Saturday, April 2, 2011

Goldstone changes his mind (I guess once a Zionist always a Zionist) as we say in Arabic Tfoo

We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”
Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.
The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

The shady men backed by the West to displace Gaddafi

World View: We seem to have learnt little from recent history. Trying to impose a no-fly zone in Libya looks like a mistake and the rebels' credentials to rule are thin

By Patrick Cockburn

".....But the new military leadership, which Britain, France and to a decreasing extent the US, will be supporting, inspires even less confidence than their men. The careers of several make them sound like characters out of the more sinister Graham Greene novels. They include men such as Colonel Khalifa Haftar, former commander of the Libyan army in Chad who was captured and changed sides in 1988, setting up the anti-Gaddafi Libyan National Army reportedly with CIA and Saudi backing. For the last 20 years, he has been living quietly in Virginia before returning to Benghazi to lead the fight against Gaddafi. Even shadier is the background of Abdul Hakeen al-Hassadi, a Libyan who fought against the US in Afghanistan, was arrested in Pakistan, imprisoned probably at Bagram, Afghanistan, and then mysteriously released. The US Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg, told Congressmen he would speak of Mr Hassadi's career only in a closed session. It is these characters, and others like them, whom Britain is now fighting to install in Tripoli to replace Col Gaddafi.....

There is still something extraordinary about the alacrity with which Britain has plunged into the dangerous but also comic opera world of Libyan politics. And it has done so despite the recent examples in Iraq and Afghanistan of what can go wrong when you join somebody else's civil war – for that is what we have done, despite all the demonising of Gaddafi and glorification of his opponents. Life in Libya always seems to have a farcical but dangerous element to it....."

Libyan conflict descending into stalemate as US winds down air strikes

Rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces appear to be losing their way amid growing concern in the west over the revolution's end game

Peter Beaumont , foreign affairs editor, and Chris McGreal in Benghazi, Saturday 2 April 2011


Reading this piece again confirms what I have been warning against: The Kissinger doctrine at work. Work on both sides to exhaust them and to have leverage with both, but make sure that neither side prevails or completely collapses.

"For weeks, Libya's revolutionary leadership has spoken almost in awe of the soldiers who defected from Muammar Gaddafi's army and who would lead the rebel assault to bring him down. And for weeks, the disorganised civilian volunteers who have rapidly advanced and almost as swiftly retreated along a few hundred miles of desert road have awaited the arrival of these professional soldiers to turn around the revolution's fortunes. Finally, some made an appearance for the first time at the frontline near Brega. They appeared disciplined, well armed and under command – a stark contrast to the free-for-all of the civilian rebel militia. But there were no more than a few dozen of them and the question still remained: where were the thousands of experienced soldiers that the revolutionary leadership had so often invoked to bolster morale? Did they exist?.....

Wearing sunglasses and a red and green scarf around his neck, Younes toured the frontline near the port of Brega, shaking hands with the crowd of volunteers who formed around him firing their weapons in the air. While their visit boosted morale at a time when the rebels have been in retreat once again, a more important question remains – whether these men, who have avoided the frontlines for their own reasons, can turn the war around. And from this weekend it is not who is fighting that is the question but who will no longer be fighting, with the US announcement that its warplanes will no longer carry out bombing raids. Even before the American decision, the number of air strikes, mandated by the UN security council resolution 1973, had been sharply diminishing. On Friday, Nato announced that coalition aircraft had flown 74 strike missions the previous day, down almost a quarter from earlier in the week. Of those missions, US aircraft flew only 10. And that number of strikes looks likely to decline as responsibility passes largely to the UK, France and Canada......

The slowing of the coalition mission has only helped to contribute to a growing sense that the conflict in Libya is stumbling into a new and uncertain phase, marked not by the strengths of the opposing sides but by a realisation of their weaknesses.....

Instead, what has begun to emerge is what many feared in the first place – a stalemate, defined by two sides playing a kind of lethal tag in the desert over deserted oil towns....

What is also true, however, is that in being weakened by the conflict both sides may be forced into new positions suggesting that, ultimately, negotiations rather than military force might bring the crisis in Libya to an end.....

Whatever the outcome, what seems most unlikely is that the rebels' newly visible generals will be leading their troops into Tripoli any time in the near future."

Libya, the revolution hijacked

From Hossam El-Hamalawy

"This is catastrophic. The biggest imperialist force on the planet, NATO, is bombing Libya “in the name of revolution,” CIA operatives are active on the ground, while US and Egyptian military specialists are training the revolutionaries. The Libyan revolution is being hijacked in front of our eyes… This is counterrevolution…"

شام - إرفع الرأس - يحيى حوى 1-4-2011

That Lousy Hamas: It Supports the Slaughter of the Syrian People by the Syrian Despot! Surprise, Surprise!

حماس: ما يحدث في سوريا شأن داخلي، ونؤكد وقوفنا معها قيادة وشعبا

"قالت حركة المقاومة الاسلامية (حماس) يوم السبت، في أول تعليق لها على الاحتجاجات التي تشهدها عدد من المدن السورية منذ أسبوعين، بأنها شأن داخلي. وقالت الحركة في بيان لها بثته على موقعها على الانترنت: "إننا نعتبر ما يجري شأنا داخليا يخص الإخوة في سوريا، إلا أننا في حركة حماس، وانطلاقا من مبادئنا التي تحترم إرادة الشعوب العربية والاسلامية وتطلعاتها، فإننا نأمل بتجاوز الظرف الراهن بما يحقق تطلعات وأماني الشعب السوري، وبما يحفظ استقرار سوريا وتماسكها الداخلي، ويعزز دورها في صف المواجهة والممانعة." وأضافت الحركة التي يقيم عدد من قيادييها في سوريا في بيانها الذي حمل عنوان "حول الأحداث الراهنة في سوريا الشقيقة)"، قالت إنها "تتابع باهتمام وحرص بالغين التطورات التي يشهدها هذا البلد." حماس: سوريا أخذت الرهانات والتحديات الكبيرة وصمدت أمام كل الظروف لتحمي المقاومة ...."

Real News Video: Syria: Threat of Force and Chaos Keeps Most People Off Streets

Bassam Haddad: Most people want profound reforms but are haunted by sectarian strife in Iraq

Gun Runner, by Mr. Fish

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Syrian authorities make arrests following protests


"Syrian security agents have arrested dozens of people after thousands took to the streets across the country in pro-democracy marches, activists said on Saturday. At least seven people were killed Friday as security forces cracked down on demonstrations, bringing the death toll from two weeks of protest to at least 79. Authorities began arresting people, mostly in and around the capital, Damascus, in the hours after the protests broke up and into early Saturday, activists said. They asked that their names not be used for fear of reprisals...."

