Revolution is in the Air: 4/15/11: The World Banks vomits advice


The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, Day 139

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

Omani Youth

Yemen tipping into civil war?

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report

Bahrain billboard

The puppet government of Iraq

Saudi men and under age girls

The ugly face of the Syrian regime


All is well

The Saudi-Israeli alliance: closer than ever

Pakistani mercenaries for Saudi regime

Which are the “most promising” dictatorships, Mr. Friedman?

NBC’s Richard Engel is really really worried about Israel

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)


“A Beautiful Soul, a Big Heart”: Italian Peace Activist Vittorio Arrigoni Slain by Militant Captors in Gaza Strip

VaThe body of 36-year-old Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni was found in Gaza shortly after his captors posted video of him blindfolded and bloodied. They had vowed to execute him unless their group’s leader was freed from custody by Gaza’s Hamas-led government. Arrigoni was a member of the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement that uses nonviolent and direct action methods to oppose the Israeli occupation. He had lived in Gaza since 2008 after arriving on a boat carrying humanitarian aid. We speak to Huwaida Arraf, a friend of Vittorio’s and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement.

New Egypt

“Egypt’s prime minister says has ordered a price review of its contracts to supply natural gas to Israel and Jordan over widespread domestic criticism, reports Egyptian’s official news agency MENA.”

Mubaraks Arrested

from Informed Comment by Juan

Al-Ahram is reporting in Arabic that Gamal and Ala Mubarak, the sons of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak, have been arrested and will be moved from Sharm El Sheikh to the maximum security Tura prison in the Muqattam hills above Cairo. They are said to have sat stunned and silent for some time on receiving the news. They will be held for 15 days while the office of Egypt’s chief Prosecutor interrogates them about their possible role in ordering secret police to attack nonviolent protesters during the rallies that began January 25. Nearly 900 persons are now thought to have been killed in the various attempts at crackdown by the Amniyyat al-Dawlah or security police.

The Mubaraks had put many of their critics in Tura prison and had them abused or tortured, including Saad Eddin Ibrahim, the sociology professor and democracy activist.

Hosni Mubarak himself is in hospital at Sharm El Sheikh after he had heart palpitations during the prosecutor’s questioning session. He was well enough Wednesday to answer further questions. It is said he will be moved to a military hospital in Hada’iq al-Qubba in Cairo and also held for 15 days for questioning about the massacres.

The Mubaraks are also accused of corruption, and of making their cronies into billionaires by trading on insider information on government economic policy, as well as amassing billions of dollars themselves through corrupt techniques such as demanding kickbacks from companies doing business in Egypt. Gamal Mubarak had been heading up the ruling party, the National Democratic Party, a major vehicle for Mubarak patronage, which has not been dissolved.

Some 100,000 Egyptians rallied at Tahrir Square on Friday, demanding that the Mubaraks be put on trial. The army cleared remaining protesters, killing 2 on Saturday.

Aljazeera has video

Omani Youth

We are group of Omani youth, engineers and others who have started a campaign to demand the nationalization of PDO and therefore to cancel the PSA agreement between PDO (& hence SHELL) and the government of OMAN.” (thanks Redouane)

Yemen tipping into civil war?

from World War 4 Report blogs by WW4 Report

At least seven people were killed, including four police officers who clashed with a dissident army unit, as hundreds of thousands of anti-regime protesters rallied across Yemen on April 13. The police apparently attacked an army checkpoint maintained by dissident troops in Amran province, The targeted army unit operates under the commander of northwest Yemen’s military region, Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who has closed ranks with the protest movement and accused regime supporters of trying to assassinate him. In the southern the port city of Aden, soldiers shot dead two protesters and wounded nine others. The army apparently opened fire as protesters tried to set up roadblocks to enforce a general strike, which they have vowed to stage in Aden every Saturday and Wednesday until President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s fall. Security officials said some of the protesters were armed, and included supporters of both the anti-Saleh parliamentary bloc, Common Forum, and the secessionist Southern Movement. (Middle East Online, April 13)

read more

“I Am Willing to Give My Life”: Bahraini Human Rights Activists Risk Lives to Protest U.S./Saudi-Backed Repression

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by (Democracy Now!)

