ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie


TENSION RISING
Lebanon's A-Nahar daily reports on the growing acrimony between the new Hezbollah-backed government and the March 14 opposition faction, headed by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon last week indicted four men, believed to be members of Hezbollah, in the February 2005 assassination of Saad Hariri's father, ex-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Both factions have maintained armed militias, which raises the stakes for all Lebanese as the crisis over whether to proceed with prosecutions in the Hariri cases becomes more contentious.

TENSION EBBING
Bahrain appears to be emerging from months of martial law, while Saudi, Emirati and Kuwait troops sent it to control violent protests slowly begin to withdraw. Still, the Bahrain February 14 Revolution Facebook group is not giving up. The Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the largest opposition bloc in Bahrain, is holding a "popular festival" this Friday. "Our demand for the nation: elected government" reads the poster advertising the event to be held on July 8th at 5pm in Karaneh village. While the event invitation attracted 120 "likes' in the 20 minutes after it was posted, one commenter wrote, "I probably won't be there because of Al-Wefaq's participation in the national dialogue" with the government.

HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE
The UAE daily Al Emirat Al Youm reports that Abu Dhabi is considering major changes to its high school curricula. The paper did not elaborate on the changes, but quoted the director of the Abu Dhabi Education Council Mugheer al-Khelee as he spoke on the sidelines of a graduation ceremony at the Institutes of Applied Technology. He said that scientific education has arrived late to the UAE, but that the institutes are moving quickly to fill the gap.

POP STAR
Algerian singer Souad Massi says that the wave of revolutions hitting the Arab world will not happen in Algeria because "the situation is very different." The people "really love the current president and he genuinely changed things," she told Reuters.

July 5, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Geopolitics

The New Iraq, Signs Of Hope Amid The Rubble And Reconstruction

How do you rebuild a country decimated by four decades of war and embargoes? Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Iraq faces many challenges, from oil revenues captured by the militias and endemic corruption to religious segregation. However, there are glimmers of hope for the country's future.

Street scene in Erbil, Iraq

Théophile Simon

BAGHDAD — With a vast office located at the top of a tower fiercely guarded by the army and a bell to call the staff, Khalid Hamza Abbas is obviously a powerful character, decked out in an impeccable suit. Abbas runs the Basra Oil Company (BOC), the national company responsible for the exploitation of the oil fields in the province of Basra, in the very south of Iraq, from which four million barrels of crude oil flow daily. It’s the equivalent of 4% of world demand and 65% of central government revenue concentrated in a region of only four million inhabitants.

As he explains the profit-sharing scheme between the world’s major oil companies and his public enterprise, the 50-year-old with thin glasses is suddenly stopped dead in his tracks by the ringing of his telephone. He tries a joke to mask his suddenly worried face: "I'm going to ask you to leave my office for a few moments. If I haven't called you back in 10 minutes, call the police."

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