Residents of an Arab village in Israel demanded entry into Guinness World Records for breaking a record in the number of demolitions carried out by Israeli authorities. The Bedouin village of al-Araqeeb, whose population is estimated at 500, is located in the Negev in southern Israel and has had its houses demolished 38 times upon instructions from the Israel Land Administration. “Our village has become a living example of the flagrant violations committed by the Israeli authorities against its Arab population,” Awad Abu Farih, head of the Committee for the Defense of al-Araqeeb told the Anatolian Agency. The demolitions are done under the pretext that residents do not have building permits in the village, he added.
Over the years, OCHA has produced reports on the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). These have been based on thematic concerns – movement and access restrictions, forced displacement, the Barrier – or geographically-specific issues – Gaza, Area C, East Jerusalem. Fragmented Lives: Humanitarian Overview2011 represents a new approach to the humanitarian situation in the oPt, in that it brings together the key concerns oPt-wide in one document. These reflect the advocacy priorities identified by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), the main humanitarian coordinating body for UN agencies and NGO partners in the oPt.
On Tuesday, 12 June 2012, Israel’s Civil Administration distributed demolition orders to over 50 temporary structures in the Palestinian village of Susiya in the South Hebron Hills. The orders stated that they were renewals of demolition orders originally issued in the 1990s. Residents were given three days, until 15 June 2012, to appeal the orders through the Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council. Residents are planning to submit their opposition today (14 June 2012).
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has confiscated five thousand square meters (five dunums) of Palestinian land in Khader village, south of Bethlehem.
Israel destroys Palestinian commercial stores in Beit Hanina
The Israeli occupation authority on Tuesday demolished a Palestinian building of six commercial stores in Beit Hanina town east of occupied Jerusalem at the pretext of unlicensed construction.
The “civil administration” ordered the demolition of 52 Palestinian buildings and tents at Susia village southern Al-Khalil, including homes, a medical clinic, a child nursery, and a power plant.
Israeli machine gun fire burns down farmland in Khan Yonis
A devastating fire broke out this afternoon in a large tract of agricultural land east of Khan Younis after it came under heavy machine gun fire from Israeli military posts and infiltrating troops.
IOA starts new diggings near the Aqsa
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) started new excavations in the south western area of the Buraq plaza, which is adjacent to the Aqsa mosque, AFEH said on Thursday.
Palestinian from Area C describes life in constant need of rebuilding
I am Nasser Nawaj’ah. I am 30 years old. My mother gave birth to me in a cave in Susya El-Kadis. You know of Susya as a Jewish settlement in the South Hebron Hills, but Susya is first of all a Palestinian village that existed before the establishment of the State of Israel. I was named after my grandfather, who was still alive at the time. In 1948, he was displaced from his village near Arad, now in southern Israel. When they were expelled, my father was just a little boy and my grandfather carried him in his arms until they reached their family in Susya El Kadis. They hoped one day to return to their village, but my grandfather died without ever seeing it again.
The Struggle of South Hebron Hills Village to Keep Living on its Land
AT-TUWANI, SOUTH HEBRON HILLS, June 14, 2012 (WAFA) – On the only road that connects the area of Massafer Yatta with the city of Yatta and the rest of the West Bank, a tractor was carrying building material towards the village of At-Tuwani. It was June 8 and at 8 p.m. two jeeps from the Israeli army were waiting for it. The tractor driver was stopped and forced to go back. After a while the soldiers stopped another tractor and order the driver to turn back, but this time the driver refused. The soldiers then surrounded him and forced him to wait for the police. After hearing this news, around 30 Palestinians coming from the villages of At-Tuwani, Al Mufaqarah and Ar Rakeez reached that place but were not able to approach the tractor; suddenly, a group of about 15 women crossed the checkpoint and started walking towards the tractor, ignoring the orders of the soldiers.
Help 3 families from al-Aqaba return to their village, Allison Deger
Over the last 30 years, many Palestinian residents of al-Aqaba in the West Bank were kicked out of their homes when Israeli authorities turned their village lands in the Jordan Valley into a live-fire training zone. Only 300 Palestinians are left in their original houses, but 95% have demolition orders against them. Still, villagers who lost their homes decades ago are determined to re-build and return.
A Palestinian worker died and another was wounded inside a tunnel on the Gaza borders with Egypt after barrels filled with gravel fell on them on Wednesday night.
