Saturday, October 6, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: Rally held against drones in Pakistan

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian cartoonist pushes the boundries

"The conflict in Syria has bred a new generation of activists, who are using creative non-violent means to bring about change in their country. Some of them continue their struggle from outside. Until two years ago, 28 year old Juan was a frustrated young cartoonist whose career was going nowhere in Syria.... Juan had always been critical of the Syrian regime, but always in subtle ways. He was never too blunt. Now, Juan's work is getting a lot of attention. Al Jazeera's Rula Amin reports from Beirut."

Al-Jazeera Video: حديث الثورة - معركة حلب و التنمية والأمن في سيناء


The Hungry in the Arab World, by Emad Hajjaj

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Video: Israeli forces smash Palestinian child’s head to ground near Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa

By Ali Abunimah

"A video shows Israeli occupation forces in Jerusalem smashing the head of a Palestinian boy on the ground during a violent arrest, after Israeli troops stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in eastern occupied Jerusalem this morning.
The brief clip shows a boy being dragged by black-clad occupation soldiers. As the boy screams “khalas” – “enough” or “stop” – the soldiers throw him to the ground. One soldier punches the boy in the side of the head, smashing his head into the stone floor.
The video was posted on the YouTube account of QNN, a Palestinian news group that operates on Facebook. QNN identified the child as Hasan al-Afifi of the Bab al-Hadid area of the Old City of Jerusalem. The videographer is identified as Amjad Arafa.
On its Arabic website, Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency reported:
Israeli occupation forces arrested, today Friday, the Jerusalemite teenager Hasan Afif Hasan al-Afifi (age 17), of Bab al-Hadid in the Old City, after they attacked him. Al-Afifi’s mother told Wafa that her son was arrested during the violent confrontations that occurred at the Al-Aqsa mosque today, and that her son was nowhere near the mosque and did not participate in any activities.
She stated that 15 members of Israel’s special forces attacked her son as he stood outside his house and beat him violently until his blood ran on the ground, and they sprayed her with gas as she tried to defend her son which led to her passing out. She indicated that her son was transferred to the Russian Compound interrogation and detention center in West Jerusalem.
Palestinian children in Jerusalem are frequently targeted by Israeli occupation forces. Some 700 are arrested and detained annually in the city alone and are routinely subjected to cruel, violent and illegal abuses....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Jordan: A kingdom divided?

"With political strife and turmoil on Jordan's doorstep, we discuss the future of the Hashemite kingdom.Hazem Sika, speaks to Toujan al-Faisal, Ian Black and Adnan Hayajneh."

Al-Jazeera Video: ما وراء الخبر - مقتل منتسبين لحزب الله في حمص

Al-Jazeera Video: بعض أنواع الأسلحة التي يمتلكها الجيش الحر

Friday, October 5, 2012

Syria agrees to buffer zone along Turkish border, say reports


Syria has agreed to keep its forces six miles (10km) back from the Turkish border in the wake of this week's deadly shelling incident, Turkish media has reported.
Such a move would amount to a buffer zone – fulfilling a long-standing request by Syrian opposition groups that would allow rebels to operate freely and civilians to seek refuge.
Syria has not confirmed the claim and Ankara has made no official announcement. However, several Turkish media outlets, citing well-placed sources, claimed a deal had been struck.
Opposition groups have implored Turkey and the international community to establish an area in which they can move without fear of jets and helicopters, claiming it would be a significant step in their 19-month battle to oust the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
However the demands have been rejected by Ankara, as well as the US and Nato, who have all repeatedly baulked at suggestions that they directly intervene in the conflict.
A buffer zone would not be effective unless it was enforced militarily, something that Turkey has so far been unwilling to do. However, theSyrian shelling of the Turkish border town of Akcacle has sparked Ankara to re-calibrate its military options to deal with the gathering crisis across its southern border.
The Turkish parliament on Thursday approved a bill allowing its military to launch cross-border raids into Syria at any point in the next 12 months.
Prime Minister Recap Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey was not pushing for an escalation with its once close ally. "We are not interested in war," he said in Istanbul. "But we're not far from it either."

Helicopter shot down, rebels claim

Helicopter shot down, rebels claim

The Guardian

"Two videos posted on YouTube today purport to show the shooting down of a government helicopter in East Ghouta – where rebels earlier claimed to have captured an air base.
The Guardian is unable to verify this footage...."

Real News Video: Elements in Iran and US that Want War

Larry Wilkerson: After recent meetings with Iranian leaders, it’s clear the US has lost the ability to understand how other states see their interests

More at The Real News

When Salam Fayyad secretly urged the US to block salaries for Palestinian Authority employees

By Ali Abunimah

"In recent weeks, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been in a worsening financial crisis, chronically unable to pay the salaries of its 150,000 workers on whose docility its survival depends.
But while PA “prime minister” Salam Fayyad, would love to be able to meet payroll now, that was not always the case.
Reading through a leaked confidential US government cable from 9 May 2006, I came across a little gem:
Presidential Advisor Akram Hanniyyah and PLC member Salam Fayyad commented to [US] Consul General [Jacob Walles] in separate May 9 meetings that the payment of PA salaries is a critical issue. Hanniyyah pressed for immediate disbursement of the USD 70 million in Cairo, saying it would shift the press story from US blocking bank transfers to Hamas’ inability to govern, once those donations were expended. By contrast, Fayyad thought that any movement on salaries now would let Hamas off the hook and was ill-advised......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you support continuing popular mobilization to accomplish political reforms in Jordan?

