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You are in the 203rd Witness Revolution diary, bearing witness to pro-democracy movements in North Africa, the Middle East and beyond. We aim here to simply report, from as many reliable worldwide resources as possible, on the successes, challenges or failures of the brave people striving against oppression for representative democracy with civil and human rights. One small bit of assurance that they do not strive in obscurity. Please see the 200th edition where participants shared what this series means to them.



Thousands of Shiite Bahrainis rallied Friday in Sitra, estimated crowd at 50k


Protests continue and are spreading to more cities.

This one in Idlib, which is in Northwestern Syria.  “....the people want the toppling of the regime...death and not humiliation....oh the shame, o the humiliation..#Bashar is going to hell...'

And in Hama, the site of the 1984 massacre where it is estimated that 40k died….

..We are going to remove you (from power) with our strong resolve...#Syria wants #freedom..May God curse Duniya and #Syrian channels..Syria wants freedom..when we interviewed Tlas they said we are terrorists...Syria wants freedom..they called us salafis..Syria wants freedom....'.

The brave and free of #Homs #Syria chant in support of the martyrs: ''...whoever doesn't participate has no honor..God is the Greatest...the people want the toppling of the regime..' #Bashar #Baath #Freedom.

(ht JustJennifer 6/18) - Protest sign in Syria

Bashar Al-Asad's mobile showing a missed call from Ban Ki-moon

More news listed country by country below the fold...

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Eyes on Egypt and the Region produces a different series of diaries which provide background and analysis on the region in general and on individual countries. We hope those provide context for you as you read about current events. The published diaries in that series are:
Eyes on Egypt and the Region Background Resources

See the group stream for even more diaries.


We collect suggested readings for background reference materials in support of the Eyes on Egypt and the Region group. These may be non-fiction or fiction, general to the region or specific to a country or issue. If there are resources which you believe could aid our understanding of the events and processes we are witnessing, please either a) post a comment in the Liveblog with the title "Suggested reading:" and a brief description of the reading in the body of the comment, or b) send your suggestions via the dKos internal message to angry marmot.

Libyan Doctors for Hospitals in Libya is an impressive new aide organization launched by one of our own: StepLeftStepForward.



(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Where the Arab spring will end is anyone's guess

Tunisia's Jasmine revolution will always be remembered as the event that triggered the Arab spring, which has shattered the status quo from Libya to Syria and is widely seen as the biggest transformative event of the 21st century so far. But, six months on, progress has been patchy

(h/t Dibsa 6/17)-Analysis: Arab Spring still a work in progress

It is not over. That much is clear, six months after a desperate young Tunisian set fire to himself in a public square, provoking a wave of protest throughout the Middle East

(h/t Dibsa 6/17)-Letters: Perspectives on the Arab Spring

To date 1,109 people have been detained and 61 prisoners have "disappeared"; 867 are still detained of whom 77 have been convicted out of the 82 tried. These trials take place with no defence lawyers and confessions have been obtained under duress, with the prisoner not seeing what they're signing


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Tahar Belabes: Algerian youths need motivation

A young jobless man's suicide in Ouargla last week sparked a wave of protests and brought to the fore the persistent problem of unemployment in the southern Algerian town. Despite the abundance of natural resources, the city is unable to put educated youths to work. To address the paradox, Magharebia sat down with Tahar Belabes, a spokesman of the National Committee for the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC).


(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Special Report: In Bahrain, a symbol at the heart of revolt

MANAMA/ZURICH, Jun (Reuters)- Until a few months ago, the twin towers of the Bahrain Financial Harbour development -- clad in green glass and shaped like over-sized toy sea-horses -- were symbols of the island state's role as a regional financial hub

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Bahrain cleric raises fresh doubts about talks

MANAMA, Bahrain – Bahrain's top Shiite cleric denounced the Gulf kingdom's rulers for "damaging the country" and warned Friday that tension-easing dialogue cannot take place until authorities halt crackdowns used to crush protests demanding greater political rights

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Bahrain Shiites hold another mass rally

DUBAI (AFP) – Thousands of Shiite Bahrainis rallied Friday outside Manama in the second mass demonstration organised by Al-Wefaq opposition group since a mid-March crackdown on pro-democracy protests

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Bahrain hunger striker sees husband for first time in two months

The young Bahraini woman who became a prominent voice of the Arab uprisings after going on hunger strike to protest at the detention of relatives has described in a series of heart-rending tweets her first meeting with her husband in more than two months

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - AFL-CIO Supports U.S. Decision to Review Trade Agreement with Bahrain

Washington, DC (June 16, 2011)—Today the AFL-CIO applauded the U.S. Department of Labor's decision to accept our complaint regarding the government of Bahrain's failure to live up to its trade agreement commitments with respect to workers' rights


(h/t Dibsa 6/17 ) - Burkina Faso Government Plans to Dismiss National Electoral Commission

Burkina Faso’s government will dismiss the country’s electoral commission following the June 8 resignation from the panel by representatives from opposition parties, said Jerome Bougouma, minister of territorial administration and security


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-I.Coast struggles to unite rival military camps

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara faces the daunting task of uniting the country's security forces two months after taking power following a bloody conflict sparked by disputed polls last year.

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Ivory Coast deadline for ICC testimony

Victims of post-poll violence in Ivory Coast have been given 30 days to submit testimony to the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court..

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Ivory Coast: Fear persists even after violence subsides

The situation in Ivory Coast remains volatile in the west following the post-election conflict that wracked the country for several months, intensifying existing inter-communal tensions and land rivalries..


(h/t UnaSpenser 4/14 ) -

JIBOUTI: WHY NO ONE CARESsection of article which covers pro-democracy movements throughout Africa

Whilst the world was watching Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt and Libya, Djibouti had an election on 8 April. With no opposition, a state-controlled media and no civil society movement, it was easy enough for President Omar Guelleh to change the constitution allowing him to run for a third term - thereby continuing 35 year rule by the same family. But this little dictatorship is strategically central to the US Africa Command (2,000 US troops are based here) and the NATO countries. Unlike in Libya, Djibouti's 1 million population can expect no support from the West in their small attempts to have a voice.


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Revolutionary dreams on a peasant’s budget

Six a.m. Ahmed Abdul Hadi wakes up and rushes through breakfast. If he misses sunrise his already meagre earnings will suffer

Within minutes 70-year-old A’am Abdul Hadi, as the peasants know him in Kafr Baheeda village in Meet Ghamr, Daqahleyya, is knee-deep in water. With members of his extended family, he will be bent over planting rice all day. They have to do everything right -- there's no room for trial and error.

