Saturday, January 28, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: حديث الثورة - الطائفية في العالم العربي

حديث الثورة - الطائفية في العالم العربي

عزمي بشارة
محمد كريشان

CNN Report: Syria apparently losing control of suburbs

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptian anti-military activist Maikel Nabil rejects pardon

"Maikel Nabil, one of Egypt's most outspoken voices against the ruling military council, has given his first live television interview to Al Jazeera, just days after being pardoned and released from prison.

Nabil said he rejected the pardon from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and that anyone who mistreated him during his roughly 10 months in prison should be prosecuted.

Nabil was often held in isolation, given limited access to his family and barred from speaking to the media. He was originally sentenced to a three-year prison term. He was arrested in March after writing a blog post entitled "The People and The Army Are Not One Hand"."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian opposition to equip fighters

"Louay Safi, a member of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group, tells Al Jazeera that the Free Syrian Army "is part of the solution".

The council has said it is ready to provide the opposition army with funding and equipment - which Safi calls "defensive equipment to protect civilians"."


By Eric Margolis
January 28, 2012

"Last Monday, Egyptians celebrated the first anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the 30-year Mubarak regime.
By contrast, America’s reaction this historic event was tellingly muted.....

Even if parliament achieves this goal, it will then confront Egypt’s 500,000-man military and equally numerous internal security forces. So far, Egypt’s military, which is financed, armed and sustained by Washington, threw dictator Mubarak to the wolves to appease popular anger but has barely given an inch on other key issues.

A year after the Tahrir Square revolution, Egypt remains a brutal police state where regime critics disappear, are tortured, and jailed in the thousands. The old guard still control much of the nation’s media, academia, courts and industry: Mubarakism without Mubarak.

The US-backed generals own between a third and two thirds of Egypt’s key businesses or real estate and enjoy lavish perks.

The military’s senior military officers have been trained by the US, vetted by CIA, and are joined at the hip to the Pentagon in much the same manner as were Latin America’s generals in the 60’s and 70’s.

Washington gives Egypt’s military $1.3 billion annually, controls its flow of weapons and spare parts, and provides tens of millions in “black payments” to the military, security forces, and intelligence service, the “Mukhabarat.”

Accordingly, it’s difficult to see Egypt’s plutocratic military easily giving up all of its political and economic power to a rowdy civilian parliament, particularly when the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia, France, and Israel are all quietly backing the military regime.

If the military cracks down on parliamentary forces, it risks driving the opposition underground and more violence. Egypt’s military may split, as younger, Nasserite-officers try to seize power, or face bloody urban guerilla war......"

Damascus: The Battle for the Hinterland

For the first time since the outbreak of the Syrian uprising, defectors have managed to secure a strong presence in several towns in the Damascene countryside, including Zabadani, Harasta, Douma, Kafr Batna, and Arbin.

A Syrian soldier, who has defected to join the Free Syrian Army, holds up his rifle and waves a Syrian independence flag in the Damascus suburb of Saqba 27 January 2012.

By: Tarek Abd al-Hayy

"Damascus – Recent clashes in the province of Damascus Countryside between army defectors, also known as the Free Syrian Army, and regular forces have brought talk of the “militarization” of the Syrian protests to the forefront.

While there have been similar incidents in the provinces of Homs, Hama and Idlib, they take on added importance in the capital's rural hinterland with its dense and diverse population.

Speculation is rife that the army is poised to launch a decisive large-scale operation aimed at regaining control of these cities, for fear that they could become military access-points to the capital itself.

It all began with Zabadani, near the Lebanese border.....

It is completely different inside Zabadani. As you enter the town, you no longer feel you are in the same Syria. "We have overthrown the regime" locals proclaim. They say that they now take to the freezing streets every night to protest, protected by army defectors who surround the demonstrators to safeguard against any attacks by the security forces.

Life continues as normal in many respects. People go out walking, and children attend school. Some residents have hoisted the “independence flag” as they call it, rather than the current national flag. There is a strong sense of triumph among local people, mixed with fear that the army might mount a major operation to regain control.

One local activist, requesting anonymity, explains that the security forces retreated from Zabadani. They pulled out their armor and requested a truce after being under pressure from guerrilla-style attacks carried out by armed groups based in the surrounding mountains.....

But the activist stresses that people feel much safer now after the withdrawal of security forces from the streets. This has encouraged growing numbers of people to go out and protest on a daily basis. Goods that were previously scarce, such as diesel and gas, are also more readily available.

Zabadani today is virtually under the control of the armed groups,” he says. “The security forces are positioned in the surrounding areas, but nevertheless, the people of this region are saying: ‘We have been liberated.’”......

There have been reports of a widespread campaign of arrests and raids in Harasta, including reports of houses being forcibly evacuated and either demolished [Israeli tactic!] on the grounds that they were used for dissident activity, or taken over as security positions [Israeli tactic, again!]. Also, there have been reports of snipers being positioned on rooftops. They shoot at any moving target, particularly in the direction of Douma and Qaboun, which activists say are witnessing similar "hysterical" crackdowns.

According to a member of the local coordinating committee, armed groups began deploying in Harasta days ago in order to protect protesters. They erected barricades to block the entry of security forces, who remained on the outskirts. This encouraged large numbers of people to take to the streets to demonstrate or attend the funerals of martyrs. Moreover, unprecedented calls were made from some mosque minarets, urging anyone with a weapon to confront the army and security forces. Hundreds of locals, many of whom own guns to protect their farmland, came forward to volunteer for the Free Army, the activists says.....

Yet at the same time, the regime cannot afford to just let defections from the army increase while gunmen establish themselves on the fringes of the capital, from where they could launch a repeat of the Libyan rebels’ march on Tripoli....."

(Click on map to enlarge)

The present stands no chance against the past

By Robert Fisk

"The Palestinians are not only, it seems, an "invented people" – courtesy of Newt Gingrich – but the only Arabs on the Mediterranean not to enjoy a Spring or an Awakening or even a Winter.....

For what? Israel, which in the past could analyse events rationally, if not always correctly, appears, too, to have lost its ability to grasp events, its Prime Minister hiding behind self-delusional speeches when he should be understanding the typhoon sweeping across the Arab states around him. People who will no longer tolerate dictators are not going to accept peace treaties with an ever more expansionist Israel – 2,000 more colonisers' homes, Netanyahu decided last autumn, would be the latest punishment for the Palestinians who dare to demand statehood....

... Indeed, I have a letter beside me as I write, sent to The New York Times on 2 December 1948, warning of the visit to the US of the young Menachem Begin whose "Freedom Party", said the letter's authors, was "closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties". Among the authors of this letter was Albert Einstein....

