The state of contemporary Arab art.
‘The Loss of Our Identity’- Sadegh Tirafkan
The state of contemporary Arab art.
‘The Loss of Our Identity’- Sadegh Tirafkan
Reacting to the Russian and Chinese veto to a United Nations Security Council resolution to stop the killings of civilians by Syrian security sources, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey’s doors were “open to all Syrians who want to flee from oppression.”
“We are ready to host them in our homes if necessary,” Davutoğlu added as part of a new stage to step up pressure on the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The move is interesting since Turkey has announced that there could be only two conditions for Turkish involvement in military action in the Syrian situation; a U.N. Security Council decision based on humanitarian reasoning or a massive flood of refugees into Turkey.
Yet the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a written statement yesterday categorically denying media reports that Turkey and the United States had agreed on a military action plan on Syria in Feb. 4’s meeting in Munich between Davutoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Davutoğlu made no comment on U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman’s statement after he said that his country might consider providing weapons to a Free Syrian Army consisting of defectors from Syrian army and forming the military wing of the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council.
With this move of welcoming Syrian regime opponents in need, Turkey wants to trigger a new balance, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has planned a visit to Damascus to convince al-Assad to stop the violence against his own people. “We don’t want to lose our hopes and we don’t want to let the Syrian people down,” Davutoğlu said, “But Lavrov should have done this months ago.”
The Turkish top diplomat explains the latest move as follows: “Syrian people should not be victimized by a power game between the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The U.N. resolution, which was proposed by the Arab League and Turkey who are affected by the Syrian crisis, were vetoed by those who are not directly related with it; it’s an ethical and legalistic weakness regarding international politics. But [even] if the international community prefers to remain silent before this human tragedy, Turkey continues to do whatever is necessary.”
Libya’s rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) is ready to recognise Israel, according to French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who says he has passed the message on to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The NTC “will be concerned with justice for the Palestinians and security for Israel” it it takes power, Lévy said after meeting Netanyahu Thursday.
“The future regime will maintain normal relations with other democratic countries, including Israel.”
Netanyahu’s office confirmed the meeting with Lévy but did not comment on the discussion. “The prime minister likes to meet intellectuals,” a spokesperson said.
Lévy, who helped persuade France to be the first country to recognise the NTC, visited the rebel-held Libyan city of Misrata last weekend and went on to Jerusalem this week.
Moamer Kadhafi’s regime refused to recognise Israel, even after Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat peace treaty with the country in 1979.
How could that possibly be true? They could never do that. They know what Israel does, they would never do that. No. I refuse to believe this crap.
Meanwhile, in an interesting development Netenyahu has come out and thanked France for the Libyan Intervention… It would seem a bit odd, coming out now, if he didn’t have cause to be happy about:
Meeting visiting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, Netanyahu noted that Gaddafi had ‘was never a friend of Israel or the Jewish people and Israel will not be sorry to see him disappear from the map’ …
The Israeli leader added that he hoped that, when a new government was formed in Libya, it would advance peace and security for all people in the region.
The timings seems a bit coincidental… a whole month after the intervention, to only now suddenly give it your support - if we bare in mind the Israeli government looks at world affairs primarily through the spectrum of self-interest, it gives us much to think about, in terms of what’s going on behind the scenes.
Various theories are circulating as to what the motives may be for establishing diplomatic ties with Israel, but it’s thought to be trying to galvanise ‘western opinion’ in their favour and to appease western interests supporting the rebels (who are all obviously traditionally close to Israel).
Not jumping to conclusions just yet, but if this holds true, it could dramatically change public opinion of the TNC revolutionaries, in the eyes of the Arab World - only serving to make Gaddafi look better. The TNC will be aware of this and how it will undermine their support, hence I expect a swift denial - but questions would remain, if we consider Netanyahu’s sudden endorsement of regime change.
I hope these are mere false rumours, and that Netanyahu’s endorsement comes through thinking its relations can only get better under a new government without Gaddafi, even if only slightly so - rather than through background knowledge that the new government would definitely embrace diplomatic ties. Watch this space.
Mubarak to apologize to Egyptians and plead for amnesty, as prosecution imminent
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is to apologize to the nation and plead for amnesty, three months after he was overthrown by a popular uprising, according to a report in the independent daily al-Shorouk.
The report appears in Tuesday’s edition and quotes Egyptian and Arab official sources as saying that Mr. Mubarak was “drafting a letter which will be broadcast on Egyptian and Arabic channels, apologizing on behalf of himself and his family for any offence caused to the people.”
