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

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


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.

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."

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.

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: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

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Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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