Cartoon Video: AV in the Middle East

Livedraw: Patrick Blower imagines free elections in the Middle East

Al-Jazeera Video: Protesters killed in Syria


Real News Video: Is Obama Intervention Doctrine New?

Gilbert Achcar: Obama "doctrine" repeats old justifications for using military force to defend US strategic interests

"Coalition" Kills Libyan Revolutionaries! Will the Libyan Karzai Protest as his Afghan Cousin Routinely Does??

'Libyan rebels killed in NATO air strike'

NATO investigating reports that coalition jet struck pro-democracy forces in country's east, killing at least seven.


"Pro-democracy forces in Libya say at least seven of their fighters have been killed in a NATO air strike on the outskirts of the eastern town of Brega, as the battle rages on for control of the oil port. NATO said on Saturday that it is investigating reports that a coalition warplane struck pro-democracy forces near the front line of the battle with fighters loyal to the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Burnt out husks of at least four vehicles, including an ambulance, were seen by the side of the road near the eastern entrance to the oil town on Saturday, the Reuters news agency reported. Men prayed at freshly dug graves nearby as they buried their colleagues....."

Let the images of war speak for themselves

By Robert Fisk

".....I always say that reporters should be neutral and unbiased on the side of those who suffer. If you were covering the 18th-century slave trade, you would not give equal space to the slave-ship captain....

But television has different priorities. "Al Jazeera English" – as opposed to the Arabic version – manages to get it about right. Yes, I occasionally make an appearance on Al Jazeera and its reporters are good friends of mine. But it does say who the bad guys are; it does speak out, and it puts the usually pusillanimous BBC to shame. What I am most struck by, however, is the quality of the reporting. Not the actual words. But the pictures.

In Tunisia and in Bahrain, I often shared a car with James Bays of Al Jazeera (and yes, he is a mate of mine, and yes, I was travelling at his expense, of course!), but I was fascinated by the way he would step aside from the camera with the words "I'll just let you see the scene here for a moment", and then he would disappear and let us watch the tens of thousands of Egyptian refugees on the Tunisian border or the tens of thousands of Shia demonstrators with their Bahraini flags on the Pearl roundabout (the "pearl" having now been destroyed by the king like a ritual book-burning). The pictures spoke instead of words. The reporter took a back seat (watch the BBC's boys and girls, for ever gesticulating with their silly hands, for the opposite) and the picture told the story......"

Friday, April 1, 2011

VIDEO – Lights off in Tahrir الجيش يقطع النور عن المتظاهرين بالتحرير

From Hossam El-Hamalawy

"The army shut down lights in Tahrir around 8:15pm, for roughly two hours, trying to discourage protesters from staying."

VIDEO – Cairo protesters denounce Tantawi دكتاتور دكتاتور والمشير عليه الدور

"Protesters march from Tahrir Square to Maspero, denouncing Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak’s minister of defense who is currently heading the ruling Supreme Military Council."

Venezuela's Chavez: Syria's leader a 'humanist'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expressed support for Syria's president on Saturday, calling him a "humanist" and a "brother" facing a wave of violent protests backed by the United States and its allies.
Chavez's support for President Bashar Assad follows his defense of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who is fighting rebels backed by international airstrikes.

Venezuela's socialist leader accused Washington of fomenting the protests in Syria as a pretext for Libya-style airstrikes.

"Now some supposed political protest movements have begun (in Syria), a few deaths ... and now they are accusing the president of killing his people and later the Yankees will come to bomb the people to save them," Chavez said in a televised speech.

The anti-government protests erupted nationwide in Syria on Friday, and follow unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya in what has been called the Arab Spring.

[look at this "leftist" clown ,  "a few deaths" what is an acceptable number of deaths Mr Chavez ? is that not the American attitude of "acceptable # of casualties". What a dirsgrace. All the Chavez apologists go watch all the youtube videos we have been posting of the "few deaths"]

Gaddafi's line in the sands

(Click on cartoon by Martin Rowson to enlarge)

The defection of Moussa Koussa is a blow, but the colonel's family ties still help ensure loyal support

Ian Black
, Friday 1 April 2011

"....The defection of Moussa Koussa, Gaddafi's foreign minister and ex-intelligence chief, is certainly a blow – as well as a salutary reminder that Britain, the US and other western governments have been doing business with unsavoury characters for years. Other Libyan technocrats, diplomats and military people are likely to follow as they consider their options and the need to prevent the country collapsing into another Somalia.

Koussa was a consigliere who mattered. But hard power in Libya is in the hands of the Gaddafi family – its Mafia-like dysfunctionality brilliantly captured in leaked US cables. So it may be more significant that peace feelers are being put out by his sons Saif al-Islam and Sa'adi – though it is hard to see why the Benghazi-based rebels should accept a "transitional" regime headed by their brother Mu'tasim, until the uprising a rising star as his father's national security adviser......"

Like Pulling Teeth, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

يوم دام بمظاهرات جديدة بسوريا


"ارتفع عدد الضحايا في المظاهرات التي اجتاحت عدة مدن سورية اليوم إلى 13 قتيلا وعدد غير محدد من الجرحى وفقا لوكالات أنباء وشهود عيان ومصادر رسمية، فيما قالت وكالة الأنباء السورية إن مجموعة مسلحة أطلقت النار في مدينة دوما وقتلت مواطنين ورجال أمن دون أن تحدد عدد القتلى. وكانت الوكالة السورية الرسمية تصر طوال اليوم على وصف الوضع بسوريا بالهادئ وأن بعض المدن شهدت مظاهرات سلمية للمطالبة بإصلاحات سياسية والتضامن مع الشهداء، دون أن تقع أي اشتباكات وفقا للوكالة نفسها

قتلى بدمشق ونقلت وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية عن شهود عيان ونشطاء حقوقيين تأكيدهم أن ستة مواطنين سقطوا برصاص الشرطة اليوم بمدينة دوما قرب العاصمة دمشق، بعد خروجهم من المسجد في أعقاب صلاة الجمعة ضمن ثلاثة آلاف آخرين مطالبين بتطبيق الإصلاحات السياسية. وقال شهود آخرون للوكالة إن عدد القتلى يزيد عن عشرة، غير أن الوكالة قالت إنها حصلت على أسماء ستة فقط من هؤلاء وهم إبراهيم موبايد وأحمد رجب وفؤاد باله ومحمد علايا، بالإضافة إلى اثنين آخرين أحدهما من عائلة الخولي والآخر من عائلة عيسى. وقالت الوكالة إن العشرات أصيبوا في المظاهرات التي شهدتها بلدة دوما، كما اعتقلت الشرطة عشرات آخرين، بينهم مصابون منعتهم من الوصول للمستشفى لتلقي العلاج. وحسب الشهود فإن أهالي دوما اضطروا للبقاء في منازلهم بعد أن انتشر القناصة على الأسطح، مستهدفين أي شخص يسير بالشوراع

مظاهرات دمشق وفي العاصمة دمشق قال شاهد العيان وائل الأحمد للجزيرة إنه شاهد بأم عينيه قتيلين على الأقل سقطا برصاص مدنيين مسلحين عقب مهاجمتهم للمصلين الخارجين من مسجد الرفاعي. وقال الشاهد إن المصلين رؤوا بأم أعينهم الشرطة وهم يوزعون السلاح على هؤلاء المدنيين

Al-Jazeera Video: Protesters return to Egypt's Tahrir square

"Thousands of people have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir [Liberation] Square.

