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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

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Arab Uprisings: Still Writing History, 9.6 out of 10 based on 7 ratings

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  1. KQuark says:

    Wow we have Sat and Cell phones guiding air strikes but now we have Tweets guiding bombs.


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  2. Khirad says:

    XCII -- Thursday / الخميس


    Yemen’s militants emboldened by nation’s turmoil

    Yemen: President Ali Abdullah Saleh ‘out of intensive care’

    Yemen braces for rival demos

    Yemen Without Saleh
    Chaos? It doesn’t have to be.

    Saudi donates 3 mln oil barrels to Yemen: minister


    Thousands of troops march on Syrian town led by ‘murderous’ brother of Assad [H/T Kalima]

    Maher Assad: Profile of the Syrian president’s feared brother [H/T Kalima]

    Syrian reports suggest divisions in security forces

    Critics accuse the Syrian regime of twisting facts to match an increasingly implausible narrative that they are promoting. According to reports by state news agencies, “terrorists” allegedly obtained military uniforms and government vehicles and used them to “film themselves committing acts of vandalism” to frame the Syrian army.

    Syria crisis: Refugees in Turkey fear for Jisr al-Shughour

    Turkey deplores ‘inhumane’ Syrian crackdown, reprimands Assad family

    Speaking about the increasingly growing number of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Erdoğan said Turkey cannot close its doors to those who want to seek asylum in Turkey.



    Hama (where a massacre took place last Friday)

    Homs -- way to make yourselves popular, guys. Soldiers posing, standing on a protester’s body.

    These “rioting terrorists” are chanting for unity between Muslims and Christians and denouncing violence. Good thing Bashar’s totally-not-thugs stop them from practicing what Bashar totally didn’t say was now guaranteed in his “glorious reforms”.


    Religious Affairs Ministry’s Website Hacked in Syria

    Recently, anonymous Syrian cyber-dissidents gained control of the Religious Affairs Ministry website. The hackers left a simple message which read, “The people want to topple the regime.” They also posted two videos, one of which featured Karim Rajeh, a liberal scholar based in Damascus. Rajeh is widely recognized as a proponent of democracy and the separation of church and state. The second video was of Hamza Al Khatib, the 13-year-old boy who was tortured by Syrian police few weeks ago.

    And while we’re on the topic of religion,

    Pope: Urgent reforms needed in Syria to end violence

    I have the mind to sending MSM news channels videos like this every time they mention Weiner. This one is a tortured corpse of another 15-year-old martyr, Tamer Alshary (graphic):

    In other Syria news:

    IAEA reports Syria to UN Security Council


    World powers plan for ‘post-Qaddafi’ in Abu Dhabi as rebels are promised cash – Australia recognizes NTC

    U.S. says transition talks under way with Gaddafi aides

    Qaddafi Son Told Rebels of Exit Plan: Aide

    Qaddafi Accused of Systematic Rape, War Crimes by ICC, UN

    Very interesting feature. Gaddafi soldier’s video diary provides key evidence of chain of command, including Moatessem Gaddafi.

    Refugee Resort: As Civil War Rages in Libya, Thousands Flock to Tunisia’s Djerba Island

    Algeria freezes Kadhafi assets


    Bahrain’s unseen protests fall on deaf ears

    Saudi Arabia

    In Saudi Arabia, Royal Funds Buy Peace for Now

    Saudi women hop into cars hoping for change

    Saudi arrests five women for driving


    A Martyr in Morocco

    While the world’s attention is focused on Yemen and Syria, the Arab Spring is slowly gaining momentum in Morocco. In this North African kingdom, protesters are increasingly enraged by the security forces’ crackdown on peaceful demonstrations and dismissive of the promises of reform that the monarchy made in March.

    Kamal Amari, 30, was a university graduate with a degree in physics who worked as a private security officer at the port in the western city of Safi. On May 29, he was caught up in the crackdown there. “Seven policemen beat him for five minutes,” said Adel Fathi, a friend.


    Internal tension? what internal tension?! Look: dastardly American plot foiled by the Glorious Islamic Republic!

    U.S. sanctions Iranian police for rights abuses

    Iran: Record Breaking 20-Year Jail Sentence for Blogger

    Iran: “We are Everywhere” Campaign Against Homophobia


    Using campaign of civil disobedience, reminiscent of Tunisia and Egypt, Kurds in Turkey seek more rights.


    Cold War: Iran and Saudi Arabia. Battlefield: OPEC. By James M. Dorsey

    A little bit of the domestic:

    Oman’s central bank has started to actively discuss a potential US debt default and fears such a move would, at least briefly, destabilise Gulf Arab foreign asset reserves, a senior official at the bank has said.



    H/T EAWorldView


    The answer to last week’s trivia question was the Ba’ath Party of Syria. With no guesses offered, herein marks the end of the trivia feature.

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    • KQuark says:

      Now you know every government blames every bad deed on terrorists even ours. I just can’t for the life of me figure out the path with Syria and Assad. It just seems like such a hopeless situation.

      OK am I missing something or should the media be all over the Bloomberg story. Within the month something is gonna pop on Libya and the American media is gonna act shocked like they did with Bin Laden was killed or Milosevic was deposed is probably a better example. But FFS anyone who followed the story can see the inevitable. At least anyone following Khirad’s blog on the Planet that is.

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  3. Khirad says:

    XCI -- Wednesday / الأربعاء


    “As he watched the news coverage of the Arab Spring, Palestinian filmmaker George Khleifi wondered what the TV footage might mean to the West.”


    I don’t say this often, but good on David Cameron.

    Major Battle Looms in Rebellious Syrian Town

    Syrian refugees flee to Turkey and Lebanon

    European countries hand UN draft of Syria resolution

    The gay blogger story just took an odd turn.

    After Report of Disappearance, Questions About Syrian-American Blogger


    Yemen: Parties deny holding talks as Saleh recovers

    Yemeni activists press government to abandon Saleh

    The activists’ threat to install a provisional presidential council was an attempt to bolster the influence of the Yemeni street. They also denounced the opposition political parties that had been negotiating unsuccessfully with Saleh for a handover of power before the Friday attack on the presidential palace that sent the Yemeni leader to Saudi Arabia on Saturday for emergency care.

    “We would like to announce that the JMP is part of the regime that we are seeking to remove,” said Tawakkol Karman, a prominent activist leader, referring to the Joint Meeting Parties, a coalition of six opposition groups. “In any new government, if the JMP is part of it, our revolution will continue.”

