Sunday, May 29, 2011
- Syria Live Blog - May 25. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 23. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Yemen Live Blog - May 27 . Here. (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.8 ! Lots of activity in Turkey.More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 122.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Muslim convert ex -Guantanamo guard, was fired from army: "what is happening in that prison is really inhuman and violates the minimum principles of human rights,”(Emirates247).When US soldier Terry Brooks was sent to join military guards at the infamous Guantanamo prison that houses Moslem militants from Taliban and Al-Qaeda, he had not thought he would embrace the religion of those prisoners. After a few chats with a Moroccan inmate, he converted to Islam in 2003.Brooks was caught by local reporters this week praying in the western Saudi town of Madina before heading for nearby Makkah to perform his first pilgrimage (Umra), which he said had been his dream over the past years.The Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz said it waited for Brooks to finish his prayers and talked to him about his conversion to Islam. He credited “prisoner number 590” named Ahmed Al Rashdi of Morocco for his “landmark” decision. After converting, he was expelled from the army.Brooks told the paper he was sent to Guantanamo long before 2003 and later started to mingle with some prisoners there.“I still remember that great moment….the time was around 12:49 am in December 2003 when I embraced Islam…at that night, I took this landmark decision after numerous chat sessions with Al Rashdi,” he said.“It was a memorable moment in my life…….many prisoners sat around me when I converted and decided to call me Mustafa as their new friend…later I added the name Abdullah so I am now called Mustafa Abdullah.”Brooks said he had been delighted when the US army decided to send him to Guantanamo as it was an adventure for him since had not seen a prison before.“When I arrived there, it was a big shock for me… even before I entered the prison buildings, I could see that it was horrible and could suit only cactus and poisonous reptiles….I then asked myself ‘are those people behind the bars really so dangerous that they are worth these costly security measures.”Brooks said he started to be interested in Islam after his talks to Al Rashdi and other prisoners about Islam, Palestine, Afghanistan and the Middle East.“I used to sit just outside their cells at night listening to them…by time, a sort of mutual respect developed between us …I had never believed in God before I went to Guantanamo.…now that I embraced Islam, I can feel the sweetness of religion…Islam is a pure religion and the ultimate right.”Brooks said he had first concealed his decision to convert to Islam from other US guards at Guantanamo, adding that when the officer learned about it, he and the other soldiers began to treat him cruelly and accused him of betraying America. Around two years before the end of his contract, he was fired from the army.“I am now working on a book about my experience to embrace Islam.…I have just quit my job in the US to devote my time to helping the prisoners in Guantanamo..…what is happening in that prison is really inhuman and violates the minimum principles of human rights,” he said.Hmmmm....what would be the odds that Obama might reinstate him?Read the full story here.
- 'I would do it all again': The last surviving 'righteous gentile' who hid Jews in Nazi Austria.(DailyMail).Edeltrud Becher shuddered as she heard a knock on the door from unannounced visitors.It was 1942 in Hitler's Austria, and there was no way of knowing who could have been paying her an unannounced visit. But as she opned the door, rather than the terrifying sight of Gestapo officers, her Jewish fiance and his two brothers were on the doorstep, looking nervously over their shoulders.The three had fled to Prague after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. But by 1942, that city too was in the hands of Hitler's henchmen.They were told to pack essentials for deportation to a concentration camp.They wrote suicide notes to make authorities think they were dead, and then did what no one thought any Jew would do - they took a night train straight to Vienna, back into the heartland of the Nazi Reich.In deciding to protect them from the Nazis that night, Becher - now Edeltrud Posiles - embarked on a dangerous game of hide-and-seek that included some truly hairy moments: on one occasion the three jumped from a balcony to escape detection, and Walter, her future husband, pretended to be a waiter as the Gestapo stormed a cafe.Walter Posiles as well as his brother Ludwig survived. Hans, the oldest brother, beat the odds of being found by the Nazis only to be killed by a Russian bomb during the dying days of the war.Hiding Jews was punishable by death. But the feisty 94-year old says 'there was never a moment's doubt in my mind', when asked if she hesitated as she was asked by the brothers for sanctuary.And - even though the marriage ended in divorce - 'I would do it again,' declares Posiles, the last one of 88 Austrians known to have saved Jews from the Holocaust who is still alive.'Even though I'm a coward,' the former librarian adds after a pause, moving gingerly from her walker to stand proudly before banner letters prominently spelling out her name on Vienna's bustling Ring Avenue along with Austria's 87 other known 'Righteous Gentiles.'The title is reserved for those in Austria and elsewhere who saved Jews during the Holocaust and whose names are engraved by Israel on a Wall of Honor in Jerusalem's Garden of the Righteous.German industrialist Oskar Schindler and Swedish diplomat Raul Wallenberg are well known for rescuing thousands, but others who saved more modest numbers of Jews remain anonymous - unless profiled by exhibits such as the Vienna show, put on by a Holocaust remembrance group.While many Austrians embraced Hitler and his ideology, not all were enthusiastic followers. Posiles said that while some friends would not have hidden Jews out of fear for their lives, they shared in her secret - and kept silent.'They behaved admirably,' she said of the dozen or so people she said she had to confide in 'for one reason or another'.'As for me, I have a clear conscience,' she said of the war years. 'Not everyone can say the same.'Hmmmm......An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. Martin Luther King, Jr. Read the full story here.
- Is this Bigfoot caught on video? Hiker swears she really HAS caught him this time.(DailyMail).A woman hiker got the fright of her life after she went walking with a friend in Spokane, Washington, and stumbled across what she claims is Bigfoot.Samantha, who has not revealed her surname, caught the footage in Downriver Park with her iPhone camera and posted the video on YouTube.After capturing the mysterious creature, also known as a Sasquatch, on film, her YouTube video has become a hit and has already been viewed almost 8,000 times within four days.In her post, Samantha said she didn’t realise Bigfoot was there until she replayed her video after the hike at home.She wrote an email to KXLY news website in the US, and said: ‘Someone asked me in the comments section if I believed in Bigfoot before the video.‘I have never given it much thought, but now I’m not so sure. Seem real enough to me.KXLY apparently showed the video to students and staff at Spokane Community College to ask for their opinion, seeing as their school mascot dresses as Bigfoot.Student Margaret Clarke said: ‘Looks like just a normal person to me.’While fellow pupil Ryan Constable added: ‘I think there is something big and hairy walking around out there like that.Hmmmm....."their school mascot dresses as Bigfoot"Nice try!Read the full story here.
- Kyoto deal loses four big nations.(SMH).DEAUVILLE, France: Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they would not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, European diplomats have said.The future of the Kyoto Protocol has become central to efforts to negotiate reductions of carbon emissions under the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose annual meeting will take place in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9.Developed countries signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. They agreed to legally binding commitments on curbing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming.Those pledges expire at the end of next year. Developing countries say a second round is essential to secure global agreements.But the leaders of Russian, Japan and Canada confirmed they would not join a new Kyoto agreement, the diplomats said.They argued that the Kyoto format did not require developing countries, including China, the world's No. 1 carbon emitter, to make targeted emission cuts.At last Thursday's G8 dinner the US President, Barack Obama, confirmed Washington would not join an updated Kyoto Protocol, the diplomats said.The US, the second-largest carbon emitter, signed the protocol in 1997 but in 2001 the then president, George W. Bush, said he would not put it to the Senate for ratification.Hmmmm......If you want to talk about an era of global warming, look no further than what happened 10,000 years ago. We're in a prolonged warm period.Read the full story here.
