Revolution is in the Air: 4/5/11: US military advisors arrive in Libya: reports


The Wikileaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 129

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

Update on Bahrain

Egyptian complaints against Saudi Arabia



Headlines for April 5, 2011

The Wikileaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 129

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

Update on Bahrain

A source sent me this:  “It seems like the Bahraini government has finally succeeded in their crackdown.  Yesterday they closed down Al Wasat Newspaper – the country’s only opposition newspaper and then reopened it with a new editor that is pro-government.   Here is a Christian Science Monitor article on it:  Everyone in Bahrain is silent now.  No one is talking.  Human rights activists, journalists and bloggers who under their real named have completely dissapeared.  Many have been jailed whilst others are in hiding.  Mohammad Al Masqati, a human rights activist who is in his mid 20s, has been in jail for the past 5 days.  He was first threatened by a member of the royal family on twitter and then he got arrested.  His family has apparently only spoken to him once so far.  Businessmen and CEOs are also being interogated and threatened for not firing striking workers and cutting their wages.  Most are no longer in control of their companies and now mass firings have begun.  Most are not willing to take any stance because they are too scared. Very few people are tweeting or posting on facebook.  Even those who are not using their real names are scared.  Shia families living in mixed neighborhoods are moving out because they are being threatened either by letters sent to their houses telling them to leave or in checkpoints.  People speak in code on the phone and constantly declare their loyalty to the government just in case.  I feel that Bahrain has turned into a Syria or Iraq (during Saddams era).  Even Bahrainis abroad are too scared to speak. We are definitately back in the 90s but it is worse because the army is more brutal and there is disguisting sectarianism and blatant discrimination against shia.  So I would say Bahrain is a mixture of Syria and Palestine.   The media is completely silent and the Obama administration has completely stopped commenting on Bahrain.  I feel that the next 10 years or so will be a horrible period for Bahrain.  While other Arab countries are moving forward, we are going backwards.”

Repression in Bahrain

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“The ITUC denounces the wave of massive sackings, threats and violence against workers and their trade union representatives in Bahrain, in reprisal for their participation in legitimate strike and protest action for greater democracy in the country.” (thanks Shawna)

Egyptian complaints against Saudi Arabia

One of the most delicious things about the new Egypt is the growing criticisms and complaints about Saudi Arabia in the Egyptian press.  In fact, Saudi Arabia has noticed and now you start reading criticisms of Egypt in Saudi Arabia and its new foreign policy orientations.  Here, there is a reference to a plan for demonstrations by Sufis and other other Muslim groups to protest at the Saudi Embassy in Cairo next Saturday in opposition to Saudi funding of Salafi fanatics.

For Zionists to freak out some more

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“The Egyptian Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) announced that 14 Palestinian detainees would be released on Sunday. Already more than 30 detainees escaped from Egyptian jails during uprisings that brought President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster on February 11. Among them, Ayman Nofal, a key member of the Hamas’ armed wing Qassam Brigades.  The prisoners had been all arrested under Mubarak’s regime.”

The new Egypt: Zionists will freak out even more

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
“Former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who had previously announced his intetions to run for the presidency of Egypt, said Monday that “if Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime.”   In an interview with the Al-Watan newspaper he said: “In case of any future Israeli attack on Gaza – as the next president of Egypt – I will open the Rafah border crossing and will consider different ways to implement the joint Arab defense agreement.”  He also stated that “Israel controls Palestinian soil” adding that that “there has been no tangible breakthrough in reconciliation process because of the imbalance of power in the region – a situation that creates a kind of one way peace.”” (thanks David)

Egyptian prisoners in Saudi Arabia

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
This is the new Egypt. The Foreign Ministry of Egypt says that it is following the plight of Egyptian prisoners in Saudi jails.  (By the way, Saudi media have already started criticizing the Egyptian government for the statements by Egyptian foreign minister, Nabil Al-`Arabi (a man that I don’t trust), regarding improving relations with Iran and Hizbullah.)