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Play-bahrainThe Gulf nation of Bahrain is intensifying its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. On Saturday, masked police offers broke into the home of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, a prominent Bahraini human rights activist. He was beaten and detained. We speak to his daughter, Zainab Alkhawaja, who witnessed the attack and is now on a hunger strike. Her husband and brother-in-law were also beaten and arrested in the pre-dawn raid. We also speak to Nabeel Rajab, the president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. He is facing a possible military trial for publishing the photograph of Ali Sager, a protester who died while in Bahraini custody. [includes rush transcript]

Bahrain billboard

Look at this Bahrain billboard: It says: “We demand from the government…the maximum punishment. No to Amnesty…for the heads of fitnah and the misguided element.” (thanks Shawna)

The puppet government of Iraq

“Iraqi officials have barred street protests in Baghdad, and restricted approved demonstration sites to three football stadiums in the capital, a security spokesman said on Wednesday. The decision comes after regular rallies in the city against government corruption, unemployment and poor basic services, among protests across the country following uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Repression in US puppet, Iraq

“Inspired by the democratic uprisings around the Arab world to push for change, young lawmakers in Parliament are running up against an ossified political elite still dominated by the exiles who followed American tanks into Iraq to establish a fragile, violence-scarred democracy.
On the streets, the voices of young demonstrators and journalists have been muted by the batons and bullets of elite security units that answer only to a prime minister who officials say personally sends orders by text message.”

Saudi men and under age girls

Saudi men are urged to refrain from marrying under age girls from different Arab countries. I call that Saudi reforms.

The ugly face of the Syrian regime

Anyone who doubted that Bashshar Al-Asad’s regime represents a continuation of the lousy regime of his father, should watch this video to see how the repressive regime treats its citizens. The Syrian people deserve to be free just like other people, and one should resist the attempt by the horrific House of Saud (and their tools in the Hariri family) to exploit or hijack the opposition movement in Syria–but they won’t. I am working with comrades on a statement to denounce the Syrian regime. (thanks Hicham)

British mercenaries will liberate Libya for Qatar and NATO

“The British government has made clear it will not publicly participate in any training operation inside Libya, believing any ground-level intervention must be seen to done by Arab states. However, it is believed that former British personnel could be used as trainers and “force multipliers”. Former members of the Special Air Service, Special Boat Serve and other elite British regiments are frequently employed by private military companies and Middle Eastern regimes as “advisers” for their own armed forces. For operations where the British Government is not officially involved, Special Forces personnel are often allowed to temporarily resign or take leave in order to fight for others. In the 1970s, former members of the SAS fought for the Sultan of Oman with Britain’s tacit support. Many of the SAS soldiers were allowed to temporarily resign from the British Army for the Oman campaign, then returned to service afterwards.” (thanks Nu`man)

Qaddafi Using Cluster bombs on Civilian Areas

from Informed Comment by Juan

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The NYT has confirmed that the pro-Qaddafi military in Misrata is using cluster bombsand other forms of indiscriminate anti-personnel weapon in the middle of a city full of non-combatants. Indiscriminate fire endangering civilian non-combatants is a war crime.

Human Rights Watch has also confirmed the crime, saying in a press release:

‘ Government forces loyal to the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, have fired cluster munitions into residential areas in the western city of Misrata, posing a grave risk to civilians, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch observed at least three cluster munitions explode over the el-Shawahda neighborhood in Misrata on the night of April 14, 2011. Researchers inspected the remnants of a cluster submunition and interviewed witnesses to two other apparent cluster munition strikes.

Based on the submunition inspected by Human Rights Watch, first discovered by a reporter from The New York Times, the cluster munition is a Spanish-produced MAT-120 120mm mortar projectile, which opens in mid-air and releases 21 submunitions over a wide area. Upon exploding on contact with an object, each submunition disintegrates into high-velocity fragments to attack people and releases a slug of molten metal to penetrate armored vehicles.

“It’s appalling that Libya is using this weapon, especially in a residential area,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch. “They pose a huge risk to civilians, both during attacks because of their indiscriminate nature and afterward because of the still-dangerous unexploded duds scattered about.”

A majority of the world’s nations have comprehensively banned the use of cluster munitions through the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which became binding international law in August 2010.

“Libya needs to halt the use of these weapons immediately, and take all steps to ensure that civilians are protected from the deadly remnants they have left behind,” Goose said.

The area where Human Rights Watch witnessed the use of cluster munitions is about 1 kilometer from the front line between rebels and government forces. The submunitions appear to have landed about 300 meters from Misrata hospital. Human Rights Watch could not inspect the impact sites due to security concerns.’

Qaddafi brigades were also firing other heavy weaponry into residential areas on Friday, as they made a major push into the Free Libya outpost in the west of the country.

Israel was heavily criticized for dropping cluster bombs on south Lebanon late in the summer war of 2006, which seemed intended to hurt non-combatant farmers in southern villages, since a cease-fire was scheduled three days later and the bombs were not targetting Hizbullah fighters or lines.

Allies Insist on Qaddafi departure

from Informed Comment by Juan

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and US President Barack Obama are publishing a joint op-ed in three newspapers on Friday in which they make it clear that the UN allies will not permit Muammar Qaddafi to remain in power, after what he has done to his people.