- Hamas treathens UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "Moon will be held responsible for any harm that comes to the next Gaza flotilla".(Memri)Hamas has condemned the call of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to refrain from sending flotillas to Gaza, stating that this call will encourage Israel "to continue the siege and its aggression against the Palestinians." The International Committee for Breaking the Siege on Gaza said that Moon will be held responsible for any harm that comes to the next Gaza flotilla. Mushir Al-Masri, a member of the Hamas legislative council, said at a conference of the Turkish organization IHH that the blood of the Marmara activists shall be avenged. Hmmmm.....The 'Peace partners' of the Obama regime?Read the full story here.
- Dubai - Another Indian worker commits suicide,toll at 27 in the last five months.(Emirates247).In yet another case of suicide in Dubai, another Indian worker died last night when hejumped down from his accommodation.The victim has been identified as Rajesh aged 26 from Tamil Nadu in India and was working in a logistics company in Dubai.Accordingto a source from DCL Shipping, Rajesh died early this morning at around 7.30amin his accommodation.“He jumped down from his room located on the third floor of the building. It was the security guard who first discovered the incident and immediately called the police. The body has been taken to the police mortuary,” said the official.Rajesh who had earlier worked with the company for two years left the company and had rejoined just six months ago. “He was working as a welder. We are still notsure what caused him to commit suicide,” said the official.There has been an increase in the number of Indians committing suicides in the UAE. According to recent statistics at least 27 Indians have committed suicide during the last five months alone.Earlier this month another Indian died after he jumped from the 148 floor of Burj Khalifa.Hmmmmm....You think it's something in the air?Read the full story here.
- Iranian Basij Commander: The Homes of the Israeli Settlers Will House the Returned Palestinian Refugees.(Memri).Iranian Basij Commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi called on the Israelis to continue building homes the settlements, because these will be used to house the Palestinian refugees returning to their homeland. He added that the Islamic awakening in the Middle East will bring about the end of the Israeli occupation, as predicted by the Ayatollah Khomeini when he said that Palestine would one day be conquered from the Israelis.Hmmmm....Will there be room for the "hidden imam"? Read the full story here.
- Iranian Ayatollah: Open Plan Kitchens Are Un-Islamic.(Memri).Senior ayatollah Javadi-Amoli said at a conference of Iranian engineers that open plan kitchens contravene the teachings of Islam because the women of the household are exposed to the gaze of guests.Hmmmm....we don't want anything 'burned' do we?Read the full story here.
- FSB blamed as Russian Islamic Centers Close down.(MoscowTimes).An influential Islamic organization with offices across the country has been forced to close, highlighting a political struggle over the country's millions-strong Muslim population.Representatives of the Islamic Cultural Center and analysts said a Supreme Court ruling upholding the center's closure was politically charged."This is a bureaucratic order from people who want the Muslim part of society to be represented by puppets," the center's chairman and founder, Abdul-Wahid Niyazov, told The Moscow Times on Thursday.The Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed a decision from the Justice Ministry last fall to close the center for "multiple violations of financial regulations," Interfax reported.Among the objections mentioned by the court was that 21 of the center's 54 regional branches lacked proper legal documentation.But Niyazov said the evidence presented by the Justice Ministry was obtained under pressure from the Federal Security Service. "Any member of our regional staff will testify that they were threatened and pressured," he said at a Supreme Court hearing Tuesday, Interfax reported.He said many of the center's regional directors had resigned after receiving intimidating calls from the FSB.Niyazov said Thursday that he would appeal the decision in every possible way, including with a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.He said he would also appeal to the All-Russia People's Front, the political vehicle set up by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier this month. Putin is widely seen as the country's most powerful politician and in control of the security services.The Islamic Cultural Center, whose work has been suspended since last fall, held exhibitions, news conferences and readings and hosted visiting Islamic dignitaries.It describes itself as the "public arm" of the Council of Muftis, one of four organizations representing the country's Muslims.Council spokeswoman Gulnur Gaziyeva said the center's work was directed at the well-being of the country's Muslims."We believe that we can correct the legal problems and re-register the organization," she said by telephone.But the center's closure was welcomed by the All-Russia Muftiate, a rival organization set up last December, reportedly with active help from the Kremlin."This so-called public arm of the Council of Muftis was just a poor excuse for a sham," the muftiate's executive chairman, Mukhammedgali Khuzin, told Interfax. He said the center had done real harm to the Muslim community and to the country's interfaith relations. He did not elaborate.Asked to comment on Khuzin's allegations, Gaziyeva said only that it was "very sad to hear such a smear" coming from within the Muslim community.Analysts linked the struggle to authorities' desire to bring the country's Muslims under tighter control.Alexander Soldatov, a religions expert with Portal-credo.ru, said the Kremlin was frightened after the Council of Muftis organized mass prayers at Moscow's central mosque for the Eid al-Adha feast last November."After the prayers last fall they introduced the All-Russia Muftiat — which is obviously directed against the council," he said by telephone.Soldatov also said City Hall has shown extreme reluctance to Muslims' demands to build new mosques in the capital after last year's nationalist rioting on Manezh Square.Hmmmmm....."Outreach to Muslims Putin Style".Read the full story here.
- Syria Live Blog - May 25. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 23. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Yemen Live Blog - May 27 . Here. (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.8 ! Lots of activity in Turkey.More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 122.On 29.05.2011 at 04:50 GMT+2
The cooling system at the No. 5 reactor at Japan's Fukushima power plant stopped working Saturday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The reactor's temperature was 68 C and the fuel pool's was 41 C when a worker discovered the problem at 9 p.m. Saturday. Tepco began work to switch to backup pumps at 8 a.m. Sunday, when those temperatures were recorded at 87 C and 44 C, respectively.
Situation Update No. 121 - On 28.05.2011 at 15:26 GMT+2
Japan has detected radiation hundreds of times above normal levels on the seabed off the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Japan's science ministry announced the highly radioactive materials were found in a 300-kilometre stretch of the seabed off eastern Japan, from Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture to Choshi in Chiba Prefecture. It says it has detected both radioactive iodine and caesium several hundred times above normal levels and warned the contamination could affect the safety of seafood. Earlier this week, the conservation group Greenpeace said its own tests had found radioactive contamination in a variety of marine life off the coast of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The anti-nuclear group, which conducted the coastal and offshore tests this month, criticised Japanese authorities for their "continued inadequate response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis" sparked by the March 11 quake and tsunami. Greenpeace said it detected seaweed radiation levels 50 times higher than official limits, which it charged raised "serious concerns about continued long-term risks to people and the environment from contaminated seawater". It also said that tests, which it said were independently verified by French and Belgian laboratories, showed above-legal levels of radioactive iodine-131 and caesium-137 in several species of fish and shellfish. In the aftermath of the quake small amounts of radiation from Fukushima spread across Asia, deepening concerns for millions of people in countries which had already imposed bans on Japanese produce from near the nuclear plant. The governments of China, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam reported that radiation had drifted over their territories, although they emphasised the levels were so low that there was no health risk. Fukushima prefecture has told reporters no fishing is going on at the moment in its waters. Japan's fisheries agency, and neighbouring prefectures, have been checking marine products at different spots, and the government has prohibited fishermen from catching some species found to have elevated radiation levels.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- "Surf and Turf" - Exhibit A: Food-Stamp Fraud.(DougRoss).Consider: at least ten cents of every dollar government spends on Medicare and Medicaid is fraudulent, according to experts that put the total amount of criminal waste at over $100 billion.Since Barack Obama took office, roughly 12 million additional people have begun using food-stamps. And since Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, almost 20 million people have joined the rolls of food-stamp recipients.15 out of every 100 people living in the U.S. are now receiving food-stamps.And a huge percentage of these people are using them for fraudulent purposes. Worse yet, the unfettered giveaway of these chits leads to all sorts of unintended consequences: more single-parent families and more violent crime in inner cities, to name just two.It's time to end the Democrats' failed "War on Poverty" once and for all.Hmmmmm....Obama care Waivers for fancy Restaurants and foodstamps to buy lobster and steak......What do they have in common?Read the full story here.