UN Allies Strike Convoy near Brega as Rebels begin Oil Exports

from Informed Comment by Juan

NATO airstrikes near the oil city of Brega (Marsa al-Buraiqa) on Tuesday morning repelled the advance of an 8-vehicle military convoy of Qaddafi loyalists. The Transitional government in Benghazi is eager to gain control of Brega, from which they were pushed back on Monday night, because they could then export petroleum from it under a deal they have done with Qatar.

The significance of the strike on the convoy is manifold. Qaddafi doesn’t have infinite amounts of heavy military equipment, and every tank or armored vehicle he loses degrades his ability to control a country that for the most part doesn’t want him. When urban crowds and rebel forces have faced Qaddafi loyalists and both have just had light arms, the rebels have typically prevailed. NATO estimates that 30% of Qaddafi’s military capacity has been knocked out. It is now concentrating on rescuing Misrata, the country’s 3rd largest city, which is under a tank and artillery siege. Qaddafi’s use of camouflage and human shields is making the targetting difficult for the UN-authorized bombing missions.

Another significance of the strike is that it may well discourage soldiers loyal to Qaddafi from trying to attack the rebels, and may encourage them to defect to the Benghazi government. So far the NATO strikes on Qaddafi convoys have been intermittent, and so many commanders may have thought that the risks are bearable. But if the strikes become more consistent they will likely take a psychological toll.

The pro-democracy government in Benghazi are sending off $100 mn. worth of petroleum from the eastern city of Tobruk, with a Liberian tanker expected to arrive Tuesday. If the struggle is protracted, control of petroleum resources will be key to the reform government’s victory over Qaddafi loyalists. If they can regain control of Ra’s Lanuf and therefore of the Buraiqa basin, they would have the bulk of oil resources on their side of the country. Qaddafi would still have natural gas, but it is not clear that the United Nations will permit him to export it, and gas is harder to smuggle than is petroleum.

Time reports unconfirmed information that fighting has resurged in Zawiya, the western port that threw off Qaddafi rule in February and early march before being brutally reoccupied by tank brigades from Tripoli. Qaddafi’s spokesman admitted on Monday for the first time that civilians were killed in the taking of the city.

Qaddafi’s forces are still shelling the city of Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, but it has apparently held out. The Zintan tribe declared against Qaddafi, and has desert networks that allow it to offer aid to the continued, now-underground resistance in Zawiya, keeping it alive. The sort of indiscriminate tank fire on civilian areas practiced by Qaddafi on Zintan is a war crime that he may well end up being tried for at the Hague.

Italy has recognized the Transitional government in Benghazi, rebuffing a proposal from Tripoli that one of Qaddafi’s sons preside over a transition to a new government. The Italian foreign minister called the Qaddafi offer ‘not credible,’ which is almost certainly true. The Benghazi government also rejected the overture and called for the Qaddafis to leave the country.

In other news, The Fateh Party in the West Bank has launched an investigation into charges by the Benghazi government that its ships had intercepted a shipment of Israeli arms intended for Qaddafi’s forces, in which Palestinian figures were implicated, including Muhammad Dahlan.

Aljazeera English has video on recent developments in Libya:

Japan Nuclear Woes Galvanize Indian Protests

from Informed Comment by Juan

Indian peasants in Maharashtra are protesting plans to build a nuclear plant on an earthquake fault at Jaitapur. India has an ambitious set of plans to build 21 further nuclear reactors. The peasants were already worried, but the partial melt-down at the Fukushima plant in Japan, and especially the venting of radioactive water into the sea there, has the peasants worried as never before. Some 77% of Indians say they are anxious about India’s plans to build so many nuclear plants.

Aljazeera English has video


Meanwhile, Israeli scientists at the National Solar Energy Center in Israel are now arguing that with improvements in batteries and energy storage, the days when a country could generate 90% of its energy from renewable sources is much nearer than it had seemed only a few years ago.