World Health Organization: Five Years of Blockade: A Political Determinant of Health in Gaza
The Palestinian health care system is an integrated whole, covering West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, supplies drugs and disposables for Gaza and pays salaries of most of the staff. The East Jerusalem hospitals are the main specialized centers for patients from West Bank and Gaza. Health staff need to travel between West Bank and Gaza for training and to provide care. The health system cannot function effectively when Gaza is subject to a blockade and cut off from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
MP: Gaza blockade ‘collective punishment’
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has left over a million Palestinians dependent on aid, is a form of collective punishment, MP Jamal al-Khudari said Thursday. Israel’s blockade — which affects Gaza’s land borders, sea and airspace — entered its sixth year on Thursday and continues to “choke” the 1.7 million residents of the enclave. Al-Khudari, who heads the popular committee against the siege, said over a million residents of Gaza were dependent on aid from regional and international organizations.
Gaza water ‘dangerous to drink’
Gaza’s only fresh source of water is too contaminated to drink, says a report by two charities – urging Israel to end its blockade of the territory.
Power cuts leave Gaza Strip farmers in crisis
Gaza Farmers in the Gaza Strip are still struggling with power cuts from a fuel-supply crisis that started several months ago. Dozens of farms have reported poultry deaths in the thousands as heating systems and veterinary medicines fail and refrigeration is cut off. Potato farmers say they have dumped thousands of tonnes of produce since the energy crisis began, leaving residents with electricity for only six to eight hours a day. Farmer Ahmad Abd Al Hakim said: “The electricity crisis damaged my business very badly and might lead me to bankruptcy.
Gaza’s Children: Falling Behind
Gaza’s only fresh water source is now too dangerous to drink and is contaminated with fertiliser and human waste, according to a shocking new report from Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). On the fifth anniversary of the blockade, Gaza’s Children: Falling Behind, reveals desperate families are being forced to buy from private sources, not knowing that in most cases this water too is contaminated, often at ten times the safe level. With 1.7 million people – including more than 800,000 children – crammed into just 365 square kilometers – an area roughly equivalent to the size of the Isle of Wight – Save the Children is concerned about the increasing threat of disease. “Innocent children are living in inhumane conditions after five years under a blockade. They are now forced to drink dirty and dangerous water that will make them weak and sick. Diarrhoea which is easily treated here in the UK can be a killer in these conditions.” said Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children
Haneyya calls for trying Israeli officials for Mavi Marmara massacre
Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya called on the international community to bring Israel war criminals to justice following the new Israeli report on the deadly attack on Mavi Marmara ship.
Drones are Israel’s latest and most advanced killing machines used to terrorize the people of Gaza. Israel’s drone expertise goes back to at least the 70’s, according to the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) page of the Israeli Air Force. Israelis were the first to make widespread use of drones in Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, when the aircraft were used to monitor troop movements. Today drones patrolling Gaza have become some sort of a norm for the coastal strips 1, 7 million inhabitants. They are permanently hovering over and patrolling the skies of Gaza both day and night. The sound of drones can be heard even though they fly hundreds of kilometres above ground level. They make a loud “Zzzzz” type of noise.
Israeli Planes Bomb Area East of Khan Younis
KHAN YOUNIS, June 14, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli warplanes Thursday bombarded an area east of the village of Khuzaa’, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, with no injuries reported, according to local sources. They said Israeli planes targeted an agricultural land in the area.
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired live bullets at demonstrators in Nabi Saleh village, Ramallah province, for breaking chains that closed their village’s main entrance on Tuesday night.
On Thursday, June 14, 2012 around midday, Israeli soldiers, police, and settlers launched an attack on local fruit vendors along the Route 60 highway just outside of Beit Ommar. Local farmers use this road, which is the main highway between Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron, to sell their produce during harvest months, as the main produce market in Beit Ommar has been closed by the military since 2007. Several demolition trucks, accompanied by police and army vehicles, drove along the road, systematically confiscating the fruit of Palestinian farmers and destroying their stalls. No justification or reason was given by the soldiers for these attacks, which have occurred annually since local farmers were forced to move to the road to sell their fruit.
