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Posts Tagged ‘Arab Spring’

Must-Reads From Around the World: April 26, 2012

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 26, 2012

PETER DEJONG/AFP/GettyImages/Pool

PETER DEJONG/AFP/GETTYIMAGES/POOL
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor takes notes at the start of the judgement hearing of his trial on charge of arming Sierra Leone’s rebels who paid him in “blood diamonds,” on April 26, 2012 at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, based in Leidschendam outside The Hague

Life For Death? – The five-year trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor, accused of 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other offenses, is finally coming to a close in The Hague on Thursday, with a possible life sentence for the ousted leader. The Guardian, live-blogging the verdict from the tribunal, noted that Taylor is “clearly listening with care,” as it is read out. And judges found Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes during the Sierra Leone civil war.

New Front in Drone War – The White House expanded the authority of the Pentagon and CIA to carry out drone strikes in Yemen, which is widely believed to be a safe haven for al-Qaeda operatives, the New York Times reports. U.S. Defense Secretary LeonPanetta has defended the strategy, the Guardian says, but international legal experts argue that drone strikes amount to execution of suspects before trial, making them illegal – especially when carried out in Yemen where the U.S. is not engaged in war.

Questioning Misogyny – Following the fierce debate over its cover story, “Why Do They Hate Us?“ which casts Arab societies as deeply misogynistic, Foreign Policy shares critiques and commentary from six Muslim observers, including the senior editor of the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English-language website. Also chiming in is The Atlantic’s Max Fisher, who argues that while misogyny is a problem in Arab countries, it’s not a distinctively Arab problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria’s Armed Opposition No Threat To Regime, Says U.S., Which Plans To Provide Nonlethal Aid to Civilians

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 15, 2012

WASHINGTON — On the one-year anniversary of the uprisings in Syria, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the armed resistance is not able to mount a credible military threat to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. intelligence officials told The Huffington Post.

The powerful, Russian-armed Syrian army remains firmly in control behind the Assad regime, senior intelligence officials say.

That assessment underlies the Obama administration’s reluctance to become more actively involved in the uprising against Assad that began on March 15, 2011. After a year of sporadic and inconclusive violence against the regime, the White House has flatly ruled out providing arms to the opposition and instead is focusing on coordinating international pressure against the Assad regime and providing humanitarian relief.

The White House has authorized providing medical supplies and nonlethal equipment to civilian Syrian groups that would transport the supplies, according to a source close to the administration’s deliberations on Syria.

But the failure of the armed opposition to take advantage of defections from the Syrian armed forces or coordinate its actions into a meaningful security challenge of the regime appears to leave the United States and other critics of the regime without a long-term strategy for ousting Assad. By contrast, in Libya last year, a relatively well-organized and armed opposition eventually drew Western military support, and the country’s strongman, Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed last fall. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria: President Bashar Assad Sets Referendum On New Draft Constitution

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 15, 2012

BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered a referendum for later this month on a new constitution that would allow political parties other than his ruling Baath Party, the centerpiece of reforms he has promised to ease the crisis, even as the Syrian military on Wednesday besieged rebellious areas.

The opposition quickly rejected the move, saying that the regime was stalling and that Syrians in the uprising would accept nothing less than Assad’s ouster. The referendum call also raises the question of how a nationwide vote could be held at a time when many areas see daily battles between Syrian troops and rebel soldiers.

Amendments to the constitution once were a key demand by the opposition at the start of Syria’s uprising, when protesters first launched demonstrations calling for change. But after 11 months of a fearsome crackdown on dissent that has left thousands dead and turned some cities into war zones, the opposition says Assad and his regime must go.

“The people in the street today have demands, and one of these demands is the departure of this regime,” said Khalaf Dahowd, a member of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, an umbrella for several opposition groups in Syria and in exile. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hussein Tantawi, Gen. Martin Dempsey Meet

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 12, 2012

CAIRO — The United States’ top general discussed an Egyptian crackdown on Western-funded pro-democracy groups with the head of the country’s ruling military council on Saturday, as another two foreigners were arrested on charges of fomenting discontent on the first anniversary of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.

The meeting between Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi took place as relations between the two allies have reached their lowest level in decades.

Egypt, which regularly blames anti-military protests on foreign meddling, has referred 16 American civil society employees to trial on charges of using State Department funds to finance unrest in Egypt. Among those referred to trial is Sam LaHood, the head of the Egypt office of the Washington-based International Republican Institute and the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

And in an indication that authorities will continue to push the line that foreigners are stirring up trouble, Egyptian police said they had arrested an Australian journalist and an American student whom they say residents accused of trying to bribe people to join a strike aimed at pressuring military rulers to transfer power to civilian rule.

