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Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Asma Assad, Wife Of Bashar Assad, Speaks Out

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 7, 2012

In a rare public statement, Bashar Assad’s wife has sent an email to the Times for publication. Her message is clear; the Syrian first lady stands firmly beside her husband as the country teeters toward the brink of civil war.

“The President is the President of Syria, not a faction of Syrians, and the First Lady supports him in that role,” the email stated, according to AFP.

Asma Assad largely has remained quiet since the start of the protests in Syria in March 2011. Thestatement sent from her office reportedly said that“the First Lady’s very busy agenda is still focused on supporting the various charities she has long been involved with and rural development as well as supporting the President as needed.”

Asma Assad grew up in Acton, West London, theDaily Mail reports. She graduated from King’s College London and worked for Deutsche Bank as an analyst in hedge-fund management before marrying Bashar Assad in 2000.

Asma Assad’s family are Sunni Muslims from Homs, the city that has been heavily targeted by security forces in the past months.

Nesrine Malik, a commentator for The Guardian who calls Asma Assad “one of a breed of educated westernised Arab first wives” who “default unquestioningly to their fathers and husbands,” noted the poor timing of the first lady’s comments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria Clashes: Homs Assaulted By Government Forces As Russian Foreign Minister Visits

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 7, 2012

BEIRUT — Days after blocking a U.S.-backed peace plan at the U.N., senior Russian officials pushed for reforms Tuesday during an emergency meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, promoting a settlement to end the uprising without removing him from power.

Thousands of flag-waving government supporters cheered the Russians in the Syrian capital of Damascus, while to the north, Assad’s forces pounded the opposition city of Homs – underscoring the sharp divisions propelling the country toward civil war.

The violence has led to the most severe international isolation in more than four decades of Assad family rule, with country after country calling home their envoys.

France, Italy, Spain and Belgium pulled their ambassadors from Damascus, as did six Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia. Germany, whose envoy left the country this month, said he would not be replaced. The moves came a day after the U.S. closed its embassy in Syria and Britain recalled its ambassador.

Turkey, once a strong Assad supporter and now one of his most vocal critics, added its voice to the international condemnation, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying his country cannot remain silent about massacres in Syria. He said Turkey would “launch a new initiative with countries that stand by the Syrian people instead of the regime.”

His comments reflect a growing movement by the U.S., Europe and countries in the region to organize a coalition of nations to back Syria’s opposition, though what kind of support remains unclear. Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for “friends of democratic Syria” to unite and rally against Assad’s regime. Read the rest of this entry »

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Assad must go, no foreign forces in Syria: UNSC draft

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 31, 2012

The UN draft resolution on Syria calls for President Assad to hand power over to his deputy and clarifies that no foreign forces will be deployed to the country, the Associated Press reports.

The resolution also demands the Syrian government put “an end to all human rights violations and attacks against those exercising their rights to freedom of expression.”

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow has no intentions of telling President Assad to step down.

“Russian politics is not to ask someone to resign,” he told Australia’s ABC TV channel. “Regime change is not our profession,” the minister added.

He also rejected out of hand any accusation that Russia unconditionally supports the Syrian leader. “We are not President Assad’s friends or allies,” he stressed. Lavrov made it clear earlier on Tuesday that Assad’s continuing tenure as president is not a precondition for a settlement in Syria.

Western diplomacy is making another attempt to use the UN as a tool to promote its foreign policy agenda, drafting a new and ambiguous resolution on Syria which sets out a roadmap to topple President Bashar Assad.

The resolution fails to take account of the positions of countries like Russia and China, which have presented a united front opposing regime change in Damascus.

Moscow says the new resolution contains a threat to “adopt further measures if Syria does not comply with the terms of the resolution,” opening the door to a Libya-style foreign intervention in the conflict-torn Middle Eastern country. Read the rest of this entry »

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Riad Al Asaad, Syria Rebel Army Chief, Calls For International Intervention As Bloodshed Continues

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 17, 2012


By Erika Solomon

BEIRUT, Jan 17 (Reuters) – A Syrian rebel army chief urged the world on Tuesday to protect civilians in Syria, saying Arab peace monitors had failed to curb President Bashar al-Assad’s violent response to a 10-month-old revolt against his rule.

Big powers have also proved unable to stop the bloodshed in Syria, where U.N. officials say more than 5,000 people have been killed and Damascus says its security forces have lost 2,000 dead.

Riad al-Asaad, Turkish-based commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, called for international intervention to replace the Arab observer mission, which has just days to run.

“The Arab League and their monitors failed in their mission and though we respect and appreciate our Arab brothers for their efforts, we think they are incapable of improving conditions in Syria or resisting this regime,” he told Reuters by telephone.