A group of 20 Palestinian, Israeli and foreign women wearing traditional Palestinian clothes managed to enter the H2 Area of Hebron on Wednesday to protest against the closure of Shuhada street. Settlers insulted and assaulted the women while Israeli forces violently dispersed the protest, shoving the women and detaining 6. The Israeli forces also prevented journalist from documenting the events and, after the protest, patrolled the Palestinian part of Hebron’s Old City. The H2 area of Hebron is inhabited by some of the most radical Isareli settlers. Shuhada Street, once one of Hebron’s main artery, has been closed to Palestinians since the killing by an Israeli settler of 29 Palestinians praying in the Ibrahimi mosque in 1994.
IOF soldiers arrest 12 Palestinians including 90-year-old man
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 12 Palestinians in various West Bank areas at dawn Thursday including a 90-year-old man and minors, local sources said.
For The Third Time, Son Of Arab MK Imprisoned For Refusing Military Service
An Israeli military court ordered the imprisonment of Amro Naffa’, 18, the son of Arab Member of Knesset, Sa’id Naffa’, for two more weeks for refusing military service in the Israeli army; the decision was made a few days after Naffa’ was released following two-week imprisonment for refusing to go for compulsory military service.
Israeli military campaign in Al-Kalil
The IOF arrested a Palestinian child in Dora. They have also threatened the people of the town and the surrounding villages through leaflets to launch a broad military campaign.
The IOF escalates arrest campaigns against citizens and MPs in WB and Jerusalem
The IOF launched, on Wednesday, raid and search campaign in different districts of the occupied West Bank resulting in the arrest of 7 people.
Hunger Strikes / Other Prisoner News
20 Palestinian detained children started a hunger strike in Hasharon prison
Twenty Palestinian children, detained in Hasharon prison, launched on Tuesday, an open hunger strike protesting the harsh prison conditions and the prison administration’s neglect of their demands.
Hunger strike takes toll on Gaza footballer’s dream
In 2009, Mahmud Sarsak set out from Gaza to sign on with a West Bank football team, but what he thought was the start of a dream career quickly spiralled into a nightmare.
Jerusalemite prisoner transferred to hospital
The administration of the Israeli Ramle prison hospital transferred Jerusalemite prisoner Amer Bahar to Assaf Harofeh hospital in Tel Aviv after his health condition worsened.
Court extends detention of Al-Kaimery, al-Kawasmi and Basboos a third time
The detention of three local boys has been extended once again by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court today. Muhannad al-Kawasmi (18), Ahmad Basboos (20) and Alaa’ al-Kaimery (20) will be held in Maskubya Prison in West Jerusalem until their next court appearance. The boys’ lawyer, Muhammad Ramzi Mahmood, states that the judge ordered a ban on publication of the boys’ charges, which remains undisclosed to them and their families. Al-Kaimery, al-Kawasmi and Basboos were taken by Israeli forces during a dawn raid on their family homes two weeks ago. The boys’ parents have been permitted only once visit to them since their arrest. Al-Kawasmi suffers from medical problems after losing his eye in clashes that took place in Silwan in 2010.
The occupation authorities end Abu Sisi’s solitary confinement on a condition
Tawfiq Abu Naeem revealed that today June 13 the Israeli occupation authorities ended the solitary confinement of the prisoner Dirar Abu Sisi, and transferred him to Hadarim prison.
Aruri:The only way to release remaining prisoners is to capture Israeli soldiers
Sheikh Saleh Aruri, member the Hamas Political Bureau and official in charge of the prisoners’ file, said that there is lack of action towards the cause of the 27 MPs detained by occupation.
Israel court acquits Palestinian teens of East Jerusalem firebomb attack
Five East Jerusalem teenagers were acquitted on Wednesday of throwing rocks and firebombs – but only after having spent a year and a quarter in jail or under house arrest.
Israel Releases Lawmaker
RAMALLAH, June 14, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities Thursday released lawmaker Ayman Daraghma, from the Jordan Valley town of Toubas, who was held in administrative detention for six months, according to prison advocacy groups. They said Daraghma, who is a member of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc, was detained in Israeli jails along with 26 other lawmakers. It said that 23 lawmakers are held in administrative detention, all of whom are members of the Change and Reform bloc, while two others are serving prison sentences, including Fatah strongman Marwan Barghouti and the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmad Saadat. Another Fatah lawmaker, Jamal Tirawi, has so far had 80 court sessions but not yet convicted of anything.
The Palestine Football Association has asked UEFA to bar Israel from hosting the 2013 European Under-21 Championship over its detention without trial of Palestinian players.