    U.S. intensifying covert war in Yemen: report


    Gaddafi more defiant as NATO bombards Libya’s capital

    Col Gaddafi vows to stay in Tripoli ‘dead or alive’ [H/T Kalima]

    London Dispatch / Ray Moseley: And what happens when Colonel Qaddafi goes?

    “We need to help Tripoli to implode peaceably,” he said. “The question is how do we remove a stinking, dying carcass?”

    Senators unveil Libya resolution pushing for Obama to seek congressional consent

    Spain recognises Libyan rebel council -- minister


    U.S. presses crown prince to ease Bahrain crackdown (but not really)

    Bahrain Grand Prix ‘not on’

    Saudi Arabia

    If this is you are “lingerie in Saudi Arabia” story virgin, enjoy. It’s like its own genre. Repressed society and push-up bras? No way! (yeah, it gets a little old after the first blush)

    In Saudi Arabia, Lingerie Reveals All


    The more things change…

    Government confirms application of law criminalizing protests

    Egypt military rulers vow no more virginity tests: HRW

    Egypt: Khaled Said’s Legacy Still Thrives

    Western Sahara

    Western Sahara: Parties to Conflict Conclude UN-Backed Informal Talks in New York


    Morocco’s Islamists say not pushing for religious state

    Morocco probes orgy claims against ex-French minister

    Morocco ratifies human rights protocols


    Tunisia delays new elections until Oct. 23


    U.N. expert criticizes human rights situation in Sudan


    24 Million = Zero: What the Greens Said Then, What the Hardliners Say Now, by Muhammad Sahimi

    Over a month after the eruption of political furor over the resignation of Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi, forced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his reinstatement by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not only has the long-building conflict between the camps of the president and the Supreme Leader not ended, it has deepened. Not a single day goes by without the two camps threatening each other. One of the most important fruits of the confrontation has been the revelation of how accurate were all the charges made by the Green Movement, before, during, and in the aftermath of the rigged presidential election of 2009.

    Ahmadinejad Responds to Foes in Major Press Conference

    But guess what. They need a diversion, and I’m willing to guess we’ll oblige them!

    Iran to triple capacity to enrich 20% uranium

    You know what, they got the main point right, but for the wrong reasons.

    “The announcement is a provocation. It heightens the existing concerns of the international community over the intransigence of the Iranian regime and its constant breaches of international law,” said Bernard Valero.

    Yes, it was a provocation (and likely not much more). And slap yourself on the back. You gave them the outrage they were counting on to cash in on at home (where the nuclear program is universally popular).

    ‘The day after Iran’s first nuclear test is a normal day’

    But hey, let Juan do his own devastating work in dismantling the diversion tactics of hardline frienemies in both Iran, and Israel itself.

    Dagan, Ofer and Israel’s Growing Iran Credibility Gap

    Iranian police to arrest men for wearing necklace


    Migrant worker is hamstrung for demanding due wages; massive violent conflict ensues

    H/T EAWorldView

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  4. Khirad says:

    XC -- Tuesday

    Our news is about ‘Wieners’ and Palin’s bus and Edwards’ skeeziness.

    Their news is, well, SLIGHTLY more IMPORTANT.

    Our News and their News

    AMEN! Now, to get back to that perspective.


    European nations seek UN Security Council resolution condemning crackdown in Syria as Syrians brace for more violence.



    Security Council to discuss Syria resolution as scores flee to Turkey

    A new opposition for Syria
    With former opposition groups discredited, young protesters are beginning to find their own voice and vision for a new Syria

    As a Syrian, I can only watch with despair as a party that has been in exile for almost 40 years – and been portrayed as our bogeyman for just as long – fails utterly in producing anything like a credible opposition. Far from being a bogeyman, it seems more like an exclusive club of doddering old men with no idea what the fuss is all about.

    So, if those security forced weren’t mutineers, but killed by the opposition, than why is it they have the body in a procession?

    Demonstration on the border, chanting for Turkish help.

    Supposedly Damascus

    Apparently, the regime is behind those protests on the Palestinian border. Talk about desperate for diversions.

    But, Israel fell for it.

    UN’s Pillay condemns Israeli ‘Naksa’ killings

    So now,

    After Golan clashes, is Israel rethinking the Assad (or Palestine) file?

    Syrian ambassador appears to resign on French TV; Syrian network airs denial

    Women protesting in Dera’a

    A Facebook page has been set up for the gay blogger disappeared, Amina Abdalla

    And oh yeah, she’s a dual American citizen.


    The Lebanese Left Fails in Syria


    Marching to the Acting President’s house to demand transition

    And then,

    Yemenis protest after talks rejected

    Ta’izz falls, 40% of Saleh’s body covered with burns.

    2 Saudi Guards Killed at Yemen Border


    Life in the Libyan capital appears surprisingly normal and Gaddafi’s supporters show little overt rage against the west

    Claimed footage from Tripoli

    Libya Stokes Its Machine Generating Propaganda

    Clinton heads to Abu Dhabi for talks on Libya as NATO jets batter Tripoli


    So, apparently the Bahraini state news crowed that the meeting with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights saw things their way and apologized for distorting Bahrain’s wonderful record. Oops! The UNCHR shot back:

    Press briefing note on Bahrain

    Bahrain police ‘target Shia processions’

    Bahrain police break up Shia marches -- video

    Bahrain’s Shiite clerics criticize police

    Bahrain’s Crackdown Creates Sectarian Fallout

    Bahrain makes a desperate attempt to charm Washington — while it declares war on protesters back home.

    Bahrain Grand Prix shrouded in doubt as opposition mounts

    Western Sahara

    No gains in Western Sahara talks as Morocco pushes for wider representation


    Reform as a path to a genuine constitutional monarchy


    Former information minister detained for another 15 days

    Military to broadcast on its own television channel



    Israeli settlers ‘desecrate’ West Bank mosque

    Israeli settlers have adopted the slogan “price tag” for attacks against Palestinians and their property mounted in retaliation for any steps by the Israeli government against their settlements built on land Israel captured in the 1967 war.

    Leonard Nimoy to Palestinians and Israelis: Live Long and Prosper in Two States


    Maliki asks for patience on Iraq reforms
    Premier cites progress over past 100 days and asks for more time, but opponents already calling for protests on Friday.


    If you saw the Maziar Bahari interview with Jon Stewart Monday, I also recommend the extended interview. And Jon has also been following the Haleh Sahabi tragedy of this past week!

    Statement of 750 Women and Democracy Activists on the Tragic Death of Haleh Sahabi

    What’s Mahmoud up to?