“For that reason we call on them to turn the issue over to the U.N. Security Council and we ask that the international community intervene because they are more capable of protecting Syrians at this stage than our Arab brothers,” Asaad said.

Iran condemned what it called foreign interference in the affairs of its closest Arab ally, Syria, and praised reforms President Assad has promised as “problem-solving”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Arab League: Syria Sanctions Approved

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 28, 2011

BEIRUT — In an unprecedented move against an Arab nation, the Arab League on Sunday approved economic sanctions on Syria to pressure Damascus to end its deadly suppression of an 8-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.

But even as world leaders abandon Assad, the regime has refused to ease a military assault on dissent that already has killed more than 3,500 people. On Sunday, Damascus slammed the sanctions as a betrayal of Arab solidarity and insisted a foreign conspiracy was behind the revolt, all but assuring more bloodshed will follow.

The sanctions are among the clearest signs yet of the isolation Syria is suffering because of the crackdown. Damascus has long boasted of being a powerhouse of Arab nationalism, but Assad has been abandoned by some of his closest allies and now his Arab neighbors. The growing movement against his regime could transform some of the most enduring alliances in the Middle East and beyond.

At a news conference in Cairo, Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim said 19 of the League’s 22 member nations approved a series of tough punishments that include cutting off transactions with the Syrian central bank, halting Arab government funding for projects in Syria and freezing government assets. Those sanctions are to take effect immediately.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Egypt: Thousands Take To The Polls Despite Protesters’ Demand That Military Rulers Step Down

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 28, 2011


Yes people is the main driving force:

Egyptians have taken to the polls for the country’s first elections since the fall of Mubarak’s regime in February.

Reports suggest that queues formed early outside polling stations, with delays at a number of major stations causing lines to stretch several blocks long, and in some cases entirely encircling the schoolhouses where voting was taking place.‬

‪”They’re trying to make it delayed so that we get angry and go home,” a man cried outside a still-closed polling center in the poor, mixed neighborhood of Shoubra, an hour after it was meant to open. “But we’ll show them. We will stay here and we will vote.”‬

The vote has gone ahead despite nine days of mass demonstrations, with protesters calling for an end to military rule before elections take place.

“We reject any resolution taken by the military council – except for the handover of power to an authority that we approve. Then we will be making the decisions in Egyptian politics,” said a Tahrir demonstrator on Sunday.

More than 40 protesters have been killed and around 2,000 injured in the past nine days.

In a statement on Sunday, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the leader of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), said that Egypt was “at a crossroads”.

“Either we succeed – politically, economically and socially – or the consequences will be extremely grave and we will not allow that,” he said.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Yemen: Fighting Kills At Least Two, Despite Deal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 26, 2011


Everywhere million and million people demonstrat­ing and leaders do not care or can not think?:

SANAA, Yemen — Heavy fighting between rival army units shook Yemen’s capital Friday, killing two soldiers in what could signal the start of a power struggle just days after autocratic President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to end his 33-year rule.

The clashes pitted Central Security forces commanded by Saleh’s nephew, Col. Yehia Saleh, against troops from the First Armored Division, headed by Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who defected and joined the protesters in March. The crackle of automatic weapons and the heavy thud of mortars echoed across the city.

One soldier from each side was killed before the fighting stopped around dawn, a security official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

The two units have clashed in the past, but Friday’s fighting was the first showdown since Saleh signed a U.S.-backed proposal Wednesday in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Under the agreement, Saleh agreed to pass power to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi within 30 days, after a new government sworn in by the vice president passes a law protecting Saleh and his associates from prosecution.

Hadi is also to call for early presidential elections to be held within 90 days.

Also Friday, opposition parties that signed the Gulf deal selected Mohammed Basindwa as prime minister, said opposition leader Abdullah Obal. Under the deal’s terms, the vice president is expected to charge him in the next few days with forming a national unity government.

Basindwa, though an independent, has held numerous positions in Saleh’s government, including foreign and information minister.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Egypt: Thousands Protest Against Military In Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 26, 2011


Why leaders practicall­y – not theoretica­lly – undermine people’s power?:

Thousands of protestors have filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square in the latest demonstration against the military authorities in Egypt.

Organisers called Friday’s protest in the capital ‘the last chance million-man protest’ as they demanded that the country’s military rulers step aside after the latest wave of demonstrations that have left more than 40 people dead.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is overseeing the transition to civilian rule but many protestors believe the military will not cede power after next week’s elections and are demanding the postponement of the vote until civilian rule is installed.

The protests have continued in spite of the ruling military regime selecting, Kamal el-Ganzouri, a Mubarak-era politician to act as prime minister and who insisted he has power to rule.

