Saturday, February 9, 2013

Real News Video: Sexual Harassment of Women is State Sponsored Say Egyptian Women

Jihan Hafiz: Systematic attacks targeting female protesters in Tahrir square have forced an ugly epidemic into the national spotlight.

More at The Real News

Al-Jazeera Video: Talk to Al Jazeera - Moncef Marzouki: The price of a revolution

Al-Jazeera Video: Thousands expected at Tunisia opposition leader's funeral

"Tunisian protesters clashed with police at Bourgiba square - the place where thousands converged for days in December 2011, sparking a revolution that led to the downfall of former president Ben Ali and later spread across the region. Now the demonstrators are united against the ruling Ennahda party which they accuse of assassinating opposition leader Shokri Belaid. Tension is on the rise and the largest labour union has called a general strike on Friday when thousands are expected to take part in the funeral of Belaid. Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra reports from Tunis."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian rebels make gains in Aleppo city

"The opposition in Syria is hoping it can gain the upper hand in Allepo city now that its fighters have taken control of a district in the southeast. The territorial gain has blocked the government's only land route into areas it controls in the west of the city. But as Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports from Aleppo, the government is fighting back."

Al-Jazeera Video: حديث الثورة- تصاعد القتال بدمشق، المأزق التونسي

Guardian Video: West Bank violence following settlement protest

"Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on Saturday at a protest against Jewish settlements in the area. Six people, two of them journalists, are detained at the site in South Hebron. Israeli forces used foul-smelling water to disperse demonstrators and dismantled tents set up in protest."

Saudi Arabia beheading nearly two people per week this year

Amnesty International

"A spree of executions that has sent10 prisoners to their deaths since the beginning of the year in Saudi Arabia must be halted, Amnesty International said today.

The beheadings included the death of Abdullah Fandi al-Shammari on 5 February 2013 who had originally been convicted of manslaughter, but was tried again on the charge of murder in proceedings that did not meet fair trial standards.

The case has attracted significant attention in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Shammari was beheaded having spent over 30 years in prison.

“This case has thrown the country’s flawed justice system into especially sharp relief, highlighting the serious lack of transparency, patently unfair trials, and fatal results,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa........"

البرنامج - المانيا رايح جاي - الحلقة 12

Is This the Secret U.S. Drone Base in Saudi Arabia?


These satellite images show a remote airstrip deep in the desert of Saudi Arabia. It may or may not be the secret U.S. drone base revealed by reporters earlier this week. But the base’s hangars bear a remarkable resemblance to similar structures found on other American drone outposts. And its remote location — dozens of miles from the nearest highway, and farther still to the nearest town – suggests that this may be more than the average civilian airstrip.
According to accounts from the Washington Post and The New York Times, the U.S. built its secret Saudi base approximately two years ago. Its first lethal mission was in September of 2011: a strike on Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born propagandist for al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia. Since then, the U.S. has launched dozens of drone attacks on Yemeni targets. News organizations eventually found out about the base. But they agreed to keep it out of their pages — part of an informal arrangement with the Obama administration, which claimed that the disclosure of the base’s location, even in a general way, might jeopardize national security. On Tuesday, that loose embargo was broken.
The location of the airfield. Click to enlarge. Image: via Bing Maps
The image of the airfield, available in Bing Maps, would be almost impossible to discover randomly. At moderate resolutions, satellite images of the area show nothing but sand dunes. Only on close inspection does the base reveal itself. In Google’s catalog of satellite pictures, the base doesn’t appear at all.
The images show a trio of “clamshell”-style hangars, surrounded by fencing. Each is more than 150 feet long and approximately 75 feet wide; that’s sufficient to hold U.S. Predator and Reaper drones. The hangars are slightly larger, though similar in shape, to ones housing unmanned planes at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan. Shamsi Air Field in Pakistan, which once held U.S. drones, boasts a group of three hangars not unlike the ones of the Saudi base. No remotely piloted aircraft are visible in the images. But a pair of former American intelligence officers tell Danger Room that they are reasonably sure that this is the base revealed by the media earlier this week.
“I believe it’s the facility that the U.S. uses to fly drones into Yemen,” one officer says. “It’s out in eastern Saudi Arabia, near Yemen and where the bad guys are supposed to hang out. It has those clamshell hangars, which we’ve seen before associated with U.S. drones.”....."

