• Facebook
  • Twitter
Khirad On February - 24 - 2011


President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The question everyone is asking is, who is next to fall? And, perhaps the remaining dictators hold on to power. While facing many of the same demographics both economic and generational, these autocratic Arab nations are not all the same. However, never before have such widespread uprisings occurred in the Arab world, save maybe for the pan-Arab nationalism of Nasserism in the 1950s and 1960s. Unlike that period, which was reacting to the pain and indignity of a legacy of Western colonialism and the creation of the state of Israel, these protests have predominantly been focused internally, on their own leaders.


Bahrain البحرين

Bahrain is a small island kingdom in the Persian Gulf with the rough population of Dallas or San Diego. 54% of that population are non-nationals, coming largely from South Asia. It is perhaps best known in the West for its Grand Prix.

Bahrain’s history is incredibly complex, but has effectively been vied over since the 16th century by the proximate powers of Persia and Oman, and by the colonial Portuguese. Bahrain has periodically, for centuries at a time, been under Iranian rule since the 6th century BCE. It is in many ways the Sicily or Malta of the Persian Gulf.

In the late 18th Century the Al Khalifa family (آل, Āl here means house, and is not hyphenated like al-) of the Bani Utbah tribe wrested control of the island of Bahrain after an invasion from Zubarah in northern Qatar, in 1783.  The Bani Utbah tribe was known for trade in dates, and according to legend, the Al Khalifa family is regarded, at least by the Iranians, as nothing but the descendants of pirates and pearl divers.

Regardless their pedigree, the House of Khalifa has ruled Bahrain ever since, with half of all cabinet positions currently filled by its members. In the early 19th century Bahrain signed a treaty with Britain, making it a protectorate. When Britain withdrew its troops and Bahrain gained independence, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was claiming the island (he had already caused a stir by seizing Abu Musa and the Tunbs from the United Arab Emirates), to which Emir Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa invited the Americans to set up a naval base. In 1995, it became home to America’s Fifth Fleet.

The royal family is also Sunni in a 70% majority Shi’i country. There has been historical systematic disenfranchisement of the Shi’a, with periodic piecemeal parliamentary reforms since 1995 to appease their grievances.  For all the reforms though, there were still revelations like the Bandargate scandal.

Back in 1994 there were widespread protests against the Bahraini government. The government struck back at the Bahrani (native Shi’a population), though it was in reality probably the first populist coalition comprising a whole political spectrum in the Middle East. The Al Khalifas were quick to point a finger to Iran and collaboration between the Qods Force and Bahraini Hizballah in fomenting and organizing protests. The Saudi’s amassed their National Guard on the King Fahd Causeway with the stern ultimatum that they would restore order if Manama couldn’t.

1994 was not without precedent. In 1981, the new Revolutionary government of Khomeini’s Iran had created the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution, with a mind on exporting the revolution throughout the region. 150 Shi’a plotting a coup were broken up in Bahrain that year. In 1997, after continued civil unrest, 36 people were convicted, after forced televised confessions of a similar plot. And the coup fears did not end there. This is the most recent from fall 2010.

While Iranian hegemonic aspirations and perceived entitlement to their “14th Province” should provoke reasonable suspicion, to brush off a populist uprising in the 1990s and today as such would be exaggerating their influence. The 1990s closed with concessions of reform after the accession of Isa bin Salman by his son, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in 1999. In 2002, he declared himself king, dropping the title of emir and reintroduced parliamentary elections.

The current contesting of the royal family’s power brings to mind this prescient warning from Robert Baer’s 2008 book The Devil We Know,

There used to be a saying, “As goes Egypt, so goes the Middle East.” It might be more apt to say, “As goes Bahrain, so goes the Persian Gulf.”

And as Gary Sick has pointed out on PBS Newshour,

You know, Bahrain is tied to Saudi Arabia almost like umbilical cord. There is a causeway that runs across from the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, where all of the oil is, and runs over to Bahrain, which is a 70 percent Shia population.

As it happens, the population of the eastern province of Saudi Arabia is also Shia dominantly. And I think the Saudis are really frightened that the kinship relationships between the Shia in Bahrain is going to spill over that causeway and affect the Shia in their country.

It was no accident that some of the stories we heard out of the crackdown in Bahrain at Pearl Roundabout and then at Salmaniya Hospital, including one ambulance driver having a gun held to their head, included accusations of brutal Saudi security involvement. For more on the current situation in Bahrain and its background I recommend this article from Middle East Report.


Libya ليبيا

(Gaddafi Flag)

(Free Libya Flag)

Some grade school kids might know this country because they chose to do a report on it for its easily reproduced flag, designed by the Colonel himself (protesters are using the old flag). Well, Hitler he’s not in the regard to graphic design. In any case I’ll try my best to do better than a school report in a cursory history of the nation. ليبيا, lībiyā, by the way, is not a true palindrome, but ain’t it symmetrical?

Neolithic Berbers have lived in what is now Libya since at least the 9th century BCE. The Phoenicians settled there in the 7th, and established the Punic cities of Oea, Libdah, and Sabratha; collectively known as Τρίπολις, Tripolis, the Three Cities. In the East, the Greeks would in the 7th century BCE establish Cyrene (near present-day third largest city of Libya, Al-Bayda), and Euesperides (later renamed Berenice, and now the second-largest city of Benghazi). The Romans ruled Libya from the 1st century BCE until the Vandal conquest in the 5th century CE. It was an important source of goods and livestock for Rome, including the fabled silphium. From these ancient times three traditional regions are still representative to some extent of Libyan geography: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, and Fezzan. (It is the former Greek eastern part, Cyrenaica, which appears to have fallen out of Gaddafi’s hands.)

After the the Vandals, Libya passed through the hands of the Byzentines until the Arab Islamic Conquest defeated all Berber resistance and was absorbed into the Umayyad then Abbasid Caliphates, and then a series of more localized Arab and Berber kingdoms and caliphates, Sunni and Shi’a (Fatimids). Then followed the Ottomans, Barbary states (of Marine Hymn fame), Ottomans again, and Italians (including Erwin Rommel and the Siege of Tobruk). Modern Libya gained independence after World War II with King Idris assuming power from 1951 to 1969 until in a bloodless coup d’état, the 27 year old Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi and his officers toppled the king. (a note on the transliteration of Gaddafi’s name here, and here. I once had a flow chart, but let’s just say معمر القذافي‎ is the easiest way to spell it.)

The new silphium was black gold, discovered in 1959. As a result of distributing the wealth from that oil, Gaddafi can actually take credit for the highest human development index score in Africa. What Gaddafi can’t take credit for is being a champion of democracy or toleration of dissent, and his rule has been marked by torture and internal assassinations. The Telegraph‘s Con Coughlin writes,

Indeed, the current unrest was provoked by the arrest earlier this week of a prominent human rights lawyer who was campaigning on behalf of the families of the Libyan prisoners who were killed during the infamous revolt at Abu Salim prison in 1996. Even by the standards of the regime’s well-documented brutality, the events at Abu Salim were horrific.

And don’t forget the egomaniacal hallmarks. For example, like Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book and Saparmurat Niyazov’s Ruhnama, Gaddafi has his Green Book. It is so iconic to his rule that toppling representations of them in Benghazi has become a symbol of this February 17 uprising.

The rest is relatively well known, especially as regarding Libyan-US relations. Lockerbie, UTA Flight 722, the Berlin disco bombing of 1986, and more, including the near decade war with Chad. Not only has Gaddafi supported and contracted terrorism, but he regretted losing his good friends Ben Ali and Mubarak, which is highly ironic coming from someone who gained power as an uncompromising revolutionary. His government is a bare bones dictatorship with little pretense of political freedom. Gaddafi is the Supreme Guide of the Revolution, there are no parties.

Before this uprising, perhaps the most intrigue in Libya was the intense rivalry between Gaddafi sons Muatassim and Saif al-Islam over succession of their father; or parties with Beyoncé and a voluptuous Ukranian nurse. On Sunday, Febraury 20th, it seemed Saif was the true chip off the old blockhead when he gave a rambling speech which could have come from no less than Glenn Beck’s mentally unbalanced conspiracies: ‘Zionists are feeding the kids LSD to establish an Islamist emirate’ was the basic gist of it.

The crackdown and militant nature of the protesters in Libya is so far unprecedented in the Arab revolts. The death tolls and videos are truly horrific. And the military and tribal alliances of the state are fracturing, though tribal identity should not necessarily be overplayed. Indeed, the army has also long been kept weak on purpose, with Gaddafi relying instead on militias loyal to him and mercenaries.

It might be a good time for Gaddafi’s virginal Amazonian Guards to take their lipstick and run. However this turns out, I don’t think Gaddafi will go to The Hague willingly.


Yemen اليمن

Yemen is an incredibly ancient land, originally home exclusively to Semitic peoples, the Sabaeans mentioned in the Qur’an, and according to legend, often tied to Sheba of the Bible. The Abbysinian (Ethiopian) Kebra Nagast even adds to this legend. And coffee lovers, according to another legend, you have Yemeni Sufis to thank for that buzz, as well as the port city of Mocha.

Since ancient times, Yemen has been at the crossroads of a spice route and under the rule of local kingdoms like the Himyarites, and foreign powers such as the Abbysinians, Persians (Sassanids), Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, briefly the Portuguese, and the Ottomans. In a line of imperialists, the British Colony of Aden there is perhaps most well known to modern readers. To the East India Company and British Empire, Aden also provided a much needed geostrategic link to India, as well as a way to stanch piracy through the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea. From this colonial outpost we get the “Barren Rocks of Aden”, so called because of the geology of the town.

To quote Arthur Rimbaud, the French wunderkind poet turned explorer, trader, and even gun runner,

You have no idea what it’s like here. There isn’t a single tree, not even a withered one, not a single blade of grass, patch of earth or drop of fresh water. Aden is the crater of an extinct volcano the bottom of which is filled with sea-sand. There’s absolutely nothing to see or touch except lava and sand which are incapable of producing the tiniest scrap of vegetation. The environs are an absolutely arid desert of sand. Here, however, the walls of the crater prevent the air from entering, and we roast at the bottom of this hole as if in a limekiln.

It should be noted that Rimbaud was a broken man at this time, and when he wrote of being a prisoner of Aden, I think he also felt a prisoner of himself, and of his past fame. Nevertheless, it is also a vivid image of Aden, however bleak or unfair. This was no paradise. It is definitely not Ta’izz or the island of Socotra.

In 1963 a revolution began which overthrew the British Protectorates of South Arabia. By 1967 they gained their independence, and three years later in 1970 founded the Communist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, or, South Yemen. It’s capital was Aden. In 1990, North and South Yemen were united.

Sana’a was the capital of North Yemen, and is the current capital of united Yemen where most of the protests are happening in the other Tahrir Square. It’s high elevation gives it one of the mildest temperatures in the region, and that’s probably a factor for it being continuously inhabited since the 6th century BCE.

The North’s history wasn’t as mild as Sana’a’s climate though. It too had a civil war from 1962 until 1970, when the Mutawakkilite Kingdom was overthrown. It was a Cold War struggle with the royalist Saudis backing King Muhammad Al-Badr and the Socialist Nasser government aligned with the republicans in what in effect was a proxy war. It was to be to Egypt what Vietnam was to America in terms of losses, though their side ended up victorious.

After unification, the Southern leader Ali Salim al-Bayd, who had been acting as Vice President, pulled out in 1993 citing unresolved grievances. The South seceded and another civil war, this time between the Northern and Southern Yemeni factions began in 1994. President Ali Abdullah Saleh would come out victorious, with the backing of the Saudis, and he has been the strongman of the Republic of Yemen ever since, though encountering another Southern insurgency in 2009-2010.

But the complexity of Yemen doesn’t end there. It is also home to a significant Shia population, of the Zaidi sect, also known as the Fivers, which form up to 45% of the population in Yemen (President Saleh himself is Zaidi, but not sectarian). The Zaidis are centered in the northwest of the country.

In 2004 there was a Shi’i insurgency, known as the Houthis, after their commander Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. In what became another proxy war, Saudi Arabia again supported the Yemeni government against the Houthis, themselves allegedly backed by the Iranian Qods Force. The grievances of the Sa’dah-based Houthis were in part due to the neglect they felt from Wahhabi inflence in Sana’a’s policies.

On the other side of the sectarian divide is Abdul Majeed al-Zindani and the Islamist (Salafi) Al-Islah Party, the main opposition to President Saleh and active in organizing the current protests against him. Add to this Zindani’s connections to Al-Qa’ida and the presence of the American national Anwar al-Maliki and other active radical Sunni clerics bent on the pro-Western government’s fall, and there are valid concerns for Western intelligence analysts.

President Saleh’s promise to step down may be too little too late. He made that same promise before the 2006 presidential election, as well. Back then, a united front of Al-Islah and the Socialists stood behind Faisal bin Shamlan, a technocrat. They were defeated in an election marred by violence and fraud.