    President Ahmadinejad unveils US plots in Pakistan and Bahrain

    Tehran launches ‘Women’s Parliament’ in attempt to counter feminism

    H/T EAWorldView

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  5. Khirad says:

    LXXXIX – Sunday/Monday


    Arab Summer
    How unstable will the Middle East’s new democracies be?

    The Arab spring is not blossoming [H/T Kalima]


    Exit of wounded Yemeni leader sets off celebration

    Many ordinary Arabs claimed another scalp on Sunday in their quest to oust the region’s autocrats and dismissed the idea that Yemen’s president would ever return to power after treatment in Saudi Arabia.

    Saleh is gone. What next for Yemen?

    Contrary to the official story that he merely suffered scratches and/or a slight head wound in the explosion on Friday, latest reports say he has second-degree burns to his face and chest, plus a piece of shrapnel lodged near his heart which is affecting his breathing – though Saleh, who is 69, is said to have been able to walk from the plane when he landed in Riyadh.

    A second plane followed him, reportedly carrying 24 members of his family. This is one indication that to all intents and purposes the Saleh era is finished. He is unlikely ever to return to Yemen as president – and the Saudis and Americans will be working behind the scenes to ensure that he doesn’t.

    An avoidable civil war in Yemen that has already begun

    The Shadow of Saleh: Spoiling the Party in Yemen

    But should they be so happy? Military checkpoints still dot the city; more ominously, soldiers of the Central Security Forces, the only Yemeni military branch that has remained ostensibly loyal to President Saleh, still roam the streets. Under the command of Saleh’s eldest nephew, Yahya, these men are known for having itchy trigger fingers. All along the city’s major thoroughfares, Yahya’s men stare intently at passing traffic, looking down the barrels of Russian heavy machine guns mounted in the back of camouflage-painted pickup trucks.

    Yemen’s future after Saleh worries U.S. officials

    The flight of Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh to Saudi Arabia deprives the United States of a fitful ally in the fight against al-Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate and injects new uncertainty into counterterrorism operations that were already hampered by the country’s bloody internal strife, according to Yemen and security experts.

    So, like, f*** those Yemeni people. Hooray for the tyrant.

    Hold on, yes, this is a little better.

    US calls for ‘immediate transition’ in Yemen
    Clinton says transition is in best interests of Yemeni people amid reports that Saleh may return “within days”.

    But, the designated caretaker is rumored not to have entered the presidential palace and that Saleh’s son and Republican Guard commander has set up his heels on the desk. Well, we’ll see.

    Hold on a tic, this just in as well,

    US presses Saleh to hand over power in Yemen as British military assets deployed nearby

    Well, the plot thickens. Until more can be settled, check out this story:

    Pool Party at Saleh’s
    My surreal afternoon with Yemen’s president.


    Syria security forces ‘kill dozens’ in north

    Apparently some of those in the north were shot by helicopter gunships strafing crowds. The wounded were taken across the border into Turkey, rather than a Syrian hospital, for obvious reasons. If only more had that option in Syria. If only Syria weren’t Ba’athist Syria.

    Attack kills 120 Syrian forces (says Syrian government); crackdown feared

    The government’s unusual admission of the death toll and loss of control appeared to set the stage for an even stronger action to crush a popular uprising that began in mid-March and poses a potent threat to the Assad regime.
    State television added the armed groups carried out a “real massacre,” mutilating some bodies and throwing others in the Orontes River.

    Murder or Mutiny? Syria says 120 security men killed but activists say it was a revolt

    Heck, I couldn’t blame them if they did. But there is no evidence for it. Nor is there any evidence that these are soldiers killed for refusing orders to shoot. But that’s more plausible (graphic).

    Hama funeral procession, where at least 65 were killed Friday.

    Mama, when I grow up, I wanna be a Bashar thug, I’ll make you so proud.

    Syrian runaways arrested in Lebanon

    There’s a lesbian blogger whom I’ve mentioned in these updates before—a little disappointed no one remarked on her remarkable bravery. Well, she’s been kidnapped.


    Tripoli brigade trains to take capital

    Apache attacks cannot disguise Libya’s bitter battle ahead

    William Hague admits Libya campaign could continue beyond Christmas [H/T Kalima]

    More than 1,000 Libyans missing from Misurata

    Gaddafi’s Libyan army collapsing, say defectors

    Plan for post-Gaddafi Libya “embryonic”: UK’s Hague

    Why the U.S. probably won’t recognize Libya’s rebel government

    Fair points. Especially considering what could become a troubling precedent in a Yemen vacuum.

    GET THEM SOME &%$*&#@ CURRENCY! HOW HARD IS THAT??????????????? Also, free up funds. I mean, you have to consider at least HALF of frozen assets are THEIRS, right? Okay, so it’s prolly a lot more complicated than that, I realize…

    Libyan rebels broke despite pile of gold

    Algeria freezes Kadhafi assets: report

    Gaddafi forces opened Benghazi jails before withdrawing, releasing even murderers.

    HRW: Opposition Arbitrarily Detaining Suspected Gaddafi Loyalists

    Libyan ‘rape victim’ heads to US for refuge

    Daughter of Libyan civilian journalist born months after his death

    This is f****** insane, even for Iranian propaganda. Oh, I do recommend reading it, beyond the headline. These people (regime hardliners), and their Western stooges, are very sick in the head.

    ‘Gaddafi cared about Libyan people’


    Bahrain police ‘target Shia processions’

    Yup, looks like things are back to normal after Emergency Law was lifted.

    Women, fearless!

    Sunni detainee still held under mysterious circumstances

    47 Bahraini doctors and nurses who treated injured protesters face trial in Gulf kingdom


    Just one GCC country boosting spending packages to counter uprisings.

    Oman to grant 7,000 scholarships to students for higher studies


    Up to 60,000 protesters march in Morocco

    Morocco’s uprisings and all the king’s men

    Last Thursday, 30-year-old Khaled al-Amari, a member of Morocco’s main opposition group, died after reportedly suffering a severe beating at the hands of police during a protest in the city of Safi. Officers deny that his death was a direct result of police violence, despite eyewitness accounts that he was severely beaten.

    Police violence against peaceful demonstrators in Morocco has exploded in recent weeks, in what protesters say is a significant escalation of government repression.


    5 killed in clashes in southwest Tunisia

    Tunisia seeks way between unrest and uncertainy

    Seriously, if I had the means, I’d go and see Carthage in a heartbeat.

    Revenues from tourism sector in Tunisia drop 50%

    Tunisia finds 26 more bodies from refugee shipwreck


    Egypt to put 48 on trial for church clash

    Poll: Egypt optimistic but worried about jobs


    Palestinians may have new tactic targeting Israel’s borders

    Rafah open? Not so much.

