December In The Middle East

By EWI EXCLUSIVE | by K.D.M. Jensen
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 @ 3:55AM

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What was the biggest story on the Middle East this month?  U.S. withdrawal from Iraq?  The very bad news about the Egyptian economy?  The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s ridiculous claim to being only “moderately Islamist” and pundits and the media taking this as a good sign? Newt Gingrich’s statement that the Palestinians are an “invented people”?  None of the above, at least not to me.

My vote goes to the revelation concerning the role of the Lebanese Canadian Bank’s connections with Hezbollah. Read the New York Times article (“Beirut Bank Seen as a Hub of Hezbollah’s Financing,” front page, no less, December 13).  There is no way to summarize it here. Vast is the only word for it.  If you’ve not paid attention to Hezbollah, the piece will tell you everything you want to know.  Moreover, it illustrates in spades the connection between crime and terrorist funding.  Even more, it establishes the amazing size of the Hezbollah economy and the world-wide extent of its operations.  Ynet News reported on December 18 that Hezbollah is in dire financial straits.  Okay, so Syrian and Iranian support isn’t as forthcoming as it used to be, but the Times piece reports on Hezbollah’s involvement in “perhaps the richest land deal in Lebanon’s history, the $240 million purchase late last year of more than 740 pristine acres overlooking the Mediterranean in the religiously diverse Chouf region.”  (Why was this necessary to an organization in dire financial straits.  I know: in case of war with Israel it’s strategic ground.)  If you’re not worried enough about Hezbollah, you will be after you read the Times article.

On December 12, David Horowitz came to Newt Gingrich’s defense regarding the “Palestine” quotes.  It was a little too terse for me, and I’m not at all sure that Horowitz isn’t more than a little too optimistic that Newt’s remarks can change the debate.  Luckily, about the same time, faithful contributor Jules O. provided us with a definitive 1980 article by Bernard Lewis entitled “Palestine: On the History and Geography of a Name”.  Regrettably, I couldn’t download the piece.  Find just below the URL for this pdf.

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Personal Note: My work on the Digest and Blog has only been intermittent over the past month due to the death of my father-in-law and a couple of odd health problems that have been or are being resolved.  I’m back at the switch now.


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