Revolution is in the Air: 4/6/11: Saudi Arabia is mid-wifing another change in the Arab world


The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 130

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell





Headlines for April 6, 2011

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 130

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

24 Dead in Fresh Yemen Violent Repression

from Informed Comment by Juan

Violent repression of Yemen’s protesters led to 24 deaths on Tuesday in Sanaa and Taizz.

Demonstrations were put down near Sanaa university, and dissident Gen. Ali Mohsen Ahmar maintains that an assassination attempt was made on his life by members of the presidential guard.

Aljazeera English reports on the renewed protests and violence.

The mood in Bahrain

Another source from Bahrain:  “OK, the Bahraini officials are constantly attempting to delude everyone with the peaceful atmosphere in the country. There is a real fear in the Capital, that is why many people chose to restrain themselves from demonstrating, there are no clear ‘activities’ from either side in the streets there. However, I can give you a more solid image about the situation, many areas around the Capital are identical in their misery with the suburbs of Lebanon, where you can see a place filled with the Solidere-esque developments, and after that in two streets a crumbled residential area with no government support. In these places, the abducting and violence is being waved in peoples faces. The way people are dealt with by the Bahraini & Saudi forces is filled with violence, to the brink of unjustified hatred.   It feels like a gun is being pointed at the back of your head, at your thoughts, your words, your undisclosed opinions… Even though the political opposition parties in Bahrain have that line that they won’t cross with the self-appointed ‘King’, a great percentage of the demonstrators label him as a criminal. They pointed out that he wore his military uniform
before the first night assault on the Pearl roundabout. 

PS: There is another issue about Bahrain I wanted to inform you about, but I need to wait & check on the individuals related to the story.”

Bahrain fires workers who participated in protests

When people wonder why our Middle East policies are so bad, it’s partially because we support goons like the government of Bahrain. Al Jazeera:

Bahraini firms have fired hundreds of mostly Shia Muslim workers who went on strike to support pro-democracy protesters, the opposition group Wefaq has said.

Officials at Batelco, Gulf Air, Bahrain Airport Services and APM Terminals Bahrain said they had laid off more than 200 workers due to absence during a strike in March.

“It’s illegal in Bahrain and anywhere else in the world to just strike. You have to give two weeks’ notice to your employer,” one executive who did not wish to be named told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

Bahrain’s unions called a general strike on March 13 to support the Shia protesters against the Sunni-led government. The strike was called off on March 22.

US and IMF are already missing Jamal Mubarak

“Corruption investigations against former president Hosni Mubarak and other former high-ranking officials and business figures are proceeding as part of the country’s political transition. But they have also raised questions about whether the economic reforms championed by those such as Gamal Mubarak, the ex-president’s son who is due to be questioned in a corruption probe next week, will give way to a more government-oriented economy less open to global corporations and capital.


Freed from Captivity in Libya, Anthony Shadid of the New York Times Recounts Ordeal under Gaddafi’s Forces

Play_shadid_reportersAnthony Shadid is one of four New York Times reporters who were captured in Libya last month by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. They were held for nearly a week, during which they were beaten and threatened before ultimately being set free. Just two weeks after their release, Shadid joins us for an extensive interview on his ordeal in Libya, the outlook of the conflict, and his thoughts on the rolling rebellions sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. A two-time Pulitzer winner, Shadid is the New York Times Beirut bureau chief. [includes rush transcript]

Saudi reforms are expedited: Western governments most impressed

“A total of 30 officials of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) have been trained on how to deal with cases of black magic. The three-day training program was held in the Eastern Province city of Al-Ahsa.  The commission has achieved remarkable successes in combating black magic in various parts of the country. It has set up nine specialized centers in the main cities to deal with black magicians.  The majority of people arrested for practicing black magic in the Kingdom are Africans and Indonesians.  According to a report received by Arab News, a single specialized center had dealt with 586 cases involving black magic, showing the enormity of the problem.” (thanks Ahmet)



Intervention Could Make Things Worse: New York Times’ Anthony Shadid on Rebellions in Libya and the Middle East

