Archive for category Middle East

The British are Coming! The British are Coming!

The famous lines shouted by Paul Revere warning the Colonial militia of the advancing British forces before the Battle of Lexington.

The British are Coming

But this time it’s a case of…

The front page of the New York Daily

Reports of the British down voting Cameron in supporting the Americans in any military strike against Syria.

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It Seems to Me…

That if a majority of people are against a decision, then the decision is wrong for the people.

This is what’s happening in Turkey. Decisions (Gezi Park and alcohol sales) have been made by one man, and it seems to me, by the reactions of the people, that those decisions are wrong. They are against the people’s wishes.

The prime minister’s wishes, as one man,  don’t count!

To further enforce those decisions against the wishes of a vast number of people makes the decision maker a dictator.

Turkey protests: PM Erdogan issues stern warning

A protester in Taksim Square tells the BBC’s Mark Lowen how tear gas felt like “a panic attack”

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that he will not show “any more tolerance” for protests.

He vowed to end the demonstrations after police cleared Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the focal point of unrest for nearly two weeks.

Police used water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets, causing many to flee the square into adjoining Gezi Park.

The unrest began after a crackdown on an environmental protest over Gezi Park’s redevelopment.

The protests then widened, with demonstrators accusing Mr Erdogan’s government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state.

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Bahrain: Police ‘fire tear gas’ at boys’ school

Unconfirmed reports said there were a number of injuries

 

Police in Bahrain have fired tear gas and clashed with students in a raid on a secondary school in the capital, Manama, reports say.

Officers stormed the Jabreya school for boys after students staged a protest demanding the release of a colleague arrested on Monday, activists say.

About 100 people have been arrested this month amid growing tension ahead of Sunday’s F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain.

The kingdom has been rocked by anti-government protests since early 2011.

The latest incident comes a day after a car bomb blew up in Manama, though without causing injuries.

An opposition group calling itself the February 14 movement has said it was behind the blast.

Activists tweeted pictures purporting to show clouds of tear gas at Jabreya school, with people wincing and covering their faces.

Images also showed dozens of spent canisters of tear gas and stun grenades. Unconfirmed reports said there had been injuries.

One father, Mohamed Jaber, went to the school to collect his son but was told by police to leave, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The clashes erupted when police went to break up a protest calling for the release of 17-year-old Hassan Humidan, who was arrested at the school on Monday.

Activists and protesters have called for the Grand Prix to be called off because of Bahrain’s human rights record.

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Opinion:

Bahrain continues to be nothing more than a barbaric state. I quite agree that until they improve their human rights record the country should be isolated and ignored; as should any country with such an appalling attitude.

For the international community to support such events is criminal.

It’s time for the world to ban such countries from ALL international events not just Formula One, but the Olympics, football, everything.

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Assad: remove me and risk instability

Middle East will be unstable for decades if rebels take Syria, says Assad

Syrian leader warns of domino effect and accuses Arab neighbours of sheltering rebels who seek to overthrow him

Bashar al-Assad has called Turkey’s leaders ‘foolish and immature’ for helping Syrian rebels who seek his removal from power. Photograph: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has warned that the Middle East faces being destabilised for decades if rebel forces battling to overthrow him succeed.

Assad, locked in a two-year conflict he says has been fuelled by his regional enemies, also criticised Turkey’s “foolish and immature” leaders and accused Arab neighbours of arming and sheltering rebel fighters.

“If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control … the situation will inevitably spill over into neighbouring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond,” he said in an interview with Turkish television.

Turmoil would spread “east, west, north and south. This will lead to a state of instability for years and maybe decades to come,” Assad said in the interview, posted by the Syrian presidency on the internet.

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Opinion:

The chances are that the Middle East will become destabilised, but Syria will be rid of a despot who is determined to kill as many of his countrymen as necessary to cling to his power.

The figure of 70,000 has been bandied about for more than two months now, with many days seeing 100+ up to 170 being killed daily, the true figure must be broaching 90,000, if not more.

The sooner Bashar al-Bastard is gone, the better for Syria. But the worrying factor is the Jihadist groups who have jumped on the bandwagon; they will be the destabilising factor, not the legitimate Syrian rebels.

 

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Lying Bastard

CIA nominee John Brennan defends drone strikes

John Brennan’s Senate confirmation hearing is interrupted by CodePink protests

 

CIA director nominee John Brennan has defended the US drone-strikes programme at a Senate confirmation hearing.

Mr Brennan said the US only took such action as a last resort and was careful to prevent civilian deaths.