It is early, but so far 66% said yes.

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Story - Iran's Rial: Bad policy or Western sanctions?

Al-Jazeera Video: بلا حدود - الدور التركي في الأزمة السورية

So Far, Turkey Has Proven to be Nothing but a Paper Tiger.

"طرحت الحلقة السؤال التالي: بعد عشر سنوات من سياسة تركيا التي أطلق عليها "صفر مشكلات" مع الجيران هل تركيا في حاجة إلى تبني سياسة خارجية جديدة؟ ثم تناولت الاتهامات التي توجهها المعارضة التركية لوزارة الخارجية بأنها تدمر السياسة الخارجية لتركيا. وقام الضيف بشرح المبادئ التي تستند إليها السياسة الخارجية لتركيا، ثم تطرقت إلى العلاقات التركية مع الأنظمة الجديدة في دول الربيع العربي وبخاصة مصر، وكذلك ملامح الشرق الأوسط الجديد الذي تود تركيا أن تقيمه مع مصر بالتعاون مع جميع دول المنطقة، وفي النهاية تناولت الحلقة الأزمة الحالية بين إسرائيل وتركيا ودور إسرائيل في دعم الأكراد.
تقديم أحمد منصور
تاريخ البث: 3/10/2012
الضيف: أحمد داوود أوغلو"

Hizbullah Turns its Guns on the Syrian People, by Emad Hajjaj

(Click on cartoon to enlarge)

Syria: Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Abducted

Government Forces Suspected

October 4, 2012

"(New York) – The prominent human rights lawyer Khalil Maatouk was abducted while driving to his office on the morning of October 2, 2012, and has not been seen since. Maatouk’s family and his lawyer suspect that government forces are holding him incommunicado. The Syrian government should immediately release him if he is in its custody, Human Rights Watch said.
According to a close relative of Maatouk, he disappeared on October 2 while driving to work with a family friend, Mohamed Zaza, who is also missing. Zaza was driving him to work because Maatouk, 53, has health problems that make it difficult for him to drive. The men never arrived at their destination and their families have not been able to locate their car.
“Khalil Maatouk’s disappearance is a stark reminder of the grave risks that brave human rights activists are taking in Syria just to document the daily horrors,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “These disappearances will only end when the government finally lifts the veil from its detention facilities and lets monitors in.”...."

Rebels claim to have captured air base near Damascus

The Guardian


A video posted on YouTube shows dozens of rebels dressed in army fatigues celebrating as black smoke rises from a military installation behind them.
A middle-aged man holding an assault rifle says the assault on the base, in the Eastern Ghouta area was carried out by a rebel battalion from the town of Douma - both places are a few miles east of the capital.
Rebels say the operation happened on Thursday.
Another video showed rebels at the base's weapons cache which included what appeared to a be part of a surface-air-missile.
It is unlikely that rebels have the ability to fire the missile but they might be able to use the explosives to make improvised bombs.
When rebels have captured army bases in other parts of the country during the 18-month-old revolt, fighter jets have bombed the sites shortly afterwards....."  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Is Jordan about to experience its first big moment of the Arab spring?

Protests planned in Amman could see confrontation between opposition and loyalists  

By Ian Black

The Guardian

".....So is Arab spring unrest about to hit the Hashemite kingdom? On Friday the IAF is organising a big rally under the resonant slogan "Save the Homeland." Its target is the constitutional changes the king has approved in advance of parliamentary elections he says must be held by the end of the year — though the increasingly vocal IAF says the reforms are inadequate and insists it will boycott the polls. That would render them meaningless.

The IAF has been emboldened by the successes of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia and by the prominent role it is playing in the uprising in Syria next door. Complicating matters, many of its supporters are Jordanians of Palestinian origin, always a sensitive issue, as is the peace treaty with Israel. The Obeidat, a large East Bank clan, has just disowned one of its members who has accepted the post of Jordanian ambassador to Tel Aviv.

The king is under pressure from his western friends to respond convincingly to growing demands for change. Crucially, though, he plans to retain the power to appoint the prime minister and dismiss parliament at will. Overall the proposed new electoral system is still rigged in favour of regime supporters; Palestinian-Jordanians in particular will be significantly under-represented. Critics complain that reforms are more apparent than real......"

Qardaha: Alawites turning against Assad?

The Guardian


There is still no definitive explanation of the clashes among Alawites in Qardaha – President Assad's home town – which we reported here in the live blog on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Whatever happened at the weekend was clearly serious, because the town was still sealed off yesterday, according to an article in the Telegraph.
Those trying to get information from their relatives in the town reported that phone lines were down and roads to the mountain town were shut off.
Even in normal times, fights between smugglers and gangsters in the town are not uncommon, and one theory is that the weekend clashes were just another example of that.
However, the Telegraph article says the latest clashes were politically motivated. If true, this would be a significant development – the first sign of divisions in the Alawite community that dominates the Syrian regime.
The battle at the weekend was the first sign of open rivalry over the leadership of the Syrian President, residents told the Daily Telegraph.
"This is the first time there is fighting over a political issue. This could have serious repercussions," said a student calling himself Ahmed whose cousin lives in the town.
The article suggests that as casualties on their own side mount, some of the Alawites are beginning to waver in their support for President Assad.
Over the past year and half many Alawite communities supporting the regime have seen the uprising, and now the civil war, as a desperate battle for their continued survival.
But as families see their young soldiers coming home in body bags "everyday" that support is cracking.
"The walls are covered in posters showing the faces of the young men that have been killed," one resident said ...
The battles and reportedly widespread resentment seething in Assad's home town is the first sign of an Alawite community starting to turn against the Syrian President, said [analyst Ayman] Haddad....."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera's Rula Amin explains the situation in Bekaa, east Lebanon

Al-Jazeera Video: Anita McNaught reports from Turkey

"The victims of the attack on the Turkish town of Akcakale have now been taken to a hospital nearby. Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught reports from Sanliurfa, Turkey."

