Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fears and Hopes

I woke up this morning (actually, noon....) and turned on the computer and saw that there had been an explosion at one of the Japanese nuclear power plants that has been badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. Very scary. I hope all the officials who are trying to calm the Japanese people that there won't be a nuclear meltdown are telling the truth.

When I turned on CNN to get their typical minute-by-minute coverage, one of their more witless anchors was on, telling me no more than the online NYT coverage. So much for cable news.

In Middle East news, the Arab League to officially request UN impose no-fly zone on Libya. One wonders - will the UN do anything? And if the UN Security Council does approve it - who will enforce it? The Obama administration doesn't appear very keen on getting involved in yet another war with a Muslim country. And as Secretary of Defense Gates has said, enforcing a no-fly zone does require acts of war - like destroying the Libyan air defense system.
Egyptian state television said the Arab League had decided to open channels of communication with a Libyan rebel council based in Benghazi. The League said the council represented the Libyan people, the channel reported.
The Arab League decided on Saturday that the "serious crimes and great violations" the Libyan government had committed against its people had stripped it of legitimacy, Secretary General Amr Moussa said. Earlier Saturday, Moussa called for a no-fly zone over Libya in an interview with a German magazine, ahead of the group meeting in Cairo on Saturday to discuss the proposal. "I am speaking of a humanitarian action," he said in comments to Der Spiegel released on Saturday. "It is about assisting the Libyan people with a no-fly zone in their struggle for freedom against an increasingly inhuman regime." "The Arab League can also play a role," said Moussa, who is stepping down as secretary-general after a decade, intending to contest the Egyptian presidency later this year.
European states hope the Arab League will lead the way in shaping policy, particularly over a no-fly zone, towards the revolt against Muammar Gaddafi.
In his opening remarks to an Arab League meeting Saturday, the foreign minister of Oman said, "What is needed now is Arab intervention using mechanisms of the Arab League and at the same time in accordance with international law." "Based on this we must look at various options that [the] circumstances in Libya need," he said.
Oman Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah also said that the Libyan crisis poses a threat to the stability of Arab states, and that Arab inaction on the Libyan crisis could lead to "unwanted foreign intervention" and fighting among Libyans.
And then there's the terrible terrorist attack against a family in the Israeli settlement of Itamar on the norther West Bank: Horror in Samaria: Terrorist murders family of 5
A terrorist infiltrated the West Bank settlement of Itamar, southeast of Nablus, early Saturday and stabbed five family members to death. The shocking attack occurred around 1 am as the terrorist entered the family home and murdered three children aged 11, 3, and a baby girl along with their parents. The victims were apparently sleeping as the killer came in.
Three other children at the home, a 12-year-old girl and her two brothers, aged 6 and 2, were able to escape to a nearby house and inform their neighbors of the attack.
A later article says that apparently two terrorists carried out the attack, and "Authorities also estimate that the attack was carried out by a local cell not directly affiliated with Hamas or any other organization, and that the murder was motivated by growing friction with settlers, growing incitement against the settlements on the Palestinian street, and a desire to avenge 'price tag' acts."

One of the Haaretz articles on the attack also says the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade took responsibility for the attack. The English article didn't have any details, but below is my translation of the relevant Hebrew article.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, by the name of Imad Mughniyah, from the military arm of the Fatah movement, took responsibility for the terrorist attack. An announcement by the organization said that "The attack was a heroic action and a natural response to the murderous actions of the Israeli occupation against our people in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip." Despite this, the reliability of the announcement was not yet clear, because in the past the organization has rushed to take responsibility for actions that they had no connection to. Hamas expressed support for the terrorist attack, but denied that its men were involved in carrying it out.

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