Israel’s Dublin embassy planned to smear Palestine activists as sexual deviants and Mossad agents, Ali Abunimah
Israel’s Dublin embassy proposed a plan to combat Palestine solidarity activists by smearing them as suffering from psychological and sexual problems and implying they work for Mossad.
Last week the Israeli prime minister, with the help of Washington, made one of the strongest cases for the need for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in the wake of an Israeli court decision regarding an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. By demonstrating that twenty years of ‘peace process’ policies have yielded an Israeli government drunk on settlements, Netanyahu’s statement and the United States’ reaction should convince any remaining doubters that BDS is an urgently necessary alternative.
Finkelstein’s critique misreads the special relationship, and misunderstands political mobilization, Max Ajl
Norman Finkelstein’s criticisms of those working on campaigns to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel continue. The latest was a video appearance in which Finkelstein strongly criticized the “agnosticism” of the movement on the question of Israel, and suggested that it would be criminal to miss this “historic” opportunity to secure some amount of justice for the Palestinians. I agree neither with the substance of Finkelstein’s comments about the “resolution” of the Israel-Palestine conflict nor with the impolitic and gratuitously abrasive way he has chosen to present them.
South Africa: What’s in a Label?, Neve Gordon – Be’er-Sheva, Israel
South Africa’s recent demand that products originating in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights remove the label “Made in Israel” is extremely significant – much more so than the European Union’s decision to deny these products preferential status and subject them to customs duty. Indeed, in 2001, the European Commission decided to implement the rules of origin clause in its Association Agreement with Israel, noting that “places brought under Israeli administration since 1967… are not entitled to benefit from the preferential treatment under the Agreements”. The EU decision aimed to correct an alleged case of massive fraud involving the regulations on rules of origin, which appear in the trade agreement. Consequently, only goods produced inside the internationally recognized borders of Israel would be eligible for a reduced tariff rate, while those produced outside would pay customs’ duty as required by law.
Senior officials from new African country in Israel to oversee deportation of illegal aliens; say images of handcuffed migrants reached the capital Juba.
“Initiative in Upper Nazareth: $10,000 to every Arab family that leaves”, Ben White
The chair of Yisrael Beiteinu in Upper Nazareth has called for a campaign to pay Palestinian citizens to leave the city.
MK Michaeli: Most gays were sexually abused
Rightist lawmaker slams Channel 10 programs that show ‘how nice it is to be gay’; claims most homosexuals are ‘miserable, eventually kill themselves’.
Survey says anti-Semitism in Norway is limited and comparable to that of Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
Netanyahu orders the building of a wall along the borders with Jordan
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has issued orders for the construction of a wall along the borders with Jordan, the Hebrew radio said.
Ya’alon to PA: I Won’t Forgo a Millimeter
Zionist entity VP noted Wednesday that as long as the Palestinians refuse to recognize the so-called “Israel” as the nation-state of the Jewish people, he will oppose all territorial concessions and the PA establishment.
U.S. billionaire voices support of Netanyahu, following year of cool ties
In full-page Wall Street Journal ad, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder cites premier’s ‘historic’ Bar-Ilan speech, urges Abbas to resume talks.
What was Sheldon Adelson’s one question to Romney before giving him $10 million?, Philip Weiss
From the Wall Street Journal’s political blog. Sheldon Adelson is giving Mitt Romney’s super PAC $10 million. Emphasis mine: On a trip to Las Vegas late last month, Mr. Romney and Mr. Adelson had a private meeting…. People close to Mr. Adelson said that he wants to be certain about Mr. Romney’s positions on key issues, including support for Israel against aggressors in the Middle East. Mr. Adelson has publicly criticized President Barack Obama’s support of Israel as too weak.
It has been two months since the latest serious allegations of a conflict of interest at The New York Times Jerusalem Bureau, but no one at the newspaper has yet addressed them.
Jewish Agency official Avi Mayer blames Israel’s social media ineptness on “lying” Palestinians, Ali Abunimah
Proposal to ban student activities incompatible with Israel’s Jewish character
Hebrew media sources have revealed moves in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) to enact a law which will ban student activities and events which are “incompatible with the Jewish character of Israel” in universities and educational institutions within the country. A radio report on Tuesday said that about 30 Knesset members representing various parliamentary blocs have submitted the proposed draft bill.
Visualizing Occupation: Who profits, and who pays?
American tax dollars go a long way in sustaining West Bank settlements, the Israeli army and corporations profiting from the occupation. This illustration is the fifth in a series of infographics on the effect of the occupation on the Palestinian civilian population.
