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Syria: the regime's war of attrition

The Syrian regime's response to five months of popular uprising was described by a recent report of the International Crisis Group as "slow motion suicide", resulting from a "mix of uninhibited brutality, sectarian manipulation, crude propaganda and grudging concessions".

The regime opted for a survival strategy: responding by violence and threatening the population with chaos and civil war in the event of its demise. The objective was to launch a war of attrition by playing on time to wear out any internal revolt. It chose, however, the wrong combination of brutal repression and gradual concessions. The result was a crisis of confidence which was too deep to be overcome by mere calls for national dialogue and reform.

The death toll is estimated at 2,000 civilian casualties (including more than 100 children), and 400 members of the security services. The situation has now reached a stalemate. Neither side appears to be able to defeat the other. Protests are rallying at major urban and rural centres, including Damascus and Aleppo in the last weeks. Rallies continue in Hama, Homs, Lattakia, the Idlib province, and continue to be met with massive military assaults and house to house arrests. The cities of Homs, Hama and Deir ez-Zor were brutally besieged by the regime's armed forces; hundreds of civilian casualties have fallen since the start of the holy month of Ramadan. In Deir ez-Zor, the regime was met with strong resistance by local tribesmen, including the leading Baqqara tribe who joined the opposition movements.

On July 17, the National Salvation conference held in Istanbul gathered 450 opposition figures who called for civil disobedience throughout the country. Tenets of regime survival quite naively assumed that they would effectively counter the historical meeting held in Damascus on June 27 by prominent opposition figures in the Semiramis Hotel of Damascus. The regime's so-called "national dialogue" conference held on July 10 included a few organic intellectuals and public figures which were carefully selected and summoned to contribute to the process of constitutional amendment and political reform. The strategy was to divide the opposition and maintain the status quo. Dialogue under repression was, however, firmly rejected by the opposition. MORE
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
New evidence about Amina, the "Gay Girl in Damascus" hoax


A new post on the Gay Girl in Damascus blog includes a confession from Tom MacMaster. Andy Carvin offers independent confirmation of the confession with statements from Tom MacMaster and Britta Froelicher.

MacMaster has also separately confirmed he is behind the hoax in response to an email from The Electronic Intifada asking for confirmation. MacMaster wrote:
Yes. We will be doing a first interview with a journalist of our choice in 12-24 hours. After that, we may consider other media.

Original post

Ali Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty write:
We have gathered compelling new evidence regarding the “Gay Girl in Damascus” blogger hoax.

Those responsible for this hoax have caused a great deal of concern and anguish by posting information alleging that “Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari” the supposed “Gay Girl” blogger had been kidnapped from the streets of Damascus, possibly by Syrian authorities, and was likely in grave danger.

A measure of the concern that this story has caused is the formation of a Facebook group calling to “Free Amina Arraf” with more than 15,000 members, as well as numerous action alerts and stories in international media.



via: [personal profile] delux_vivens

via [personal profile] keeva Syrian LGBT bloogers respond to the FUCKERY that has been perpretrated by this... boil on the backside of humanity: From Damascus with Love: Blogging in a Totalitarian State

If anyone else sees responses, link them in here please?

No really, is there NOTHING that white people will hold sacred? Will refrain from appropriating? Nothing at all?
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[personal profile] the_future_modernes

Workers' Strikes and Protests in Israel
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Israel – Social workers’ strike, confronting a privatized state

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LIBERIA-COTE D'IVOIRE Border Villages Sharing the Little They Have

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CODEMUH: Women's Resistance in Honduras

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Something that I missed a couple of weeks ago

On March 10 : Libyan Women March In Support Of Rebellion
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Syrian cabinet to resign next week: informed sources: Syria to announce constitutional reform: sources

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BRITAIN <Do you remember Olive Morris? Red Chidgey reports on a collective of women using the internet to reactivate forgotten activist histories

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War on Want: Poverty is political:On the occasion of War on Want’s 60th anniversary, Sue Branford looks at the turbulent history of this uniquely left-wing charity