What should be evident by now is that of all the countries in revolt, Yemen remains my biggest question mark. While Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is warning of a civil war in Libya, I hold more concern about Yemen, which is a veritable powder keg. However; the possibility of failed state status for both is very real.



(or the lack thereof)

I haven’t attempted to cover the current protests or fluid developments in the article itself. There is simply too much information coming out all the time. Below, as with my previous Egypt article, I will instead offer daily updates in the regular posting of comments.

Also welcome are your own updates, comments and links, including any information on other countries. I’m still monitoring developments and situations in Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Kuwait and even Djibouti! Furthermore, the stories of Tunisia and Egypt aren’t over yet, either. Here is an interactive map of countries affected.

What is evident is that the toppling of Mubarak on February 11th has reinvigorated the Arab protests (I’m still treating Iran slightly differently). A slogan made famous in Tahrir Square, Cairo, can be heard rising into the air of these countries, as well.


الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام

Ash-sha’b yurīd isqāt an-niẓām

The people demand an end to the regime

925 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment
  1. Khirad says:

    CIV -- Friday / الجمعة


    Thanks Iran, Russia and China for helping murder our women and children!

    Syria protesters ‘shot outside mosque’
    Reports of 15 deaths in protests across country, including six said to have been shot as they left a mosque in Damascus.

    EU expands sanctions against Syria

    Davutoğlu, Syria FM talk about troops at border

    Some 600 displaced people broke through the barbed wire marking the frontier and advanced into Turkish territory on a road used by Turkish border guards, a few kilometers from the Turkish village of Guveççi.

    They were flanked by Turkish paramilitary police vehicles and minibuses, called apparently to ferry the refugees to tent cities the Turkish Red Crescent has erected in the border province of Hatay.

    Turkish and Syrian forces in tense cross-border standoff [H/T Kalima]

    Turkey tells Bashar al-Assad to cease Syria repression [H/T Kalima]

    Thousands of refugees from Syria, including soldiers, flee to Turkey

    Thank you Turkey!

    Arwa Damon, one of two journalists in Damascus, issues this report

    Her tweets from yesterday

    Friday vids

    Damascus, street fighting men

    Tearing down Bashar’s picture in Midan section



    A coffin for Bashar in Hama






    Here’s a map showing where protests occurred to give you the bigger picture of these videos


    Hooray! Dennis Kucinich says there would have been no massacre on Hardball with Ron Reagan! Thanks Dennis. And yes, Dennis, why didn’t we go into these other countries (besides the Arab League and UN). And Howard the Hack and even Ron, who I generally like, keep on forgetting the whole little UN part.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! I’m shouting at the frigging TV screen!!! I want to slap them all for being so disingenuous.

    Hey Dennis, imagine what would have happened to Benghazi.

    Satellite imagery tells Misurata story

    That being said, yeah Obama should have gone to Congress. But there’d still be whining.

    Libya rebels ‘in secret talks’ with Tripoli underground

    Consider the source, and dampen expectations, but still, a few details, if true, jump out:

    Mr Belhaj thinks that there are signs that those opposed to the Libyan leader are growing less fearful and that the regime is weakening. He cites reports from government workers, who say they have turned up to work and found the officials in charge have vanished.

    He says others report that the number of pro-Gaddafi militia on street patrols seems to be declining, as though they have been pulled off for duties elsewhere.

    “We are 100% sure there will be an uprising in Tripoli, the only thing is the timing,” says Mr Belhaj.

    Libyan rebels have admitted they had held communications with Col Muammar Gaddafi through South African and French mediators in an attempt to persuade the dictator to stand down. [H/T Kalima]


    This time, from a different Cockburn brother

    Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war

    Who knows, maybe they’ll be proven right, but it still makes my stomach a little sick to see how they twist themselves in knots to downplay Gaddafi.

    Tripoli opposition waits for its moment

    U.S. Says Gadhafi Might Flee Tripoli

    Turkish company denies sale of rations to Libya

    Libya: House Rejects Obama Authorizing U.S. Strikes, Threatens to Cut Funding


    Very interesting – al-Qaeda!

    Investigators: More than one bomb in Yemen attack

    Okay, it wasn’t about al-Qaeda, but there’s no way to get attention to Yemen without mentioning al-Qaeda, it’s a gawdammed media rule.

    Vids from today – totally boring, not at all impressive in their size or fervency – wait! I think I see some al-Qaeda, quick let’s cover it!



    If you look carefully, I think you can see al-Qaeda here in Ta’izz, think of it as Where’s Waleed the Terrorist.

    Ah, there’s the crack rock the US media was waiting for, after completely silly mass protests yet again {{{yawn}}} across Yemen:

    Car bomb kills 3 security personnel in south Yemen

    Oh yeah, that hit the spot. Got that fear fix.


    Bahraini activist’s father jailed for life [H/T Kalima]

    Tear gas in Daih

    Saudi Arabia

    A Five-Star Retirement Home for Dictators
    Welcome to sunny Saudi Arabia, land of fallen tyrants.


    Egypt parties rush to register
    Just five months after the revolution, 80 political parties are already in the making.

    Egypt’s left threatens ‘million-strong’ protest to stop Islamists winning power [H/T Kalima]

    Muslim Brotherhood youth break away to form new political party

    Egypt: A Decade of Street Activism Discussed at Tweet Nadwa

    Egyptian court sentences 3 men convicted of spying for Israel

    Revolutionary chic and bling, like it.

    Cultural revolution in Cairo
    Young Egyptians display pride at their country’s revolution through art and music.


    Tunisia politician warns against delaying elections [H/T Kalima]

    Rached Ghannouchi, leader of main Islamist party in Tunisia, says former elite is trying to ‘escape the ballot box’


    Free, but Unemployed, in Tunisia

    Tunisia joins International Criminal Court


    Mentioned Kuwait’s no-confidence vote yesterday.

    Kuwait: PM Wins Vote … Faces New Grilling


    Jordan to produce yellowcake by 2020


    No more perks for Palestinian prisoners, says Prime Minister Netanyahu

    Israel cheers Apple’s decision to pull app

    Hezbollah ‘captures CIA spies’


    Vali Nasr: Showdown in Tehran

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is fighting for his political survival. But that doesn’t mean his clerical enemies will be the winners.

    One only needs to read the second page to get to the point:

    A report by the Parliament’s Article 90 Commission on violations of constitution by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be read out in the Majlis open session this week.

    Iran giving out condoms for criminals to rape us, say jailed activists


    A cooling of tensions?

    Israel: ‘Convince Hamas and we’ll kiss your hand’


    Palin reportedly cancels Sudan trip

    Security concerns, or Palin flaking out again? You decide.

    H/T EAWorldView

    C’mon, I gave multiple choice. Someone take a stab at this week’s trivia? a, b, c, d, or e? 😀

  2. bito says:

    “Educated Afghans: Return!”

    Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says:

    * When a woman gives birth to a girl, seven angels come to the house with lights in their hands. Girls are wonderful gifts given by Allah.
    * Women are flowers and men are gardeners. Gardeners have the duty and responsibility to take care of the flowers.
    * Women are kind; they are mothers, sisters and wives. So treat them with love.
    * If you want to be respected by your wife, treat her with respect.
    * If you want your wives to obey you, obey them.
    * The key to Janat (paradise) is in your mother’s hands. If your mother is satisfied with you, you can go to paradise. If you sadden your mother, you will never get through.
    * Never beat your wife. If you get angry, just throw a flower toward her. Don’t harm her, because Allah will punish you for it.
    * Men and women have equal rights to an education.
    * When a family asks your daughter’s hand for their son, you have to ask your daughter if she if agrees to the marriage, because she has the right to choose her life partner. Never force your daughter to marry a man chosen by you.

    From “The Afghan Women’s Writing Project”

    • AlphaBitch says:

      Hi Bito: then of course, there is Umar’s take on it, which is beat the shit outta women whenever you can. He was denied the hand of Ayisha’s sister (Mohammed’s fourth, youngest and most favored wife -- who became a soldier when he died, mind you) in marriage because of what people believed were his misogynistic ways.

      Will send you mail tomorrow. You won’t believe what the Baby Girl, Poosha and Pup are up to!!!1

      • Khirad says:

        Rightly Guided ‘Umar, huh?

        I’ll admit though, I have to watch myself offending Sunnis. I’m saturated mostly with Shi’i perspective.

      • bito says:

        Hey AB! I saw you and Pup here yesterday but I was “occupied” and unable to reply.
        I ran across that quote when I was reading some of the “The Afghan Women’s Writing Project” and thought it was quite nice, no matter who said it or what religion.
        Remind the Blov when he gets angry with you he should “throw flowers” at you (remove the thorns and no itch weed or poison ivy blooms, please 😉 )

    • Khirad says:

      Silly women, they think the “Talibs” are interested in learning, facts, and true Islam. 😉

  3. Khirad says:

    CIII – Thursday / الخميس


    Comedian Ahmed Ahmed stands up for Arabs’ right to laugh


    Syria-Turkey border: troops and refugees increase

    Ankara has dispatched one of its senior generals to the zone. Turkey has been criticising Syrian President Bashir al-Assad with greater severity lately.

    Syrian troops on border – 600 Syrians fled border this morning

    Damascus, at the Hassan Mosque last Friday. Watch the red circles when video slows down – you will see knives. No stabbing is actually shown, so it’s not graphic in that regard, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see that stabbing is shown.

    ‘They Can Only Kill and Hope’
    Journey Through a Divided Syria

    Aleppo: Syria’s sleeping giant stirs

    General strike in Homs today.

    And the general strike in Damascus suburb of Douma

    And one in Aleppo

    (those are the three largest cities)

    Foreign minister: Syria ‘will forget Europe exists’ – people forced to attend pro-Assad rallies

    Syrian embassy accused of threatening protesters in UK [H/T Kalima]

    Jisr al-Shaghour – the Government Story as told by a Foreign Member of the Organized Press Visit

    A comment which went unnoticed by the usual back and forth there of Bashar defenders:

    I have cousins in Jisr who had to flee. Some of them have come back, but the reports through my family grapevine are that things are tough because the town is shut down. They may have to leave again because there is no food.

    As for cock-and-bull story from the regime about “armed gangs”, I think it is fantasy. None of my relatives talked about the town being overrun by a “armed gangs”, but there was talk of an army mutiny. The ‘evidence’ presented in the press tour would fit more closely with an army mutiny than with anything else — after all, where exactly are these “armed gangs” based and how are they launching some kind of military operation to seize the town of Jisr, and why on earth would Jisr be such a strategic prize?


    Arwa Damon is in Syria. Let’s see if she comes up with some interesting stories.


    Map: Misrata Strategic Situation June 22nd

    Leading defector predicts Qadhafi will quit Libya

    Abdurrahaman Shalgam, one of the highest-ranking Libyan defectors, told Corriere della Sera TV he believed Qadhafi was negotiating for asylum with either another African country or Belarus.

    Gaddafi vows to resist NATO strikes

    This is for the whining about NATO killing a few civilians (which is horrible):

    Libya: Renewed rocket attacks target civilians in Misratah

    “Families in Misratah are once again living in fear of being killed as rockets rain down on their homes and it’s impossible for the terrified residents to find safe shelter,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser.

    Fourteen-year-old Ibrahim ‘Ali Boushiba was killed and his mother, father and 12-year-old brother Faraj were injured on 20 June when several rockets struck their home in the Rweissat neighbourhood. Images of the rockets’ remains examined by Amnesty International show that it had been packed with ball bearings to maximize injuries.

    Clinton bluntly questions Congress on Libya


    William Hague: ‘Libya war cheaper than aid effort’

    Someone has some ‘splainin’ to do:

    Turkish rations feeding Gaddafi troops

    Libyan campaign suffers biggest fracture to date – Italy calls for suspension to hostilities

    Libyan rebels in Misrata take tough line on foreign media [H/T Kalima]


    The King’s Speech (Bahrain edition)

    Bahrain opposition slams life terms for Shiite activists

    Bahrain: Front Line’s Andrew Anderson highlights the denial of justice in the trial of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja

    Al Wefaq stalls over dialogue

    Britain and US urged to act after Bahrain arrests eight political activists [H/T Kalima]

    Security firing tear gas in Sitra


    US envoy urges speedy transition in Yemen http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/06/201162395528460497.html

    Yemen’s economy teeters on collapse

    Saudi Arabia

    Indonesian ban on workers to Saudi Arabia
    Moratorium from August 1 reflects Jakarta’s anger over maid’s execution in kingdom last week.


    Debate rages over Constitution or elections first options

    Egypt divided over ‘Israeli spy’ Ilan Grapel


    Ahmadinejad’s ally ‘arrested’ in Iran

    US imposes economic sanctions on Iran Air

    Iran to test ‘National Internet’

    H/T EAWorldView

    Last Week’s Trivia was ophthalmologist. Bashar al-Assad was in college studying Ophthalmology.

    That makes it 0 for 3 on questions, with no one even fielding a guess so far.

    Let me try it this way.