    Israeli troops battle protesters in Syria, 20 dead

    Syria “clearly” inciting Israel border protests: U.S.

    Another “measured” response from Israel


    Protesters across Jordan step up calls for prime minister to resign, demand political reform


    Kuwait orders probe into Iran torture claims

    Embassy returns confiscated passport to naturalized US citizen stuck in Kuwait for months


    I was right. ☺ This so ain’t over!

    Ahmadinejad’s clique under fire despite call for calm

    “The current of deviation seeks to weaken the foundations of the Islamic establishment… I believe this movement is the gravest danger in the history of Shiite Islam,” Mehr news agency quoted Zolnour as saying.

    Farideh Farhi: Iran’s Deepening Internal Battle

    On May 25, 2011, parliament voted to investigate the Ahmadinejad government’s alleged vote-buying--reportedly $80 each for 9 million people--during the 2009 election. The opposition Green Movement made similar allegations after the election but was ignored. Why is parliament acting now--and to what end?

    But no, by all means, let’s start saber rattling to blow this awesome internal disarray. C’mon neocons, screw us over again. I know it’s your life’s mission. You have a secret pact with Iran’s neocons, after all—if only in spirit:

    Why the Arab Spring Has Failed to Thaw the Iran Nuclear Standoff

    I mean, even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s BROTHER is attacking him!

    But dammit, we have a nuclear fetish and our needs are going unfulfilled. We can’t help ourselves… oh yeah baby, let’s talk bombs, gets me hot. What? We’re handing the regime in Tehran a great diversion? Yeah, well, it feels so good, we can’t check our impulse control. It’s like Weiner and Twitter, ya know? We should know better, but we gotta talk about new sanctions.

    As mentioned, Friday was the anniversary of Khomeini’s death, and as such a national holiday where his successor, Khamenei, leads Friday Prayers.

    Dave Siavashi: Taking Apart the Supreme Leader’s Speech on “Uprisings”

    And a web warning. The popular opposition site rahesabz (Green Path) has a competitor in raheesabz. Both look the same. But, the latter is a regime site.


    Tiananmen anniversary brings new China detentions

    Stricter measures against dissidents are routine on the June 4 anniversary, but this year coincide with the most sweeping suppression campaign in many years. Hundreds of activists, lawyers and bloggers have been questioned, detained or simply have disappeared in the four-month campaign that aims to quash even the possibility of a pro-democracy movement forming along the lines of those sweeping the Arab world.

    Still no cracks at Thursday’s trivia question?

    H/T EAWorldView

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    • KQuark says:

      You know me I reject conspiracy theories. But this currency debacle with Libya makes me say hmmmmm….. about a few entities controlling all of world currency. At least it speaks to the real fact that banks are the most conservative group that forms our current establishment. Maybe the rebels need to ship that gold to one of those “we buy gold” schemes in the US.

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  6. Khirad says:

    LXXXVIII – Saturday / السبت


    Yemeni President leaves country for medical treatment

    “Things are getting very tight and people are getting impatient so maybe this is the best exit strategy, the pretext that he has to leave for health purposes — whether it’s God’s work or the Saudis’ design.”

    A growing number of people in Saleh’s inner circle feel the attack may have carried out by General Ali Mohsen who has broken from Saleh, sided with anti-government protesters and called the president a “madman who is thirsty for more bloodshed.”

    Yeah, I’d say this was a clear assassination attempt. The mosque where Saleh was praying at:

    Nails it:

    News Analysis: James M. Dorsey: Renewed and risky Saudi mediation

    Saudi mediation efforts are helped, albeit temporarily, by the fact that Mr. Saleh’s escalation of the crisis effectively turned it from an effort by protesters to force the president’s departure and a dismantling of the system that underpinned his autocratic rule into a power struggle with the tribesmen.

    Ta’izz, shots ring out and protesters are hit (graphic)

    Ta’izz, armor in the streets

    Russia evacuates diplomats from Yemen

    Wow, check out the fox perching on this guy’s head.


    Syria forces kill 63 in anti-Assad protests Friday

    Six protesters killed in Syria, 100,000 mourn the dead, ‘abyss’ warned -- at least 70 killed Friday

    Syrian security forces shot dead at least six protesters in the northern town of Jisr Al Shugour while tanks rolled toward the southern entrance of the central city of Hama, an activist rights group said.

    Hama martyr factory (graphic)

    Check this asshole out just shooting casually into the crowd

    I say you go Iranian style, identify him, and post it all over the internet.

    The faces of revolution [H/T Kalima]
    This week, a battered Syrian boy’s body brought his country’s struggle into focus. Michael Burleigh argues such casualties have long been powerful global symbols.

    Phew, that’s a relief. Syrian state television has settled all the questions and given us the truth. Be not deceived, trust father Bashar.

    A report by the Syrian Television broadcast on Tuesday unveiled the truth about the story of martyr Hamza al-Khateeb, closing the door in the face of the lies and false accounts of the satellite channels and websites which badly used al-Khateeb’s pictures over days to serve their purposes.


    List of 72 children killed in Syria since the uprising began (Facebook link, that’s how information gets out, deal with it)

    Barzeh area of Damascus, funeral procession

    Northern Hama

    Massacre atop a Dera’a mosque. VERY, VERY GRAPHIC


    NATO launches helicopter strikes in Libya -- Russia whines, why don’t we just put Russians in our equally whiny Congress?

    Going completely unnoticed has been opposition GAINS.

    Opposition fighters have also pushed government troops from Shakshuk and Qasr al-Haj, two towns near a key road that runs along the mountain range’s northern edge, Ibrahim, the rebel officer, said.

    After a siege by pro-Gaddafi forces, Misurata, Libya’s third largest city, is now in opposition hands.

    Opposition fighters there have now pushed halfway to the town of Zlitan, on the way to Tripoli, after taking control of Zintan.

    At one stage, their advance came to within 60km of Sirte, but the government troops held their line and repelled the attack.

    Syria Internet Service Said Restored

    Martial Law Is Lifted, but the Veneer of Calm Proves Easily Broken


    This is almost cinematic, Abu Saiba


    Egypt court sentences former finance minister to 30 years jail

    As if Egyptian police weren’t already accused of a long list of violence, the death of a driver after a physical blow-out with a police officer in downtown Cairo has, once again, aroused anger

    Gazans try to storm Egyptian border crossing

    Palestinians in Syria, Lebanon cancel marches to Israel’s borders


    Kuwait protesters demand PM’s removal


    Iraqi protesters’ arrest sparks concern

    Four Iraqi men who were apparently swept into an unmarked van during anti-government demonstrations last week are still being held, family members said Thursday. And their arrests have provoked more protests in Baghdad’s main square, including one on Friday.


