The Lebanese government has told the army to take over security in the restive coastal city of Tripoli for six months, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Monday.
Ten people were killed in weekend clashes between Tripoli’s Alawite minority, which supports Syria’s Alawite President Bashar al-Assad, and majority Sunni Muslims who back his foes.
Violence in the northern city has killed more than 100 people this year and paralyzed business activity there.
Mikati, a Sunni from Tripoli, told Lebanon’s LBC television he had agreed with President Michel Suleiman and armed forces commander General Jean Qahwaji to “put Tripoli under the complete supervision of the army” for six months.
Hamid Karzai, he of the signature Karakul hat and brightly colored robes, we hardly knew ye.
Karzai, upon whom the Queen of England once bestowed an honorary knighthood, we barely recognize you.
Karzai, for whom we have overlooked the drugs, the money laundering, the election fraud, the jailing of your own women – where did you go?
Why, he is right here, just as he’s always been – and now he holds the very fate of Afghanistan in his smooth, soft hands. And frankly, Washington, it’s your own damn fault.
The Obama Administration remains desperate to secure the signature of somebody on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which will keep them in Afghanistan beyond 2024. They’re getting less and less picky about who that somebody is.
In comments today, Secretary of State John Kerry noted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is still refusing to sign, and suggested that the US could ask Defense Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi to sign instead, or failing him, somebody else in the Afghan government might be asked.
- Why Karzai Is Stonewalling A Security Agreement With US
- When Most U.S. Forces Leave Afghanistan, Contractors May Stay
- Obama’s Ludicrous Afghanistan Declarations – Killer Teams Redefined as “Advisors”
- David Swanson: 10 More Years in Afghanistan
- NATO says Karzai failure to sign pact would end Afghan mission
- Afghan Senate Chairman against signing security deal with US
- The ‘Zero Option’ Is The Best Option in Afghanistan
- Killing Unnamed Children In Afghanistan
- Afghans: September US Drone Strikes Killed 14 Civilians
- Top US commander apologises for Afghan drone strike that killed child
- Hamid Karzai says US cutting supplies to put pressure on security pact
- China And Russia Advise Afghan President Karzai To Take The U.S. Security Deal
- Attacks on Aid Workers Rise in Afghanistan, U.N. Says
- Booming Opium Trade Props Up, Plagues Afghanistan
- Stoning will not be brought back, says Afghan president
In 2009, the British Council invited Olivia Arthur to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to teach a two-week photography workshop for women. She agreed with the hope that she would also have the chance to make some work of her own. Her photos from that time, as well as two subsequent trips, are collected in her book, Jeddah Diary, published by Fishbar. “I wanted to make a series that would open up some of this strange world to people who don’t know about it,” Arthur said via email.
But being a photographer in an ultraconservative country with strict rules on what women can and can’t do could be frustrating, Arthur found. Arthur was once berated in the street by a woman whose photo she hadn’t even been taking. And it was even harder for the students in her class. “They wouldn’t all be allowed out by their families to go and shoot as they wanted, but most of them managed to overcome this. One girl took her husband along on her shoots after he finished work,” she said. Arthur said the issue of people being generally suspicious about photography in Saudi was also an issue: One woman was banned from the workshop for taking pictures of her female cousin, and another was arrested for taking pictures out in public.
Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism. Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—are subject to constant state surveillance, arbitrary arrests and government-run smear campaigns. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military. And the greed and corruption of its venal political and economic elite have created vast income disparities, a mirror of the decay within America’s democracy.
And yet, the hard truths about Israel remain largely unspoken. Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. They wring their hands over the tragic necessity of airstrikes on Gaza or Lebanon or the demolition of Palestinian homes. They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them. This reality implodes the myth of the Jewish state. It exposes the cynicism of a state whose real goal is, and always has been, the transfer, forced immigration or utter subjugation and impoverishment of Palestinians inside Israel and the occupied territories. Reality shatters the fiction of a peace process. Reality lays bare the fact that Israel routinely has used deadly force against unarmed civilians, including children, to steal half the land on the West Bank and crowd forcibly displaced Palestinians into squalid, militarized ghettos while turning their land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Reality exposes the new racial laws adopted by Israel as those once advocated by the fanatic racist Meir Kahane. Reality unveils the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, the largest detention center in the world. Reality mocks the lie of open, democratic debate, including in the country’s parliament, the Knesset, where racist diatribes and physical threats, often enshrined into law, are used to silence and criminalize the few who attempt to promote a civil society. Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel, however, desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.