Al-Jazeera Video: مقتل أعضاء بحزب الله في شرق لبنان وحمص

"أعلن حزب الله اللبناني مقتل ثلاثة من عناصره في انفجار مستودع ذخائر قرب بعلبك شرق لبنان، وهي منطقة نفوذ لحزب الله. يأتي ذلك بعد تشييع الحزب ثلاثة عناصر آخرين -بينهم قائد عسكري- قال إنهم سقطوا في ما دعاها مهمة جهادية، غير أن الجيش السوري الحر أعلن أنه قتلهم في حمص حيث كانوا يقاتلون إلى جانب النظام السوري. 
وينفي حزب الله أي وجود عسكري له في سوريا، لكنه يجهر بدعم نظام الأسد."

Turkish military strikes targets inside Syria

Al-Jazeera Video: Fallout in the Mediterranean

Al-Jazeera Video: Still searching for justice in Egypt

"More than 800 people died in the 18 days of protest that lead to the downfall of Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak. There have been trials for those accused of wrong-doing, but many families are disappointed with the verdicts and what they see as lenient sentences. Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from Cairo."

لماذا تدمِّر إيران سوريا؟!


ياسر الزعاترة

"قد يبدو السؤال غريبا للوهلة الأولى، ولكن مزيدا من التأمل سيجعله مقبولا. ذلك أن مراقبة ما يجري على الأرض في سوريا ما زالت تؤكد مرة إثر أخرى أن المعركة الدائرة في سوريا -أعني الجزء العسكري منها- يُدار عمليا من قبل الخبراء الإيرانيين، فيما يبدو بشار الأسد «خارج التغطية» من الناحية العملية؛ وهو الذي كان قد فتح البلد على مصراعيه لهم منذ ما قبل الثورة، خلافا لوالده الذي كان يتعامل معهم بقدر من التحفظ والندية.
في المعركة الأخيرة ومنذ الشهور الأولى، بدا أن بشار الأسد لا يمكنه التعاطي مع المعركة دون تدخل مباشر من إيران، الأمر الذي دفعه إلى تسليمها الراية بعد أن تأكد أن جيشه المترهل لا يمكنه التعامل مع تمرد شعبي بهذا الحجم الواسع، لاسيَّما أن جزءا كبيرا من الجيش لم يبد استعدادا للانخراط في دوامة القتل بسبب الحساسيات الطائفية، وهو ما همَّش قطاعا واسعا منه بات أسير الثكنات، فيما انشقت أعداد كبيرة بمرور الوقت.
اليوم يمكن القول إن المعركة الدائرة في سوريا لا تتميز بغير سياسة التدمير المنهجي الشامل، لاسيَّما في المدينتين الأكبر (حلب ودمشق)، فيما لا يتعامل معهما النظام بغير سياسة القصف من الدبابات والطائرات؛ وهو الذي يعلم أن نزول قواته إلى الأرض يعني هزائم متلاحقة وخسائر باهظة في مواجهة حرب عصابات يتولاها رجال مقبلون على الشهادة، سواء أكانوا من عناصر الجيش الحر، أم من المقاتلين الإسلاميين القادمين من الخارج.
في قراءة سياسة التدمير الشامل للدولة ومقدراتها التي يعتمدها النظام، يمكن الحديث عن مسارين تتبناهما طهران في التعاطي مع الأزمة، الأول سبق الحديث عنه مرارا وتكرارا ويتمثل في محاولة تحسين شروط التفاوض على الحل السياسي بعد إقناع الجميع بأن أحدا لن ينتصر في معركة السلاح، بينما يتمثل الثاني -وتحدثنا عنه مرارا أيضا- فيما بات يعرف بالخطة (ب) التي تتلخص في تدمير الدولة المركزية وصولا إلى إنشاء دويلة علوية في الساحل السوري (محافظتي طرطوس واللاذقية تحديدا)، على أمل أن تتمكن من البقاء لاحقا، أو تُتخذ منصة للتفاوض على حل لاحق.
البعد الجديد الذي يمكننا الحديث عنه في سياق تفسير سياسة التدمير الشامل للدولة المركزية ومقدراتها، يتمثل في إضعاف شامل للدولة، الأمر الذي يلتقي مع السياسة الصهيونية في تدمير البلد وإشغاله بنفسه لعقود.
تلتقي طهران مع تل أبيب في هذه السياسة اعتقادا منها بأن ضعف سوريا الدولة في المرحلة المقبلة سيعني عجزا عن التأثير في المحيط، لاسيَّما في لبنان والعراق اللذين يقعان عمليا تحت سيطرة إيرانية شبه كاملة، أقله بالنسبة للعراق، مع وضع أقل وضوحا في الحالة اللبنانية.
تدرك إيران أن سوريا القوية لها تأثيرها الكبير في الجوار العربي، وقد ثبت ذلك خلال العقود الماضية عبر تأثيرها الكبير في لبنان، وتاليا عبر دورها في إفشال مشروع الغزو الأميركي للعراق عبر دعم الجماعات السنية المسلحة، بما فيها القاعدة التي حصلت على شريان حياة من سوريا خلال سنوات ما بعد الاحتلال، قبل أن يجري الانقلاب عليها بعد أن تأكد وقوع البلد تحت سيطرة حلفاء إيران. ونتذكر في هذا السياق تلك الحملة التي شنها المالكي على النظام الحاكم في دمشق بدعوى دعمه للعنف في العراق، وهو اتهام لم يكن بعيدا عن الصحة في جزء كبير منه.
إن سوريا قوية تعني بكل بساطة أن لبنان والعراق لن يكونا بمنأىً عن التأثر بوضعها الجديد لجهة تقليم أظافر النفوذ الإيراني فيهما، وبالتالي فإن تدمير الدول المركزية وإشغالها بنفسها يعني بالضرورة إفقادها القدرة على التأثير.
هذا هو البعد المهم اليوم في عقل القيادة الإيرانية التي بدأت تدرك تمام الإدراك أن زمن بشار الأسد وسوريا كحليف استراتيجي قد انتهى إلى غير رجعة، وأنه لا بد من ترتيب الأوراق لليوم التالي، من دون الكف عن محاولات إنقاذ ما يمكن إنقاذه عبر السيناريوهات الآنفة الذكر.
نتحدث هنا عن نمط التفكير الإيراني، لكن النجاح قصة أخرى ستعتمد بالضرورة على جملة التطورات التالية وعموم الموقف العربي والإقليمي، بخاصة التركي. والأرجح، بل لعله المؤكد أن هذا المخطط لن ينجح لأن مسار التغييرات العربية في مصر وسواها لن يسمح ببقاء الوضع في العراق ولبنان على حاله، فضلا عن أن سوريا ستعود إلى التماسك من جديد خلال زمن لن يطول. 