The hearing was repeatedly interrupted by protesters as the nominee began to deliver his testimony.

The session comes after lawmakers received secret memos on the rationale for drone strikes on Americans working with al-Qaeda abroad.

Mr Brennan, 57, who is President Barack Obama’s top White House counter-terrorism adviser, was a senior CIA official under President George W Bush.

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Opinion:

“last resort and was careful to prevent civilian deaths.”

Bullshit! Drone attacks are almost a daily occurrence; and figures published elsewhere show that the attacks have been responsible for three innocents killed for every dissident. More than 3,000 innocent men, women and children have died as a result.

The cost is too high!

His confirmation by the panel and Senate is a further demonstration that the American government aren’t interested in the truth, only war and destruction.

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UN: Israeli settlements

… ‘violate Palestinian rights’

Yigal Palmor, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “It is terribly counterproductive”

Israeli settlements in the occupied territories violate Palestinians’ human rights in ways designed to drive them off the land, a UN report states.

The report says settlements displace Palestinians, destroy their crops and property, and subject them to violence.

Israel refused to co-operate with the inquiry by three UN researchers.

The Israeli foreign ministry said the report from the UN Human Rights Council was “counterproductive” and would hamper the peace process.

“The only way to resolve all pending issues between Israel and the Palestinians, including the settlements issue, is through direct negotiations without pre-conditions,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The Human Rights Council has sadly distinguished itself by its systematically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel. This latest report is yet another unfortunate reminder of that.”

The report is likely further to strain relations between Israel and the UN, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva says.

On Thursday, the French, Pakistani and Botswanan UN report authors demanded Israel cease all settlement activities, saying Israel was “committing serious breaches” of humanitarian law.

“The magnitude of violations relating to Israel’s policies of dispossessions, evictions, demolitions and displacements from land shows the widespread nature of these breaches of human rights,” Unity Dow, member of the fact-finding mission from Botswana, said in a statement.

“The motivation behind violence and intimidation against the Palestinians and their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands, allowing the settlements to expand.”

‘Prohibited’

The report comes two days after Israel failed to turn up at a UN review of its human rights record.

About 520,000 Israeli settlers reside in about 250 separate settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, the report states. Some of the settlements were built without government authorisation.

The growth in the settler population has hastened over the past decade compared to growth in Israel. The government in place since April 2009, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has “contributed to the consolidation and expansion” of settlements, the report states.

The settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prevents an occupying power from transferring its own population into occupied territory, the report states.

“The transfer of Israeli citizens into the Occupied Palestinian Territories, prohibited under international humanitarian law and international criminal law, is a central feature of Israel’s practices and policies,” it adds.

Opinion:

The whole world is wrong… only Israel is right!

As for the whinging of Yigal Palmor, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “It is terribly counterproductive” The only thing that is counterproductive is Israel’s continued belligerence!

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Israel boycotts UN rights council

…in unprecedented move

The Israeli authorities refused to co-operate with a fact-finding mission investigating settlements

Representatives of Israel have boycotted its regular review by the UN Human Rights Council, the first time a country has ever taken such action.

The move was expected as Israel has long been angered by what it claims is unfair criticism from the body.

A decision last year to investigate Jewish settlements in the West Bank prompted Israel to announce it would no longer co-operate with the council.

Tuesday’s meeting was suspended and a course of action will be decided.

“After a series of votes and statements and incidents we have decided to suspend our working relations with that body,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told the Financial Times on Tuesday.

“I can confirm that there is no change in that policy.”

Council spokesman Rolando Gomez told the Associated Press that Israel’s unprecedented absence had put the council in “new territory” because attendance of the Universal Periodic Review was mandatory.

Haitian representatives failed to appear before the council in 2010, but on the basis that their country had suffered a devastating earthquake.

Otherwise, so far all countries – even Syria and North Korea – have attended.

Israel’s action has prompted concern that it might undermine the UN’s human rights work, says the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva, where the council is meeting.

Human rights experts fear other countries facing awkward questions might follow suit.

Even Israel’s biggest ally, the United States, had urged Israel to take part. The big question now is what – if anything – the UN can do about Israel’s refusal to participate, our correspondent adds.

A joint statement by eight Israeli human rights groups said: “It is legitimate for Israel to express criticism of the work of the council and its recommendations, but Israel should do so through engagement with the Universal Periodic Review, as it has done in previous sessions.”

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Opinion:

“if anything – the UN can do about Israel’s refusal to participate?”

Sanctions, like North Korea and Iran!

If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander.

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