Unlike the Stratfor clowns, this person is using open source material in the way it should be used, collating it and giving verifiable links for further research. I shall be following his ‘Arab Digest’ with great interest from now on. The Prague Conference discussed in the second piece was written about by Maidhc O Cathail nine months ago, here – RB
The Syrian National Council’s Israel connection!
Arab Digest, Feb 28 2012
There have been a lot of unconfirmed reports regarding the relations between the Syrian National Council and Israel. Some, if not the majority, border on hallucination or paranoia. But what do we know about this connection so far? Certain Syrian National Council members sit on panels and participate in public talks with Israelis. The names known so far are Ammar Abdulhamid, who gave an interview to Ynet a few years ago, declaring that “he has no qualms about talking to Israelis,” and Bassma Kodmani, another SNC member, who participated on an Israeli authors’ panel which sparked controversy. Ammar Abdulhamid is a friend of WINEP and the AEI. At AEI, he has a special friend, Michael Rubin, who wrote several times on Ammar Abdulhamid, usually with generous citations. This statement by Abdulhamid caught my eye:
The reality is that Arab liberals are currently fighting to retain the last foothold that liberal values still have in the Arab world. In this they have no choice but to cooperate with external forces, at the risk of being denounced as traitors or pawns of the West. They have no choice but to seek external sources of funding and expertise to support their various activities.
Abdulhamid addressing a WINEP crowd with Martin Kramer
Martin Kramer, director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle East and Africa studies, and Michael Rubin are both contributors to Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Quarterly. Here is an article in which Abdulhamid is cited. Kramer’s remarks at the last Herzliya conference, in which he called for cuts in “pro-natal subsidies” to Palestinians in Gaza to reduce their population. Osama Monajed, another Syrian National Council member, participated in this AEI talk on Syria, chaired by Danielle Pletka, who noted in a recent article:
The PLO was created in order to destroy the state of Israel and replace it with Palestine. The ’67 and ’73 wars were premised on that same dream. The Palestinians, and with them the dictators of the Arab world, believed in some magical solution grounded in falsehoods.
Michael Rubin, Abdulhamid’s friend, is of the same caliber. He said in an article last year that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are not technically refugees, since they never left their country.
Mamoun Al-Homsi’s Israel connection: Fiamma Nirenstein
Arab Digest, Feb 28 2012
The Arab Digest had previously reported on Syrian Opposition member, Mamoun Al-Homsi, and his call for ethnic cleansing of minorities in Syria. Well, new questions emerge on his politics and suspicious ties with Israel. Mamoun Al-Homsi is pictured above at the Prague Security Conference with Israeli-Italian politician Fiamma Nirenstein, who has spent much of her life in the East Jerusalem Settlement called Gilo, where she still maintains a home. Nirenstein is known for translating the books of Nathan Sharansky, Bernard Lewis and Ruthie Bloom; she led efforts on behalf of the Israeli government to thwart the Palestinian bid for full UN membership and statehood. She is also known for remarks like:
Every Jew in the world is an Israeli even if he’s not aware of it. Anyone who doesn’t know it is making a big mistake.
Morally speaking, there mustn’t be negotiations with Hamas, which thinks that Jews are the sons of monkeys and pigs. You can’t negotiate with cannibals, who eat human beings.
Luisa Morgantini, the Vice President of the European Parliament wrote an article in 2007, criticizing her hawkish stances: Fiamma Nirenstein and the conspiracy of treacherous Palestinians who do not want peace. Nirenstein spends her year between an Italian residence and the East Jerusalem settlement with her husband, Israeli photographer Ofer Eshed. The question remains, what was Homsi doing with her in Prague? Homsi has also met her and US-based Farid Ghadri, a pro-Israeli opposition figure, in Rome where they discussed Syria. Nirenstein later wrote a post about her meeting with the two, expressing her deep worries over Hezbollah’s capabilities and Syria’s arsenal of rockets, capable of reaching Israel.