At least 40 people killed in Aleppo explosions

"(Reuters) - Four blasts ripped through a government-controlled district close to a military officers' club in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 90 on Wednesday, opposition activists said.
The attacks within minutes of each other struck the main Saadallah al-Jabiri Square and a fifth bomb exploded a few hundred meters away, state television said, on the fringes of the Old City where rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been fighting....."

Syria crisis: Aleppo bomb attacks - live updates

• Bombs target government-controlled areas of Aleppo
• 40 people killed in blasts and extensive damage caused
• Hezbollah commander killed in Syria 


Attack on Hezbollah commander 'planned for two weeks'

The Free Syrian Army had spent two weeks planning the attack the killed Hezbollah commander Ali Hussein Nassif, the Saudi newspaper Okaz says (in Arabic).
It quotes Colonel Riad al-Assaad of the FSA as saying:
They monitored the movements of [Abu Abbas] for days, until they managed to [kill] him while on his way to one of Hezbollah’s [offices in Syria].......

Military club targeted

The blasts in Saadallah al-Jabri Square targeted a military club, an activist told al-Arabiya, writes Amel Guettatfi.
In a call to the broadcaster Abu Firas Al Halabi, a spokesperson for the Revolution council, said: "Three blasts at Saadallah al-Jabri Square located in the heart of Aleppo have occurred. These bombs targeted the soldiers' military club."
He also reports violent clashes between the Free Syrian Army and the regular army in different parts of Aleppo, notedly, Al Idhaa Street, al Arqoub Street.
And a battle around Aleppo international airport, he said
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also claimed a military club was the target of the blasts......"

za: Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, Unfair Trials Criminal Justice Reforms Urgently Needed

Criminal Justice Reforms Urgently Needed
"(Gaza City) – Palestinians face serious abuses in the Hamas criminal justice system, including arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, torture, and unfair trials. Since it took control of Gaza in 2007, Hamas has executed at least three men convicted on the basis of “confessions” apparently obtained under torture.
The 43-page report, “Abusive System: Criminal Justice in Gaza,” documents extensive violations by Hamas security services, including warrantless arrests, failure to inform families promptly of detainees’ whereabouts, and subjecting detainees to torture. It also documents violations of detainees’ rights by prosecutors and courts. Military courts frequently try civilians, in violation of international law. Prosecutors often deny detainees access to a lawyer, and courts have failed to uphold detainees’ due process rights in cases of warrantless arrest and abusive interrogations, Human Rights Watch found.

“After five years of Hamas rule in Gaza, its criminal justice system reeks of injustice, routinely violates detainees’ rights, and grants impunity to abusive security services,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamas should stop the kinds of abuses that Egyptians, Syrians, and others in the region have risked their lives to bring to an end.”......"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: الجيش السوري الحر يبسط سيطرته على 20 كيلومترا

"في حلب بسط الجيش السوري الحر سيطرته على أكثر من عشرين كيلومترا من الطريق الرئيسي الرابط بين حلب ودمشق والبالغ طوله 360 كيلومترا بعد فشل الجيش النظامي في الحفاظ على نقاط سيطرة كانت بحوزته. ويعمل الثوار على تأمين الشارع الرئيسي من قطاع الطرق ومنع جنود النظام من استخدامه.
تقرير: ناصر شديد "

Al-Jazeera Video: بدائل إدخال البضائع من مصر إلى قطاع غزة

"ثار إقدام السلطات المصرية مؤخرا على هدم عدد من الأنفاق على الحدود المصرية مع قطاع غزة موجة من الاحتجاجات و الاستنكار في الأوساط الشعبية والرسمية في قطاع غزة التي عدت الأنفاق شريان الحياة للقطاع المحاصر منذ سنوات. وتعالت المطالب بسرعة إيجاد بدائل تسمح بإدخال البضائع من مصر إلى قطاع غزة بصورة رسمية.
تقرير: هبة عكيلة."