Now, said Peled, at Silwan just outside East Jerusalem, thousands of Palestinians may be evicted from their homes "so that Israel can build a park to glorify a conquest that took place 3,000 years ago, never mind that not a shred of scientific evidence exists that such a king (David) ever lived, any more than there is evidence the world was created in six days. The past trumps the present in Israel – a state that wants to eliminate the existence of people who live on their land to solidify the myth of a glorious past". Strong stuff indeed.

But is it any surprise that the Palestinians believe this when the president who told them they deserve a state vetoes their demand for statehood at the United Nations, while his country deprives them of millions of dollars for daring to believe him, withdraws its funding from Unesco when it bestows a kind of statehood on the Palestinians – and then remains silent when Israel says it will keep money legally owed to the Palestinians of the West Bank? But since Obama's re-election counts for more than "Palestine", what chance is there of peace in the Middle East? Maybe Israel is ensuring that the past also trumps the present in the United States. If only we could ask the one rabbi Netanyahu chose to quote in his UN speech against Palestinian statehood last year: the very same rabbi who inspired the murderer Baruch Goldstein to kill so many Palestinians 18 years ago."

Palestinian civil society condemns Arab participation in Hertzliya Conference

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"The Palestinian Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) condemned on Thursday the participation of Arab figures from Egypt, Jordan and Qatar in the 12th annual Herzliya conference.

The Herzliya conference is considered the most important annual event for Israel's military intelligence as it is concerned mainly with the promotion of Israeli "national security," and thus forms a major threat to the Palestinian cause, the committee said in a statement Thursday.

The Herzliya conference will be held between 31 January and 2 February under the name “In the Eye of Storms: Israel and the Middle East."

Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a London-based Arabic daily, reported on Thursday that among participants in the conference are Riad al-Khoury, a Jordanian economist, Salman al-Sheikh of the Doha-based Brookings Institute, Sherif al-Diwany, chairman of Marsad (Observatory) Inc. in Egypt, and Saeb Erekat, former chief Palestinian negotiator.

The BNC called on Arab figures participating in the conference to withdraw.

The statement said Arab figures' participation is totally incompatible with the Palestinian people's will, as expressed by the vast majority of its parties, trade unions and political factions in the 2005 "call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era" until it fully complies with international law and human rights principles, the statement added.
The participation of Arab figures in the conference helps legitimize Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people and all the Arab peoples, the statement said, adding that it gives a false impression of normal relations between the Arab world and Israel despite the latter's occupation, racism and continuing violation of international law and the rights of Palestinians......"

Friday, January 27, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian activists propose an armed uprising

"A growing number of activists in Syria are taking up arms to protect themselves from the government's violent crackdown that has claimed thousands of civilians lives since March.

They have begun setting up military councils in provinces across the country to create an organised command structure.

And the Syrian National Council, a leading opposition group, says it will logistically back the armed uprising to prevent more civilians from being killed.

Zeina Khdor reports from Beirut."

واشنطن والمعادلة المفرغة: إسقاط النظام السوري أم سقوطه؟

صبحي حديدي

الآن إذْ تدخل الانتفاضة السورية شهرها الحادي عشر، يجد بعض الساسة الأمريكيين أنفسهم أكثر اضطراراً إلى التعليق عليها، بمقدار أعلى من الوضوح؛ وأكثر شهية للمناوشة حولها، بين ديمقراطي هنا وجمهوري هناك، أو بين الرئيس الأمريكي نفسه، وأحد أبرز المرشحين الجمهوريين لانتخابات الرئاسة. وهكذا، أعلن الأوّل، باراك أوباما، في خطبته السنوية عن حال الاتحاد، أنّ 'نظام الأسد سيكتشف قريباً أنه لا يمكن مقاومة قوة التغيير وتجريد الشعب من كرامته'، وبالتالي فإنّ 'أيام النظام السوري أصبحت معدودة على غرار نظام القذافي'.
الثاني، ميت رومني، لام الرئيس على تأخره في إطلاق هذا التصريح، لأنه يصدر اليوم فقط 'بعد إراقة الكثير من الدماء في ذلك البلد'، والمطلوب أن 'تُظهر أمريكا دورها القيادي على المسرح العالمي، وتعمل على نقل هذه الأمم النامية نحو الحداثة'.
من جانبه، رأى السناتور جون كيري، رئيس لجنة العلاقات الخارجية في مجلس الشيوخ الأمريكي، أن سورية 'على حافة الحرب الأهلية'، ولهذا كان 'تصعيد العنف' الموضوع الأبرز في حواراته مع ساسة الشرق الأوسط، أثناء جولة استغرقت 11 يوماً. ورغم أنّ كيري كان أحد أنشط محاوري بشار الأسد (ليس حول الإصلاح والديمقراطية وحقوق الإنسان بالطبع، بل حول إحياء قناة التفاوض السورية ـ الإسرائيلية حصرياً)، فإنّ توصياته للإدارة الأمريكية شدّدت على فتح الحوار مع 'عدد كبير من الحلفاء'، والتشاور مع الجامعة العربية ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي 'للنظر في ما يتوجب اتخاذه، خطوة خطوة'. زميله في الحزب ومجلس الشيوخ روبرت ب كيسي الابن، رئيس اللجنة الفرعية للشرق الأوسط، ذهب أبعد فرأى أنّ الجامعة العربية 'لا تقوم بكلّ ما في وسعها القيام به'، وعلى الولايات المتحدة أن تبذل المزيد من الجهد.
وثمة رأي (ينضوي كاتب هذه السطور في عداد القائلين به)
يرى أنّ البيت الأبيض ما يزال غير حاسم بصدد، أو غير مستقرّ تماماً على، تحديد سياسة مفصلة وملموسة وقابلة للتطبيق المرحلي حول إسقاط النظام السوري، رغم اليقين المتزايد ـ والذي يلوح، اليوم، أنه صار جازماً ـ بأنّ سقوط النظام صار استحقاقاً لا محيد عنه. الفارق بين 'إسقاط' و'سقوط' هو جوهر إشكالية، إذا جاز اعتبارها هكذا، جعلت واشنطن تتأخر كثيراً في النطق بالعبارة/ الدرّة (أي الإعلان الصريح عن ضرورة تنحي الأسد)، فتواصل تقليب الملفّ السوري على نار خامدة تارة، وأخرى متقدة طوراً. وثمة، كما هو معروف ومتكرر، سلسلة أسباب وجيهة، سورية داخلية صرفة وإقليمية دولية أيضاً، جيو ـ سياسية وعسكرية واجتماعية واقتصادية ودينية، تجعل الملفّ السوري أشدّ تعقيداً، وإنذاراً بالمخاطر والمزالق، من أن تُصاغ في تناوله معالجات يسيرة أو سريعة.
فأن يتبنى البيت الأبيض مفهوم الإسقاط، أمر يعني المشاركة في الجهود المفضية إلى زعزعة أركان النظام، سواء أكانت سرّية أم علنية، ودبلوماسية صرفة، أم تساندها إجراءات استخباراتية وعسكرية ولوجستية متعددة، بينها إقامة المناطق الآمنة، والممرّات الإنسانية، وربما خطوط الإمداد في حال إقرار مشاريع تدخل عسكرية من أي نوع؛ وهذا ما لم تحسم الإدارة أمرها فيه، بل يصحّ القول إنها عازفة عنه عملياً (لحسن حظّ الشعب السوري، وانتفاضته التي أرادها وطنية، سلمية، غير مرتهنة لقوى خارجية سبق للسوريين أن ذاقوا مرارة تواطؤها مع النظام). غنيّ عن القول، أيضاً، إنّ سورية ليست العراق، وليست ليبيا، بمعنى أنها ليست كعكة مصالح تسيل اللعاب المحرّض على التدخل الخارجي؛ ونظامها، من جانب آخر، هو الأفضل لحليف الولايات المتحدة الأفضل، إسرائيل، كما أنه خير الممانعين طرّاً: نظام 'ممانِع'، لا يمانع!

