Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa Al-Omrani,"Big Powers Moving In on Gaza," IPS, April 3, 2009.

CAIRO, Apr 3 (IPS) - Nine NATO member states agreed last month to utilise naval, intelligence and diplomatic resources to combat the alleged flow of arms into the Gaza Strip. Some Egyptian commentators see the move as a surreptitious means of cementing foreign control over the region.

"These new protocols aren't really about halting arms smuggling," Tarek Fahmi, political science professor at Cairo University and head of the Israel desk at the Cairo-based National Centre for Middle East Studies, told IPS. "Rather, they aim to establish foreign control over the region's strategic border crossings and maritime ports."

On Mar. 13, a major conference was held in London aimed at "coordinating efforts" to stop alleged arms smuggling - by land or sea - into the Gaza Strip, governed by Palestinian resistance faction Hamas. Participants at the conference included high-level representatives from nine member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), including the U.S., Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy and Norway.

  A third, follow-up meeting is expected to be held in Canada in April to "work out details" of the pact, according to diplomats close to the talks.

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