The new arrests follow warnings from both the White House and Congress that the United States could cut an annual $1.5 billion aid package to Egypt over the crackdown on the civil society groups.

Dempsey discussed a range of issues with Egyptian generals “including the issue involving U.S. NGOs”, according to his spokesman Col. Dave Lapan who declined to give more details about the private discussions.

Egypt’s state news agency said Dempsey and the ruling generals discussed “the depth of the strategic relationship between Washington and Cairo,” but a Pentagon official had said prior to the general’s visit that he would talk with Egypt’s leaders about “choices and consequences.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tony Blair Warns ‘Dangerous’ Islamists Are Taking Advantage Of Arab Spring

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 29, 2011

Western governments were wrong to prop up Middle Eastern dictatorships in the mistaken belief it would create stability, Tony Blair has said.

The former prime minister said that in the past the West was “too reluctant to push those dictatorships on a path to democracy” in a mistaken belief that its interests lay in stability rather than freedom for the peoples of the region.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme on Thursday, Blair said that while it was better to have democracies than dictatorships, it would have been preferable if the Arab Spring could have been averted in favour of a slower “evolutionary” move towards democracy.

“I think it’s better if we had been able to promote evolution of these countries so rather than revolution that will cause quite a lot of difficulties, not simply for us, but for people of these countries. Look at what has happened to Egypt’s growth rates and tourist industry,” he said.

Blair admitted he had to be a bit “self critical” and acknowledge that he should have “promoted more strongly a concept of evolutionary change” while in power.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Year In Review: 2011’s Biggest Events

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 24, 2011

 

When Mohamed Bouazizi, a young Tunisian fruit seller, set himself on fire toward the end of December 2010, he did so out of economic despair and outrage over rampant corruption in his native Sidi Bouzid.

In 2011, the world saw protest movements that demanded an end to that inequality. Bouazizi became a symbol for millions of people around the world who found themselves similarly facing daily government oppression and misrule. “The people want the downfall of the regime” became a slogan that united people across Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.

Protests toppled leaders that previously had seemed untouchable — Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Tunisia’s Zine Abidine Ben Ali and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh. Meanwhile, the brutal crimes of the governments of Syria and Bahrain captured headlines worldwide and rose to the top of the international agenda.

In the United States, activists in New York’s Zuccotti park launched a protest movement that challenged corporate culture and the unequal division of wealth. Protesters questioned the foundations of the global economic system and defended the rights of “the 99 percent.”

Natural disasters continued to wreak havoc around the world, with floods in the Philippines killing nearly one thousand, devastating earthquakes in Turkey killing hundreds as buildings collapsed, and the worst earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan’s history creating a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The United States claimed the deaths of al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and the American, radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Year In Photos: 2011 Uprisings And Protests

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 21, 2011

The day a young fruit-seller, tired of corruption and sick of constant humiliation, set himself ablaze in Tunisia, he also sparked a wave of protests that would rattle countries around the world. In 2011, people on nearly every continent took to the streets to express frustration with their leaders, parties, and ruling regimes. In several cases, 2011’s protests led to revolutionary changes.

In Egypt, thousands of demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square defied a brutal regime crackdown and toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak. The ousted president is currently standing trial in Cairo for corruption and killing protesters, while Egypt is in the midst of its first free and democratic elections.

Libya saw an end to four decades of rule by eccentric Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his family. In a spectacular game of cat-and-mouse, rebel fighters hunted down Gaddafi as they captured loyalist strongholds city-by city, ultimately killing the colonel and one of his sons near the city of Sirte.

In Yemen, protesters camped out daily in the streets of Sana’a, uncompromisingly demanding the resignation of president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Last month, the president promised to hand over power in a landmark deal. Saleh had ruled Yemen for 33 years.

However, protests in many other parts of the world rage on.

Inspired by the events in Egypt and Libya, Syrian demonstrators hit the streets in March 2011, demanding democratic reforms and political participation. Yet the regime of Bashar Assad has reacted by ordering a brutal crackdown that has left more than 5,000 people dead so far.

In 2011, pro-democracy protesters in Bahrain also were met with brutal violence. Demonstrators and medical professionals who took care of the injured were arrested and persecuted.

 

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Arab Spring One Year On: What Happened, What Changed?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 17, 2011

One year ago today, Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in Tunisia. It was a personal protest that had huge ramifications not only for his homeland, but the entire region. This was the incident which triggered the demonstrations that spread from Tunisia into Egypt, Libya, Syria and beyond. This was the start of the Arab Spring.