Tunisia and Egypt One Year On

A Year of Spring

In short, Tunisia promises a much smoother transition to a more stable society and democratically functioning system than Egypt. But with the cautious moves of the FJP and other Islamic parties, Egypt’s future also appears to be heading towards steady though slow progress, and following a promising yet challenging path. However, it’s important to keep in mind that all these significant changes in both countries are taking place while severe economic problems and hardships are mounting, and as they struggle against enormous foreign interference and external pressures."

Gingrich’s Extremist Anti-Palestinian Stance Follows Millions From Casino Magnate Sheldon Adelson

Democracy Now!

"Many analysts say Newt Gingrich’s recent rise in the Republican contest would have been impossible without the backing of one man — multi-billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Adelson and his wife have donated $10 million to the pro-Gingrich super PAC, "Winning Our Future," which has run a series of ads attacking Gingrich’s opponent Mitt Romney. Gingrich has openly admitted Adelson’s support came down to a single issue: Israel. Gingrich has adopted the most extremist anti-Palestinian stance of the Republican presidential field, calling the Palestinians themselves an "invented" people. We speak with Gal Beckerman of the Jewish Daily Forward and Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York..."

Al-Jazeera Video: Empire - Tunisia: A revolutionary model


"Tunisia has adopted an interim constitution, held free and fair elections, and is becoming a modern democratic state. A year after the Jasmine Revolution, can the country's new government fix the vast social injustices that triggered it?"

Al-Jazeera Video: Fear over the militarised conflict in Syria

"As the government and the opposition are not backing down, there are those who fear that the increasingly militarized conflict may only lead to all-out warfare.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports from Beirut."

Real News Video: Thousands of Egyptians Call for End to Military Rule

Jihan Hafiz reports that on Jan 25th Anniversary of the revolution thousands of people across Egypt demand justice for the martyrs

More at The Real News

The Best Politicians Money Can Buy, by Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Opportunists and the Revolution

By: Gilbert Achcar

"In a manner infused with the spirit of Western Orientalism, as defined by Edward Said, some Arabs have held that a despotic mentality has taken root among most of their fellow Arabs as a result of their cultural and educational background.

One advocate of such a view in the not-so-distant past was Moncef Marzouki, the transitional president of Tunisia, when he was still living in France as an opponent in exile of the previous president, the tyrant Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

In an article he published on Al Jazeera’s website on 19 February 2010, Marzouki cited the French scholar Beatrice Hibou, author of The Force of Obedience: The Political Economy of Repression in Tunisia, who belongs to the Orientalist school, that explained the Tunisians’ alleged “obedience” to their tyrants by attributing it to a mentality ingrained in them over the course of generations (these theses have been powerfully refuted by the Tunisian scholar Mahmoud Ben Romdhane in a recent book in French).

Marzouki argued that whoever reads Hibou’s book “understands that what bewilders the Western mind about Arabs is our transcendent ability to obey the most corrupt of rulers, while Western culture is based on the refusal to obey injustice and on legitimizing the right to resist it.”

He thus added to the Orientalist image of Arabs an idealized image of “Western culture” as if it were an eternal given.....

One does not need extraordinary insight to realize that the winners of the first post-uprising elections and governments are truly the opportunists and not the revolutionaries, as Marzouki himself rightly said when he was still moved by the thrill and wisdom of the revolution.

Condemning labor strikes and blaming them for the country’s economic decline, as well as playing that same old tune of the “extremists” and “subversives” of the “far left,” have become the common language of the new rulers in both Tunisia and Egypt, in a way that reminds us irresistibly of the deposed regimes.

But the masses that one day aspired to life and experienced the taste of freedom will not stop struggling and protesting before “fate answers their call,” even if only years later."

Billionaire Gingrich backer Adelson regrets he served in US instead of Israeli military

By Ali Abunimah

"Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who along with his wife, has donated $10 million dollars in recent weeks to Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, has said that he wishes he had served in the Israeli army instead of the US military and that he wants his son to grow up to “be a sniper for the IDF.”

Gingrich himself has also doubled down on anti-Palestinian comments, asserting during a CNN debate last night that they were “invented” in the 1970s.

Adelson’s explosive comments are reported this morning by NBC’s Michael Isikoff:

Adelson owns a newspaper in Israel, ‘Israel HaYom,’ that backs conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and adamantly opposes any peace settlement with the Palestinians.
But while Adelson and Gingrich have bonded on the issue of a hawkish Mideast policy, especially over the threat of a nuclear Iran, some of the casino mogul’s comments could prove embarrassing.

In a talk to an Israeli group in July, 2010, Adelson said he wished he had served in the Israeli Army rather the U.S. military–and that he hoped his young son will come back to Israel and “be a sniper for the IDF,” a reference to the Israel Defense Forces. (YouTube video of speech)

“I am not Israeli. The uniform that I wore in the military, unfortunately, was not an Israeli uniform. It was an American uniform, although my wife was in the IDF and one of my daughters was in the IDF … our two little boys, one of whom will be bar mitzvahed tomorrow, hopefully he’ll come back– his hobby is shooting – and he’ll come back and be a sniper for the IDF,” Adelson said at the event.

“All we care about is being good Zionists, being good citizens of Israel, because even though I am not Israeli born, Israel is in my heart,” he said toward the end of his talk......"

