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Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Excerpts: Egypt to up gas supplies to Jordan. Syrian refugees in Jordan. Turkey plans legal action re 2010 flotilla raid November 07, 2012

Excerpts: Egypt to up gas supplies to Jordan.Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Turkey plans legal action re 2010 flotilla raid November 07, 2012

+++SOURCE:Jordan Times 7 Nov.’12:”Cairo agrees to up Jordan’s gas supplies”by
Taylor Luck
SUBJECT: Egypt ‘to up Jordan’s gas supplies”
QUOTE:”Jordan imports at least 96 percent of its energy needs”
FULL TEXT:AMMAN — Egypt has agreed to boost Jordan’s gas supplies, Minister
of Energy and Mineral Resources Alaa Batayneh announced on Tuesday[6 Nov.],
ending a months-long dispute over the country’s former primary energy

According to Batayneh, Egyptian Minister of Oil Osama Kamal agreed on
Tuesday[6 Nov.]to raise gas quantities from a recent average of 40 million
cubic feet (mcf) daily to 200mcf, minimum rate outlined in an amended
agreement signed between the two sides in 2011, by the end of the month.

During a “decisive” meeting over the future of the Egyptian-Jordanian gas
agreement in the Egyptian capital on Tuesday[6 Nov.], Cairo also agreed to
provide Amman with additional quantities as compensation for ongoing
disruptions in supplies, Batayneh said in a statement to The Jordan Times.

Tuesday’s outcome is seen as a breakthrough in a months-long dispute over
Jordan’s Egyptian gas supplies, which as recently as late 2010 accounted for
80 per cent of the country’s electricity generation needs.

According to energy ministry sources, Jordan had gone into Tuesday’s[6 Nov.]
meeting prepared to “turn its back” on Egyptian gas, which Cairo suspended
in early October due to a rise in domestic demand.

Due to a series of acts of sabotage and technical delays, the country’s
supplies had dropped to an average of 40mcf per day, well below the 250mcf
outlined in a 14-year gas agreement inked in 2004 and less than 16 per cent
of the country’s electricity generation needs.

The drop in gas supplies has forced the country to rely on costlier heavy
oil and diesel imports, which officials say has pushed fuel and energy
subsidies to over JD2.2 billion and widened the national deficit to a
near-record JD1.2 billion.

Although Tuesday’s [6 Nov.]announcement is set to relieve Jordan’s emerging
energy crunch, officials say Jordan will continue to pursue alternative
energy sources such as liquefied gas.

Jordan currently imports at least 96 per cent of its energy needs at a cost
of nearly one-fourth of its gross domestic product

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 7 Nov.’12:”Syrian refugee influx rises amid border
violence”, by Taylor Luck

SUBJECT: Syrian refugees in Jordan

QUOTE:”Syrian refugees pouring into the Kingdom has risen by some 500
persons a day”

FULL TEXT:AMMAN — The number of Syrians crossing into Jordan continues to
rise, despite Damascus’ reported military crackdown on civilians attempting
to flee their homeland, relief officials said Tuesday.

The number of refugees pouring into the Kingdom has risen to some 500
persons per day, including the entry of over 1,000 new arrivals on Monday[5
Nov.] and Tuesday[6 Nov.] alone, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR).

“We are still seeing wave after wave of new arrivals, and with the situation
in Syria, we expect this trend to continue,” UNHCR Representative in Jordan
Andrew Harper told The Jordan Times.

The influx has pushed the population of the Zaatari Refugee Camp in northern
Jordan to over 40,000, officials said, placing pressure on the government to
open a second camp within the next month.

The number of arrivals is rising despite Damascus’ reported military
crackdown in the border region, with Syrian activists accusing regime forces
of targeting refugees with gunfire and mortar rockets.

“The guns, tanks and missiles of the regime are being aimed at every man,
woman and child that comes near the border,” said Abu Hani, a member of the
Free Syrian Army currently stationed in the border region.

“Although we are losing tens of lives with each crossing, for many it is
worth the risk,” he said.

Mohammed Rifai, a Daraa resident, is one of hundreds of Syrians who have
braved the journey to Jordan despite the reported border crackdown.

The university student claimed that he was almost hit by a missile while
attempting to cross into the Kingdom along with a group of some 200 Syrians
late Saturday.

“As soon as we got near the border, the rockets began to fall like rain,”
said Rifai, who now resides at the Zaatari camp near Mafraq, 80km northeast
of Amman.

“It is as if the regime wants to drain every last drop of Syrian blood,” the
23-year-old said.

The crackdown is part of Damascus’ recent military offensive designed to
reassert control over border regions and key rebel strongholds in the
southern region.

Rebel forces claim that the offensive has dismantled traditional smuggling
networks and has stranded some 8,000 internally displaced Syrians along the

Jordan continues to follow an open-border policy, having granted refuge to
some 235,000 Syrians since the onset of the conflict in March 2011

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 6 Nov.’12:” Turkey to try Israeli top brass in
deadly flotilla raid”, Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Turkey plans legal action re 2010 flotilla raid
QUOTES:”An Istanbul court is set to begin [6 Nov.] the trial of 4 top
Israeli commanders.”; “a case likely to rekindle tensions between former
allied Turkey and Israel”
FULL TEXT:ISTANBUL — An Istanbul court is set to begin Tuesday]6 Nov.] the
trial of four top Israeli commanders Turkey blames for a deadly 2010 raid on
a Gaza-bound ship, a case likely to rekindle tensions between former allies
Turkey and Israel.

Tuesday’s hearing comes months after the court approved an indictment by
prosecutors, who are seeking life sentences for the top Israeli officials in
the deadly maritime assault.

The accused are all but certain not to attend the trial, after Israel ruled
that those who took part in the raid did nothing wrong.

One of the five plaintiff lawyers, Buhari Cetinkaya, told AFP that
prosecutors had looked up the chain of command after failing to identify all
the troops who actually carried out the raid.

“We had identified some of the Israeli commandos involved in the raid but I
think the prosecutor was not able to verify from the Israeli side,”
Cetinkaya said.

“So the case landed on the four Israeli commanders, as the decision passed
down through a mechanism headed by these people,” the lawyer added.

The accused officials are: Former military chief of staff Gaby Ashkenazi,
former Navy chief Eliezer Marom, former military intelligence head Amos
Yadlin and former air force intelligence chief Avishai Levy.

Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the largest ship
in a flotilla aimed at breaking Israel’s Gaza blockade, on May 31, 2010,
leaving nine Turkish activists dead.

Last year, an Israeli probe ruled the raid did not violate international
law, in a finding that Turkey said lacked credibility.

A United Nations report in September 2011 found Israel had used “excessive”
force in the raid, but also said Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal
and that the flotilla organisers had acted “recklessly” in attempting the

The raid triggered a crisis between Israel and Turkey, once regional allies,
and resulted in a dramatic downgrade in diplomatic relations and expelling
of the Israeli ambassador from Turkey. Military ties were also cut

Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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