    Haleh Sahabi: Our Antigone in Tehran, by Hamid Dabashi

    In Antigone, we are faced with the law of the land contravening the rule of traditions. But here and now, facing a vicious and wicked regime that is over-anxious about its own lack of legitimacy, Haleh Sahabi wrote in her living memory a different drama.

    The Islamic Republic is so terrified of any public gathering, especially over dead bodies of its dissidents, precisely because this is the manner in which it took over from the previous regime and that it abused to outmanoeuvre its ideological rivals in order to stay in power.

    The Islamic Republic is a republic of death and dying, a republic of fear of the living and thriving. Haleh Sahabi did not break any law to honour her father’s right to a dignified burial. She exposed the banality of the evil that rules over some seventy-odd million human beings, a banality that has not even the decency of allowing a dignified burial of an 81-year-old father, without causing the death of her mourning daughter too.

    The reaction to Haleh’s death on the street level,

    ‘Even Yazid Did Not Do This!’

    Iran protest dispersed by force: witnesses

    This was the security presence

    Tens of thousands converge on Tehran shrine to commemorate the death of Ayatollah Khomeini

    Ahmadinejad was not on the list of speakers (translation: SNUB!) and was seated between Khomeini’s grandson, caretaker of the Imam Khomeini shrine (and Reformist), the Judiciary’s Sadegh Larijani, and two seats away from former President Hashemi Rafsanjani (translaion: überawkwardness!). It was a more than symbolic visual that Ahmadinejad is being isolated. But so is Hassan snubbed, especially after last year’s dramatic heckling and Hassan’s punches thrown at the Interior Minister (who was in charge of the vote, btw). The line of Khomeini was snubbed. The caretaker of Khomeini’s shrine made a speech, which was not carried live like all the others.

    Khamenei calls for unity among conservatives [but not all is well]

    The Commander of the Revolutionary Guards, even slammed Ahmadi directly for releasing the British sailors in 2007.

    More on the Anonymous attack.

    Group Posts What It Says Are Iranian Government E-Mails

    H/T EAWorldView

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  7. Khirad says:

    LXXXVII – Friday / جمعة‎


    The airport is closed, and civil war looms ever nearer.

    Ali Abdullah Saleh delivers an audio speech after surviving an attack on his palace in Sanaa that killed seven officers.

    The shelling of Sana’a

    Mass funeral in Yemen for 50 killed in violence -- tens of thousands


    Statement by the Press Secretary on Violence in Yemen

    The United States condemns in the strongest terms the senseless acts of violence today in Yemen, including the attack against the Presidential Palace compound in Sana’a as well as other attacks in Sana’a and throughout the country.


    Tai’zz – with eerie machine gun perched looking down on them

    Dhamar, which is between Sana’a to the north and Ibb to the south


    And just in case you don’t care.

    Why we should care about Yemen


    At least 67 people killed, scores injured in Syria as protesters reach capital

    ‘Dozens killed’ in fresh Syria protests

    The deaths came as president Bashar al-Assad’s forces renewed their assault on towns seen as key to the demonstrations calling for an end to his family’s 40-year rule.

    Syrian government unplugs Internet for much of country


    Dara’a, more burning of Iranian, Chinese and Russian flags


    Another part of Idlib


    Qamishli – children in memory of Hamza al-Khateeb

    And many more, documenting every corner of Syria. I don’t know why some are saying these are isolated. All strata have not come out like in Egypt, but these are not minor. Note Bashar’s response if you doubt that.


    Bahrain police ‘suppress protest’

    Funny how we’d thought Bahrain was crushed. They were just waiting for Emergency Law to end, and provoked by the King’s speech on that occasion. Most of these are from Sanabis.

    Tear gas fired

    A woman stands up to the jackboots

    Funeral procession of Zainab Altajer, who died Thursday from tear gas exposure (?).

    Someone finally says it.

    US Should Move Navy Base from Bahrain


    There, feel better now? Or do you still want to pull out of NATO and the UN, asshats?

    House rebukes Obama on Libya

    Rebels in western Libya seize mountain towns in push toward Tripoli

    Rebel fighters make gains in western Libya -- China meets with rebels

    After a brutal siege by pro-Gaddafi forces, Misurata, Libya’s third largest city, is now in opposition hands. Opposition fighters there have now pushed halfway to the town of Zlitan after taking control of Zintan.

    The Ferengi looking ahead? This is very interesting.

    Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry said that China’s ambassador to Qatar recently met with the head of Libya’s opposition council, the first known meeting between the two sides.

    France is also pressing people around Gaddafi

    Moscow in mediation bid amid more Libya raids by NATO against Qaddafi forces

    “He is more and more isolated,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told Europe 1 radio. “There have been more defections around him and we have received messages from his close entourage which has understood that he must leave power.”


    Assuming that and the one the other day are authentic, this is big. I know it just looks like small crowds to the untrained eye, but that’s a big crack in a totalitarian security apparatus state--especially when it’s in its capital.


    10-year-old Egyptian child accused of inciting revolt in Kuwait


    Three judges in Egypt investigated after publicly criticizing the military

    Tahrir Square not taking it well

    Egypt’s journalists battle to organize independently

    Warsaw on the Nile
    How do you get the new Arab democracies’ economies in order? Look to Eastern Europe.


    Tunisia to try Ben Ali, wife, in absentia ‘in coming weeks’


    Moroccan Demonstrator Dies From Injuries, Protest Group Says

    Morocco: Pro-Democracy Movement Faces State Repression


    News Analysis / James M. Dorsey: Palestinian march will test Israel’s resolve


    More on Haleh Sahabi, whose name has been filtered in Iran.

    Religious rites disrupted, mourners arrested

    The funeral

    Hojjatoleslam Seddiqi: Arab Spring part of Khomeini’s legacy. (this is the boobquake guy)

    You’re not helping. The last thing we need to do is give Iran a diversion during internal troubles. I mean, it would be one thing if it weren’t idle speculation…

    Iran and the Bomb: An Update

    More interesting than that,

    Anonymous Hacks Iranian, U.A.E. Government Sites

    H/T EAWorldView

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    • KQuark says:

      With the progress in Yemen now Syria and Bahrain continue to be major obstacles to sustainable change in the Mideast. It’s frustrating to see civilians just losing their lives by the dozen almost every day just for protesting.

