Around the Internets

Hump day edition — get your fresh ‘n’ hot links (after the jump):

Morsi’s moment: Juan Cole on the leader who is most squarely stuck in the middle of the conflict between Hamas and Israel:

…Morsi as president makes part of the big difference between Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2008-09 and today’s assault. In 08-09, the Palestinians had no real support from Egypt and of course the Israeli government and the Bush administration had it in for them. Hosni Mubarak and his right hand man Omar Sulaiman hated Hamas. When Israel attacked Gaza, they quickly closed the Rafah crossing and Egyptian troops actually shot dead two Palestinians trying to flee into Egypt from the bombing.


This time, Morsi has called the invasion a “farce,” and has swung into action to get a ceasefire. He sent his prime minister into Gaza to make a statement, and his government has allowed over a dozen foreign ministers and other high officials from the Middle East into the Strip to show their solidarity or explore negotiations. It is not entirely clear what chips he brings to the table with regard to Israel. Egypt and Israel don’t do that much trade with one another, and Morsi has few effective moves. He can keep Egypt’s ambassador to Israel at home and just play symbolic politics, though that step might not be effective.

As a last resort, he could always just go to Gaza himself, a step Palestinians are imploring him to take, calculating that Israel would not dare risk killing the president of Egypt with an errant air strike or in a land invasion.

More from Nathan Guttman:

 In past crises involving Hamas and Israel, Washington — which regards Hamas as a terrorist group and will not engage in talks with it — would turn to Egypt as the sole regional power enjoying relations with both sides. Egypt, in turn, would push Hamas to accept a ceasefire agreement. It was a practice well honed during the Mubarak years, with Egypt’s former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and other Egyptian officials using their ties to defuse tensions and keep a lid on violence.

This time, according to Dennis Ross, who served as President Obama’s top Middle East adviser, the newly minted Egyptian leadership is “in the middle of a terrible dilemma.” Morsi’s domestic constituents are pressing it to react forcefully to Israel’s attacks on Gaza, even by severing ties with Israel. At the same time, Morsi and his government recognize that any such act would lead to a cut in American and European financial aid to his cash-stripped country, ending any hope for economic recovery.


In part because of such public shows of sympathy with Hamas, Washington views Morsi as having enough room for maneuvering in behind-the scenes-negotiations to bring the violence to an end. “Egypt,” Ross said, “has a huge stake” in succeeding as the regional moderator in this conflict. “Does Egypt want Hamas to dictate its future?”

(Reuters is reporting that a ceasefire has been reached — developing.)

“Clowns to the left of me…”, etc: Charles Pierce on why he can’t take sides in the I/P debate:

I would like to have an opinion on this continual bloodletting that didn’t sound banal but, goddammit, I’m out of them. I am thoroughly sick of both sides here. Opportunistic cutthroats poke a stick at the region’s most powerful military, knowing full well that said military will overreact and that the overreaction will fall most heavily on the civilian population on whose behalf the cutthroats are allegedly acting. Said military reacts right on cue, with all the modern military hardware against which the cutthroats know that they and the people they allegedly represent have no possible defense. Innocent people die. Then more innocent people die. (This, by the way, is how, down through the decades, the IRA went from being a legitimate vehicle of Irish nationalism to being in many places simply a criminal gang.) Then people start talking about how the innocent people are not really innocentyou know, because of historical grievance, whadeedoodah. (Time once again to quote Mr. Joyce about history and nightmares.) Again, and on and on and on. And, on this side of the Atlantic, people on one side start writing stuff straight out of der Sturmer. (The president is supporting Israel because he “will need help from a lot of ardent Zionists in powerful places.” What, no puppet strings?) There are very few issues on which I feel utterly hopeless. This is one of them.

Aaron Bady (h/t) responds:







File under: Women’s rights are human rights: Phillipa Lewis on the struggle for women’s land rights in Uganda (h/t):

As in many countries in the East African region, Uganda suffers from high gender inequality and is currently ranked 116th out of 146 countries on the Gender Inequality Index. At present, women provide 70-80 % of agricultural labour and 90 % of all labour involving food production in Uganda, yet own just a fraction of the land with figures varying between 7% and 20%.

Analysts believe that increasing women’s accessibility to land would boost agricultural production, but the benefits of female land ownership extend beyond just the economic. Owning land can play a critical role in individual women’s social standing, wellbeing and basic empowerment as well as form part of a larger movement to increase the status of women across Uganda more generally.

 Exit music:

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"I don't fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future."

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