Syria crisis: Most Houla victims 'were executed' (BBC) 

A spokesman for the UN’s human rights office says witnesses told investigators that pro-regime militias carried out most of the killings.

Survivors have described gunmen entering homes, firing indiscriminately and slitting the throats of children.

'Most of the rest of the victims in Taldou,' he added, 'were summarily executed in two separate incidents.'

Earlier, survivors who spoke to the BBC said that those who carried out the killings were militiamen - shabiha - from nearby Alawite villages.”

@2 years ago
)
#Syria #Houla #massacre #middle east #news 

No Iran Strike Imminent, Israel Says (gsn.org) 

Israel has no plan to carry out a military strike against Iran in the immediate future, but Jerusalem has ruled out no potential course of action in its effort to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear-weapon capability, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday.

'We have no intention, at the moment, of taking action, but the state of Israel is far from being paralyzed by fear,' Reuters quoted the official as saying in a radio interview. 'It must act calmly and quietly — we don't need big wars.'”


@2 years ago with 12 notes
)
#Iran #Israel #nuclear program #tensions #diplomacy #middle east 

The What Cooperation Council? (FP) 

"The Gulf Cooperation Council surprised virtually everyone yesterday by announcing that it would begin membership talks with Jordan and Morocco.  While actual membership is likely a long way off, the announcement signals a new alliance in the region which conspicuously omits Egyp, along with more obvious candidates for GCC membership such as Yemen and Iraq.  This expanded GCC would of course no longer really be an organization of states in the Gulf. Nor would it be a club for small, rich oil producing states […]

[…] The real point here would seem to be a promise of GCC, or more specifically Saudi, assistance to those non-Gulf monarchies in order to prevent them from going too far in meeting popular demands for reform.  Such a Sunni King’s Club would be a counter-revolutionary institution, one which would work directly against hopes for change in the Arab world.”

@3 years ago with 2 notes
)
#gcc #morocco #yemen #economics #middle east 

Yemeni president agrees to step down in 30 days (AP) 

"Yemen’s embattled president agreed Saturday to a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators to step down within 30 days and hand power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a major about-face for the autocratic leader who has ruled for 32 years.

The uprising and a wave of defections by allies, including several top military commanders, have left Saleh clinging to power and now appear to be pushing him to compromise on his earlier refusal to leave office before his term ends in 2013.”

@3 years ago with 4 notes
)
#Yemen #Saleh #protests #Middle East 

Iraqi forces kill 32 Iranian dissidents (Iran Focus) 

Iraqi forces on Friday raided a camp belonging to members of Iran’s main opposition group in Iraq’s Diyala Province, north-east of Baghdad, killing 32 people and wounding hundreds.

At 4.45 am (local time), some 2,500 Iraqi armed forces moved into Camp Ashraf with armoured vehicles firing indiscriminately into unarmed residents, according to the opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran, which is based in Paris. Camp Ashraf residents are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) which is the main group within the NCRI.

Footage sent to Iran Focus corroborated the residents’ account that Iraqi forces used Humvees to run over residents. Other footage posted on the internet website YouTube showed armed forces firing live rounds at men and women.

The NCRI said that among the 32 killed were 7 women, and it provided their photographs. It said the attack was ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at the behest of the Iranian government.”

@3 years ago
)
#Iran #Iraq #Middle East #People's mojahedin Organization of Iran #murder 

Egyptians vote in landmark presidential election (BBC) 

Egyptians are voting in their first free presidential election, 15 months after ousting Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring uprising.

Fifty million people are eligible to vote, and large queues have formed at some polling stations.

The military council which assumed presidential power in February 2011 has promised a fair vote and civilian rule.

The election pits Islamists against secularists, and revolutionaries against Mubarak-era ministers.

The frontrunners are:

  • Ahmed Shafiq, a former commander of the air force and briefly prime minister during February 2011 protests
  • Amr Moussa, who has served as foreign minister and head of the Arab League
  • Mohammed Mursi, who heads Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party
  • Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, an independent Islamist candidate

Until a new constitution is approved it is unclear what powers the president will have, prompting fears of friction with a military which seems determined to retain its powerful position.”

@2 years ago
)
#egypt #democracy #elections #north africa #middle east #news #voting 

Israeli parliament meets over protests (AJE) 

Israeli politicians have interrupted their summer recess to participate in a special debate on protests over the cost of living that have shaken the country.

Tuesday’s session of the Knesset, Israeli parliament, comes after a month of mass protests against the high prices of food, housing, education and healthcare.

Their protest quickly snowballed into a much larger movement, tapping into deep frustration across Israel over the cost of living and income disparity.”

