Arab League

Murder in Paris, revolution in Egypt

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By Herbert London, contributor

The former headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo w...
The former headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo weekly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The blood on the streets of Paris caused by Islamist gunmen is shocking and disturbing, but not surprising. Jihadists engaged in several prior attempts to shut down the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a newspaper that lampoons Islam, among others. In fact, Charlie Hebdo was an equal opportunity satirist.

Most significant is the fact that this murderous act is consistent with Islamic law and the tenets of sharia, notwithstanding public commentary that denies this reality. What Charlie Hebdo printed, which led to the bloodshed, is the savage truth.

Curiously, the week before this incident, the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, speaking before Al-Azhar University officials on the occasion of the prophet Mohammed’s upcoming birthday, offered a renewed vision of Islam, one that he insisted is necessary for Islam to coexist with the West and different traditions. In a sense, his words take on a certain poignancy because of the violence perpetrated against the Paris paper. Read the rest of this entry »

Syria – to break the downward spiral

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syria (Photo credit: themua)
March 7th, 2012

It is necessary to consider what role NGOs might now play in Syria– particularly to support the mediation efforts of former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan – in order to break what seems to be a continual downward spiral, with real dangers of civil war.

By Rene Wadlow

Mid-March 2011 in Syria, nonviolent protests and demands for limited reforms began and then were increasingly met by government violence.  Discussions on what the United Nations could do to help the Syrian people and to speed up necessary reforms started quickly in both New York and Geneva. The appointment of the former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, as a joint UN-League of Arab States moderator at the end of February 2012 is the most recent efforts as we mark this one-year anniversary.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also been concerned, some acting directly – such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – others as members of the Observer Mission of the League of Arab States. Other NGOs, both Syrian, such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and international have provided information and have proposed mediation.

It is worth while to analyse these efforts, to outline some of the strengths and weaknesses and to consider what role NGOs might play now to break what seems to be a continual downward spiral with real dangers of civil war, as fighting with heavy weapons continues and flows of arms from outside Syria to the opposition seems to be growing.

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Iran Daily Brief February 20, 2012 – Full Report

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English: Balance of trade, Iran (2000-2007). H...

International Affairs

Ahmadinejad in Islamabad for a trilateral Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran summit – The three leaders stressed the need for economic cooperation and completion of all projects, especially gas pipelines, one to import gas from Iran and the second from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and will be extended to India.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman: Military intervention in Syria will be “very dangerous” – Ramin Mehmanparast said that a military intervention in Syria will be “very dangerous” to regional security and stability. He added that the legitimate demands of the Syrian people should be met, and reforms should be made in Syria. He added that Bashar al-Assad’s government has so far implemented considerable reforms. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, praised the Syrian government for planning a referendum on Syria’s new constitution, and urged the Arab League, Europe and the UN to support the Syrian government’s bid. He also called on the Arab League to fulfill its duty to prevent any foreign interference in Syria.

Intelligence Minister: There is an ongoing all-out war against the Islamic Republic IranHeidar Moslehi stated that “Based on accurate information, Iran is currently in a ‘heavy soft war’ situation.” He added that the enemy has hatched different plots in almost all fields and that the Ministry of Intelligence has so far countered enemies’ countless plots. Moslehi noted that the plots have caused many threats, but have also created opportunities. He stressed the importance of crafting new strategies to face the new threats that have changed in nature etched against Iran.

Strong criticism of the Iranian chargé d’affaires in Egypt and Iranian policy towards Egypt in general – An editorial in Asr Iran directed sharp criticism at the positions taken by Mojtaba Amani on the chargé d’affaires of Iran on Egypt. Under the headline, “Are you protecting the interests of Iran or Egypt?!” Asr Iran comments on an interview Amani gave to Al-Ahram in which he expressed Iran’s immediate willingness to strengthen diplomatic ties with Egypt and provide urgent economic assistance to the Egyptian people as they face pressure and threats from the US. He also noted that Iranians are eager to visit Egypt. This is not the first time that senior Iranian officials express such positions towards Egypt. He remarked that Iranians have not forgotten that President Ahmadinejad announced at a press conference in 2008, “I declare emphatically that if the Egyptian government expresses readiness, by the end of the day I will open an Iranian Embassy in Egypt.” Egyptian officials at the time received his words with apathy and disregard, in Iran with surprise and shock. After the Egyptian revolutionaries won, they received a similar message from Iran, and they continued to ignore them, claiming that now is the time for a transitional government, and these matters should wait until later.