- #Weinergate:The “Would Your Spouse Buy It?” Test.(LeeStranahan).Although I don’t think what Anthony Weiner is even accused of doing rises to the level of ‘love child while your wife has cancer’, the #Weinergate story reminds me a lot of the post-Beverly Hills Hotel phase of the John Edwards story. Some people like to apply “Occam’s Razor” or some such test in such a situation, but I have a much easier test. I call it “Would your spouse buy it?”
With John Edwards the test went something like this:
“Hey, honey I know that reporters caught me in the middle of the night leaving the hotel room of a woman and then I hid in the bathroom when they asked me about it – but really, nothing was going on!”
Would the average spouse just let it go right there? No?Hmmm.....Welcome to the world of the 'sperminator'?Read the full story here.
- Obama gave the speech Saeb Erekat requested.(IsraelMatzav). So much for the 'biggest Yerushalayim in Jewish history.' When President Obama delivered that bombshell speech at the State Department ten days ago, he was delivering the speech that chief 'Palestinian' negotiator bottle washer Saeb Erekat asked him to deliver in October 2009.The following is from minutes of a meeting between Saeb Erekat and then-US Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell that was held on November 1, 2009. SE is Saeb Erekat, GM is George Mitchell and PS is permanent status. SE noted that it was time for the US to upgrade its position and explicitly endorse the 67 border, as Sec Rice had done during Annapolis – it was agreed then, it is consistent with US policy regarding the occupied territory. GM replied that this means taking a new position. SE said this is a new administration that should state what others have tacitly agreed in the past.GM noted that difficulties with the Israelis on this and other issues, that they would not agree to any mention of 67 whatsoever and that strongly objected to Obama’s UNGA speech. He said he will continue to pursue the issue next week. SE suggested the following language: “two states along the 67 border with agreed swaps”. He stressed the importance of parallel negotiations of all PS issues.Anyone still think Obama has Israel's best interest in mind?Read the full story here.
- Will Obama not use his veto in September when the question of 'Palestinian statehood' to the UN General Assembly arises?(IsraelMatzav).Remember the David Horovitz piece I blogged a couple of months ago about the 'nightmare scenario'? Under the scenario laid out by Horovitz based on experts with whom he had a spoken, it was possible for a 14-1 vote in the UN Security Council (with the one vote being a US veto) to be declared 'deadlocked,' thereby pushing the question of 'Palestinian statehood' to the UN General Assembly. But according to the current UN General Assembly President - Joseph Deiss of Switzerland - 'Palestine' cannot be admitted to the United Nations if the United States vetoes its admission in the Security Council.The UN charter says that new members are admitted by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the 15-nation Security Council, where the United Sates, Britain, France, China and Russia are permanent members with veto powers.He added that the issue would not go away.
"If there is a large number of member states who recognize the statehood of Palestine -- and in addition in our (General Assembly) resolution of 1947, it's already said that there should be an Arab state or a Palestinian state -- (these) are elements that you have to take into consideration," he said.
"It's really up to the member states to make this decision and the rules are given," he said, adding that the permanent Security Council members have the right to wield their veto.Egypt's UN Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said last week that 112 countries now recognize a sovereign Palestinian state and more are expected to recognize it in the coming months.But the bottom line is that no state can be admitted without passing the Security Council, which means that the US has a veto.
Two weeks ago, I would have said that it was a no-brainer that the US would veto such a resolution a year before a Presidential election with a sitting President running for re-election. Ten days ago, I started to get the feeling that Obama is just dogmatic enough not to exercise the veto and to take the chance that a few more Jews might vote against him.Hmmmmm....Of course he will stab Israel in the back if he thinks he can get away with it,has he been listening to Congress these last two years?Read the full story here.
- "Arab Spring" - Revolution Muslim reports...(JawaReport)....that brother Jesse Curtis Morton has been taken into custody by Moroccan authorities, who intend to hand him over to the United States.Hmmmm.....Cair already on the phone with their lawyers and AG Holder?Read the full story here.
- Hamas won’t oppose EU presence at border, official says.(JPost).Hamas doesn’t object to the reinstatement of European Union observers at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, a Hamas official told The Media Line."We don’t mind if the Europeans are involved as long as the Egyptian side agrees to this," Ahmad Yousef, a political adviser to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told The Media Line on Sunday. "The only objection we have is to Israeli involvement. This is an agreement between Palestinians and the Egyptians," he added.The position comes amid growing tensions between Israel, the Palestinians and Egypt after Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah reached a surprise agreement to end four years of feuding and form a national unity government. Cairo, which brought the two sides together, said the pact would enable it to re-open its border with Hamas-controlled Gaza, spurring concerns in Israel about security.Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Arabi said the crossing, which has remained mostly closed since Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, would be permanently opened within a week to 10 days, "to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people." Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Menha Bakhoum told Al-Ahram daily on Sunday that Egyptians regarded the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip "disgraceful."Opening the border would mark the biggest breach in the Gaza blockade, which was imposed by Israel and backed by the West since 2007. While Israel has been forced to ease its control over the territory, and tunnels dug under the border to Egypt allow other supplies to enter, Hamas has struggled to bring in weapons for use against Israel.Israel has come out strongly against the planned Hamas-Fatah unity government. Fatah favors a negotiated peace with Israel while Hamas is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. The agreement doesn’t address how the unity government will square these positions. EU supervision, however, might ease Israel’s concerns about what passes through Rafah. which is the only border crossing not controlled by Israel. Following Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, responsibility for the Rafah crossing was handed over to the Palestinian Authority. An ad-hoc European force, the European Union Border Assistance Mission Rafah was appointed to oversee Egyptian and Palestinian management of the crossing, with Israel monitoring it from afar through a video surveillance system. But seven months later, in June 2006, Israel ordered the crossing closed for security reasons. The crossing was permanently sealed by the Egyptians the following June.While the terms of Egypt’s promised re-opening are still unclear, Gazans said on Sunday they were looking forward, saying it would give residents a big psychological boost.Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, declined to comment on the Egyptian decision, but Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday that Netanyahu is considering sending his special envoy Isaac Molho to discuss the matter with Egyptian officials. Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-security bureau, told Army Radio that "despite the announcement by the Egyptian administration, there will be no opening of the Rafah crossing." "Israel maintains the amount of products entering the Strip at a minimum," Zaqout said. "Every time it decides to close the crossings, a humanitarian crisis follows two or three days later."But Mathilde De Riedmatten, deputy director of the International Committee for the Red Cross in the Gaza Strip, said in an interview published on the Israeli army’s website April 20, that "there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.""If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach," she added. Ali Abu-Shahlah, secretary-general of Gaza's Business Association, admitted that the main change in the life of Gazans would be in the ability of individuals to enter and leave freely. He predicted that the opening of the Rafah crossing would also ease trade and transfer of money but only on a small scale. "We are human beings and we need vacations," Abu-Shahlah told The Media Line. "I personally know people who haven't left Gaza in 15 years. This will have a psychological effect; people's mood will change.""There is what we call the 'suitcase merchants' who will be able to bring in some merchandise," he said. "Gazans living in the Gulf will be able to visit their relatives in the Strip without fear of getting stuck in Egypt, or in Gaza. They will be able to carry in a few thousand dollars or other gifts in their pockets."But Hamdi Shaqura, deputy director for program affairs at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a Gaza-based organization, was less optimistic about the new arrangement."It’s unclear whether the opening will include economic transactions or will only allow individuals to cross," Shaqura told The Media Line. "This isn’t an alternative to our demand from Israel to lift the blockade imposed on Gaza." Shaqura said Gaza needed to be allowed to export goods, not only receive them, and maintain land passage to the West Bank. Hmmmmm......It's all about the smugglers getting bigger deals.The unemployment rate rose to 45 per cent at the beginning of this year,how can they have 'Thousands of Dollars' in their pockets?Read the full story here.
