Posts Tagged ‘Iran’
I wanted to cover more of events in Syra and Yemen, but this piece in the New York Times is very relevant.
“Journalists recalled that Mr. Dagan, who had refused contact with the media during his time in office, called a news briefing the last week of his tenure and laid out his concerns about an attack on Iran. But military censorship prevented his words from being reported.
“Dagan wanted to send a message to the Israeli public, but the censors stopped him,” Ronen Bergman of the newspaper Yediot Aharonot said by telephone. “So now that he is out of office he is going over the heads of the censors by speaking publicly.”
Mr. Dagan’s public and critical comments, at the age of 66 and after a long and widely admired career, have shaken the political establishment. The prime minister’s office declined requests for a response, although ministers have attacked Mr. Dagan. He has also found an echo among the nation’s commentators who have been ringing similar alarms.
“It’s not the Iranians or the Palestinians who are keeping Dagan awake at night but Israel’s leadership,” Ari Shavit asserted on the front page of the newspaper Haaretz on Friday.
“He does not trust the judgment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.”
It was Mr. Shavit who interviewed Mr. Dagan on stage at Tel Aviv University this week. And while Haaretz is the home of the country’s left wing, Mr. Shavit is more of a centrist.
“Dagan is really worried about September,” Mr. Shavit said in a telephone interview, referring to the month when the Palestinians are expected to ask the United Nations General Assembly to recognize their state within the 1967 border lines. The resolution is expected to pass and to bring new forms of international pressure on Israel. “He is afraid that Israel’s isolation will cause its leaders to take reckless action against Iran,” he said.
Nahum Barnea, a commentator for Yediot Aharonot, wrote on Friday that Mr. Dagan was not alone. Naming the other retired security chiefs and adding Amos Yadlin, who recently retired as chief of military intelligence, Mr. Barnea said that they shared Mr. Dagan’s criticism.
“This is not a military junta that has conspired against the elected leadership,” Mr. Barnea wrote. “These are people who, through their positions, were exposed to the state’s most closely guarded secrets and participated in the most intimate discussions with the prime minister and the defense minister. It is not so much that their opinion is important as civilians; their testimony is important as people who were there. And their testimony is troubling.”
This concern was backed by a former Mossad official, Gad Shimron, who spoke Friday on Israel Radio.
Mr. Shimron said: “I want everyone to pay attention to the fact that the three tribal elders, Ashkenazi, Diskin and Dagan, within a very short time, are all telling the people of Israel: take note, something is going on that we couldn’t talk about until now, and now we are talking about it. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and that is the decision-making process. The leadership makes fiery statements, we stepped on the brakes, we are no longer there and we don’t know what will happen. And that’s why we are saying this aloud.” “
Update 1: Letters From a Young Contrarian does a great job, The Arab Spring into Summer: Today’s Events.
Update 2: Not forgetting Left Foot Forward’s Arab Spring latest: Murder, civil war and motor racing.
One time radical and firebrand, Hassan Nasrallah, has gone with the money.
He is backing the murderous President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. Not too surprising, because if he didn’t, he would lose the support of the Iranian regime and their money.
Since the uprising against the Syrian dictators some 1100 people have been killed by the regime and their thugs, according to Sawasiah, ABC News reports:
“Human rights activists in Syria say the two-month crackdown by security forces on anti-government protesters has cost the lives of at least 1,100 people.
The Syrian human rights organisation Sawasiah says it has the names of 1,100 people reportedly killed during the unrest that broke out in mid-March.
Most were from southern areas in Hauran Plain – including the city of Deraa where the protests first began two months ago.
The human rights group says it in fact has heard reports of another 200 civilian deaths but has no names to base the figures on.
The death toll in Syria rose sharply after the protests spread from Deraa to other parts of the country.”
Yahoo News has more on Nasrallah’s speech:
” “We call on all Syrians to preserve their country as well as the ruling regime, a regime of resistance, and to give their leaders a chance to cooperate with all Syria’s communities in order to implement the necessary reforms,” he said in the speech broadcast by his party’s Al-Manar television.
The speech, marking the 11th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon after a 22-year occupation, was broadcast on a giant screen to thousands of Hezbollah supporters in the village of Nabi Sheet, a Shiite stronghold in the eastern Bekaa Valley.
