Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, Rest in Peace

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and other news from the Arab uprisings:

Security forces attack Bahraini protesters
Bahraini troops attack anti-government protesters in villages near the capital, hours after martial law is lifted.

Men raped, tortured in Bahrain
BAHRAINI men have been raped, tortured with electric shocks and beaten by government security forces holding them without charge in recent weeks, The Times of London reports.

France 24 correspondent tortured for covering pro-democracy demonstrations
When Nazeeha Saeed, the Bahrain correspondent of France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya, was summoned to a police station in the city of Rifa’a for questioning at midday on 22 May, she expected to be back home two hours later and had no inkling of the nightmare awaiting her.

On arriving at the police station, she took a seat and waited calmly. Other women, mainly nurses, were also waiting, sitting on the floor. An hour later, she was called. She entered an office where there was a male officer. In a quiet but unsettling voice, he told her to answer the questions that would be put to her. He then left her with a female officer, who accusing her of “lying” in her reports and told her to admit her links with the Hezbollah TV station Al-Manar and the Iranian Arabic-language TV station Al-Alam. “You must confess,” the woman kept repeating, going on to accuse her of participating in the pro-democracy demonstrations that have taking place in Bahrain since March.  An hour later, she was taken to another office. There, a woman police officer mocked and insulted her. When Nazeeha ignored her, the policewoman grabbed her by the chin, held it hard, and slapped her with the other hand. “You must tell me the truth,” she screamed, continuing to slap her and then seizing her by the hair and throwing her to the ground. Four policewomen proceeded to slap, punch and kick her repeatedly. One of the women took her shoe and forced it into her mouth. “You are worth less than this shoe,” she said.

Guardian Video: Bani Jamrah, Bahrain: Police ‘shoot at unarmed protesters’
Video posted on YouTube purports to show the moment Bahraini police open fire on unarmed protesters on Wednesday in the north-west village of Bani Jamrah.

Bahrain Shi’ites talk of abuse under martial law (Reuters)
Reuters – Bahraini Shi’ites say they have endured a reign of terror during 11 weeks of martial law imposed to break up a pro-democracy movement that for the first time threatened the control of a Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab dynasty.

Bahrain halts demos as emergency rule ends (AFP)
AFP – Bahraini security forces were accused of using violence on Wednesday to halt an attempt by pro-reform protesters to stage new demonstrations, even as a state of emergency was lifted.

Locked up for reading a poem
Bahrain’s security forces are increasingly targeting women in their campaign against pro-democracy protesters despite yesterday lifting martial law in the island kingdom.

Tanks, troops leave heart of Bahrain’s capital (AP)
AP – Tanks and soldiers left the heart of Bahrain’s capital as emergency rule was lifted Wednesday, but authorities warned they were not easing pressure on anti-government groups in the Gulf kingdom.

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

Bahrain’s Dark Secret
As Bahrain is torn apart by protests and brutal government repression, Dateline gains access to investigate a series of mysterious deaths and disappearances.

U.S. yanks diplomat from Bahrain after he’s threatened
BAGHDAD — The United States pulled its human rights officer from Bahrain last week after he’d become the subject of a weeks-long campaign of ethnic slurs and thinly veiled threats on a pro-government website and in officially sanctioned newspapers. Ludovic Hood left the island nation Thursday. During his final days in Bahrain, Hood was given security protection equal to that of an ambassador, U.S. officials said.

US says diplomat faced threats in Bahrain (AFP)
AFP – The State Department said Tuesday that a US diplomat in Bahrain faced threats over his work in the Gulf Arab kingdom, a US ally, but denied reports he was brought home for his safety.

Bahrain: Tough line remains on protest groups (AP)
AP – Bahrain’s Justice Ministry warned Tuesday that authorities will not ease pressure on anti-government groups after emergency laws are removed even as the nation’s king appealed for dialogue.

Bahrain wary of protests before Formula One ruling (Reuters)
Reuters – Bahrain, eager for Formula One organizers to reinstate a motor race postponed after popular protests erupted in February, acted to prevent any unrest on Thursday after lifting martial law earlier in the week.

