Friday, February 13, 2009

BULLETIN No. 232

Engaging Syria? U.S. Constraints and Opportunities International Crisis Group
White House warms to thaw in ties with Syria US diplomats and officials are stepping up efforts to improve relations with Damascus even though it is on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism
Israel and Syria were ready for direct talks before Gaza war Turkish official: Olmert, Assad held indirect phone call through Erdogan, were near joint statement
Debka US-Syrian talks: Precursor for Obama's dialogue with Iran?
Syrian: President Will Meet With The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
Syrian President Bashar al Assad will meet with Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni, the head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Stratfor sources reported Feb. 12.
An election that raises Syria's appetite By Michael Young
Syria poised to transfer Iranian mobile anti-air missiles to Lebanese Hizballah
Yedioth Ahronoth Kerry to meet Assad in Syria
Senator's spokesman: Obama administration aware of plans, helping arrange Mideast trip
Assessing the Obama Mideast team [ STEVEN J. ROSEN,

Lebanon: A new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies looks at the development of the Lebanese Armed Forces since the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005.
When will Hizbullah avenge Mughniyeh assassination?
Retribution for Mughniyah: A Dish Served Cold?

With 99 percent of votes counted, Kadima leads Likud 28 to 27 seats Not certain that Livni will be able to muster the 61-seat coalition needed to lead the country
Livni: I'll fight on to form coalition, despite poor odds A day of coalition talks makes clear Netanyahu has considerable advantage in forging right-wing government
White House: Unclear how Israel poll will affect Mideast peace State Department spokesman says U.S. does not intend to intervene in internal Israeli politics
Abbas: Isolate Netanyahu gov't like Hamas
Major reforms are unlikely, but electoral threshold could be raised
Who will be the next defense minister?
Jerusalem PostConsensus forming on Likud-led unity gov't with Kadima
Netanyahu ready to give Livni 2 of top 4 ministries and equal cabinet representation; Kadima privately admits Bibi will be asked to form coalition.
'Right-wingers outnumber leftists 2-1' Poll shows 30% identify as right-wing, 13% center-right, 24% center, 13% center-left, 6% Left.
Analysis: The coalition calculus of saying 'no' to America By HERB KEINONBacked by a wide coalition, a prime minister can stand all kinds of pressure from abroad
Election equations
Agenda-driven media outlets claim Israel holds nearly all diplomatic cards
The Pollard Affair: Was it dual loyalty?
[ ELI KAVON, The heavy price of citizenship is that Jews lost their national identity.
The rise of Avigdor Lieberman
With Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli voters said no to the past By Danny Ayalon
The right-wing candidate represents a disillusionment with policies that have failed to achieve peace
'Livni, consider opposition' Political sources estimate President Peres will task Likud leader Netanyahu with forming next government; Kadima official says chairwoman 'should not necessarily be dragged into coalition that also features Shas, Lieberman'
Don't fear rightist coalition
The Rise of Avigdor Lieberman BY: M.J. Rosenberg Los Angeles Times Israel is becoming a right-wing country. That is the most significant thing you need to know about Tuesday's election returns.
Hamas Challenge to the PLO: Opportunities and ProspectsDays after the end of Israeli military operations in Gaza, Hamas began a campaign to replace the PLO with a new, Hamas-dominated body devoted to violence. The outcome of this political struggle will shape the future of Palestinian politics and prospect for peac
Don't expect Israel's parties to be very unlike By Barnett R. Rubin
Jeffrey Goldberg: A Stunning Israeli Election
Former CIA Official on Engagement With Hamas and Middle East Peace
Israel's Big Winner: 'Peace Skeptics' BY: Benny Avni New York Post Israeli voters yesterday threw a wrench into the plans of the world's peace processors -- President Obama included.