The movers and shakers in New York and New Jersey have shut down hopes that top officials would hold the New York Police Department (NYPD) accountable for civil rights violations of Muslims, who have been uniquely targeted by a police surveillance program ongoing since 2002. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has insisted that the NYPD has done nothing wrong, and a recent probe of the program by the New Jersey attorney general agreed with Bloomberg.
Bahrain convicts medics for role in uprising
Appeals court sentences nine doctors and acquitted nine others, in a controversial case.
PHR Denounces Sentencing of Bahraini Medics
PHR denounces the guilty verdicts and sentences issued in a Bahraini court today against 11 medical professionals. PHR calls on the government of Bahrain to set aside the verdicts and not carry out the sentences. Eighteen of the accused medical professionals have alleged that Bahraini security forces tortured them while in detention. In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) revealed systematic torture, excessive use of force, and many of the other serious human rights violations that PHR reported earlier in the year. “Given that the BICI report found evidence of torture and the prosecutor openly acknowledged the allegations of torture, it is a travesty of justice that the trials continued and that the medics are now sentenced to jail time,” said Executive Director, Donna McKay.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today called for the Bahraini court to expunge all politically motivated charges against 20 Bahraini medical professionals convicted of occupying a hospital and overthrowing the regime. On Thursday, the medics will be sentenced in the High Court of Appeals.
Bahrain: Verdict approaching in case of 20 medics13 June 2012
The appeal verdict in the case of 20 health professionals on trial in Bahrain is scheduled to be announced on 14 June 2012. The 20 are among 48 health professionals from the Salmaniya Medical Complex who were arrested in March and April 2011, and charged with offences ranging from the “illegal possession of firearms for a terrorist purpose”, “attempting to occupy a public hospital using force” and to “attempting to topple the system of government by force” for which they were sentenced to prison terms of between five and 15 years on 29 September 2011 by a military court.
Bahrain king warns opposition over insults to army
(Reuters) – Bahrain’s King Hamad said on Wednesday he would not allow any more “insults” of the armed forces in the Gulf state in an apparent warning to leading Shi’ite opposition party Wefaq after criticisms it leveled earlier this week.
Ali Hasan: The 11-year-old feeling the wrath of Bahrain’s regime
Boy faces trial in ‘crackdown on children’. His crime? Playing in the street with friends
Meeting between Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Israel “out of the question”
A senior member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has denied reports that preparations are being made in Washington for a meeting between the organisation and Israeli members of parliament. Ibrahim Munir said that there is a “red line” on such matters and a meeting is “out of the question”. “It is not true at all,” said Mr. Munir. “Even if Dr. Morsi wins the presidency, the Brotherhood will continue to be far away from such meetings, especially with Israel.” The Muslim Brotherhood, he added, is an Islamic body unrelated to any international agreements. “Moreover, Palestine is not negotiable.” Munir made his comments following claims in the US capital about American patronage of meetings between Knesset members and the Brotherhood intended to open up new channels of communication.
Egypt High Court Dissolves Parliament, Says Election Was Unconstitutional
(CAIRO) — Egypt’s highest court has ordered the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament dissolved, saying its election about six months ago was unconstitutional. The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that a third of the legislature was elected illegally. As a result, it says in its explanation of the ruling, “the makeup of the entire chamber is illegal and, consequently, it does not legally stand.” The explanation was carried by Egypt’s official news agency and confirmed to The Associated Press by one of the court’s judges, Maher Sami Youssef. The ruling means that new elections for the entire parliament will have to be held.
Egypt authorizes military to arrest civilians
Egypt’s Justice Ministry has given powers to arrest civilians to military police and intelligence agents, sparking charges that the country’s military rulers are recreating repressive emergency laws that expired this month.
VIDEO: Egypt prepares for final vote
The final round of voting in Egypt’s historic presidential election is just days away and voters are facing a stark choice at the ballot box.
Islamic Jihad announces support for Shafiq in runoff
A number of Islamic Jihad leaders announced Tuesday that they will support Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, in the presidential runoff against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy. They also announced that the movement will launch a political party called Democratic Jihad. Sabra Ibrahim, deputy founder of the party, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the leaders announced their support for Shafiq out of fear that the state would be transformed from a civil state to a theocracy headed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide if Morsy wins. Yasser Saad, an Islamic Jihad leader, said that the civil state represented by Shafiq is the opposite of the theocratic state the Brotherhood desires.
