Welcome to Middle East Update. Enjoy a cup of tea, proper Turkish coffee, or shisha pipe while you’re here. Think of this as a café to discuss the latest goings on in the Arab Uprisings and beyond. We don’t have backgammon here, but there is occasional trivia.
The only rule is that I generally limit the topics to the Middle East and North Africa.
Basic reference material, such as maps and such can be added later here upon request, to assist familiarizing and helping you follow events.
Additional information may also be found in past articles by me:
Wow have I been busy! But, I tried my best to sneak in a quasi-update, though I don’t have much on all the North African mess.
Islamophobia Is Bad for Business
Syrian troops and militia push to take Sunni Homs areas
Women join ranks of Assad forces in Syria’s Homs
Interactive: Mali Speaks
Op-ed: Moderate parties’ refusal to form political alliance with Arab factions a worrying trend bordering on racism
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu challenged for right-wing vote
Dramatic surprise in Israeli elections
Palestinian youth call for own university in Lebanon
Putting governmental puzzle pieces together
Barak: US plans ‘surgical strike’ if Iran sanctions fail
UAE Council applauds first female Speaker
UAE most connected country in Arab world
16 die in Egypt riot after soccer violence verdict
The state of Egypt’s revolution
Potential Presidential Candidate Says Iran Needs Moderates
Growing up gay in Iranhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/iran-blog/2013/jan/13/growing-gay-iran-tehranbureau
Iranian MPs line up behind Supreme Leader on election issue
Iran-Turkey relations irreversible. Trade may reach $100B: Envoy
Khomeini’s Granddaughter On Iran’s ‘Critical Situation,’ Sanctions, Facebook
Former Iranian MPs call for direct U.S.-Iran talks
Ahmadinejad: Iran must reduce oil dependence
Hey Khirad, thanks for the update!
BTW, glenn joined us on Vox Populi last night, was discussing living in the ME and some of us mentioned how interesting it would be for the two of you to discuss insights and observations.
As to the surprising elections in Israel, it is astounding that Netanyahu isn’t far enough right for some but promising that so many moderates made their voices heard. Still, there doesn’t seem to be any agreement on the horizon and so the terrible status quo continues…or worsens.
Hope your schedule lightens up a little, great seeing you around!
UN envoy calls for interim Syria government
Russia invites the head of opposition Syria National Coalition for talks, Deputy Foreign Minister says
Syrian Rebels Step Up Siege of Northern Airbase
Battle for Syrian City Lays Both Sides’ Weaknesses Bare
Supporting non-violence in Syria
Egypt probes alleged incitement to oust Morsi
Unprecedented East Jerusalem Building in Pipeline
Man shot dead as police clash with Shi’ites in Saudi Arabia
A respite in Kuwait?
Arab media dinosaurs meet in Bahrain
Anti-Maliki protests continue in Iraq
Iran Navy launches drill to display capabilities, send friendship message
Japan’s November Iran Oil Imports Surge to Most Since March
Turkish Journalist Accused of Terrorist Plot Is Freed Pending Trial
Turkey beats out Iran.
Number of jailed journalists sets global record
Al Qaeda 3.0: Terrorism’s Emergent New Power Bases
Panetta Says Syria Chemical Threat Has Slowed
Stalemate stokes anger at rebels in Aleppo
Bashar Is bombing us.
Kurdish National Council joins the opposition coalition, foreign reserves shrink
Supreme Leader Denies Iran’s Culpability for Syrian Bloodshed
Exclusive: UK military in talks to help Syria rebels
Syrian Rebels Capture Parts Of Army Base In North
Obama recognizes Syrian opposition coalition
U.S. blacklists al-Nusra Front fighters in Syria
‘Friends of Syria’ face familiar divisions
The Land of Topless Minarets and Headless Little Girls
South Damascus a Battlefield, as Bodies Pile up, and Bread Crisis in Capital Worsens
Damascus issues warrants for Hariri, Saqr, FSA official
Libya ex-PM al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi on trial in Tripoli
Libyans Say Sharia Will Be Law of the Land
UN tells Israel to let in nuclear inspectors
The War on Gaza and Iran-US Talks
Lawyer: Sentence reduced for Bahrain activist
Um, wait, what?
Bahrain lauded for human rights support
Egypt divided: The people mobilise for and against referendum
Egypt: The president’s six hands
US confused about Iran’s defense power: Cmdr.