American NGO workers prevented from leaving Egypt

Son of US transportation secretary among several election monitors placed on 'no-fly list' as tension with Cairo escalates

Ed Pilkington in New York, Thursday 26 January 2012

"Tension between the US government and the Egyptian military authorities has reached a new peak after it emerged that several American non-governmental workers, including the son of a member of President Obama's administration, are being prevented from leaving the country in an ongoing spat over Egypt's recent parliamentary elections.

Sam LaHood, the son of the US transportation secretary Ray LaHood, was turned back at the airport in Cairo on Saturday in a significant escalation of the diplomatic stand-off between the two countries. LaHood heads the Egyptian outpost of the International Republican Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank that had been monitoring the elections held in recent weeks in the wake of the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak.

According to Politico he was placed on a "no-fly list", without explanation, after he tried to board a plane in an attempt to escape rising hostility towards his and other foreign NGOs. LaHood had previously been named in the state-run press in Cairo....

"That's pretty disquieting – to have that kind of thing raised by an ally that's receiving a billion and a half dollars in US aid each year," Craner said....

Craner said that at first the military generals had responded to the raids as though they were utterly unaware of what had happened. "But it's been nearly a month since then and the generals have been approached on a number of occasions and yet things have only got worse. So you have to wonder what's going on," he said....."

Bahrain’s use of tear gas against protesters increasingly deadly

Amnesty International
26 January 2012

"Bahrain must investigate more than a dozen deaths that followed the misuse of tear gas by security forces, Amnesty International has said after another person was seriously injured by a tear gas canister in Manama this week.

On Tuesday, 20-year-old Mohammad al-Muwali was seriously injured and hospitalized after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister launched by riot police responding to an anti-government protest in the capital city’s Karrana neighbourhood.

A Bahraini human rights group has reported at least 13 deaths resulting from the security forces’ use of tear gas against peaceful protesters as well as inside people’s homes since February 2011, with a rise in such deaths in recent months.

“The rise in fatalities and eyewitness accounts suggest that tear gas is being used inappropriately by Bahraini security forces, including in people’s homes and other confined spaces,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

“The Bahraini authorities must investigate and account for the reports of more than a dozen deaths following tear gas use. The security forces must be instructed on how to use tear gas in line with international policing standards.”

Tear gas is used by law enforcement agencies in many countries as a riot control agent, to disperse violent gatherings that pose a threat to law and order.

But when used inappropriately, including in enclosed areas or on unarmed protesters who are simply exercising their freedoms of expression and assembly, deploying tear gas can constitute a human rights violation...."

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Will the Arab (League) move to the UN succeed in resolving the Syrian crisis?

With about 300 responding so far, 67% said no.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Syrian regime 'importing snipers' for protests

The Australian

"SYRIA is deploying large numbers of Hezbollah and Iranian snipers as "military consultants" to murder anti-regime protesters, a senior government defector has told The Times.

The salaries of the marksmen are paid through a slush fund replenished with US dollars flown in from Iran, according to Mahmoud Haj Hamad, who was the treasury's top auditor at the Defence Ministry until he fled Syria last month.

The same fund is used to pay the Shabiha, the gangs of thugs who have joined the state security services in torturing and killing protesters.

Mr Hamad, appalled at the destruction of cities by the armed forces, fled Syria with his family last month. His account is the first by a senior insider to confirm the presence of foreign forces in Syria to help to prop up the regime.

Even as the government was blaming the uprising on plots by its Arab neighbours and "foreign elements", it was turning to its regional allies to help to suppress the protests....."

Video: اعتقال قناصة إيرانيين بسوريا

"أعلنت أمس الخميس "كتيبة الفاروق في الجيش السوري الحر" عن احتجازها لسبعة إيرانيين، في حين قالت الخارجية الإيرانية إن مجهولين اختطفوا 11 إيرانيا داخل سوريا وهم في طريقهم إلى العاصمة دمشق برا لزيارة العتبات المقدسة فيها.

وأوضحت "كتيبة الفاروق في الجيش السوري الحر" أن خمسة منهم ينتمون إلى الحرس الثوري الإيراني أحدهم ضابط، وقد ألقي القبض عليهم مسلحين وكانوا يعملون قناصة تحت إمرة فرع الأمن الجوي بحمص. أما الآخران فهما مدنيان يعملان في محطة جندر الكهربائية وسيُطلق سراحهما.

في غضون ذلك أدان المتحدث باسم وزارة الخارجية الإيرانية رامين مهمانبرست اختطاف 11 زائرا إيرانيا كانوا في طريقهم إلى دمشق برا لزيارة العتبات المقدسة من قبل مجموعة مجهولة.

ودعا المتحدث السلطات السورية إلى استخدام كل إمكانياتها للإفراج عنهم على وجه السرعة، حسب ما ذكرته وكالة الأنباء الإيرانية الرسمية (إرنا).


An all out war by the Syrian Regime. Bombing building and shooting everything that walks.
A Sectarian massacre took place Sabra & Shatila Style where Alawite death squads massacred
a family of 5 children and 3 women. Jazeera Muabasher is carrying the horror on 4 screens live.
Of course this is all a conspiracy and this is all in order to preserve "Al-Muquamah".

Proof the conspiracy against Syria EXISTS

Finally !! the Syrian government was able to capture and kill a Salafi Al-Qaeda cell in Homs. They have been talking about it for a while but now they have produced the evidence. These Salafis were trying to
incite the Syrian Army to bomb them so they can create an environment for NATO to bomb the beacon of resistance Syria !! or like Nasrallah refers to it : Sooriya Al-Assad.

Iraqis Voice Outrage as U.S. Massacre in Haditha Ends in No Jail Time for Accused Marines

"The last of the U.S. marines charged in the 2005 Haditha massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, received no jail time after he pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty and avoiding charges of involuntary manslaughter. Under his sentencing, Wuterich now faces a maximum penalty of a demotion to the rank of private. The victims, including women and children, were killed when the marines burst into their homes and shot them dead in their nightclothes. Wuterich allegedly led the Haditha massacre and was the last defendant to face charges. Six other marines have had their charges dropped or dismissed, while another soldier was acquitted. "[Iraqi] outrage is perfectly understandable," says Tim McGirk, the Time magazine reporter who broke the story on the Haditha massacre. "Here is a case where so many Iraqis were killed, women and children, old men, and yet what’s happened? Most of the charges have been dismissed, and Wuterich was basically given a slap on the wrist."....."