- 'Al-Qaeda fighters seize Yemeni city'.(Al-Jazeera). Video - Residents say town of Zinjibar in southern Abyan province has been captured and fighters have taken over "everything".Yemeni gunmen alleged to be al-Qaeda fighters have reportedly taken control of the capital of the southern Abyan province.A resident told Al Jazeera on Sunday about 300 fighters entered the southern coastal town of Zinjibar on Friday and took over "everything" in the area.But the reports could not be independently verified by Al Jazeera due to official restrictions on reporting by foreign media.The developments came amid reports that an informal ceasefire in Yemen between security forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president, and a tribal group had brought a pause in political unrest.Read the full story here.More here .
- Egypt detains Iranian diplomat on spying charges.(Al-arabia).Egyptian authorities have arrested an Iranian diplomat on charges of spying on the North African country for Tehran's intelligence services, state media reported on Sunday.A judicial source confirmed his arrest, which was denied however by the Iranian interests section in Cairo."The state security prosecution today began an inquiry into Iranian diplomat Qasim al-Hosseini, who works at the Iranian interests section in Cairo," the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.Mr. Hosseini, who was arrested a few days ago, had been accused of "spying for a foreign state (Iran) in order to harm Egypt's interests," said MENA.An initial probe found the diplomat gathered "information about Egypt on the latest developments the country has experienced and the conditions through which it is passing, then sent them to Iran's intelligence services," it added.The Iranian interests section in Cairo denied the report."He is in the embassy as I speak. It did not happen that way, he was not arrested," an official in the section told Agent-France Press on condition of anonymity.Earlier in Tehran, the Arabic-language television channel Al-Alam quoted an informed source as saying that Mr. Hosseini "is currently in his office and working normally" in Cairo."We are following the case," he added without elaborating.Iran and Egypt have no diplomatic ties and relations between the two countries were tense under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.Read the full story here.
- Hamas simulates raid on flotilla. (Ynet).As part of preparations towards arrival of Turkish flotilla next month, Hamas forces hold maneuver in Gaza port.The Hamas government and Gaza security forces held a maneuver in the Gaza port last Thursday in preparation for the arrival of the Turkish flotilla next month. Dozens of people took part in the drill, including divers and medical personnel who trained in a number of scenarios.The participants simulated an IDF takeover of one ship and several Hamas men played the role of Israel Navy commandos. In another scenario, the forces simulated a rescue operation involving a person thrown overboard.Deputy Interior Minister in the Hamas government Kamel Abu Madi attended the maneuver and praised Turkish solidarity. "The blood of the Turkish people mixes in with the blood of the Palestinian people," he said. The IHH's second flotilla was meant to depart next week but was postponed by a month, apparently due to Turkish elections set for early June. Last week, IHH head Bulent Yildirim declared that some 1,500 activists were slated to take part in the flotilla which will include 15 vessels.Hmmmm.....A real American President would have put Turkey in it's place years ago ,for aiding known terrorists like Hamas,instead they have weekly phone calls.Supporting Israel....yeah whatevah! Read the full story here.
- The 13 Worst Countries for Christian Persecution.(Planc'sConstant).We often read that CAIR, a known supporter of terrorism, likes to promote the fiction that Muslims in the West are victims of hate crimes. This, of course, is a complete lie. Most of the so-called hate crimes against Muslims are frauds and deceptions by Muslims themselves.(1) Any careful reader of world news knows that the great majority of religious persecution in the world is directed at Christians and Jews. Consider the following: "Despite communist North Korea topping the list for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones, according to the annual Open Doors World Watch List [PDF]."Here are the 13 Worst Countries for Christian Persecution. Those with an asterisk * next to them also appeared in my previous Thursday 13 article, the 13 Most Dangerous Countries in the World for travelers.Click on a country link for examples of Christian persecution in that country.It should be noted that of the top 50 worst offending countries on the World Watch List, almost 80% are Muslim-majority nations. Muslims are guilty of two related lies: that Muslims are persecuted in non-Muslim countries and that Christians are not persecuted in Muslim countries.As bad and outrageous as it is that Muslim governments persecute Christians, it is even more an egregious insult that Western governments send your tax dollars to help these countries persecute even more Christians.Read and see the full story here.
- Yemen - al-Qaeda appeared to have full control of city of Zinjibar in the flashpoint province of Abyan.(Al-Jazeera).An informal ceasefire in Yemen between security forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president, and a tribal group has brought a pause in political unrest.However, Al Jazeera's sources said that despite the truce, explosions were heard in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, on Saturday.Fighting this week has killed at least 120 people, prompted thousands of residents to flee Sanaa and raised concerns that the increase in violence could benefit the Yemen-based branch of al-Qaeda and threaten adjacent Saudi Arabia, the world's leading oil exporter.The latest violence, pitting Saleh loyalist forces against members of the powerful Hashed tribe led by Sadiq al-Ahmar, was the bloodiest since pro-democracy unrest erupted in January and was sparked by Saleh's refusal to sign a power transfer deal.In another development, three French aid workers disappeared in Yemen's southern province of Hadramout on Saturday, but it remains unclear whether they had been abducted.Saleh has repeatedly imposed new conditions each time a Gulf-led transition agreement was due for signing, most recently demanding a public signing ceremony, according to mediators.Machinegun fire and explosions rattled Sanaa this week before clashes eased after mediation efforts. Al-Ahmar's fighters evacuated government ministry buildings they had taken over in return for a ceasefire and troops withdrawing from their area.There are worries that impoverished Yemen, where some 40 per cent of the country's 23 million people live on less than $2 a day, could become a failed state located on a shipping lane through which three million barrels of oil pass daily.In the south, dozens of armed men believed to be from al-Qaeda appeared to have full control of city of Zinjibar in the flashpoint province of Abyan on Saturday, a day after storming the city and chasing out security forces, residents said.The United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of foiled attacks by the Yemen wing of al-Qaeda, are concerned any spread of anarchy could embolden the rebel group.With the political strife, the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is likely to have more freedom to use a proven talent for daring bombing plots, analysts said."Given how distracted Saleh's government is in its attempts to cling to power, AQAP has much more open space in which to operate at the moment," Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen scholar, said.Read the full story here.