There is one picture of Palestinian children studying around a small table by the dim light of gas lamps in the Beach Camp in Gaza, and another of children peeking over a sandy dune, with rows of small, uniform shacks of a desolate refugee camp in the background. In a third, a family walks across the Allenby Bridge, the father carrying two bulging suitcases, a young son clutching a white ball, heading east over the Jordan River.
These are a few of the black and white images, many of them powerful and haunting, that will eventually constitute a digital archive compiled by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the first part of which was unveiled Thursday at a gallery in the Old City here. Together, they capture the Palestinian refugee experience from the 1948 war onward, giving form to a seminal chapter in Palestinian history, identity and collective memory.
For decades, about half a million negatives, prints, slides and various forms of film footage have been hidden away in the archive of UNRWA, the organization that assists Palestinian refugees. Stored in buildings in Gaza and Amman, Jordan, the materials had begun to grow moldy.
So officials started a preservation mission, digitizing the archive, which also documents the work of the agency. The exhibit that opened Thursday, called “The Long Journey,” will soon go on tour to large cities in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and possibly Syria, and will also be shown at cultural and political centers in Europe and North America. The images will also be made accessible to the general public on a special website.
- Kerry warns Israel of ‘third intifada’
- Israeli Commander: 100,000 Palestinians ‘Have a Score to Settle’ With Israel
- Palestinian villages subject to Israeli mock raids not told they are exercises
- Netanyahu Vows ‘Thousands More Homes’ in Settlements
- UN begins distributing fuel to combat Gaza crisis
- West Bank Palestinians lose water and land
- First planned Palestinian city is rising in the West Bank
- 125-year-old Palestinian man tells memories from peaceful days
- “5 Broken Cameras” wins Palestine’s first Emmy
- Israel to stop issuing birth certificates to babies born to foreigners
- Israeli poll from 2010: 75 percent favour deporting fellow citizens; Netanyahu favours birth control
While Israeli detention of children so young is infrequent, it is not unprecendented.
Last year, in the village of Kufr Qaddoum Israeli occupation forces attempted to arrest Mo’men Shtayeh who was two-and-a-half years old.
More often, occupation forces target children who are just a little bit older. A harrowing video of Israeli occupation forces arresting several boys in Hebron earlier this year gave a glimpse into the everyday violence faced by Palestinian children living under Israeli military rule.
And Muslim Odeh, profiled by The Electronic Intifada last year, had been arrested 10 times and physically abused by Israeli occupation forces.
His age? Twelve.
Human rights organizations, including B’Tselem, report that Palestinian children are routinely tortured and habitually threatened with rape by their Israeli captors, among other horrifying abuses.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, emphasized the importance of the Navy’s Middle East presence Wednesday, telling sailors at an all-hands call that Bahrain remains the best option for operating out of the region.
[...] “Bahrain is going to suddenly emerge” in the eyes of the public and the Defense Department, Greenert said. He described a plan to bring two more coastal patrol ships to the island nation in the spring, along with a long-term proposal to port littoral combat ships, which could replace the current fleet of minesweepers that operate here. The first littoral combat ships are expected to arrive in Bahrain in 2018 with rotational crews, he said later in an interview with Stars and Stripes.
[...] Greenert stressed Bahrain’s key role in the service’s Middle East presence, telling sailors that the base here would continue to be its “centerpiece.” He said there is “no really good plan B … compared to what we have.”
“We don’t have that kind of deep relationship with any other country that we have with Bahrain,” Greenert told Stripes.
The U.N. envoy to Yemen has accused members of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government of obstructing reconciliation talks aimed at completing a power transfer deal, and called for international support for the current administration.
A Saleh aide denied his camp was undermining the talks and said that the United Nations envoy, Jamal Benomar, had become a burden on the transition process.
The Conference of National Reconciliation, launched in March as part of a 2011 Gulf-brokered power transfer deal that eased long-serving Saleh out of office, has been struggling with demands by separatists from what was South Yemen, which merged with North Yemen in 1990.
A group of separatists led by Mohammed Ali Ahmed, a former interior minister, quit the talks on Wednesday, dimming prospects that the conference might deliver a new constitution in time for elections originally expected to be held in February.