Video: من خطابات و مقابلات لحكيم الثورة د جورج حبش

Courtesy of

Avoiding a ‘Dumb War’ With Iran

by Philip Giraldi, January 26, 2012

"The media and the punditry have been deliberately misrepresenting facts to persuade the people of the United States to start another war, not unlike in the lead-up to the Iraq fiasco. Since 9/11, hard-liners in the United States have depicted one Muslim country after another as major threats to U.S. security. They have justified attacks on Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, and Afghanistan, and they have endorsed Israel’s military actions against Syria, Gaza, and Lebanon10 Muslim countries.
This time around, Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and New Gingrich are all promising to disarm Iran by force. Romney has a neocon-heavy foreign policy team, while Gingrich’s campaign received at least $5 million in financial support from Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a passionate supporter of Israel. Meanwhile, the White House continues to dither by drawing “red lines” that appear to be more debating points meant to appease the Israelis than substantive policies. ...."

Press freedom index: big falls for Arab trio in year of protest

Syria, Bahrain and Yemen fall backwards as uprisings fail to secure democracy

The Guardian

"Three Arab countries where popular risings have been quashed have achieved their worst-ever rankings in the annual press freedom index.

But the falls by Syria, Bahrain and Yemen are among many changes that reflect a year of unrest and protest.

The United States, for example, has dropped markedly due to the targeting of journalists covering the Occupy Wall Street movement.

It slipped 27 places, down to 47th place out of a total of 179 countries in the survey. Britain fell from 19th to 28th (though the reason for that remains unclear).

"Crackdown was the word of the year in 2011," said Reporters Without Borders (RWB), the international press freedom watchdog, when releasing its 10th annual index.
"Never has freedom of information been so closely associated with democracy. Never have journalists, through their reporting, vexed the enemies of freedom so much.
Never have acts of censorship and physical attacks on journalists seemed so numerous. The equation is simple: the absence or suppression of civil liberties leads necessarily to the suppression of media freedom.
Dictatorships fear and ban information, especially when it may undermine them."......"

Arab regime change is best left to Arabs

To compare Egypt, Syria and Iraq shows how damaging foreign intervention can be to the legitimacy of popular revolt

Rami Khouri in Beirut, Wednesday 25 January 2012

".....The sharp contrasts between events in Egypt and Syria provide fitting bookends to the last two generations of political life in the Arab world – as incompetent, exhausted and discredited political orders are in the process of being changed, largely at the instigation of their own people. These two cases can also be compared with a third – Iraq – where an equally unacceptable autocratic government led by the Ba'ath party was overthrown by an Anglo-American-led military invasion in 2003, leaving the country today in a sad and fractured condition of stress and violence.

Historians will long debate the four critical factors we see at play in these countries: the power and limits of domestic civil disobedience, the role of foreign armies, the impact of Arab League action, and the nature and consequences of Islamist politics that seem to inevitably dominate in liberated and democratic Arab countries....

The main lesson we can draw for now seems to me that self-determination and democratic transitions achieved through legitimate popular revolt are likely to lead to stable governance systems, while upheavals and change generated by invading foreign armies or engineered coups will only lead to continued instability, because they lack the critical elements of legitimacy and accountability. We should keep our eyes on those two factors as deliberations continue on Arab and international intervention in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, and other Arab lands to follow in due course."

Will Egypt's first post-revolution parliament make a difference?

If Egypt's new Islamist majority is seen to be appeasing the military then the new parliament will quickly become irrelevant

Amira Nowaira, Wednesday 25 January 2012

"Egypt's first post-revolution parliament convened for the first time on 23 January, two days before the first anniversary of the revolution that led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. As hundreds of thousands converged on squares across Egypt on Wednesday afternoon to reiterate their original demands of "bread, freedom, human dignity and social justice," the question arises as to whether this parliament can ultimately make a difference.....

If the balance of power in Egypt now is held, broadly speaking, by the three major forces: Scaf, the Islamists and the democracy advocates, it is the latter that speak the loudest and fear the least. While Scaf has the guns as well as the power of state media and de facto authority, and the Islamists have their grassroots appeal through their religiously charged rhetoric, the revolutionaries have nothing but their dogged determination and their unwavering conviction that justice will in the end prevail. As such, they are decidedly a force that cannot be ignored. The new parliament will soon have to choose on which side it will finally be.

It is still too early to predict with any degree of confidence what that choice will ultimately be. As the tides of protesters sweep over Egypt's squares, it is abundantly clear that the new parliament cannot afford to ignore the vocal part of the population except at its own peril. The days when Mubarak's NDP-led parliament submitted to the orders of the regime are over, once and for all. The sooner the new MPs understand that the better. Otherwise, the new parliament will not only become irrelevant but also the cause of fresh waves of anger."

Egyptian protesters say 'the revolution never went away'

A year after the overthrow of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, protesters return to Tahrir Square to hold the military to account

Jack Shenker in Cairo, Wednesday 25 January 2012

"....In the end though, peaceful coexistence largely prevailed. "Parliament [which is now dominated by the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party'] is one source of democracy and this, the street, is another," said Adel Tawfiq, a young architect and member of the Muslim Brotherhood. "I know the revolution isn't over, and I think we need both to ensure it succeeds. These two things aren't in opposition to each other, in fact they go hand in hand."

And it is that ascendancy of sovereignty from below – accepted even by those who have most invested in the government – that is perhaps this revolution's greatest triumph so far, one year on from the day it all began. "We're witnessing a new definition of politics," claimed Khaled Fahmy, chair of the history faculty at the American University in Cairo who joined the rallies today. "Those fighting for change here, their imagination, their discourse, their imagery, their tactics and organisation – it's all unprecedented...."

No Joy in Egypt

A year after the revolution started, human rights abuses continue under the ruling military council.

by Daniel Williams

"As Egypt marks the first anniversary of the Jan. 25 civilian revolt that eventually toppled the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, there's no agreement – on how to celebrate or even whether rejoicing is in order.

The current military rulers – the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF – want to hold parades and aerial jet exhibitions to exult in the revolution, of which their main part was to ease Mubarak out of power. Youth groups and democracy activists who originally engineered the uprising are carrying on a campaign called "The Generals are Liars," with mini-demonstrations and audiovisual presentations in the streets documenting police and military abuses. Islamic politicians, triumphant in recent parliamentary elections, extol the military's role while pressing for an eventual transfer of power to civilians....

Egypt seated a new parliament on Monday. It should act quickly to wipe clean the slate of laws that restrict free speech, association and assembly and that permit police too much latitude to shoot protesters. Members of the parliament should limit military court jurisdiction to military officials and repeal the emergency law. Egypt's foreign friends – including the aid-giving U.S. government – should wholeheartedly support the reforms and resist suggestions that continued dictatorship means stability.

With Egypt's revolution in its first stages, the time is now for the parliament to end Egypt's long-term rule by military fiat."

Libya: Deaths of detainees amid widespread torture

"Several detainees have died after being subjected to torture in Libya in recent weeks and months amid widespread torture and ill-treatment of suspected pro-al-Gaddafi fighters and loyalists, Amnesty International said today.