      Hey I have and exit strategy for Libya. The rebels should just claim victory and only call Libyan territory that is in rebel hands the real country of Libya. I know the UN and Europe is doing this to some degree now but the MSM being what they are keeps on calling Qaddafi’s ramblings on TV they “official” Libyan statements.

      It’s also hypocritical for human watch groups who have open access to the rebel areas claiming they torture even though those incidents are isolated and not condoned by the rebel authorities. Especially when Qaddafi does not give access to human rights groups and he is responsible for the deaths of so many citizens.

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      • Khirad says:

        I think it’s equally important for us not to give a pass to the rebels, but yes, your point is definitely taken. Their is no equivalency.

        Now, I’ve been a bit glib about this. I’m sure there’s tons of intricate international law and financial arcana I’ll never be able to wrap my head around--and concerns about precedents. But for god’s sake, just recognize the NTC and free some funds for them. I don’t care how you do it. It makes no sense to me to help them on the battlefield while strangling them administratively, economically and politically.

        As of delineating the country, well, with Misurata under full control, now would be a good time. And it would turn Sirte into a Gaddafi Kaliningrad.

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  8. Khirad says:

    LXXXVI – Thursday / الخميس


    Decent rundown of different hotspots. Of course, if you’ve followed the updates here, this should largely be review for you.

    Hopes fade for peaceful Arab transition to democracy


    I assure you, this isn’t Misurata, it’s Sana’a

    Battle rages in Yemeni capital – 50 dead since Sunday

    No one believes you anymore, douchebag (I, for the record, never did).

    Yemen says it is ready to ink Gulf-brokered deal

    Thousands flee fighting in Yemen capital

    Also tucked away in that,

    “President Saleh requested President Wade’s intervention with France, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries to create the conditions for an immediate ceasefire and the programming of free and transparent elections whose results he pledges to accept,” the office said in a statement received by AFP.

    Saleh “said he did not intend to stand in these elections”, said the statement issued after the embattled Yemeni leader held a telephone conversation with Wade, who is chairman of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

    Senegal indicated that it was prepared to accept the Yemeni leader but Saleh retorted that he “preferred to stay in his country”.

    News Analysis / James M. Dorsey: Yemen revolt becomes naked struggle for power

    The building here on fire, that of the nation’s airline. It is now burned down. Also, the airport has been reported closed, open, closed… it’s that fluid and/or chaotic in the capital right now. And I don’t need to tell anyone here the strategic importance of seizing a major airport.

    Photo by Iona Craig

    Hillary Clinton: Yemen Conflict Won’t End Until Saleh Steps Down

    Crafting Chaos: Presidential Games and Yemen’s Escalating Violence

    Counting down to civil war…

    Saleh deploys US-trained counterterrorism forces as tribes escalate fight


    Oman must charge or release detained protesters


    15 killed as government troops continue to pound central town – including a 4-year-old girl

    Syrians call for ‘Children’s Friday’ rally


    Clinton says Assad’s legitimacy has ‘nearly run out’ as regime continues murders

    Syria’s Embattled Dissidents Grapple with Government Hackers, Wiretappers and Imposters

    What’s the glorious news out of state media?

    Syrian Journalists Look Forward To New Media Law



    Homs – I’ve noticed a vast improvement in their chants

    Kids in Dera’a – go ahead, shoot at all of them, too

    Wow, Darya



    Death, Prison or Exile: Gaddafi Is Out of Options

    Six reasons why it’s been so tough to get Qaddafi to quit.


    Libya’s female freedom fighters

    Not so sweet.

    Alleged Libyan rape victim deported from Qatar back to Libya

    To add insult to injury

    Witness: Alleged Libyan rape victim appears bruised after deportation

    For those into military style maps, an awesome series showing troop positions and the Rebels have flanked Gaddafi forces in the west.

    US general says no evidence Algeria backing Kadhafi


    Security forces attack Bahraini protesters

    Great map of protests

    As Martial Law Ends in Bahrain, Will Anyone Notice? [NO!]

    Just one of many excellent links in the above article:

    Women The Latest Target Of Bahrain’s Crackdown

    Female poet brought before Bahrain military tribunal

    Bahrain Unsuitable to Host Formula 1 Race

    From Bahraini media:

    Verdict date set for 21 terror masterminds


    Reconsider Qatar World Cup football- German chief

    How ‘bout stripping them just for deporting al-Obeidi?


    Morocco urged to end violent crackdown on protests


    In Rich Algeria, Youth Face Meager Future


    700 immigrants trapped on fishing boat off Tunisia

    In Fragile Tunisia, Central Bank Chief Sees a Halting Recovery


    Democrats and Generals Part Ways over the Post-Mubarak Future

    Fareed Zakaria: Egypt is still run by a military dictatorship

    Insight / Farrag Ismail: A Salafi tremor in Egypt—founding a party, recognizing a civil state and granting Copts the right to refer to their religion


    by Mana Neyestani

    More on the ‘only in Islamic Republic of Basijis’ story yesterday.

    Iranian dissident’s family suffers double tragedy

    Opposition sites in Iran have been under extra sustained attack since this event, and of course, they prevented her funeral happening at all.

    Haleh Sahabi given speedy burial

    This guy you don’t know, but I do. He’s perhaps the foremost union leader in Iran. And, the great regime which fringe leftists love to defend, hates organized labor.

    Osanloo Released From Prison

    Iran’s Ahmadinejad appoints caretaker oil minister

    Besides the ongoing controversy over Ahmadinejad and merging ministries (without parliamentary approval), he’s appointed a former vice president (in Iran, there are 12). Why is this interesting? He was the head of Iran’s national sports program and complained that the UK’s 2012 Olympic logo spelled “ZION”.

    Yes, this is Iran. Where the most qualified are those who see Zionist conspiracies in logos.

    What’s Iranian state media saying? (I mean this occasional segment highlighting Iranian propaganda to be satirical – and not taken seriously – rather as a looking glass into the psyche of the Islamic Republic.) Today, I offer a double dose of irony.

    China has called on the United States to stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries under the pretext of human rights issues.

    Oh yeah, and the daily Death to Israel headline.

    Iran vows crushing response if attacked

    No news of Haleh Sahabi. But, the annual commeroration of Ayatollah Khomeini is gearing up. This, a year after this dramatic throwdown:

    Did Hassan Khomeini Punch Iran’s Interior Minister In The Nose?

    H/T to EAWordView

    I’ll never be able to come up with these like Kalima (will she tell me her secret?), but in all my compiling of these updates, I come across some fun facts. Of course, these are on the honor system, so just throw out a best guess.

    My first, is a love of mine, flag-related (or for fancy pants like me, vexillological).