Bahrain king calls for national dialogue
July talks “to push forward reform” announced day before martial law is scheduled to be lifted in the Gulf nation.

US Should Move Navy Base from Bahrain, Juan Cole
In the wake of the brutal crackdown by the monarchy of Bahrain on the largely peaceful protest movement this winter and spring, the United States needs to decouple from the small Gulf kingdom. Although the kingdom is lifting its state of emergency, distrust and tension remain high between the Shiite majority and the dominant Sunni minority.

Israeli defense official visits Egypt
Amos Gilad arrives in Cairo for brief visit, slated to discuss Shalit deal, opening of Rafah border crossing.

Mubarak and sons to stand trial in August
Former Egyptian president and his two sons to go on trial on August 3 for graft and killing of protesters.

Mubarak’s sons have remands extended 15 days, and military summons journalists
The two sons of Egypt’s toppled President Alaa and Jamal Mubarak had their custody remanded for another 15 days over unfair means of accumulating wealth, Alarabiya reported on Monday.

Mubarak ‘too sick for jail move’
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is too sick to be moved from hospital to prison to await trial on murder charges, officials say.

For the first time since Camp David accords, US shows concern for fair trials in Egypt
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that the United States hoped Egypt would ensure due process when former President Hosni Mubarak is put on trial in August.  ”Obviously we want to see the rule of law,” Clinton told reporters, saying it was up to the Egyptians whether to try him or not.”  Did the US ever care about fair trials and rule of law during the Mubarak regime? How pathetic.

Egypt ‘reviewing’ timetable to resume gas exports to Israel
Gas flows from Egypt to Israel halted in April after gang attack on metering station in North Sinai; Egypt oil minister says working to achieve ‘fair, sustainable relationship between sellers and buyers’.

US still trying to bribe Egypt…Dispute Grows as Egyptian Gas Is Still Not Flowing to Israel
The gas deal has been an integral part of the two countries’ relations and has been supported by Washington. President Obama recently offered Egypt $1 billion in loan guarantees and $1 billion in debt relief on the condition that it meets its commitments. The United States has told Egypt that its security obligations in the northern Sinai are among its commitments, an American official said.

Ethan Bronner: marketing Israeli propaganda, daily
Read the end of this article.  Bronner actually devotes time and effort to justify the reduced prices at which Mubarak sold gas to Israel.

Meet Egyptian political sentiments
“A former deputy chief of Egypt’s court of appeals, Judge Mahmoud al-Khodheiri, recently expressed a common sentiment about the gas deal in an interview with Al Jazeera. “I consider the export of gas to Israel an act of treason, and we should stop it,” he said. “I salute the people who bombed the gas pipe because this is my blood that is being transferred to the enemy.”

Egypt: Admission of forced ‘virginity tests’ must lead to justice
A senior Egyptian general has admitted female protesters were forced to undergo ‘virginity tests’, which the government has previously denied.  The Egyptian authorities must bring those responsible for ordering or conducting forced ‘virginity tests’ to justice, following a senior military figure’s admission that the army subjected female protesters to them, Amnesty International said today.

Oh and by the way… ‘Virginity Tests’ On Migrants Ordered By U.K.: Report 
Newly discovered documents indicate that the British government concealed how often it administered so-called “virginity tests” to female immigrants hoping to enter the country in the 1970s on marriage visas. The documents, unearthed by legal researchers Marinella Marmo and Evan Smith from Australia’s Flinders University, showed that the tests – meant to prove that women coming into Britain to marry were virgins – had been administered more than 80 times.

Egyptian army denies ‘virginity tests’
Egyptian military official denies comments saying the military had conducted forced “virginity tests” on female protesters in March.

Egypt’s Military Censors Critics as It Faces More Scrutiny
The military’s intervention concerns human rights advocates who worry that such efforts could undermine attempts to bring it under civilian control or investigate charges of corruption.

Egyptian army questions blogger and TV host
Move follows televised comments accusing military official of instigating abuses against civilians.