US military advisors arrive in Libya: reports

from World War 4 Report blogs by Bill Weinberg

The Independent reports April 3 eye-witness accounts that “Military and diplomatic operatives from the US and Western Europe—usually described as experts, consultants and advisers—turned up in the rebel capital, Benghazi. These include UK personnel, among them a former Royal Navy officer who had recently served as a diplomat in Afghanistan. He said he was in Libya as a consultant to the opposition administration.” The word comes as Reuters reports that Tripoli has dispatched deputy foreign minister Abdelati Obeidi to Athens in a diplomatic initiative to end the conflict.

read more

US abandons Salih

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)
Look at this leaked story in the New York Times:  “The United States, which long supported Yemen’s president, even in the face of recent widespread protests, has now quietly shifted positions and has concluded that he is unlikely to bring about the required reforms and must be eased out of office, according to American and Yemeni officials.”  Yet, the US president has not once publicly called on Salih to step down.  But that is not my point: look at the language used.  That the US shifted because they concluded that is not capable of bringing “the required reforms”.  You mean, the reforms have been a US agenda and only now the US realized that he can’t implement them?  Yet, read the article further and you realize that the US has abandoned Salih because they concluded he won’t be able to stay in power:  “While American officials have not publicly pressed Mr. Saleh to go, they have told allies that they now view his hold on office as untenable, and they believe he should leave.

When the West talks about “reform” in the Arab world

“French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé saluted, on Wednesday in Paris, the constitutional reforms announced by HM King Mohammed VI in a “bold” and “visionary” speech as well as the “ambitious measures” to protect human right in the Kingdom.  “We admire the commitment of the Moroccan people and authorities to forge ahead on the path of peaceful democratization according to their own model,” highlighted Juppé following a meeting with Morocco’s Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri.” (thanks Juan)

The US is hosting a most notorious Lebanese master-terrorist/torturer

This is a discussion about a most notorious Lebanese Forces master-terrorist/assassin/torturer by the name of Ghassan Tuma.  Look how light-hearted the discussion is:  “At the close of the meeting, Ja’Ja and Khoury asked the Ambassador to look into the case of Ghassan Touma, the chief of Lebanese Forces intelligence during the civil war. Ja’Ja said that Touma is living in the U.S. but has no legal status. He cannot take airline flights because he is on a TSA no-fly list, according to Ja’Ja. Touma was convicted of war crimes in a Lebanese court in 1993, so he cannot return to Lebanon. Ja’Ja and Khoury disputed reports that Touma had tortured prisoners during the civil war, which they said came from Canadian intelligence. “He sometimes did only what was necessary to take confessions…but he is not that type,” said Ja’Ja, adding that Touma was held to standards of conduct, “as if this were Switzerland.” Khoury unhelpfully added: “Sometimes there is accidental torture, but I don’t think Touma did it.” The Ambassador said he would look into the case, but emphasized he could not make any guarantees.”

US embassy staff visit to Sidon

This did not get any coverage in the US press, for some reason.  Members of the US embassy in Beirut were visiting Sidon, and as they sat to have a meal, a group of Arab nationalist youth gathered around them and started chanting against the US (and some accounts claimed that they pelted them with stones), until they rushed away.  Internal Security Services arrested three young men and now there is a sit-in in Sidon calling for the release of the three.

UN fires missiles in Ivory Coast to prevent civilian attacks

After so many civilian deaths, something has to be done to prevent a complete slaughter. The Guardian:

UN helicopters have attacked President Laurent Gbagbo’s forces in Ivory Coast, destroying their weapons at four places where they had been shelling civilians, a UN spokesman said.

The helicopters fired four missiles at a Gbagbo military camp in the main city of Abidjan, witnesses told Reuters. “We saw two UN MI-24 helicopters fire missiles on the Akouedo military camp. There was a massive explosion and we can still see the smoke,” one said. The camp is home to three battalions of the Ivorian army.

Hamadoun Toure, spokesman for the UN mission in Ivory Coast, said in an email: “We launched an operation to neutralise heavy weapons Gbagbo’s special forces have been using against the civilian population for the last three months. We destroyed them in four locations.”

This entry was posted in Background & Analysis, Counterinsurgency, Egypt, Events, Human Rights, Imperialism, Imperialist Interference & Views, Military, Revolution, US Foreign Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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