Pro-reform activists say they fear the country's revolution is under threat.

They are calling for the country's military government to punish the remaining members of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports from Cairo, Egypt."

BBC: At lease 10 demonstrators killed near Damascus

سوريا: قتلى ومصابون أثناء مظاهرات بلدة دوما في دمشق

Homs desmonstration today

Deaths in Syrian protest march for freedom

Deaths reported as anti-government rallies get under way after Friday prayers in several cities.


"Protests against Baath Party rule demanding freedoms have broken out in several Syrian cities in the north and south, including the flashpoint city of Daraa after prayers on Friday, activists have said. Hundreds of people took to the streets in and around the capital Damascus, where security forces reportedly fired tear gas at protesters in the suburb of Douma, and in the coastal cities of Latakia and Banias. Syrian security forces and ruling Baath Party loyalists attacked protesters with batons in Rifali mosque in the capital, Damascus. Citing witnesses, Reuters said at least six protesters were arrested and dozens more beaten as they were leaving the mosque. Al Jazeera's Cal Perry reporting from Damascus said there are unconfirmed reports of at least three protesters killed in Douma, a suburb about 20 minutes outside the capital, and that the situation there was escalating.....

At least three people were reportedly killed in Douma, Reuters said, citing witnesses....."

Videos: تظاهرات احتجاجية حاشدة في مختلف المدن السورية


"شهدت المدن السورية بعد صلاة الجمعة اليوم، مظاهرات احتجاجية حاشدة، رغم الاصلاحات التي أعلنها الرئيس السوري بشار الأشد في خطابه قبل يومين، ووعوده بالتغيير وإلغاء قانون الطوارئ، والذي وصف فيه ما يحصل في سوريا بـ "المؤامرة الخارجية". هذا وانطلقت التظاهرات في كل من العاصمة دمشق، وبانياس، وبرزة، وإنخل، ودرعا، وعامودا، وكفر سوسة، وحمص، ودير الزور واللاذقية، والقامشلي، وغيرها من المدن والمناطق السورية. وذكرت مصادر أن قوات الامن السورية تقوم بمحاصرة مدينة إنخل، وأنها أطلقت الغاز المسيل للدموع في محاولة لتفريق المحتجين في درعا، والذين كانوا يهتفون: "سلمية سلمية." كما أفاد شهود عيان، أن قوات الامن تحاصر مسجد عبد الكريم الرفاعي بفكر سوسة، وأنها اعتدت على المتظاهرين الذين يعتصمون داخله، كما قامت بإطلاق القنابل المسلة للدموع في حمص ودوما، ونشرت الحواجز والأشلاك الشائكة في بعض المدن.

بانياس في جمعة الشهادة 1-4-2011 جزء 1

بانياس في جمعة الشهادة 1-4-2011 جزء2

Demonstrations in Kamshli 4/1 مظاهرات القامشلي

جماه أبي الفداء في جمعة الشهادة 1-4-2011

الحسكة جمعة الشهادة في عامودا 1-4-2011

دمشق - جمعة الشهداء من داخل مسجد الرفاعي - كفر سوسة

دمشق - جمعة الشهداء من مسجد الرفاعي - كفر سوسة

درعا إنخل جمعة الشهداء بعد الصلاة 1-4-2011

Demonstrations Lattakia 4/1 مظاهرات اللاذقية

Al-Jazeera Video: Fierce fighting erupts in Brega


An Order Was Given Not to Fire in the Air and Waste Ammunition!

Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a "yes" vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya - the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973. The revelation came from two different diplomats, a European and a member of the BRIC group, and was made separately to a US scholar and Asia Times Online. According to diplomatic protocol, their names cannot be disclosed. One of the diplomats said, "This is the reason why we could not support resolution 1973. We were arguing that Libya, Bahrain and Yemen were similar cases, and calling for a fact-finding mission. We maintain our official position that the resolution is not clear, and may be interpreted in a belligerent manner.".....

According to the Obama administration's own official doublespeak, dictators who are eligible for "US outreach" - such as in Bahrain and Yemen - may relax, and get away with virtually anything. As for those eligible for "regime alteration", from Africa to the Middle East and Asia, watch out. Globocop NATO is coming to get you. With or without dirty deals."

Saudi Arabia: Let Women Vote, Run for Office

No Excuse for Exclusion From Upcoming Municipal Elections

March 31, 2011

"(Beirut) - The Saudi government's refusal to let women vote in municipal elections in September 2011 unlawfully deprives women of their rights to full and equal status under the law, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the election committee to allow women to vote and to run for seats on the municipal councils......

"The government of Saudi Arabia cannot expect Saudi women to believe that a lack of preparation is behind the denial of their rights to political participation," said Nadya Khalife, Middle East women's rights researcher for Human Rights Watch. "This was a preposterous excuse in 2005, and even more so now. This crude sex discrimination is an insult to millions of Saudi women."......"

Libya and the Obama Cult

How the President conned his supporters – and his enemies

by Justin Raimondo
, April 01, 2011

"....Of course Libya is crawling with CIA, as well as British, French, and Italian spooks, and what they’re gathering is a lot more than "intelligence": they’re out there collecting potential "leaders" among the rebels, choosing up sides, determining who will go on the payroll and who will be quietly sidelined or eliminated. I don’t know why Andrew Sullivan is pretending to be so surprised: how else are the "Allied" nations "and NGOs," meeting in London, going to provide "political guidance" to post-Gadhafi Libya? I love the part about the participation of the NGOs: this is transnational progressivism in action....

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, although pursued with some alacrity by the Obama-ites, are the legacy of the previous administration. This is a war the White House can call its own – and it surely bears the trademark arrogance and slippery two-faced double-dealing that is the hallmark of Team Obama. The "Arab Spring" that was previously being celebrated and closely watched the world over has now been co-opted and transformed into something else entirely. Faced with the prospect of losing its Middle Eastern allies to a wave of uprisings, the Americans have decided to go with the flow, so to speak, and try to control it as best they can......