Hossam and Reem Follow up : A chitchat more than an investigation
Hossam El-Hamalawy and Reem Maged left the military prosecution with no charges what so ever, it was more of a chitchat meeting !! From three hours or more Reem and Hossam came out of C28 , the headquarter of military prosecution and according to their lawyers who attended the meeting , there were no accusation at all. Hossam Hamalawy was asked to report the incidents he spoke about in the show with evidence. Hossam did, already he went loaded with video clips , reports and testimonies on military police violations.

VIDEO: Workers seek higher wages in Egypt
Egypt has experienced a surge of industrial unrest since the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February, as workers exploit new freedoms to push for better pay and conditions.

This is hilarious: Now Israel found evidence of Al-Qa`idah presence in Sinai
A day or two after the partial and restricted opening of Rafah crossing, Israeli propagandists (including the occupation’s prime minister) claim that Al-Qa`idah has suddenly made its way to Sinai.

The New Fath in the New Egypt
Fath leader, `Azzam Ahmad, tells Al-Masri Al-Yawm that Fath has never recognized Israel and that it will confront Hamas if the latter did.

Salafis in Egypt: link to Mubarak Regime
The brave Egyptian journalist, Muna `Ashmawi (the Cairo correspondent of New TV), did a report on New TV about links between Jihaz Amn Ad-Dawlah (Apparatus of State Security) and the Salafites in Egypt.  Such links have not been reported in the Saudi or Qatari Arab press, nor in the Western press.

Egypt denies Israel’s allegation of Al Qaeda presence in Sinai
Egypt on Thursday denied the presence of Al Qaeda members in Sinai, following charges by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that terror groups were mobilizing in the peninsula. “There are no members of the Al Qaeda organization in Egypt.

Lilian Wagdy, “Crossing Egyptian Military’s Red Line: Speaking Up against Military Tribunals”
A few months ago, just walking too close to the Military Prosecution Complex in Cairo’s district of Nasr City could have landed you in jail. But on May 31, the area surrounding the complex was the stage for a demonstration in solidarity with OnTV’s presenter Reem Maged, socialist activist and blogger Hossam El Hamalawy, and journalist Nabil Sharaf El Din. The three were asked to appear in front of the military prosecution following remarks El Hamalawy and Sharaf El Din made against what they said were military police violations against civilian detainees and what they saw as an ambivalent attitude from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) towards the revolution. . . . Although all three were released, activists say they will keep lobbying for the rights of thousands of Egyptian civilians who received swift and tough sentences by military tribunals and are now in military prisons. In doing so, these activists are, as well, increasingly challenging what the military establishment deems as its ‘red line’ asserting that the only Red Line in post-Revolution Egypt must be the Egyptian people themselves.

Adam Hanieh, “Egypt’s ‘Orderly Transition’? International Aid and the Rush to Structural Adjustment”
At the core of this financial intervention in Egypt is an attempt to accelerate the neoliberal program that was pursued by the Mubarak regime. . . . There are two common elements to all the financial support offered to Egypt to date — an extension of loans (i.e. an increase in Egypt’s external debt) and promised investment in so-called Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). Both these elements are tied to Egypt’s implementation of structural adjustment. Strategically, it appears that the initial focus of this structural adjustment will the privatization of Egypt’s infrastructure and the opening of the economy to foreign investment and trade through PPPs (these are discussed below). In addition to the US government, World Bank and IMF, the other main institutional actor in this process is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). . . . Currently Egypt’s external debt runs at around US$35 billion and over the last decade the country has been paying around US$3 billion a year in debt service. From 2000 to 2009, Egypt’s level of debt increased by around 15%, despite the fact that the country paid a total of $24.6 billion in debt repayments over the same period. . . . Obama’s offer needs to be understood accurately. Contrary to what has been widely reported in the media, this was not a forgiveness of Egypt’s debt.

“V for Vendetta”: The Other Face of Egypt’s Youth Movement
“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea […] and ideas are bulletproof.” – From the film V for Vendetta

Into Egypt
Suheir Hammad’s new poem-turned-video is an artistic and highly stylized tribute to Egypt.