Syria bomb blast kills Hezbollah operative

Ali Hussein Nassif died carrying out "jihadi duties" in Syrian city of Homs, militant group says

"One of Hezbollah's most senior operatives has been killed in Syria and buried in his home village in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, the militant group has confirmed.

Ali Hussein Nassif, a founding member of the organisation, was killed near Homs over the weekend in what is believed to have been a roadside bomb explosion. A Lebanese government official confirmed on Tuesday that his body had been transferred from Syria through the Masnaa border crossing......

The issue of Hezbollah members fighting in Syria has remained deeply sensitive since the earliest days of the uprising. For most of the past 18 months, the Shia Islamic group had steadfastly denied that its members were in action alongside Syrian forces, despite emphatic claims from rebel groups and opposition figures.

While openly acknowledging the party's support for the embattled regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah [LIAR!] had claimed it had only leant moral backing. However, new graves in cemetaries in Lebanon designtated for members deemed to have died as martyrs have steadily been dug throughout the summer. There has also been reported discontent among family members who had lost relatives.

Until now, little fanfare, or even acknowledgement, had marked the burials and Tuesday's news reports, complete with photographs of Nassif's funeral procession, appear to mark a departure from a tactic of secrecy.....

Some defectors have provided eyewitness accounts of Hezbollah members being deployed alonsgide them while they were still serving in the Syrian army.

Two defectors who spoke to the Guardian in August said they had seen the alleged Hezbollah operatives in Homs city and in the countryside near Qusayr, 15km from the Lebanese border......"

Two more Hezbollah funerals

The Guardian

"Two more Hezbollah funerals

The Lebanese Daily Star is now reporting on the death of Ali Hussein Nassif, the Hezbollah commander who was killed "while performing his jihadi duties" – presumably in Syria.

It says his funeral, near Baalbek in the eastern Bekaa valley, was attended by top Hezbollah officials including the head of the group's judicial council, Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek, and the head of the political bureau, Sheikh Ibrahim Amin al-Sayyed.

But Nassif was not the only one ...
On Tuesday, Hezbollah's al-Manar television showed the funerals of at least two other Hezbollah members it said were killed while performing their "jihadi duty".
It said one of the group's members, Zein al-Abideen Mustafa, was buried in his hometown of Baalbek, while another Hezbollah member, Hussein Mohammad Hussein Diab, was buried in his hometown of Ghassaniyeh in southern Lebanon. Both funerals were attended by Hezbollah officials and commanders.
The coffins of the dead were draped with Hezbollah's yellow flags and carried by militants in black uniforms and red berets. Hundreds of people marched in the funeral.
Hezbollah has so far declined to give any explanation on the circumstances of their deaths....."

As U.S. Death Toll in Afghanistan Passes 2,000 Mark, Phyllis Bennis on America’s Longest War

Democracy Now!

"The official U.S. military death toll in Afghanistan has just passed the 2,000 mark. On Monday, a suicide bomber wearing an Afghan army uniform killed 14 people, including three U.S. soldiers, in the eastern province of Khost. Amidst a spate of attacks by Afghan troops on NATO forces, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has revealed Western forces may withdraw from Afghanistan sooner than expected. In addition, the New York Times reports the United States has all but written off hopes of working out a peace deal with the Taliban. We’re joined by Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of several books, including "Ending the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer."......"

Another Funeral in Lebanon for another dead Hezbollah "Resistance" fighter killed in Syria fighting along side Assad death squads


The sectarian cowards say he died while doing his "jihadist duties" ...
شييع الشهيد زين العابدين مصطفى في مدينة بعلبك

شيع حزب الله وأهالي مدينة بعلبك والجوار جثمان الشهيد المجاهد زين العابدين مصطفى (عمّار) الذي قضى خلال قيامه بواجبه الجهادي.موكب التشييع الذي انطلق من أمام مستشفى دار الحكمة في بعلبك في موكب سيار، توقف عند مدخل مركز الإمام الخميني (قده)الثقافي، حيث كان في استقبال الجثمان رئيس الهيئة الشرعية في حزب الله سماحة الشيخ محمد يزبك ورئيس المجلس السياسي في الحزب سماحة السيد إبراهيم أمين السيد والنائبان حسين الموسوي وكامل الرفاعي، ومسؤول منطقة البقاع في حزب الله محمد ياغي وأعضاء قيادة المنطقة، ولفيف من العلماء، وحشد من الفعاليات الاجتماعية والحزبية والسياسية.

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you support the call for a new Al-Aqsa Intifada in light of continuing attacks on the Al-Aqsa mosque?

It is early, but so far 93% said yes.