Yes, Washington may suffer a few more losses, such as in Egypt: Yemen looks shaky, and Bahrain not much better, but these are countries on the margins of the Middle East. The core – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq – is secure, for the moment, and the acquisition of Libya will be a major gain. As Rahm Emmanuel would put it, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." The Libyan people certainly have a right to rebel against the sinister clown Gadhafi. They also would be fools not to accept such aid as they can manage to find in order to win their fight. The problem is that the price of that aid will be so high that their independence will be compromised beyond redemption. It may be preferable to have one’s future "mapped out" by the Western powers acting in the name of the "international community," rather than by an aging autocrat with delusions of grandeur, but in the end they’ll rebel against that, too, and rightly so. Libya is but a prelude to a major extension of US power and influence in the region, the first war in a series that will culminate in the final assault on Iran. This is what the Israelis, lurking in the background, are counting on, and what their energetic American lobby is furiously campaigning for. The Clinton faction, having seized control of the foreign policy-making apparatus, is fully on board, and there’s no one of any consequence in the Democratic party to oppose their course."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sami' Shaqeer Tribute to Daraa

Britain in talks with 10 more Gaddafi aides

(Click on cartoon by Dave Brown to enlarge)

Inner circle turn their backs on besieged Libyan dictator

By Cahal Milmo, Oliver Wright and Donald Macintyre in Tripoli
The Independent

"The British Government said it was in urgent talks with up to another 10 senior figures in Colonel Gaddafi's creaking regime about possible defection following the dramatic arrival in Britain of the Libyan dictator's chief henchman for much of his 40 years in power. As former foreign minister Moussa Koussa was reported to be "talking voluntarily" to British officials yesterday, the Libyan regime was desperately struggling to limit the damage of the stunning desertion, suggesting he was exhausted and suffering from mental problems. But its capacity to stop the domino effect appeared to be limited. The Independent understands that British officials are already in contact with up to 10 leading Libyan officials about following Mr Koussa's lead and deserting Gaddafi. As Libyan diplomats at the United Nations said they expected further defections and reports emerged that a senior figure in the country's London embassy had changed sides, David Cameron said others should now "come to their senses". Meanwhile, speculation was rife in Tripoli that a series of defections was imminent. And it was reinforced by the confirmation that Ali Abussalam Treki, a top Libyan official who had also served as foreign minister and UN ambassador, had quit over the "spilling of blood" by government forces....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Question marks over reported Libyan defections

Emad Hajjaj's Latest Cartoon

Bahraini police arrested my brother for blogging

Mahmood is a passionate defender of peaceful protest and human rights – and for that he is being 'kept as a guest' by police

Hani AlYousif
, Thursday 31 March 2011

"At 3am on Wednesday morning they came to arrest my brother, Mahmood, at his home. His son Arif witnessed the arrest by Bahraini police who claimed to have a warrant. His crime was nothing more than trying to promote dialogue between the protesters and government of Bahrain. Mahmood al-Yousif is a prominent blogger back home. They call him the Blogfather because his was one of the first such websites in Bahrain. Since people started demonstrating against the government on 14 February he had been consistently advocating dialogue and peaceful protest.....

Mahmood did manage to make one call after his arrest. He spoke with his son to tell him that he was being "kept as a guest" and not to make a big deal of it. However, he has no access to legal advice, no contact with his family and probably no idea how long he is to be held. We don't know that either and we are very worried for his safety."

To bomb and protect

Instead of bombings, the US should have prevented a politically connected lobbying firm from ending Gaddafi's isolation.

Larbi Sadiki

"....But if one is to be guided by the benefit of hindsight of two messy wars – Afghanistan and Iraq – taking over the skies and dumping bombs are not sufficient to close the circle in conflicts aimed at promoting ''democracy'' (Iraq) or sacking ''mullah-ocracy'' (Afghanistan). Invasion had to follow in both countries. Resolution 1973 gives no such mandate. Here lies one flaw of the mandate to ''protect civilians''. The operative term here is ''protection'' – how much protection? Is the mandate to protect civilians coupled with the possible survival of a weakened Gaddafi state in the western half of Libya reconcilable? What are the limits of and terms that must define ''protection''? Living with the ''threat'' of dictatorship but not with the imminent physical danger to a population by its state may be one illusion that calls for redefining ''protection'' in light of the popular protests sweeping the Arab Middle East.....

Part of being a Houdini is mobilising human and financial resources to secure longer survival. The lobbying undertaken successfully by the US-based Livingston Group (TLG) on behalf of Libya was instrumental in the survival and rehabilitation of Gaddafi. In particular, TLG's lobbying led to normalisation of US relations with the Gaddafi regime. TLG's work is summarised in a confidential 2009 memo titled "2008-2009 Full Normalisation Action Program: Moving the New Libya-US Bilateral Relationship Forward". What is puzzling in all of this is not understanding TLG's reasons (business/fees) behind helping mend relations with a murderous and authoritarian regime; rather, it is the question of ''protection''. Protection should have been through prevention. That is, enactment of principled policies aimed at isolation and boycott of murderous regimes.....

Unanimous vote for Gaddafi? The confidential memo brags about the feat in winning the vote for the waiver and enlisting Republican and Democratic support for the legislation, one of the last laws signed by George W. Bush before he vacated the White House.....

What is not known is whether the weaponry used by Gaddafi's forces was procured from Western powers, who rushed to normalise relations with Gaddafi. TLG's lobbying effort aimed at upgrading bilateral, defence and security relations. As a result International Military Education Training funds for Libya were set at $333,000 and $350,000 respectively for financial years 2008 and 2009. So presumably some of that US military know-how provided to Libyan officers was used by Gaddafi in oppressing the Libyan people.....

The children of Gaza need protection. So do dissident citizens in Bahrain, who have been protesting peacefully. If the new logic of protection persists, the world can expect the unexpected – more intervention in a number of the Arab League member states who supported intervention in Libya.....

There is a hidden dirty war which casts doubts about the morality of Western interest and intervention in Libya. The upgrade of relations even allowed the US to infiltrate the Gaddafi regime succeeding to recruit a few men, including foreign minister Musa Kusa, whose murderous history is known to all. The Americans may have facilitated his escape to Tunisia two days ago, which would mean he has US support and ''protection''....."