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Egypt's Bedouins begin to demand equal citizenship rights

Moussa Al Dalah, a 35-year-old tribal leader from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, knew it would be a risky step to try to take his employer to court over alleged discrimination: he could easily end up in prison.

"I had to tell the employer that the Bedouins won't be able to accept humiliation forever," Al Dalah told IRIN. "He used to give factory workers from other parts of Egypt higher salaries and better treatment."

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Election battle lines

Demands led by liberal and secular forces to draft a new constitution ahead of parliamentary elections are intensifying, with some threatening a million-man "Constitution First Friday", Gamal Essam El-Din reports

(h/t jnhobbs 6/17)-EGYPT: TV 25 chronicles post-revolution, bucks censorship, strives for balance

Egypt is seeing a post-revolution media renaissance, including in print and on television stations. The growth of coverage has posed a challenge to the transitional military government, which activists and some media have accused of slipping back into the censorship of the previous regime.

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Spain freezes assets of Mubarak associate

MADRID (AFP) – Spanish police said Friday they have frozen more than 30 million euros in bank accounts and properties valued at 10 million after arresting a close associate of ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on fraud charges

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Inspired by the Revolution

When Ihab Fouly, 45, learned of the popular uprising in Tahrir Square on 25 January from his home in Kuwait, he made an admittedly bold decision. He booked one-way tickets on the next available flight to Cairo for himself, his wife, and two kids. He left what he considers “a perfect life” to be part of the revolution in the country of his birth


(h/t Dibsa 6/15) - Iranian men banned from wearing necklaces

Iranian men have been banned from wearing necklaces as Islamic regime tightens rules on "un-Islamic" clothes and accessories


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Bloodied, beaten but ready to speak out

Freedom-of-speech protesters in Kurdistan are daily risking their lives, write Tracey Shelton and Harem Bahaddin in Sulaymanieh.


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Israel: Facebook protest targets price of cheese

In a region rife with Facebook-fueled uprisings, Israelis have launched a modest revolt of their own — against the price of cottage cheese.


(h/t dibsa 6/16) - Jordanians condemn 'troubling' attack on AFP

AMMAN (AFP) – Dozens of journalists, trade unionists and politicians demonstrated on Thursday outside AFP's Amman bureau in support of the news agency after a gang broke into its office and destroyed equipment

(h/t dibsa 6/15) - Attackers raid AFP office in Jordan capital

AMMAN (AFP) – Ten men broke into AFP's offices in the Jordanian capital on Wednesday and destroyed furniture, two days after the news agency was among several foreign media to report that King Abdullah II's motorcade had been stoned


(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Kuwait emir warns against political turmoil

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait's ruler issued a stern warning against chaos on Wednesday as the oil-rich Gulf state plunged into political turmoil and protests by youth activists demanding the premier's ouster


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Lebanese PM sends in troops as Syrian situation sparks clashes

Lebanon dispatched troops Friday to quell clashes that arose in the city of Tripoli over the Syrian crisis.


(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Libya's rebels deny negotiations as fighting flares

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – Libya's rebels denied Friday they are engaged in negotiations with Moamer Kadhafi's regime as they came under deadly rocket fire in Misrata but seized a key stretch of road towards the Tunisian border

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Libyan rebels hurt by lack of discipline, training

DAFNIYA, Libya – Wearing flip flops and a baseball cap, the young rebel hoisted a backpack of five rocket propelled grenades and pretended to fire into the air

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Libyan leader Gadhafi says NATO will not win

TRIPOLI, Libya – Provoked by renewed daylight NATO bombing of his capital, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi raged against the alliance Friday, screaming his message and daring Western forces to keep it up

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Why a slow-moving NATO is good for Libya

Seemingly all the major U.S. newspapers, including the New York Times and Washington Post, are editorializing harshly that NATO (read: Europe) shows itself a complete failure in Libya. It acts too slowly, with too little force — and proves shamefully dependent on U.S. firepower


A vision of a democratic Libya an 8-point plan from the National Transitional Council

The full text of UN Resolution 1970 on Libya.

The full text of UN Resolution 1973 on Libya.

President Obama's letter to Congress regarding commencement of operations in Libya. (h/t greenbird)

Al Jazeera Libyan live blog. (h/t jnhobbs)

UK Telegraph Libyan live blog. (h/t bee tzu)

BBC Libyan live blog found here. (h/t greenbird)

The New Yorker Dispatches from Libya. (h/t suejazz)

BBC's Libyan crisis mapped. (h/t phil S 33)

revolutionology is a blog from an American in Benghazi


(h/t Dibsa 6/16) - Mauritania opposition says October vote not possible

NOUAKCHOTT — A Mauritanian opposition leader said Wednesday elections due in October could not go ahead without reforms, accusing President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz's government of abuse of power


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Morocco king sets referendum on new constitution July 1

Morocco's King Mohammed promised a new democratic constitution on Friday that would devolve some of his powers to parliament and the government, adding Moroccans would be able to vote for the changes in a July 1 referendum.

(h/t Dibsa 6/17 ) - Moroccan king to announce constitutional reforms

Morocco's king is set to deliver a landmark speech presenting new constitutional amendments that could transform the country into a constitutional monarchy with a more powerful elected government


(h/t JustJennifer 6/4) - Oman sets protesters' trial for June 1

The trial of 27 protesters accused of rioting during violent demonstrations in Oman will start next Wednesday, a court official said.

Protests in Oman began in February, inspired by pro-democracy revolts that toppled the rulers of Egypt and Tunisia before spreading to Gulf Arab region.


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Abbas calls on EU to recognise Palestine

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas urged European Union nations on Friday to separately or collectively recognise the state of Palestine.

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-What The Arab Spring Means For Israel And Palestine

The West Bank has yet to see a movement on this level. If and when that does occur, it could be a "game changer" for Israel and the United States, says Robert Malley, an expert in conflict resolution and the program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group.


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Saudi Arabia women test driving ban

At just after 10 o'clock on Friday morning Maha al-Qahtani swapped places with her husband, Mohammed, and took the wheel of the family car.

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Women defy Saudi Arabia's driving ban

Activists urging women in Saudi Arabia to defy a ban on driving say some have taken to the road in a planned challenge against the restrictions


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Syria shoots dead 18 as regime sacrifices reviled figure

Syrian forces shot dead at least 18 protesters yesterday as one of its most reviled figures gave up his business empire in an attempt to assuage public anger.