حماس تحذر من انتفاضة فلسطينية ثالثة ردا على انتهاكات إسرائيل في القدس

"حذرت حركة المقاومة الإسلامية (حماس) اليوم الثلاثاء إسرائيل من اندلاع "انتفاضة فلسطينية ثالثة" ردا على استمرار "الانتهاكات" في القدس.
وقال المتحدث باسم حماس فوزري برهوم، للصحفيين في غزة، إن الأجواء التي تخيم على الأراضي الفلسطينية بعد اقتحام المسجد الأقصى من قبل الشرطة الإسرائيلية وجماعات المستوطنين تنذر باندلاع انتفاضة ثالثة.
وأضاف أن "هذه الأحداث شبيهة بالأجواء التي سبقت انتفاضة الأقصى التي اندلعت في أيلول/ سبتمبر 2000".
واعتبر أن مثل هذه الانتفاضة الجديدة "ستندلع في وجه الاحتلال للدفاع عن المقدسات الإسلامية وحمايتها".
واتهم الناطق باسم حماس، حكومة إسرائيل بانتهاج خطط "عنصرية" لفرض سيادة يهودية على المسجد الأقصى ومدينة القدس مستغلة في ذلك "تواطؤ" السلطة الفلسطينية والضغف العربي والإسلامي.

Real News Video: Little Debate About Afghan War in Election Campaign

Gareth Porter: Afghan war a failure, yet there is little debate about why and what to do next 

More at The Real News

Israel's impossible plan for refugees is just a stalling tactic

By Jonathan Cook
The National

"In the shadow of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's theatrics at the United Nations last week, armed with his cartoon Iranian bomb, Israeli officials launched a quieter, but equally combative, initiative to extinguish whatever hopes have survived of reviving the peace process.

For the first time in its history, Israel is seeking to equate millions of Palestinians in refugee camps across the Middle East with millions of Israeli citizens descended from Jews who, before Israel's establishment in 1948, lived in Arab countries....

But there is a more fundamental reason to be sceptical of this campaign. Classifying Arab Jews as "refugees" skewers the central justification used by Zionists for Israel's creation: that it is the natural homeland for all Jews, and the only place where they can be safe. As a former Israeli MP, Ran Hacohen, once observed: "I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee."....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Civilians scarred by trauma of Syrian war

"And there's another major battle taking place west of Aleppo near the city of al Atarib. 

An alliance of rebel brigades started an offensive on a government battalion known as Force 46 more than a week ago.

Our correspondent Andrew Simmons gained exclusive access to the fighters and a field hospital near al Atarib."

Al-Jazeera Video: سيطرة كتائب الجيش الحر على مستشفى مدينة القصير

"جحت إحدى كتائب الجيش الحر في مدينة القصير بمحافظة حمص السورية في السيطرة على ثكنة عسكرية لقوات النظام. وكانت هذه القوات أقامت الثكنة العسكرية في مشفى المدينة منذ عام. وقد تمكن الجيش الحر من السيطرة على المشفى بعد التخطيطِ للعملية على مدى الاسابيع الماضية، وحفرٍ نفق أسفل الثكنة العسكرية وتم تفجيرها باستخدام عبوات ناسفة. "

Pro-settler vandals deface Jerusalem monastery

"(Reuters) - Suspected hardline Israelis scrawled pro-settler graffiti and religious insults on a monastery just outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday, police said, in the latest of a series of attacks on non-Jewish sites.

The vandals wrote the phrase "price tag" in Hebrew on the gate of the Franciscan Dormition monastery on Mount Zion - a reference to a violent campaign supporting unauthorized settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The "Price tag" is the retribution some Israeli settlers say they will exact for any attempt by their government to curb settlement in the territory, which Palestinians want as part of a future state.
The group has targeted mosques and, less commonly, Christian churches, regarding any non-Jewish religious sites as an intrusion on the land.

It was the second attack on a Christian building in less than a month.
"Price tag" attackers set fire to the doors of Latrun monastery in the West Bank on September 4 in a possible retaliation for the eviction of families from an unauthorized outpost......"

Fighting spreads in Aleppo Old City, Syrian gem

(20 photos)
"(Reuters) - Fires that gutted a vast historic market have broken out in other areas of the Old City of Aleppo, a world heritage site, as rebels and government forces fight for the ancient heart of Syria's biggest city, opposition activists said on Monday.

The rebels last week announced a fresh attempt to seize the wider city, home to 2.5 million people, which was until July firmly under the control of President Bashar al-Assad.

With government forces holding the large medieval citadel in the heart of the Old City, the fighting that has already claimed more than 30,000 lives across Syria seems certain to destroy more cultural treasures too.
"Rebels control more that 90 percent of the Old City now," said Ameer, an opposition activist working with rebel brigades.

But he said they were struggling to hold their positions under heavy artillery fire......

UNESCO believes that five of Syria's six world heritage sites have already been damaged. The other sites include the ancient desert city of Palmyra, the Crac des Chevaliers crusader fortress and parts of old Damascus."

Hezbollah chief 'killed in Syria'

The Guardian


Ali Hussein Nassif, a senior military figure in Hezbollah, was buried in Lebanon yesterday. The moqawama website has pictures and a report (in Arabic).

The website does not say how Nassif died but the Israeli Ynetnews, citing Lebanese media sources, says he was killed in Syria on Sunday.
Nassif was in charge of all Hezbollah operations in Syria, and served as the liaison between the Shia group and Bashar Assad's forces ...
Opposition groups in Lebanon said that Nassif was killed in a clash near Homs, following an ambush by Syrian rebels.
According to the Free Syria Army, he was driving near the city when the rebels detonated a roadside bomb.
The Syrian opposition said that Nassif was transferred to Syria following the escalating uprising in the country, and was tasked with quashing civilian uprisings.
He was also responsible for tracking down individuals wanted by Hezbollah....."