Friday, February 8, 2013

CODEPINK Repeatedly Disrupts Brennan Hearing Calling Out Names Of Civilians Killed in Drone Strikes

Democracy Now!

"Thursday’s confirmation hearing for CIA nominee John Brennan was briefly postponed to clear the room of activists from CODEPINK after they repeatedly disrupted Brennan’s testimony. One woman held a list of Pakistani children killed in U.S. drone strikes. Former U.S. diplomat Col. Ann Wright interrupted Brennan while wearing a sign around her neck with the name of Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old Pakistani boy who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Wright and seven others were arrested. We speak to CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin who also disrupted the meeting and recently visited Pakistan to speak with victims of drone strikes. “It’s not only the killing, it’s the terrorizing of entire populations, where they hear the drones buzzing overhead 24 hours a day. Where they’re afraid to go to school, afraid to go to the markets, to funerals, to weddings. Where it disrupts entire communities,” Benjamin says. “And we are trying to get this information to our elected officials, to say, 'You are making us unsafe here at home,' to say nothing about illegal, immoral and inhumane these policies are.”....."

Jeremy Scahill: Assassinations of U.S. Citizens Largely Ignored at Brennan CIA Hearing

Democracy Now!

"President Obama’s nominee to run the CIA, John Brennan, forcefully defended Obama’s counterterrorism policies, including the increase use of armed drones and the targeted killings of American citizens during his confirmation hearing Thursday. “None of the central questions that should have been asked of John Brennan were asked in an effective way,” says Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming book “Dirty Wars.” “In the cases where people like Sen. Angus King or Sen. Ron Wyden would ask a real question, for instance, about whether or not the CIA has the right to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. The questions were very good — Brennan would then offer up a non-answer. Then there would be almost a no follow-up.” Scahill went on to say, “[Brennan has] served for more than four years as the assassination czar, and it basically looked like they’re discussing purchasing a used car on Capitol hill. And it was total kabuki oversight. And that’s a devastating commentary on where things stand...."

Real News Video: Brennan Hearings: Who's Overseeing Who?

Ray McGovern: Hearing exposes how little oversight the Senate Intelligence Committee exercises over the CIA
More at The Real News

Tunisia is no longer a revolutionary poster-child

Tunisia's revolution was held up as a model. But rising political violence is a real threat to progress

The Guardian,

"......A report just released by Human Rights Watch cites attacks on activists, journalists, intellectual and political figures – all the incidents apparently "motivated by a religious agenda". Others have worried that the perpetrators of attacks on secular figures are not pursued rigorously by the coalition, thereby encouraging more of them.
There's concern that Ennahda has failed to act on verbal and physical attacks (for instance against a TV station, intellectuals and an art gallery last year) by the ultra-religious Salafi movement. And opposition groups, the General Labour Union and campaigners, including the Centre for Press Freedom, have voiced mounting concern at the Leagues for the Protection of the Revolution – neighbourhood protection groups claiming to fight corruption and old regime remnants. The opposition views them as Ennahda enforcers (though the party has dismissed claims of any affiliation with the leagues), and some Tunisians suspect them of being behind the murder of Belaid......."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New regime, same brutality in Egypt

By Cam McGrath 
Asia Times

"Video footage of Hamada Saber, an Egyptian protester, being dragged naked across a Cairo street and beaten by riot police has sparked outrage and intensified calls for police reform, a key demand of the 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak. With no change in a security culture that condoned torture, President Mohamed Morsi is accused of relying on the same brutality as his predecessors to crush dissent....."

Assad Eats Syria, by Osama Hajjaj

New Actors in Middle East Peace Charade

By Ramzy Baroud
Palestine Chronicle

"Despite much saber-rattling by Israel and the US administration and hyped-up expectations by the Palestinian leadership, the recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state last November is fast becoming yet another footnote in the protracted conflict.......

Until Palestinians find an alternative to this sorry trio of Israel-US-PA peacemakers, all they can expect is more of the same – a secret conference here, another settlement there and an occasional Israeli handout, oddly enough, taken from Palestinians’ own tax money."

