Two rockets hit the Israeli Red Sea resort city of Eilat

Two rockets fired from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt hit the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat on Wednesday morning. Israeli media reported that a third missile possibly landed on the outskirts of the city, and two others might have hit the neighboring Jordanian resort city of Aqaba. However, Jordanian authorities said that no rockets ...

AFP/Getty Images/DAVID BUIMOVITCH
AFP/Getty Images/DAVID BUIMOVITCH
AFP/Getty Images/DAVID BUIMOVITCH

Two rockets fired from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt hit the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat on Wednesday morning. Israeli media reported that a third missile possibly landed on the outskirts of the city, and two others might have hit the neighboring Jordanian resort city of Aqaba. However, Jordanian authorities said that no rockets had hit the city. The small militant Salafi group Magles Shura al-Mujahdin claimed responsibility for the attack, and some Egyptian security sources said the rockets had likely been launched from Egyptian territory. Another Egyptian security source said, "There is not yet any evidence indicating these rockets were fired from Egypt." According to the Israeli military, the rockets, which hit a construction site and an open area, did not cause any casualties or damage. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) deployed its Iron Dome missile defense system to the city two weeks ago, but while it tracked the incoming rockets, it did not intercept them "for operational reasons," according to an Israeli military spokeswoman. There has been increased concern over the insecurity in the Sinai since the Egyptian revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, and Eilat was targeted by three rocket attacks in 2012, although there were no injuries.

Syria

Fighting has paused in Aleppo, Syria's biggest city and one of the main battlegrounds in the civil war. The temporary truce, the first in the area in months, is to allow for Red Crescent workers to collect 31 bodies, mainly civilians killed by government snipers, which have been decomposing amid the rubble of the al-Sakhour district in north Aleppo. According to activists, heavy fighting continues in other neighborhoods and near Aleppo International Airport. Additionally, a government rocket reportedly killed an estimated 12 people in the Syrian village of Eastern Buwaydah, between Homs and the Lebanese border, on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Belgian police raided 48 homes and arrested six people suspected of recruiting jihadist fighters to join the conflict in Syria. The presence of foreign fighters in Syria has been increasing. Most of the fighters are believed to come from Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and North Africa. However, According to the British based International Center for the Study of Radicalization, between 140 and 600 Europeans are suspected to have gone to Syria since early 2011, which is estimated to be between seven and 11 percent of the total number of foreign fighters. U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi plans to sever his ties with the Arab League, according to anonymous diplomats. The diplomats said that the Arab League's recognition of the Syrian opposition have jeopardized the envoy's neutrality. Brahimi is scheduled to brief the U.N. Security Council on Friday on the situation in Syria, which is expected to be "another bleak report."

Two rockets fired from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt hit the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat on Wednesday morning. Israeli media reported that a third missile possibly landed on the outskirts of the city, and two others might have hit the neighboring Jordanian resort city of Aqaba. However, Jordanian authorities said that no rockets had hit the city. The small militant Salafi group Magles Shura al-Mujahdin claimed responsibility for the attack, and some Egyptian security sources said the rockets had likely been launched from Egyptian territory. Another Egyptian security source said, "There is not yet any evidence indicating these rockets were fired from Egypt." According to the Israeli military, the rockets, which hit a construction site and an open area, did not cause any casualties or damage. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) deployed its Iron Dome missile defense system to the city two weeks ago, but while it tracked the incoming rockets, it did not intercept them "for operational reasons," according to an Israeli military spokeswoman. There has been increased concern over the insecurity in the Sinai since the Egyptian revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, and Eilat was targeted by three rocket attacks in 2012, although there were no injuries.

Syria

Fighting has paused in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city and one of the main battlegrounds in the civil war. The temporary truce, the first in the area in months, is to allow for Red Crescent workers to collect 31 bodies, mainly civilians killed by government snipers, which have been decomposing amid the rubble of the al-Sakhour district in north Aleppo. According to activists, heavy fighting continues in other neighborhoods and near Aleppo International Airport. Additionally, a government rocket reportedly killed an estimated 12 people in the Syrian village of Eastern Buwaydah, between Homs and the Lebanese border, on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Belgian police raided 48 homes and arrested six people suspected of recruiting jihadist fighters to join the conflict in Syria. The presence of foreign fighters in Syria has been increasing. Most of the fighters are believed to come from Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and North Africa. However, According to the British based International Center for the Study of Radicalization, between 140 and 600 Europeans are suspected to have gone to Syria since early 2011, which is estimated to be between seven and 11 percent of the total number of foreign fighters. U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi plans to sever his ties with the Arab League, according to anonymous diplomats. The diplomats said that the Arab League’s recognition of the Syrian opposition have jeopardized the envoy’s neutrality. Brahimi is scheduled to brief the U.N. Security Council on Friday on the situation in Syria, which is expected to be "another bleak report."