Muammar Qaddafi’s forces on Thursday launched an intense, hours-long bombardment of Tripoli Street in Misrata, killing some 20 persons. On Aljazeera Arabic, Misrata residents were interviewed about the attack, and they maintained that the bombardment was indiscriminate and that women and children are among the dead. Some eyewitnesses spoke of victims being killed while they were sleeping in their beds.

Euronews has video.

Meanwhile, the Benghazi leadership continues to plan peaceful protests in the capital, Tripoli:

The USG Open Source Center translates a radio broadcast from the ‘Voice of Free Libya’ in which civilian crowds are urged to come out on Friday in Tripoli.

‘ Libyan Rebels Reiterate Call for Unarmed ‘Mass Protests’ in Tripoli on 15 Apr
Excerpt from statement by the “youth leaderships of the 17th February Revolution in Tripoli”
Voice of Free Libya
Thursday, April 14, 2011 …
Document Type: OSC Translated Excerpt…

We, the 17 February revolutionaries in Fashlum, Suq al-Jum’ah, Aradah, Bu-Salim and Tajura (all in Tripoli), have met to announce the following: We are fully committed to continuing this revolution until we restore our stolen freedom and dignity. This cannot be done without the tyrant stepping down and his family and mercenaries leaving Libya. (Passage omitted)

We also announce our total support for the Interim National Council (INC), the sole representative of the Libyan people, and call for intensifying air strikes on Al-Qadhafi’s brigades until the tyrant and his aides flee.

Friday (15 April) will be a day of mass protests that will be launched from major mosques in Tripoli. The Israeli way used (by Al-Qadhafi), including overnight raids on homes and the random kidnapping of youths and children, will be of no use in attempting to drive a wedge between Libyans and make them believe that there are many traitors in their midst…

We also announce to the Arab and Islamic world and to the international community that we in Tripoli do not have weapons and that our protests tomorrow will be peaceful.

(Description of Source: Benghazi Voice of Free Libya in Arabic — Opposition-run radio, began broadcasting on 20 February 2011. )

Meanwhile, as NATO bombarded Tripoli on Thursday, Muammar Qaddafi braved the traffic of the capital:


The World Banks vomits advice

In a report released on Monday, the World Bank says that there should be far more focus on building stable government, and on justice and police, than on health and education.” (thanks Hannoud)

This is hilarious: read the last line. Obama wants to balance democracy with…Saudi Arabia–Saudi Arabia, for potato’s sake

“A top White House aide delivered a personal letter from President Obama to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Tuesday, as the administration moved to calm tensions between the two countries over how to respond to upheaval in the Arab world and deal with their mutual adversary in Iran. The hastily arranged visit to the kingdom by national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon came less than a week after Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made the same trip. While administration officials confirmed the delivery of Obama’s missive, they declined to specify its contents. Neither government denies that there has been a divergence of views between the entrenched, conservative monarchy and the administration, which is struggling to balance its substantial interests and alliances in the region with its desire to see democratic reforms.” I mean, that last sentence is classic. This is like saying that some one wants to balance celibacy with sex, or to balance resistance with Muhammad Dahlan, or to balance Abu Mazen with transparency or to balance Sa`d Hariri with intelligence or to balance Husni Mubarak with the rule of law. (thanks Nabeel)

All is well

“A top aide to President Barack Obama has held comprehensive talks with Saudi Arabia’s ruler, the White House said on Wednesday, as Washington sought to reassure its Arab allies amid protests jolting the region. National security adviser Tom Donilon met with Saudi King Abdullah before traveling to Abu Dhabi for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahayan, who will meet with Obama in Washington later this month. Donilon’s meeting with King Abdullah “highlighted the importance of the U.S.-Saudi partnership rooted in strong historical ties and shared interests,” said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
Donilon also “commended” Saudi efforts to mediate a peaceful transfer of power in its neighbor Yemen, Vietor said in a statement issued in Washington.”

Selling arms to Saudis: count this as democracy promotion

“Saudi Arabia has asked the United States for prices for surface warships with integrated air and missile defenses, helicopters, patrol craft and shore infrastructure, the U.S. Navy said on Friday. The Navy is preparing a rough cost estimate that would be delivered possibly as soon as May, Navy spokeswoman Captain Cate Mueller told Reuters.” Do you know how much the US overcharge Saudis for things, especially arms? I am sure that there is a special pricing table reserved for Israel.

The Saudi-Israeli alliance: closer than ever

“Finally, Saudi Arabia and Israel have common ground for establishing a temporary strategic alliance, similar to the one that existed during World War II between the Soviet Union and United States against the Nazi regime.”