    What Arab monarchy has the longest serving dynasty?

    a) Saudi Arabia
    b) Morocco
    c) Jordan
    d) Bahrain
    e) Oman

  4. Khirad says:

    CII – Wednesday / الأربعاء


    A Long Season of Change Ahead for Every Arab Nation

    The months ahead are likely to be far uglier than the previous six, but it is all too easy to underestimate the significance of what has already happened.

    The bottom line remains that the region is in upheaval, and will continue to be so until meaningful change is achieved. The glass, therefore, is decidedly half full.

    The end of monarchical exceptionalism
    The idea that Arab monarchies enjoy greater legitimacy and stability than their neighbours should finally be put to rest

    I still kinda think some of them do. Not all monarchies are alike. Kuwait actually has one of the strongest democracies (apart from its policy towards bidun , stateless citizens).

    Kuwait opposition vows to work to oust PM


    Why is this important? This is a presidential delegation in Hama, leaving (they say) as they are shouted down.

    And the woo-woos jump on this bandwagon in 3, 2, 1…

    Syria accuses EU of fomenting ‘chaos’

    Here’s an example of that fomenting:

    Syrie: 100 étudiants arrêtés à Damas

    How dare you report the news!

    Hardtalk talks to Bashar’s cousin, who supports democratic freedom:

    Syrian president’s cousin: ‘We’re on brink of regional war’

    Joshua Landis (regime apologist) talks with Ausama Monajed (opposition activist)

    EU agrees to extend Syria curbs to include Iranians
    US defends participation in Syrian-organized tour

    Curious move, guys, considering…

    Northern Syria deserted thanks to scorched earth campaign

    Turkey reacts to Assad’s speech


    Arab League chief admits second thoughts about Libya air strikes

    In an interview with the Guardian in Brussels, Moussa made clear he thought the military campaign would not produce a breakthrough. “You can’t have a decisive ending. Now is the time to do whatever we can to reach a political solution,” he said.

    “That has to start with a genuine ceasefire under international supervision. Until the ceasefire, Gaddafi would remain in office … Then there would be a move to a transitional period … to reach an understanding about the future of Libya.”

    Asked whether that meant a halt to the Nato air strikes, he said: “A ceasefire is a ceasefire.”

    What fatuous nonsense. I don’t have enough time to go over all the things that are wrong with this, and why it’s so disingenuous.

    While voicing misgivings about the air campaign, Moussa said the Arab League supported it initially because of Gaddafi’s attacks on civilians.

    Hey, Amr, see this next story:

    Misurata comes under rocket attack (again)

    Libya rebels fight for town of Zliten under heavy fire

    Libyan ceasefire would only help Gadhafi, Canadian general says

    The bottom line is still this: WHO CAUSES MORE CIVILIAN CASUALTIES?


    Like, duh.

    David Cameron: ‘time is on our side, not Gaddafi’s’ [H/T Kalima]

    Good stuff:

    The collapse of Gadhafi’s Jamahiriya is upon us

    Libya’s Revolution Sparks a New Age of Music

    Ya Misrata!


    Tribes tell Saudi Arabia: Saleh return will lead to civil war

    Demonstrations in Ta’izz opposing Saudi intervention

    Well, this doesn’t help.

    Al-Qaida suspects tunnel out of Yemeni prison

    Pop quiz: which of the above two stories was covered in our MSM?

    It wouldn’t be the most absurd thing ever:

    Regime behind Yemeni prison break?

    Also, seems one of those escapees died back in 2008


    Bahrain opposition figures given life sentences

    This reaction nails it:

    Bahrain is totally the dude who has given up and wears his boxers to the supermarket RT @kshaheen Seems Bahrain doesnt give a damn anymore.


    Update on Ayat al-Gormezi, imprisoned poet

    Oh goodie!

    National Dialogue Details Released


    Matar Matar Was not Tortured, Affirms His Lawyer

    Oh, well, that settles it now doesn’t it?



    Qatar’s UN ambassador elected president of next General Assembly session

    Saudi Arabia

    Clinton hails female Saudi driving activists

    Saudi Women Call on Subaru to Leave Kingdom Over Driving Ban


    Why the Muslim Brotherhood Are Egypt’s Best Democrats

    Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood expels presidential hopeful (for running for president after they said they wouldn’t run anyone)

    Egypt judicial panel to investigate torture claims


    Tunisians must finish the job


    Consultations end for Algeria’s new constitution


    Morocco’s young activists urge referendum boycott


    Neda’s mother at her grave on the two year anniversary of her death


    Iran human rights activist speaks after release

    One Voice
    Messages in support of hunger strikers in prison

    Some real dubious etymology:

    Glamorous Hairstyles and Necklaces, the ‘Jinn’ Is in the Jeans

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ally forced to resign as pressure grows on Iran president [H/T Kalima, beating me to an Iranian story?!]

    Parliament halts move to impeach foreign minister

    H/T EAWorldview

  5. funksands says:

    Khirad, I’d really like to get your take on an article I read yesterday. It really struck a nerve for me, because it echoed a lot of my doubts and misgivings about Libya and Bahrain. I’d like to get your opinion on it.


    • Khirad says:

      Unfortunately I’m not a subscriber so I can only guess as to the arguments.

      One, why is Libya a target and not, say, Bahrain?

      Well, if the colonialism argument is used, I suppose ’cause it’s already a partner in that regard, sort of like the Princely states of the British Raj in India, only more independent. To a lesser degree Tunisia and Egypt (whom found US support convenient with their Arab Nationalism threatened by Islamism -- or it played up to strengthen their regimes). However; in Bahrain, an American human rights diplomat had to flee Bahrain after threats, anti-Semitic accusations (like really), and warning the US embassy of aiding “Shi’a plots” -- the long used code word for Iran -- a bogeyman used to delegitimize the majority Shi’a from asking for rights. Given the fact that our Fifth Fleet is there, that’s more than nothing — though I’ve been disappointed, to say the least. I’ve been quite vocal on Bahrain throughout. Juan Cole suggested we move the naval base to Qatar. I say we at least threaten to.

      The biggest, biggest, biggest difference with Libya is that Gaddafi had alienated, even giving overtures to Iran and slamming Arab states at place like Arab League conferences no less. He had long alienated them, and looked more to the African Union to cultivate his own personality cult.

      That’s why Libya is a target and the others aren’t. The Arab League, though MIA in military actions, a few individual states have been freezing assets and recognizing the NTC, something which the US hasn’t even done yet.

      Then, there’s of course the oil argument. If there’s a voice I trust, it is Juan Cole, and his bona fides are solid. The Bushies even sicked the CIA on him to try and discredit him for criticizing that colonial escapade in Iraq.


      On another note, for a long time I remember the criticism was that we didn’t step in to Rwanda or Darfur. Would those have also been colonialism? Can we not win for losing? Damned if we do, damned if we don’t? Oh, and the rebel government would LOVE oil contracts with Western companies. They need revenues to fight that war. They’ve run out of paper money, and we won’t release frozen funds to them!

      If it’s Syria, well there’s oodles of reasons why we haven’t stepped in to that (though we have drafted sanctions). Only recently has the Arab League even given a whimper of a finger wagging. I don’t expect more. It is also the region. Syria is a linchpin of the Levant, and the regional geopolitics are more perilous. When we deal with Libya, we deal with Libya. If we deal with Syria, we deal with Iran, Lebanon’s March 8th Alliance and what could descend into a conflagration of sectarian violence (though the protests have themselves been pluralistic).

      The biggest hurdle to condemning Syria comes via the UN, as well. While Russia and China were convinced to abstain on Libya, Russia risks losing a strategically major base in Syria with the fall of Bashar, or by insulting him. Keep that in mind if you ever watch RT’s coverage--though they won’t mention it directly, they’ll try to equate another ceremonial, spineless UN condemnation with the Libya Resolution.

      Yemen is a mess. I’m not getting into that here in full on the domestic and diplomatic front. But apart from drones, I think another Libya resolution is premature. Again, ask this simple question: is the Arab League behind it?

      Now, if it’s this article:


      That’s absolutely ridiculous. And I’m finding the woo-woo sites which downplay or see hidden agendas in the rape stories as, quite frankly, disgusting apologia. I’m sure they would have defended Stalin’s pogroms, too. After all, the Capitalist West is just afraid of the glory of International Socialism and has to spread its lies to discredit it, or something to that effect. It’s naïve to defend Gaddafi in such terms. If you’re struggling to find evidence in the fog of war, look back on Gaddafi’s four decades in power. Oh, he’s fully capable of all sorts of things. Cockburn was playing fast and loose with weasel words and pretzel logic. For example: just because the invasion of Iraq may have been illegal does not mean that Saddam didn’t have rape rooms.

      The only point I found worthwhile was the argument over if bombing is effective. But if it doesn’t work, I’m guessing that the assertion is that the Bosnian War would have been over sooner without NATO?

      In the end, these critiques are a little myopic.

      I know that just because you were against the Iraq War, like I was, didn’t make you pro-Saddam. That was absurd and low to say so by supporters.

      But, even while I am conscious of making the same accusation, I think it’s fair. You can have questions over UN Resolution 1973 and NATO, but I will call out anyone who I think is a pro-Gaddafi apologist.

      Cockburn, I’m sorry to say, appears to be. More than that, he’s thrown brave people rising up against a tyrant under the bus and distorted the history of events leading to the current situation. Yes, it was peaceful at the very beginning. But when Gaddafi sends the former hangman of Benghazi, to Benghazi to “negotiate” with the demonstrators there, you shouldn’t be surprised that the barracks are suicide bombed by a former oil executive (who was not a terrorist) and a civil war begins.

      • funksands says:

        Khirad I value your opinion and appreciate your thoughtful comments. I’ll figure out a way to get the article, which was much shorter and to the point that the counterpunch article.

        I’m going to digest your response for a bit if you don’t mind.

  6. Khirad says:

    CI -- Tuesday / الثلاثاء


    Clashes amid large Pro-Assad rallies – 7 dead

    Inside Story: Al-Assad running out of options?

    Analysis: President Assad Promises Dialogue

    He spoke of amending the constitution or even tossing it out and drafting another, of wanting the army to return to its barracks and a resumption of “normal life.” But Syria is unlikely to ever be the same again.

    Assad has talked the reform talk since he first inherited power, upon the death of his father Hafez in 2000, but 11 years later, he has little to show for it. He shot back on Monday at critics who question his sincerity -- and capability -- in bringing real change to Syria, and he indicated that he knows that the stakes, especially regarding the economy, are high. “The most dangerous thing we face in the next stage is the weakness or collapse of the Syrian economy, and a large part of the problem is psychological,” he said. “We cannot allow depression and fear to defeat us. We have to defeat the problem by returning to normal life.”

    The Syrian President’s pathetic speech

    The formation of the Lebanese government and its mission shed light on the Syrian regime’s desire to maintain its presence in Lebanon the same way it is dealing with the uprising at home: via confrontation and brutality. With Lebanon in his pocket, Assad thinks he still has at least one regional card with which he could bargain with the international community, as Hezbollah is still armed and strong in Lebanon, and constitutes a major threat to Israel.

    Turkish President reacts to Assad speech (not impressed)

    Homs – shooting at protesters as if they were tin cans.

    The night before, after Assad’s third speech since the unrest began (with a shoutout to BBC)


    One sign says:

    Ey Müslüman Türk Kardeşlerimi.
    -- Çoçuklarımız Öldürülüyor.
    -- Kadınlarımiza Tecavüz Ediliyo.
    -- Dinimizle Savaşıyorlar.

    O my Muslim Turk brothers.
    -- Our children are killed.
    -- Ediliyo (?) rape our women.
    -- Fighting our religion.
    Where are you?

    Al-Marjeh Square in Central Damascus. A fountain has been dyed red. The gov’t seems to not be claiming it was them. (Note that this is fairly common to memorialize martyrs in Iran).


    Starving the beast.

    Qaddafi Tanks Deprived of Diesel as Ships Shunning Libya

    Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is facing a fourth month without the diesel cargoes needed to power tanks as he endures an 11-week air campaign led by NATO.

    UAE freezes assets of 19 Libyans

    NATO’s and Libya’s Rebels Don’t Jibe

    The chief problem plaguing both NATO and the rebels is lack of coordination. Rebel leaders complain that they must jump through hoops to reach NATO officials. Field commanders requesting air strikes and relaying troop movements have no direct communication with the alliance’s military command in the region, much less headquarters in Brussels, which must issue the ultimate orders. Instead, they call their senior officers via satellite phone at a rebel command center in Benghazi. The officers then relay the information to NATO officials in the same building, who only then contact Brussels. The byzantine process squanders valuable time in a war where seconds are precious.

    Drone Copter is NATO’s First Combat Casualty in Libya

    Government Using Landmines in Nafusa Mountains

    Kerry, McCain push measure backing Libya campaign

    Now to culture

    Broadcasting to Libya in Berber


    Battle for Zinjibar kills 100 Yemen troops: army

    US drone attacks in Yemen ignore Al Qaeda for local militants

    “More than 85 per cent of the fighters killed in Abyan over the last three weeks have not been Al Qaeda members. Militants in Abyan and other areas in the south are well-known Jihadists, but we cannot prove their links to Al Qaeda,” said the official. Last week, the interior ministry said it arrested 10 militants in Aden believed to be fighters with links to Mr Nabi.