US media yet again conceals newsworthy government secrets

The collective self-censorship over a US drone base in Saudi Arabia is but the latest act of government-subservient 'journalism',
The US media, over the last decade (at least), has repeatedly acted to conceal newsworthy information it obtains about the actions of the US government. In each instance, the self-proclaimed adversarial press corps conceals these facts at the behest of the US government, based on patently absurd claims that reporting them will harm US national security. In each instance, what this media concealment actually accomplishes is enabling the dissemination of significant government falsehoods without challenge, and permitting the continuation of government deceit and even illegality......"

Tunisia: Urgent need for investigation into Chokri Belaid’s killing

Amnesty International

".........In recent months, there have been a number of incidents of violence against political activists, premises of political parties and gatherings, including a meeting which Chokri Belaid attended as recently as last Saturday. He had reportedly been receiving threats.  

“The Tunisian authorities should be under no illusion that they can condemn the killing and move on. Only a fully independent and transparent investigation can help shed light on the circumstances of the killing of Chokri Belaid. There is a need, today more than ever, for justice to be done and to be seen to be done”, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

“Two years after the ousting of former President Ben Ali, there is an increasing mistrust in the institutions that are supposed to protect human rights and Tunisians will not be satisfied with a sham investigation”.

“Today’s shocking killing must serve as a wake-up call to the authorities. It is their duty to protect all individuals, including those who criticize the government or Tunisia’s leading Ennahda party, from violence. No group, regardless of its affiliation, can be above the law”.

Amnesty International has raised serious concerns over the lack of independence of the judiciary and the need for reform of the security sector......"

Egypt: Impunity fuels sexual violence

"Letting perpetrators in Egypt get away with sexual harassment and assault has fuelled violent attacks against women in the vicinity of Tahrir Square in recent months - continued impunity will only lead to further crimes, Amnesty International warned today in a new briefing.

Based on the accounts of survivors and activists gathered by Amnesty International, mob-led sexual assaults follow a clear pattern.

Women are attacked alone or separated from friends by a group of men that quickly escalates in number; the survivors are dragged inside the mob as hands and sometimes weapons violate their bodies and the men attempt to remove their clothes.

“Horrific, violent attacks on women including rape in the vicinity of Tahrir Square demonstrate that it’s now crucial President Morsi takes drastic steps to end this culture of impunity and gender-based discrimination, and for all political leaders to speak out,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.  

“Impartial, thorough investigations are vital to determine whether these mob attacks are co-ordinated by state or organized non-state actors and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice...."

Connect the Dots From Tunisia to Egypt: Incitement of violence against Egypt's opposition condemned

A religious edict sanctioning death for National Salvation Front opposition members sparks outrage and controversy; Islamists join calls for action against incitement

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Feb 2013

"Following controversial statements by an Al-Azhar professor claiming the opposition should be punished by death for attempting to bring down a leader elected by the public, a large number of Egyptians — Islamists and non-Islamists alike — have expressed their condemnation.

Mahmoud Shaaban, an Al-Azhar professor who also hosts a television show on the Islamic satellite Al-Hafez channel, made the statements, considered a religious fatwa, last week directly targeted at National Salvation Front (NSF) leaders Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabbahi, granting a green light for their killing.

Another Islamic, ultraconservative cleric, Wagdi Ghoneim, echoed Shaaban's statements by calling on all Muslims to "kill the thugs, criminals, and thieves who burn the country."
In response, ElBaradei on his official Twitter account Wednesday criticised the government for its silence over the statements made against him......"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptians take to streets against sexual violence

"In Egypt, thousands of men and women have marched against the sexual harrassment of female protestors. 

More than 20 women were sexually assaulted last month during the second anniversary of the so-called "Arab Spring" protests that led to the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, former president.

But sexual violence is nothing new in Egypt, one study estimates that more than 80 percent of women have experienced it at least once.

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from Cairo."

Al-Khatib’s Negotiation Proposal: A Crisis of Leadership?