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-US and Russia discuss UN resolution on Syria

Hillary Clinton has held talks with Sergei Lavrov in an attempt to break a deadlock over a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Syria: Thousands protest before Assad speech Sunday

Thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Damascus' suburbs and three of Syria's five largest cities Friday, in a weekly show of defiance that came days before President Bashar Assad was expected to address Syrians on Sunday for the first time in two months. Activists said at least 19 people were killed and dozens wounded..

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Syria eyewitness: Damascus divided on Assad regime

A journalist in Damascus - who cannot be named for security reasons - reports on the growing differences of opinion within the Syrian capital on how the crisis should end.


(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - Lawyer: Tunisia's ex-president denies charges

PARIS – An attorney representing Tunisia's ousted president denied Friday the charges against him and dismissed his upcoming trial as politically motivated

(h/t Dibsa 6/17) - On eve of Ben Ali trial Tunisians want real justice

Tunis/Paris - The trial of the first authoritarian leader to be shown the door in the ongoing Arab Spring of pro-democracy uprisings begins Monday in Tunisia


(h/t Dibsa 6/15 ) - UAE urged to release five activists on trial

DUBAI — Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged Emirati authorities to drop charges against five activists, including a blogger and a lecturer, facing trial for "criticising" the government


(h/t JustJennifer 6/10) - No progress in Western Sahara talks

The Moroccan government and Western Sahara separatist rebels on Tuesday ended new UN-brokered talks on the disputed territory without making a breakthrough, UN officials said.


(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Yemen's VP meets youth leaders

The Yemeni vice president has asked for two more weeks to handle the evolving situation in the country, youth leaders said.

(h/t JustJennifer 6/17)-Yemeni govt says Saleh to return from Saudi soon

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, taken to Saudi Arabia for wounds suffered in an attack on his palace earlier this month, will return to the country within days, a Yemeni official said on Friday..

It bears repeating - Please Rec this diary.

Our Egyptian brethren articulated what people around the region are fighting for, though variations to the theme may exist from country to country. banner held by protesters and translated to English:

1 The departure of Mubarak

2 An end to the current Parliament

3 An end of the state of emergency

4 The creation of a national united government

5 A parliament elected by the people to modify the constitution and run the presidential elections

6 Put those responsible for the killings on trial

7 Put those responsible for stealing the country's money and other acts of corruption on trial

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bicycle Hussein paladin - Why Iran 1979 Went to the Islamists and This One Won't

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@speaktotweet: Egyptian Voice Tweets on Twitter

Previous Child Diaries:

Egypt and the Region Liveblog Archive by unaspenser

NOTE: We renamed the original "Egypt Liveblog" to "Witnessing Revolution". From Egypt the pro-democracy fire spread rapidly. It's not clear that it will be limited by geography or ethnicity. So, we wanted a name which states what is happening yet allows us to grow with the movement, wherever that will be. The number sequence will be continuous. The group name will remain the same. Only this particular diary series within the group changed names.


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Comment Preferences

  •  I love the chanting vidoes (5+ / 0-)

    But I bet you guys could guess as much.  :)

    The energy, the passion, the's just amazing to me.  Oh how I wish I could actually go there and experience it with them.  If I didn't have children I would probably try to find a way to sneak into Syria.  What an experience that would be.

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 10:46:51 AM PDT

  •  Syria - refugees in Turkey (7+ / 0-)
    At the small playground in the Boynuyogun refugee camp scores of children wait patiently for a turn on the swing, while in the television tents the adults watch events in the Syria they have fled.

    The camp's 600 tents house 3,500 people, around a third of the 10,000 refugees from northern Syria who have streamed into Turkey fearing a bloody crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad.

    Everywhere are children, including tiny infants cradled in their parents arms. A scorching sun beats down onto the treeless site and refugees seek shelter beneath the canvas or sit in the shade of blankets slung between the tents.

    Syrian refugees in Turkish camp watch news of home

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:03:36 AM PDT

  •  Syria - attack on the Jisr al-Shughour region (5+ / 0-)
    Syrian troops and gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad stormed a town near the Turkish border Saturday, burning houses and arresting dozens, witnesses said, in a persistent military campaign to crush popular revolt.

    The latest assault followed another Friday of protests, which have grown in size and scope over the last three months, despite Assad's violent clampdown on public dissent. Activists said security forces shot dead 19 protesters Friday.

    "They came at 7 a.m. to Bdama. I counted nine tanks, 10 armored carriers, 20 jeeps and 10 buses. I saw shabbiha (pro-Assad gunmen) setting fire to two houses," said Saria Hammouda, a lawyer living in the border town in the Jisr al-Shughour region, where thousands of Syrians had fled to Turkey after the army clamped down on the area this month.

    Syria forces storm border town near Turkey

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:05:17 AM PDT

  •  Libya - opposition money crisis (5+ / 0-)
    Rebels waging a drawn-out war to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have run out of money, their oil chief said on Saturday, and he accused the West of not meeting promises to deliver urgent financial aid.

    His comments came as cracks were appearing in the NATO alliance over its 3-month bombing campaign against Gaddafi, with some allies showing mission fatigue and the United States accusing some European allies of failing to pull their weight.

    The rebels have made several gains in the past few weeks, but remain far from seizing their ultimate prize -- Gaddafi's powerbase of Tripoli and its hinterland -- despite air support from the world's most powerful military alliance.

    Libyan rebels out of money, West to blame-oil chief

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:07:43 AM PDT

  •  Yemen - analysis of Saudi role (5+ / 0-)
    Fearing both civil war and sweeping political reform as results of the crisis in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is struggling with its role as regional kingmaker.

    While publicly backing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, still in a Saudi hospital after being wounded in fighting in the capital Sanaa after months of protests aimed at ousting him, Riyadh has also tried to broker a succession on its own terms.

    That has entailed forging relationships with tribal chieftains, politicians and army officers long cultivated by the Saudis as counterweights to Saleh's 33-year rule, but they are too many and too fractious to provide a ready-made successor.

    Analysis: Yemen crisis puts Saudi in powerbroker's bind

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:09:47 AM PDT

  •  Reposting angry marmot's Syria link (6+ / 0-)


    It is highly unlikely the British Embassy will be able to provide a normal consular service in the event of a further breakdown in law and order. British nationals should leave now by commercial means while these are still operating.