Iranian Reformists Call For Open Political Atmosphere
Keyhan article indicates discontent with Supreme Leader’s course across the political spectrum
Dr. Mohammad Maleki summoned and his house was searched
Iran arrests 28 over links to religious networks
H/T EA WorldView
A Muslim with a sense of humor discovers ignorance at a supermarket
The Truth About Attacks on Our Diplomats
Syrian Internet cutoff may be precursor to Assad offensive
U.S. Weighs Bolder Effort to Intervene in Syria’s Conflict
Official Syrian Web Sites Hosted in U.S.
Damascus airport not accepting flights: regional airline
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham running campaign ads on Benghazi tragedy
Thousands march in violence-hit Tunisian town
Hamas officials welcome UN recognition of Palestine
Palestinian UN vote will hurt peace, says Israel’s Regev
Ashrawi: UN vote rescued chances for peace
Palestinian Legal strategy against Israel: The Real Prize is Europe
Anonymous leaks personal information of 5,000 Israeli officials
When It Comes to Israel, I Stand for People, Not Policies
Family, neighbors of Yemeni killed by U.S. drone wonder why he wasn’t taken alive
Kuwait opposition urges vote boycott on eve of election
Kuwait- Human rights defenders Yousif Al- Zhairy and Khaled Al- Battah arrested and detained as harassment of Bedoon community continues
Egyptians protest after draft constitution raced through
Donilon on U.S.-Egyptian relations: “It is a challenge”
Egyptian labor between Morsi and Mubarak
Government in a Fog as Recession Looms … or Has It Arrived?
Iran president raps Israel expansionism, warmongering
Mashaei Amping Up for Election Season?
Haddad Adel Opposes Amendment to the Elections Law
H/T EA WorldView
Khirad, you called it accurately when you linked to the story about the Syrian cut-off of internet access recently. It was viewed as a precursor to bad things…and it was.
Great story about the Muslim woman who encountered the hater in the grocery store. Pretty funny that the object of her ire and paranoia was an Irish convert! 😆
Sorry folks, been real hectic, hard to find the time I once had.
Who are the Syrian opposition?
Syrian opposition groups reach unity deal
A model leader for Syria?
Is Bashar al-Assad Syria’s Abraham Lincoln?
New Type Of Shoulder Mounted Surface To Air Missile Captured By The Opposition
To keep up on the goings on of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, I refer you to:
Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: Day 2 of Operation Pillar of Cloud
Mending fences with Obama: Israel says it follows U.S. lead on Iran
Israel drawn into Syria fighting for first time
Female soldier rebuked for ‘offending’ religious comrades
Iran To Probe Jailed Blogger’s Death
Report: UK says won’t aid US strike on Iran
Iran To Israel And Back To Iran: Rita’s Music Goes Home
Israel launches Gaza offensive, kills Hamas commander
Serat News on Petraeus Scandal: ‘The Terrible Organization kneels before a woman!’
It’s not just in America.
AKP redraws Turkey despite opposition ire
We’re just glad you’re still with us, Khirad!
I really don’t envy Barack and Hillary their jobs when it comes to Syria. Just had a look at the article on who comprises the Syrian opposition and it’s mind-boggling.
This is unknown territory they’re treading and the situation seems to change by the week. I’m amazed Assad has been able to hang on so long. But as you and others have mentioned before — every country in the ME is different. People on the right seem to have a hard time with that.
And then there’s this, would I completely missed. Holy. Crap.
Jordan vows ‘iron fist’ response to unrest
Wow, Khirad. Sounds as though sharp increases in fuel and public transport prices were the trigger.
This one will bear watching.
Missed you Khirad. I don’t always post comments here but I know it is the place to find the news about the ME. Hope you are well.
And then there is this:
Ayalon admitted “there was a special kinship between Mr. Romney and Mr. Netanyahu,” but said Israel cannot afford to be meddling in U.S. politics.
Still, many Israelis are worried about payback against their leader for backing the wrong horse in the U.S. presidential sweepstakes. On Thursday, the leading Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth even carried the headline “Bibi gambled. We’ll pay.”
But Ayalon expressed no doubts that the relationship would get back on track. “I have full confidence knowing not only the president’s commitment, but also his team” he said. “In a way I see an advantage by the continuity of the administration being very seasoned, knowing very well the Iran file and portfolio, to continue and make sure Iran won’t become nuclear.”
Kind of late for Ayalon to say Israel should not be meddling in US politics. Bibi apparently does not know nor does he understand President Obama. Now if it were me, I would let them hang in the wind, but Obama does not seem to take these things personally. Probably why he is in politics and I am not. I would have a very hard time even being civil to Bibi.