Headlines

  • The British government has requested permission to appeal to the Supreme Court in efforts to reverse a ruling preventing the deportation to Jordan of Islamic cleric Abu Qatada.
  • Rescue teams are heading to the remote border region between Iran and Pakistan after a powerful earthquake hit the regionTuesday and is expected to have killed dozens of people. 

Arguments and Analysis

Trial by Error: Justice in Post-Qadhafi Libya (International Crisis Group)

"There are many necessary cures to Libya’s pervasive insecurity, but few more urgent than repairing its judicial system. Qadhafi-era victims, distrusting an apparatus they view as a relic, take matters in their hands; some armed groups, sceptical of the state’s ability to carry out justice, arbitrarily detain, torture or assassinate presumed Qadhafi loyalists; others, taking advantage of disorder, do violence for political or criminal aims. All this triggers more grievances, further undermining confidence in the state. Breaking this cycle requires multi-pronged action: delivering justice to former regime victims by reforming the judiciary and kick-starting transitional justice; screening out ex-regime loyalists guilty of crimes while avoiding witch-hunts; and reining in armed groups, including those operating under a state umbrella. Unless there is a clear message – the justice system is being reformed; no violence or abuse, done in the past by Qadhafi-era officials or in the present by armed groups will be tolerated – there is a real risk of escalating targeted assassinations, urban violence and communal conflicts.

It has been well over a year since Qadhafi’s regime was ousted and still there is no functioning court system in many parts of the country, while armed groups continue to run prisons and enforce their own forms of justice. The severe deficiencies of the current judicial system are rooted, first and foremost, in the failings of the one that, in principle, it has replaced. Under Qadhafi, the judiciary suffered from politicisation of appointments, rampant corruption and the use of extrajudicial means to target political opponents. Four decades of such arbitrary justice served as a burdensome backdrop to the new government’s efforts; faced with a choice between summarily dismissing judicial officers who served under Qadhafi or gradually screening them one-by-one, the new authorities so far have opted for the latter. While this was the right decision, it has contributed to public scepticism regarding the scope of change.

The situation has been complicated by the proliferation of armed groups. Distrustful of the Qadhafi-era judiciary and police, frustrated by the slow pace of trials against former officials, facing state security forces in disarray and emboldened by their new power, so-called revolutionary brigades – and, at times, criminal gangs posing as such – have been operating above the law, hindering the work of investigators and judges. They all at once assume the roles of police, prosecutors, judges and jailers. Armed brigades create investigation and arrest units; draft lists of wanted individuals; set up checkpoints or force their way into people’s homes to capture presumed outlaws or people suspected of aiding the former regime; and, in some cases, run their own detention facilities in their own headquarters, isolated farms or commandeered former state buildings. Thousands of individuals are in their hands, outside the official legal framework and without benefit of judicial review or basic due process. As
sassinations and growing attacks against government security forces have further darkened the picture."

Syria’s six simultaneous conflicts (Rami Khouri, The Daily Star)

"The conflict in Syria has assumed more dangerous dimensions with the latest developments along the Syrian-Lebanese border, where forces with and against both the Syrian government and Hezbollah have engaged in cross-border shelling. This builds on a recent spate of tit-for-tat kidnappings in northeastern Lebanon’s own frontier region that captures all the modern Arab world’s vagaries of nationalism, statehood, identity, sectarianism and citizenship.

The easiest way to describe the events in that region has been to speak of Sunni-Shiite fighting, or antagonisms between pro- and anti-Syrian government elements. The involvement of Hezbollah adds a significant new element to the mix, and also helps to clarify what the fighting in and near Syria is all about. It is much more than "spillover" of the Syrian war into Lebanon. I have previously described the war in Syria as the greatest proxy battle of our age, and that is now clearer than ever as we see how Syria comprises a rich and expansive web of other conflicts playing out on a local, regional and global scale.

The war in Syria is so enduring and vexing precisely because it is such a multilayered conflict, comprising at least six separate battles taking place at the same time:"

–By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary

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