John Cole, Steve Sciacchitano: Coup calculations in Thailand (Asia Times)
With hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters occupying large swathes of the national capital and a series of shadowy armed attacks on their encampments, speculation is rising that Thailand could be on the brink of another military coup. A similar protest movement paved the way for the September 2006 putsch that overthrew former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s [ทักษิณ ชินวัตร tʰáksǐn tɕʰinnáwát] administration. But the situation now is substantially more complicated, militating against the prospect of another army-led takeover.
During his more than three years as commander of the Royal Thai Army (RTA), General Prayuth Chan-ocha [ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา pràjút tɕanʔoːtɕʰaː] has earned the reputation for sometimes speaking before thinking. Most recently, the military leader caused a stir when, after several weeks of ruling out a military intervention in Thailand’s escalating political crisis, he cryptically told reporters that he could neither open nor close the door to a future military coup.
Salma Shukrallah: Egypt’s constitution: Who’s backing it and why? (al-Ahram)
Unlike the former constitutional referendum in 2012, which saw an obvious split between Islamists and non-Islamists, polarisation has grown more complicated ahead of the upcoming constitutional referendum.
Other groups also opposing Morsi during his year in power saw the articles related to military as reason to reject constitution. Member groups of the Way of the Revolution Front, who position themselves as anti-Brotherhood and anti-military, including the April 6 youth movement, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Strong Egypt Party announced they would vote ‘no’ to the amended constitution.
The articles groups rejected include that allowing military trials of civilians, that which prevents Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi from being removed for two consecutive terms as well as others.
The Strong Egypt Party for its part also stated it rejected the whole context in which the constitutional amendments and referendum are taking place.
“Despite our participation on 30 June [in mass protests against the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi], we are against 3 July [the day Morsi was announced ousted by army chief El-Sisi, backed by political and religious figures and a new roadmap was declared] and the consequences that followed…since then there has also been an increase in violence and repression,” Mohamed Osman of the Strong Egypt Party told Ahram Online.
The Front of the Revolutionary Path (or Way of the Revolution Front) apparently doesn’t have a website of its own, just a Facebook page and a Twitter account.
No to a constitution that does not realize the aims of the revolution (Thuwwār/Facebook)
There’s an article about them on Wikipedia in English:
Road of the Revolution Front (Wikipedia)
Amy Goodman, Rashid Khalidi, Noam Chomsky, Avi Shlaim: <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/13/noam_chomsky_on_the_legacy_of Noam Chomsky on the Legacy of Ariel Sharon: "Not Speaking Ill of the Dead "Imposes a Vow of Silence" / Sabra & Shatila Massacre That Forced Sharon’s Ouster Recalls Worst of Jewish Pogroms / For Peace Today, US Must End Support for Sharon’s Expansionist Legacy (Democracy Now)
Among Palestinians, Sharon was one of the most reviled political figures in the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict. He’s seen as father of the settlement movement, an architect of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which killed a reported 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese. An Israeli commission of inquiry found Sharon had indirect responsibility for the massacre of over a thousand Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon in 1982.
Saed Bannoura: European legislators threatened with arrest by Israeli authorities (International Middle East Media Center)
Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon declared, on Tuesday, that former British International Development Secretary Clare Short and three other European legislators would be arrested if they try to come to Israel, due to their involvement in a European-Palestinian organization calling for an end to the Israeli siege on Gaza.
Omar Barghouti: Is BDS’ campaign against Israel reaching a turning point? (AlJazeera)
At the height of its military – particularly nuclear – and economic power, Israel is feeling uncharacteristically vulnerable; but this time the threat is ironically coming from a nonviolent movement anchored in international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Last June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu effectively declared the Palestinian-led global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement a “strategic threat” to Israel’s regime of occupation, colonisation and apartheid by deciding to assign the overall responsibility for fighting against the BDS to the ministry of strategic affairs.
This dramatic shift reflects the failure of Israel’s well-oiled “Brand Israel” campaign, run by the foreign ministry since BDS was launched in 2005, which sees culture as a propaganda tool and whose logic is to use Israeli artists and writers to show the world “Israel’s prettier face”.
Herb Keinon: Foreign Ministry summons Dutch ambassador over pension fund divestment (Jerusalem Post)
For the second time in the last month and-a-half Israels Foreign Ministry on Friday summoned the Dutch ambassador to protest a large Dutch company’s decision to sever ties with Israel.
Deputy Director General for European Affairs Raffi Schutz told the Dutch ambassador that the decision of PGGM pension fund to divest from Israel is unacceptable and relies on false pretenses. …
PGGM is among the Netherlands’ largest pension fund managers, with assets in excess of €153 billion ($210b.). Its dealing with Israeli banks amounts to tens of millions of euros, according to Haaretz.
It is the latest in a string of large Dutch companies that have cut off ties with Israeli entities.
Last month Dutch water giant Vitens canceled cooperation with Israel’s water corporation Mekorot because of alleged infractions of international law.
Ahmed Moor: Sharon: The architect of terror (AlJazeera)
In many ways, Ariel Sharon was the most complete Zionist of his generation. He embodied an expansionary, rapacious view of Jewish privilege in Palestine – the essential Zionism – well after many of his co-religionists had claimed to settle for less…
Sharon’s daring and willingness to lead attacks against civilians marked him for command among his fellows. In 1953, he orchestrated the massacre of 69 Palestinian civilians in Qibya while leading “Unit 101” – an infamous Israeli army unit dedicated to extracting high civilian costs among Palestinian communities that resisted the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The murders of mostly women and children served to foreshadow Sharon’s responsibility for Sabra and Shatila decades later…
Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was ostensibly designed to prevent Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) guerrillas from striking Israeli outposts near the Lebanon-Israel border. His forces shelled and besieged Beirut while world powers negotiated an end to the devastation. The Israelis agreed to withdraw in return for Yasser Arafat’s exile to Tunisia. Arafat and his fighters were forced to abandon the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps – densely populated and impoverished urban ghettos on the outskirts of Beirut. The civilians there were left defenceless against the Israelis and their allies, the Lebanese Phalange militia. After the departure of the PLO, Sharon invited the Phalangists into the camps where they spent two days massacring approximately 3,000 Palestinian and Lebanese men, women and children…
Jewish-Israelis initially rejected Sharon’s sectarian brutality and war crimes, if not his objectives. A governmental panel censured him and forced him to resign from his post as minister of defence after investigating his role in Sabra and Shatila.
Seth Anziska: A Preventable Massacre (New York Times, 16 September 2012)