That YNet said that is indeed striking.
Meanwhile, this Egyptian post-revolution is fascinating and hopeful. More to come.
Indeed it is Khirad. I don’t pretend to even know a smidged of what you know but I do find the interactions there fascinating, yet sometimes frustrating. I saw where the Egyptian president is demanding more power and I for sure do not know what to make of that one.
“War? What war? We’re in a war?”
We went just went through four debates and not one mention of the war in Afghanistan, actually very little discussion of it or the military through the whole election even though it does have a lot to do with our fiscal health.
What changed that a sex scandal and the R’s getting Benghazi all screwed up and now some of the R’s are somehow trying to implicate The President in some conspiracy, meanwhile Afghanistan goes on being ignored.
The big story concerning Afghanistan is General John Allen and his sexy emails, that’s the news not this:
Reporter: A long march to progress in Afghanistan
From the You-Tube description:
Thanks, Bito. Remember, as I’ve gotten busier and it’s harder to do my once exhaustive up-to-date updates does not mean this isn’t the proper place for anyone else to drop such things.
Even if it isn’t properly MENA. 😉
Bito: The war is never far from some of us. As it becomes more and more likely we will leave and the situation will deteriorate, it becomes more imperative to me that my kids are safe.
Going to MO to meet the MO Girl’s family and to watch this brilliant young woman graduate from college in December – she’s my FIRST graduate. Then coming back with my Syrian daughter and her fiancee. After they leave, will host the Baby Girl and the Babiest Girl (Baby Girl’s younger sister). Plus assorted others, and Inshallah, the boy who is due back for school this spring.
So for some of us, it is not forgotten. Thank you so much for posting this video. Khirad is TOTALLY forgiven, as he has spent so much time and effort to educate us on ME issues.
See you all soon. – AB
هالووين, hāllowīn – Halloween
The New Politics of Human Rights in the Middle East
“State of the Internal Opposition,” by Ammar Abdulhamid
Qatar accuses Syrian government of genocide after failed truce
Kurds talk of intervention in Syria, raising danger of escalation
Fighting erupts between Western-backed “rebels” and Syrian Kurds
Syria’s Kurds dare to dream of freedom
Turkey says ‘no point’ in dialogue with Syria
Libya assembly stormed in new blow to forming govt
Interior Minister: Unauthorized Rally Organizers Will Face Legal Action
RT discusses banning of all protests (RT of course only pays attention to Western-backed dictatorships)
Manama: march in solidarity w/ Mr. Hassan Mushaima
Kuwait arrests opposition leader ahead of mass protest
Qatar: Detained ‘Jasmine uprising’ poet being tried in secret
Building a Yemeni state while losing a nation
Trading Away Peace: How Europe helps sustain illegal Israeli settlements
EU foreign policy chief to meet with Iran negotiator soon
US, EU Hopeful of New Iran Nuke Talks
US Loosens Sanctions On Medicine Sales to Iran
Iran bans export of 50 goods as sanctions bite: report
Iran sends mixed messages on effect of sanctions
Iran Civil Society: From International Awards to Economic Suffering
Iran’s nuclear resistance
Investigation launched over unsanctioned Republic Day rally
H/T EA WorldView
The US Must Supply anti-Aircraft Missiles to the Syrian Opposition
Syria: Despite Denials, More Cluster Bomb Attacks
Iraqi vice president: Iran supplying Assad through ground convoys
Libya government says former Gadhafi spokesman captured
Amnesty report on Tunisia’s progress and concerns thereof
Libyan Town Under Siege Is a Center of Resistance to the New Government http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/world/africa/libyan-town-under-siege-is-a-center-of-resistance.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=1&
Civilians flee besieged former Gaddafi stronghold in Libya
Most Israeli Jews would support Apartheid Regime in Israel
FM attacks EU for Gilo construction condemnation
Bomb wounds Israeli officer on Gaza border
Fierce clashes across several Lebanese areas, LAF conducts various raids
FRANCE 24 CORRESPONDENT TORTURED FOR COVERING PRO-DEMOCRACY DEMONSTRATIONS
Parents could pay for damages caused by children
US must Pressure Bahrain on Human Rights (Strindberg)
Kuwait bans gatherings of more than 20 people amid protests
Egypt freezes assets of ex-presidential candidate and Mubarak ally
Ahmadinejad Responds after Revealing Judiciary Chief’s ‘confidential’ Letter
Top Ten Republican Myths about Obama and Iran
Could Ahmadinejad be indicted for genocide?