Play_libyaIn Libya, government and rebel forces remain locked in a deadly stalemate as rebels fight for an end to Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s nearly 42-year rule. We speak with New York Times correspondent and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anthony Shadid, who covered the conflict between government and rebel forces before he and three colleagues were kidnapped and beaten by Gaddafi’s forces. They were released two weeks ago. We speak with Shadid about the situation in Libya and the popular rebellions rising up across the Middle East and North Africa. “There’s going to be a desire to intervene, I think, as this gets more dangerous and more complicated and more violent, but I think that intervention [by allied forces], that very intervention, could very well make things worse,” says Shadid. [includes rush transcript]

Saudi Arabia is mid-wifing another change in the Arab world

The Arab (Israeli-supported) Counter-Revolution is gaining strength.  Saudi Arabia and Qatar are now mid-wifing the change in Libya, and House of Saud are now in charge of Yemeni transition at the behest of US.  The lousy corrupt Gen. Ahmar (who was the sponsor of Bin Ladenites in Yemen) is now receiving Saudi support and attempting to hijack the opposition movement.  Thus far, the Yemeni opposition is showing skepticism about the Saudi initiative and this should not change.

NATO doesn’t have enough aircraft for Libyan campaign

It’s hardly a surprise, but did anyone really think the US had enough aircraft either? How many wars can be fought at one time? It’s especially difficult now that we’re in the age of austerity with budget cuts all around. The US military is barely cutting spending but everyone else in NATO is dealing with less money available. It’s not right to ask voters to tighten the belt and fun undefined missions around the world. The Guardian:

Nato is running short of attack aircraft for its bombing campaign against Muammar Gaddafi only days after taking command of the Libyan mission from a coalition led by the US, France and Britain.

David Cameron has pledged four more British Tornado jets on top of eight already being used for the air strikes. But pressure is growing for other European countries, especially France, to offer more after the Americans withdrew their attack aircraft from the campaign on Monday.

“We will need more strike capability,” a Nato official said.

Impatient Rebels Critique NATO Aid

from Informed Comment by Juan

Gen. Abdelfatah Yunis, the commander of rebel military forces in Benghazi expressed dissatisfaction on Tuesday with the pace of the NATO/ UN intervention in his country. He worried that Misrata, the country’s 3rd-largest city, might fall altogether any moment. He could not understand why supplies were not delivered promptly to the harbor by NATO ships.

Yunis appears to me to underestimate how hard it is to do precision bombing of small targets from the air, while avoiding civilian casualties. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe underlined on Wednesday morning that his country wants no civilian causalities in the bombing raids.

Qaddafi’s tanks shelled downtown Misrata intensively during the first part of the day. They are said to have killed 2 and wounded 24. Misrata residents also suffer from heavy and continuous sniper fire.

AP reports that the rebel fighting force at Ajdabiya, some 1000 men, is significantly more competent at tactics and maneuvers than it was two weeks ago. With NATO air backing it appears just able to fight the Qaddafi forces to a draw.

Multi-billionaire members of the Qaddafi family and inner circle could do one thing to get US Treasury Department and UN sanctions on their finances lifted. They could break with the dictator, as Moussa Khoussa did last week.

Jordan is now delivering relief supplies to Misrata by airlift. Its jets have also been sent to a European air base in case they should be needed for self-defense. Two other members of the Arab League, Qatar and the UAE, are actively flying air sorties over Libya.

Russia Today reports on the oil politics of the fight:

This is French secularism today? It used to be refreshingly the case for state neutrality, or even hostility, toward religion–any religion

French secularism is now merely a movement to express hostility to Islam: “Claude Guéant, a Sarkozy confidant who is now interior minister, caused more controversy Monday when he said of Islam, “It’s true that this growth in the number of faithful in this religion and a certain number of behaviors poses a problem.””

Bin Ladenites for NATO

“Anis Mahkrez, who is Moftah Mahkrez’s brother, described Hasadi as “a quiet schoolteacher.” He added, “The only one talking about Al Qaeda in Derna is Kadafi.”  When a Times reporter asked to interview Hasadi, council members said he was out of town. Hasadi recently told the Agence France-Presse news agency that he fought against foreign troops in Afghanistan and considered Osama bin Laden a “good Muslim.” But he denied any ties to Al Qaeda.”
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