by Karl Sharro
Moaz al-Khatib’s conditional proposal for negotiation with the Syrian regime has created much controversy among the ranks of the Syrian opposition, dominated by discussions about principles and tactics.
A more significant aspect of the proposal is that it reveals the improvised nature of decision making among the leadership of the ‘external’ opposition.
This makeshift approach to leadership will continue to squander the sacrifices of the Syrian people if not rectified urgently.
Such a change will require a bold decision to build a legitimate leadership on the ground in Syria.
Many criticized the head of the Syrian National Coalition’s proposal on the grounds that it represents a departure from the principle of not negotiating with Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Others argued that his conditions of releasing the estimated 160,000 political prisoners within Syrian jails and renewing the passport of Syrians abroad were worthy aims that justify such a negotiation.
But the merits of the proposal itself are, in fact, irrelevant.
The reality is that al-Khatib is in no position at the moment to make such proposals, nor is al-Assad disposed to recognising the National Coalition as the leading body of the uprising.
It is no secret that al-Khatib’s attempts at establishing control of the armed groups since his election in November have not been successful, nor have his attempts at consolidating the political leadership of the uprising within Syria.
Al-Khatib’s leadership, and that of the National Coalition, remains more dependent on external recognition than internal legitimacy.
In light of that and the apparent reluctance of Western governments to support the Syrian rebels, it is plausible to see al-Khatib’s proposal as an attempt at escaping forward and trying to change the dynamics of the situation to guarantee a role of the National Coalition.
The short-sightedness of this manoeuvre, however, is that it ignores that the ever-changing reality on the ground in Syria. The political vacuum left by the withdrawal of the government and the absence of the external opposition is being filled by emerging groups that are consolidating their power where it matters the most.
In fact, the Western reluctance to support the rebels is caused mainly by the anxiety towards the emerging  Islamist and Jihadi elements within Syria and the increasingly larger role they are playing not only militarily but also politically and administratively.
No amount of external funding can compensate for this grassroots-type action. In highly fluid situation like that of Syria now, the pace of change can be quite fast and the rise of new Islamist organisations can galvanise within months. (Much like what happened in Iraq and Lebanon before).
The success of the Islamists on the ground isn’t only a logistical and military matter, the role of ideology is very important. Islamists build on a certain interpretation of religious texts that gives meaning to their fight and instils a sense of purpose among their supporters.
Meanwhile, the external opposition continues to talk in vague generalities that lack any substance. And the recently released National Coalition ‘vision for transition’ was an uninspiring technocratic document that epitomised this failure in building a convincing political discourse.
The only way for the National Coalition to gain legitimacy and a sense of purpose is to be on the ground among the Syrian people, to engage, lead and project their demands.
If the opposition cannot administer the regime-free areas and establish a foothold there, there’s very little chance that it could actually play an important role in Syria’s transition towards democracy. The testing ground for any leadership is their effectiveness in those areas and among the hundreds of thousands of refugees scattered around the neighbouring countries.
Al-Khatib’s mistake was not realising that one cannot negotiate from a position of weakness. If he is serious about turning the situation around, he and the National Coalition will have to compete with the likes of Al-Nusra Front for the support of the Syrian people, on the ground.
The opposition should not rule out a negotiated political settlement that can avoid the prospect of an elongated civil war which will only add to the devastation and loss of life, but it must earn a seat at the negotiating table first.
The ‘political opposition’ has repeatedly failed the Syrian uprising and did not rise to the level of representing the aspirations and sacrifices of the Syrian people.
This is not about personalities or frictions as many argue, it is because this process of political formation is happening in a sterile external environment that is disconnected from the realities of Syria.
The only way forward is grounding this process within its natural environment and among the people that are its real constituency.

Lawmakers Threaten Funding of Brooklyn College for Hosting Event on BDS Campaign Against Israel

Democracy Now!

"New York politicians are threatening to cut funding to Brooklyn College if the school hosts a forum Thursday night about the Palestinian-led campaign to boycott and divest from Israel. The Brooklyn College Political Science Department is among the event’s co-sponsors. In response, a group of New York City Council members has raised the possibility of Brooklyn College losing taxpayer support. The council members’ threat is just one of several efforts by local lawmakers, from Congress on down, to pressure Brooklyn College to remove its sponsorship or even cancel the event. As the school vows to proceed with the event, we’re joined by one of its featured speakers, author and activist Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the BDS movement and author of "Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights." On BDS, Barghouti says, "It follows in the steps of the civil rights movement in this country, in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. … It’s just when we talk about Palestinian rights, that some people are trying to criminalize and make it completely unacceptable speech to address Palestinian rights under international law." We’re also joined by Glenn Greenwald, columnist for The Guardian and author of "With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful." ...."

Al-Jazeera Video: Anger in Tunisia over slain opposition figure

Al-Jazeera Video: Reaction & Analysis: Tunisian opposition leader killed

"A top Tunisian opposition figure, Shokri Belaid, leader of the left-leaning opposition Democratic Patriots party, has been shot dead as he was leaving his home. 

