World View: U.S., Israeli Forces on Alert as Egypt Begins Major Military Action on Israel's Border

World View: U.S., Israeli Forces on Alert as Egypt Begins Major Military Action on Israel's Border

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Egypt launches a major military action into Sinai on Israel border
  • Israel and U.S. forces go on alert over fear of wider war
  • Palestinians ask for an airport as Kerry pursues farcical ‘peace process’
  • Thousands of Russians protest over conviction of Putin opponent
  • Espionage suspect Edward Snowden may be trapped in Russia

Egypt launches a major military action into Sinai on Israel border

Egyptian forces in northern Sinai (AFP)
Egyptian forces in northern Sinai (AFP)

Egypt’s army is launching a major military offensive, dubbed Fattah 2(Conquest 2) against a coalition of aggressive Salafists, MuslimBrotherhood operatives, Hamas and Jihad Islami groups conductingterrorist attacks in Egypt’s Sinai region, on the border with Gaza andIsrael. The security situation in Sinai has been getting increasinglyunstable since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. In thepast two weeks, 39 terrorist attacks have occurred. In the resultingclashes between armed groups and security forces, 52 gunmen andcivilians and six security personnel have died. Tensions have alsoflared at the illegal smuggling tunnels on the border with Gaza, withone Central Security conscript killed by smugglers on Thursday. Thetunnels, which are considered a lifeline for Gaza, are being blockedor destroyed by the Egyptian army.

Muslim Brotherhood sources claim that the army is fabricatingterrorist attacks in Sinai in order to label the Brotherhoodsudden surge in violence is linked to the ouster of Mohamed Morsi.New groups have sprung up, with such names as as “The LegitimacyBrigades” or “The Legitimacy and Victory Brigade,” where “legitimacy”refers to the Egypt’s first free election, and it’s victory for Morsi.

There’s evidence that the situation in Sinai is attracting jihadistfighters from North Africa (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM)and from al-Qaeda in Pakistan. In that sense, the Sinai is competingwith Syria, which is also attracting jihadists from locationsthroughout Asia. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Debka

Israel and U.S. forces go on alert over fear of wider war

Israel is increasingly uncomfortable with the buildup of Egyptianmilitary forces near its border in the Sinai. These forces violatethe 1979 peace treaty between the two countries, but Israel has beencompelled to give permission because of the increasing securityissues.

Israeli forces along the Egyptian and Gaza borders are on alert; sotoo are the 2,600 US Marines aboard two amphibious helicopter carriersanchored opposite the Red Sea shores of Southern Sinai and the Gulf ofSuez since the start of the Egyptian crisis.

Israeli defense officials are concerned about an escalating war, andthe army is preparing for scenarios where violence spreads across theborder into Israel. There is also concern that Egypt’s armed forceswill enter Gaza, as the interim government has already accused Hamasof contributing to the unrest in Sinai. YNet

Palestinians ask for an airport as Kerry pursues farcical ‘peace process’

The so-called Mideast “peace process” has been a farce for years, butthat doesn’t prevent U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry from flyingaround the Mideast declaring that he’s going to be the one to bringthe sides together and create a wonderful peace between Israel and thePalestinians for now and forever. Kerry met with PalestinianPresident Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday, and apparentlyAbbas gave Kerry a new message: Abbas will not agree to new “peaceprocess” talks unless Israel approves the building of an airport inPalestinian capital Ramallah in the West Bank. The airport wouldserve helicopters and light planes. It’s unlikely that the Israeliswill go along with this, presumably because terrorist attacks could belaunched from an airport. YNet

Thousands of Russians protest over conviction of Putin opponent

Thousands of Russians protested in Moscow on Thursday, as oppositionleader Alexei Navalny was led off in handcuffs after a court convictedhim and sentenced him with five years in jail for allegedly embezzlingmoney from a timber firm where he had served as an advisor. It’swidely believed that there is no evidence supporting the conviction.The EU said the verdict posed “serious questions” about the state ofRussian law, while the US said it was “deeply disappointed.”

Starting in 2008, Navalny began blogging about government corruption,and by 2011 he was inspiring mass protests against president VladimirPutin, calling his United Russia party the “party of crooks andthieves.” He was arrested and imprisoned for 15 days in December oflast year, and then went on trial for embezzlement this year,receiving a conviction on Thursday. He appeals to Russiannationalists by referring to migrants as “rotten teeth” andand conviction of Navalny originated from Putin’s office.

Long time web site readers may recall that back in 2004 I followedthe situation with Russian energy firm Yukos pretty closely.

In 2003, Yukos supplied 11.4% of all the oil in the whole world. Bythe end of 2004, Yukos was defunct.

At the beginning of 2004, Putin was denying that he had any evilintentions toward Yukos. Putin began by jailing Yukos CEO MikhailKhodorkovsky on trumped-up political charges. (He’s still in jail,incidentally.) By the end of the year, Yukos had been dismantled and nationalized by means of the mostbizarre series of steps imaginable.

At the beginning of 2004, I was wondering what Putin had in mind. Bythe end of the year, it was obvious that Putin had lied about hisintentions, and that he was willing to use any means available to himto get what he wants, while still retaining personal deniability. Thesituation with Navalny seems to indicate that’s still true. Ria Novosti (Moscow) and BBC

Espionage suspect Edward Snowden may be trapped in Russia

Some Russian officials are suggesting that U.S. traitor EdwardSnowden, who committed anti-American espionage, fled to Hong Kong andthen to Moscow, will not be permitted to leave Russia, and that he’sno longer in the airport, but is in a safe house control by thesecurity police.

Initially, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said:

“We told him [Snowden], he may stay [in Russia] if hestops hindering our relations with the US, but herefused.”

Snowden refused these terms, but his attempts to flee to ananti-American Latin America country have been repeatedly thwarted.Thus, on July 12 he finally changed his mind, and requested “Temporarypolitical asylum,” which does not exist in Russia, so he’s apparentlygiven temporary refugee status, “because of humanitarianconsiderations.” Under the terms of his refugee status, an officialannounced, “We warned Snowden that any activity that may undermineUS-Russian relations is unacceptable.” Putin added: “I do notunderstand why Snowden decided to stay all his life in Russia, butthat is his choice.”

I’ve actually thought for a long time that Snowden would neverbe permitted to leave Russia. The reason is that if Snowdenhas all this intelligence information, then there must a lotof it pertaining to Russia and to Putin himself. If Snowdenfled to Venezuela, then the politicians there would gleefullyexpose Putin’s secrets, as well as U.S. secrets.

But there’s a second reason as well. The U.S. is holdinga Russian defector who has disclosed the names of a numberof Russian spies. The U.S. is in a position, if it desired,to publicly disclose information about Russia spying onits own neighbors, including the countries in the former SovietUnion. This would be extremely embarrassing to Putin.

So the traitor who thinks the U.S. is so awful that he decided tobetray his country out may now be trapped in the wonderful (formerly)socialist paradise of Russia, where he can contemplate the differencesbetween the two countries. Gee, I hope they don’t waterboard him.(wink wink) Jamestown

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