Amnesty International delegates in Libya have met detainees being held in and around Tripoli, Misrarah and Gheryan, who showed visible marks indicating torture inflicted in recent days and weeks. Their injuries included open wounds on the head, limbs, back and other parts of the body.

The torture is being carried out by officially recognized military and security entities as well by a multitude of armed militias operating outside any legal framework.

“After all the promises to get detention centres under control, it is horrifying to find that there has been no progress to stop the use of torture,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's Senior Crisis Response Adviser, from Libya....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Egypt: A year on and still unresolved?


"It is exactly a year since the Egyptian revolution began, and only the banners have changed. Protesters have converged again in Tahrir Square calling for the next phase. What next for Egypt? Guests are: Wael Eskandar, Nader Omran and Sharif Kouddous."

Egypt’s brutalization of women continues

Joseph Mayton 26 January 2012
Bikya Masr

"......While the most recent incidents should not dampen the will of the Egyptian people to join forces in magnificent street demonstrations that rid the country of one dictator already, it can no longer be avoided. Sexual violence is not an aberration to Egypt. It has a deep-rooted history that must not be avoided through apologies. It has to be faced head on.

In the end, let us hope that this is the final “wake-up” call for Egyptian society to tackle this problem. Far too many women have been battered, beaten and raped in Egypt to allow it to continue. The very future of Egyptian society and a bright, prosperous future, could very well depend on how women are treated and empowered in the post-Mubarak Egypt.

There can be no revolution without women’s empowerment. Plain and simple."

Exclusive: Woman tells of having pants ripped off, assaulted and prodded in Egypt’s Tahrir Square

By Joseph Mayton
Bikya Masr

"CAIRO: Heather still doesn’t know how she made it home on Wednesday night after being in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. The Arab-American arrived back at her Cairo flat without pants, having had them torn off downtown. She and her two roommates were victims of a mob attack by people in the iconic square on Wednesday, as protesters demonstrated against the military junta.

According to Heather, an Arab-American living in the Egyptian capital, she and her Swedish and Spanish roommates took to Tahrir as thousands were converging there to mark one-year since the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak.

“They started fighting over who was going to do what,” Heather told in an exclusive interview. She came forward after seeing the report on a foreign woman who was stripped naked and assaulted only hours after her own incident.

“My roommates and I fell to the ground when they attacked us. The people pulled our pants off even as we yelled and tried to fight,” she continued....

Instances of sexual assaults on female journalists covering the events in Tahrir Square have continued in the year since Mubarak’s ouster.

According to studies conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Right (ECWR) in 2008, 98 percent of foreign women and 83 percent of Egyptian women surveyed had experienced sexual harassment in Egypt.

Meanwhile, 62 percent of Egyptian men confessed to harassing women and 53 percent of Egyptian men faulted women for “bringing it on.”"

Egypt: The continued need for popular protest

The overwhelming number of crowds that converged on Tahrir Square is partly due to the vigorous youth efforts.

By Sarah Mousa

"Cairo, Egypt - January 25 of this year, like that of the previous one, came as a surprise to many in Egypt. The overwhelming crowds that marched from all corners of Cairo and converged on Tahrir Square are estimated to be larger than any of those seen over the past year. The dominating chant insisted on an end to military rule, while the list of demands has changed little.

After the fall, clashes that pitted a dwindling number of protesters against the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and sustained state media attacks against youth movements, many felt that the causes of the original revolution and its proponents were becoming increasingly isolated. The scenes witnessed at Tahrir Square and throughout the country on January 25 proved the contrary.

A provocative SCAF labelling of the day as a celebration, and rumours of expected military presence at Tahrir left many expecting a clash between small groups of protesters and state forces. Instead, there was no site of celebration, as protesters filled the Square and outlying streets, mourning those who have been killed for the sake of democratic governance and insisting on the completion of their revolution.

While the day may have been unexpected, it was certainly not unplanned. In light of several events over the past four months that left protesters dead and demands unanswered, existing youth movements and newly formed ones actively worked to spread awareness of media fallacies and the continued need for popular protest.

One group, The Military are Liars, created after clashes at Tahrir Square and in front of the Ministry that left dozens of protesters dead in December, publicly screened military abuses of civilian protesters throughout the streets of Egypt....

The Arab world has become accustomed to concessions, often far from adequate, from a nervous leader on the eve of an expected uprising. January 24 was no exception; Field Marshal Tantawi paid tribute to the Revolution and announced an end to the Emergency Law with a notable exception in the case of "thugs", a term often used by state media to refer to protesters. While this was indeed one of the key demands of the Revolution, the timing and exception make the concession moot.

A further pledge by SCAF to release 1,900 prisoners tried in military courts, out of approximately 12,000 prisoners of the same fate, was an additional concession deemed inadequate and leaves protesters continuing to insist on a complete end to the military trial of civilians and release of all political prisoners....

The opening session of parliament was held on January 23, but negotiations between the MB leadership and the 19-member SCAF are rumoured to have been ongoing since the MB victory became clear. While parliament is granted the authority to choose the 100-member council that will draft the new constitution, the main outline of this constitution is already being discussed by SCAF and the MB....

The fact remains, however, that the MB is a politically patient group, one that can be generally categorised as reformist, rather than revolutionary. On January 25, the MB maintained a cautious presence at Tahrir, avoiding threats to military rule while not disconcerting the revolutionaries. Their chants included ones relating to regional causes such as the Palestinian plight and were recognisably out of place.

Despite the dozens of MB-sponsored buses carrying supporters from various governorates to the Square, their presence as an underwhelming minority may represent a preliminary indication of needed political adjustments on part of the group....."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Salafis' Plan to Promote Tourism: Foreign woman stripped of clothes, assaulted, in Egypt’s Tahrir Square

Bikya Masr

"CAIRO: A foreign woman was stripped and sexually assaulted on Wednesday evening in Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square, one eyewitness said on Twitter and another confirmed in an email to

The woman, who’s identity has not been revealed, was taken away in an ambulance after being assaulted for 10 minutes. Her husband reportedly was unable to intervene and witnessed the incident.

“I saw the woman and then dozens of men surrounded her and started grabbing her, when she screamed for help some people came, but they were hit in the face,” wrote one witness.

What happened next was “appalling,” said the trusted witness, who asked for anonymity. “The men just started tearing at her clothes and grabbing her body all over. When she fought back, they pushed her. It was chaos.”

There were unconfirmed reports that the men “violated” her with their hands.

The nationality of the woman is unknown at the current time.

Throughout the day, sexual harassment towards women has been increasing and more and more reports of women being grabbed and groped began being reported.

Activists called the attacks on women completely “unacceptable” and must be exposed no matter what. They demanded an end to all violence toward women.