Report: CIA Arranged Bride for Terrorist in Plot to Kill Him
FM Lavrov Denies Use of Russian-made Cluster Bombs in Syria
Syrian army corpses mark rebel attack on missile base
Syria despatch: rebel fighters fear the growing influence of their ‘Bin Laden’ faction
Could Turkey Go To War With Syria?
Syrian plane carried military communication devices: Report
Rebel Arms Flow Is Said to Benefit Jihadists in Syria
Civil war leaves Syrian economy, cities in ruins
Former Assad aide: Syrian president plans secret flight to Russia
US sends troops to Jordan to help deal with Syria crisis
How the Weapons Trade is Fracturing the Opposition
Armenian plane en route to Aleppo searched in Turkey
Historic mosque burned in ancient Syrian city
US officials: We didn’t link Libya attack to video
Netanyahu Calls for Early Elections in Israel
Palestinians propose peace talks after UN vote
Iran Health Ministry to study effects of interference waves
US: Hackers in Iran responsible for cyberattacks
Iran: seven Christians detained following raid on prayer meeting
Jailed Iranian scholar gravely ill
Right-Wingers Would Be Shocked to Learn That Islam Has Been Part of American History Since Its Founding
Turkey sends fighter jets to Syrian border
Rebels Say West’s Inaction Is Pushing Syrians to Extremism
‘Saudi weapons’ seen at Syria rebel base
“Camouflaged” Hezbollah members fighting in Syria, activist says
US officer got no reply to cables asking more security for Benghazi
Foreign Affairs Focus: Tunisia’s Transition with Moncef Marzouki
Al-Maliki eyes $5 billion defense deal with Russia
Kuwait’s ruler dissolves parliament, elections loom
Gulf states must tackle Muslim Brotherhood threat: UAE
IMF forecasts for Iran show limited sanction hit
Iran budget under pressure, Ahmadinejad says
Upset with Iran, Baku moves closer to Israel
Iranian activist demands justice from head of judiciary
Elements in Iran and US that Want War
Photos: Iranian Children Getting Face Paintings
Rebels With a Cause, But Not Much Consensus
Turkey strikes targets in Syria after mortar attack kills 5
Turkey authorizes military operations in Syria
U.S. Is Tracking Killers in Attack on Libya Mission
Libya request for increased security was denied by Washington, Republican leaders say
Sensitive documents left behind at U.S. diplomatic post in Libya
Who are Tunisia’s Salafis?
Bahraini court rejects 9 medics’ final appeal
Beating of protester at funeral for prisoner Muhammad Musaima
Ikea airbrushes women out of Saudi catalog
Egypt’s constitutional racers stagger toward the final lap
New constitution paves the way for Islamic ‘church’ versus state
Arab Israeli charged with spying for Hezbollah
Ahmadinejad’s Cameraman Defected During His U.N. Visit
Ahmadinejad’s Men Go Shopping In NYC
Odds of War With Iran Remain at 40%
Study Claims Thousands Would Die In Attack On Iran Nuclear Sites
Iran’s President Ties Recent Drop in Currency to U.S.-Led Sanctions
Iran currency crisis: Sanctions detonate unstable rial
Protest, scuffles with police in Iran over currency crisis
Fox News Psychiatrist: It’s ‘Way Normal’ to Hoard ‘Enormous Cache’ of Weapons Because of Iran
Iran’s new toy: Drone proliferation continues
Tehran Clashes Reported As Iran Rounds Up Moneychangers
Iran: Is Ahmadinejad Facing a Final Showdown with Rafsanjani?
The Arab Spring Still Blooms
Eyes wide shut, world watches Syria bleed
Syrians make brisk business in black market petrol
Syria’s Moallem ‘Ready’ to Work With New UN Envoy
Fearful Alawites pay sectarian militias in battered Homs
Turkish pilots killed by Assad, not in crash: leaked documents
Kurds Prepare to Pursue More Autonomy in a Fallen Syria
Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the violence in Syria to neighboring countries. In each case, their lives are changed forever by the ongoing conflict.