Now representatives from Iran’s Interest Section in Egypt are making statements, saying that the Iranian people are even willing to pay for renewing diplomatic ties with Egypt. They also promised that if the US stops financial aid to Egypt, Iran is ready to immediately provide alternative assistance to Egypt. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Questions and Answers: What the U.S. Should Do About Syria

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Morgan Roach February 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm



An armed Free Syrian Army rebel stands inside a house in the north Syrian city of Binnish on February 15, 2012.

As the violent government crackdown continues in Syria, the United States is faced with a series of questions about what role it should play in the international response. Here are ten questions and answers about the road forward:

Does the U.S. have an interest in the Syrian uprising?

The Assad regime has supported numerous Palestinian, Lebanese, Iraqi, and Kurdish terrorist groups in attacks on Americans and U.S. allies. Furthermore, it has subverted Lebanon’s independence, assassinated its leaders, and blocked Arab peace efforts with Israel, and it remains both a state sponsor of terrorism and Iran’s most important ally. The United States has a strong interest in reducing terrorist threats to Americans and U.S. allies, containing Iran, and shoring up regional stability.

Should the U.S. participate in U.N. peacekeeping?

Earlier this week, the Arab League issued a vague proposal for a joint Arab League/United Nations peacekeeping force to be deployed to Syria. However, there is little peace to keep. As long as the Assad regime and the myriad of opposition groups that it has spawned are locked in a power struggle, no outside force is likely to bring peace. Rather, any outside peacekeeping force would become embroiled in the conflict as a combatant and thereby increase the suffering of the Syrian people.

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Syria violence spreads to Aleppo as bomb blasts kill 28

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English: President Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, Ab...
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Further 175 hurt in security compound blasts but opposition blames attacks on security forces aiming to disrupt protests

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor, Friday 10 February 2012 17.07 GMT Article history

One of two bomb blasts sites in Syria‘s northern city of Aleppo. Photograph: Sana/Reuters

Violence spread to Syria‘s largest city, Aleppo, on Friday with two blasts outside security compounds that left 28 people dead.

The explosions outside military intelligence and police compounds were blamed on terrorists by the state media. Some 175 people were injured, the worst day Aleppo has seen since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last year. The northern city and economic hub has been largely quiet, but protests had been planned for Friday. Anti-Assad activists accused the regime of setting off the blasts to discredit the opposition and disrupt demonstrations.

In Homs, government forces continued their siege of rebel-held districts and other opposition areas, going house to house arresting people in the Insha’at district and keeping up an artillery and tank barrage on Baba Amr.

The intensified campaign began with the failure of the UN security council to agree on a common position last weekend, when Russia and China vetoed a resolution backing an Arab League peace plan and calling on Assad to step down. Moscow and Beijing stuck to their positions on Friday, dashing any residual hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough in the security council. Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov, accused the west of arming the rebel Free Syrian Army. Read the rest of this entry »

Talks explore prospects for al-Assad exile

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Assad Pictures (Photo credit: upyernoz)”]Assad Pictures[gallery]

03/02/2012– Source
By Caroline Akoum and Sawsan Abo-Husain
Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Following news reports that the US, European and
Arab states have begun discussing the possibility of exile for Bashar al-Assad, Syrian National Council [SNC] Executive Committee member, Ahmed
Ramadan, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that such talks are nothing new, but that
the timing of these talks now – with large parts of the country outside of
al-Assad regime control – will ensure they have a greater impact upon the
Syrian regime and Bashar al-Assad personally.Ramadan told Asharq Al-Awsat that “during the first months of the
revolution, there were at least two countries – one Arab country and one
European country– in talks with al-Assad, and they put forward the idea of
him handing over power and leaving the country. This proposal was previously
discussed by the military leadership affiliated to the regime, most
importantly Maher al-Assad and Assef Shawkat, who opposed this proposal.”
Ramadan added that it is therefore not surprising that similar proposals
should be put forward to the Syrian regime today, particularly as al-Assad
is seeing his forces retreat day after day.
The SNC Executive Committee member also revealed that the SNC has received

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Activists report ‘terrifying massacre’ in Syria

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It’s racial cleansing … They are killing people because of their sect,’ one resident of Homs claims


Str  /  AP

Syrian army defectors celebrate after they joined anti-government protesters in Khalidiya, Homs province, on Thursday. staff and news service reports — updated 15 minutes ago

BEIRUTUpdated at 3:15 a.m. ET: Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, describes the killings of at least 35 people in the city of Homs as a “terrifying massacre.”

Videos posted online from activists showed the bodies of children wrapped in plastic bags lined up next to each other. Another video shows women and children with bloodied faces and clothes and in a house, with the narrator saying an entire family with its children had been “slaughtered.”

The videos could not be independently verified.

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