    Another Che poster for you, Becky




    Oman jails 20 protesters on riot charges


    Bahrain doctors tortured into confessing, say families


    Jordan information minister quits over ‘restrictive’ laws


    Iraqis make a living among the dead in the largest graveyard in the world


    Wow, that was quick. Looks like he got a taste of his own “justice”

    Ben Ali, wife sentenced to 35 years

    Tunisia’s Ben Ali: Soldier who turned into dictator [H/T Kalima]

    Leila Ben Ali rose from hairdresser to first lady [H/T Kalima]


    This is the “Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Sorbonne combined” of Sunni seminaries. It is THE seminary.

    Al-Azhar calls for democratic state

    Juan Cole adds that,

    [The] document [is] calling for a civil, democratic state that does not discriminate on the basis of religion or gender and is dedicated to the welfare of the people.



    Iran parliament mounts pressure on Ahmadinejad

    Iran hardliners force deputy foreign minister to resign

    Meet Ahmadinejad’s cabinet. Interesting insider stuff:

    Ahmadinejad’s inner circle under pressure

    Authorities Responsible for the Lives of Prisoners on Hunger Strike: Officials Must Account for Recent Deaths

    What If Azadi Had Been Tahrir?
    A reader with family in Iran reflects on the anniversary:

    Finally, one of the things I’ve wondered is could the green movement protesters have won if they had not just silently marched to Azadi Square the week after the election, but occupied it and held it the way the Egyptians held Tahrir.

    Iranian protestors plan to turn Tehran into ghost town

    Iran shipping firms charged with conspiracy to move over $60 million through US banks

    US hits Iranian shipping with sanctions

    H/T EAWorldView

  7. Khirad says:

    C -- Monday /ق -- الاظثنين



    Assad blames unrest on saboteurs, pledges reforms

    Protests follow Syrian president’s speech

    Al Jazeera

    Syrian forces prevent refugees fleeing to Turkey

    Turkey demands Syria dismiss ‘thug in chief’ brother of President Bashar al-Assad [H/T]

    Arwa Damon: a Syrian woman’s story

    Naval officer defecting

    In Search of the Rape Victims Among the Refugees


    Libya civilian deaths sap NATO credibility: Italy

    Libya rebels buy grains in first major deals

    I thought I already linked this? The upload date says today though. Oh well, it’s another homemade weapons of the rebels pieces -- already a veritable subgenre unto itself in Libya stories.

    Libyan rebels innovate with DIY weapons


    Soldiers and Militants Clash in Yemen, Leaving 21 Dead

    And the Western media yet again lets out a collective yawn…

    Tens of thousands of Yemenis demand president’s sons leave country


    Yemen’s crisis puts Saudi Arabia in powerbroker’s bind

    More than 100 influential religious & tribal leaders said Pres Saleh was not able to lead the country and should step down

    Mohammed Jamjoom

    Southern Yemen steeped in conflict

    “Bodies have been left in the streets for weeks, rotting, and dogs have begun eating the corpses,” said Col. Qasim Muhammad Hadi speaking from Aden, a Yemeni military commander and head of the Zinjibar security forces.

    Saudi Arabia

    On why the wrong gender is being banned from the road in Saudi Arabia


    Morocco’s Revolutionaries: The Crazy Kids Have Grown Up

    --And are standing up to Islamists as much as to the monarchy

    Thousands protest in Morocco for more reform

    Worthwhile watch (24 mins):

    Inside Story
    Morocco’s Mohammed VI has promised changes as part of a “historic transition” to democracy, but are people buying it?


    Veteran conscripts of Algeria’s war against the Islamists demonstrate for greater benefits


    Tunisia: Ben Ali ‘deceived into leaving for Saudi’

    Tunisia six months on: After Ben Ali -- video [H/T Kalima]


    Egypt’s ex-president Mubarak has cancer: lawyer [H/T Kalima]


    Shock. Question is, will you beat the spread?

    Palestinian unity meeting postponed


    The softies. I always knew they were the sentimental sort.

    Detained American hikers to be tried on 2nd anniversary of their arrest

  8. Khirad says:

    XCIX – Sunday / الأحد


    Muammar Gaddafi war crimes files revealed

    Libyan rebels say captured cell phone videos show rape, torture

    Syrian refugees in Turkish camp watch news of home

    Syria eyewitness: Damascus divided on Assad regime [H/T]

    Fawaz Gerges on Fareed Zakaria estimated that Assad garners about 40% support. I don’t have my own guess, but we should understand he has real support – especially in Damascus. But not all areas of Damascus, obviously…


    Just because I support the Libyan resolution and action, does not mean I’m without my criticisms (and sooner or later, should this not pan out in a few months’ time, we need to reevaluate). Juan Cole does a better job than I though in pointing out some fair critiques (unlike the foot-stomping of Kucinich and Paul)

    Top Ten Mistakes in the Libya War

    Marc Lynch takes off on the criticisms and questions of quagmire, but ends on an optimistic note.

    Benghazi on the Hill

    The prevailing view seems to be that Libya has become a quagmire, a grinding stalemate with no end in sight. This is wrong. While nothing is resolved yet, and Qaddafi may still be able to hang on, all the trends are in the favor of the rebels. There has been a growing cascade of states recognizing the NTC as the legitimate government of Libya, as Qaddafi’s support dries up even in Africa. There are more and more defections from the Qaddafi regime to the NTC, and — crucially — virtually no examples of anyone moving in the opposite direction. The rebels are holding territory, and the battle has moved to Tripoli itself. Qaddafi appears to be running out of money. Finally, the NTC itself (several of whom I’ve had the opportunity to meet) appears to be an impressive group, with serious technocrats attending to key shadow ministries and a real effort to include and represent all parts of Libya.

    NATO Says It Mistakenly Hit Libyan Rebels Again – and civilians in Tripoli

    It was the first time in three months of airstrikes that the Qaddafi government has presented credible evidence of what appeared to be direct civilian casualties of NATO attacks. Although the government has often claimed large numbers of civilian deaths, it has never previously presented bodies or consistent facts about the dead.

    Ambivalence in “pro-Gaddafi” district of Tripoli

    “Some people like (Muammar) Gaddafi, some do not,” a man who gave his name as Ibrahim told Reuters in Abu Salim on Saturday. “Me? I don’t care. I just want to be left alone.”

    After he spoke, a man came out of a stall on the other side of the alley chanting Gaddafi’s name. Ibrahim waved him off. “Ignore him,” he said, rolling his eyes and grinning broadly.

    While the majority of more than a dozen people interviewed in a market in Abu Salim said they liked Gaddafi, the die-hard supporters whom state TV often depicts cheering him on to the percussion of automatic gunfire seemed very few on the ground.

    Many were apathetic and one shop owner, who did not give his name, said people in the area pretend to support the Libyan ruler “because of fear and intimidation.”

    “I’m pretty sure ordinary people will not fight to defend the regime,” he said. “We are very tired of Gaddafi.”

    Libyans fear the scorpion sting of Gaddafi’s informers

    Locals call them pimps or snitches. They wear plain clothes, drive unmarked cars and are as numerous as scorpions in the Libyan desert, only more dangerous. Loathed and feared in equal measure, they are the eyes and ears of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and a large part of the reason that Tripoli has not been able to join the revolt sweeping the country.


    Tawakkol Karman: Yemen’s Unfinished Revolution

    Because America has invested so heavily in Yemen’s security forces, it now seems that a transition to democracy will depend on whether Washington believes that investment will remain secure. The establishment of a new government will therefore be contingent on American officials’ approving the country’s new leaders. Sadly, it seems likely that the United States will support figures from the old regime rather than allow a transitional government approved by the people to take control of Yemen. This would be a grave mistake.

    We understand America’s concerns about terrorism and recognize your right to attack terrorist sanctuaries. We have no objection to agreements that protect your security interests. We only ask that you respect international standards on human rights and the Yemeni people’s rights to freedom and justice.


    Bahrain: Ex-editors reject allegations in court


    Popular committees continue the revolution

    It’s in the work of these groups that the revolution continues: From representing community demands to engaging local residents to hold their government accountable, these committees are making politics relevant to people’s everyday lives.

    For most committees, politics is no longer “out there” in a remote sphere from which they feel marginalized; politics is at home. For the broader society, popular committees are an opportunity to communicate with once-invisible citizens.

    After Egypt’s ruling military met with campaigners pushing to end military trials of civilians, the prosecution summoned journalists who published the meeting details

    Army’s warning shots fail to end Suez Canal strike

    Egypt’s Bedouins begin to demand equal citizenship rights [H/T Kalima]


    Tunisia’s Ben Ali denies all charges on eve of trial

    Ben Ali “hopes with all his heart that Tunisia will overcome its current chaos and darkness and continue its path to progress,” he added.


    Press freedom group condemns club-wielding mob’s raid on news agency


    Meet your friendly morality police (pics)

    Picture of the returned Reformist daily Etemaad

    I do not support the MEK, but they don’t deserve to be massacred

    Iranian opposition group urges protection
    Political wing of Mujahideen-e-Khalq calls for base in Iraq to be protected at rally attended by prominent US figures.

    The US politicians present included Tom Ridge, who served as secretary of homeland security under president George W Bush; Andrew Card, who was chief of staff of the Bush White House’ and Rudy Guliani, the former mayor of New York City.

    I repost this Greenwald piece. I may have my problems with him, but he was one of the few who actually made this point.

    Imagine if a group of leading American liberals met on foreign soil with — and expressed vocal support for — supporters of a terrorist group that had (a) a long history of hateful anti-American rhetoric, (b) an active role in both the takeover of a U.S. embassy and Saddam Hussein’s brutal 1991 repression of Iraqi Shiites, (c) extensive financial and military support from Saddam, (d) multiple acts of violence aimed at civilians, and (e) years of being designated a “Terrorist organization” by the U.S. under Presidents of both parties, a designation which is ongoing? The ensuing uproar and orgies of denunciation would be deafening.

    Oh, and the MEK? It’s Marxist! But of course… pin drop silence from the left. Pussies.

    While it has pitfalls, this is necessary. And stability is in Iran’s interest. A failed Afghanistan would be like a failed Mexico for us.

    Iran defense chief in Kabul as Afghans eye security


    Sudan’s power play risks escalated border conflict

    • escribacat says:

      I like that new button that gets us here! Oh, and now instead of Hanoi Jane we’ve got Mujahideen Rudy.

      There was a pretty good program about the current state of Arab Spring on CNN tonight. I know nobody likes CNN around here but it was an informative update. Had quite a bit about the Bahraini, Ali Abduleman. Seems he has now disappeared but apparently under his own volition and not the army mob.

      • Khirad says:

        Yup, and crickets on any liberals calling Giuliani or any other Republican out on it. And that’s perfect! Instead of saying MeK, MKO or PMOI, we should use part of their name in associating it with Republicans: mujahideen. Spineless Dems.

        Yes that was Amber Lyons’ iRevolution special.

        I’ve been incredibly impressed with her work in Bahrain especially -- and highly recommended watching those pieces here. When no one else cared, she was shining a light on the outright human rights travesties committed by America’s Naval BFF being given a blind eye by the rest of the media.

        Arwa Damon is also another example of CNN’s international relevance, even if they’ve turned to twittified mushy crap in all other regards.

        Whaddaya think about me changing the picture to a casbah or something? I like the idea of Khirad’s Kasbah. Although it’s becoming more 1,001 Arabian Nights. Maybe just a palm tree on fire… hmm. Nah, it’s still a swell pic, I was just thinking of something to make it a little smaller.

    • KQuark says:

      Well we have a new gold standard in hyperbole. It’s not good enough for the uber ideologues on the left to say Obama is as bad as Bush now they have to say he’s worse. The fact is the left is much further left than it’s ever been. Greenwald says Obama’s lawyers are worse than Bush’s. Yup they are worse than the lawyers that condoned torture, supported DADT, continued to support DOMA, trumped up a war in Iraq based on lies etc. The fact is the left has become so ideological now they have zero discernment. Any military action is illegal whether the UN justifies it or not. The UN security counsel to the left has become a fascist organization. Next Greenwald will be equating Obama to Hitler because that’s how corrosive the ends of the political spectrum has gotten in this country.

      The big difference between Obama and Bush is that Obama is being effective at neutralizing the real enemy Al Qaeda. The left looks at them as a band of misunderstood delinquents so since Obama has effectively eliminated 20 of 30 to Al Qaeda operatives including Bin Laden he must be doing something wrong in their eyes. They hate the fact that Obama is using soft power and the intelligence apparatus far more effectively than Bush could ever dream.

      Of course everything the UN and NATO are doing in Libya is not proper but the big difference is the amount of international cooperation involved.