- Saudi Men and women commenting on women driving.(ArabNews).I had asked some of my readers for their views on the actions of Manal Al-Sharif, the Saudi woman who is being held for driving.
Jamshaid says: Who cares or gives a hoot? There are more important issues in the world than driving for Saudi women. Let them fend for themselves. If you do not oppress women they become like obnoxious American women who boss, dominate and degrade men. Men should stop empowering women as when they do this they give away/deplete their own power. Keep in mind that all “Women Rights” are at the expense of “Men Rights.”
Mahmood adds: I do believe that there are many more factors to be taken into account before allowing women to drive. Major issues such as traffic for instance. I am confident that if women were allowed to drive, most of them would never give up their drivers. This would mean adding tens of thousands of cars and drivers into the highly congested roads in Jeddah, Riyadh and all other major cities.
Zaman is blunt: My reaction is that they (Saudi women) should be kept under wraps
Mary: Firstly I'd say that the excuse being given by these women to protect against drivers is rubbish! Most of the women come from families where the drivers have been privately hired and so can be carefully vetted. Secondly, if this woman and others like her do not have valid driving permits then they are breaking the law here. That they should be allowed to obtain driving permits is very true. It's ridiculous that they aren't allowed to drive. Third, there is absolutely no rational and acceptable explanation for not allowing women to drive except as a means of control and domination of one sex over another. I'm sure that in the Prophet's (peace be upon him) times, a woman rode on a camel, donkey or horse all by herself. So what's the difference?Read the full story here.
- “May snow depths are deeper than anything we have seen in the last 45 years”.(Whatsupwiththat).That’s from the avalanche center in the Tetons, and here is a current web-cam view up Yosemite Valley towards still-closed Tioga Pass (in the left background):AP has a nice roundup of late snow and snowpack news (including the Teton quote). Just weather. No mention of climate. Nothing this time about snow and cold being caused by global warming. Now if we could just get the press to do the same when there is a regional hot spell. Still, it’s progress. Remember the spinning on last winter’s snowzilla? Most amusing was Al Gore’s quote from “the scientific community“:A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.A click on Gore’s link showed “the scientific community” to be Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page. Gore should also have quoted Page’s credentials, which Page listed in his next line:That’s simple science even for me, a guy whose scientific education pretty much ended with the old “Watch Mr. Wizard” TV show and a subscription to Popular Mechanics.Read the full story here.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
- Syria Live Blog - May 25. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 23. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Yemen Live Blog - May 27 . Here. (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.7 ! Lots of activity in Turkey.More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 120.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Obama Campaign’s Bin Laden Strategy is Clear.(WhiteHouseDossier).It’s becoming increasingly obvious that President Obama will have Osama Bin Laden on the campaign trail with him as he seeks to buff up his weak credentials as a foreign policy tough guy.The president, whose original strategy of coddling dictators has failed to gain results and who was seen early in his presidency bowing to every satrap in sight, will brandish his killing of Bin Laden as proof that he is strong on national security and foreign policy.As if this single act could erase the rest of it. It’s like complimenting someone on their sweater before you punch them in the face.He’s cutting the defense budget during time of war, has been inconsistent and indecisive on the Arab uprisings, can’t defeat Qaddafi and his band of camels and Amazon warriors, is undermining Israel – our key military ally in the region, has signalled to the Taliban that we’re desperate to get out of Afghanistan, and is trying to hand of U.S. world leadership to Europe, which effectively disarmed itself years ago.But he killed Bin Laden.The best evidence of the importance the Obama camp places on the Bin Laden killing comes from comments this week by Vice President Biden at a Democratic fundraiser in New Hampshire. From a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Biden laid out three reasons why he was optimistic about the 2012 campaign: the flawed Republican vision, the return of 2008 “surge” voters who stayed home in the 2010 midterm election, and the growing confidence he said Americans feel in President Obama’s leadership.
On the latter point, the vice president said the decision to order the raid that killed Bin Laden was a major turning point, calling it “the boldest undertaking any president has undertaken on a single event in modern history.”“The American people no longer confuse being contemplative with having courage,” he said. “The American people watched him execute the decision — not only putting the lives of those special operators on the line, but his entire future on the line as president of the United States of America. And he didn’t hesitate.”It was that decision, Biden said, which pre-empted the emerging campaign from Republicans to portray Obama as weak and indecisive. And it has led Americans to change how they’ve viewed other decisions he’s made, like the auto industry bailout and stimulus program.
“The American people now … have a crystal clear picture of how strong and decisive this president is. And that’s the last piece of the puzzle that had to be put in place for this great man,” Biden said.
Last week at a fundraising rally in Boston, Obama took credit for the operation while pretending he was only commending the troops.We’re taking the fight directly to al Qaeda. And because of the bravery of our men and women in uniform, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America.
If you mention this at a POLITICAL rally, then you are POLITICIZING it. Please don’t hide your politicking behind the Navy Seal Team 6, Mr. President.Hmmmm....What's the chances of him releasing the Osama pics when ratings go down for him?Read the full story here.
- Poll: 12% of Israeli Jews consider Obama to be pro-Israel.(JPost).US President Barack Obama’s attempt to portray himself as pro-Israel in a high-profile speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday did not succeed, according to a Smith Research poll sponsored by The Jerusalem Post.The speech was intended to correct impressions that he was hostile toward Israel, which may have been reinforced by a landmark address about the Middle East that he delivered at the State Department last Thursday, and by a tense press conference at the White House on Friday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.In the AIPAC speech, Obama chose not to specifically rule out the “return” to Israel of millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees, and did not announce his first visit to Israel as president, as many hoped he would. But he did insist that Israel must remain the Jewish “homeland,” indicating opposition to the Palestinian demand for refugees’ “return, spoke about Jews’ yearning for Israel through the centuries, listed many ways in which his administration was helping Israel and clarified his position on creating a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps.When asked in the poll whether they saw Obama’s administration as more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian or neutral, just 12 percent of Israeli Jews surveyed said more pro-Israel, while 40% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 13% did not express an opinion.Hmmmm....I'm surprised there are still that many who believe in him,haven't learned anything from WWII.Read the full story here.
- "Spreading the wealth"?Obama sends money for Libyan refugees, invites rebels to set up DC office.(RefugeeResettlementwatch).From Xinhuanet:
BEIJING, May 25 (Xinhuanet) — A senior U.S. diplomat says President Barack Obama has invited the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council to open an office in Washington DC.Speaking in the de-facto rebel capital of Benghazi, “U.S. Assistant Secretary-of-State for Near Eastern Affairs”, Jeffrey Feltman, says the invitation marked an “important milestone” in the relationship with the NTC, and that he was pleased they had accepted the offer. Several countries, including France and Italy, have recognized the NTC, while the U.S., the European Union and others have established a diplomatic presence in Benghazi. In addition, Feltman announced that the US has given more than 50-million U.S. dollars to aid the Libyan people.He said, “We’ve given today 53.5 (m) million (U.S.) dollars to address the humanitarian crisis that stems from Gadhafi’s attack on his people. This is to international partners who are working in part inside Libya and in part with the refugees who are in Tunisia and Egypt. So, it’s addressing refugee needs outside Libya’s borders, it’s addressing the needs of the people of Misrata and others, it’s through international partners.”I see that Obama already dipped into the ERMA funds* he has at his discretion back in March for $15 million to Libya, so there must be some new redistribution of taxpayer dollars to “partners” in North Africa in recent days. Also, Libyan rebels traveled to Washington and London earlier this month looking for money, here, guess they hit the US taxpayer-supported lottery!We should be happy in one regard, we aren’t airlifting the “refugees” to the US (yet!).*Readers the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance fund is at about $100 million each year, but I cannot find anything at the moment to tell us how much Obama has already spent.Hmmmm.....Any mention of congressional approval anywhere?Read the full story here.