    Foreign Office urges British nationals to leave Syria immediately

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:17:27 AM PDT

  •  Bahrain - still protesting (7+ / 0-)
    #Bahrain: rally in Abo Saiba 18-6-2011

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 12:33:08 PM PDT

  •  Bahrain - and another one (6+ / 0-)
    #Bahrain: rally in Sitra -Sfala- against king's Dialogue 18-6-2011

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 12:34:36 PM PDT

  •  New diary up re Morocco (7+ / 0-)

    be Christy1947 here (republished to our group)

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 02:27:37 PM PDT

  •  Is there any news on Spain? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ninkasi23, JustJennifer, jnhobbs

    The Spanish protests some time back were clearly a harbinger of things to come.  Has anything, well, come yet?

    Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

    by neroden on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 03:18:15 PM PDT

  •  LIBYA - It looks like the Gaddafi Regime shot (6+ / 0-)

    themselves in the foot by documenting their war crimes in Misurata:

    Muammar Gaddafi war crimes files revealed
    Posted on June 18, 2011

    By: Chris Stephen
    Thousands of documents that reveal in chilling detail orders from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s senior generals to bombard and starve the people of Misrata have been gathered by war crimes investigators and are being kept at a secret location at the besieged Libyan port.

    The documents, some of which the Observer has seen, will form damning evidence in any future war crimes trial of the Libyan leader at the International Criminal Court. The court’s prosecutors are expected to travel to the city to view the documents once the daily bombardments have ceased.

    One document shows the commanding general of government forces instructing his units to starve Misrata’s population during the four-month siege. The order, from Youssef Ahmed Basheer Abu Hajar, states bluntly: “It is absolutely forbidden for supply cars, fuel and other services to enter the city of Misrata from all gates and checkpoints.” Another document instructs army units to hunt down wounded rebel fighters, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.

    Plans to bombard the city are also in the archive, say investigators, who also claim they have a message from Gaddafi relayed to the troops ordering that Misrata be obliterated and the “blue sea turned red” with the blood of the inhabitants. The documents are expected to form a crucial element of any trial against Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and his intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi if, as is expected, ICC judges confirm indictments for war crimes and crimes against humanity that are demanded by its chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.

    Una, Jennifer... if you see this .... it would make a strong addition to the next witnessing diary, imo.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:57:25 PM PDT

  •  Is this what "they" were aiming at all along? (5+ / 0-)

    EU, UN, AL, and AU looking for political solution!

    A meeting in Egypt of UN, EU, Arab League, Organisation of the Islamic Conference and African Union officials on Saturday stressed the need for a "political process" to resolve the conflict in Libya.

    A statement in Arabic after the meeting at the Arab League headquarters underlined the importance of "accelerating the launch of a political process that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people."
    . . .

    EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton attended the meeting along with outgoing Arab League Chief Amr Mussa and AU head Jean Ping.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also joined the meeting by live video link.

    •  hit post too soon (5+ / 0-)

      I also heard some reporter from Tripoli (BBC?) saying that the regime people he was talking to were feeling more confident that they can get a political settlement.

      This would certainly explain the constant slow-walking of the NATO "coordination" and the general idea of "we don't really know who the 'rebel' forces are and the "they need time to settle down before they'll be ready to run the country" stuff that keeps cropping up.

      (Oh, and these dots at the bottom are because I tried a sig for a little while, then cleared it and it wouldn't go away unless I replaced it with something else! :(  )

  •  Morocco: Demonstrations expected (4+ / 0-)
    Morocco set for nationwide protests after king's speech
    19 June 2011 Last updated at 01:20 ET

    Demonstrations are expected later in Moroccan cities after reformists said constitutional changes proposed by King Mohammed VI do not go far enough.

    Many critics want constitutional changes drawn up by a democratically elected committee instead.

    They also say the proposed referendum on the constitution comes too soon and leaves little time for a real debate.

    The king said on Friday the reforms would limit his power and usher Morocco towards a constitutional monarchy.

    The proposed measures include giving the prime minister and parliament more executive authority and recognising the minority Berber language.
    ( more )

  •  Egypt - women in the revolution (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, angry marmot, petral
    Egypt's women were on the front line of protests in Tahrir Square that led to the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak, but they are becoming increasingly concerned that they are being sidelined as a new Egypt takes shape.

    There are fewer women in the cabinet than under Mr Mubarak.

    It is not clear whether there will be a women's quota in the new parliament as there was in the old. Women say the country's military rulers are overlooking them as they plan the new order.

    Egypt's defiant women fear being cast aside

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 07:56:11 AM PDT

  •  Libya - raid in Tripoli? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, angry marmot
    Nato is investigating Libyan government claims that it bombed a residential area of the capital, Tripoli, killing several civilians.

    Bodies were pulled from a badly damaged three-storey house after the alleged raid in the Souk al-Juma district.

    Nato says a surface-to-air missile site in northern Tripoli was successfully hit overnight, but it has previously admitted mistakes in targeting.

    Libya: Nato probes 'civilian deaths' in Tripoli attack

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 07:58:03 AM PDT

    •  some anti-Gaddafi Libyans are skeptical (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and believe Gaddafi bombed Tripoli himself (presumably with artillery, I'd suppose).

      Either way sounds plausible to me. As the article pointed out, NATO has made mistakes before, and as Laurence's article talks about, Gaddafi is perfectly willing to target his own people.

      •  reporting on Tripoli (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        CNN: What's really going on in Gaddafi's Tripoli?

        And in the Souq al-Juma neighborhood of the capital, where anti-Gadhafi protests first erupted in February, the government's propaganda bubble is quickly burst.

        While international journalists including me were ferried by government minders to a pro-Gadhafi rally at Green Square on Friday afternoon, multiple sources tell CNN that several Tripoli neighborhoods were wracked by running battles between protesters and security forces.

        This is the same neighborhood that Gaddafi is claiming was a NATO target. Seems a bit convenient.

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        that either story is plausible.  No doubt that mistakes can be made but I also agree that Gaddafi is not above doing this himself and blaming NATO.

        I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

        by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 06:45:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Libya - Gaddafi forces using mosques as shields (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, angry marmot
    Nato has accused Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi of using mosques and children's parks as shields as his forces "systematically and brutally" attack the Libyan people.

    The statement came in response to Libyan charges that Nato deliberately targeted civilian buildings.

    Libya has insisted it is in talks with rebels, despite their denials.

    Rebels also say their administration is running out of cash as donors' pledges have not materialised.

    Nato says Libya uses mosques as shields

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 07:59:27 AM PDT

  •  Palestine - unity talks on hold (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, angry marmot
    A scheduled meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has been postponed, officials say.

    Tuesday's talks in Cairo had been aimed at reaching consensus over a new reconciliation government.