He was transported to a hospital in the suburbs of Tunis on Wednesday, where he died of his wounds, his bother confirmed."

Al-Jazeera Video: اشتباكات عنيفة في ساحة العباسيين بدمشق

Real News Video: Two Years On, Egyptian Revolution Caught in Violent Past

Egypt still reeling from January 25th anniversary violence, as police brutality moves some revolutionaries to abandon peaceful protests. Over 60 people have been killed across country, hundreds more injured, detained and still missing. Police torture leaves multiple detainees fighting for their lives in hospitals, while one activist died Monday morning after subjected to savage police torture. Attacks on police stations and government institutions are on the rise. 

More at The Real News

CIA using Saudi base for drone assassinations in Yemen

Disclosure comes as architect of programme, John Brennan, prepares for Senate confirmation hearing to become CIA director

, Middle East editor,

"The CIA is secretly using an airbase in Saudi Arabia to conduct its controversial drone assassination campaign in neighbouring Yemen, according to reports in the US media.

Neither the Saudi government nor the country's media have responded to the reports revealing that the drones that killed the US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his son in September 2011 and Said al-Shehri, a senior al-Qaida commander who died from his injuries last month, were launched from the unnamed base.

Iranian state media highlighted the story, which is also likely to be seized upon by jihadi groups. Saudi Arabia has previously publicly denied co-operating with the US to target al-Qaida in Yemen. Evidence of Saudi involvement risks complicating its relationship with the government in Sana'a and with Yemeni tribal leaders who control large parts of the country......"

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

مع الثورة السورية رغم كل شيء


الياس خوري

رغم الاحباط، ورغم الارتباك السياسي الذي تعيشه المعارضة، ورغم غياب التنسيق بين وحدات الجيش الحر، ورغم وجود جبهة النصرة، ورغم الأخطاء والمطبات والمواقف الملتبسة، ورغم رفض العالم دعم الشعب السوري، ورغم تأخر الحسم العسكري والبلبلة السياسية، ورغم الانزعاج من التصريحات التلفزيونية، ورغم كل شيء، فأنا مع الثورة السورية.
كنت اتمنى ان يسقط نظام الاستبداد الأسدي في درعا، امام قدسية تضحية حمزة الخطيب.
كنت اتمنى ان تنتصر ازهار غياث مطر وقناني الماء التي وزعها على الجنود، ويسقط النظام بلا خسائر.
كنت اتمنى ان تكفي صرخة حمص واغاني القاشوش وعشرات الألوف الذين احتلوا الشوارع بحناجرهم وايديهم المرفوعة بالتحدي السلمي.
كنت اتمنى ان لا يرتفع السلاح في وجه السلاح، وان تنجح الإرادة الشعبية في ايقاظ ضمائر الذين لا ضمير لهم، وتشلّ ايديهم قبل ان تقوم بإطلاق النار.
كنت اتمنى، ولا ازال اتمنى، لكن النظام الوحشي المافيوي الأخطبوطي الذي بناه الأسد الآب واورثه لابنه، قرر ان يواجه الشعب حتى النهاية.
الأسد او لا أحد، الأسد او نحرق البلد، الأسد الى الأبد. هذه هي شعارات النظام الاستبدادي، الذي اعتاد على التصرف وكأن سورية مملكة طوّبت بإسمه.
الطائرات في كلّ مكان، والقتل في كل مكان. لا هدف للنظام سوى البقاء، وشرط بقائه هو اذلال الشعب. 
ليس صحيحا ان هدف القمع الذي يمارسه النظام، منذ اندلاع الثورة، هو توحيش الشعب السوري وتمزيق نسيجه الاجتماعي
. التوحيش بدأ من زمان حين صارت السلطة وحشا اجوف، انفصل بأجهزته القمعية كلها عن المجتمع، وتصرف كقوة احتلال غاشمة لا رادع لها. وما نشهده اليوم هو تعميم هذا التوحيش، وتحويله الى الوسيلة الوحيدة للتعامل مع المجتمع، عبر اغراق الشعب في الدم، وتحويل العمران الى دمار.
الكلام عن حلّ سياسي للوضع السوري هباء واضاعة للوقت. فهذا النظام لا يفهم السياسة الا بوصفها لعبة على حافة هاوية الموت. يصفي خصومه السياسيين، يقتل رموز المجتمع، ثم يترك لمن بقي حيا ان يستخلص الدرس، اي يتعوّد على الانحناء والصمت والخنوع.
لكنه في المقابل يعمل بشكل محترف في حقل السياسة الخارجية، اقليميا ودوليا. ينحني، يساوم، يبيع ويشتري من اجل المحافظة على بقائه. يُسقط طائرة تركية، لكنه ينحني امام الطائرة الاسرائيلية. يدعم حزب الله، لكنه لا يخلّ بتفاهمات الحدود السورية- الاسرائيلية الآمنة، يتنعّج ويتنمّر بحسب 
موازين القوى. لكن قدرته على المناورة الاقليمية والدولية مرهونة بنجاحه المطلق في اخراج المجتمع السوري من المعادلة السياسية بشكل كامل.
شعب السوري سينتصر لأنه استحق ذلك بتضحياته الهائلة. وحين ستعود سورية الى السوريات والسوريين سوف تبدأ مسيرة المشرق العربي نحو استعادة صوته وحضوره.

