Egypt's intelligence chief visits Israel

The Egyptian Intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, travelled to Israel on Thursday to officially discuss the Middle East peace process. Haaretz reports that Israeli President Shimon Peres met with Suleiman and "discussed different methods to jump start the flailing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians."

The visit reflects the importance of Suleiman and the Egyptian state security apparatus -- not only for domestic issues, but broader international objectives as well.

As the director of the powerful Egyptian GIS, Suleiman enjoys the support and confidence of President Hosni Mubarak, and the multifaceted role of Suleiman reflects the nature of the present government in Egypt, where regime support is highly valued and loyalty is rewarded with top trusted positions.

This is not the first time Suleiman has served such roles for Mubarak. Suleiman hosted "talks aimed at encouraging... cease-fire between Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel" in early 2009, according to UPI.

The stated purpose for Suleiman's trip is to talk about the peace process, but there's likely more on the agenda. The two countries also share concerns over the rising influence of Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Egypt last year in a bid to create Arab opposition to counter the Iranian nuclear program.

Relations between Egypt and Iran detiorated following the Islamic Revloution in Iran; last year, Egypt has accussed Iran of backing subversive Hezbollah operatives in the country and convicted 26 men of espionage against the state. 

Israel is likely looking to capitalize on Cairo's growing discomfort.

Debbie Hill - Pool/Getty Images


Leaked video of Chinese fishing boat collision

Video appearing to show a Chinese fishing boat ramming a Japanese patrol boat near disputed islands in the East China Sea in early September, an incident which set off a major diplomatic row between the two countries, leaked to YouTube yesterday. The video had previously only been seen by senior Japanese lawmakers. 

There are dozens of versions of the clip floating around YouTube today. The one above shows the actual collision a little after the 2 minute mark.