@2 years ago with 21 notes
)
#Israel #middle east #netanyahu #protests 

Iran presses Syria over missing journalist  

Iran’s foreign minister wants the Syrian government to look into the case of an Al Jazeera journalist who has been missing in Syria since Friday afternoon.

Dorothy Parvaz left the Qatari capital, Doha, for Syria to cover events in the country, but there has been no contact with the 39-year-old since she disembarked from a Qatar Airways flight in Damascus.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister, said at a news conference in Doha on Monday that Iran wanted the Syrians to look into the matter.”

@3 years ago with 2 notes
)
#Iran #Syria #Middle East #missing journalist #AJE 

Syrian legislators quit over crackdown (AJE) 

Two Syrian legislators have resigned their posts in parliament as outrage grows over the security force’s ongoing crackdown on anti-government protests.

Nasser al-Hariri and Khalil al-Rifaei, independent MPs who represent the city of Daraa, where scores of protesters have been killed, both separately told Al Jazeera on Saturday that they were resigning over the killings of demonstrators.

Rezq Abdulrahman Abazeid, the government-appointed mufti for Daraa, which has been a focal point for pro-democracy protests, also resigned on Saturday in protest at the killing of demonstrators by security forces.

More than 220 protesters have been killed since protests against the government of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, erupted on March 18 in Daraa, rights campaigners say.”

@3 years ago
)
#Syria #protests #middle east #democracy 

U.S. was told of Yemen leader’s vulnerability (WashPo/WikiLeaks) 

A billionaire Yemeni sheik met with a high-ranking officer from the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa less than two years ago and revealed a secret plan to overthrow President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s longtime autocratic ruler.

Hamid al-Ahmar, an opposition party leader and a prominent businessman, vowed to trigger the revolt if Saleh did not guarantee the fairness of parliamentary elections scheduled for 2011, according to a classified U.S. diplomatic cable summarizing the meeting. The sheik said he would organize massive demonstrations modeled on protests that toppled Indonesia’s President Suharto a decade earlier.

Those same cables reveal that U.S. officials were keenly aware of Yemen’s fragile political and economic straits but largely discounted the prospect that Saleh could be forced out, despite dire assessments of his standing from Arab and European counterparts, from members of Yemen’s political opposition, and even from Saleh’s inner circle”

@3 years ago
)
#Yemen #Wikileaks #United States #Middle East #protests 
Syria crisis: Most Houla victims 'were executed' (BBC)→

A spokesman for the UN’s human rights office says witnesses told investigators that pro-regime militias carried out most of the killings.

Survivors have described gunmen entering homes, firing indiscriminately and slitting the throats of children.

'Most of the rest of the victims in Taldou,' he added, 'were summarily executed in two separate incidents.'

Earlier, survivors who spoke to the BBC said that those who carried out the killings were militiamen - shabiha - from nearby Alawite villages.”

2 years ago
#Syria #Houla #massacre #middle east #news 
Egyptians vote in landmark presidential election (BBC)→

Egyptians are voting in their first free presidential election, 15 months after ousting Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring uprising.

Fifty million people are eligible to vote, and large queues have formed at some polling stations.

The military council which assumed presidential power in February 2011 has promised a fair vote and civilian rule.

The election pits Islamists against secularists, and revolutionaries against Mubarak-era ministers.

The frontrunners are:

  • Ahmed Shafiq, a former commander of the air force and briefly prime minister during February 2011 protests
  • Amr Moussa, who has served as foreign minister and head of the Arab League
  • Mohammed Mursi, who heads Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party
  • Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, an independent Islamist candidate

Until a new constitution is approved it is unclear what powers the president will have, prompting fears of friction with a military which seems determined to retain its powerful position.”

2 years ago
#egypt #democracy #elections #north africa #middle east #news #voting 
No Iran Strike Imminent, Israel Says (gsn.org)→

Israel has no plan to carry out a military strike against Iran in the immediate future, but Jerusalem has ruled out no potential course of action in its effort to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear-weapon capability, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday.

'We have no intention, at the moment, of taking action, but the state of Israel is far from being paralyzed by fear,' Reuters quoted the official as saying in a radio interview. 'It must act calmly and quietly — we don't need big wars.'”


2 years ago
#Iran #Israel #nuclear program #tensions #diplomacy #middle east 
Israeli parliament meets over protests (AJE)→

Israeli politicians have interrupted their summer recess to participate in a special debate on protests over the cost of living that have shaken the country.

Tuesday’s session of the Knesset, Israeli parliament, comes after a month of mass protests against the high prices of food, housing, education and healthcare.