Yesterday, a group of high-ranking world leaders met in Geneva and brokered a six-month deal to limit the nuclear ambitions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. These spineless Western autocrats did so in exchange for the removal of several economic sanctions on Iran, believing they have both the power and authority to dismantle the country’s nuclear program and enforce strict IAEA regulations on uranium enrichment.
Given this incredibly unjust though unsurprising meddling from these cowardly foreign governments, The Onion vows to continue the expansion of Iran’s nuclear weapons program for as long as necessary until the operation has been completed. The dream must live on and will live on. And The Onion will make sure it does.
Arnon Milchan, the Israeli producer of such smash hits as “Fight Club,” “Pretty Woman,” and hundreds of other films, is opening up for the first time ever about his involvement in clandestine deals to acquire arms for Israel and his work to promote the country’s alleged nuclear program.
The film tycoon sat down with Israeli investigative journalist Ilana Dayan for the season premiere of her current affairs show “Uvda” (“Fact”), in which he discusses his efforts to engage Hollywood colleagues in his work for Israel’s Defense Ministry. Keshet’s show is scheduled to air Monday, November 25, on Israel’s Channel 2.
This isn’t the first time Milchan’s role in Israeli arms dealings and intelligence has surfaced: Just two years ago authors Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman published a book titled “Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan” – which alleged that Milchan was an operative for Israel’s Bureau of Scientific Relations. The bureau, headed by spy-masters Benjamin Blumberg and Rafi Eitan, gathered information for secret defense-related programs, including Israel’s alleged nuclear program. The bureau was closed after Jonathan Pollard was arrested for spying on behalf of Israel in 1986.
The “Uvda” report does, however, contain some shocking new details about Milchan’s work, including claims that other Hollywood bigwigs like the legendary, late director Sydney Pollack and at least one other Academy Award-winning actor, both figured into his work for Israel.
John Kerry hailed a “dramatic” step to “roll back” Iran’s nuclear ambitions on Sunday when America and Tehran overcame decades of confrontation to achieve their first formal agreement for 34 years.
The US secretary of state said this deal “impedes the progress in a very dramatic way of Iran’s principal enrichment facilities and key parts of its programme”.
The “first step” agreement, lasting for an interim period of six months, “rolls back the nuclear programme from where it is today”, said Mr Kerry.
In return, America will ease sanctions, releasing about $7 billion for Iran.
But Mr Kerry’s interpretation of the deal differed from that of Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister. The two men addressed consecutive press conferences between 4.30 and 5.30am in Geneva, at the end of almost five days of marathon negotiations.
- The full text of Iran, P5+1 nuclear deal document
- Iran, P5+1 Reach Deal on Nuclear Program
- Netanyahu says Iran nuclear deal is ‘historic mistake’
- Netanyahu: Iran nuclear deal endangers Israel, we will defend ourselves
- FM Lieberman slams deal with Iran: ‘We’re entering new era’
- Deputy Secretary of State William Burns led secret US back channel to Iran
- This Low-Profile British Diplomat Helped Salvage the Iran Nuclear Deal
- Republicans Attack Iran Deal Before It’s Announced
- Senate Leaders Promise New Iran Sanctions After Recess
- UK presses Senate to delay Iran sanctions
- The Red Herring in Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Arak
- State Department Reaffirms Iran Status As State Sponsor Of Terrorism During Nuclear Talks
- White House: Israel’s all-or-nothing proposal on Iran would lead to war
- Ex-defense minister: Israel can’t eliminate Iran threat
- Netanyahu’s estimate for Iran nuclear breakout “Sheer Nonsense”
- Netenyahu: Iran already has enough material for five bombs
- Military option against Iran still active, US envoy says
- Iranian dissidents say Iran has built secret new nuclear site
- Corporate Media’s Deceitful News on Iran and Nuclear Power Issues
European Union Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fule said Friday a $317 million aid package to Turkey would help it with key reform efforts.
“These past weeks have seen positive developments in EU-Turkey relations, and I hope this renewed support will help foster further reforms that will contribute to the progress in the accession process,” he said in a statement.
The European Commission said Friday the funding would help Turkey build an “independent, impartial and efficient” judicial system and strengthen the efficiency of law enforcement institutions.
Turkey aspires to a closer relationship with the EU. The latest phase of accession talks — Chapter 22, dealing with regional policy — began Nov 5.