Syria’s Irish fighters: ‘I saw what was happening and had to do something’
Gays and the Syrian Revolution
Hundreds hand over weapons in Libya campaign
Outrage over Tunisia ‘indecency’ case
Planting the seeds of Tunisia’s Ansar al Sharia
Protesters in Yemen demand return of stolen assets
Saudi Arabia deports more female pilgrims on their way to Mecca
NEVER TALK BACK TO A SAUDI JUDGE
Kuwait’s uncertain path
Netanyahu’s bomb steals the show in his UN speech
Iran ayatollah is poster boy for influence in Iraq
Egyptian cleric faces blasphemy charge
After the Arab Spring, what’s next for the new Egypt?
Fars News and The Onion Agree — “Rural American Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama”
Gallup Poll: Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad To Obama
No change in Iran policy towards US: Velayati
The Great Persian Firewall
Oh you mean it’s not Arab Winter like Romney said.
It amazes me how the right is so hypocritical about Arab Spring. The neocons said they wanted the Mideast to democratize but since they are not as pro-west as the dictators they want the dictators back. It just shows they never cared about the people in the Mideast it was always about control. The worse part is it shows how little neocons knew about democracy in the first place. Democracy small ‘d’ is always messy, especially in the beginning and i it does work they represent the people of that country so neocons should have expected this. But of course they are not enlightened people and they did not want organic growth of democracy. Instead they wanted American imposing it’s form of democracy which obviously did not work in Iraq and isn’t working in Afghanistan.
Top Romney Foreign Policy Advisor, Dan Senor, in 2005:
Yup and these same hypocrites are trying to blame the election of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt on Obama. When it’s not ignorance it’s hypocrisy.
Sad but true, the slogan of the decades
It’s truer today than ever before. On social issues ignorance abounds. But the hypocrisy of the GOP is may be even greater. Think of all the policies that are OK when the GOP is in office like running deficits, expanding Medicare and even tax cuts for the working and middle class. That’s why Ryan is so caustic to the GOP’s chances. He claims to be deficit reduction guru but voted for everything Bush did to blow a hole in the deficit including Medicare Part D and TARP.
To be fair, many on the left mocked Bush’s Freedom Agenda for electing Hamas.
Or rather, I think, at least blamed him for being surprised by the results. At least that was my criticism. If people want to vote for idiots, I guess that’s their choice, not ours, right?
Rural Whites = American Taliban
Khirad, this disclosure about Assad executing the Turkish pilots seems explosive. As bad as things are now between Turkey and Syria, one would think that the prospect of military conflict has just been ratcheted up in a severe way.
I’m not a fan of wars but I wonder if such a conflict could hasten the end of Assad’s regime?
Keep in mind Al Arabiya has not substantiated this, and is Saudi owned. They can be a bit sensational at times. They may be stirring the pot here. Especially saying Russia was behind it.
That being said, Turkey’s military has been unofficially offering cover for some time now.
Morning Khirad – I absolutely agree with your first post on increased engagement with people in and from the Mid East. I and my organization have been trying to do that for several years now, and there is no way that is not absolutely essential. I’m horrified by how many people are afraid of Muslims and will learn nothing of them, the culture, the variants of faith. Thanks for reminding us that familiarity breeds understanding, NOT contempt.
Americans must engage more – not less – with Muslims in the Middle East
The Dictator of Damascus
Syria: the foreign fighters joining the war against Bashar al-Assad
Among the Alawites
The Iranian consultants
EGYPT PRESIDENT STRESSES SYRIA RESOLVE
48 Syrian Civilians Massacred During Claire Danes’ Emmy Award Acceptance Speech
12 KILLED IN SHIITE-SUNNI CLASHES IN YEMEN
Bahrain continues to use the excessive force as the only response to the demanding protests for democracy
Libyans storm militia compounds in Benghazi
Libya moves to dissolve rogue militias
CNN obtains journal of slain ambassador, reportedly goes against his family’s wishes
Rachid Ghannouchi: Re-imagining Tunisia
Qatar – rich and dangerous – eyes Syria
Worries over violence against churches in Israel
In Israel, time change unleashes culture clash
Price Tag Wars
Egyptian Woman Wishes Screaming Protester Husband Would Go Bonkers For Her Once In A While
Iran could launch pre-emptive Israel strike-commander
Commander: Enemies Unaware of IRGC’s War Methods
UPDATE 1-Iran readies domestic Internet system, blocks Google
Comedian Maz Jobrani’s Ideas For Iran’s New Internet
An interview with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Turkish Armed Forces is dead, son of convicted admiral says
H/T EA WorldView
Sorry, I know the whole Arab and Muslim world has recently gone bonkers over some d-bag’s film, but this is all I have time to drop right now.
Rushdie and After