      • Khirad says:

        From the Juan Cole piece:

        1. President Barack Obama should have gone to Congress for authorization to stay in the Libya war. Not doing so weakened the legitimacy of the war in the US public, and involved his setting aside the legal advice he received from government lawyers. He could have set a precedent for the return to constitutional rule in the US, but tragically declined to take up that opportunity. (I have held this position from the beginning, by the way). But a corollary I am not sure American nationalists will accept is that even if Congress authorizes a war, in the absence of an attack on the US, that would be illegal in international law unless the UNSC signed off on it. That is what did not happen with regard to Iraq. Those criticizing Obama now often did not criticize W., and often still do not, for a much more important legal violation.

        I kinda thought maybe it might’ve been better to go to Congress too. But, the second part of the point offers critical perspective. Prof. Cole’s failing? He should add the whiny far-left holding hands with those hypocrites on the right. There might be more consistency, but it’s still comparing a molehill to a mountain with the hyperbole employed. It’s a valid concern. But it’s not “just like Bush” in any way.

        As to Greenwald, he pisses me off too, but that’s why it’s so sad to me that no other commentator on the left I know of have called out Republicans for supporting Islamo-Marxist terrorists and are deluded into thinking they are still a viable opposition (rather than the creepy cult with no sympathy within Iran that they are). It’s said that in the halls of congress the only foreign relations lobby as aggressive and influential as AIPAC is the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). That makes for a toxic brew of potential disastrous foreign policy.

        The Republicans have again palled around with terrorists -- in public! Where will the condemnation be? *crickets*

        But back to Cole. I really appreciated that, ’cause it’s critique with nuance. He still thinks it’s worthwhile and was the right thing to do. Unlike those screaming that this is “just like Iraq”. :roll:

        And Cole should know. After all, the Bushies sent the CIA to try and discredit him when he questioned the rationale for war with Iraq before the invasion. I think he’s well versed on the differences, and is an actual, peer-respected Middle Eastern scholar, unlike any Hamster minion.

        • KQuark says:

          The fact is in the Constitution it says Congress needs to act. The problem is this hyper partisan Congress has such institutional constipation that it literally cannot act fast enough. Everything is a political game for them which is not the way to react to international crises. Congress had plenty of time to act the last 90 days and did not. Congress not just with Obama but with every US president back to FDR and probably before that has abdicated it’s responsibility. FDR had supplied the allies with material and personnel support way before Congress signed the lend lease act. The most direct example of what Obama is doing in Libya (too a much much lesser degree of involvement) is what Truman did with Korea because it was a UN sanctioned action therefore legal in a higher court to look at it that way.

          Franken and Boehner want votes on Libya. Well fracking do it. Kucinich wants to defund support of NATO in Libya well vote on it. Congress wants all the political hay with zero responsibility. They really want to see how it goes and then maybe they will vote. I have no allusions that Obama is not doing everything by the book and trying to get around Congress but I understand the reasons why. It appears Cole does as well.

          The fact is the executive is the active branch of government when it comes to national security. It’s unrealistic to depend on a glacial Congress to act in a timely manner in the push button age of warfare. Dems are bad enough but Repugs are incredibly hypocritical on this matter. There are just different rules for a Dem president to them. I think it also kills Repugs that Obama is much more effective than Bush was fighting their wars as well. Look I’m a big believer in a pragmatic foreign policy. I agreed with most of what the fist Bush did, save Iran-Contra of course but he understood international cooperation when it came to the UN and probably would have done better than Clinton did in his first term handling the breakup of the Soviet Block. But late in his first term and in his second term for sure Clinton fully grasped the need for international cooperation and that there are times when intervention is necessary.

  9. Khirad says:

    XCVIII – Saturday / السبت


    Syria forces storm border town near Turkey

    Kudos to Anderson Cooper on his coverage of Syria.

    US and Russia discuss UN resolution on Syria

    Oh, snap!

    Turkey says Syria only has a few days left to get its act together

    Clinton says ‘no going back’ in Syria

    The United States is weighing whether war crimes charges can be brought against Damascus to pressure the government to end its bloody crackdown on dissent, the US administration official said.

    Other measures, including sanctions targeting the country’s oil and gas sector, are being considered as part of a broader diplomatic campaign to increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.

    For the original op-ed by Secretary Clinton in Asharq Alawsat

    Syria: Cracks In the Armor

    Everyone around calls him muqaddim -- Arabic for his rank. A colonel with the 11th Armored Division of the army’s 3rd Corps, the 22-year military veteran says he burned his uniform in disgust more than a week ago, starting with the epaulets. He had to defect, Harmoush says, to take “responsibility for protecting civilians in Jisr al-Shoughour.” His only regret: “I was late in taking this decision. I feel like I am responsible for the deaths of every single martyr in Syria.”

    British embassy says citizens should leave now! (now?!)

    Around 8,500 Syrians fled to Lebanon, reports An-Nahar


    Who are these rebels, are they like the Taliban? I can’t believe I heard that again today. So, I’ll have to revive the “who are the rebels” segment.

    Leaving Lancashire for Libyan front line

    In Libya, More Novice Soldiers in Defense of Qaddafi

    Now Refat, who was not fully identified because of the fear of retribution from Libyan security forces, is patrolling the rebellious neighborhood of Souq al-Juma wearing a mismatched uniform, riding in a small white government car and worried for his life each night because of the growing number of rebel attacks within the capital on soldiers like him.

    Just last Thursday, he said, four armed rebels ambushed a group of his fellow soldiers at a checkpoint, killing another amateur soldier named Walid, a 20-year-old student, and leaving another in the hospital.
    “We are afraid,” Refat said. “We are standing under the light and they come from the darkness.”

    Novice soldiers like Refat, whose account provided the first confirmation of widespread rebel reports of their nocturnal guerrilla attacks, appear to be an increasingly important part of the Qaddafi government’s defense against potential insurrection in Tripoli, the Libyan capital. The professional soldiers of the Qaddafi militias who once cruised the streets of neighborhoods like Souq al-Juma in their white Toyota pickup trucks, he said, have all been called away to fight on the front lines near Misurata, the Nafusa Mountains or the eastern oil city of Brega.

    Austria recognizes Libyan rebels

    Obama ignored top legal advice on Libya: report

    Meanwhile, are you f****** kidding me?

    Libya’s rebel oil chief accused the west of failing to keep up its promises to deliver urgent financial aid, saying his authority had now run out of cash completely after months of fighting.


    FFS. :roll:

    I recommend this, it’s very interesting.

    In ravaged Libya, ghosts of a Jewish past

    Hate me for this, but the refuse and graffiti aside, there’s a haunting beauty to it in ruins.

    But here it is in its prime
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/1018749149/in/photostream/


    We keep hearing that Saleh is to return “any day now” (burns and all) from the Saudi media and Saleh’s allies in Sana’a. And, since continuous MASSIVE demonstrations in EVERY MAJOR CITY are friggin’ boring and blasé to our news media, there’s not much news today but this, which is fortunate, as this poses critical questions over the current tenuous situation within the country under its current caretaker executive.

    In Yemen, a vice president in the hot seat


    I shan’t hold my breath.

    Bahrain to Lift Ban on a Political Association

    Bahrain to lift ban on opposition party

    Pretty pictures:

    Al-Wefaq Rally in Sitra-Bahrain

    Saudi Arabia

    Sisters doing it for themselves.

    Women driven to confusion in Saudi Arabia

    That there are women in Saudi who are distressed at the ban on their driving is well known. On the other hand the religious establishment has also been staunch in its demand to maintain the ban. Some of them have even gone so far as to call the campaign western-backed “female terrorism” and “soft terrorism”. Others claimed that the campaign to allow women to drive is an Iranian/Shia conspiracy to destabilise the country.

    Saudi women defy ban to take driver’s seat

    Saudi Arabia: Women Behind the Wheel


    Morocco: Protesters say king’s reforms ‘not enough’

    The proposed reforms include giving the prime minister and parliament more executive authority and recognising the minority Berber language.

    But King Mohammed will retain key powers and remains head of the army.

    A new article within the constitution also formalised his role as the highest religious authority in the country.

    I’ll admit there were some good steps here, but it falls far short of the constitutional monarchy promised. I guess it all depends on how one defines ‘constitutional monarchy’. The Prime Minister would still be appointed by the king, so, not quite what we’re familiar with in the UK, at least. I don’t think we can expect the types of European ceremonial monarchies anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa anytime soon.

    Full text here, courtesy Brian Whitaker

    Speech by King Mohammed VI of Morocco in Rabat, 17 June 2011.


    I know people don’t often think of Jordan that much (internally, at least), but trust me, this is a great insight into the country and its own King’s gestures of ‘reform’.

    And Then The King Spoke


    Poland grants asylum to 16 Christian refugees who accompany Foreign Minister back from Tunisia

    Poland has been attempting to raise its profile as a major political player, both in Europe and in North Africa.


    Well now, this is interesting. A report by the IRIB admits to the long held criticism of its handling of the election. Oh, it’s worth a perusing in full!

    Shocking Confidential Report Admits to Iranian TV’s Provocation of Post-Election Uprising

    The report goes on to say that the “premature announcement of election results, prior to preparing public opinion, was a mistake in the national media’s news coverage … considering voting hours ended at 22:00 on the night of 12 June, and the initial results (announcing Ahmadinejad’s victory) were reported (after counting 61% of the votes) at 2:47 a.m. the next day .”

    The report finds that “announcing election results with such speed was almost unprecedented.” The report implicitly blames the IRIB’s performance during the vote count, as one of the factors contributing to widespread street protest.

    Sounds boring, but the Reformist press in Iran is anything but. Let’s see how short their leash is now.

    Iran lifts ban on top-selling reformist daily

    Officials fire Iranian governor before ceremony after asking for guidance from God [through ”divination” – headline FAIL]

    Oh China, first Vietnam, now Iran?

    Iran warns China over South Pars gas deal-report


    Feinstein: Senate Intel Committee May Investigate CIA Targeting of Cole

    False Spring
    Can we please stop calling every protest an Arab Spring?

    So, I’m not too into the Council on Foreign Relations, but this is worth browsing, I suppose.

    Fighting Corruption After the Arab Spring
    Harnessing Countries’ Desire to Improve their Reputations for Integrity by Stuart Levey

    H/T EAWorldView

  10. Khirad says:

    XCVII -- Friday / الجمعة


    Again, I mention the revelation surrounding Professor Cole. Everyone who thought the campaign against the Plame family was maddening should really be perking up at this.

    Ex-Spy Alleges Bush White House Sought to Discredit Critic

    Cole on Goodman & CIA Surveillance

    And I thought, the Bush White House was so unserious about that task that they closed down the Bin Laden unit in the CIA, and worse, they were using the CIA to spy on American bloggers instead!

    Eastern Europe leaps to aid ‘Arab Spring’ countries

    Lech Walesa chuckles as he recounts a conversation he had in April with reformers in Tunisia, cradle of the Arab Spring.

    “They told me they want to purge everybody linked to the old regime,” says the former shipyard electrician who brought democracy to his native Poland in 1989 as head of the Solidarity trade union.

    “I asked, ‘How many’s that?’ and they said, ‘2.3 million people.’

    Where the Arab spring will end is anyone’s guess


    Deaths as fresh protests rock Syria

    At least 16 killed as security forces open fire on anti-government protesters across the country.


    Violent Clashes as Thousands Protest in Cities Across Syria

    Syrian troops take over northwestern town (Maaret al-Numan – I hate headlines, “northwestern town” doesn’t narrow it down for me)

    After all this bloodshed, there is no going back for Syria
    Most Syrians did not want regime change until the state opened fire. Now they will not settle for less than democracy

    For Syrian Refugees, Shelter of a Precarious Sort

    Well, this could get interesting:

    Turkey to create military ‘buffer zone’ within Syria for refugees [H/T Kalima]

    Here are the real voices of Syria’s uprising (Bashar does have support, unlike Gaddafi)

    A reporter inside Syria talks to the real-life people affected by the protests and government crackdown.


    A completely “spontaneous” pro-government demonstration

    This ‘news’ from Iran:

    ‘Syria stands strong with Assad’

    What did I learn from that? Besides the state line, something interesting, actually. Russia has a naval base in Tartous (and naval bases are scant for the Russian Navy). So, Syria really is Russia’s Bahrain.

    In unending turmoil, Syria’s Assad turns to family

    Syria’s President Bashar Assad, beset by a popular upheaval that won’t die, appears to be turning more and more to a tiny coterie of relatives, the backbone of a family dynasty that has kept Syria’s 22 million people living in fear for decades.

    Reviled Tycoon, Assad’s Cousin, Resigns in Syria


    Idlib Province, near where the military occupation is happening



    Deir al Zor, in the northeast

    Someone has been shot there


    Children running from gunfire

    1 killed, 7 hurt in Lebanon anti-Syria rally

    Angelina Jolie visits Syrian refugees in Turkey


    Defiant Gaddafi vows to defeat NATO

    NATO targets Tripoli, gov’t shells near Misrata

    Rebels dismiss election offer, NATO pounds Tripoli

    Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam told an Italian newspaper that the elections could be held within three months and transparency could be guaranteed through international observers.

