Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

Israel partly to blame for growing isolation in region, says US

imageThe United States has delivered an unusually blunt critique of Israel’s foreign policy by claiming that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was partly responsible for its growing isolation in the region.

Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, suggested that Israel carried a portion of the blame for its deteriorating relationship with Turkey and Egypt, two vital allies whose ties with the Jewish state have become increasingly strained in recent weeks.

Speaking as he arrived in the Holy Land on Monday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Mr Panetta gave warning that Israel’s dependence on its military dominance was not a sufficient safeguard given the dramatic shifts in the Middle East’s political landscape in the wake of the Arab Spring.

“There’s not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge,” he said. “But the question you have to ask is it enough to maintain a military edge if you’re isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena.

“At this dramatic time in the Middle East, when there have been so many changes, it’s not a good situation for Israel to become increasingly isolated. And that’s what happening.” (more…)

Pentagon looks to social media as new battlefield

The Pentagon is asking scientists to figure out how to detect and counter propaganda on social media networks in the aftermath of Arab uprisings driven by Twitter and Facebook.

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The US military’s high-tech research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has put out a request for experts to look at “a new science of social networks” that would attempt to get ahead of the curve of events unfolding on new media.

The program’s goal was to track “purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation” in social networks and to pursue “counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations,” according to DARPA’s request for proposals issued on July 14. (more…)

Syrian funding causes embarrassment at British university

imageUniversity of St Andrews to review acceptance of funding arranged by Bashar al-Assad’s controversial regime in Damascus A prestigious British university is to review the work of one of its academic research centres because its funding was arranged by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, the Guardian can reveal.

The University of St Andrews, where Prince William and Kate Middleton studied, has received more than £100,000 in funding for its centre for Syrian studies with the assistance of Syria’s ambassador to the UK, Sami Khiyami. (more…)

Turkey set to lose F1 grand prix from 2012 after dispute over race fee

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• Turkish media report that Istanbul race is off F1 calendar
• ‘Disagreement’ with Bernie Ecclestone over payment hike
The next round of the Formula One world championship in Turkey may well be the last time the country stages a race after organisers claimed they had been priced out, with costs set to double to $26m (£15.75m) next year.

The Istanbul Park circuit, whose contract runs out this year, hosted its first grand prix in 2005, and the construction costs and race fees were met by the government. Despite some logistical difficulties, with fans stuck in traffic jams, the inaugural race was sold out and seen as successful in a country with little or no tradition of, or interest in, motor sport. However, this factor became telling soon afterwards. Attendances began falling and by 2009 only 36,000 were at the circuit on race day. The same year, 128,000 attended the British grand prix. (more…)

Why Beck Is Out At Fox: Poor Ratings And Paranoid Rants

After weeks of rumors about poor ratings and increasing concern at Fox News headquarters over Beck’s apocalyptic ranting, it’s finally official — Glenn Beck is ending his daily show on Fox. An announcement posted on his website today, but then taken down without explanation, said: (more…)