    At a dimension of 2:3, this current Middle Eastern party’s flag is otherwise identical in design and colors to the 1:2 Palestinian flag. What is it?

    Oh yeah, and maybe I need more kitty related stories?

    Could this be your Lucky day? Home needed for Middle Eastern kitty

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  9. Khirad says:

    LXXXV – Wednesday / الأربعاء


    NATO and partners have just decided to extend our mission for Libya for another 90 days.

    But Kucinich, of course, thinks the mission against Gaddafi is ‘immoral’ and ‘illegal’.

    Hoyer smacks him down with a little sense.

    “But to have a unilateral withdrawal from a NATO enterprise before it ends,” he added, “would not be good for our NATO alliance.”

    Seriously though, you’re unhappy? take a vote to stop the mission -- or to at least express that you’d like to. Either that, or shaddup already.


    Libya: SAS veterans helping Nato identify Gaddafi targets in Misrata

    Just like we’d thought,

    Libya’s oil chief Ghanem defects, now in Rome

    African Union backs Russia mediation in Libya

    A car bomb has exploded near a hotel used by foreign diplomats in Libya’s rebel-held city of Benghazi. (no one hurt)

    Live fire against protesters in Tripoli


    Syrian opposition dismisses amnesty, discusses regime change

    Syria frees inmates, vows probe into boy’s death

    Wednesday’s concessions would have been unimaginable only months ago, but protesters had already rejected the amnesty as too little, too late. And the government announcements were coupled with a crackdown on two towns in Syria’s center and south that killed at least 33 people, including an 11-year-old girl shot dead by troops during a fierce shelling, activists said.

    Don’t worry though, those are just foreign lies. State News has the real scoop.

    Amnesty Decree Draws Wide Public Satisfaction on Human and Social Levels

    Syrian abuses are ‘crimes against humanity’
    Human Rights Watch finds evidence of systematic killings, beatings, torture and detentions.

    Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, demands Syrian leader face ICC

    Syrians doing it Iranian style


    Tribesmen seize government buildings in Sanaa

    Saleh loses grip on Yemen’s tribes

    The Bakil confederation has pledged to take up arms and join the Hashid — which was once their rivals — if Saleh continues to attack them in Sanaa. While the Hashid confederation wields more political power, the Bakil vastly outnumber the Hashid.

    If an alliance between the two confederations does come about, it would form a powerful, well-armed opposition with the capability of defeating forces loyal to Saleh, who has managed to retain power, sometimes against all odds, for more than 30 years.

    Source: Missiles strike at Yemeni defectors’ compound

    Kuwait withdraws diplomats from Yemen

    Undaunted, in Ta’izz


    Bahrain lifts martial law
    Troops and tanks withdraw from streets of Manama, but activists seeking to stage fresh protests complain of attacks.

    Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…

    This is a speech given to journalists on Tuesday by the king of Bahrain following the suppression of protests in the kingdom

    Oh, is this the freedom you’re talking about? This is from after your speech, your majesty:


    Mubarak and sons to stand trial in August

    Army probes Egypt blogger, TV host on abuse claims

    Egypt’s military questioned a democracy activist and a television anchor on Tuesday over comments that implicated a military official in abuses against civilians, the activist said.

    A military official summoned blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy for questioning after he went on television on Thursday and accused an army officer of instigating abuses by military police.


    In a changed Tunisia, dismay over an unchanged media


    I’m reading this guy’s book right now, it’s long, but it’s a page turner! So yeah, that’s an endorsement of the article, as well.

    Scott Peterson: Iran sees threat to its clout amid Arab Spring

    Jot this tragedy down, the two-year anniversary of the disputed 2009 elections is under two weeks away.

    Haleh Sahabi Dies at Father’s Funeral, Reportedly Struck by Security Agent


    Bolivia expels visiting Iranian minister over Argentinian bombing of 1994

    Iran cleric: Killing Israeli children OK

    Puhleaze, with that archconservative firebrand, that’s among the tamer things he’s ever decreed.

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  10. Chernynkaya says:

    For Khirad:


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    • Khirad says:

      Cher, I was only disappointed I couldn’t find a way to share that on FB.

      I wonder if this is really the way of the future to explaining complex geopolitical situations.

      Through puppies? I mean, it’s either that or printing the New York Times World section on breasts.

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  11. Khirad says:

    LXXXIV – Tuesday / الثلاثاء


    The costs of counter-revolution in the GCC


    Food running out in Gaddafi-held Libya: U.N.

    Dwindling supplies of food and medicine are a “time bomb” in parts of Libya controlled by Muammar Gaddafi, with some food stocks likely to last only weeks, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Libya said on Tuesday.

    Italy pledges financial, fuel aid to Libyan rebels

    Libya Alhurra rebel satellite TV station now broadcasting from Benghazi

    This was the channel founded by martyred Mohammed Nabbous.

    Libyan rebels distribute rules on POW treatment

    The rebels say they want to make sure that these and future captives are treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions governing the humanitarian treatment of prisoners and other victims of war.


    I relayed this story last week. This boy could become Syria’s ‘Neda’,

    Tortured and killed: Hamza al-Khateeb, age 13

    Though not from a wealthy family himself, Hamza was always aware of others less fortunate than himself, said a cousin who spoke to Al Jazeera.

    “He would often ask his parents for money to give to the poor. I remember once he wanted to give someone 100 Syrian Pounds ($2), and his family said it was too much. But Hamza said, ‘I have a bed and food while that guy has nothing.’ And so he persuaded his parents to give the poor man the 100.”

    In the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces, however, Hamza found no such compassion, his humanity degraded to nothing more than a lump of flesh to beat, burn, torture and defile, until the screaming stopped at last.

    On Hamza’s chest was a deep, dark burn mark. His neck was broken and his penis cut off.

    This was his funeral

    Whilst the big news of a supposed amnesty and national dialogue were announced…

    One killed as Syria military steps up assault in Homs

    Bashar’s butchers in action in Hama

    Syrians running out of refuge in Lebanon


    EU draft U.N. resolution on Syria could hurt stability: China


    This is getting bad and could significantly escalate even more. Too much in here to extract. Yemen is now THE story du jour, so you should prolly read this:

    Yemen truce ends in blasts, stokes civil war worries

    Opposition coalition blames Saleh for “al-Qaeda” takeover of Zinjibar

    Interestingly, the town is surrounded by military posts. So, incompetence, or…?

    Is Yemen about to disintegrate?