Paranoia and heart irregularities plague Mubarak, medical team reports
The health of deposed President Hosni Mubarak is unstable and his morale has deteriorated despite his two sons being moved to the same ward of Tora prison, Interior Ministry sources told London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in an article published Wednesday. Mubarak was sent to the prison after receiving a 25-year sentence on 2 June for complicity in the murder of protesters during the January 2011 uprising that forced him to step down. His sons, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, are awaiting trial on financial charges. Mubarak’s health has been the subject of much speculation and mixed reports. The same ministry sources denied rumors circulated online that he was in a coma.
Once Illegal, Health Rumors Now Have Mubarak Die Daily
Since Hosni Mubarak received a life sentence, a torrent of leaks has sprung suggesting that he may be nearing his end.
A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer has been sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Tehran revolutionary court, his daughter said Tuesday.
Iran and Saudi Arabia jockey for OPEC position
OPEC, the group that controls 40 percent of the world’s oil, is trying to decide on its next leader. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia want their candidates in the top position. The last time the Secretary General position came up the deadlock lasted 3 years. But that’s not all they’re arguing about at their meeting in Vienna. Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston has this report.
Across Iraq, a series of coordinated attacks shattered the relative peace seen in recent days. Conflicting figures are not unusual after so many significant bombings, but about 107 Iraqis were killed and 384 more were wounded.
A wave of apparently coordinated bombings and shootings rocked Iraq during a major Shiite religious commemoration on Wednesday, killing at least 72 people and wounding more than 250, many of them pilgrims.
Iraq reels from bombs targeting Shia pilgrims and police – video
Scenes of devastation after bomb blasts in Baghdad and cities in southern Iraq in which at least 57 people were killed.
Iraq pilgrimage security tight after bombs kill 72
Iraqi authorities banned motorcycles from Baghdad’s streets and dispatched tens of thousands of security forces to guard a Shiite pilgrimage Thursday after coordinated car bombings targeted processions across the country the day before, killing 72 people in one of the worst attacks since the U.S. troops withdrawal.
Amid Iraq violence, journalists struggle about government control
A series of coordinated car bombs in Iraq targeted Shiite pilgrims today, killing at least 72 people in violence that recalled the worst years of Iraq’s insurgency and sectarian civil war, which peaked in 2006-07.
Hashemi trial portrays dark side of Iraqi politics
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – With testimony of torture, betrayal and death, the trial of Iraq’s fugitive Sunni vice-president is reviving memories of sectarian killings with witnesses painting an ugly portrait of the underbelly of Iraqi politics. Vice-president Tareq Hashemi, a Sunni Muslim politician in the Iraqiya bloc, fled Baghdad in December days after U.S. troops left when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shi’ite-led government sought his arrest on charges he ran a death squad.
The Lebanese-Syrian border has witnessed violent clashes and a kidnapping incident fueling the unrest between the two countries.
Kidnapping an 11-year `Alawite child in Wadi Khalid, As’ad AbuKhalil
The Hariri March 14 gangs who kidnapped `Alawites at random the other day (after the Syrian regime kidnapped a man from the area) also kidnapped an 11 year old child. I saw him on TV: he looked so terrified. Human Rights Watch learned about the kidnapping and accused the Shabbihah of the regime of also kidnapping the `Alawite civilians.
Amnesty accuses Syria of crimes against humanity
Amnesty International on Thursday accused Syria of committing crimes against humanity to punish communities supporting rebels, as monitors reported a spate of car bombs and clashes which killed dozens more people.
Car bomb damages major Shiite shrine in Syria
A suicide bomber detonated his van packed with explosives in a Damascus suburb on Thursday, wounding 14 people and damaging one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, according to Syria’s state-run news agency and witnesses.
Syria violence kills 11, two car bombs reported: NGO
Nine civilians and two rebels were killed early Thursday in violence across Syria, while car bombs exploded in the northwest city of Idlib and the capital Damascus, monitors reported.
Syria army ‘takes mountain town’
The Syrian government says it has taken control of the western mountain town of Haffa, following days of fierce fighting with rebels who held it.
Syria says Al-Haffe ‘cleansed’ of terrorists
Syria’s northwest region of Al-Haffe has been “cleansed” of terrorists and “calm has been restored” in the area, the official SANA news agency quoted officials as saying on Wednesday.