It was the first time the reclusive Hezbollah chief commented on the protests in Syria, which along with Iran is a major backer of his Shiite militant party.
“The difference between the Arab uprisings and Syria… is that President Assad is convinced that reforms are necessary, unlike Bahrain and other Arab countries,” said Nasrallah, who has not appeared in public since 2008.
Apart from the chaos that’s going on in Libya, I noticed two bits which are telling.
Apparently, Gaddafi’s own private pilot has deserted:
“The pilot of Moammar Ghaddafi’s private jet, a Norwegian citizen, has been able to flee Libya with his family. They are now safe in Vienna after fearing for their lives in Libya.
57-year-old Odd Birger Johansen for the last year has been the pilot of the private jet of Colonel Ghaddafi. Until yesterday, he was in Tripoli, together with his wife and daughter that had chosen this unhappy moment to visit him for a holiday in Libya.
Yesterday, he spoke to the private Norwegian broadcaster ‘TV2’, saying he wanted to evacuate Libya as soon as possible. “Right now, the way I feel it, is that things are burning around me … and I don’t want to … I am not a hero, I will go home,” Mr Johansen told the broadcaster. “
Else where, they are setting up a provisional government:
“In eastern Libya, in the city of Bayda, a provisional government was being formed. The new leadership also is holding some Gadhafi loyalists hostage.
As the first Western journalists many of the residents of Bayda had ever seen were led into the meeting, the crowd gave a standing ovation — quickly followed by cries of “Freedom, Freedom!” and “Libya, Libya!”
This building had been a symbol of Gadhafi’s regime — where his revolutionary council would meet to discuss local affairs.
A new revolution was finding its voice in Bayda, and its fighters were vowing to end Gadhafi’s reign. Some people were crying, others pumping their fists in the air.
“Ordinary people, doctors, lawyers are talking about how we can coordinate with all other cities in Libya who are now under the protesters’ control,” says Ahmed Jibril, a former diplomat at the Libyan mission at the United Nations.
He says this is the beginning of a new government.
“We have a former minister of justice who just resigned three or four days ago,” Jibril says. “He’s among us and people agreed … he would be one of the people in control.” “
Update 1: Frank Gardner piece at the Beeb, Libya: Who is propping up Gaddafi is good.
I am not sure what is *really* going to happen in Libya.
Will the popular uprising be enough to overthrow Gaddafi?
Or will he use his mercenaries to retake Tripoli, and then other cities?
How can unarmed civilians stand up against the paid murderers under Gaddafi’s control?
Will the Army units be enough to support the people’s revolt? I hope so, but the picture is unclear and Gaddafi is one murderous dictator who will do anything to stay in power.
[I have made the post sticky and will update things as events change in and around Libya. Newer posts will appear below this one for the time being.]
Was away at the weekend and didn’t follow the news at all, so events in Libya have caught me on the back foot.
Nevertheless, here’s a bit of a round up from those in the know, all very subjective and incomplete:
Nick Griffin and Colonel Gaddafi, weird, but then they did share the same pet hate at one time in life, if you think about it.
Terry Glavin on that Libyan Slave Revolt.
Salon has a primer on Libya, with this revealing photo of Mubarak and Moammar Gadhafi holding hands:
Comrade Dave looks at the Libya crackdown: the trajectory of Brother Gaddafi.
From December 2010, Hugo Chavez and the gift from Muammar Gaddafi.
From the Don’t vote BNP channel on YouTube, more on Nick Griffin and the Libyan connection:
Over at the Guardian, WikiLeaks cables: A guide to Gaddafi’s ‘famously fractious’ family. This is the bottom line:
“Like all the Gaddafi children and favourites is supposed to have income streams from the national oil company and oil services subsidiaries.”
This is superb, Mapping Violence Against Pro-Democracy Protests in Libya, a Google map of the on-going events in Libya.
Marko Attila Hoare reminds us of how money talks in academia, Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi and the London School of Economics.
Kellie Strøm takes a wider perspective, Revolution Overload.
CNN has a breaking news feed from Libya.
Finally, thanks to Graham Lloyd, here’s “The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff.
Answer: censorship, riot police and civilians shot by the state.