Israel's Age of Fragmentation BY: Carlo Strenger The Guardian The country's overwhelming anxiety led to a narrow election, stifling innovative ideas for peace and allowing the right to thrive.
Israel's Baffling Election Explained - Fania Oz-Salzberger, Forbes
A Toxic Force Rises in Israel - Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
New Leadership, Same Problems for Israel - Emile Hokayem, The National
The Somalization of Hamas : Dr. Hamad Al-Majid
After Parliamentary Elections, Israel Faces Political Deadlock
Netanyahu offers Livni 10 portfolios, may form government without Lieberman
US opinionators fazed by rise of Israeli right?
U.S. Urged to Be Flexible on Hamas BY: NIcholas Kralev The Washington Times An influential Palestinian lawmaker visiting Washington urged the Obama administration to accept a government for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that would bridge divisions between the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
ANALYSIS: Success of rightist bloc may propel Netanyahu into PM's chair
Aluf Benn: For the sake of peace, Labor and Kadima must merge Merger would bolster two-state solution supporters, keep Israel from clashing with Obama government.
Bradley Burston: Will Livni, Netanyahu settle for rotation, sharing premiership?
Israel vote deals a setback to U.S. peace effort in Mideast In backing right-wing parties, Israelis have shown they don't want to negotiate with a weak Palestinian Authority
Scepticism about peace process drives electorate's drift towards the right With almost all votes counted in the Israeli elections, rightwing and religious parties control 64 of the 120 seats
Winep Israeli Election Results: Implications for Middle East Peacemaking
Key to who will govern Israel: Avigdor Lieberman In a country divided between the centrist Kadima and hawkish Likud parties, a new kingmaker emerges from the far right.
Netanyahu, Livni Start to Build Competing Coalitions in Israel
Bad news for President Obama? Simon Tisdall: Israel's election result could force the US leader to negotiate with Binyamin Netanyahu can a thinker and an in-fighter connect?
ANALYSIS / Without Lieberman, Livni has no government Voters who decided to vote Kadima instead of Labor will wake up to hear that Livni is courting far-rightist
Akiva Eldar / What is it that draws the masses in Israel to Kadima?
Jerusalem PostAnalysis: No doubting failure of electoral system By DAVID HOROVITZThe next prime minister was again apparently denied the parliamentary support needed to lead Israel.
Analysis: Electorate sends another mixed message By HERB KEINONThe people are leaning rightward, but they don't want that sharp a turn.
Complications for 'king-maker' Lieberman
As possibility of strong bloc wanes, Israel Beiteinu looks set to become linchpin for unity government.
Lieberman: I prefer right-wing coalition Israel Beiteinu leader says his top priority for the next government is to topple Hamas in Gaza.
Halevy: Israel 'more than capable' of overcoming threat from Iran
Yedioth Ahronoth 2 prime ministers Ambiguous election result may force Netanyahu, Livni to agree to rotation, Attila Somfalvi says
Livni offers Netanyahu unity
Kadima chairwoman calls on Likud rival to join national unity government under her leadership
Israeli rivals claim election win
The leaders of Israel's two main parties, Likud and Kadima, both say they have won the country's snap election.
Horse-trading begins
Jordan and Hamas: a window briefly opened, then shut By Rana Sabbagh-Gargour
Brookings Now What? The Path Forward for Israel’s New Government
As Gazans Look for Way Into Egypt, Cairo Looks for Way Out of Crisis BY: Larry Luxner The Washington Diplomat - Gaza’s other neighbor — Egypt — hasn’t escaped criticism either. In addition to worldwide calls for Israel to allow humanitarian access into the strip, the majority of which is surrounded by the Jewish state, aid groups have urged Egypt to open up the seven-mile portion it controls at Gaza’s southern end — an area Israel says is also commonly used to smuggle weapons.
What Hamas Has Wrought - Edgar M. Bronfman (Huffington Post)
Gaza: Hamas Kneecappings, Punishment Beatings and Killings of "Collaborators" Revealed (Amnesty International)

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