    He said his father would be ready to cede power if he lost the election, though he would not go into exile.

    Heavy fighting as Libyan rebels try to push out

    Libya’s rebels tried to push deeper into government-held territory east of the capital Tripoli Friday and exchanged heavy artillery fire with forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi near the western city of Zlitan.

    Libya rebels claim advance ‘coordination’ with Nato air strikes [H/T Kalima]

    ‘Gaddafi regime in direct contact with rebels for first time’ [H/T Kalima]

    27 Libyan soldiers flee fighting to Tunisia

    On a shoestring, Libya’s Misrata seeks normality

    French foreign minister rejects Libyan rebel accusations Algeria supporting Gadhafi’s regime

    Spain is expelling Libyan diplomats

    For the record, I’m all for Congress authorizing this action, or ‘limited air war’, if you prefer, but my god, the whining from the far-left and sudden isolationism from the Republicans is a little too much to take.

    Lawmakers mock Obama claim on Libya hostilities

    John McCain keeps up Libya push


    Anti-government protests continue in Yemen
    Protesters say they are not against continued GCC mediation and insist their primary goal is President Saleh’s removal.

    I’ve been hearing this for nearly a week now… I think the Saudis are freaking out royally.

    Yemen: Wounded president to return in ‘days’

    They want a transition (Ta’izz?)

    Tai’zz, after Friday prayers

    Friday prayers in Ibb




    Bahrain frees activists held after UN sit-in

    Bahrain hunger striker sees husband for first time in two months

    Saudi Arabia

    Saudi women defy ban to take driver’s seat

    During the wee hours at 12:40 AM today:

    I’m all for #Saudi #women2drive on #June17 and I support the movement and #freedom of choice for my sisters in Saudi.

    Who tweeted that? Saudi Prince Khaled Alwaleed.


    Former first lady, antiquities minister accused of misappropriating funds from King Tut exhibit

    Close Mubarak associate held in Spain

    Muslim Woman Seeks Egyptian Presidency

    The Sexual Harassment File: Sexual harassment starts at home

    Over the coming weeks, Al-Masry Al-Youm each Wednesday will feature pieces that dissect the reasons behind sexual harassment, the coping mechanisms for women (and men) in the streets of Cairo and the system that has been set up to tackle this festering issue. Comments and input are appreciated -- send us your stories of sexual harassment and information on any organizations or initiatives that combat sexual harassment in Egypt.



    Tunisians still wait to celebrate democracy after the revolution [H/T Kalima]

    Wow, and there was such suspense… not.

    Ben Ali will not attend Tunisia trial for theft and fraud

    UN refugee chief calls for greater international support for Tunisia and its refugees


    Morocco reforms to cut monarch’s powers


    Superb, clear cut. Numbers speak louder than words.

    Human Rights Statistics; Two Years after Iran’s Election

    Iran to put a monkey into space: report

    Jailed Iran brothers win global health prize

    Colbert on the new Iranian dress crackdown

    Watch: Maziar Bahari Discusses Imprisonment, How Iranian Americans Can Support Human Rights (only Farsi for now)

    H/T EAWorldView

    Weekly trivia.

    The answer to last week’s question: the modern Turkish city of Antakya was known in the Bible as Antioch.

    Bashar al-Assad was not always groomed to be president-for-life. What profession is he trained in?

  11. Khirad says:

    Blurry photo of genitals in Damascus.

    There, got your attention?

    H/T Jon Stewart

    XCVI -- Thursday / الخميس


    You must read this, you’ll thank me later:

    The Cynical Dairy Farmer’s Guide to the New Middle East

    The state of the gay Middle East.

    Canadian software censors the Internet in the Middle East

    Valerie Plame anyone?

    Ret’d. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to “Get” Cole


    United Nations warns of mounting Syria casualty rate

    How Banned Foreign Journalists Are Covering the Syrian Refugee Crisis

    Under cover of darkness, Assad’s enemies take up arms as their foe closes in

    Under cover of darkness, Assad’s enemies take up arms as their foe closes in

    More than 12,000 people are now camped in a state of squalor and degradation on this side of the frontier. Another 8,500 had made it across only to be herded into camps and locked away with no access to the outside world, by the authorities in Ankara. Yesterday, these inmates held a protest demonstration during a visit by foreign minister Ahmet Davoutoglu to one of the holding centres.

    Assad’s enemies pin their hopes on the regular Syrian army

    Syrian rebels call for new wave of protests in Arab capitals [H/T Kalima]


    Idlib (northwest)

    Syrian tank just screwin’ around running over bicycles


    Opposition push Gaddafi’s forces back

    Gaddafi regime claims ‘great victory over al-Qaeda’ in crucial town of Zawiyah

    Libyans chafe under Gadhafi’s rule in Tripoli

    Men like these are part of a loose band of activists emboldened by NATO airstrikes to take a stand in Tripoli, where repression of the opposition has been among the harshest in Libya.

    Such low-level guerrilla warfare, along with small anti-government demonstrations, are part of a renewed push to shake the Gadhafi regime in its heartland despite a violent crackdown on dissent in the early weeks of the uprising that began Feb. 17.

    A funeral procession on May 30 for one man killed in the attack turned into a demonstration by hundreds of residents in the neighborhood of Souk el-Juma, two residents said. A video of the anti-government protest was uploaded to YouTube.

    “There is only one God, and Gadhafi is his enemy!” protesters shouted as they carried a man’s body through the streets.

    Libya air strikes: Nato uses Twitter to help gather targets (and acknowledge it, that’s the news)

    Anders Fogh Rasmussen and David Cameron try to calm Nato discord

    White House: Obama has legal authority for Libya mission without congressional authorization

    Kucinich, you’re officially on my shit list. I’m so done with you forever. Buh-bye.

    US lawmakers file suit over Obama’s Libya war


    Quite an accusation.

    Yemen warns Qatar over dissident funding

    Yemen army defectors join street protests


    Shame on the UN.

    Even in Custody, Bahrain Activists Use Twitter to Protest

    US envoy: Bahrain detainees need rights protection

    U.S. Adds Bahrain to List of Rights Abusers

    The United States has put Bahrain, a Persian Gulf ally, in the company of Iran, North Korea, Syria and Zimbabwe on its list of human rights violators to be scrutinized by the UN Human Rights Council.

    Trial of Journalists Continues in Bahrain

    Women protesting


    It’s been a while since the benevolent dictator and renaissance man with kind eyes article.

    Oman’s benevolent autocrat may avoid a similar fate to Libya’s Gaddafi

    United Arab Emirates

    Where ‘no’ means jail time

    Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Arabia’s No Good, Very Bad Year

    Meanwhile, with 88-year-old King Abdullah and other senior princes in wheelchairs or hobbling around on sticks, Saudi palaces could be mistaken for luxurious old-age homes. Crown Prince Sultan, 87, is just a smiling shadow of his former self and may be heading back to New York City for more cancer treatment. Prince Nayef, 78, and third in line for the throne, has just returned from more than a month away in Switzerland, believed to be for medical reasons. Somewhere in the background is Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was most recently trying to recruit Muslim mercenaries from Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia to defend the kingdom and the more vulnerable members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

    Diplomats often describe their role as searching for the pulse of the countries that they visit. But when it comes to the gerontocracy that is Riyadh, that maxim contains another grim, underlying truth.


    Social Media Help Keep the Door Open to Sustained Dissent Inside Saudi Arabia

    While social media was once almost solely the playing field of the liberal elite, Saudi activists say it has become more democratic this year, with more varied voices.

    The religious conservatives are catching up. Gone are the days when they issued one fatwa reported by the newspaper Al-Watan that commanded women to avoid writing “LOL,” or laughing out loud, because the very idea of a woman laughing might arouse male strangers.

    This next one is actually pretty interesting, as far as economics can be. Here’s the gist, the Saudis create jobs, but they don’t go to Saudis, at a ratio of 9/10. Among youth unemployment, it is higher than any other Middle Eastern country, other than Iraq.

    New employment rules to shake up Saudi private sector

    Saudi women demand driving rights
    June 17 is “I will drive the car myself day” in Saudi Arabia. Here’s why that matters.


    Mauritania opposition says October vote not possible


    Algeria passes budget law as public anger grows


    Interview: Tunisia tourist revenues to halve in 2011: minister
    Some of these are actually clever,

    Tunisia defends ‘provocative adverts’ to woo tourists

    And seem to contradict this…

    Tunisia’s Internet agency agrees to block porn


    Six Contributors to Opposition Radio Station Held in Gabode Prison for Past Four Months


    Kuwait ruler warns against unrest, security threats

    Thanks to a generous welfare system, Kuwait has avoided the mass protests that have forced out the rulers of Egypt and Tunisia.

    But the Gulf Arab state has endured a long political stalemate, and opposition has built up against Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, an influential member of the ruling family. Several hundred people have held weekly peaceful rallies to demand his resignation.

    CNN will (very briefly) catch you up on what I’ve intermittently included in these updates.


    Jordan’s king says elected government may take 2-3 years; ‘no time to waste’

    News Office in Jordan Is Damaged in an Attack

    The agency, Agence France-Presse, angered some loyalists of King Abdullah II when it reported on Monday that his convoy was attacked with rocks and bottles during a visit to Tafileh


    Lebanon: New All-Male Government Formed Amidst Continued Wrangling


    Egypt’s military council lifts nightly curfew

    13 Parties unite to form ‘National Coalition for Egypt’

    Amr Moussa: Egypt not ready for parliamentary elections

    Low-ranking police officers demand their superiors face trial for murder


    It may be trite, even slightly demeaning considering the more than skin-deep indignity, not to mention their smarts and grit, but Iranian girls are gorgeous. There, I said it.

    Iran intensifies dress crackdown

    Interesting spin, I must say.

    Iran’s Green Movement has actually achieved its goal

    Where does Iran’s opposition stand two years later? The price of speaking out has been high. Even so, the movement has achieved its goal by gaining moral high ground, revealing the true face of the Islamic regime, and draining away much of its political legitimacy.


    The regional context is also a factor. Violent repression against Iranian civil society and the fractures within Iran’s ruling class have eroded the image of the regime as the vanguard of the resistance against oppressors in the Muslim world. The recent revolts in the Arab street against corrupt dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere were more akin to the nonviolent demonstrations in Tehran than to the truncheon-wielding Basiji thugs who put down the revolt. The regime has based much of its international appeal upon being a righteous Islamic answer to corrupted regimes around the Middle East; yet, now the government’s anti-democratic domestic policies are steadily sweeping away its legitimacy as “popular” and “Islamic.”

    Ahmadinejad calls for regional security alliance to counter US influence

    Iran’s president calls on Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members to unite against western ‘colonialists and enslavers’


    How predictable was this?

    Obama calls for ceasefire in Sudan

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama is calling on Sudan’s warring factions to end the bloody violence threatening a peace agreement as the south gears up for independence due in three weeks.

    Funny, bloody violence threatens peace? You don’t say.

  12. Khirad says:

    XCV -- Wednesday / الأربعاء


    Thugs in Damascus, tales from Jisr al-Shughour

    Syrian army presses scorched earth campaign in north

    Syria widens crackdown in north and east

    Tanks deploy in east, Syrians flee northern town (Maarat al-Numaan)

    Video footage claims to show army defections, conditions of displaced families and continued protests

    Syrian Army deserter: ‘We were ordered to shoot on the people’

    ‘They shot people who were trying to get away’

    Among the crowd were soldiers who had changed sides. They acknowledged serving a repressive regime without questions. But they had stopped doing so, they insisted, because of the vicious nature of the current military operations. Surrounded by people who have suffered at the hands of their fellow troops, the soldiers were nervous. Ismail Sher Saleh, a 25-year-old former sergeant of infantry, had deserted just before troops of the 4th armoured division led by the President’s brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Maher al-Assad, had launched their attack on Jisr al-Shughour.

    Soldiers helped civilians escape Syrian town, defecting officer says

    Syrian Refugees Flee a Devastated Jisr al-Shughour

    Syrians vent rage in tent camps on border with Turkey

    Five months pregnant, she ran for her life, she said, when Assad’s forces stormed her village, shooting a man — a lawyer she knew — dead before her eyes. A resident of Latakia, she is among those yet to cross into Turkey, many of whom are either hoping they will be able to return to their homes soon or reluctant to leave Syria without friends and family they’ve left behind.

    More than 9,000 more have fled across the Turkish border to one of the numerous camps being set up in a mountainous region of Hatay province, according to Turkey’s semiofficial Anatolia news agency.

    In Pictures: Syrian refugees flock to Turkey

    Arwa Damon is the full package.

    CNN reporter, briefly in Syria, hears ‘horror’ stories

    Just inside Syria, refugees from embattled town huddle in makeshift camp


    Syria calls on refugees to return

    Arab League issues first condemnation of Syria violence

    Syria’s envoy, Youssef Ahmad, claimed Moussa was recommending the same sort of military intervention that the Arab League endorsed in Libya three months ago.