“What happened in Tahrir today has no justification and must be fully exposed even if it taints Tahrir!” wrote EgyptSecularist on Twitter.

The incident brings memories of reporter Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted the night former President Hosni Mubarak gave up power....."

My cousin was arrested tonight

She is 25 years of age and was very active. Whenever we warned her and ask her to slow down  she would say "if we slow down , then who will keep going, those people getting killed are not better than me". I talked to her father and he was more intact than I was and said "Allah will protect her". She had a secret online identity through out the revolution, but came out in the open 2 weeks ago and declared her opposition in the open. She worked for the UN and was active in helping out the poor and the under privileged. 

Egypt: Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports From Cairo As Crowds Mark 1 Year of Revolution in Tahrir Square

"As tens of thousands of Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square to mark the first anniversary of the start of the revolution that ended Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade reign, we go to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who has reported on the popular uprising since it began. "What happened on January 25 was really an uprising that was 10 years in the making—a growing resistance movement to the Mubarak regime, to a regime that was characterized by a sprawling police apparatus, that engaged in quashing of dissent and torture, a paralyzed body politic, and rampant corruption," Kouddous says. "People speak about the barrier of fear being broken, but I really think it was a lack of hope. And that was the gift that Tunisia gave to Egypt: [it] was that here’s the dream that you can achieve, and here’s the hope that you can change if you take to the streets."...."

"In Tahrir Square": HBO Doc on Egypt’s Revolution Through Eyes of Democracy Now!’s Sharif Kouddous

"Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous is the central character in the new HBO documentary airing tonight, "In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution." The film chronicles the uprising though the reporting of Kouddous and it looks at what the protest meant for his uncle, Mohamed Abdel Quddoos, a longtime Egyptian dissident who was arrested dozens of times by the Mubarak regime. We’re joined by Kouddous in Cairo, as well as the team behind the film: Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neil of Downtown Community Television; and independent filmmaker Jacquie Soohen of Big Noise Films....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Revolution through Arab Eyes - The Republic of Tahrir

"It became the physical and symbolic heart of a revolution, but have Egyptians kept the spirit of Tahrir alive?"

Al-Jazeera Video: Wael Khalil speaks to Al Jazeera

"Wael Khalil, Egyptian blogger and activist, told Al Jazeera that "the revolution has not achieved its goal and that's why the main slogan now on the street is, people going back to Tahrir Square.

"Everything that has been achieved in the past one year was a result of people's protests and demands," he says.

"The trial of Mubarak, free elections, participation of people in the elections and other demands were not achieved by power from above, not by SCAF, but people pressuring from below.""

Al-Jazeera Video: Egyptians mark first anniversary of revolution

"Egyptians have gathered at Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square to mark one year of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak from power.

But most Egyptians are not in the Square as they are struggling to make a living on two dollars a day or less, in shanty towns and villages across the country.

Tahrir Square has for some become a symbol of people power... to others, a sign of the country's instability and turmoil.

After one year, there's still as much fear as there is hope for the future of the country.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Cairo."

Al-Jazeera Video: Free Syrian Army 'not only defectors'

"Many Syrian civilians are taking up arms to defend themselves from the government's 10 month crackdown on peaceful protests.

A number of them have joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a group of thousands of members, most of whom have defected from the country's security forces in order to protect civilians.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports from Tripoli in northern Lebanon."

Al-Jazeera Video: Plea deal for Haditha killings sparks outrage in Iraq

"Iraqis are angry at how court martial hearings have ended over the killing of 24 civilians in the city of Haditha in 2005.

The last of the eight marine defendants is awaiting sentencing after a deal in which he pleaded guilty to reduced charges of dereliction of duty.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of three months in a military jail. [Actually he was not even sentenced to be jailed!]

Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf has more from the Iraqi capital, Baghdad."

Your Genocide is Worse Than Mine! By Khalil Bendib

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Arab Spring Gives Way to Military Chill

By Cam McGrath

"CAIRO, Jan 25, 2012 (IPS) - When Egypt’s dictator was ousted during a popular uprising last February, the military leaders who assumed control of the country pledged to "protect the revolution" and ensure a swift transition to civilian rule within six months. One year later, the ruling generals appear to have hijacked the transition to preserve the military institution’s economic autonomy and secure their own political future.

"The military council has never protected the revolution, it has only protected itself," says activist Ahmed Maher, one of the architects of the uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.....

"Egypt’s military rulers have completely failed to live up to their promises to Egyptians to improve human rights and have instead been responsible for a catalogue of abuses which in some cases exceeds the record of Hosni Mubarak," says rights watchdog Amnesty International.

SCAF’s heavy-handed approach to street activism has coincided with a smear campaign against various watchdog groups. The generals are using the state media apparatus to discredit opponents, depicting protesters and NGOs monitoring elections or human rights as foreign agents seeking to undermine national sovereignty.

Activists say the military borrowed a chapter from Mubarak’s playbook, stoking xenophobia to deflect attention from its increasingly authoritarian rule. SCAF leaders have repeatedly blamed an "invisible hand" for inciting violence, including clashes between security forces and protesters that left over 80 people dead and thousands injured during the last three months.

"The invisible hand is the SCAF itself," says Negad El-Borai , a rights lawyer and activist. "The army beats people, kills protesters in the street, and hasn’t implemented any of the revolution’s demands – and this is the reason for the violence."

As Egyptians mark the first anniversary of the uprising, many speak of an incomplete revolution. Mubarak is gone, but the generals who replaced him continue to govern the country at the expense of the people. Any true revolution, El-Borai notes, would require making the military accountable to an elected civilian government."

Israeli Assassinations and American Presidents

by Alison Weir, January 25, 2012

"On Jan. 13 the Atlanta Jewish Times featured a column by its owner-publisher suggesting that Israel might someday need to “order a hit” on the president of the United States.
In the column, publisher Andrew Adler describes a scenario in which Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would need to “give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel.”
The purpose? So that the vice president could then take office and dictate U.S. policies that would help the Jewish state “obliterate its enemies.”
Adler wrote that it is highly likely that the idea “has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles.”.......

Targeting Americans

If the plot had gone forward, this would not have been the first time that Israel targeted Americans for death. Nor would it be the first false-flag operation.
• In 1954 the Mossad planned to firebomb American installations, libraries, and other gathering places in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood was to be blamed for the attacks, thus causing American animosity toward Egypt. An accidental early detonation of one of the devices caused the plot, known as the Lavon Affair, to unravel before it could kill or mutilate the intended Americans.