    But continued disagreements meant the talks had been postponed indefinitely, said Fatah officials in Ramallah.

    Palestinian Fatah-Hamas reconciliation talks 'on hold'

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 08:00:44 AM PDT

  •  LIBYA - Excellent NYT piece on how the Gaddafi (4+ / 0-)

    Regime is out of touch with the reality on the ground in Libya:

    In Libya, Delusion Makes a Last Stand

    Published: June 18, 2011

    TRIPOLI, Libya — The chess match last week between Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and a visitor from the remote steppe of southern Russia who had traveled to Tripoli to promote chess in Libyan schools was a case of the oddest of couples, at the oddest of times. With NATO bombs and missiles pounding the Libyan capital and Colonel Qaddafi venting on Libya’s airwaves only days before that he would choose “death before surrender," it captured something quintessential about the Libyan leader and the oddball qualities he has displayed in decades of repressive one-man rule.

    With his days in power now surely numbered — by popular revolt, by the NATO attacks and by escalating defections from his elite — Colonel Qaddafi seems fated to end up as little more than a footnote among the dictators of our age. Libya is a country of only 6.5 million people, oil-rich but still in many ways dirt-poor. If it has punched above its weight in the 40 years of Qaddafi rule, it is largely because of his pattern, discarded only in recent years, of promoting terrorism abroad. The pattern included the colonel's early embrace of Carlos the Jackal, the Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal and the I.R.A., as well as the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.


    Over several weeks in Tripoli, it has been commonplace to encounter, at random, Libyans ready to speak openly of their contempt for Colonel Qaddafi, and enthusiastically about NATO’s ability to bomb targets associated with the most sensitive strongholds of the government. To be sure, there were others, in many places, who offered a ritual defense of him, and a loathing of the rebels. But the much more common response — in bookshops and cafes, in hospitals and hotels, and in the mosques and souks that crowd the winding alleyways of the old Ottoman heart of Tripoli down by the city’s ancient port — was to hail the day when the Libyan leader would be consigned to what Trotsky called the dustbin of history.

    There was, for example, an educated, English-speaking young man, Muhammad (not his real name, for his own protection), who met this reporter as he sauntered along an alleyway in the Medina, not far from the hole-in-the-wall store where he sells vegetables while hoping for a better job. Smoking a cigarette, he reacted dismissively as a pickup truck packed with pro-Qaddafi demonstrators drove past on one of the few drivable passageways through the district, shouting the Libyan leader’s name, waving placards bearing his image and hoisting automatic rifles in the air. “They pay them 10 dinars a day to do that,” he said. “It means nothing.” Asked what outcome he would favor, he smiled. “Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream, a dream for Libya,” he said. “Victory is coming. With Qaddafi gone, everything will be O.K.”

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 08:01:37 AM PDT

  •  LIBYA - More youtube video emerges of Gaddafi (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JustJennifer, killjoy

    Regime forces abusing prisoners:

    It's quite reminiscent of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and it increasingly seems to be that this is the norm for Gaddafi Regime forces and not the exception.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 08:38:01 AM PDT

  •  LIBYA - A really good article on the role of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    killjoy, JustJennifer, angry marmot

    Libyan women in the revolution and the evolving formation of their new society.

    Women of the Revolution: Contributions & Questions about the Future

    Jun 19, 2011

    By: Sarah Bensreiti

    In April, The Daily Beast published an article by Ann Marlowe in which she remarked, “While American TV coverage of Libya favors savage-looking freedom fighters yelling on captured tanks, the face of the revolution here in Benghazi…is young women like Shadda Hatem el Majri, a 19-year-old university student.”

    Shadda was one among the crowds of women who participated in the Flower Carnival, an event banned 24 years ago by the Gaddafi Regime.  The women of the Flower Carnival paraded in the area outside the courthouse in Benghazi, now known as Freedom Square, presenting flowers to men carrying weapons.

    Shadda has not only participated in the protests and rallies in Benghazi but has been using music to deliver her message, doing what was impossible only months ago: expressing herself by singing a song she calls “Free Libya.”

    Women, like Shadda, have enabled, sustained, healed and lead the uprising, whether by being involved directly in political life, by providing calm and structure, by helping to break the barriers of fear and silence or even by encouraging their sons and husbands to fight.  Many have themselves sacrificed their lives and others have suffered horrific violence and rape.  Their crucial contributions and their harrowing struggles must not be overlooked, nor can their place in Libya’s future be neglected.


    In a country where public life has been dominated by the voice of Gaddafi alone, and both men and women have been excluded from contributing to their society, Libyans are still learning, adapting to and slowly constructing a new paradigm of public space and discourse.  That learning process will no doubt be slow, but women are showcasing their capacities and laying the groundwork for more inclusive social practices.  The substance of that inclusiveness will depend not only on a sustained political will and an emphasis on education, but also on a more integrated approach to the role of women in rebuilding Libya.  A more substantial role for women in public life has to be imagined not as an end in itself, but within a broader discussion regarding the direction of Libyan society in general and towards building a healthier sphere in which increasingly larger pools of Libyans participate.  As the founder of Women for Women International, Zainab Salbi said, “We need to look at what happens to women as an indicator for the direction of a society. Usually we look at what happens to women as a marginal issue on the side, we need to shift that.”

    I highly recommend reading the full, linked article

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:31:23 PM PDT

  •  Syria - night demonstration in Homs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, Lawrence
    #Homs #Syria What do you want? "To topple the Regime." What do you want? "To Topple the Regime." What do you want? "TO TOPPLE THE REGIME!" 6-18-11

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 05:56:20 PM PDT

  •  Libya - NATO admits error (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, Lawrence
    NATO has acknowledged responsibility for an air strike that killed a numer of civilians in Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

    A statement from the alliance said that a military missile site was the intended target of a raid on Sunday morning but one of the weapons did not strike it and may have caused civilian casualties.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera, Oana Lungescu, a NATO spokesperson, said NATO's killing of civilians was a "sad incident that we deeply regret".

    "We had targeted a missile system to the north of Tripoli and it appears that one of our weapons malfunctioned and caused these civilian casualties on the ground," Lungescu said.

    NATO admits civilian deaths in Libya raid

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 08:54:40 PM PDT

  •  Syria - Assad to address nation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot
    Bashar al-Assad, Syria's embattled president, is to deliver his third major speech since protests demanding greater freedoms and democracy erupted in Syria in mid-March.

    "President Bashar al-Assad will deliver a speech at noon tomorrow concerning developments in Syria," the official SANA news agency said in a dispatch on Sunday, without elaborating further.

