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


A R A B I C A
ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie

SAUDI WOMEN
Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah granted the right of women to vote… in 2015. Elections for the Shoura Council, will be held this week, but women are not allowed to participate. Elaph.com published a commentary by Essam Abullah, who calls the decision to allow women to vote "a step in the right direction," but notes that "political rights' should not be confused with "fundamental rights (such as the right to drive a car)" which are very much lacking. "Men dominate strict, traditional societies and do not want to give up their hegemony over women," Essam Abdullah writes.

GADDAFI FAMILY
The Egyptian government is denying reports that eight members of the Gaddafi family have moved to Cairo from Algeria. There is "absolutely no truth to the Algerian media reports," the ruling military leadership said in a statement.

JORDAN ("FAKE") DEMOCRACY
An editorial published on news site JordanZad.com, entitled "Government bullying and fake democracy," laments the failure of any form of democracy in Jordan. The government pretends to reform the electoral process, but the bottom line is that MPs "will face the most severe government bullying and marginalization," the equivalent to "sitting in the back seat of the car," a role reserved for women. "Government bullying has contributed significantly to emptying democracy of its true meaning," the unnamed author notes.

The article cites examples of how Jordan's government makes unilateral decisions without approval or rejection from the public:

- changing monetary policies of the Central Bank

- joining the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-member union modeled on the European Union

- raising the debt ceiling unilaterally

- building a nuclear power plan.

BAHRAIN MERCENARIES
Bahrain's leading human rights activist, Najeeb Rajab, an active opponent of the ruling Al Khalifa family, said in an interview: "Since the beginning of the revolution, we have been monitoring the mercenaries hired by the government who are vandalizing and stealing and burning and torturing, but this corrupt government is not prosecuting them. Rather, they are prosecuting young people for participating in protests."

AT A MALL
Protesters on Sunday hid in a mall in Sanabis city, a suburb of Manama. As police raided one part of the mall, the longest-serving unelected prime minister in the world (the only premier Bahrain has had since independence, Sheikh Khalifa al-Khalifa, who came to power in 1971) held a photo op in a different part of the mall to reassure citizens.

Sep 27, 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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