Samir Amin, “The Reactionary Bloc in Egypt”
Just as in past periods of rising struggle, the democratic social and anti-imperialist movement in Egypt is up against a powerful reactionary bloc. This bloc can perhaps be identified in terms of its social composition (its component classes, of course) but it is just as important to define it in terms of its means of political intervention and the ideological discourse serving its politics.

The Stunting Role of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces After the Revolution: Interview with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mohamed Waked
During our trip to Egypt we had the fortune of meeting and interviewing a mumber of distinguished journalists, bloggers, and activists, as well as a host of other Egyptians from all walks of life. Our coverage of Friday, May 28, protests can be found here and here. Today, we begin publishing the video interviews we conducted, starting with our own Jadaliyya Co-Editor, Mohamed Waked. Mohamed is a researcher and an activist who led and participated in the mobilization leading up to the Egyptian revolution. He was also arrested in the process by the Mubarak regime.

Philip Rizk, “Pity the Nation” (Video)
“Those who are making decisions, whoever they are, do not have the right to let local food consumption be determined by the international market. When Law 92 was introduced, the legal shield was taken away from the ‘fellaheen.’ Firstly, around a million tenant farmers were forced to stop cultivating, and the government returned the land to its landowners [without any rights to the farmers who worked it]. And now the market and the owner solely determine the rent price. . . . The Egyptian government now subsidizes large farms and the export of their goods, rather than supporting small farmers. We’ve moved from a situation where food security was based on local production of foodstuffs to a situation where food security is based on the constant export of everything that can be exported and the use of profits from this to import foodstuffs from abroad” (Dr. Habib Ayeb, Sociologist).

Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi quits
As the public grows more frustrated with the government’s performance, the official’s decision is meant to serve as an example to the rest of the bloated establishment. One of Iraq’s three vice presidents has quit the post, his political party said Monday, amid growing public frustration with the government’s performance nearly six months after most of its ministers were sworn in.

Iraq protest clouds loom (AFP)
AFP – Iraq risks a return to massive street protests when a 100-day deadline for progress expires next week, experts say, with no core issues having been addressed and a summer heatwave coming.

Iraq: Protest Organizers Beaten, Detained
(Tunis) – Iraqi authorities have detained, interrogated, and beaten several protest organizers in Baghdad in recent days, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi authorities should stop the attacks and charge or release those being held, Human Rights Watch said. In Iraqi Kurdistan, a protest organizer, Isma’il Abdullah, was abducted, stabbed, and beaten on May 27, 2011.

Group calls for rally to liberate Shebaa Farms
June 02, 2011 01:44 PM BEIRUT: The Lebanese Resistance Movement called for a rally at Birket Naqqar in south Lebanon Sunday to “liberate” the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Report: Lebanon to close borderland
Border area declared closed military zone ahead of ‘Naksa Day’, which may emulate recent ‘Nakba Day’

Gaddafi to send representative to OPEC
Libyan government says its delegate will attend June 8 meeting of global oil cartel after defection of oil minister.

Explosion rocks hotel in Benghazi
A large explosion is reported outside a hotel in Benghazi, the rebel stronghold in eastern Libya, with one rebel officer reportedly killed.

NATO extends Libya air campaign
Air strikes to continue until late September as Gaddafi officials complain of high civilian death toll in bombing.

U.S. concerned over Libya weapons reaching al Qaeda
ALGIERS (Reuters) – The United States has real concerns about weapons from Libya ending up in the hands of al Qaeda, the commander of the U.S. military’s Africa Command said on Wednesday. “There is a very real concern for all the regional partners, and the United States shares this concern, about the proliferation of weapons from Libya to other places, including those under the control of al Qaeda and others,” General Carter F. Ham told a news conference.

Qaddafi and Zuma Meet But Reach No Agreement
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa received a raucous red carpet greeting on Monday as he arrived in Libya for meetings with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Is Jacob Zuma Qaddafi’s only hope?
The South African leader is going to bat for Muammar Qaddafi after a bad couple of weeks for the Libyan strongman.


Muammar Gaddafi: I Will Not Leave Libya
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi is emphatic he will not leave Libya, South African President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday after talks with the Libyan leader that left prospects for a negotiated end to the conflict looking dim. But new questions emerged over how long Gaddafi could hold on after a senior United Nations aid official said shortages of food and medicine in areas of Libya controlled by Gaddafi amounted to a “time bomb.”