    Assad first addressed parliament on March 30, two weeks after the start of the anti-regime demonstrations,  calling the deadly unrest a "conspiracy" fomented by the country's enemies.

    In a televised address on April 16, he announced that the emergency law in force in Syria for nearly 50 years would be abolished, expressed his sadness at the deaths of protesters and called for a national dialogue.

    Syria's president 'to address nation'

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 08:56:12 PM PDT

  •  Syria - rumor that Assad will change constitution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, Lawrence

    Wow, what a shock.  Where have we heard this one before?

    An impending proposal to amend Syria's constitution would end the ruling Baath Party's monopoly on political power while retaining its central role, a high-ranking official in Damascus said.

    According to the Baath Party official, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity, embattled President Bashar Assad will soon propose a change in the language of Article 8 of the Syrian Constitution from granting his party "leadership of state and society" to "leadership in state and society," in an attempt to meet domestic and international demands for change.

    Critics and opposition supporters immediately said the proposal would fall far short of the demands of a burgeoning pro-democracy protest movement and regional and global powers increasingly alarmed by the regime's violent repression of peaceful protesters. The official said late Saturday that the proposal, which include provisions to allow multiparty elections, could be publicized within days.

    Syria planning change to constitution, Baath Party official says

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 09:02:11 PM PDT

  •  Egypt - delay elections? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petral, angry marmot, Lawrence, ferg
    Calls are growing in Egypt for a delay of September's parliamentary elections to give parties formed in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak's ouster more time to organize.

    The push, which now has the prime minister's backing, is aimed at keeping the well-organized Muslim Brotherhood from dominating the next legislature and exerting disproportionate Islamist influence over the drafting of a new constitution.

    The debate over the timing of the elections and the new constitution is a political novelty in a country where elections under the 29-year rule of former President Mubarak were routinely marred by widespread fraud and their results known before the first ballot was cast.

    Calls grow in Egypt to delay elections

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:10:20 PM PDT

  •  Egypt - new foreign minister (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, Lawrence
    The choice of Mohamed El-Orabi as Egypt's next foreign minister is not so surprising, even if speculation in the last few days focused primarily on Fayza Aboul-Naga, the current minister of planning and international cooperation, whereas early speculation focused on Nabil Fahmi, another seasoned diplomat whose falling out with the regime of Hosni Mubarak took him away from diplomacy to be dean of the AUC School of Public Administration.

    El-Orabi, who has just turned 60, has served in several crucial posts during his career, including in the Egyptian embassy in Israel and as chief of the cabinet of the foreign minister in 2000 with Amr Mousa, the current presidential frontrunner. He was also the ambassador of Egypt in Berlin for six years during which a major breakthrough in relations was secured, especially on the cultural front.

    Meet Mohamed El-Orabi, Egypt new foreign minister

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:11:48 PM PDT

  •  Egypt - Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petral, angry marmot, Lawrence
    Senior Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh has announced his candidacy for Egypt's presidential elections, despite a declaration by the group that he had been dismissed from their ranks.

    Aboul-Fotouh, secretary-general of the Arab Doctors' Union and a major figure in the group's reformist trend, insisted that he will not back down from his decision to run for in the presidential elections, which are expected to be held at the end of the year. Aboul-Fotouh made the announcement yesterday following a trip to London – the final stop in a European tour during which he met with Egyptian communities throughout Europe.

    Aboul-Fotouh’s statement was belied, however, by a statement that appeared on the group's official website Ikhwanweb.

    Leading Muslim Brotherhood reformer to run for president, in defiance of leadership

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:13:38 PM PDT

  •  Oh, and don't forget to vote (4+ / 0-)
    "With news that President Obama overruled senior legal advisers on whether US participation in Nato's Libyan operation required congressional approval, and given retiring Defence Secretary Robert Gates's misgivings about 'wars of choice', do you approve US involvement in Libya?"

    Even if it is a loaded question.  At noon Sunday it was about 80% 'no', at the time of this posting it's down to 67% 'no'.

  •  Syria: Assad's speech to the nation (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, petral, JustJennifer, jnhobbs

    AP via al-Masry al-Youm, Syria's Assad talks reform in bid to keep power

    Syria's embattled president said Monday his regime would consider political reforms, including ending his Baath Party's monopoly on power. But Bashar al-Assad gave no sign he might step down, the key demand of nationwide protests.
    The opposition immediately dismissed Assad's speech, saying it lacked any clear move toward democracy. Activists said thousands of people took to the streets to protest in several cities.

    Assad's 70-minute, televised address was only his third public speech since the pro-democracy uprising began in March, inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Much of his message was not new, including his claim that the unrest is being driven by armed thugs and foreign conspirators.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 06:11:46 AM PDT

    •  Releated: activists say opposition must continue (6+ / 0-)

      AFP via Al-Ahram, Syria opposition says 'revolt' must go on

      Pro-democracy activists said the three-month-old "revolt" in Syria must go on after a speech by President Bashar al-Assad on Monday that they said only deepened the crisis.

      The Coordination Committee, an umbrella group of activists calling for street protests, called for "the revolution to carry on until all its aims have been achieved."

      "We consider any dialogue useless that does not turn the page on the current regime," it said in a statement received by AFP. Assad's speech on the three-month-old unrest only served to "deepen the crisis."

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 06:17:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tunisia: Ben Ali's trial begins today (5+ / 0-)

    Reuters via al-Masry al-Youm, Tunisia begins trial of ousted president Ben Ali

    Tunisia began the trial on Monday of former president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali, whose ouster by protesters angry over corruption and police repression inspired the "Arab Spring" that has swept the region.

    Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January, after mass protests against 23 years of rule in which he, his wife and their family built stakes in the country's biggest businesses and accumulated vast fortunes at what Tunisians say was their expense.

    Tunisia's revolt electrified millions across the Arab World, who suffer similarly from high unemployment, rising prices and repressive rule. Ben Ali's trial will be watched closely in Egypt, where former president Hosni Mubarak is due to stand trial over the killing of protesters.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 06:14:02 AM PDT

    •  Related: Ben Ali claims was 'tricked' into leaving (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JustJennifer, petral, jnhobbs, Lawrence

      Reuters via Al-Ahram, Tunisia's Ben Ali says was tricked into leaving

      Tunisia's ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali said on Monday he was deceived into leaving the country, and denied giving orders for security forces to shoot at protesters who were demanding he step down.