Egypt: Rule of law elusive without confronting army and police abuses

"President Mohamed Morsi has a historic opportunity to tackle the bloody legacy of police and army and guarantee that no one is above the law in Egypt, Amnesty International said in two new reports published today. 

Under the rule of the army, a raft of human rights abuses took place, including live ammunition being turned on demonstrators.

The reports document unlawful killings, excessive use of force, torture and other ill-treatment against protesters by both the military and the police and are based on first-hand field investigations carried out during the rule of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Brutality unpunished and unchecked: Egypt’s military kills and torture protesters with impunity highlights patterns of violations at three key demonstrations, and documents the brutal crackdown unleashed by the army during the 16-month rule by  the SCAF. 

It focuses on:
  • The Maspero protests of October 2011, when 27 mainly Coptic Christian protesters were killed;
  • Events outside the Cabinet Offices in  December 2011, when 17 protesters died; 
  • The Abbaseya sit-in in May 2012, when up to 12 people were killed......"

Monday, October 1, 2012

بعد عمليات إغلاق الأنفاق: تحذيرات من انفجار الأوضاع الإنسانية في غزة

"وجهت الأمانة العامة لاتحاد الأطباء العرب رسالة تحذير شديدة اللهجة حول تأزم الأوضاع الإنسانية في قطاع غزة، وذلك بعد قيام السلطات المصرية بتدمير الأنفاق المؤدية إلى القطاع وعدم توفير بديل إنساني لها.
وقالت الأمانة العامة في بيان لها حمل توقيع مدير لجنة العلاقات الخارجية الدكتور جمال عبد السلام: "إن الأوضاع المأساوية التي يعيشها أبناء قطاع غزة الآن لم تمر بأبناء القطاع منذ فترة طويلة".
وأضاف عبد السلام: "إن الحصار اكتملت حلقاته من الجانبين الصهيوني والمصري وبعدما كانت الأنفاق تمثل إحدى أدوات التغلب على الحصار الخانق المفروض على القطاع- رغم عدم إنسانيتها ووجود سلبيات أخرى عديدة لها- إلا أن الحرب الشديدة التي تواجهها من الجانب المصري وتدمير جزء كبير منها أدى إلى اكتمال حلقات الحصار.
وتابع البيان: "إن الأمانة العامة لاتحاد الأطباء العرب ومع تقديرها لدواعي الأمن القومي المصري وحق مصر في التعامل مع كل ما يهدد أمنها، إلا أنها تطالب مصر بأن يكون هناك بديل إنساني يكسر الحصار المفروض على الشعب الفلسطيني".
وأكد الاتحاد أن تقارير مكاتبه الموجودة في القطاع تؤكد أن هناك انفجارا قريبا ربما يحدث في غزة مثلما حدث من قبل عام 2008 .
ودعا الرئيس المصري محمد مرسي والسلطات المصرية إلى معالجة الأوضاع بسرعة لفتح المعبر لجميع الاحتياجات للقطاع إلى حين إنشاء منطقة حرة بين مصر وقطاع غزة.
وأكد البيان أن فتح المعابر لن يكلف مصر شيئا، بل إن منظمات المجتمع المدني وبعض المنظمات الدولية التي عرضت المساعدة سوف تتكفل بكل شيء من أجل إنقاذ الوضع في غزة.
وشدد على رفضه أن يستمر حصار وتجويع الفلسطينيين في غزة بعد الثورة المصرية، مؤكدا أنه ليس بأيديهم يُقتل أشقاؤهم في فلسطين وليس من أمنهم القومي أن يسمحوا بذلك"

Egypt and Gaza: A honeymoon that wasn’t

Egypt’s new Islamist leaders have so far failed to embrace their Gazan brothers

The Economist

"ABOVE Gaza’s parliament hangs a tableau of two smiling Islamist leaders. Muhammad Morsi, the new president of Egypt, and Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the neighbouring Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, the Palestinians’ dominant Islamist movement. The two men are raising their hands together, hailing a regional dawn against a backdrop of Cairo’s pyramids. The billboard’s message is that the new Egypt, under a Muslim Brother, recognises Hamas, originally a Brotherhood branch, as its new ally—and as the legitimate authority in Palestine.

But Hamas’s smiles, so gleeful after Mr Morsi’s election in June, have turned to frowns since Mr Haniyeh’s latest visit to Cairo. An expected meeting with Egypt’s president never happened. A 20-man Hamas delegation that presented plans to upgrade Gaza’s connection to Egypt’s electricity grid, speed up the transfer of fuel donated by Qatar and open a free-trade zone on their common border returned with nothing nailed down. “They say they’re still studying the files,” says one of Mr Haniyeh’s glum colleagues.
Instead, it all sounded much like the old Egypt......"

What Is Happening to Muslims Will Happen to the Rest of Us

A disturbing pattern of gross infringements on basic civil liberties, put in place in the name of national security, has poisoned our legal system.

By Chris Hedges

"The decision by the European Court of Human Rights last week to refuse to block the extradition of the radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and four others to the United States on terrorism charges removes one of the last external checks on our emerging gulag state......."

Egypt and U.S. Step Past Crisis

"CAIRO, Oct 1 2012 (IPS) - The wave of unrest in the Middle East caused by blasphemous depictions of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad last month – and events near the U.S. embassy in Cairo in particular – does not appear to have impaired Egypt’s longstanding ‘strategic partnership’ with Washington, say local analysts......."