    Oh wow, that’s what Russia says. What a coincidence.

    Russia, China boycott UN talks on Syria

    Assad envoy to holds talks with Turkey PM


    You know, thinking about what outrages the public when it comes to music and media, this may not be fair and quite self-righteous, but I find such talk ridiculous. This is what I think is obscene, in the real world, right now.

    Detention and killing of children prompt charges and countercharges

    Syrian Blogger Monitors Country’s Uprising (speaks to NPR via Skype)

    The Fall of the House of Assad

    The regime is exaggerating the numbers, but soldiers are undoubtedly being killed. Firm evidence is lost in the fog, but there are reliable and consistent reports, backed by YouTube videos, of mutinous soldiers being shot by security forces. Defecting soldiers have reported mukhabarat lined up behind them as they fire on civilians, watching for any soldier’s disobedience. A tank battle and aerial bombardment were reported after a small-scale mutiny in the Homs region. Tensions within the military are expanding.

    Syrian Unrest Stirs New Fear of Deeper Sectarian Divide
    Turkey feels racial tensions as flood of Syrian refugees goes on

    I feel like maybe I should do a better job explaining context. Aleppo is the second largest city in Syria and quite important. There, context established, now, video:


    Hama (of Hama massacre infamy)

    Professionals march in Hama

    Syrians in Idlib (borders Turkey) congratulate Erdoğan’s reëlection.

    Angelina Jolie seeks to visit Syrian refugees


    Libyan rebel fighters suffer losses in Brega

    The rebels have spent months trying to seize the strategic oil hub of Brega, which would open the road to Sirte, the Libyan leader’s home town, and from there to the capital Tripoli.

    “Our men were tricked. Gaddafi’s soldiers pretended to surrender, coming with a white flag, and then they fired on us,” Mussa al-Mograbi, a rebel commander, told the AFP news agency on Monday.

    Whoops. Talk about being punished for success.

    Libya rebels advance into Nato bombing path

    Libyan rebel troops whooped with joy outside the besieged city of Misrata when Nato dropped leaflets threatening Apache air strikes against government forces – until they realised they were in the path of the expected bombing.

    Libyan rebels make fresh advances
    Gains come as NATO bombs Tripoli, with strikes hitting eastern neighbourhoods of the capital city.

    Clinton: Africa must abandon Gadhafi

    Liberia cuts ties with Gaddafi’s Libya

    That makes 14 nations recognizing the NTC. But African Union nations are particularly necessary, given Gaddafi’s largesse to Sub-Saharan nations in terms of infrastructure and economic aid packages, and in South Africa’s President Zuma protesting.

    Libya: another member of Gaddafi regime defects [H/T Kalima]

    This is the kind of thing that really pisses me off. I mean, rape, slaughter and war crimes do more obviously, but this is like threatening to doing that to an inanimate site. It’s sacrilegious to history. Like, I dare you to, because you care more about our heritage than I do.

    Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi hides Grad missiles from NATO raids in the ruins of Leptis Magna

    Kadafi chess match a diplomatic draw

    Mikhail Margelov, the Russian president’s special envoy for Africa, told Interfax he had advised the chess federation boss to play white and make a move — e2-e4 — that would serve the purpose of “hinting to Kadafi that he is nearing the endgame.”

    A lot more info on that bizarre chess match, with video

    I had to look it up, it’s the move, many years back in Junior High Chess Club (I joined for a girl) everyone usually opens with. Russian poetry?

    Canada buying more ‘smart’ munitions to replenish Libya mission

    Now, don’t give the Canucks any ideas.

    Navy chief: Britain cannot keep up its role in Libya air war due to cuts [H/T Kalima]

    More nuanced than the grim title:

    Libya: Illusion of momentum as Nato campaign drags on [H/T Kalima]


    US House votes to block funding for Libya

    Boehner warns of possible War Powers Resolution violation over Libya

    Awesome job, guys…

    Tripoli bides time as Gaddafi support ebbs away

    But the nightly gatherings outside his Bab al-Aziziya compound now attract just a few hundred people, judging by the live broadcasts on state television. After a heavy day of bombing last week, a demonstration called to protest against Nato’s campaign attracted 300 people at most. This in a city with a population of more than a million.

    The accuracy of the air strikes, which appear to have caused few civilian casualties, mean Gaddafi has been unable to convince people that this is “crusader aggression” against all Libyans, even if many agree that the bombing raids are no longer just about protecting ordinary people. “Nato good, good,” is a common refrain to be heard from people talking to foreign reporters.

    Libya not a War for Oil

    As Seth Meyers would say, “really?!”

    London 2012 Olympics: Libya gets hundreds of tickets amid fears Colonel Gaddafi will disrupt Games


    STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!!! Nobody here f****** cares! We have Weinergate. MSNBC, CNN and FOX might as well all be SABA.

    Yemen sees largest protests since departure of wounded president

    Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in nearly every major city of the country on Tuesday, demanding trial for the family and close aides of the ailing president.

    For instance, in Ta’izz

    In Pictures: Marchers flood Sanaa streets

    What will occupy all the news in America?

    Officials: Militants seize parts of a Yemeni city

    Yemen’s acting president meets opposition leaders for the first time

    This is the real Game of Thrones right here:

    Who Tried to Kill Ali Abdullah Saleh?
    The hidden feud behind the revolution in Yemen.

    Evidence from the scene indicates that the explosion may have been caused by a device that was planted inside the mosque on the presidential compound, and not by a mortar shell or rocket, as was initially reported. If true, this means that someone with close access to the president was involved, which raises the question of why members of the Yemeni regime’s inner circle — set to mark its 33rd anniversary in power next month — now appear intent on destroying each other?

    The above then goes on into the web of clan loyalties and balance of power arrangements. Very interesting. Added new info I thought I already knew about the competing tribal factions. Here’s a shorter one though:

    Who Tried to Assassinate Yemen’s President?

    Remember, though I link to al-Arabiya on occasion, it is owned by the Saudis. So, with that in mind.

    Saudi top official to Al Arabiya: Saleh’s health improving and might give speech soon

    Daily life without fuel and power in Yemen

    Hmm, interesting…

    Britain to send Apache helicopters to Yemen


    Robert Fisk: I saw these brave doctors trying to save lives – these charges are a pack of lies

    In truth, of course, the Khalifa family is not mad. Nor are the Sunni minority of Bahrain intrinsically bad or sectarian. The reality is clear for anyone to see in Bahrain. The Saudis are now running the country. They never received an invitation to send their own soldiers to support the Bahraini “security forces” from the Bahraini Crown Prince, who is a decent man. They simply invaded and received a post-dated invitation.

    The subsequent destruction of ancient Shia mosques in Bahrain was a Saudi project, entirely in line with the kingdom’s Taliban-style hatred of all things Shia. Could the Bahraini prime minister be elected, I asked a member of the royal court last February? “The Saudis would not permit this,” he replied. Of course not. Because they now control Bahrain. Hence the Saudi-style doctors’ trial.

    Bahrain is not amused, they want to sue Fisk.

    Trial of ex-editors of opposition Bahraini newspaper delayed

    The poet that got jail time for “inciting hatred”. Here’s the offending poem:


    Protest in Sanabis

    A blog from a Shia doctor in Bahrain

    A quick catch-up if you’ve missed the goings on the past week

    I couldn’t make this up…

    Bahrain summer 2011 (3): A Festival of Hope and Love

    Manama, June. 14 (BNA) — Bahrain’s Summer Festival 3 aims to spread a message of hope, love and optimism in the kingdom, the region and beyond, organisers. The third annual event from July 1 to 31 includes events and activities that aim to bring joy and happiness to residents and tourists. Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa said this year’s festival would have a different flavour, under the slogan ‘Summer of Joy, Coming Together and Hope’.

    On July 20 and 21, the Canadian Théâtre Tout à Trac will follow the white rabbit with an innovative adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with the same unbridled humour and madness of the original tale.

    Another case of unintentional dark humor.

    ‘Bahrain regime punishes for nothing’

    Yes, the Iranian regime outlet is complaining about the sentenced woman poet whom dared criticize the regime. Ahem…


    More on the Bahraini poet

    A Poetry of Resistance: The Disappearance of Ayat al-Qurmazi in Bahrain’s Hidden History

    United Arab Emirates

    Activists accused of criticising Government have first day in court

    UAE intent on punishing online dissent

    Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Arabian lingerie law ends [H/T Kalima]


    Military promises activists it will review military trials of civilians

    Egypt’s Sufis see Islamist threat after Mubarak

    Latest Israeli spy story met with some skepticism

    Egypt questions Israeli spy suspect

    Israel FM: US-born Israeli held in Egypt is no spy

    US and Israeli officials attend spy suspect interviews

    Egypt spy allegations a throwback to another time


    The Saudis lookin’ out for a bro.

    Tunisia’s ex-president to be tried in absentia


    When thinking about the pain of America’s recession, think about if it were 45%. Perspective can be a valuable thing…

    Gaza unemployment rises under Israeli blockade: UN

    Fatah and Hamas to hold talks in Cairo


    Hezbollah rise in Lebanon gives Syria, Iran sway


    It will be one helluva earthquake when this tyrant dies -- that I predict now. But for now, he keeps staving off the reaper.


    Here’s another great one. “Dictator, say hello to the end”

    Iran’s marchers question direction

    The larger dilemma at this point for the Green movement, according to an Iranian political analyst who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal, is that intra-conservative conflicts are beneficial to the Greens, but lack of action could weaken the movement.

    UK condemns ongoing repression in Iran

    “Yesterday, large gatherings of Iranians marked the second anniversary of the disputed 2009 elections with silent and peaceful protest, and were again met with repression by the Iranian authorities. There are deeply worrying, credible reports of arrests and violence against protesters.

    Erdbrink: In Iran, ‘couch rebels’ prefer Facebook

    Online, Iranians brazenly show the parts of their lives that they used to keep secret from the state and others. Pictures of illegal underground parties, platinum blond girls without head scarves and couples frolicking on the beaches of Turkey are all over Iranian social media. They illustrate the rapid modernization that the Islamic republic has gone through during the past decade, changes that have left clerics, revolutionaries and many families struggling to understand.

    Iran: Ruling on detained Americans by late August

    Ahmadinejad letter to parliament a “goblet of poison” say lawmakers

    Reuters is a bit more forthcoming.

    Iran lawmakers call foul on Ahmadinejad’s minister

    Book Discussion with Iranian Journalist Maziar Bahari

    Two year anniversary silent flash mob in Paris

    Necklace ban for men as Tehran’s ‘moral police’ enforce dress code
    More than 70,000 trained forces sent out to streets as part of effort to combat ‘western cultural invasion’

    I myself sometimes wear one like this:

    It’s also odd, as there are Allah and zulfiqar (Ali’s sword) necklaces out there.

    A story, in Farsi on Grand Ayatollahs who issue statements saying writing on banknotes is un-Islamic.

    Just a good indication that that tactic is still in play.


    Turkey detains 32 hackers suspected of links to global cyber attack group Anonymous


    Chinese riots enter third day

    Police vehicles set on fire during Guangdong clashes which began after fracas between security officers and vendor


    Okay, what’s going on with 40 something guys pretending to be lesbians?

    The unmasking of two fake lesbian bloggers has shown that heterosexual men are deeply fascinated and wildly confused by gay women. They need a man’s guide to being a lesbian [H/T Kalima]

    H/T EAWorldView

  13. Khirad says:


    Welcome to the the new House of Khirad, بيت الخرد, now located in the sidebar. A big shukran to Sheikh al-Idlib for his munificence.

    XCIV -- Monday / الاثني


    Great stuff.

    U.S. Underwrites Internet Detour Around Censors

    Al Jazeera continues

    However; Juan Cole tersely identifies a few problems.

    Shadow Internet Story Fishy

    Controversial idea I’ll pose. Look at this map:

    I’d actually be willing to let them have their Emirate in that red area, evacuate all women who want out, and cordon of the area. Any captured al-Qaeda offshoots we find elsewhere get sent there to that Siberia in the Sahara.


    The government is removing statues of Hafez al-Assad!

    Syrian army in process of “splitting apart” – Iranian snipers

    Syria being assisted by Iran, William Hague says [H/T Kalima]

    More Syrians waiting to cross Turkey border

    Almost 7,000 Syrians have so far crossed the border with Turkey to escape violence, and an estimated 10,000 more are waiting for the opportunity to cross.

    Some residents of northern Syria who have fled the army assault spoke out on Monday, saying troops had begun fighting among themselves in the midst of the military operation.
    “The troops are divided. Four tanks defected and they began to fire on one another,” the AFP news agency quoted 35-year-old Abdullah as saying.

    This is really disappointing. The gay girl in Damascus? It was all a cruel hoax. It may have been with the best intentions, but saying she was kidnapped was unforgivable. And, in retrospect the story of the father telling the Mukhabarat off was pretty implausible -- which is what made it so compelling.