      A statement issued by his lawyers said he had agreed to take a plane to Saudi Arabia to bring his family to safety, and had planned to return immediately.
      But he said the aircraft left Saudi Arabia without him after the crew ignored his instructions.
      The statement said the head of presidential security had come to him in his office and told him "friendly" foreign intelligence services had passed on information about a plot to assassinate Ben Ali. He was persuaded to board a plane which was taking his wife and children to safety in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but with the intention of returning immediately, the statement said.

      "He boarded the plane with his family after ordering the crew to wait for him in Jeddah. But after his arrival in Jeddah, the plane returned to Tunisia, without waiting for him, contrary to his orders."

      "He did not leave his post as president of the republic and hasn't fled Tunisia as he was falsely accused of doing," the statement said.

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:04:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If he's so unhappy with that, he can return to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angry marmot

        Tunisia and face sentencing.  :)

        It does show that Western powers may have done some heavy leaning on behalf of the Tunisian revolutionaries, though.


        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 12:16:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yemen: protesters call for Saleh's son to go (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, petral, JustJennifer, ferg, jnhobbs

    AP via al-Masry al-Youm, Thousands in Yemen call for president's son to go

    Tens of thousands of Yemenis have taken to the streets of the capital, demanding that the president's son leave the country.

    Ahmed Saleh, 42, is a one-time heir apparent who commands the elite Yemeni Presidential Guard. The force has been leading the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators since the uprising began in February.

    Demonstrators on Monday called for him to leave, along with his brother Khaled, who is also an army commander.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 06:15:37 AM PDT

  •  Syria - Daraa says "no" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UnaSpenser, ferg, petral, jnhobbs, Lawrence
    Daraa: Demo after Bashar speech in Daraa Balad 20-6-2011

    I keep hearing this chant over and over - they are saying "Assad leave", right?

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:11:10 AM PDT

  •  Syria - more protests today (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, ferg, petral, jnhobbs, Lawrence
    Protest in #Homs

    The people of #AlKaswa weren't too happy either about what their dictator had to say

    On the borders of #Turkey, more people demonstrate in response to #Bashar's speech

    There are literally a dozen videos from all over today...responses to the speech.  I wonder if Assad knows about You Tube?  Someone should send him the link.  The people aren't buying it.  And the more I read about his speech the more ridiculous he looks.   Sheesh.

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 08:22:38 AM PDT

  •  Egypt: gov't declines World Bank loan (5+ / 0-)

    al-Masry al-Youm, Egypt declines World Bank loan as incompatible with national interest

    The government has declined a loan from the World Bank because it found the terms of the loan incompatible with the national interest, Egyptian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga said on Monday.

    The minister added that the government would not accept conditions dictated by the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, especially since the 18-day uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 11:31:27 AM PDT

  •  Bahrian - UN statement re:attacks on labor leaders (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, petral, jnhobbs
    The head of the United Nations labour agency today condemned a call by prominent business figures in Bahrain for trade union leaders in the Middle East nation to either resign or face legal action, describing the threat as an act of intimidation.

    Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO, issued a statement in response to what he called “this confrontational ultimatum” by the Joint Committee of Major Companies in Bahrain – which are entirely or partly owned by the Government.

    The small country has been beset by unrest in recent months as protesters have taken to the streets to demand greater democracy, part of a broader movement across North Africa and the Middle East since the start of the year.

    UN labour chief deplores call for Bahraini union leaders to resign or face legal action

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Mon Jun 20, 2011 at 11:46:03 AM PDT

  •  'Western Govs' vs Nafusa Freedom Fighters for oil (6+ / 0-)

    The Economist reported last Thursday:

    The colonel is running on empty

    Limited supplies exist. A trickle of oil from fields in the regime-held south-west feeds the refinery at Zawiya, on the coast near Tripoli.

    Western governments have persuaded the rebels not to touch either that pipe or a nearby natural-gas one that helps keep Tripoli’s lights on.

    But Reuters reports today:

    "Rebels have turned off a pipeline in Rayayna, which is used to ship oil from the Awbari oilfield in the south to the Zawiyah refinery," rebel spokesman Juma Ibrahim said by phone from the Western Mountains town of Zintan.
  •  Syria: Outside Damascus after Assad speech (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, JustJennifer
    AJE Syrian live blog - 1 hour 11 min ago
    This footage is said to be filmed in Moadamiya, outside Damascus, after Assad's speech. Video

  •  Tunisia: Ali sentenced in absentia (4+ / 0-)
    Tunisia's Ben Ali sentenced to jail in absentia

    A Tunisian court has sentenced ousted Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife Leila to 35 years in prison for theft and other charges.

    The couple, who left Tunisia for Saudi Arabia after a popular uprising in January, were being tried in absentia.

    The court also ordered them to pay a $66m (£41m) fine.

    The trial began on Monday on accusations of theft, corruption and drug smuggling, which the former president had denied.

    The presiding judge also said that a verdict on other charges - relating to illegal possession of drugs and weapons - would be announced on 30 June.
    ( more )

  •  Bahrain: Doctors 'tortured into confessing' (5+ / 0-)
    Bahrain doctors tortured into confessing, say families
    20 June 2011 Last updated at 18:58 ET

    Twenty Bahraini doctors on trial for taking part in anti-government protests were tortured into making false confessions, their families have told the BBC.

    The wife of one of the suspects said they had been forced to stand for three weeks and unable to sleep.

    The defendants returned to court on Monday accused of taking over a hospital during protests in March.
    ( .. )
    The first government witness accused them of a bizarre list of crimes including stealing blood from the blood-bank, and transporting guns in ambulances.
    ( more )

  •  Syria: Assad offers amnesty .. again. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, JustJennifer
    Syria's Assad grants amnesty, supporters rally
    BEIRUT | Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:35am EDT

    (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a general amnesty on Tuesday, a day after he promised wide-ranging but vague reforms to counter a three-month popular revolt against his autocratic rule.

    Activists and analysts had dismissed Assad's promises on Monday, saying they failed to engage the demands of protesters who for three months have defied a fierce military crackdown in rallying for greater freedoms, posing the gravest challenge to his 11-year tenure.

    The pardon, the second of its kind in three weeks, includes anyone who committed crimes until June 20, the state news agency SANA said. After the first amnesty, Syrian authorities freed hundreds of political prisoners but rights groups say there are still thousands languishing in Syrian jails.
    ( more )

  •  Yemen: Interesting piece from NPR re: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, JustJennifer

    US policy in Yemen, or lack thereof. U.S. Faulted For Not Doing Enough In Yemen

  •  Libya: Libyan rebel leader visits Beijing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, Lawrence, JustJennifer
    Libyan rebel leader visits Beijing
    Global Times, June 21, 2011

    A top Libyan rebel leader will visit Beijing today as the National Transitional Council (NTC) seeks to strike up relations with key global players.