He is also to apologize “for any behavior which may have stemmed from false information passed on to him by his advisers.”
The former president and his wife Suzanne are under arrest in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after both of them suffered heart attacks during interrogation as part of a graft probe.
Mr. Mubarak is also ready to hand over his assets to the state in a bid to have the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces “look into an amnesty,” the paper said.
A military source told Al-Shorouk that several Egyptian and Arab parties had been requesting an amnesty for Mr. Mubarak, 83, “within an acceptable legal framework.”
The amnesty would apply to Mr. Mubarak, his wife Suzanne, and their two sons Alaa and Gamal who are held in Cairo’s Tora prison on corruption charges, but sources say it is unlikely to be granted to the sons, the paper said.
I bet the countless number of people who were brutally tortured, falsely imprisoned, repressed, who ‘disappeared’, and who were outright murdered over his 30 year reign of self-interest and oppression - I bet they wish they’d have been given the option of an ‘amnesty’ at his tyrant hands.
If there’s any justice in post-revolutionary Egypt, he’ll rightly be tried and convicted of, to name just a few, corruption, widespread abuse of power, war crimes and (though let’s face it unlikely) for treason against his nation; in his torture apparatus, in his collaboration with the US and Israel in occupation, and in his plundering of the nation’s resources against the interests of his own people.
The Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, which governs Gaza, have agreed a reconciliation deal, officials say.
Under the Egyptian-brokered deal, an interim government will be formed and a date fixed for elections.
The factions have been divided for more than four years, with Hamas in power in Gaza and Fatah running the West Bank.
Palestinian and Egyptian spokesmen told news agencies of the deal but a formal announcement has not yet been made.
Thousands of Palestinians protested in Gaza this month, calling for reconciliation.
The protests were inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.
The split between the two factions occurred when violence erupted a year after Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006.
Iran is providing Syria with gear to disperse the country’s pro-democracy protests and is helping Syrian security forces block and track Internet and cellphone use among protesters, according to unnamed US officials quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
Iran’s involvement, which could expand to other countries such as Bahrain, could challenge US and Saudi influence in the region, destabilize US allies, and heighten sectarian tensions, the Journal reported…
Syrian Army and security forces have brutally quashed most of the demonstrations, which call for an end to the country’s state of emergency and for other political reforms. While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has promised reforms and launched a committee to study lifting the country’s decades-long state of emergency, little change has materialized so far.
The US has long been concerned about Iranian influence in Syria, which serves as the main conduit through which Iran sends weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, and the Obama administration has unsuccessfully attempted to woo Damascus away from Tehran.
US officials’ decision to disclose that they have been tracking Iran’s efforts in Syria was made partially to reassure its Arab allies and Israel, who worry that the US is supporting the popular uprisings without thinking about the political consequences. The power vacuums created by the fall of strongmen could give Iran a tremendous opportunity to expand its influence, the Journal reported.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that if Assad’s regime falls, Iran will work to install a leader even more hostile to Israel and the West, Saudi Arabia will try to sever all ties between Iran and Syria and bring Syria back into the mainstream Arab community, and the US and Israel will try to prevent the country’s leadership from falling into the hands of an Islamist group or anyone hostile to Israel.
The US is also concerned that overt Iranian assistance to Assad could escalate the Shiite-Sunni tensions in the region.
The complexities of the behind-the-scene relations of the uprisings are astounding if you analyse them… it’s all very cold war-esque, with multiple factions, Saudi Arabia, Israel/USA, Iran and the EU/NATO enabling and fighting proxy wars to meet their own wider political agendas and interests in the region; all pitted against the average man and woman on the street, the people who are actually doing the fighting and giving their lives, with the sole agenda of freedom.
Artocracy in Tunisia
“Last week JR kicked off the Inside Out project in Tunisia. Artocracy in Tunisia, a project by the group of Tunisian photographers Sophia Baraket, Rania Dou, Wissal Dargueche, Aziz Tnani, Hichem Driss and Héla Ammar, is using art to introduce the public to modern Tunisia. Portraits of a hundred Tunisians from around the country are being pasted by other Tunisians in locations of symbolic importance.
Egypt’s military has begun shipping arms over the border to Libyan rebels with Washington’s knowledge, U.S. and Libyan rebel officials said.
The shipments—mostly small arms such as assault rifles and ammunition—appear to be the first confirmed case of an outside government arming the rebel fighters. Those fighters have been losing ground for days in the face of a steady westward advance by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.