Morsy in Turkey: Gaza border is open (NOT TRUE; HE IS LYING), Syria repression must end

Al-Masry Al-Youm


Morsi is plainly lying. Not only the Rafah crossing is not open, but his government has actually destroyed more tunnels between Egypt and Gaza than the Mubarak government.

Even the Hamas government, which is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is saying that. It (Hamas) is protesting the closure and is holding demonstrations in Rafah against the closure and the demolition of the tunnels.

Actually Gaza is facing food shortages and rapidly rising prices.  

LIAR, LIAR,........

"The border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip will remain open, President Mohamed Morsy told the general conference of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) Sunday.

Egyptians can never stand by helplessly when they see the people of Gaza under siege,” Morsy said in remarks broadcast on Egyptian state television. “The border crossings between us and Gaza will remain open to fulfill the needs of the people of Gaza, including food, medication, education and communication between families.”....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Bahraini medic speaks to Al Jazeera after court ruling

"Al Jazeera interviews Ali al-Ekry, one of the nine medics sentenced to prison in Bahrain, after the court of cassation dismissed their appeals."

Al-Jazeera Video: US toll in Afghan war hits 2,000

Al-Jazeera Video: حديث الثورة - تطورات الملف السوري

Sunday, September 30, 2012

American influence on the Middle East is past its peak – someone should tell them

World View: Is the US now in the same position as the Soviet Union in 1989, when it had to allow its satellites to collapse around it?

By Patrick Cockburn
The Independent

"....The Arab Spring uprisings posed a new threat to the US, but also opened up new options. Support for Mubarak was decisively withdrawn at an early stage, to the dismay of Saudi Arabia and Israel. But the Muslim Brotherhood had long been considering how it could reach an accommodation with the US that would safeguard it against military coups, and enable it to chop back the power of the Egyptian security forces. This was very much the successful strategy of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development (AKP) party, explaining why it was prepared to join the US in invading Iraq in 2003 and why it has become the chief instrument of American policy towards Syria in the past year......."

Al-Jazeera Video: Inside Syria - Is it time for Arab intervention in Syria?

Real News Video: Assange Speaks to UN

Michael Ratner (US attorney for Julian Assange): Assange called for release of Bradley Manning and attacked President Obama's call for free speech while suppressing whistle blowers 

More at The Real News

Al-Jazeera's political independence questioned amid Qatar intervention

Al-Jazeera English journalists protest after being ordered to re-edit UN report to focus on Qatar emir's comments on Syria

"Al-Jazeera's editorial independence has been called into question after its director of news stepped in to ensure a speech made by Qatar's emir to the UN led its English channel's coverage of the debate on Syrian intervention.

Journalists had produced a package of the UN debate, topped with excerpts of President Obama's speech, last Tuesday when a last-minute instruction came from Salem Negm, the Qatar-based news director, who ordered the video to be re-edited to lead with the comments from Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

Despite protests from staff that the emir's comments – a repetition of previous calls for Arab intervention in Syria – were not the most important aspect of the UN debate, the two-minute video was re-edited and Obama's speech was relegated to the end of the package.

However, in recent years, Qatar has taken steps to consolidate its control over the channel as the country seeks greater political influence in the Gulf.

In September 2011, Wadah Khanfar, a Palestinian widely seen as independent, suddenly left as director-general after eight years in the post and was replaced by a member of the royal family, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani, a man with no background in journalism.

In his resignation letter, Khanfar said, after noting that the channel had been criticised by Donald Rumsfeld and hailed by Hillary Clinton, that "al-Jazeera is still independent and its integral coverage has not changed".
He added: "When we launched in 1996, media independence was a contradiction in terms", but al-Jazeera had managed "to pleasantly surprise" its critics by "exceeding all expectations"."

Al-Jazeera Video: Syrian refugees languish in border limbo

"Fighting has forced thousands of Syrians to flee their homes, but many are stuck at in the border regions as neighbouring nations refuse to grant them entry.

Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reports from a makeshift refugee camp in Idlib."

Egyptian leftist leader eyes parliament majority

"(Reuters) - Popular Egyptian leftist politician and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy said on Saturday he is confident a coalition of leftist groups he is working to unite will be strong enough to defeat Islamists and win a parliament majority.

Sabahy, in an unexpected outcome, came in third place in the first round of the presidential vote last May, behind well-known army commander and politician Ahmed Shafik and current president Mohamed Mursi, who was the candidate of the state's most organized Muslim Brotherhood group.
Ten other candidates including two seen as front-runners trailed Sabahy, who had later turned down an offer by Mursi to become his vice president.

The almost-always smiling, populist succeeded in attracting millions of supporters moved by his promises to promote social justice, a fairer distribution of wealth and the elimination of poverty.

With a parliamentary vote expected before the end of the year, Sabahy is building on his gains from the presidential race and working to form a strong, organized bloc to run for parliament.

"We are seeking a national gathering of groups that share our goals of social justice but not necessarily our exact ideologies, and with that we will get a majority in parliament," Sabahy said in an interview with Reuters on Saturday night.

Sabahy said his front could include liberal groups and individuals who agree to his social justice program, but when asked if the front was also open to Islamists, the answer was an outright "no." "And certainly," he added, it "would not include the (Brotherhood's) Freedom and Justice Party and its allies."....."