    The talks with Chinese officials are likely to revolve around China's role as a mediator to end the crisis and Beijing's concerns over its economic interests in the war-torn country.

    In a short statement, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that the "chairman of the executive board of Libya's National Transitional Council, Mahmoud Jibril, will be in China on Tuesday and Wednesday."

    No further details of the trip or agenda were announced.

    The trip follows China's first confirmed contact with the Libyan rebels last month when a Chinese diplomat met in Qatar with Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the rebel's de facto political leader.
    ( more )

  •  Syria: AJE live blog ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, Lawrence, JustJennifer
    54 min 2 sec ago
    Russia, which has so far stood behind Syria, appears to be shifting its stance.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for international pressure on Syria's leadership over its deadly crackdown, although he said there should be no international intervention.

    Speaking in Paris, Putin said, "We need to apply pressure on the leadership of any country where massive unrest, and especially bloodshed, is happening.''

     1 hour 46 min ago

    AFP - France warned that the UN Security Council cannot "stay silent" much longer on Syria's crackdown on protests and said the time was near when "everyone will have to face up to their responsibilities," the AFP reported.

    1 hour 48 min ago

    REUTERS - Syrian security forces shot dead three people during clashes in two cities between President Bashar al-Assad's loyalists and protesters demanding his removal, activists and residents told the Reuters news agency.

    The violence followed rallies organised by the authorities in several cities in support of Assad. Activists said the three were killed by army and security forces when they intervened on the side of Assad's supporters in the cities of Homs and in the town of Mayadeen in Deir al-Zor province near the border with Iraq.

    3 hours 24 min ago

    REUTERS - Syria has agreed to give the Red Cross (ICRC) greater access to civilian populations and areas caught up in the conflict and is considering its request to visit people who have been arrested, the humanitarian agency said on Tuesday.

    "The Syrian officials were receptive, and agreed to give the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent wider access to areas of unrest," Jakob Kellenberger, president of the ICRC, said. "I will closely monitor how this understanding is put into practice."

  •  Libya: 'Berbers make a comeback' (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, Lawrence, JustJennifer

     Video report about the Libyan Berbers reclaiming the use of their language, which was banned under Gaddafi.

  •  Syria - analysis of reaction to Assad speech (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    petral, jnhobbs
    It was sad. It was ridiculous. It was totally out of touch. The thousand Syrian dead (and counting) were, according to President Bashar al-Assad, victims of that well-known Arab animal: the plot, the conspiracy, the "foreign hand", the same dastardly enemy that confronted Mubarak (before he was chucked out) and Ben Ali (before he was chucked out) and Saleh (before he was driven out, wounded, like an animal) and which still supposedly confronts Gaddafi and the Khalifas and, well, Bashar al-Assad.

    The idea that the thousands of mourners, the tens of thousands of bereaved Syrians whose sons and brothers and fathers and uncles – and, yes, wives and daughters and mothers – have been gunned down by Assad's Alawi armed gangs and his brother Maher's special forces, are going to be assuaged with a "national dialogue", "consultative meetings" for "a few days", chats between a hundred "personalities" to discuss "mechanisms" after which "dialogue will begin immediately", is not only patronising. It is a sign of just how far the "sea of quietness" in which all dictators live has cut Assad off from the lives of the people he claims to rule.

    Robert Fisk: 'No wonder they were rioting in Damascus. This was insulting both to the living and to the dead'

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 09:05:01 AM PDT

  •  Syria - report on protesters in Damascus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jnhobbs, angry marmot
    "You must keep the door locked and the blinds down at all times," I was told as they led me into a bare, one-roomed apartment in a Damascus suburb.

    "You must stay here until we send a message for you to come to us," they said, and left me.

    Hungry, I opened the fridge. There was nothing in it. "Welcome to the Syrian Revolution", I told myself and settled down on the lumpy mattress to try to sleep.

    In hiding with Syrian protesters on the run in Damascus

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 09:28:39 AM PDT

  •  Libya: AJE live blog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot
    1 hour 51 min ago  

    Human Rights Watch, an international watchdog group, reports that pro-Gaddafi forces have planted more than 150 anti-personnel land mines mines in at least one location in the Nafusa Mountains near Libya's border with Tunisia.

    The group said this was the first confirmed use of land mines by the Libyan government, which was made after visiting alleged sites, inspecting removed mines, and interviewing the rebel fighters who had removed them.

    HRW has previously confirmed Libyan government's use of five types of landmines in six separate locations, including the use of antipersonnel and antivehicle landmines near Ajdabiya.

  •  Syria: 'At least seven killed' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot, JustJennifer
    Clashes as large Pro-Assad rallies held
    21 June 2011 Last updated at 12:03 ET

    Clashes have broken out between supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and anti-government protesters in Homs, Hama and Deir al-Zour.

    At least seven people were killed when security forces opened fire on anti-Assad demonstrators, activists said.

    Large rallies in support of President Assad have been held across Syria, including Damascus, Deraa, Hama and Homs, state TV reported.
    ( .. )

    Meanwhile, a group from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) went on a government-organised visit of the town of Jisr al-Shughour on Monday.

    Jisr al-Shughour is the town in the north-west of the country near the border with Turkey where the military launched an offensive after 120 army personnel were reportedly killed there.

    The UNHCR said most of Jisr al-Shughour was deserted, with shops closed, while nearby villages from about 40km (25 miles) away were also quiet, with little evidence of people working in the field.
    ( more )

  •  Iran: 'Fashion crackdown' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angry marmot
    Iran's Fashion Crackdown Moves Beyond Headscarves
    TEHRAN, Iran June 21, 2011, 01:25 pm ET

    It's an Iranian rite of summer: Islamic morality squads pressure women to keep their headscarves snug and coverings in place, and after a few extra tugs for modesty's sake the crackdown inevitably fades.

    This year, however, Iran's summer fashion offensive appears bigger and more ominous, and has expanded the watch list to men's hairstyles and jewelry considered too Western.

    No official explanation has appeared for the sterner approach this season. But it fits with the steady push by Iran's ruling theocracy to reel back the liberal fashion trends that began in the 1990s — such as body-hugging coverings for women and earrings and tattoos for men — and to sweep away non-Islamic influences in universities and cultural institutions.
    ( more )

  •  New diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jnhobbs, angry marmot

    I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

    by JustJennifer on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 11:53:20 AM PDT

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