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Middle East In the Media November 5 – 11 2012

Weekly reading list:

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US Election

  • Is J Street winning? (Steven J. Rosen, November 9)
  • "...more funds are being raised today than ever before from donors who depict Israel as the obstacle to peace and favor U.S. pressure to force Israeli concessions. The campaign contributions put muscle behind a flood of articles and speeches that portray Israel as a strategic liability rather than an asset -- a trigger-happy country that exaggerates the Iranian threat and is plotting the annexation of the West Bank at the expense of the Palestinians."

  • Reuters: In Middle East, relief not euphoria at Obama win (Amena Bakr, November 7)
  • "There was cautious hope that he could reach a deal with Iran to defuse tension over its nuclear program, and prod Israel and the Palestinians closer to reviving their frozen peace talks. Above all, people said Obama was less likely than his Republican opponent Mitt Romney to start another war."

  • The Guardian: The Middle East greets Barack Obama's re-election with a shrug (Issandr El Amrani, November 9)
  • "In many respects, the identity of the US president simply does not matter here as it once did. America is highly restricted in terms of what it can do in the region by its own economic crisis and by war fatigue among the electorate."

Israel

  • The Economist: Netanyahu: Bad bets (November 9)
  • "Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, suffered not one but two vicarious electoral defeats on Tuesday. Twice this week he has had to swallow hard and congratulate candidates he hoped would lose. The winners were equally cordial to him on the phone. If they enjoyed his discomfiture, they concealed it well."

  • AP: Israel, Gaza militants trade fire in escalation (November 11)
  • "The flare-up increased pressure on the Israeli government to put an end to the violence, which escalated over the weekend and could turn into a major conflagration just two months before the country's general election."

Kuwait

  • Al Jazeera: Kuwaitis protest voting changes ahead of poll (November 11)
  • "Tens of thousands have taken to the streets of Kuwait City in a peaceful opposition-led rally against new voting rules. Sunday's protests at a square opposite the parliament come ahead of elections on December 1. The enthusiastic crowds chanted "the people want the repeal of the law," ordered by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to change the voting system ahead of the second parliamentary poll this year."

Oman

Syria

  • BBC: A new normality in damaged Damascus (Lina Sinjab, November 11)
  • "Knowing that death may take us at any moment, we have learned to appreciate our time together, spending quality time whenever possible. The bonds have become stronger. We laugh, despite our obvious sadness. We laugh as a way of survival. We make jokes about death. We laugh to keep hold of the good memories"

  • The Economist: Syria's rebels: Fewer innocents (November 6)
  • "Plenty of urban, middle-class Syrians, including those opposed to the regime, dislike the rebels. Many in Aleppo abhor the regime but are wary of the armed rebellion too. "But how do they expect us to win by just sitting there?" asks one fighter from Idleb province."

  • Reuters: Syria's opposition groups strike unity deal against Assad (Rania El Gamal and Regan Doherty, November 11)
  • "After days of wrangling in Qatar under constant cajoling by exasperated Arab, U.S. and other officials, representatives of groups including rebel fighters, veteran dissidents and ethnic and religious minorities agreed on Sunday to join a new assembly that can form a government-in-exile. They unanimously elected reformist Damascus cleric Mouaz al-Khatib as its president."

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