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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 Syrian television station showed footage of the Othman Mosque in the besieged eastern city of Deir a-Zor, now reportedly occupied and subdued by the Syrian military. The top of the minaret has been blown off as gunfire crackles and artillery booms in the background.

This stunning clip shows the desecration of the minaret. Filmed by a man in a nearby building, Syrian tanks repeatedly fire on the minaret as the person filming murmurs, "Allahu akbar." At 2:29, the top third of the minaret falls from its base. Shouts of "Allahu akbar" are heard in the background immediately afterwards. Outraged commenters below the YouTube clip universally implored God to condemn, avenge and even kill those responsible for the destruction of the minaret. One writes, "I wonder what the opinion of the religious leaders working for the government think of this?" Another vows that "a new minaret will be built on the principles of justice and freedom."

The international community is growing more vocal in its criticism of the Syrian regime's use of violence against unarmed civilians. But the government remains defiant, holding to the same narrative it has promulgated since the uprising began in March. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem told a delegation of envoys from Brazil, South Africa and India, all currently occupying rotating seats on the UN Security Council, that pressuring Syria puts the country at risk. Mouallem followed the government line precisely in the meeting, blaming "armed groups' for the uprising and praising the Syrian army for "restoring security and stability." Mouallem stressed the government's commitment to reform and dialogue.

Egypt's Foreign Minister said the situation in Syria is "moving toward the point of no return" in what Al Arabiya called "the strongest statements to date out of Cairo regarding events in Syria." Foreign Minister Mohammed Amro called for "an immediate ceasefire," and urged reforms to begin as quickly as possible. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan went even farther, saying that Syria is turning its weapons toward its own people.

August 11, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

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But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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