    US man admits he is ‘Syrian gay girl’ blogger


    In response to that, this is just a f****** fantastic article.

    Gays, Islamists, and the Arab Spring: What would a Revolutionary do?

    Syria’s ‘Butcher of Hama’ living in £10 million Mayfair townhouse [h/t Kalima]

    Bolton: U.S. Should Have Taken Out Syria’s Assad After Saddam Fell [H/T Bito]

    Tank patrols Homs amid gunfire. Brief but chilling


    Libya’s rebels claim resurgence; government denies

    Fierce fighting erupts in western Libya

    Richard Engel, James Bays is challenging your badassness.

    Libyan forces risk losing last lifeline to the outside world [H/T Kalima]

    Libyan rebels smuggling weapons through Tunisia [H/T Kalima]

    UAE recognises Libya’s rebel council

    I wonder if the Medal of Freedom had something to do with it?

    Germany recognises Libya rebels as sole government

    Conflict in Libya: U.S. oil companies sit on sidelines as Gaddafi maintains hold

    Yet even before armed conflict drove the U.S. companies out of Libya this year, their relations with Gaddafi had soured. The Libyan leader demanded tough contract terms. He sought big bonus payments up front. Moreover, upset that he was not getting more U.S. government respect and recognition for his earlier concessions, he pressured the oil companies to influence U.S. policies.

    Stories emerge from a town in the Western Mountains, now liberated, and the rape of nurses, and terror in hospital there.


    Yoohoo, MSM? Even Rachel? Where the hell are y’all on the Arab Spring? I don’t ask for much. Dontchya think 10,000 in a country with the population of 1,200,000 is worth a few seconds away from the Weiner roast?

    Bahrain opposition rally draws more than 10,000

    Bahrain tries ex-lawmakers, imprisons poet

    Bahrain medics on trial over protests

    Bahrain may reinstate 571 workers

    Wow, it’s like he’s a royal LeBron

    Bahrain royal sues a Kuwaiti man for twitter comments

    More on that:

    Kuwait arrests man over Twitter posts

    Saudi Arabia

    Driving While Female: More Saudi Women Stopped On The Road

    “I love driving,” said one of the women, who asked we not use her name because she feared for her safety. “I used to dress like a man and drive in the streets of Riyadh.”

    Saudis mount cleanup amid defense scandal

    King Abdallah, who has long sought to crack down on high-level official corruption in the kingdom’s elite, discreetly initiated the campaign in March, Intelligence Online web site said.
    Abdallah’s decision appeared to be stem from the political upheaval across the Arab world against dictatorial regimes triggered by pro-democracy protesters demanding reforms and action against corrupt leaders.


    Yemen’s Saleh to address nation as opposition urges Vice President to join transitional council [seriously?! With 40% burns over your body?]

    Special from Yemen: A Saleh return spells civil war, opponents say

    The government’s pledge that Saleh, strongman of 33 years, is healthy contradicts reports widely circulated in Yemen’s local media on Monday, claiming he died from the injuries. The reports were disseminated by France 24 television, publicizing information purportedly relayed by Israeli intelligence.

    Political analyst Ahmed al-Zurqa told Al-Masry Al-Youm Saleh’s true condition is being concealed from the public in order to bide time to find a suitable replacement.

    “The assassination attempt changed everything. Until we know for sure who was behind it, we can’t say the situation will be any better,” he said. “We are waiting for the Yemeni and US experts to give us more information on their investigation into who supplied the attack. The rocket that was used is rare and can’t be found in the Yemeni military.”

    Sanaa’s shaky cease-fire

    Trouble in southern Zinjibar province, while president is said to be “recovering” in Saudi Arabia.

    Many government ministries are not functioning as staff stay away and Sanaa is suffering from cuts in electricity, fuel and water supplies.

    The situation has grown even direr in Zinjibar.

    Health officials have described bodies lying in the streets of the city, which once had a population of some 50,000 and is now nearly empty, and without water or electricity.

    Yemen arrests suspects over attack on Saleh

    Qat and chat in Yemen [H/T Kalima]

    A week after President Saleh left the country, violent protests continue in Yemen.
    Author Paul Torday, whose novel satirised the use of military intervention there, says this ancient civilisation has survived far worse times

    RAF pilots carried out secret raids in Yemen (in the 70s) [H/T Kalima]


    Jordan’s king promises democratic change

    Jordan’s king liberalizes, but stones still fly


    Feeling winds of Arab Spring, Israel douses sparks of Palestinian uprising

    The trial of Palestinian protest leader Bassem Tamimi underscores Israel’s eagerness to prevent small-scale demonstrations from turning into a broader movement.


    In addition to confronting protesters on the ground, the military has also aimed to thwart protests by targeting leading activists. Israel’s military law in the West Bank gives the army strong tools to control public protest: any political assemblies with more than 10 people require a permit, exposing activists to jail terms of up to 10 years. Israel’s army can also keep detainees in jail for months without charges.

    Aner Shalev: On Naksa Day, even as the snipers were shooting and the ambulance sirens were wailing, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman proudly said that the army had learned its lessons from Nakba Day.

    It’s easy to identify the effort to divert attention from the lost legitimacy of Syria’s minority Alawite government, and instead to try to undermine the legitimacy of Israel on the anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War, Naksa Day.

    The troubling question is: Why did Israel cooperate with this Syrian equation so obediently, so unimaginatively?


    Protesters accuse Cairo governor of running over woman

    Not this woman, but pretty, huh?

    In a variety show put on at the Cairo Opera House to honour Ziyad Bakir, an Opera House graphic designer who was martyred in the course of the revolution, Ballerina Sahar Helmi in a piece choreographed for the occasion



    Trial of ousted Tunisia leader Ben Ali to start June 20: PM


    Thousands demonstrate in Morocco’s largest city

    Game of Thrones
    Morocco is the Arab world’s last chance to prove that monarchs can reform their countries without getting thrown out of them.

    (shocking ending to the HBO show last night, btw)


    Iranian security forces attack silent rally in Tehran

    Voice of a Silent Protester: ‘June 12 Will Always Be Our Day to Remember’

    Two years after Iran’s marred election, hard-liners anything but triumphant

    The vicious infighting between conservative factions has brought little hope to Green Movement sympathizers, however. In the latest blow, they woke to the second anniversary today to news that imprisoned journalist and opposition activist Hoda Saber had died in prison from a heart attack after a 10-day hunger strike.
    “Today I sat at this computer and wept for an hour … because I couldn’t understand the point of another death; a hunger strike, any action, for such a sick and stupid nation,” said one Green Movement supporter contacted in Tehran.

    “I won’t be going out today for the silent pavement crawl,” she adds. “I don’t know why they go out today. The factions between the Leader and Ahmadinejad are eating each other alive; why distract them from the carnage and feed them our own?”

    Reza Hoda Saber, Political Prisoner, Dies after 9-Day Hunger Strike

    Rape and Torture: Legacy of the Post-Election Crackdown
    Video Testimony from a Young Woman Raped in Detention, Most Detailed Account to Date
    UN Special Rapporteur Should Investigate Rape Allegations in Light of Rampant Impunity


    Ahmadinejad slapdown, after trying to merge three ministries, briefly naming himself caretaker of Oil.

    Majlis votes to defer ministry mergers

    The vote was 200, out of 290 members. Ouch!

    What’s the most recent propaganda line?

    Alleged Iranian Agent Who Infiltrated Opposition Claims He Met With Hillary Clinton


    Erdoğan wins third term with his party

    Why Turkey’s Vote Is Good for Democracy

    Turkish democracy is alive and kicking. Yes, conservative Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- under fire for his authoritarian leanings -- won Sunday’s elections with a landslide 50% of the vote, basking in the longest period of economic prosperity in the country’s recent memory. But his Justice and Development Party (AKP) fell short of a sought-after two thirds “supermajority” which would have allowed him to change the country’s founding principles without seeking the opposition’s consent.

    And, as a result of the vote, he finally has a robust, colorful opposition to contend with. The new Turkish parliament has more women, more Kurds and more human rights activists than ever before. Voter turnout was a record 87%.

    H/T to EAWorldView

  14. Khirad says:

    XCIII -- Friday / الجمعة


    What role has torture played in the Arab Spring, by Lisa Hajjar


    ‘Many killed’ amid fresh Syria protests

    An activist in Damascus told Al Jazeera he counted at least 14 separate rallies in and around the capital, the largest number since the uprising began in March.

    Mapping the Day of Clans protests

    Helicopters open fire to disperse Syrian protesters

    Syrian soldier, Hussein Harmoush announces his defection

    More of those defections and Bashar will be left with these assholes

    Syria accused of torturing a second teenager to death [H/T Kalima]

    Martin Chulov on possible Iranian involvement in Syrian crackdown

    Syria: secret agents ‘led massacre in Jisr al-Shughur’ [H/T Kalima]

    Iran summons UK diplomat over remarks on Syria

    UK not impressed.

    Syrian refugees in Turkey: ‘People see the regime is lying. It is falling apart’ [H/T Kalima]

    Desperately Fleeing Syria: Refugees Cross into Turkey

    Turkey says will no longer support Syria in the UN

    Assad ignoring Ban’s phone calls

    Syria warns against UN criticism of crackdown

    Meanwhile, Russia is concerned for the Syrian “people” (cough, Bashar clan, cough)

    That’s why they’re burning your flags, you dicks. At least when we shield Bahrain, we don’t completely dismiss protesters like Moscow. Maybe try branching out and not regurgitating this crap:

    Assad Regime Deters Protests in Syria with Media Control

    What happens in Syria stays in Syria
    Why Russia will always veto

    Vids of Friday demos:






    Maybe if there were a few al-Qaeda flags the WORTHLESS MSM would take notice?
    [img] [/img]

    Protests break out across Yemen

    Yemen protests urge Saleh to quit as government troops clash with separatists


    Rebel forces edge towards Tripoli

    This is actually looking less tyrannically methodical and more brutally desperate, really.

    Dozens killed in Misurata clashes

    Zlitan is one of three towns that are under government control between Misurata and the capital and if it were to fall, could act as a stepping stone to allow the anti-Gaddafi uprising to spread from Misurata, the biggest rebel outpost in western Libya, to Gaddafi’s stronghold in Tripoli.

    “Large numbers of troops are surrounding Zlitan from all directions and are threatening its residents with having their women raped by mercenaries if they do not surrender,” Bani said, adding the rebels controlled parts of the city.

    This is a pretty sweet map [why don’t png’s load?]

    Fighting erupts in Zlitan, Turkey offers Gaddafi exit

    Heavy fighting between pro-Gaddafi troops and rebels broke out in a Libyan city just 160 kilometres east of Tripoli, potentially opening the coastal road to the capital, just as cracks appeared among NATO allies.

    Gaddafi forces also shelled for the first time the world heritage-listed city of Gadamis, some 600 kilometres southwest of the capital on the Tunisia and Algerian border, opening a new front in the five-month long civil war.

    In Pictures: Libyan rebels advance


    Good reads on a sticky relationship.

    The US and Bahrain: Sending Ludo home

    Cultivating a Prince to Coax an Ally to Change


    Classy way to treat your women, Khalifa clan

    It’s finally official, maybe.

    Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled after team protests


    Jordan Tries to Remake Its Political Machinery


    Human rights advocates want new constitution before elections


    The Shanahmeh is the national epic of Iran. Every one knows it. This was a mural done in the Northeastern city of Mashhad for its millennial anniversary before and after being painted over.

    Enemies of Culture Removed Shahnemeh Wall Painting Overnigt


    [img] [/img]

    More here. (in Farsi, but mostly pics)

    It’s your friendly annual neighborhood satellite dish pickup! And what timing! Right before the anniversary of the ’09 election.

    Note to Olympic Committee, as ridiculous as they kinda are (I don’t find wearing headscarves ridiculous in itself, but kinda think many of these young women wouldn’t if they had a choice in the matter), this is a step forward for Iranian women, and young athletes, especially WOMEN athletes, tend to be of the Green bent. Thus, this is so counterproductive it’s not even funny. It only gives Iran’s current leaders more fodder as the persecuted.

    And headscarves, really? The most absurd part was the rest of the baggy covering. Shouldn’t the men have to cover up too then? Seriously, the Qur’an says modesty goes both ways. And it’s not as if soccer shorts aren’t already long and baggy. It’s not like they’re wearing volleyball spandex or one piece swimsuits.



    Kurds could revolt if grievances aren’t fixed

    Turkey’s Election Offers a Last Chance to Integrate the Kurds

    H/T EAWorldView

    What the hey I’ll throw another one out there this week.

    Jisr al-Shughour, the Syrian town which has been attacked, has sent most of the people fleeing to the border Turkish town of Yayladağı. Yayladağı is just south of the provincial capital Antakya.

    Question: What is Antakya more commonly known as to Christians, as in the Bible?

Leave your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Back to top
PlanetPOV Tweets
Ongoing Stories