“I have asked Field Marshal [Hussein Tantawi] to give me time to appoint a Cabinet which satisfies all people,” el-Ganzouri said, adding: “[SCAF] has given me all the authorities that could be given to a prime minister.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Egypt Protests: Thousands Fill Tahrir Square In Cairo For Anti-Military Demonstration

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 25, 2011

HAMZA HENDAWI and SARAH EL DEEB

Workmen hang a banner for parliamentary candidate Gamila Ismail near Tahrir Square on November 25, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

CAIRO — The U.S. increased pressure Friday on Egypt’s military rulers to hand over power to civilian leaders, and the generals turned to a Mubarak-era politician to head a new government in a move that failed to satisfy the more than 100,000 protesters who jammed Tahrir Square in the biggest rally yet this week.

The demonstrators rejected the appointment of Kamal el-Ganzouri as prime minister, breaking into chants of “Illegitimate! Illegitimate!” and setting up a showdown between the two sides only three days before key parliamentary elections.

The size of the rally and the resilience of protesters in the face of the violence used by security forces in this week’s deadly street battles have won back for the movement much of the strength it projected during the 18-day uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Showing the sort of resolve from the earliest days of the Arab Spring, the protesters say they will not leave the iconic square until the military rulers led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi step down and a civilian presidential council is formed to run the country until a new leader is elected.

“They stole our January revolution because we did not agree on who should represent us,” said activist Sedeeqah Abu Seadah. “We shouted ‘erhal’ (leave) but did not shout the name of the person we want.”

The military’s appointment of el-Ganzouri, its apology for the death of protesters and a series of partial concessions in the past two days suggest that the generals are struggling to overcome the most serious challenge to their nine-month rule, with fewer options now available to them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tunisia Elections Milestone For Arab Spring

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 26, 2011

TUNIS, Tunisia — No matter what the results, Tunisia’s landmark election was a monumental achievement in democracy that will be a tough act to follow in elections next month in Egypt and Morocco – and later, in Libya.

In just five months, an independent Tunisian commission organized the first free elections in this North African nation’s history. The ballot attracted 80 parties offering candidates, drew a massive turnout by impassioned voters and was effusively praised by international observers.

“I have observed 59 elections in the last 15 years, many of them in old democracies … and never have I seen a country able to realize such an election in a fair, free and dignified way,” said Andreas Gross, a Swiss parliamentarian and the head of the observer delegation for the Council of Europe. “I was elected in Switzerland on the same day in elections that were not much better than here.”

Tunisia’s success, however hard to replicate, is a milestone for the Arab Spring, the wave of popular uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East that have overthrown long-serving leaders and are changing the face of the region.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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The Palestinians’ UN Remains of the Day

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 15, 2011

One of the biggest problems in world politics.

By 

Former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Libyan Rebel Chief’s Death Questioned After Rumours He Was Shot By Own Men

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 29, 2011


Some head of the state and head of the government also killed by their own people. So this does not give any surprise if he was killed by one of the members from his group.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Palestine: the world’s next nation

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 22, 2011

In four days the UN Security Council will meet, and the world has an opportunity to embrace a new proposal that could turn the tide on decades of failed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks: UN recognition of the state of Palestine.

Over 120 nations from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America have already endorsed this initiative, but Israel’s right-wing government and the US vehemently oppose it. The UK and other key European countries are still undecided, but a massive public push now could tip them to vote for this momentous opportunity to end 40 years of military occupation.

US-led peace initiatives have failed for decades, while Israel has confined the Palestinians to small areas, confiscated their lands and blocked their independence. This bold new initiative could be the best opportunity to jump start a resolution of the conflict, but Europe and the UK must take the lead. Let’s build a massive global call for the UK and other European leaders to endorse this statehood bid now, and make clear that citizens across the world support this legitimate, non-violent, diplomatic proposal. Sign the petition and send this to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/independence_for_palestine_uk/?vl

While the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are complex, most people on all sides agree that the best path to peace now is the creation of two states. But repeated peace processes have been undermined by violence on both sides, extensive Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank, and the humanitarian blockade on Gaza. The Israeli occupation has shrunk and fragmented the territory for a Palestinian state and made daily life a crippling ordeal for the Palestinian people. The UN, World Bank and IMF have all recently announced that Palestinians are ready to run an independent state, but say the main constraint to success is the Israeli occupation. Even the US President has called for an end to settlement expansion and a return to the 1967 borders with mutually agreed land-swaps, but Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has furiously refused to cooperate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Libya Rebels Recognized By U.S.

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 16, 2011


Could this be the real solution of the problem? After spending trillion dollars still why we are not able to have the real safe solution?

See this video:


Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Gaddafi Is ‘Ready To Go,’ Says French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 12, 2011


This is not the first time I am reading news with this kind of informatio­n. So I am still in doubt.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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