Syria town’s residents grow accustomed to violence
Residents of Qusair, Syria, have adjusted to closed schools and half-empty store shelves. Shelling and sniper fire may break out at any time, but life goes on.
The Lede Blog: Human Rights Group Documents Violence From Inside Syria
A researcher from Amnesty International describes a pattern of violence in which Syria’s government uses overwhelming force to subdue restive areas of the country.
The Lede Blog: Video Shows Attack on U.N. Observers in Syria
Video, apparently recorded during an attack on United Nations military observers near the besieged Syrian town of Al Heffa on Tuesday, was obtained and posted online by opposition activists.
Clinton accuses of Russia of sending attack helicopters to Syria
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Russia is sending attack helicopters to Syria. A U.N. official says the conflict has become a civil war.
Russia accuses US of arming Syria rebels
Russian FM Sergei Lavrov’s accusation follows US charges that Moscow was sending “attack helicopters” to aid Damascus.
Exclusive: Arab states arm rebels as UN talks of Syrian civil war
Saudi Arabia and Qatar ‘supplying weapons’ to anti-Assad forces, while fears mount for civilians.
Influx of Heavy Arms Pushes Syria Toward Civil War
The fierce government assaults from the air are partly a response to improved tactics and weaponry among the opposition forces, which have recently received more powerful antitank missiles from Turkey, with the financial support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to members of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group in exile, and other activists. The United States, these activists said, was consulted about these weapons transfers. Officials in Washington said the United States did not take part in arms shipments to the rebels, though they recognized that Syria’s neighbors would do so, and that it was important to ensure that weapons did not end up in the hands of Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.
Hillary’s Little Startup: How the U.S. Is Using Technology to Aid Syria’s Rebels
Abu Ghassan looks more like a hipster than a revolutionary. Decked out in a pink shirt and black jeans, he clutches a pack of cigarettes and begins to talk hesitantly about his activities. He is eager to get back to the beleaguered city of Homs in Syria but quickly warms to questions about how he learned to fight Bashar Assad with an AK-47, a video camera and the Internet — and how Americans helped turn him into a cyberwarrior.
Syria: we’re not in civil war
Syria’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that a UN official’s comments that Syria is now in a civil war was an unrealistic description of the conflict. “Talk of civil war in Syria is not consistent with reality… What is happening in Syria is a war against armed groups that choose terrorism,” Syrian state news agency SANA quoted a Foreign Ministry statement as saying. Damascus was responding to comments by UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, who became the first UN official to declare Syria as in a state of civil war.
Is Syria in a Civil War? Journalist Patrick Seale Debates Activist Rafif Jouejati on a Just Response
Has a full-blown civil war broken out in Syria? Hervé Ladsous, the UN under-secretary general for peacekeeping operations, became the first senior UN official to make the assertion on Tuesday amid worsening violence across the country. The U.S. meanwhile is accusing Russia of arming the Syrian military while Saudi Arabia and Qatar are sending anti-tank missiles to the Syrian opposition through Turkey with the Obama administration’s backing. We host a debate between Syrian opposition activist Rafif Jouejati and longtime Middle East journalist Patrick Seale.
Other World News
Children in US Warzones
The UN just released its annual report on “Children and Armed Conflict.” A number of states, as well as non-state actors, are highlighted in this report as engaged in the serious abuse of children in the course of an armed conflict. And, a number of the perpetrators are being aided and abetted by U.S. military aid, and have been for years. Moreover, some of the conflicts resulting in the worst abuse of children were in fact unleashed by military interventions of the United States.
Military Suicide Epidemic: More U.S. Soldiers Have Killed Themselves Than Died on Battlefield in 2012
More U.S. soldiers have died this year by taking their own lives than on the battlefield. The Pentagon says there have been at least 154 suicides among active-duty troops in 2012, a rate of nearly one each day. We’re joined by three guests: Kevin Hines, who survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and now counsels suicidal soldiers; Bonnie Carroll, co-chair of the Pentagon’s Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide in the Armed Forces and president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; and journalist Aaron Glantz, author of the book “The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans.”
Poll finds Obama’s approval among Muslims reaches new lows
A Pew Research survey released on Wednesday showed that President Barack Obama’s popularity has reached record lows among Muslims.
Tunisia: 162 arrests after Islamists’ riots
Calm returned to Tunisia on Wednesday after days of riots by radical Islamists across the country left 62 members of the security forces injured and led to 162 arrests.