- EU official slams Erdogan for his “authoritarian leadership” over Turkey
- Turkish PM: EU’s double standards towards Turkey reduce faith in membership
- German parties say EU may not be able to let Turkey join
- Luxembourg backs Turkey’s EU bid
- President Gül: EU must credit Turkey’s energy role
- Minister: Turkey ’will probably never be EU member’
A Saudi Arabian man has been arrested after offering ‘free hugs’ on the streets of the capital Riyadh.
Abdulrahman al-Khayyal was inspired to take to the streets after seeing a YouTube video, where the star Bandr al-Swed was filmed hugging random people.
[...] According to the local Al Hayat newspaper both men were arrested for violating local laws and undertaking “exotic practices.”
They were then made to sign a pledge that they would not go out and do so again.
However al-Khayyal has since told the Independent that he would continue with his policy of handing out free hugs adding that he considers it an act of charity.
Speaking at the State Department to leaders of multinational U.S. firms, Kerry said the Islamist group had appropriated the revolt against Mubarak from young people who started it in large part through social media in response to what they saw of other mass protests around the Arab world.
[...] Kerry’s comments are likely to raise eyebrows in Egypt where competing claims of credit for Mubarak’s ouster are still a source of major division. Mubarak’s ouster led to Egypt’s first-ever democratically chosen president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Secular politicians could not get organized enough to provide a credible contest.
- Kerry, White House Split on Egypt Policy
- Egypt turns to Russia for support
- al-Sisi: Egyptian general is idolised for deposing former President Mohamed Morsi, but can his popularity last?
- Egypt Islamist tells army chief to avoid politics
- Mursi says he was kidnapped before being removed by army
- Lifting state of emergency in Egypt may not change police behavior
- Sissi vows to avenge deaths of 11 soldiers in Sinai
- It Took Less Than 24 Hours To Deface The New Monument In Tahrir Square
- Survey: Egypt is worst Arab state for women
President Hamid Karzai told his countrymen on Thursday a vital security pact with the United States should not be signed until after Afghanistan’s presidential election next April, prompting the White House to underscore its demand for a year-end deadline.
Karzai’s surprise move, which came just a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the pact’s language had been agreed upon, suddenly threw its future into question and seemed certain to reignite tensions with Washington.
The Afghan leader spoke to about 2,500 tribal elders and political leaders from across Afghanistan gathered in the capital for a Loya Jirga, or grand council, to debate whether to allow U.S. troops to stay after the planned 2014 drawdown of foreign forces.
Without an accord on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), the United States says it could pull out all its troops at the end of 2014 and leave Afghan forces to fight the Taliban insurgency on their own.
- Afghan Pact Would Keep US Troops Indefinitely
- Afghan draft deal gives US troops immunity
- White House: No Apology for Occupation of Afghanistan
- Senators to Obama: Congress Must Vote Before Another Decade of War in Afghanistan
- Amnesty Urges Afghan Council to Demand Accountability for US War Crimes
- How Opium Greed Is Keeping US Troops in Afghanistan
- US Spent Billions on Afghan Projects That Will Fall Apart When We Leave
- Senator: US Soldiers Being Killed by Terror Groups Backed With US Money
- When Duke Ellington played Kabul
Tunisia is feeling a wave of unrest ripple through its country as a spate of suicide bombings and attempted terrorist attacks has threatened to undo fragile stability created from the Arab Spring two years ago.
However, as IBTimes UK travelled through Tunisia, key business school leaders told us that the country is unlikely to succumb to another uprising, as seen in Egypt or Libya, because the country has focused on equal rights for women and educating its population.
“We are very optimistic about our future as we pride ourselves on having a population that has a strong education,” said Mahmoud Triki, dean of the private Mediterranean School of Business to IBTimes UK.
“The reason why our revolution was different to Egypt’s and Libya’s is because we have a very educated population and I believe that it not only provides jobs for the graduates but it also gives them confidence of a better quality future.”
Endless Afghanistan? US-Afghan agreement would keep troops in place and funds flowing, perhaps indefinitely
While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key U.S.-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.
The wide-ranging document, still unsigned by the United States and Afghanistan, has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
The document outlines what appears to be the start of a new, open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan in the name of training and continuing to fight al-Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan doesn’t seem to be ending, but renewed under new, scaled-down U.S.-Afghan terms.
The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported [in April 2008] that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.
“We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”
Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.
A damning Amnesty report has raised fresh fears about the exploitation of the migrant workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, amid a rising toll of death, disease and misery.