- A Coming Arab Winter?The Fatah-Hamas deal may presage a new Iranian approach to the Middle East.(WeeklyStandard).It can’t give many Americans much lasting pleasure that the Israeli prime minister humbled our commander in chief this week on his home turf. To be sure, a president who seems to relish provoking public confrontations with an ally may have had it coming, but in the end Netanyahu’s speech before Congress won’t satisfy too many Israelis either—or for that matter many other Middle Easterners who have come to depend on American stewardship. The fact that an Israeli leader makes the case for American exceptionalism and U.S. power better than Barack Obama is a signal that Washington has forsaken its traditional role in the Middle East at a dangerous time.Netanyahu was only the first to state the obvious in public, but other U.S. allies, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, convinced that the Americans are living in a fantasy world, are also starting to strike out on their own. If no one knows yet what new architectures and anatomies the Arab Spring will engender, putative U.S. allies and genuine adversaries, states, and even non-state actors like the Muslim Brotherhood are scrambling for position.Iranian aggression, and not the peace process, as Netanyahu was careful to remind his American audiences this past week, is still the key regional issue. With the administration turning on traditional American allies, some observers are starting to see similarities between Washington and Tehran, in one important respect. “If Obama says the status quo is unsustainable,” says Martin Kramer of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “and won’t do anything to sustain it, then Washington, like Iran, is an anti-status quo power. Others have to take it upon themselves to defend the status quo.”Netanyahu was only the first to state the obvious in public, but other U.S. allies, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, convinced that the Americans are living in a fantasy world, are also starting to strike out on their own. If no one knows yet what new architectures and anatomies the Arab Spring will engender, putative U.S. allies and genuine adversaries, states, and even non-state actors like the Muslim Brotherhood are scrambling for position.Iranian aggression, and not the peace process, as Netanyahu was careful to remind his American audiences this past week, is still the key regional issue. With the administration turning on traditional American allies, some observers are starting to see similarities between Washington and Tehran, in one important respect. “If Obama says the status quo is unsustainable,” says Martin Kramer of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “and won’t do anything to sustain it, then Washington, like Iran, is an anti-status quo power. Others have to take it upon themselves to defend the status quo.”Because Riyadh no longer trusts the Americans to take on Iran, a Saudi initiative led by Prince Bandar, the Wall Street Journal reports, is putting together a large alliance, including Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Central Asian states, to stand against the Islamic Republic.In the Arabic-speaking states, there’s also a proposed expansion of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council to include one North African nation, Morocco, and another from the Levant, Jordan (which would gather all of the region’s hereditary rulers—sheikhs and kings and sultans and emirs—under one umbrella). The Arab press is awash with rumors that the GCC’s leading member, Saudi Arabia, has promised Rabat and Amman large influxes of cash so long as they resist Washington’s entreaties to reform—reform that, in the Saudi view, would pave the way for their own demise and eventually the fall of the House of Saud. In any case, this onetime regional organization has now become a de facto alliance of pro-U.S. states that no longer believes it can count on the Americans to advance their interests. The major Sunni Arab players outside the enlarged GCC would be Fatah, now reconciled with Hamas, and Egypt, formerly the central pillar of Washington’s Middle East policy, and now after thirty years once again up for grabs.Iran can profit from the upheavals, according to Kramer, “by building linkage with the Muslim Brotherhood.” In other words, with Syria’s problems and the possible fallout for Hezbollah, Tehran would supplement or substitute its Shia crescent with a Muslim Brotherhood crescent—a coalition stretching from Turkey’s AKP to Hamas and Egypt’s newly empowered Islamists.“The fewer Shia there are in the immediate surroundings, and there are virtually none in Egypt and the Palestinian territories, the easier that is to do,” says Kramer. “The Muslim Brotherhood has their usual reservations about Shia, but they’re not anti-Shia like al Qaeda. The landscape of the Middle East is too broken for coalitions to have only the like-minded. If Saudi Arabia and Israel could be in the American circle, the Brotherhood could be in the Iranian crescent. The Iranians and the Muslim Brotherhood both have an interest in reconstituting an arc of resistance.”Given the Obama administration’s ambiguous statements regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other regional Islamist movements, it seems Washington is preparing for the likelihood of a region entirely remade in the image of political Islam, its Shia as well as its Sunni versions. Whether the White House is prepared to do anything to protect American interests and allies against a political current that is anti-American at its core is another question. Netanyahu’s speeches, Saudi diplomacy, and Egyptian brinksmanship are evidence that traditional U.S. allies do not believe Obama is up to the task.Hmmmm......Understatement of the Century.Read the full story here.
- Arab League to seek UN membership for Palestine.(Ynet). Addressing Arab League meeting, Palestinian president expresses fear UN bid for recognition would result in financial sanctions, urges Arab leaders to serve as 'safety net.'An Arab League committee decided on Saturday to seek full UN membership for a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with east Jerusalem as its capital, it said in a statement.The Arab League's peace process follow-up committee said it would request membership for the state of Palestine at the UN General Assembly's meeting in New York in September.Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said there were "no shared foundations" for peace talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking UN recognition of Palestinian statehood was his only option. Addressing an Arab League meeting in Doha Abbas expressed concern that taking the diplomatic step opposed by the United States and Israel could result in financial sanctions and urged Arab states to fill any gap. While he left room for a compromise, saying a resumption of peace talks on terms acceptable to the Palestinians would avoid the UN move, the remarks were some of Abbas's bleakest yet on the likelihood of more negotiations. Abbas was speaking at a meeting of the Arab League's peace process committee convened in the wake of major Middle East policy speeches in Washington by US President Barack Obama and PM Netanyahu. The Palestinian leadership has said Netanyahu's ideas for peace with the Palestinians, outlined in a speech to the US Congress on Tuesday, put more obstacles in the path of an already moribund peace process. "We see from the conditions that Netanyahu laid out that there are no shared foundations ... for negotiations. Our fundamental option is to go to the United Nations," Abbas said in his opening remarks. "This is no secret, we have said it to the Americans and the Europeans and the Israelis, our only option is to go to the United Nations," he said. He expressed fear that the step would lead some states to "try to impose a siege upon us", though he did not say to which governments he was referring. "We hope that there will be a safety net from the Arab states," he said."The sound path is going to the United Nations and political struggle," Moussa said. "I believe that negotiations have become futile in light of all of these nos. What will you negotiate on?" Hmmmmm.......Psalm 83 and the "Samson" option.Read the full story here.