Asad's speech (II): distasteful and repugnant

By Angry Arab

"Here is my take on the speech: first, he is probably the best speaker among all Arab leaders, and has by far the best command of the Arabic language (although he does not use that old-fashioned style of flowery expressions). As my mom says about him: he is the best educated among Arab leaders (many of whom are illiterate) and it shows. Secondly, the expectations were high by virtue of the statements by Faruq Ash-Shar` and Buthayna Sha`ban: his own aides. But personally, I don't think that you should have expected much. The Asad's school of Ba`thist repression in Syria is that you never show weakness and that you deny facts that are contrary to your interests. Bashshar did not want to believe that the Lebanese people wanted the Syrian army to leave Lebanon. And when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets, he believed otherwise and gave a speech from that same podium arguing that the crowds were nothing other than a camera trick. The following massive pro-March 14 demonstration answered him back, loudly. And Arab tyrants are stubborn: they simply dismiss facts and realities that run contrary to their interests. But I also have argued that Bashshar is not running the show anymore: the narrow `Alawite minority military-intelligence elite felt threatened in its control as it did back in 1982 and it struck back and will strike back. Bashshar can only follow, and yesterday he seemed to be convinced of the argument of repression and more repression. The speech was a lousy failure by all measure: form and substance. I did not think that a repressive regime is capable of change or reform: it just can't happen. They all privately use the example of Gorbachev. They feel that reform is a slippery slope that would lead to their downfall eventually. I know from a person close to Bashshar that the latter has always argued against free elections because the Muslim Brotherhood would win all the seats, as he would say. He used to argue, privately, that preparing the Ba`th Party and building it up, would be the prerequisite to allow a measure of free elections. Of course, the Ba`th Party is as weak and hated as it has always been. Bashshar never succeeded in building it up, because it can't be built up. The speech offered nothing: except the conspiracy theory about the protests. I am big on conspiracy theories in the Arab world, and I do believe that Israel/Saudi Arabia have been involved in fomenting trouble and subversion in Syria. But that does not mean that there are no real and genuine protests (the bulk of the protests are real and genuine). Bashshar offered that there are sincere protesters but that they were duped by Fitnah scenario from outside. He wanted to appear strong and determined, and in that he succeeded. He was speaking not to the Syrian public, but to his Alawaite minority base. Let us not forget the narrow sectarian base of the regime, the secular inclusive rhetoric of Bashshar notwithstanding. The speech was actually grotesque and repugnant: at a time when unarmed protesters were shot and children were arrested, he made silly jokes (I commented on Facebook yesterday that one of the (additional) problems in the Arab world, is that the entourage of our tyrants convince them that they are funny: so they make jokes and they crack themselves up). His humor was tasteless and unfunny. He seemed arrogant and insensitive. And the cheers and clownish behavior of his lousy puppet parliament will be saved for future plays in free Damascus, to mock the Syrian Ba`thist tyranny. The Syrian parliament and the Saudi Shura Council: are somebody's idea about satire of parliament. What jokes they are those two. And the statements of their members should be preserved to account for their behavior later. They were like penguins: and how undignified. But tyrants appreciate that kind of behavior. Bashshar today announced the formation of yet another committee to investigate: add that to his committee to investigate the murder of lousy Rafiq Hariri. Has a committee in Ba`thist Syria ever reached conclusions ever? He got intoxicated with scenes of massive demonstrations in his support. Those demonstrations surprised me really and I don't buy the Hariri media notions that they were all forced. I do believe that there are Syrians who for whatever reasons like Bashshar and want him to succeed. A pro-Syrian politician called me last week upon returning from Syria and told me that the situation is serious and that it could easily get out of hand, if Bashshar did not deal with it skillfully. He added that Bashshar is well-liked by his people, unlike neighboring Arab countries. That may be true, but his speech was offensive to all Syrians, or it should be. Those regimes are hopeless: they can't be reformed. As-Safir and Al-Akhbar should have been more, much more, negative about the speech. It deserves only scorn. "

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story: Steps towards peace in Libya

Al-Jazeera Video: Misurata doctor describes civilian casualties

"A doctor in Misurata, a city in western Libya that has been besieged by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, told Al Jazeera on March 28 that his hospital has treated more than 1,500 injured people and taken in more than 200 killed since the conflict began mroe than 40 days ago."

Real News Video: Syria's President Offers Future Reforms, Blames Conspiracy for Protests

Joshua Landis: People want deep political and economic reform but fear ethnic civil war

More at The Real News

Real News Video: Libya: Obama and the Libyan Rebellion

Gilbert Achcar: US/NATO should get out of Libya, rebels should be armed to wage their own fight

More at The Real News

Jeremy Scahill and Ex-DIA Analyst Joshua Foust on "The Dangerous U.S. Game In Yemen" & CIA Ops in Libya

"Hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Yemen on Wednesday as part of the unwavering protests for the resignation of U.S.-backed President Ali Abdullah Saleh. We speak to independent journalist Jeremy Scahill, who argues the U.S. secret war has unintentionally played a significant role in weakening Saleh’s regime; and Joshua Foust, who recently left his post as Yemen analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency. We also get their reaction to the latest news CIA operatives are on the ground in Libya as part of a covert Western force to aid the U.S.-led bombing campaign....."

Syria: President Asad Fails to Deliver Reform

Government Should Abolish Emergency Law, Amend Repressive Laws, Abolish Special Courts

March 30, 2011

"(New York) - President Bashar al-Asad's speech on March 30, 2011, failed to commit to a specific reform agenda that would safeguard public freedoms and judicial independence and prohibit the Syrian government from encroaching on human rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The much anticipated speech was delivered before parliament.

Commentators and analysts had expected the president to announce specific reforms to increase public freedoms, including lifting the state of emergency, in place since 1963, following announcements by senior Syrian officials that his speech would "please Syrians." However President al-Asad did not offer any specifics and only declared general support for reform. "It's extremely disappointing that President al-Asad has done nothing more than repeat the same vague promises of reform that he's been uttering for over a decade," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "What's needed immediately if the authorities are to restore any shred of credibility are concrete actions to dismantle Syria's special courts and abolish provisions that criminalize free speech, assembly and association."......."

عضو من الإخوان يستقيل من الجماعة ويتهمها بالاتفاق مع نظام مبارك على إنشاء حزب سياسي

عضو من الإخوان يستقيل من الجماعة ويتهمها بالاتفاق مع نظام مبارك على إنشاء حزب سياسي