Misurata’s residents remain resolute despite sufferings
Residents in Libya’s Misurata endure as months of unending siege have taken its toll on the population. But the longer the war goes on, the deeper the divisions may become leaves many wondering what kind of Libya will emerge after the last bullet has been fired. Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reports from Misurata.

‘Evidence for the first time of allied boots on the ground’ in Libya?’
Armed western men have been filmed on the ground with rebels in central 
Libya in the first apparent confirmation that Nato has sent military advisers to train anti-government forces…. The westerners were seen by al-Jazeera on rebel lines late last week, days before British and French attack helicopters are due to join the Nato campaign. They are likely to be deployed on the outskirts of Misrata, from where pro-Gaddafi forces continue to shell rebel positions to the east….  The subject is sensitive as the UN security council resolution in March authorising the use of force in Libya specifically excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”

Morocco urged to end violent crackdown on protests
Moroccan authorities must not use excessive force against protesters, Amnesty International said today, as activists called for renewed pro-reform demonstrations  across the country on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia
The Lede: Saudi Activist Speaks for Herself
A Saudi woman who was detained for more than a week for driving released a statement on Tuesday, after she was allowed to leave prison.

Real News Video: Saudi Arabia and Western Hypocrisy
Madawi Al-Rasheed: Washington is calling the worst repression in the Arab world “evolving reform”

Protesters ‘killed’ in Syrian town
Crackdown in Rastan continues, as opposition conference ends with declaration demanding Syrian president’s resignation.

Syria must release all prisoners of conscience under amnesty
The Syrian government must release prisoners of conscience and take concrete steps  to stop grave abuses by security forces.

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

Syria Troops Pound Town WIth Artillery; At Least 43 Dead
BEIRUT — Activists say Syrian government troops are pounding a central town with artillery and gunfire, killing at least 15 people. The Local Coordination Committees, which help organize and document the country’s protests, said the deaths occurred in the town of Rastan Thursday. With the latest deaths, at least 58 people have been killed in the town in the past three days.

33 killed in crackdown in two Syrian towns
A government crackdown on two Syrian towns in the country’s centre and south killed at least 33 people, including an 11-year-old girl shot dead by troops during a fierce shelling, activists have said.

Video of Tortured Boy’s Corpse Deepens Anger in Syria
Images of the mutilated body of a 13-year-old boy apparently killed by security forces have become a focus of anger in Syria.

The story of Hamzah Al-Khatib: story of brutality of the Syrian regime

I will not reveal the name of the person in Syria who sent this:  ”Hello guys: I went two days ago (on Monday) to Hamza’s home and heard the entire story from his father. The martyr went on the Friday 29th to break the siege on dar3a the father (65 year) said: ” he wore wonderful clothes… he looked amazing and he took some stuff to dar3a nd went with the rest of the families.. I heard the shooting later on and so then the dead and injured people.. I asked about him the people told me he was wounded and arrested.. he was taken by the bus.. we asked about him everywhere and nobody had an answer.. until somebody called his cousin who is his his teacher too, to say that there is a body for a kid in the morgue in Dar3a, the cousin went there and after staring in the body for 45 minutes he could be sure that this was 7amze (I don’t know how the Dunia TV recognized him immediately when they have no names) the doctor checked the body and wrote his report (the report is genuine) the doctor tried to find his penis inside the body coz he did not believe his eyes!! the body was then taken and buried and the police called the father and asked him to make an interview with the Syrian TV and he did but saying the entire story as it happened but they did not broadcast it!! the mother has now a nerval breakdown and I could not see her”.

The face of the Syrian uprising
The Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, appeared on state television last night to offer a general amnesty to protesters who have taken to the streets for the past two months to call for an end to his rule.

Syrian president issues amnesty
After weeks of massive media-censored protests, Assad grants amnesty to “all members of political movements”.

Syria opposition talks off to a shaky start
Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall reports from the Syria opposition talks.