Their protest quickly snowballed into a much larger movement, tapping into deep frustration across Israel over the cost of living and income disparity.”

2 years ago
#Israel #middle east #netanyahu #protests 
The What Cooperation Council? (FP)→

"The Gulf Cooperation Council surprised virtually everyone yesterday by announcing that it would begin membership talks with Jordan and Morocco.  While actual membership is likely a long way off, the announcement signals a new alliance in the region which conspicuously omits Egyp, along with more obvious candidates for GCC membership such as Yemen and Iraq.  This expanded GCC would of course no longer really be an organization of states in the Gulf. Nor would it be a club for small, rich oil producing states […]

[…] The real point here would seem to be a promise of GCC, or more specifically Saudi, assistance to those non-Gulf monarchies in order to prevent them from going too far in meeting popular demands for reform.  Such a Sunni King’s Club would be a counter-revolutionary institution, one which would work directly against hopes for change in the Arab world.”

3 years ago
#gcc #morocco #yemen #economics #middle east 
Iran presses Syria over missing journalist →

Iran’s foreign minister wants the Syrian government to look into the case of an Al Jazeera journalist who has been missing in Syria since Friday afternoon.

Dorothy Parvaz left the Qatari capital, Doha, for Syria to cover events in the country, but there has been no contact with the 39-year-old since she disembarked from a Qatar Airways flight in Damascus.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister, said at a news conference in Doha on Monday that Iran wanted the Syrians to look into the matter.”

3 years ago
#Iran #Syria #Middle East #missing journalist #AJE 
Yemeni president agrees to step down in 30 days (AP)→

"Yemen’s embattled president agreed Saturday to a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators to step down within 30 days and hand power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a major about-face for the autocratic leader who has ruled for 32 years.

The uprising and a wave of defections by allies, including several top military commanders, have left Saleh clinging to power and now appear to be pushing him to compromise on his earlier refusal to leave office before his term ends in 2013.”

3 years ago
#Yemen #Saleh #protests #Middle East 
Syrian legislators quit over crackdown (AJE)→

Two Syrian legislators have resigned their posts in parliament as outrage grows over the security force’s ongoing crackdown on anti-government protests.

Nasser al-Hariri and Khalil al-Rifaei, independent MPs who represent the city of Daraa, where scores of protesters have been killed, both separately told Al Jazeera on Saturday that they were resigning over the killings of demonstrators.

Rezq Abdulrahman Abazeid, the government-appointed mufti for Daraa, which has been a focal point for pro-democracy protests, also resigned on Saturday in protest at the killing of demonstrators by security forces.

More than 220 protesters have been killed since protests against the government of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, erupted on March 18 in Daraa, rights campaigners say.”

3 years ago
#Syria #protests #middle east #democracy 
Iraqi forces kill 32 Iranian dissidents (Iran Focus)→

Iraqi forces on Friday raided a camp belonging to members of Iran’s main opposition group in Iraq’s Diyala Province, north-east of Baghdad, killing 32 people and wounding hundreds.

At 4.45 am (local time), some 2,500 Iraqi armed forces moved into Camp Ashraf with armoured vehicles firing indiscriminately into unarmed residents, according to the opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran, which is based in Paris. Camp Ashraf residents are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) which is the main group within the NCRI.

Footage sent to Iran Focus corroborated the residents’ account that Iraqi forces used Humvees to run over residents. Other footage posted on the internet website YouTube showed armed forces firing live rounds at men and women.

The NCRI said that among the 32 killed were 7 women, and it provided their photographs. It said the attack was ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at the behest of the Iranian government.”

3 years ago
#Iran #Iraq #Middle East #People's mojahedin Organization of Iran #murder 
U.S. was told of Yemen leader’s vulnerability (WashPo/WikiLeaks)→

A billionaire Yemeni sheik met with a high-ranking officer from the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa less than two years ago and revealed a secret plan to overthrow President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s longtime autocratic ruler.

Hamid al-Ahmar, an opposition party leader and a prominent businessman, vowed to trigger the revolt if Saleh did not guarantee the fairness of parliamentary elections scheduled for 2011, according to a classified U.S. diplomatic cable summarizing the meeting. The sheik said he would organize massive demonstrations modeled on protests that toppled Indonesia’s President Suharto a decade earlier.

Those same cables reveal that U.S. officials were keenly aware of Yemen’s fragile political and economic straits but largely discounted the prospect that Saleh could be forced out, despite dire assessments of his standing from Arab and European counterparts, from members of Yemen’s political opposition, and even from Saleh’s inner circle”

3 years ago
#Yemen #Wikileaks #United States #Middle East #protests