- Afghan police commander killed in blast. Daood Daood among the dead after Taliban suicide attack on compound of a northern provincial governor.(Al-Arabia).A large blast has hit the compound of the governor of Afghanistan's northern Takhar province, killing at least six people, including General Daood Daood, the regional police commander, and several German soldiers, officials say.A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest in a room in the office complex within the compound where high-ranking Afghan officials were meeting members of the international coalition forces on Saturday, Faiz Mohammad Tawhedi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, told the Associated Press news agency."What we know is the guy who carried out the attack had a police uniform on," Tawhedi said. "How he entered the meeting room and why he was not searched, we don't know."Dr Hassain Basech, the health director of Takhar, confirmed the deaths of Daood; General Shah Jahan Noori, a provincial police chief; a secretary to Taqwa, the Takhar governor; and one of Daood's bodyguards.Basech said 10 other Afghans were wounded, including Taqwa who suffered burns to his head, hands and back.Daood, the most prominent casualty of Saturday's bombing, was a former deputy interior minister for counternarcotics.Before that, he was a close associate of Ahmad Shah Masood, the influential leader who commanded the Northern Alliance and died in an al-Qaeda suicide bombing two days before the September 11, 2001, attacks that provoked the US invasion.Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said Daood is "the highest Afghan security official to have been killed since 2001"."This attack is a big shock for the officials here in Afghanistan. One top official described the incident to me as a 'nuclear attack' against Afghan security forces."The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement released later on Saturday that two ISAF service members had died, adding that it is their policy to "defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities".The German military told the online magazine Der Spiegel that two German troops were killed and that General Markus Kneip, ISAF's commander for northern Afghanistan, was wounded along with three of his soldiers.Major Tim James, an ISAF spokesman, confirmed that Kneip was in the compound's office complex at time of attack but had survived.The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Takhar attack, saying that it had been planning for months as part of its spring offensive called Badr - a reference to a famous battle in Islamic history.A separate violent incident was reported on Saturday in the ongoing battle between the Taliban and Afghan security forces in the northeastern province of Nuristan.A Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera that 18 of their fighters have been killed in the past three days of initense fighting, and that the group has also captured a number of Afghan policemen.Hmmmmm....Ex deputy interior minister for counternarcotics,Karzai's brother will be happy.Read the full story here.
- Iranian advisors helping Assad "The Reformer" to crush Syrian protests: Report.(AlArabia).Iran is sending trainers and advisers to Syria to help crush anti-government demonstrations threatening to topple Iran’s most important ally in the region, The Washington Post reported late Friday.The influx of Iranian manpower was adding to a steady stream of aid from Tehran, the newspaper said, citing unnamed US officials.That aid includes not only weapons and riot gear but also sophisticated surveillance equipment that is helping Syrian authorities track down opponents through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, the sources said.Iranian-assisted computer surveillance is believed to have led to the arrests of hundreds of Syrians seized from their homes in recent weeks, the paper said.According to one diplomat and US officials, the Iranian military trainers are being brought to Damascus to instruct Syrians in techniques Iran used against the nation’s "Green Movement"’ in 2009, the Post reported.Officers from Iran’s notorious Quds Force have played a key role in Syria’s crackdown since at least mid-April, it said.US sanctions imposed against the Quds Force in April had been intended as a warning to Iran to halt the practice, said the Post.Damascus has ignored growing Western condemnation and sanctions and looks determined to crush the pro-democracy revolt by sending out security forces and tanks to subdue unrest it blames on armed groups backed by foreign powers.Hmmmm....Reaction of the 'defender of the oppressed"......Silence?Read the full story here.
- The Arab Spring from a Counter-Terrorism Perspective.(IsraelSeen).By Dr. Boaz Ganor World War III is occurring right now. It is not only a war of ideas, it is a religious war – not between Islam and the rest of the world, but first and foremost a war within the religion of Islam. It is a war of the culture of Islamic radicalism against the rest of the world, which includes the majority of Muslims worldwide.
■A few months ago, White House Counter-Terrorism Advisor John Brennan said, “Islamists and Jihadists are not our enemy.” In response, I wrote an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post which explains that moderate Arab leaders know that Jihadists and Islamists are the enemy. By saying that Islamists and Jihadists are not the enemy, the United States – the spearhead of Western society and the protector of liberal values in the world – is sending a confusing message to its allies worldwide.
■In the competition between the Iranian axis and the pragmatic axis, the Iranian axis is winning. Hizbullah is growing stronger in Lebanon and Hamas is gaining power and scoring points in Gaza for the Iranian axis. Also, the decision of Turkey to choose the Iranian axis is becoming quite clear.
■Dr. Condoleezza Rice has said that her next book is going to refer to a pillar of American foreign policy: the introduction of democracy in the Muslim world. My upcoming book will address exactly the opposite. It will be about how terrorists and fundamentalists are misusing the democratic apparatus of the state in order to promote their goals. When fundamentalists win in democratic elections, it is one man, one vote, one time.
■Is there anything we can do in order to change this negative outcome? I would call to immediately establish a second Marshall Plan, similarly to what happened after World War II, for those new regimes being established in the Muslim world and to support other pragmatic regimes that have not yet faced internal revolutions. Since imposing democracy on these societies might be counterproductive and dangerous, it should be an incremental process. At the end of the day, only Muslims can and should educate Muslims.Now read the rest of this must read posting!Read the full story here.
- Hundreds of women report rapes by Qaddafi forces.(Al-Arabia).At first, the responses to the questionnaire about the trauma of the war in Libya were predictable, if tragic: 10,000 people suffering post-traumatic stress, 4,000 children with psychological problems. Then came the unexpected: 259 women said they had been raped by militiamen loyal to Muammar Qaddafi. Dr. Seham Sergewa had been working with children traumatized by the fighting in Libya but soon found herself being approached by troubled mothers who felt they could trust her with their dark secret.The first victim came forward two months ago, followed by two more. All were mothers of children the London-trained child psychologist was treating, and all described how they were raped by militiamen fighting to keep Qaddafi in power.Dr. Sergewa decided to add a question about rape to the survey she was distributing to Libyans living in refugee camps after being driven from their homes. The main purpose was to try to determine how children were faring in the war; she suspected many were suffering from PTSD.To her surprise, 259 women came forward with accounts of rape. They all said the same thing."I was really surprised when I started visiting these areas, first by the number of people suffering from PTSD, including the large number of children among them, and then by the number of women who had been raped from both the east and west of the country," Dr. Sergewa said in an interview with The Associated Press.Rape has been a common weapon of war throughout the ages, most recently in conflicts from the Balkans in Europe to Sri Lanka in Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, where Congo has been described as the epicenter of sexual crimes.Across the world, rape carries a stigma. But it can be a deadly one in conservative Muslim societies like Libya, where rape is considered a stain on the honor of the entire family. Victims can be abandoned by their families and, in some cases, left in the desert to die. Speaking to a journalist is out of the question.Dr. Sergewa's questionnaire was distributed to 70,000 families and drew 59,000 responses."We found 10,000 people with PTSD, 4,000 children suffering psychological problems and 259 raped women," she said, adding that she believes the number of rape victims is many times higher but that woman are afraid to report the attacks.The women said they had been raped by Qaddafi's militias in numerous cities and towns: Benghazi, Tobruk, Brega, Bayda and Ajdabiya (where the initial three mothers hail from) and Saloum in the east; and Misrata in the west.Some just said they had been raped. Some did not sign their names; some just used their initials. But some felt compelled to share the horrific details of their ordeals on the back of the questionnaire.Earlier this month, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Luis Moreno-Campo, said he has "strong evidence" of crimes against humanity committed by Qaddafi's regime, including serious allegations of "women arrested and gang raped."One of Libya's leading psychiatrists, Dr. Ali M. Elroey, told the AP that he has set up three mobile teams to treat trauma victims of the war in their homes or in temporary shelters: one for PTSD, one for other psychological problems and one for rape survivors.Dr. Elroey said they need to reach out to people in their homes because the stigma associated with psychiatric care is leaving large numbers of patients untreated.His outpatient clinic at Benghazi's psychiatric hospital has treated more than 600 patients in two months, many responding to radio and newspaper advertisements offering psychiatric help for war trauma. He said most were women, though none had acknowledged being raped.Dr. Sergewa said she has interviewed 140 of the rape survivors in various states of mental anguish, and has been unable to persuade a single victim to prosecute. None would speak to the AP about her ordeal, even with a promise to hide her identity."Some I diagnosed with acute psychosis; they are hallucinating," Dr. Sergewa said. "Some are very depressed; some want to commit suicide. Some want their parents to kill them because they don't want their families to bear the shame."Some already have been abandoned by their husbands and fear seeking treatment could get them ostracized or cast out of their communities. Others have kept the rapes a secret for fear of retribution from spouses. "They fear their husbands will take them out to the desert and leave them there to die," Dr. Sergewa said.It is likely more rapes could occur as the conflict drags on, Dr. Sergewa said."They are using rape not just to hurt women but to terrorize entire families and communities," Dr. Sergewa said. "The women I spoke to say they believed they were raped because their husbands and brothers were fighting Qaddafi."I think it is also to put shame on the tribes or the villages, to scare people into fleeing, and to say: 'We have raped your women,'" she said.Dr. Sergewa says women will continue to be targets of the militiamen, and this makes it all the more urgent to finish her study and get it published."We must throw light on what is really happening in Libya and fight to bring justice for these women, to help heal them psychologically," she said.Hmmmm......"The Arab winds of Change"?Chapter 33 verse 50 of the Koran:
"O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncles on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage a privilege for thee only, not for the [rest of] believers. We are aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hand possess that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." Read the full story here.