That theme is seen across the Middle East today, as the Toronto Star reports:
“MANAMA, BAHRAIN—As international leaders urged Bahrain to use restraint following a predawn raid that left five dead and hundreds more injured, its foreign minister justified the crackdown as necessary because protesters were “polarizing the country” and pushing it to the “brink of sectarian abyss.”
Khalid Al Khalifa told reporters the violence was “regrettable,” as soldiers and tanks patrolled the streets and public gatherings were banned in the capital.
However, the crackdown has only ignited more fury among the protesters who sought refuge in the parking lot outside the Salmaniya hospital Thursday.
Their calls to oust the unelected prime minister and his cabinet have grown to targeting a man long seen as untouchable in this Gulf island kingdom: King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.”
MSNBC describes what happens in Bahrain:
“Bahrain’s a small country with a large Internet population, and it hasn’t hesitated before to smack down websites or bloggers it doesn’t like, long before this week’s protests began. Internet service, though, had remained somewhat constant, at least until recent days, according to reports.
Bahranian users of Batelco’s high-speed Internet service, one of the more prominent in the country, said they were starting to notice “service degradation” as of Wednesday.“
Meanwhile in Libya:
“At one person has been killed in protests across Libya on Thursday in what anti-government activists described as a “Day of Rage”.
Amnesty International says a man was shot dead when security forces opened fire in the city of al-Bayda.
Police and protesters also clashed in Zentan and Benghazi, where one witness told the BBC at least 16 people are believed to have been killed.
This week’s protests are the first in Libya, where dissent is rarely allowed.”
Just as a popular revolt in Egypt succeeded in removing Mubarak events are moving on apace in Iran.
Like Mubarak, the dictators in Tehran resorted to brutality and teargas to stay in power, as the BBC reports:
“Thousands of opposition supporters have clashed with security forces in the centre of the Iranian capital, Tehran.
Police used tear gas and detained dozens rallying in solidarity with uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. There was one report of a death in Tehran.
The BBC also received reports of similar protests being held in the cities of Isfahan, Mashhad and Shiraz.
Earlier, the police placed opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi under house arrest, according to his website.
It said the move was intended to prevent the former prime minister attending the march in Tehran, which the authorities had prohibited. The road leading to Mr Mousavi’s house was also blocked by police vans.
Fellow opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, a former speaker of parliament and a senior cleric, is also reportedly under de facto house arrest. “
Meanwhile in Syria, the dictatorship there are clamping down on everybody, including bloggers:
“Lawyers allowed into the closed session of the court in Damascus said Ms Mallohi was motionless after hearing her sentence. Her mother, who was waiting outside the court building, burst out crying after being told.
The judge did not give evidence or details as to why she was convicted, they added. However, when she was charged, one official claimed that “her spying led to an attack against a Syrian army officer”.
“Trumping up charges that imply treason as a lesson for others is quite old fashioned,” one human rights activist told the Reuters news agency. “Sadly, the regime has not learnt any lessons from Tunisia or Egypt.”
There has so far been no comment from the Syrian authorities.
Ms Mallohi, the granddaughter of a former minister, has already served one year of her sentence, as she has been in custody since late December 2009. She was held without charge for the first nine months.
Last month, the state security court sentenced Abbas Abbas, a 69-year-old left-wing activist, to seven years in jail.
The BBC’s Lina Sinjab in Damascus says Ms Mallohi’s conviction comes at a time of political upheaval in the region, with popular protests in Tunisia and Egypt which were largely organised through social networking websites and blogs.”
She was jailed for five years, without any evidence.
Update 1: Over in Bahrain there were protests too:
Update 2: Also Hamas are none too keen on election, as Haaretz relates:
” But Hamas, which holds power in the Gaza Strip, immediately said it would move to prevent such a vote from taking place in the coastal territory.”
Update 3: Not forgetting Algeria:
“Hundreds of youths have clashed with security forces during protests in the northern Algerian town of Akbou.
Police reportedly used tear gas and batons to drive back crowds protesting over unemployment. About 30 people, most of them protesters, were hurt.
In January Algeria was the first in a string of countries to see street protests, as people rallied against high food prices and unemployment.
Several people were killed as unrest spread across the country.
The sporadic protests have been continuing since early January.
On Saturday, thousands of people took part in protests in the capital, Algiers, demanding the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, but were dispersed by riot police.”