EU foreign ministers approved adding the military wing of the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah to the EU terror list on Monday. The EU's 28 foreign ministers reached the unanimous decision to blacklist the Iranian-backed group, which will mean imposing sanctions that likely include travel restrictions and asset freezes on people and organizations associated with the group. Some EU member states have been hesitant to blacklist Hezbollah saying the move could fuel instability in Lebanon, where the political arm of the group dominated the last cabinet, which resigned in March. Additionally, they argued it would be difficult to distinguish between the military and political wings of Hezbollah when imposing sanctions. However, Britain led a campaign over recent months to sway opponents, and the increased involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict in addition to evidence it was involved in a 2012 bus bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a bus driver convinced opponents to approve the measure. Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said, "It is good that the EU has decided to call Hezbollah what it is: a terrorist organization."
Violence escalated across Syria on Sunday with several pro-government attacks and fighting between Kurdish and Islamist opposition forces in one of the deadliest days in the over two-year conflict. Syrian forces reportedly killed dozens of rebels in fighting in the town of Adra, northeast of Damascus. According to Syria's state news agency SANA, the government forces killed "a large number" of Jabat al-Nusra militants. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported 49 opposition fighters were killed in the attack. Additionally, the pro-opposition activist group reported 17 rebels were killed in clashes in the Damascus neighborhoods of Qaboun and Jobar, as well as nine others killed in fighting in the suburbs of Daraya, Harasata, and Douma. The SOHR also accused pro-government forces of killing a family of 13 people in Bayda, with some reports saying they were corralled in one room and shot, and others saying they were burned alive when the house was set on fire. Meanwhile, infighting among opposition groups continued, as Kurdish militias battled with Islamist groups along the northern border with Turkey. Kurdish fighters surrounded a leader of an al Qaeda linked group near Tel Abyad. To ensure the safety of the commander, Islamist militants kidnapped 300 Kurdish civilians. The parties reached a deal, and the civilians and the commander were released. Clashes between Kurds, rebel fighters, and Islamist militants also continued near Ras al-Ain in Hasaka Province.
Arguments and Analysis
'How the June 30 uprising wasn't the January 25 revolution' (H.A. Hellyer, Al Arabiya)
"The January 25 revolution was not about Hosni Mubarak per se, but about the insistence on building a future based on bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity. The removal of Hosni Mubarak was a necessary, but insufficient, precondition for that to happen. Tahrir Square during the 18 days of uprising was a place of pluralism and coexistence between all strands of Egyptian society -- including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and by the end of it, even disaffected members of the state. It was where Shaykh Emad Effat, the Revolutionary Shaykh of the Azhar, entered and said, 'The first time I saw Tahrir Square was the first time I saw Egypt.'
No one can make this argument about the protests of June 30-July 3 -- there was one demand, and it was clear: the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from the presidency. This uprising had a destination -- but certainly not the same soul that existed during the January 25th uprising. The ecstasy and joy of June 30 protesters and supporters came only from being released, as they saw it, from their hijackers -- but beyond that, there is much that ought to be done to transform that group of protesters from simply being against something, to for something.
If the core group of January 25 revolutionaries were a disparate group supported by temporary allies, they at least had a common vision that went beyond simply the removal of Hosni Mubarak. On the other hand, beyond the removal of Mursi, very few of those who actively supported the protests of June 30-July 3 had a common progressive vision of pluralism in mind. Indeed, it is likely that those few who did were supporters of the January 25 revolution who decided that despite the risks, it was important for the revolution to be present at the June 30 protests, so that they could at least maintain the soul of January 25. In that regard, this was a continuation of the January 25 revolution because, indeed, the goals of the revolution could never be implemented with Mursi occupying the presidency.
But here is where June 30 was a failure for the revolution of the 25th of January. The problem traces back to March 19, 2011. On that day, the revolutionaries failed to convince the majority of voters that the post-Mubarak military road map was a mistake. If they had succeeded in convincing the public that a constitution was needed before presidential elections, and then provided a candidate that could make it into the second round of elections (or better yet, an election process that allowed for preferential voting), neither Shafiq nor Mursi would have won: and it is unlikely that the military would have had any cause -- or opportunity -- to intervene."
'Brotherhood's fiasco in Egypt will change future of Islamism' (Hussein Ibish, The National)
"The most likely long-term effect of this Islamist crisis is a gradually, perhaps rapidly, developing split within the movement between those who stick to traditional approaches and a latent -- or, as sociologist Asef Bayat would argue, already emerging -- post-Islamist trend. There is significant evidence that such an ideological split is already underway, mere days after Mr Morsi's downfall, given open disputes among Islamists throughout the region about the extent to which the Brotherhood, at least partly, brought this upon itself.
An emergent post-Islamist orientation would retain the essential Islamist trait of reclaiming the centrality of Muslim identity. But it would no longer misread Islam as a political ideology. It would not look for policy prescriptions in faith and apply ‘Islam has the answers' to the detailed, technical problems of governance. Instead, this emerging or potential post-Islamist trend returns Islam to the realm of identity and values, rather than law and policy.
Mahmoud Jibril, the leader of the Libyan National Forces Alliance, which thrashed Islamists in the party section of the Libyan legislative election, might be seen as an exemplar of where a post-Islamist political stance might situate itself vis-à-vis religion and society. Mr Jibril never allowed Islamists to outbid him on Muslim piety, insisting he was as devout and observant as anyone else. But he argued he was more patriotic than the Islamists, who were aligned with both a regional movement that does not put Libya first, and foreign powers, specifically Qatar. And he strongly made the case that Islam was too holy to be sullied with the profane world of politics. If the Libyan election was any indication, this hybrid, experimental and perhaps prototypically post-Islamist stance resonated strongly with the public.
However, such new trends might -- at least initially and especially if they primarily emerge out of the existing Islamist movements - retain a greater emphasis on social conservatism than Mr Jibril's non-Islamist or post-Islamist rhetoric."
--Mary Casey & Joshua Haber
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