Pakistani mercenaries for Saudi regime

“The Saudi plan, just as in the 1969 bombing of Yemen by Pakistani pilots flying Saudi planes, is to use the trusted Pakistani troops to bolster the defence of not only the Saudi regime but of its client states like Bahrain.” (thanks Sultan)

NATO at the Arab League

Yesterday, NATO was invited to discuss the future of Libya in Doha, Qatar. Hell. Why not invite NATO to become a permanent member of the Arab League, or the League of Arab Tyrants, as I prefer to call it?

Bahrain dictatorship wants to liberate the Libyan people

This is chutzpah: Bahrain (represented by its foreign minister above) was invited to attend the meeting to (ostensibly) liberate the Libyan people. Next to him is NATO Secretary-general–as is known, liberating the Arab people is now part of the mandate of NATO. (thanks Jamal)

Amir of Qatar in DC

This is the Emir of Qatar in DC. I have never seen him beaming like that. He really wanted that meeting to crown his latest services to US and Saudi foreign policies in the region. It is remarkable that this picture appeared in the mouthpiece of Prince Salman and his sons (Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat). In talking to the press in the oval office, the Emir thanked the US for its support for the democracy movements in Tunisia and Egypt: does he think that he can falsify history for the benefit of the US? Like the people of Egypt and Tunisia don’t know that the US supported the dictators there not only for the decades but to their last days in office–literally.

Which are the “most promising” dictatorships, Mr. Friedman?

from The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب by (As’ad AbuKhalil)

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“The states most promising for evolution are Morocco and Jordan, where you have respected kings who, if they choose, could lead gradual transitions to a constitutional monarchy.”

NBC’s Richard Engel is really really worried about Israel

Add Richard Engel to the list of Zionists who are freaking out about the interests of the Israeli entity. (thanks Peter)

And now the dumb theories about the Arab uprisings

This is one of the most dumb theories about the Arab uprising: and it has to be seen as part of propaganda–nay, psychological operations–promoted by the US government to influence and lower the self-confidence of the Arab people. It also aims at winning over the Arab youth in order to steer the revolts in the direction of peace with Israel. But who will those articles fool? There were millions of people who participated in revolts in Egypt: they were all trained by Freedom House? And what is to train? You need to train people to inform them that they are repressed and oppressed? How dumb is that, really. Look at this: “The money spent on these programs was minute compared with efforts led by the Pentagon. But as American officials and others look back at the uprisings of the Arab Spring, they are seeing that the United States’ democracy-building campaigns played a bigger role in fomenting protests than was previously known, with key leaders of the movements having been trained by the Americans in campaigning, organizing through new media tools and monitoring elections.” Propaganda interests of the US government drips from every word of the sentences. And then this: “Some Egyptian youth leaders attended a 2008 technology meeting in New York, where they were taught to use social networking and mobile technologies to promote democracy. Among those sponsoring the meeting were Facebook, Google, MTV, Columbia Law School and the State Department.” I mean, millions of Arabs know how to use phones, twitter and Facebook, and are in a position to teach technology skills to many reporters of the New York Times, and you think that they needed to be trained to use this technology? How dumb is that? Wait: can somebody from Freedom House train me in the use of Microwave and blenders? I am an Arab and I don’t know how to use technology. Please train me as soon as possible. Oh, and I also need a Freedom House expert to tell me: am I oppressed or am I free? Also, what about those those countries (like Syria or Libya or Saudi Arabia or Oman) where American foundations did not run programs and where protests took place? Thanks for your attention. (thanks Ahmet)


Important piece on Saudi Intervention in Bahrain

Cross-posted with “From the Field
Caryle Murphy provides interesting detail on the March 16, 2011, intervention in Bahrain by Saudi Arabia. There are a variety of notable elements in the piece:
  • King Abdullah and company have been riled by the U.S. embrace of reform in Egypt and in Bahrain.
  • They signalled this in several ways, including refusing to receive Hillary Clinton and Bob Gates.
  • Hardliners in Bahrain have been intent to sabotage active reform efforts by the Bahraini crown prince, and the hardliners have willing collaborators in Saudi Arabia.
  • Once “requested”, the Saudis were glad to lead the charge into Bahrain and launch a wave of repression and thuggery against the majority population in Bahrain.
  • Reading between the lines, there is good reason to question how much freedom of action the Bahraini leaders truly enjoy. The Saudi godfather is not easily ignored, especially given the financial dependence of Bahrain on the KSA.
  • Notable for it absence from Murphy’s account is any mention of a significant role by Iran, which has the poppycock peddled by King Hamad in recent weeks.
This entry was posted in Background & Analysis, Bahrain, Counterinsurgency, Events, Human Rights, Imperialism, Imperialist Interference & Views, Iraq, Libya, Military, Saudi Arabia, Syria, US Foreign Policy, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

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