Real News Video: Egypt and the Revolt Against Morsi

Omar Dahi: Cities along the Suez canal are revolting against the betrayal of the revolution by Morsi and the lack of meaningful economic reform 

More at The Real News

Azmi Bishara on negotiations with Assad

أ‌. الا يوجد حل؟
ب‌. يوجد حل وأكثر من حل، ولكن النظام يرفضها جميعا، لأنه لا وجود لحل إلا ويتضمن رحيله. الاختلاف بين الحلول يكون فقط في كيفية الرحيل.
أ‌. الحل يكون إذا عندما يفهم النظام أنه راحل.
ب‌. نعم.
أ‌. ولكن ما نراه من استعداده لهدم البلد، وتطبيق مقولة الأسد أو نحرق البلد بحرفية مرعبة فاقت الخيال، يعني أنه لن يفهم أنه راحل إلا اذا اصبح مضطرا للرحيل. ولكن إذا أصبح مضطرا للرحيل بالقوة فمن الذي سوف يقبل أن يفاوضه؟ إذا في الحقيقة لا يوجد حل دبلوماسي.
ب‌. عليك نور.
أ‌. لماذا إذا يتكلم بالعض عن تفاوض أو حوار على الرحيل.
ب‌. أولا عليك ان تميز بين مفاوضات وحوار. المفاوضات تكون مع عدو أو خصم. ومن طرح فكرة المفاوضات مع النظام قد يفهم من يلح على المعارضة السورية أن تطرح حلا سياسيا، أن النظام لا يريد أن يرحل بالتفاوض.
ولكنهم جميعا يعرفون هذا. فكل ما يفعله النظام يفعله لأنه لا يريد ان يرحل لا بالتفاوض ولا بغيره. وسبق أن طرحت حلول سياسية تدريجية ورفضها.
ب‌. نعم، يعرفون. ويتظاهرون أنهم لا يعرفون.
أ‌. لماذا؟
ب‌. لأنهم لا يفعلون شيئا، ويخجلون من هذه الحقيقة أمام هذا الدمار والخراب والبربرية. فيطرحون على المعارضة مرة أن توحد نفسها، ومرة أن تغير عناوينها، ومرة أن تطرح مبادرات سياسية.
أ‌. حسنا، فليكن، ولنر.
ب. فليكن يا سيدي، ولكن لا تنتظر لترى. لا أحد ينتظر.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another Hizbullah fighter killed in Syria performing "Jihadist duties"


NABATIEH, Lebanon:Hezbollah fighter was laid to rest in his hometown of Arab Salim Friday.
The exact cause of his death was not announced, although reports said he was killed in Syria.
In a statement, Hezbollah said that Hussein Mohammad Nazar was killed fulfilling “his jihadi duty.” [Euphemism for Sectarian Duties]

A Hezbollah squad accompanied Nazar’s coffin to the village cemetery, where he was laid to rest.

Syrian rebel raids expose secrets of once-feared military

Former regime strongholds are now being picked clean – and some are underwhelmed by what lies behind the perimeter walls

in Aleppo,
Abu Mohammed, now a senior member of the rebel movement in the north of the country, broke the glass. What followed, he said, were the most puzzling 10 minutes of his military career.
"I shattered the glass and answered the phone," he said. "There was a brigadier on the other end from the strategic air command in Damascus. He said: 'There are enemy planes approaching, you are not to do anything.'
"I was confused. Do nothing? This is what we were waiting for. We couldn't see them on our radars. And then our radars were jammed. The missile base nearby could not have fired even if it was allowed."