"القاهرة- أعلن عضو بجماعة الإخوان المسلمين، كبرى جماعات
المعارضة المصرية، استقالته من الجماعة التي اتهمها بالتورط في صفقات سياسية مع نظام الرئيس المخلوع حسني مبارك. وقال هيثم علي العضو الإصلاحي بالجماعة في كتاب استقالته الخميس إن أعضاء من مكتب الإرشاد، أعلى هيئة تنفيذية داخل الجماعة، التقوا سرا، خلال ثورة 25 يناير، مع عمر سليمان نائب الرئيس السابق وتفاوضوا معه على إنهاء مشاركتهم في الثورة مقابل مكاسب سياسية للجماعة. وأوضح علي، في كتاب استقالته الذي حصلت يونايتد برس انترناشونال على نسخة منها، أن الاتفاق تضمن سماح نظام الرئيس المخلوع للجماعة، المحظور نشاطها وفقا للقانون، بإقامة حزب سياسي. وأضاف إن قيادات الجماعة تفاوضوا مع الأجهزة الأمنية خلال الانتخابات البرلمانية لعام 2005 على السكوت على تزوير النتائج مقابل السماح بفوز نسبة معينة من مرشحي الجماعة في بعض الدوائر الانتخابية. وكان العشرات من شباب الجماعة وجهوا خلال الفترة الماضية انتقادات حادة لأعضاء مكتب الإرشاد ومجلس الشورى بالجماعة، وعدم تفهمها لروح ثورة 25 يناير. ويطالب شباب الجماعة بمنحهم الحرية في الانتماء إلى أحزاب سياسية أخرى بخلاف حزب "الحرية والعدالة" الذي تعتزم الجماعة تأسيسه، رغم تأكيد مرشدها العام محمد بديع رفضه انضمام أي عضو بالجماعة لأحزاب أخرى. ويدعم آراء هذه المجموعة الدكتور عبد المنعم أبو الفتوح عضو مجلس الإرشاد الذي تردد خلال اليومين الماضيين عزمه على الاستقالة، قبل أن يعود للتراجع وينفي تلك الأنباء.

After unscripted Arab drama, the west sneaks back on set

People were not rebelling solely against dictators but the economic model. Yet foreign interests may again be calling the shots


Soumaya Ghannoushi

The Guardian, Thursday 31 March 2011

".....Muammar Gaddafi's model of the iron-fisted ruler who fights to the last drop emboldened some dictators. While Tunisia and Egypt presented Arabs with an inspiring model of change at minimal cost, Libya stirred hopes among their rulers that they might cling on to power through naked violence and the threat of civil war. So in Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh has unleashed his thugs to massacre protesters in Taghyeer Square. In Syria Bashar al-Assad has opened fire on demonstrators in Deraa and Latakia, while in Jordan, next door, security services have brutally dispersed a peaceful picket demanding reform. Gaddafi has inspired fellow despots to shift fear to the people through the use of terror.....

Backstage, however, the French, British, Italians, and Americans are working to promote their own men among the rebels in preparation for the post-Gaddafi era. The real contest is over who calls the shots in the new Libya and who dominates its economy.....

This is part of a campaign to conceal a fundamental fact about what is happening: that people are not only rebelling against an internationally backed political authoritarianism but against the economic model imposed by the IMF, World Bank and, in the case of Tunisia and Egypt, the EU's structural reform programmes. Millions have been left to fend for themselves as state-owned firms have been sold to foreign investors and a cabal of local partners: corruption flourished as a result.....

When the Tunisian people took the world by surprise, those who felt threatened by that uprising were quick to talk of "exceptions". First we were initially warned that Egypt was not Tunisia, then that Libya was not Tunisia or Egypt, and now that Yemen and Syria are not Tunisia, Egypt, or Libya. But in reality the region is fundamentally interconnected. Arabs not only share a geography and language but common crises and aspirations. Though divided into 22 states, statelets, republics and monarchies, Arabs share the misfortune of living under the harshest forms of government, and are united by their yearning for democratisation. With the exception of some Gulf sheikhdoms that enjoy large oil resources and a tiny demography, most of their countries are plagued by a bleak record of economic failure and corresponding social crises. The story of the Arab revolution is not only to be found in prisons, torture chambers and political trials, but in this painful trail of economic and social misery. Ben Ali, Mubarak and their political backers in Washington, London and Paris are culpable – and so are the World Bank, IMF and WTO. In a way, they are the real makers of the Great Arab Revolution."

Syria must change or be changed

The young protesters in Syria will not be put off by President Bashar al-Assad's refusal to listen

Haytham Manna

(a Syrian writer and spokesman for the Arab Commission for Human Rights)
The Guardian
, Thursday 31 March 2011

"....The authorities still retain the same old outlook. They offer sweeping promises, with no detail, as if it is still possible to buy time. But the demands of the youth of Deraa have become national demands throughout Syria. Some of the old opposition parties, now in exile, are looking at events as they unfold, led by a generation they do not know. Some of them are trying to position themselves as future leaders, and others are calling for foreign intervention. But these voices find no echo among young people in the country. This youth, who witnessed the results of the invasion of Iraq in the arrival of half a million Iraqi refugees, will not allow the older generation to control the direction of change. Therefore, whatever happens, and no matter how fierce and aggressive the forces of the old regime may become (as is happening in Libya today), the future can only be better than the past. Those who say all will descend into fear, discord, disruption and chaos are simply afraid of their own freedom.

The youth's civil resistance is unfettered by ideology – what they want is simply that democracy be consolidated and that the resources of the country be used for the good of its people – without exception, exclusion, marginalisation or discrimination.

Despite all that has occured in the region, the Syrian authorities are determined to go on regardless. The best answer to their actions is that put forward by the Youth Movement for Democratic Change: "If you do not change, you are going to be changed.""

Syria: the boldness of Bashar al-Assad

Bashar al-Assad's seemingly relaxed attitude to reform is either supreme confidence or extreme recklessness

Brian Whitaker, Thursday 31 March 2011

".....It was when Assad came to the now-obligatory section of his speech where embattled presidents blame foreign conspiracies for the demonstrations that I started to feel confused. Surely he had got it the wrong way round. Others have been saying that the aim of the "foreign conspiracy", if such it is, is to keep Assad in power, not to remove him. What about that article in Haaretz the other day describing Assad as "Israel's favourite Arab dictator"? Or Hillary Clinton praising him as a "reformer"?

Contrary to the impression given in some of the news reports, Assad did talk about reform, and talked about it rather a lot. Syria is already reforming, he said, and will continue to do so. But just when it seemed that he might be on the point of announcing some specific new reforms, he stopped speaking and the parliament gave him a final round of applause......

But what of the others, almost certainly the majority, who are not hard core? What faith can they place in the assurances of steady reform? Since Assad came to power 11 years ago, a few reforms – very modest ones in comparison with what needs to be done – have been accomplished, perhaps not at a snail's pace but certainly at a speed that could be overtaken by a tortoise. Even Assad conceded in his speech: "The state has made promises of reform and they have not been carried out."

There is no guarantee, though, that reforms promised for the future will be any more radical than those of the past. In the words of another Syrian quoted by Landis: "Somebody has decided that either all Syrians are dumb and [the regime] can continue to trick them for ever or that civil war is much better than giving the people more power."

One of the most telling parts of Wednesday's performance was not Assad's speech itself but what it revealed about the sycophancy of Syria's parliament. This is clearly not a place for hammering out laws and policies through the cut and thrust of debate. It is a temple for the Assad cult and changing that will take more than reform. It will take a revolution."

A defiant Bashar al-Assad

Al Jazeera's senior analyst deciphers whether the Syrian president's speech was historical or merely political.