Syrian Opposition Meeting in Antalya: Day Two
Both were impressed by the constructive nature of the second day. George Washington was not born, they conceded, but hard decisions were made. The Muslim Brothers and Islamists were under intense pressure to accept the notion of a secular government where religion and state would be separate. They resisted this most of the day but ultimately conceded at the eleventh hour. We do not have the statement or wording on this “secular” statement. But the MB accepted to not contest the separation of state and religion in the conference statement. I will publish as soon as I can get the wording of the conference statement.

“Dissipating concerns …”
were suspicious at first that some of the opposition exiles would advocate negotiations with Assad, something protesters long ago rejected. But after delegates jumped on chairs and chanted, “The people want to topple the regime!” during the welcoming reception, those concerns apparently dissipated (in Syria or in the conference room?). Many secular activists expressed concerns at the strong showing of the Muslim Brotherhood, even though Brotherhood leaders said they would not seek a prominent role on the committee. Some Kurdish groups boycotted, and a scuffle in the hallway between an Arab and a Kurdish delegate highlighted the tensions that could erupt among Syria’s diverse religious and ethnic constituencies if the minority Allawite-led government falls. Some delegates pointed fingers and whispered that others were beholden to the government, or perhaps affiliated with the loathed former vice president Abdul Halim Khaddam, who fell out with Assad in 2005 but was not invited to attend…

Syrian opposition conference in Turkey
 ”I hope you are well. So, being Syrian and all, I was following the supposed opposition meeting in Turkey and from the get-go I find it fishy (I don’t know, maybe it’s the typical paranoia we all have). For one thing, I don’t trust the MB, nor any ’activist’ who resides in the US (perhaps, I’m just closed-minded).  Anyways, here are some interesting things i found. here is the Wall Street Journal account of the events: Within this piece, our ‘friend’, Ammar Abdulhamid, is of course quoted: “The platform for us is agreed upon: to bring down the regime,” said Ammar Abdulhamid, a Washington-based activist. “Every single person here is in consensus on this,” he said, sitting in the corner of a hotel lobby where men huddled, women planned a fast in solidarity with their relatives in Syria, and children ran around wearing “Free Syria” caps and pins. Chiefs of Syria’s large Bedouin tribes roamed in traditional robes. “We know it’s a logistical nightmare,” Mr. Abdulhamid said. “But there seems to be a consensus.”  here is the Washington Post account: In it, there is this quote: “Nor do the delegates want the committee to assume leadership of the revolt on behalf of those protesting inside Syria. “This uprising is leaderless. No one can speak on behalf of the revolution,” said Radwan Ziadeh, one of the organizers and director of the Washington-based Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies.”The Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies has an advisory board, which is weirdly composed of a lot of white folks (Joshua Landis, whom I have issues with), and Patrick Seale….andAmmar Abdulhammid.  Perhaps I’m being too picky or reading into things, but there are so many dirty forces at work here and we (the Syrian public) don’t really have any true representative for the people (other than of course, the people demonstrating).  I hope to hear your thoughts.”

Syrian Communist Party (Unified), “Message to Communists of the World”
The Syrian Communist Party (Unified) issued a statement — which has won wide support among national forces — demanding the convening of a national conference of all political parties, including the national opposition inside Syria, representatives of trade unions and professional associations, intellectual, cultural, economic, and religious leaders, for dialogue and reconciliation. The task of the national conference is to reach consensus on a national program to put the country on the path to a comprehensive political, economic, and social reform which would help create a new democratic Syria under the rule of law, a state that guarantees public liberties for all citizens and for all components of civil society such as political parties, trade unions, and civic associations, a state that recognizes political pluralism and the freedoms of assembly and expression. . . . Our party has said that the Syrians have been aware of the shortcomings of their own internal affairs. They can also distinguish those who are demanding political reforms and social and economic development in order to strengthen the home front from those who are trying to exploit the situation to stir up strife that only serves the enemies of Syria. It has become quite clear that imperialist interventions in the internal affairs of Syria under the pretext of “democracy,” led by the governments of France and the United States, together with the British and German governments, are behind the mass media campaign against Syria, the campaign employing a number of Syrian dissidents in exile who have associated themselves with the US-Israeli project in the region. Our people take the threats to our country seriously and stand together in confronting them. The foreign plots thus will not succeed in changing the national policy of our country: Syria’s opposition to the US-Israeli project; Syria’s struggle to liberate the Golan Heights; Syria’s support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate their land, to build an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, as well as for the struggles to liberate Iraq from the US occupation and South Lebanon from the Israeli occupation.