Until last week, the Israeli raid in 2007 that destroyed what the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded was a nuclear reactor at al-Kibbar, north of Deir Azzor, was the last time Syria's much-vaunted air defence system was tested.
But last Wednesday just before dawn, the Israeli planes returned.......

Nearly two withering years of war have clearly taken a toll on the Syrian military, which before the insurrection was reputed to be one of the region's most powerful. Army bases were considered impregnable, air defences the most formidable in the region, and soldiers resolutely loyal.
"The only thing we really still fear is the Migs," said Maalik Sayedi, a carpenter turned guerrilla fighter, as he picked through the remains of an overrun infantry school on the northern outskirts of Aleppo. "When we raided this place, the fight was over in less than two hours."........

"We thought they were strong. But the veil has been lifted. Fear was the regime's greatest weapon. Without that, we can match them," he said, before stopping in mid sentence as a distant roar drew nearer.
"Except for the planes," he added....."

No Need For Monkeys: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ready to go into space

After Tehran fires monkey into orbit, president says he is willing to be launched skywards in country's fledgling space programme,

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you support giving Assad immunity from trial in return for the regime departure?

With over 800 responding, 68% said no.

Al-Jazeera Video: Activists say Aleppo airstrike kills 16

Just Back From The Mideast – And I’m Really Worried

By Eric Margolis

"The Mideast is stumbling into one of its most dangerous crisis in decades.  I’m just back from the region – and as an old Mideast hand,  I am very worried.

This region is always tense, but right now a series of separate conflicts are rapidly beginning to intersect.   We see the Mideast, North Africa and the Sahara buffeted by revolutions and counter-revolutions.  Old colonial powers France and Britain, and the US,  are trying to reassert their domination in the region. The jihadist are back.

In a brazen act of war, Israel launched airstrikes on Syria last Wednesday in a clear attempt to worsen the crisis in that war-torn nation and challenge Syria’s ally, Iran.  Israel’s forces are on high alert and may invade Syria, whose strategic Golan Heights were seized and annexed by Israel.   Will more Syrian land follow?

Goaded by Israel, Iran thundered “any attack on Syria is an attack on Iran.”   An Iranian general warned Tel Aviv might come under attack.  Hot air, as they say in Farsi......."

Syrian State TV Provides Evidence Of Anti-Aircraft Vehicles Destroyed In The Israeli Airstrike

Brown Moses Blog

"Following Israel's reported air strike on Syria several theories and version of events have emerged from a variety of sources, with Syrian State TV showing the damage at the site they claimed was attacked near Damascus

At the end of the video we see a group of destroyed vehicles, shown in the pictures below

These appear to be the remains of at least three 9K33 Osa/SA-8 Gecko surface-to-air missile systems, with three distinct wheel arches, and the distinct radar area visible in the second picture.  Here's a picture of an undamaged system for comparison

One element that is missing are the missiles from the rear of the vehicle.  These come supplied in the launching tubes, and can be attached individually to the back of the vehicle.  

So what we have is three unarmed surface-to-air missile systems parked next to what the Syrian military has called a "military research centre".  We then have to ask why they were parked there?  It seems by the way they are parked and their lack of missiles they weren't their for defensive purposes, so that remains an open question."
Joe Biden Likes the New and Improved Syrian Karzai.....
Made to US Specifications.
Biden Said, "Jump;"  Karzai Said, "How High?" 

Egypt, US celebrate delivery of F-16s

Egypt receives four out of 20 F-16 aircraft from United States; US ambassador stresses 'shared interests, mutual respect' between two countries

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Feb 2013

"The US Embassy in Cairo issued a press release on Sunday to announce the delivery of four new F-16 aircraft to Egypt's Air Force, following a joint ceremony Sunday to mark the deal.

