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


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا

WHAT IS THE LIMIT?
A Turkish grassroots campaign to "welcome our Syrian brothers to our country" is organizing a caravan to transport citizens from Istanbul on July 16th to the Turkish-Syrian border where refugees are staying. Calling the effort "For Syria – we will go to the limit" (the Arabic word for limit also means border, creating a play on words), organizers write it will be "a day to support Syrian refugees in Turkey. Your brothers are there and they need your help." The convoy leaves on the 15th from Istanbul and arrives at the refugee camps along the border the next day.

HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
The Syrian Revolution Facebook group is calling for a nationwide strike on Thursday. The group's home page features a "Closed" sign used on shop doors, with the additional words: "Until the regime falls."

WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
Bahrain's largest opposition bloc walked out on reconciliation talks with the government, saying it is not serious about political reform. The Al-Wefaq opposition is demanding a parliamentary-majority model, which would threaten the ruling Al Khalifa family's monopoly on power. One of the main demands of opposition activists across the political spectrum is justice for the thousands of protesters who were rounded up and allegedly tortured. That pressure led King Hamad to order an inquiry into incidents during a wave of protests that rocked the island kingdom earlier this year. But activists are far from satisfied, with Mohammed al-Maskati tweeting the names of alleged torturers. "One of those who was arrested told me the tortures were: Issa al-Majali, a Jordanian, Khalid, a Pakistani, Ali Zaid and Mubarak bin Hwail." Adjusted for population size, more Bahraini protesters were killed than those killed in Syria.

WHAT LEADS A MAN TO GOODNESS?
Large-scale protests continue in cities across Egypt demanding the removal of the ruling military council, the prosecution of officers who killed protesters and a faster pace of reforms. But at the same time, the Grand Imam of Egypt's renowned Islamic university, Al-Azhar, says that "absolute freedom is a chaos that threatens society." Ahmad al-Tayib said that "as Arab and Islamic peoples, our values and traditions are not compatible with democracy" and that "religion is what leads man to goodness."


July 14, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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