- "Turks in Berlin"Forces German University to Cancel Speech on Armenian Genocide.(StopTurkey).Stuttgart university was scheduled to host a speech and discussion event today on the theme of "Persecution, Expulsion and Annihilation of Christians in the Ottoman Empire 1912-1922". At the last minute, however, the university cancelled the event booking. When asked why, the rector of the university, Prof.-Dr. Ing. Wolfram Ressel, said that they had come under pressure from "Turks in Berlin" and that the university wished to "remain neutral". Remain neutral on the Armenian genocide?The event had been organised by a coalition of non-profit organisations, including the Association of Greeks from Pontos in Europe, the Assyrian Democratic Organisation - Central Europe Section and the Working Group on the Recognition of Genocide for Understanding Between Peoples. They issued a statement on what had occurred.The associations concerned consider it regrettable in the extreme that almost one hundreds years after the genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians/Arameans and Greeks in the then Ottoman empire that a German university does not have the courage to rent a room for a commemoration and information event intended to come to terms with this crime and thus serve the purpose of preventing future genocides. "For crimes, there can in principle be no possibility of retreating to supposedly neutral positions. The circumstances that Turkey, to this day, officially disputes the genocide of more than three million Ottoman citizens of the Christian faith and strikes to prevent public consideration of it even abroad can also not be allowed to govern the actions of a German university."Hmmmm.......Erdogan "Muslims don't commit Genocide".Read the full story here.
- "The War on Christianity ".Turkey's Christians under Siege.By .John Eibner, chief executive officer of Christian Solidarity International-USA, focuses on religious and ethnic conflict, mainly in the Middle East, North-East Africa and Eastern Europe. He has visited these regions on numerous human rights fact-finding and humanitarian aid missions.A Must Read.Read the full story here.
- "The War on Christianity".Algerian Christian Given Five Year Prison Sentence for Blasphemy.(Aina).Washington -- International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that an Algerian Christian was sentenced to five years imprisonment for blasphemy in Oran on Wednesday after sharing his Christian faith with a neighbor. The verdict came days after authorities forced the permanent closure of seven Protestant churches in Algeria's Béjaia province.Siagh Krimo was charged by the Criminal Court of the Djamel District in Oran, who based their decision on Article 144 bis 2 of the Penal Code which criminalizes acts that "insult the prophet and any of the messengers of God, or denigrate the creed and precepts of Islam, whether by writing, drawing, declaration, or any other means." Krimo has ten days to appeal the sentence.Krimo, who is married with a nine month old child, was arrested on April 14, along with another Christian, Sofiane, after sharing his Christian faith with a neighbor. Sofiane was released soon after the arrest, while Krimo was detained for three days. Krimo was known to hold weekly prayer services at his home, which Algerian Christians suspect were being closely monitored by the police.The prosecutor at Krimo's trial, held on May 4, failed to present as a witness the neighbor who accused Krimo of proselytizing and making defamatory statements against the Muslim prophet Mohammad. Algerian Christians were hopeful that Krimo would be acquitted of all charges. "Good news, the judge, after having invited Krimo to use wisdom and return to Islam, has ended the affair," an Algerian church leader in Tizi Ouzou told ICC on May 4. "We hope this will end well."The prosecutor, doubtful he would win the case on so little evidence, reportedly asked the judge to have Krimo's sentence reduced to a two year imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Algerian dinar. However, some believe that higher authorities in the Algerian government were involved in reaching the final decision. "The judge would have normally acquitted Krimo of all charges, but I think he received an order from his superiors to strike hard," said an Algerian representative of the Association of Protestant Churches (EPA).Krimo's sentence follows an order received by the EPA on May 22 to close seven Protestant churches in the province of Béjaia. The notice stated the churches are to be closed in accordance with Ordinance 06-03, which requires churches to obtain government permission to hold services. Though the EPA has made efforts to comply with the ordinance, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Religious Affairs have refused to register churches or to approve permits quickly.Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, "Algerian Christians have been under attack in recent weeks as laws have been increasingly enforced to discriminate against them. Earlier this week, seven churches in Béjaia were ordered to close. Now, an Algerian Christian is on the verge of being unjustly imprisoned for accusations of criticizing Islam. While Algeria professes that it upholds religious freedom, it also embraces a blasphemy law that, by its very nature, can be used to prosecute anyone who does not adhere to the religion of Islam. We urge Algeria to acquit Siagh of all charges and repeal Article 144 bis 2 of the Penal Code."Hmmmm.......Religious freedom?Yeah whatevah!Read the full story here.
- Saudi Arabia - Handcuffed teenager manages to kill policeman that alledgly tried to rape him.(Emirates247).A handcuffed Kuwaiti teenager killed a policeman by hitting him on the head with a rock, claiming the uniformed man tried to rape him, a newspaper in the oil-rich Gulf emirate reported on Saturday.The 16-year-old boy said he was returning home in the capital Kuwait City when the police man stopped him and asked for his identity card.When he replied that his ID was at home, the police man handcuffed his hand to the boy’s left hand and wanted to take him to the police centre.“The boy said the police man then tried to rape him…he picked a rock and hit the police man on his head until he was dead,” Alanba Arabic language daily said.“The boy then phoned his mother, who phoned the police centre…they found the boy sitting near the dead police man with their hands still cuffed.Read the full story here.