Tunisian gunman laughed and joked with tourists before killing 27

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Date June 27, 2015 – 4:35PM
Richard Spencer and Robert Mendick in London and Ben Farmer in Sousse
Tourists console each other following a shooting attack in the Tunisia resort town of Sousse.Tourists console each other following a shooting attack in the Tunisia resort town of Sousse.

Before the bullets came laughter.

As 23-year-old Seifeddine Yacoubi hopped off an inflatable boat about midday at the popular holiday resort of El Kantaoui, north of Sousse on Friday, he quickly blended into the hundreds of people enjoying a sunny day.

The aviation student carried a beach parasol and joked and laughed with tourists as he moved among the mainly European holidaymakers, seeking out anyone from Britain or France.

Police officers surround a man suspected to be involved in an attack on a beachside hotel in Sousse, Tunisia,.Police officers surround a man suspected to be involved in an attack on a beachside hotel in Sousse, Tunisia,. Photo: STRINGER

But, in an instant, the scene changed. Yacoubi produced an AK 47 from under his umbrella and the slaughter began. Read the rest of this entry »


Is There A Limit to Qatar’s Successes?

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Written by Andrew Engel, Guest 05 December 2011 Qatar_Foreign_PolicyQatar, led by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani after he carried out a bloodless coup against his father in 1995, is a tiny Gulf emirate that has been riding high. Whether for its successful intervention in Libya, which gave NATO a veneer of Arab legitimacy, its drive to isolate Syria by galvanizing an ossified Arab League to action, its tough stance against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who signed the Gulf Initiative last week, or the broad inroads the tiny nation is making with post-Arab Spring countries as they hit the ballot boxes, the country has much going for it. However, its successes have led many in the region to question its sources of power and its agenda. Qatar’s aggressive foreign policy, despite all of its successes, is not only facing a backlash, but perhaps the beginning of its natural limits.

Qatar’s Sources of Strength

The liberal, Saudi-owned online daily Elaph, in an article published on November 15th titled “Arab Diplomatic Vacuum Opens the Field to Qatari Influence,” gathered three distinguished Arab political analysts and published their insight to Qatar’s recent successes. In short, Qatari foreign policy can be characterized as having two arms: one is “dynamic diplomacy” and the other is “the long arm of the al-Jazeera (satellite) channel.” Furthermore, Qatar’s “strong support for the Arab revolutions, while a number of Arab countries have been absent diplomatically, has presented Qatar an opportunity.”

Abdullah al-Shamri, a Saudi researcher in international relations, noted that in 1995 Qatar’s GDP doubled, bringing about new political and economic power. It was against this strong economy that Al Thani deposed his father, and less than a year later in 1996 al-Jazeera was founded. Ever since, the satellite station has “surpassed the abilities of Gulf embassies.” Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia unrest: Arab rulers cagey

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2011-01-15 23:25

Beirut – The near-silence of Arab leaders about the popular protests that chased Tunisia‘s ex-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power speaks volumes.

Topographic map of Tunisia. Created with GMT f...
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People across the region have watched enthralled as street unrest forced Ben Ali to flee the North African country he has ruled for 23 years – an unprecedented spectacle in the Arab world, where authoritarian leaders can usually only be dislodged by army coup, assassination or their own mortality.

US President Barack Obama urged free and fair elections in Tunisia, a call echoed by other Western leaders – many of whom had turned a blind eye to Ben Ali’s repressive style.

But Arab capitals have largely kept quiet, apparently stunned by the seismic explosion of protest in Tunisia.

“What will worry many governments in the region is that the crisis was spontaneous and not organised,” said Henry Wilkinson of the Janusian Security Consultancy. “Events in Tunisia have shown the risk of a pressure cooker effect: if you have a system of intense suppression without addressing the causes of discontent, a crack in that system can lead to an explosion.”

A cautious statement from the Cairo-based Arab League called for Tunisia’s “political forces, representatives of Tunisian society and officials to stand together” and keep the peace. Read the rest of this entry »

Islam Channel CEO back in cell

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January 26 2010 at 01:18PM

The CEO of the UK-based Islam Channel was moved from the hospital to police cells in Pretoria on Tuesday morning, the Media Review Network (MRN) said.

“He was there until this morning [Tuesday] when the doctors discharged him and he was taken back to his holding cell at the Moot police station in Pretoria. That is where is being held currently,” said MRN chairman Iqbal Jassat. Read the rest of this entry »