Kurdistan Commentary, “Syrian Kurdish Parties Boycott Syrian Opposition Conference in Antalya, Turkey”
In an article published in Asharq al-Awsat, a group comprised of 12 Kurdish political parties in Syria (National Movement of Kurdish Parties in Syria) announced that they intend to boycott the opposition summit. The group stated that ‘any such meeting held in Turkey can only be a detriment to the Kurds in Syria, because Turkey is against the aspirations of the Kurds, not just with regards to northern Kurdistan, but in all four parts of Kurdistan, including the Kurdish region of Syria.’ . . . Kurdish Leftist Party representative Saleh Kado stressed that ‘we, the Kurds in Syria, do not trust Turkey or its policies, and that is why we have decided to boycott the summit.’ Kado also said part of the reason for the boycott was the attendance of the Muslim Brotherhood. But other reasons have also surfaced. Two weeks ago the National Movement of Kurdish Parties in Syria announced its own plan to resolve the current crisis in Syria. The Kurdish initiative, which outlined a comprehensive plan for democratic change and fundamental reform at all levels, was largely ignored by non-Kurdish groups. Abdul Baqi Youssef, a leading member of the Kurdish Yekîtî Party in Syria, told AKNews that they do not know who supports this conference or what its goals are. Nor, he said, did the conference organisers make any contact with the Kurdish Movement during the preparations for the conference. This feeling of lack of inclusion in the process and not receiving any support from other opposition groups in Syria on its own proposal could also be contributing factors in the decision not to attend the Antalya summit. Additionally, not all Kurdish parties were invited to attend the conference either. Only five of the parties were asked to attend. They are: the Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria [KDP-S], the Kurdish Leftist Party in Syria, the Kurdish Azadî Party, the Kurdish Future Movement, and the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party [PDPK-S].

Syrian intellectuals in exile in Francs slams BHL
So this guy tries to do the act that he performed in Libya.  The reaction by Syrian dissident intellectuals in France was swift.  They asked him to butt out and they pointed out his Zionist track record and said that the Syrian opposition movements needs no support from his ilk.

Syrians are tired of Assad’s ‘reforms’
A new bill promising fair elections is not going to wash with Syrians – they’ve had carrots dangled in front of them too long. It is ironic that while Syria’s much-heralded general elections bill has been released for public feedback on several official government websites including Tasharukia (an e-government portal), the justice ministry’s website, the interior ministry’s website and the local administration ministry’s website, many villages that are now under siege by Syrian security services have no internet or telephone access.

Syrian Amnesty
So the Syrian regime has been saying for years that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization that has links with the enemies of the Arabs.  But yesterday the regime offered an amnesty for the organization.  This is like the regime lifting the state of emergency when the regime faced a real emergency.  This only means that the lousy Syrian regime would do anything to stay in power.  Are you aware that if you watch Syrian regime media you would not find one trace of the Arab nationalist ideology of the Ba`th Party? It is all Syrian nationalism along the lines of the vulgar and crude manifestations of Lebanonese Phoenician nationalism.  How pathetic.  I also read that Bashshar Al-Asad met with the family of Hamzah Khatib (tortured and killed by security services).   How could Bashshar not say one public word about the case?  The developments in Syria prove that when push comes to shove (here, I just used an American cliche), Bashshar can be as ruthless and brutal as his dictator daddy.

Regime suicide in Syria?,Issandr El Amrani
I really liked the column below, by Peter Harling in Le Monde, on Syria. It explains the uprising in Syria in two parts: first, a regime that once came from the provinces having, in its second and third generations, abandoned them and re-centered its economic policy on Damascus to the detriment of the provinces; and second, the return of a security elite that had previously been marginalized by Bashar al-Assad but that he is now relying on to repress the protesters. The conclusion: that Bashar probably does not have the clout or vision to dismantle that security core of the regime, and that the regime is headed for “collective suicide.”