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Laia Blanch spoke to Amirul Haque Amin, president of the National Garment Workers Federation in Bangladesh

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Patriarchy and Fundamentalism Two Sides of the Same Coin

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Divided Between the Mullah and the Model

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Pakistani Actress Defies Mullah Accusing Her of Immoral Behavior on an Indian Reality TV Show

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Death Sentence Looms for Filipino Drug Mules in China

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Women Workers Determined to Ride the Wave of Mechanisation

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[personal profile] the_future_modernes

Street battles continue in Abidjan

Heavy fighting continued on Monday in Abidjan amid an ongoing power struggle between forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, Cote d'Ivoire's incumbent president, and those backing his political rival Alassane Ouattara.

Pro-Ouattara fighters were reported to have moved into the Yopougon neighbourhood held by Gbagbo loyalists. Gun battles raged near the home of army chief of staff Phillipe Mangou who has remained loyal to Gbagbo since November's presidential elections. Ouattara is internationally recognised as the winner of that vote.

The state-run RTI television station denied local reports that Mangou's house had been attacked. A spokesman for the pro-Gbagbo army, Col. Hilaire Gohourou, confirmed that the battle in Yopougon was ongoing, but refused to give any further details.MORE

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Cooperation Strategic To Protect Tigris and Euphrates

SULAIMANIYA, Iraq / BRUSSELS, March 15, 2011 (IPS) - On a dusty street in the north-eastern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniya one recent day, an elderly man sold heaps of tomatoes, fruits and other fresh produce from a makeshift trolley.

But the vendor lamented that the fruits and vegetables no longer come from the once-prolific valleys of Iraq's self-governing Kurdish region, nor fertile regions further south.

Most of his goods are trucked in from Turkey and Iran, Massoud explains, handing over a bag of oranges to a visitor. "We had wars, we had Saddam, and now we have no rain," said Massoud, who did not want to share his real name with the customer.

Although the brief wet season is just beginning, much of northern Iraq has endured several years of drought, compounding water problems that stem from climate change, migration, a growing population and declining water flows in the country's most important rivers -- the Tigris and Euphrates.

Faced with a potentially catastrophic shortage of fresh water, Iraq and the other nations that share the Tigris and Euphrates, emanating in eastern Turkey, must strengthen efforts to protect the waterways, according to a new report. Such cooperation, like the rains, has been in short supply.MORE

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[personal profile] eumelia
In Alphabetical order and a tiny bit of commentary:

Algeria: Defying a ban, protesters demonstrate in heavily policed Algiers. The demonstrations in Algeria in early January due to food shortages, but really, the poverty level in a country that is very rich in natural resources (and a long term dictator) showed it was a matter of time.

Bahrain: Bahrain mourner killed in clashes during another protester's funeral. The violence coming from the government in response to the protests has been overwhelming.

Iran: Police confirm protest death. The Reformists demonstrations never stopped, it just wasn't reported with the same fervor as when it started, but now that fire is sweeping through the region, it makes sense that the demo's are gathering greater numbers and are being suppressed with more violence.

Israel: While the region begins it's slow slog towards something resembling democratic process, we continue to dig our heels is and write out racist legislation like a Bill proposes discount in tuition fees for soldiers - meaning that higher education will become even more inaccessible than it already is to the working class - it is racist and ethnically based because the only ones drafted are Jews and the Druze (only men in this case) meaning that those who do not serve (i.e. Arabs, who also happen to be the most economically disenfranchised) will find it very hard to study at university, creating an even greater disparity between classes that (miraculously) coincide with ethnic and religious groups.

Palestine: Palestinian government resigns in hope of fresh start. Allow me to be more scathing than usual. The PA is so scared of what's happening in the region, the fact that just a few days about Saeb Ereakat resigned because of the Palestine Papers that they'll do anything to make appearnces of appeasement, while they suppress anti-PA demonstrations. Hamas, by the way, will not be running in these elections as it rejects Fatah authority. Like this schism is anything new.