• In 1967 Israeli air and sea forces perpetrated an almost two-hour assault in which they tried to sink a U.S. Navy ship with a crew of 300. While the attack failed to sink the ship, it succeeded in killing 34 Americans and injuring 174. Some analysts have conjectured that this was also a false-flag operation; it is highly likely that Egypt would have been blamed for the attack if the ship had gone down.
• In 1973 Israeli fighter pilots were ordered to shoot down an unarmed U.S. reconnaissance plane (at the time the U.S. was delivering massive weaponry to Israel to prevent it from losing the “Yom Kippur War” with Egypt and Syria). While the Israelis were unable to reach the altitude of the U.S. plane, they did manage that same year to shoot down a civilian Libyan airliner that had strayed over Israeli territory, killing 104 men, women, and children. One was an American.
• In 1990 a Canadian-American scientist and father of seven, Gerald Bull, was assassinated in Belgium. All indications are that it was an Israeli Mossad hit team that drilled five bullets into the back of his head and neck. (Israel has assassinated a number of scientists of various nationalities. The most recent is a 32-year-old father of a young son from Iran.)
• In 2003 it came out that Israeli leaders had officially decided to undertake assassination operations on U.S. soil. An FBI spokesman, queried about the Israeli plans, said only: “This is a policy matter. We only enforce federal laws.”
• In recent years a growing number of American peace activists have been intentionally killed, maimed, and injured by Israeli forces, including 23-year-old Rachel Corrie, 21-year-old Brian Avery, 37-year-old Tristan Anderson, 21-year-old Emily Henochowicz, and 21-year-old Furkan Dogan.
All of this has been minimally reported in the U.S. press. While major news organizations from England to Israel to Australia covered the Jewish Times’ apparent endorsement of a possible Israeli assassination of a U.S. president, the scandal has been largely missing from U.S. media. Even Atlanta’s AP bureau inexplicably initially decided not to write a report on it, only finally sending out a story many days later......"

Robert Fisk: We've been here before – and it suits Israel that we never forget 'Nuclear Iran'

The Ayatollah ordered the entire nuclear project to be closed down because it was the work of the devil

Robert Fisk

"......Let's take the Israeli version which, despite constant proof that Israel's intelligence services are about as efficient as Syria's, goes on being trumpeted by its friends in the West, none more subservient than Western journalists. The Israeli President warns us now that Iran is on the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon. Heaven preserve us. Yet we reporters do not mention that Shimon Peres, as Israeli Prime Minister, said exactly the same thing in 1996. That was 16 years ago. And we do not recall that the current Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in 1992 that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999. That would be 13 years ago. Same old story....

The trouble is that Iran has won almost all its recent wars without firing a shot. George W and Tony destroyed Iran's nemesis in Iraq. They killed thousands of the Sunni army whom Iran itself always referred to as "the black Taliban". And the Gulf Arabs, our "moderate" friends, shiver in their golden mosques as we in the West outline their fate in the event of an Iranian Shia revolution.

No wonder Cameron goes on selling weapons to these preposterous people whose armies, in many cases, could scarcely operate soup kitchens, let alone the billions of dollars of sophisticated kit we flog them under the fearful shadow of Tehran.

Bring on the sanctions. Send in the clowns."

Egypt's revolution has carved its path to parliament

The Egyptian uprising is like the Nile in flood. It cannot be kept back with barriers and uniforms

Ahdaf Soueif, Tuesday 24 January 2012

".....Parliament, as the elected legislative body, can start delivering on a lot of these. If the military allows it. Or if it gets rid of the military. What will become clear over the coming few weeks is how far parliament – or sections of it – will align itself with the aims of the revolution. Will it allow itself to be used as cover or window-dressing for the old regime to carry on as usual under the generals? The Islamists are in the majority now. Will they realise their strength and use it for the good of the country? Or will they remain true to form and handcuff themselves where they perceive power to be?....."

US marine spared jail over deaths of unarmed Iraqis

Frank Wuterich, convicted over 2005 massacre of 24 civilians in Haditha, will not serve time in jail, Tuesday 24 January 2012

"The only US marine to face sentencing for the killing of two dozen unarmed Iraqis in one of the Iraq war's defining moments has been spared jail time after defending his squad's storming of the homes of Haditha as a necessary act "to keep the rest of my marines alive".

Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich's sentence ends a six-year prosecution for the 2005 attack. Eight Marines were initially charged; one was acquitted and six others had their cases dropped.

Wuterich, who admitted ordering his squad to "shoot first, ask questions later" after a roadside bomb killed a fellow Marine, ended his manslaughter trial by pleading guilty on Monday to a single count of negligent dereliction of duty......"

Jan 25 - how Egypt's bloggers see the revolution one year on

Three bloggers who have documented Egypt's revolution online share how they covered events in 2011 and tell us what the anniversary of 25 January means to them, Wednesday 25 January 2012

"Hossam el-Hamalawy,
Hossam is a journalist and blogger with the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists. In a blog post from 12 February 2011 he writes about the #Jan25 revolution:

At this point, the Tahrir Square occupation is likely to be suspended. But we have to take Tahrir to the factories now. As the revolution proceeds an inevitable class polarization is to happen. We have to be vigilant. We shouldn't stop here… We hold the keys to the liberation of the entire region, not just Egypt… Onwards with a permanent revolution that will empower the people of this country with direct democracy from below…

Reflecting on the first anniversary of 25 January 2011, he says:

As Mubarak stepped down on 12 February 2011, there was rightly a wide feeling of celebration in Egypt and a fresh wave of optimism for what would come next. People like myself who saw the revolution as only starting at the time were a minority. We had managed only to get rid of Mubarak, but his regime remained alive and well, intact with the same methods of repression. His army generals at the time had to sacrifice him under the escalating pressures from the streets, public squares and finally labour strikes.

When I wrote this posting on 12 Feb, such anti-SCAF views as well as the support for labour strikes was not popular. Almost a year later, I'm proud I took that position. A continuous process of disillusionment with the army has been happening over the past year, and increasing sections of Egyptian society can now see that Mubarak's army generals are leading nothing but the counter-revolution in an attempt to save the regime, diffusing all goals we cried for in Tahrir and elsewhere. You could have been lynched by the people themselves if you had chanted against the army in February or March, but we saw in the past months two renewed mini uprisings in November and December, following a wave of mass strikes in September and October which saw at least three quarters of million Egyptians stopping work, to demand social justice.

My position has not changed a year later. I still believe industrial actions and the social movement to be the only hope for this revolution to succeed. As we mark the first anniversary of the revolution we are reminded that no revolutions get settled in 18 days or months. And the fight will continue to take Tahrir to the factories and workplaces to bring a final end to this regime.

Gigi Ibrahim,

Gigi is a revolutionary socialist activist and blogger. Her videos, images and tweets have documented events since 25 January 2011.