Marwan Bishara

"Did Syrian president Assad meet the high expectations ahead of his speech?

No he didn't.
Syrian officials had promised a historical speech. Instead, we were treated to a bombastic political speech interrupted by more of the same parliamentary chorus of support for the 'brother leader'. It must have been disappointing for those hoping, at a minimum, for the lifting of the brutal emergency regulations that de facto ban all political dissent, never mind the other urgent political and economic demands. Anything but humbled by recent unrest, the president was either in denial over the widespread opposition to his regime, or indifferent to the authenticity of calls for better living conditions, an end to the systemic corruption and paternalism, as well as the need for urgent political reforms.

What explains the hesitation when the president claims that reforms have already been adopted?

Assad has repeatedly claimed that his country wasn't exactly ready for democracy. Some explain that perhaps he's not ready to abdicate total power......

Moreover, internationally, statements coming from Washington haven't been that menacing. In fact, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, spoke of the destructive Libyan regime, but of the potentially reforming Syrian presidency. Likewise, Europeans who have been overzealous on Libya and the use of military intervention, have been silent on Syria and its own internal unrest......

What does that mean to the future of reform in the country?

.....But it seems there is never a good time for reform in Syria. Indeed, events from 9/11 to the 2008 Israeli invasion of Gaza, through the invasion of Iraq, and the 2005-2007 complications in Lebanon have been counted by the president as reasons for not instituting reforms. Assad reckoned that he would gain his people's loyalty as long as he satisfied, at least symbolically, their national Pan Arab aspirations. Indeed, he long argued that Syria is different from Egypt and Tunisia because of its unique Pan Arab struggles. In reality, Arabs can't live on or by national slogans. Pan Arabism is a mere mirage if not motivated by, and translated into, concrete political and economic freedoms and prosperity for each and every individual Arab nation. That's what the Arab revolution is all about and Syria, as Assad likes to claim, is part and parcel of the Arab world."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BDS Flash Mob in Grand Central Station, NYC

Syria: The republic of Hypocrites

I think one day I hope soon , all those people should be summed up and put in a cage and have all the people of Daraa spit on them one by one.

Brave Syrian woman attacking the tyrant's car after his "Speech"

Assad: The Arab Spring stops here

While Syria's protesters demand freedom, President has stark message for his people

By Robert Fisk

Thursday, 31 March 2011

"He was not a humble President. He did not give way. There were hints, of course – an end to emergency legislation, "reforms" – but when he spoke yesterday, trying to calm a crisis that has seen more than 60 people killed in a fortnight and threatens his very office, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria did not give the impression of a man on the run.

Was it Libya that gave him the "oomph" to go on
, the encouragement to stand up and say that "reform is not a seasonable issue" – an accurate translation of his belief that Syria does not have to conform to the Middle East revolution? Either way, the Baath party is going to fight on. Assad remains the President of Syria. No change.

Well, of course, we shall see. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya is not a wise example to follow in time of need.....

Yet Syria has always remained a unitary state, and it has complied with the West's demands for security co-operation – until the Americans came across the border into Syria and shot up a Syrian security agent's house. So compliant has it been that the US actually sent a poor Canadian to Damascus – "renditioned", in the popular phrase – to be atrociously tortured and kept in a sewer until the Americans realised he was innocent and sheepishly allowed him to return to Toronto....."

Gaddafi forces recapture Ras Lanuf

Press TV

COMMENT by Tony Sayegh

On March 18 I wrote:

It is increasingly clear that the Western imperial powers, with Arab reactionary regimes cover, are putting into effect in Libya what I refer to as the Kissinger doctrine.

Watching the bizarre back and forth movement of forces along the Libyan coast only strengthens my belief that this is exactly what is going on.

The West does not want a clear Gaddafi defeat and his capture and trial. He would only expose all the Western hypocrisy and talk about all kinds of secret deals he concluded with the same imperial powers now claiming to be motivated by humanitarian concerns.

At the same time the imperial powers do not want the revolutionary forces to achieve a quick military victory and for them to gain the upper hand. In that fashion they will remain dependent on NATO and support will be given in proportion to concessions extracted from the "rebels."

Again it is as Kissinger said: Let them destroy each other, BUT NOT TOTALLY. That way, the conflict will endure, dependence on NATO will increase and ultimately will pave the way for NATO troops on the ground. All in the name of protecting civilians since the rebels are weak and "need years of training to be ready."

Does this not sound familiar? Is this not Iraq and Afghanistan all over again? When will the Libyan revolutionaries get their act together, purge their ranks of the Libyan Karzais and start depending on themselves? They need to secure their own, independent sources of arms, and definitely not from the US/NATO. All of the pronouncements from the US about whether or not to arm the "rebels" make me worry even more.

It is a critical time for the Libyan revolution. Stop firing in the air in celebration, because that is way too early. Make the tough decisions, implement discipline and start depending on yourselves. NATO and Qatar are not going to save you, they want to extract maximum concessions from you!

"Gaddafi forces recaptured the eastern oil town of Ras Lanuf on Wednesday, forcing the revolutionary forces to flee to the east, AFP reported. Aided by US-led military strikes, anti-Gaddafi forces had managed to seize a number of oil-rich towns in crisis-hit Libya, including Ras Lanuf and Brega in recent days. On Tuesday, Gaddafi troops reportedly launched a new attack on the on the positions of the revolutionary forces in Misratah, the town located some 200 kilometers east of the capital Tripoli...."

Libya conflict leaves both sides running short of ammunition

Two weeks of intense fighting leaves rebels and government forces low on weapons – and exposes rebel's shortcomings

Richard Norton-Taylor , Nick Hopkins , Chris McGreal in Ajdabiya
, Wednesday 30 March 2011

"Both sides in the Libya conflict are running short of weapons and ammunition after almost two weeks of intense fighting that has brutally exposed the military shortcomings of the rebels, the Guardian has been told.

The rebels were forced into yet another retreat on Wednesday, with Muammar Gaddafi's forces regaining much of the territory taken by them at the weekend and threatening to humiliate the western coalition by again coming within striking distance of Benghazi.

Concern is deepening in the coalition about the rebels' fragile morale and lack of military experience to mount a sustained challenge to the regime[Therefore,....guess what? They need NATO's help and long-term training!]. A military stalemate is now a real possibility [That is the US/NATO plan, exactly!], partly as both sides are struggling to re-equip their forces...."

Bashar implementing reform in Latikia after his speech today

Video: Egyptians rally for Radwan release

From Hossam El-Hamalawy

The Rabbit Announced His "Reforms" Today....
Freedom "You Can Believe in"......

Everyone responsible for torturing the children in Daraa must be punished!

[Long live the beacon of resistance Syria with its leader Bashar , saying NO to Israel and US (so what's a little torture and rape of children anyways?]