The report – published a week after Fifa‘s president, Sepp Blatter, met the country’s emir and declared Qatar was “on the right track” in dealing with workers’ rights – claims that some migrant workers are victims of forced labour, a modern form of slavery, and treated appallingly by subcontractors employed by leading construction companies in a sector rife with abuse.
The report, based on two recent investigations in Qatar and scores of interviews, found workers living in squalid, overcrowded accommodation exposed to sewage and sometimes without running water. It found that many workers, faced with mounting debts and unable to return home, have suffered “severe psychological distress”, with some driven to the brink of suicide. Discrimination is common, according to the report, which says that one manager referred to workers as “the animals”.
It describes one case in which the employees of a company delivering supplies to a construction project associated with the planned Fifa headquarters during the 2022 World Cup were subjected to serious labour abuses. Nepalese workers employed by the supplier said they were treated like cattle. Employees were working up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, during the summer months when temperatures regularly reach 45C.
Qatar’s labour laws stipulate a maximum working day of 10 hours and say no one should work between 11.30am and 3pm during the summer months.
Clashes in Cairo and its suburbs have killed at least 989 people since security forces launched a 14 August crackdown on supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, a forensic official told AFP Thursday.
On 14 August itself, 627 people were killed when security forces stormed Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya square to disperse a sit-in by Morsi’s backers, said Hisham Abdul Hamid, spokesperson for Egypt’s forensic authorities.
The protesters had been calling for Morsi’s return after he was overthrown and imprisoned by the army on 3 July.
Dozens more were also killed on 14 August in the capital’s Nahda Square when police and troops dispersed a similar sit-in.
Abdul Hamid said the death toll was based on forensic details collected by several morgues in and around Cairo. It does not include security forces’ casualties.
Iran’s notorious morality police have been barred from arresting women deemed to be immodestly dressed, as President Hassan Rouhani moved to fulfil an election promise to ease up on the country’s strict Islamic dress code
Mr Rouhani, who has displayed a more moderate bent than his hardline predecessor since taking office in June, has moved to rein in the Gashte Ershad (Guidance Patrol), that has been a trademark of the Islamic Republic since its inception in 1979.
He has ordered the Iranian police to hand over the “modesty project” to the Ministry of Interior, a move interpreted as a relaxation of the restrictive Islamic mores that have long governed personal behaviour, particularly that of women.
Brigadier Ismail Ahmadi-Moghaddam, the head of the Iranian police, said the issue of how women and men dressed was no longer a matter of law enforcement.
President Obama and the White House have been engaged in a battle in the Senate to block the chamber from passing new sanctions that could derail ongoing negotiations with Iran. The White House has been clear: new sanctions could kill the talks and put the U.S. on a “path to war.”
Groups including NIAC, FCNL, Peace Action, Americans for Peace Now, J Street, and International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran have all come out against new Senate sanctions. Groups including AIPAC and Foundation for Defense of Democracies are, as usual, advocating more sanctions. AIPAC even says they will explicitly try to kill a deal.
But it looks like the pro-diplomacy side is winning.
Senators Carl Levin, Christopher Murphy, and Dianne Feinstein have all now come out in opposition to new Iran sanctions, saying they will instead support the ongoing negotiations with Iran. And today, even Senator John McCain (R-AZ) told the BBC today he will not support new sanctions for now, saying, ”I am skeptical of talks with Iran but willing to give the Obama administration a couple months.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed a crucial detail Thursday about last week’s nuclear talks with Iran in Geneva that explains much more clearly than previous reports why the meeting broke up without agreement.
Lavrov said the United States circulated a draft that had been amended in response to French demands to other members of the six-power P5+1 for approval “literally at the last moment, when we were about to leave Geneva.”
Lavrov’s revelation, which has thus far been ignored by major news outlets, came in a news conference in Cairo Thursday that was largely devoted to Egypt and Syria. Lavrov provided the first real details about the circumstances under which Iran left Geneva without agreeing to the draft presented by the P5+1.
- US Official: ’Quite possible’ Iran, powers can reach nuclear deal next week
- IAEA: Iran Halting Nuclear Expansion Under Rouhani
- Netanyahu ‘unimpressed’ by IAEA nuclear report on Iran
- Iranian FM: Talks doomed if ‘nuclear rights’ not recognized
- Iran tells West wants oil, banking sanctions considered up front