“Today’s ceremony demonstrates the firm belief of the United States that a strong Egypt is in the interest of the US, the region, and the world,” the statement quoted US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson as saying.
“We look to Egypt to continue to serve as a force for peace, security and leadership as the Middle East proceeds with its challenging yet essential journey towards democracy," the statement added.
Patterson said that the 34-year security partnership between the states is based upon "shared interests and mutual respect."......."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shura Council to discuss laws aimed at controlling street protests and confronting thuggery

The government is set to give the police sweeping powers to disrupt protests and combat 'saboteurs and provocateurs'

Ahram Online


"The government of Prime Minister Hisham Kandil is currently in the process of drafting two new laws aimed at regulating the right of street protest and combating the proliferation of thuggery. According to Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki, anti-protest laws have become a necessity to stem the tide of violence in the street and to regulate the right of organising demonstrations......

In its meeting held today, the Committee on National Defence launched scathing attack against private TV satellite television channels, taking them to task for alledgely inciting protesters to launch violent attacks on several state buildings in recent days, notably Al-Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo's district of Heliopolis on 1 February. Deputy Interior Minister Major General Abdel-Fattah Othman complained that "police forces have not been able to fight violent street protests in recent days because there is no law that gives us the authority to do this."
The government's new draft law would grant police forces a free hand to use force to disrupt and disperse streets protests, especially in the vicinity of Al-Ittihadiya Palace and other significant state institutions, such as police stations, parliament, and state ministries. The 26-article law also makes it obligatory that the interior ministry be notified of any given protest or demonstration's date, objective and site. The notification request must be submitted to the ministry five days in advance of the date of the demonstration. The interior ministry reserves the right to forbid "demonstrations" or "public gatherings and meetings" if they risk "disrupting public peace and security."
The draft law also stipulates that demonstrations or street protests be organised between 7am to 7pm, and public gatherings from 7am to 11pm. The law gives police forces rights to disrupt demonstrations or public gatherings by use of force if they are found to threaten public order.
Additionally, the draft law prohibits protesters and demonstrators from chanting slogans that "might sow the seeds of sedition," or wearing black face coverings. Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdallah recently ordered police forces to arrest citizens who wear black face masks or coverings or who belong to new revolutionary groups known as "Black Bloc." The law threatens violators with one year in prison and a fine of no less than LE30,000 (around $4,000) and no more than LE100,000 (around $14,000)........"

Al-Jazeera Video: حديث - الغارة الإسرائيلية على سوريا

Real News Video: Creative Finance: Leaving Felons in Charge of the Banks

Bill Black: Obama Administration following logic that to not investigate and prosecute banking fraud builds trust in the institutions 

More at The Real News

The Measure of Chuck Hagel, by R J Matson

There is No Limit to the Stupidity of the Egyptian Interior Ministry and Police: Man beaten by Egypt police shown on TV blaming protesters

"Footage shows a group of Egyptian riot police beating a partially clothed man with batons and fists, during protests in Cairo on Friday. Opponents of Mohamed Morsi say the footage proves that the president has chosen to order a brutal crackdown like that carried out by former president Hosni Mubarak. Morsi's office has promised an investigation into the incident - The Guardian"

"(Reuters) - A man who was beaten and dragged across the ground naked by Egyptian riot police during a demonstration on Friday was shown on state television blaming the incident on demonstrators.......

State television aired overnight a recording of Saber, lying on bed in a police hospital, giving his account of the incident, in which he blamed protesters for stripping and robbing him.
It was not clear how his account could be reconciled with the widely seen footage, which clearly showed police beating him with truncheons and dragging him naked across a road.
Saber said he had seen a crowd running and then felt himself shot in the leg.
"I fell over, I failed to stand up again, then they surrounded me in a circle and attacked me," he said. The interviewer asked if he was referring to the demonstrators, and he answered: "Yes I am. They took my clothes off, maybe they were looking for money in my pockets. Then someone among them shouted: 'He is not a soldier. He is not a soldier, he is an old man and you are going to kill him.'
"The soldiers ran towards me. I was afraid of them, but they were saying, 'We will not beat you'. I swear to God this is what happened. I kept on running. They said again: 'Do not be afraid.' I kept running away and they said, 'We are exhausted because of you'."
Egypt's prosecutors' office has released a statement saying Saber denied that police had hit him. That statement was received angrily by the opposition which suspects the authorities of intimidating him to exonerate the police.
"That a citizen be dragged in a public space is a crime against humanity. That he be forced to amend his testimony before the Public Prosecution is tyranny. It has dire consequences for justice," Nasser Amin, a prominent lawyer and campaigner for judicial independence said on Twitter."