Syria: Schoolgirl blogger jailed. A week after Syria opens their internet up for Twitter and Facebook. The Asad regime is in survival mode, it has been for years now.

Yemen: Yemen protests enter fifth day. The numbers are small, and there isn't a huge presence of women in Sanaa, but following reports on Twitter informs me that there was sizable female presence in Taizz.

That's what I got.

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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
I like Al- Jazeera's name for the Uprising coverage Revolt on the Nile.

Here's the Al Jazeera Livestream

I've been following [ profile] ontd_political> for the most part because tey've got so many people that they can put together a great list of resources for watching all this unfold. Here's a couple of items that caught my eye.

Over a million people have taken to Egypt's streets to demand Mubarak's resignation

More than a million protesters flooded into central Cairo, turning Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital, into a sea of humanity as massive protests against President Hosni Mubarak swept across Middle East's most populous nation.

Packed shoulder to shoulder in and around the famed Tahrir Square, the mass of people on Tuesday held aloft posters denouncing the president, and chanted slogans "Go Mubarak Go" and "Leave! Leave! Leave!"

Similar demonstrations calling on Mubarak to step down were also witnessed across other cities, including Sinai, Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura, Damnhour, Arish, Tanta and El-Mahalla el-Kubra.

Tens of thousands marched in Alexandria while the number of those protesting in Sinai was estimated to be around 250,000.

Tuesday's protests were by far the biggest since street demonstrations broke out against Mubarak's rule last week.

"The crowd is very diverse - young, old, religious, men, women - and growing by the minute," Al Jazeera's online producer said from Tahrir Square.

"They're chanting the same slogans they've been chanting all week. Someone actually hung an effigy of Mubarak from a streetlight."MORE

They will not leave until he leaves.
The opposition says that there will be no talks till he leaves

As usual, Western corporations are right in the middle of the oppressive tactics used by the Egyptians against their people. The weapons that the police were using against the protesters were US made. Now comes word of:

One US company;s role in helping Egypt shut down its internet

US UK companies help shut down Egypt's Internet

As per usual, we Westerners have happily made money on oppression. Don't worry though Western populations. The programmes will be tested on those people over there...and then they will come home to us, sooner or later.

Meantime Mideast stations are circumventing Egypt's attempt to block Al-Jazeera's content

They are:
In response to the regime's persistent attempts at censorship, at least seven Arabic-language television stations throughout the region are now carrying Al-Jazeera content on the air. They are: Al-Hiwar, Al-Jadeed, Al-Karama, Suheil, NBN, Adan, Al-Aqsa, OTV, Falastin Al-Youm, and Al-Haqiqa, Al-Jazeera reportedMORE

Jordan's King took one look at these shenanigans, and proceeded to try to look like he was doing something. Jordanians had been protesting in the streets about rising food prices and wanting more reforms from the elected portion of their gov't. The King has prudently decided to at least look like he was giving in to their demands. Jordan's king sacks cabinet: Monarch asks ex-army general to form new government in the wake of streets protests over prices and reforms.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has sacked his government in the wake of street protests and has asked an ex-army general to form a new cabinet, Jordan's Royal Palace has announced.

King Abdullah's move on Tuesday comes after thousands of Jordanians took to the streets, inspired by anti-government protests in Tunisia and Egypt. Jordanians had been calling for the resignation of prime minister Samir Rifai who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.

A Jordanian official said the monarch officially accepted the resignation of Rifai, a wealthy politician and former court adviser, and asked Marouf Bakhit to form a new cabinet.

"[Bakhit] is a former general and briefly ambassador to Israel who has been prime minister before. He's someone who would be seen as a safe pair of hands," Rosemary Hollis, professor of Middle East policy studies at London's City University, said.

"I wouldn't see it as a sign of liberalisation. With his previous premiership, he talked the talk of reform but little actually happened," she said.


And there are rumors that Syria has tried to stop its people from watching whats going on, and that Syrians are planning their own protests.

For the nonce, the most complete list of options for watching and reading this moment in history are in this post on [ profile] ontd_political


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