    The main topic was about news reports that al-Qaeda had overrun the coastal city Zinjibar. Both government and opposition figures denied this, insisting that these were jihadist forces of a different variety led by a veteran named Khaled Abdel Nabbi. Al-Qaeda is unlikely to align itself with someone whose very name – Abdel Nabbi (“slave of the prophet”) – they would consider a serious blasphemy.

    Oh yes, that article above will blow your mind a bit with the Kaleidoscope that is the ‘truth’ in Yemen.

    Yemen forces ‘kill 20 protesters’ in change of strategy by Saleh [H/T Kalima]

    Yemeni demonstrations, going NONSTOP for months -- even though IGNORED -- I’ve found to be among the loudest anywhere.

    Ta’izz demonstration

    The Tai’zz camp, after being stormed and demolished. But of course, you won’t hear about it in the on-screen MSM, like we heard about the storming of Tahrir in Egypt or even Pearl Roundabout (which was only mostly ignored). Have I mentioned lately that the corporate news disgusts me?


    Wow, after media quiet, a flood of stories today out of the Apartheid island regime.

    Bahrain king calls for national dialogue

    Wait a minute! We thought we should clarify that…

    Bahrain: No easing pressure on protest groups while king urges dialogue

    Another sign of division within the kingdom? Or just another farce…

    This tweet from the President of a Bahraini Human Rights group:

    I was called by the military court today evening #bahrain استدعائي للقضاء العسكري مساء اليوم


    Report: Bahraini authorities had sentenced more than 60 demonstrators

    Bahrain’s official tally shows cost to Shiites of mosques crackdown

    Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim government demolished or seriously damaged 43 Shiite Muslim mosques or religious structures during its crackdown on anti-government demonstrations, according to an official tally compiled by the state-supported endowment that oversees Shiite sacred buildings.

    Twenty-eight mosques were completely leveled, of which 10 had been historic structures, according to the list, which the Awaqf endowment posted last week on its website. Another seven were seriously damaged, of which two were historic, according to the list.

    The endowment, which the government helps fund and which reports directly to Bahrain’s minister of justice and Islamic affairs, also said that two Shiite cemeteries had been vandalized and that eight “ma’atems” -- multi-purpose structures that often function as funeral parlors -- had been damaged. One of those was historic, the endowment said.

    All of the religious structures had been properly registered with the government, according to the list.

    That assertion directly contradicts Bahraini government claims that any religious buildings destroyed in the crackdown had been built illegally in recent years.

    But this says it all…

    U.S. yanks its human rights officer from Bahrain after he’s threatened

    The campaign against Hood, however, had been going on for two months, State Department officials said, with one of the most virulent attacks coming May 7 in an anonymous posting on a pro-government website that included links to photos of Hood and his wife on their wedding day and information on where Hood and his family lived.

    The posting claimed that the biggest single supporter of the anti-government protests that began Feb. 14 was the political section of the U.S. embassy, working “in cooperation” with a cell of the Lebanese Hezbollah militant movement.

    The head of the office, the blog claimed, was “a person of Jewish origin named Ludovic Hood,” and charged: “He’s the one who trained and provoked the demonstrators to clash with the army” near the Pearl Roundabout that was the epicenter of the demonstrations.

    Hood also was “the one” telling the opposition of the steps they should take “to inflame the situation,” the posting claimed.

    The blogger called for “honest people to avenge” Hood’s role, gave the neighborhood in which he lived with his family in Manama, the capital, and promised to provide his street address. It linked to a wedding photo of Hood with his “Jewish wife, Alisa Newman.”

    Silencing Bahrain’s journalists
    Lamees Dhaif tells Al Jazeera: “They can stop us from telling stories now, but they can’t stop us forever.”

    Now, from our little frenemy to our biggest frenemy next door.

    Saudi Arabia

    Saudi woman driver freed after agreeing to quit campaign

    Where is Khaled? The Story of a Disappeared Critic


    Reflections on Egypt after March 19 -- from unity back to mistrust

    Egypt activists reject talks with ruling military

    In a statement, 23 pro-democracy groups, coalitions and parties — including the prominent Coalition of Revolution Youth and April 6 movement — said they would boycott the meeting.

    Mubarak deemed too ill for hospital transfer

    Mubarak’s sons have remands extended 15 days, and military summons journalists

    Egyptian general admits ‘virginity checks’ conducted on protesters

    Egypt’s connections blackout was planned since April 2008

    Tehran tries to avoid crisis in relations with Egypt


    Tunisia’s moderate groups link arms ahead of elections

    Moderate and independent political parties in Tunisia announced Tuesday they have joined forces in a bid to challenge Islamist groups and former regime loyalists ahead of key elections this year.


    Nailed it.

    One of Iraq’s vice presidents quit. This would be news if VP’s had any power, or the media cared about Iraq.




    by the incomparably incisive Nikahang Kowsar

    How petty…

    Angela Merkel’s plane was denied permission to fly over Iran’s airspace


    Terror in Abyei
    The first interviews with fleeing residents of this Sudanese border town make one thing clear: the regime in Khartoum knows exactly what it is doing.

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    • jkkFL says:

      There are ugly stories today Khirad..
      women and kids-what a sad world..
      Who is in charge now in Egypt- and what is happening there, it seems like another breakdown- or is it growing pains?? They don’t seem to be making much progress.
      Do you Really believe that stuff about Mubarak- only a million $$ and ‘too ill to travel’?? Smells fishy to me; the whole story!
      LOL on the evidence!!

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      • Khirad says:

        Egypt’s still murky. I read at least ten different analyses in the past week saying ten different things. One is up top and a fairly good representation. All have uncertainty. Only blogger Sand Monkey remains a cheery optimist. Others are more guarded in their optimism. The continued revelations of the military’s outrages after the fall of Mubarak lead to worry. And only $1 million my ass.

        A friend on Facebook pointed out the similarity of Hamza al-Khateeb and Emmett Till.


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        • jkkFL says:

          Wow! Never thought of that, but your friend is so right.
          Sand Monkey reads a little too optimistic to me, not sure I’m buying what he (?) is selling.. (Government mouth??)
          Yeah, I was a bit surprised that poor Mubarak had managed to fritter a couple of billion away while in ‘detainment!’
          Maybe he’s a big Internet Shopper?!?

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  12. jkkFL says:

    Was Tuesday cancelled?!

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  13. jkkFL says:

    Khirad- here’s a little tidbit for ya:
    One lady figured out how to solve the rape issue:

    Enjoy ;)

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  14. KQuark says:

    WTF!? al Assad is going to give his people amnesty. That’s mighty white of him. I hope the ICC does not give him amnesty for killing thousands of his own people.


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