We have empathized repeatedly that enlisting children in political conflicts, whether armed or other and whatever the objectives are, is violation of the children's rights to stable, healthy and intact growth that leads to severe consequences including making these children direct victims of these conflicts, either by killing them, torturing them or distorting their personalities.
Arresting the children in Daraa, for writing anti-regime graffiti as spontaneous reaction of the revolutions in the region, is one of the reasons of the events taking place in Daraa. What results killing many people, raising the violence level seriously and threatening the stability of Syria seriously.

But what was found out after releasing the children the fact that they weren't arrested in inhuman conditions only, but they also have been subjected to serve torture as their pictures show.

There are talks going on about sexual harassments the children have faced during detention, but their families kept silent because they were threatened by terrible consequences if they speak out about what happened with their children. As a result, more congestion is grown that could be treated aggressively.

The condemnation by "Syrian Women Observatory" of violence in all its forms is not enough to condemn this barbaric behavior, which violates the Syrian constitution, all Syrian laws, the Convention against Torture signed by Syria, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Syria! Apart from its incompatibility with the minimum humanitarian considerations!

The detention of children in inappropriate places is in itself a violation of their rights, then what about suffering from this horrible torture?! Whoever takes part in this heinous act must be punished, even they must be judged in public court. Not only to make the children (who are the future men of Syria) themselves feel that their dignity cannot be wasted this way without punishing those who violated them, but also for all Syrian men, women and children.

السعودية تنفي تقارير إسرائيلية عن عقد لقاء بين الفيصل ونتنياهو في موسكو

السعودية تنفي تقارير إسرائيلية عن عقد لقاء بين الفيصل ونتنياهو في موسكو

"الرياض- نفت السعودية الأربعاء تقارير إسرائيلية عن عقد لقاء سري في موسكو جمع وزير الخارجية السعودي الأمير سعود الفيصل ورئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو ورئيس الاستخبارات السعودية الأمير مقرن بن عبد العزيز والرئيس الفلسطيني محمود عباس (أبو مازن). ونفى مصدر مسؤول بوزارة الخارجية السعودية في بيان "جملة وتفصيلاً ما تناقلته بعض وسائل الإعلام حول لقاء مزعوم بين الأمير سعود الفيصل وزير الخارجية ورئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي". وكانت صحيفة (يديعوت أحرونوت) ذكرت الأحد الماضي أن لقاءً سرياً عقد في موسكو بين نتنياهو والفيصل ورئيس الاستخبارات السعودية وعباس. وأضافت الصحيفة "أن المجتمعين تناولوا التطورات المتسارعة في المنطقة وأبرزها ثورة البحرين، وتصاعدت الحركة الجماهيرية المطالبة بإحداث إصلاحات سياسية وإقامة دستورية ملكية، وهو ما ترفضه حكومة البحرين وكذلك الحكومة السعودية، حيث أرسلت السعودية قواتها لقمع التظاهرات مستخدمة العربات المدرعة والدبابات والمروحيات". "

Sharif Abdel Kouddous Transitions from Democracy Now! Senior Producer to Middle East Correspondent

"Democracy Now! bids a fond farewell to Sharif Abdel Kouddous, our senior news producer for the past eight years. Kouddous joined Democracy Now! in 2003 just as the United States invaded Iraq. He was soon covering Iraq then returned to produce the daily show, traveling to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to the climate change conferences in Copenhagen, Bolivia and Cancun, and together with Amy Goodman to Haiti to cover the return of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide just weeks ago. During the popular uprising in Egypt, Kouddous became the eyes and ears of Cairos’ Tahrir Square as he reported throughout the uprising. Kouddous is heading home to Egypt and will continue his work reporting as a Democracy Now! correspondent."

Israel's favorite Arab dictator of all is Assad

Both Assad senior and Assad junior advocated resistance against Israel. This slogan was hollow, serving the regime merely as an insurance policy against any demand for freedom and democracy.

As strange as it sounds, everyone in Israel loves Arab dictators. When I say everyone I mean both Jews and Arabs. The favorite dictator of all is president Assad. As Assad junior inherited the oppressive regime in Syria, so did both Jews and Arabs transfer their affection for the dictator from Damascus from Assad senior to his son.
Following the intifada in the Arab states, Bashar al-Assad maintained in an interview to the Wall Street Journal that the situation in Syria is different, adding that Syria is not like Egypt. He also emphasized that Syria was not susceptible to sliding into a similar situation, because it was in the "resistance" front and belongs to the anti-American, anti-Israeli axis.
Well, Assad is right. The situation in Syria is indeed different. The Syrian regime is more like Saddam's defunct regime. The Ba'ath Party that ruled Iraq and the one still ruling Syria both held aloft flags of pan-Arab national ideology. But slogans are one thing and reality is another. All the ideological sweet talk was only talk. For the Ba'ath Party, both in Iraq and in Syria, constituted a political platform to perpetuate tribal, ethnic oppression.

Al-Jazeera Video: Syria update: Reaction from Daraa

"Well during that speech and despite President Assad saying that reforms have been under way for some time, Al Jazeera's correspondent found a different story.

Cal Perry was trying to get reaction from Daraa, the city where the most violent protests took place and dozens were killed.

In the video, he recounted his experience."

Al-Jazeera Video: Riz Khan - Intervention in the Arab world

Al-Jazeera Video: Rebels claim Gaddafi laid mines around Sirte

Al-Jazeera Video: Bahrain security accused of excessive force

Queen Hillary of Libya

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Foreign intervention in Libya - "legitimized" by dodgy United Nations cover - is shaping up as a counter-revolutionary master coup to squash the momentum of the great 2011 Arab revolt, show who's boss, and present neo-colonialism with a facelift. And the new kingmaker presiding over Libya's balkanization is actually a queen: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton...."

Bahrain: Wounded Protesters Beaten, Detained

Stop Targeting Patients Injured in Protests
March 30, 2011

"(Manama) - Bahraini authorities are systematically targeting demonstrators and bystanders wounded in anti-government protests for harassment and mistreatment, and in some cases denying them critical care, Human Rights Watch said today.

Since the Bahraini Defense Force (BDF) took over the country's largest public medical facility on March 16, 2011, security and military forces have sought out and threatened, beaten and detained patients injured by teargas, rubber bullets, birdshot pellets, and live ammunition. These patients also have been removed from hospitals or forcibly transferred to other medical facilities, often against medical advice. Human Rights Watch has been documenting these cases. "There is absolutely no justification for arresting someone solely because the person might have been wounded in a protest-related incident," said Joe Stork, Middle East deputy director at Human Rights Watch. "It is against every tenet of humanity to deprive patients of critical and sometimes life-saving medical treatment, causing them grave suffering and perhaps irreparable harm." ...."