Jerusalem and Washington is causing domestic fallout for Netanyahu by many who see preservation of the US-Israel alliance as an issue as existential in nature as the Iranian nuclear issue itself. In the United States, the US-Israel tension continues to be an issue in the presidential election campaign.

Gaza Man Sentenced to Death for Collaboration with Israel

A 45-year old resident of the Gaza Strip has been sentenced to death for collaborating with Israel. The court also sentenced his 40-year old wife to ten years in jail for aiding in the alleged collaboration. According to the Ma’an news agency, the court determined that the couple provided Israeli intelligence operatives with information that led to the targeted killings of two leaders of terrorist groups. Although the most recent executions carried out in Gaza were prisoners convicted of murder, most of those executed since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 were charged with aiding Israel. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has called for an end to the death penalty and the creation of a penal code “that is in the spirit of international human rights instruments.”

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