At Bouazizi’s funeral 5,000 marchers chanted: “Farewell, Mohammed, we will avenge you. We weep for you today, we will make those who caused your death weep.”

For all their passion, no one expected what happened next: 12 months of intense protests, violence and revolution across North Africa and the Middle East, which brought down governments and resulted in thousands of deaths.

But 12 months later what has the impact really been? Which governments have fallen, which are on the brink – and which, if any, are stronger than ever? Was the Arab Spring really a movement – or was it always an invention of the press?

And with protests breaking out in Russia, Greece, China and even New York throughout 2011, as well as in the Arab world, has the spirit of the Spring spilled become a truly global phenomenon?

IN PICTURES: A Photographic History Of The Arab Spring

ARAB SPRING TIMELINE: How The Arab Spring Unfolded

As the Arab Spring marks a year of protest, we look back at what happened, and what changed.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Women dominate 2011 Nobel Peace Prize (Interview with winners)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 10, 2011

The Nobel Peace Prize 2011 was awarded jointly to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.

  Tawakkol Karman

Tawakkol Karman

Residence at the time of the award: Yemen

Prize motivation: “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”

Karman is a Yemeni journalist, politician and senior member of Al-Islah political party, and human rights activist who heads the group “Women Journalists Without Chains,” which she co-founded in 2005. She gained prominence in her country after 2005 in her roles as a Yemeni journalist and an advocate for a mobile phone news service denied a license in 2007, after which she led protests for press freedom. She organized weekly protests after May 2007 expanding the issues for reform. She redirected the Yemini protests to support the “Jasmine Revolution,” as she calls the Arab Spring, after the Tunisian people overthrew the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. She has been a vocal opponent who has called for the end of President’s Ali Abdullah Saleh regime.

Tawakel Karman was born on 7 February 1979 in MekhlafTa’izz province, Yemen. She grew up near Taiz, which is the third largest city in Yemen and is described as a place of learning in a conservative country. She is the daughter of Abdel Salam Karman, a lawyer and politician, who once served and later resigned as Legal Affairs Minister in Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government. She is the sister of Tariq Karman, who is a poet, and Safa Karman, who works for Al-Jazeera. She is married to Mohammed al-Nahmi and is the mother of three children.

Karman earned an undergraduate degree in commerce from the University of Science and Technology, Sana’a and a graduate degree in political science from the University of Sana’a.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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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Libya: NATO Delays End To Bombing Campaign

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 26, 2011


Not surprised news, already guessed news.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Gaddafi Death Clips

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 20, 2011

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Nobel Peace Prize 2011 For Arab Spring?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 30, 2011


I wish the Nobel peace prize be non-contro­versial.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Reflecting on 9/11, Britain’s Former Spy Chief Criticizes Iraq War and Proposes Talks with Al Qaeda

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 2, 2011

by 

“We are not women; we will keep fighting,” vowed Libya’s elusive despot Muammar Gaddafi in a message broadcast on Syrian TV on Sept. 1. A lecture delivered in London the same evening, for broadcast on Sept. 6 as part of the BBC’s 2011 Reith Lecture series Securing Freedom, illuminated the unintended kernel of truth to the Colonel’s bluster. As Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former head of Britain’s domestic spy service MI5, laid bare the scale of her opposition to the war in Iraq and her disdain for the term “war on terror” (the phrase “legitimizes terrorists as warriors,” she said), it was hard not to conclude that a lot of bloodshed could have been avoided if the men in charge had listened to her. A similar emotion was evoked by the first two lectures in the same series, which were given by Aung San Suu Kyi and set out the Nobel laureate’s reasons for meeting state violence with peaceful opposition.

You can see how Burma’s military rulers made the mistake of thinking they could silence the deceptively fragile and softly spoken Suu Kyi. It’s harder to imagine how anyone dared to defy Manningham-Buller. The Baroness (she was ennobled after her 2007 retirement from MI5) has the brisk air and stentorian tones of the sort of old-fashioned nanny to whom posh Brits traditionally entrusted their kids, knowing that the slightest sign of disobedience would be quelled by a cuff around the ear and bed without supper. Several members of the small invited audience who were brave—or foolhardy—enough to question Nanny’s views during the debate that followed her lecture earned cold looks and withering retorts. This apple evidently didn’t fall far from the tree: as TIME reported in 1962, Manningham-Buller’s father Reginald, a prominent Conservative politician, was widely known as “Sir Reginald Bullying-Manner.” Read the rest of this entry »

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