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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

LIBYA, AL QAEDA LINKS?
Tripoli military commander Abdelhakim Belhadj denies al-Qaeda fighters are among ranks of rebel forces, quoted in Al-Quds al-Arabi, a London-based daily.

LIBYA, CIA LINKS?
A Facebook group calling itself "Wikileaks Libya" posted documents exposing efforts by a number of former American intelligence officials, lobbyists and politicians to help the Gaddafi regime stop the revolution. Officials include former CIA officer Marty Martin and former military and anti-terrorism expert Neil Livingstone. The group also has documents showing that many of Gaddafi's troops refused orders to shoot their own people.

BACK TO TAHRIR
Protesters were back in Cairo's Tahrir Square for a Friday rally dubbed "Return to the Barracks." Protesters are calling on the ruling military leadership to hand over power to a civilian authority and provide a clear timetable for a quicker transition, demands that protesters say have been promised but remain unmet. Hundreds of protesters condemned the Supreme Council of the ‎Armed Forces (SCAF) SCAF for press restrictions, the extension of martial law and the trials of civilians before military courts.

ANKARA TO DAMASCUS
Turkish President Abdullah Gul's senior advisor, Ershad Hurmuzlu, told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that "Turkey shall not stand silent in the face of what the Syrian regime is doing to its people." Riyadh al-Asaad, the commander of Syrian Free Army, now based in Turkey and engaged in guerilla warfare with Syrian forces, told the paper that "al-Asaad's regime is nearing its end" and that "the Syrian president would very soon meet the same fate as Libya's Gaddafi." Riyadh Al-Asaad said "we formed a comprehensive army with a structure command matching that of the Syria army," adding that "we seek to form the nucleus of an army capable of taking things in its own hands in order to turn it into a regular army when the regime falls."

HUNGER TO ANGER
A new song called "Jordanians' money has been stolen" lambasts official corruption and demands an immediate halt to officials' stealing from the public coffers. To a chorus of the word "unbelievable!" the video features pictures of powerful former prime ministers, advisers to King Abdullah and the former head of the omnipotent intelligence services. Lyrics include "I dream of seizing my rights," over a montage of political cartoons featuring greedy officials taking cash and snapshots from the almost-weekly anti-government protests. One features a child holding up a sign reading: "Be warned about my hunger and my anger."

October 8, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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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.

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