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Holocaust survivor on hunger strike 29, December 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Egypt, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
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An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor is about to begin a hunger strike to pressure Egyptian authorities to let through Gaza Freedom Marcher participants into Gaza itself. That is an exceedingly powerful gesture.

100,000,000 Iraqi dinars reward for information 29, December 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Iraq.
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An Iraqi man has just been given 100m Iraqi dinars ($85,000) for a tip-off of the place and timing of a suicide car bombing. This is part of a campaign by the Iraqi government to up reward money for such tip offs as well as for information more generally.

A few thoughts:

1) This seems like a good idea to me. I am sure that it may well save many lives.

2) It is – I fear – only a matter of time before the first snitch dies a really rather awful death once s/he is found out. I imagine that such a such influx of cash to the average Iraqi household would be extraordinarily difficult to keep ‘under wraps’.

Al Hurra gets more funding 29, December 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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Al Hurra, the US Government’s attempt at winning the hearts and minds of the Middle East by founding and running an Arab TV news channel, has received another $112m from Congress. This is despite Al Hurra being condemned as all but useless by a raft of commentators. It is widely (and correctly) seen as little more than US government propaganda. Witness, for example, Al Hurra’s ridiculous decision to continue to show a cooking programme when news that the founder of Hamas Sheikh Ahmad Yassin had been  assassinated by an Israeli air strike was breaking. Yet, because of governmental inertia when it comes to projects such as these and sunk-cost accounting there is no end in sight for the $650,000,000 white elephant.

Hat tip: al bab