Refugee camp attacked in Tunisia
Thousands of people who fled the fighting in Libya have spent weeks living in tents in neighbouring Tunisia – unable to return to their homes. But after local residents attacked, burned, and looted the Chucha refugee camp in southern Tunisia, many are once again struggling to find another safe haven.   James Bays reports from the Chucha camp.

In a changed Tunisia, dismay over an unchanged media
Many Tunisians who supported the revolution are dismayed by the continued presence of print and TV reporters who never challenged the status quo under former President Ben Ali.

Dozens killed in overnight clashes in Sanaa
At least 41 people were killed as street battles continue to rage in the Yemeni capital.

No sign of ceasefire in Yemen
Chaotic clashes in Sanaa and Taiz have been ongoing for days. Dozens have been killed, and scores more injured. Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reports from Yemen.

Yemen slides into civil war
President Ali Abdullah Saleh has retained control of Yemen for 32 years by managing the country’s numerous unrelated conflicts. Now, they are flaring up again – and appear to be beyond his control.

‘Fifty dead’ in Yemen’s Taiz city
More than 50 people have been killed in demonstrations in the southern Yemeni city of Taiz since Sunday, the UN human rights office says.

Fighting raises Yemen civil war fears
Truce collapses as forces loyal to the embattled president and opposition tribesmen clash in the capital, Sanaa.

Tribesmen seize government buildings in Sanaa
Street battles rage in the Yemeni capital while conditions in Taiz and Zinjibar remain tense.

Yemen’s Saleh cedes Al Qaeda hotbed to militants. Why?
President Saleh, increasingly embattled as civil unrest spreads and tribal leaders intensify their fight, says that Al Qaeda seized the capital of Abyan province. But residents saw no evidence of a fight.

Saleh: Suppressing opponents from within
In Yemen, president’s regime has long used torture as part of its “security apparatus”.

The Lede: Doctor’s Video Blog Offers a Window on Yemen’s Revolution
Speaking in English, and occasionally wearing a Harvard baseball cap, a Yemeni doctor offers a guided tour to the revolution there on his video blog.

Yemen in Flames
The political situation in Yemen continued to deteriorate on Tuesday. Since Sunday, 50 protesters have been killed by troops and security forces in the country’s second-largest city, Taizz. The government insisted on forcibly removing the protesters from their own version of Tahrir Square, which accounts for some of the casualties of the past two days, which include according to some reports hundreds of wounded.

Yemen: a map ruled by conflict
The movement to oust Ali Abdullah Saleh may not be able to save Yemen from its long-exploited divisions. Since the beginning of Yemen’s popular uprising in February, President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been putting into practice his skilful art of “dancing on the heads of snakes”.

Yemen 101: Who’s who in the escalating conflict
As Yemen’s crisis escalates, President Ali Abdullah Saleh is battling opponents on multiple fronts who have diverse backgrounds and agendas. Here’s a rundown of the players you need to know in order to understand the unrest in Yemen.

Other News/Analysis/Op-ed
National security adviser worked for Israeli firm accused of Iran dealings
Yaakov Amidror, newly appointed head of National Security Council, worked with many Ofer-controlled companies; the Ofer brothers are uspected of illegal trade with Iran through subsidiaries registered abroad.

Iran Nuclear Scare Timeline Update XXXVII:Meir Javedanfar’s Continued Fear-Mongering and Shoddy Journalism
Writing this past weekend in The Guardian, perennial Iran alarmist and Israel defender Meir Javedanfar addresses the latest IAEA Safeguards Report on the Iranian nuclear program. He leads off with this hysterical attention-grabber…

The Young Conservative’s Hip Hop Guide to Muslims (Satire)
The Young Conservative’s Hip Hop Guide to Muslims is social commentary through satire on the gross, yet common misconceptions perpetuated about Muslim people. Cutaways to competing facts are provided to help fight ignorance and intolerance.

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