A R A B I C A ارابيكا
FROM THE BATTLEFIELD
*Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi continued to advance on outgunned rebels, as a possible showdown in Benghazi loomed. Still the anti-regime forces claim to have captured dozens of Gaddafi's forces along with seven tanks still in working condition during Tuesday's battles, showing off video they say show seized tanks here. A local doctor reported that 60 people were killed in Ajdabiya over the past two days.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
*A link has been making the online Egyptian rounds of a 1995 video of a well-known preacher who died shortly after his final meeting with then-President Hosni Mubarak. Christian and Muslim leaders had gathered to pay tribute to Mubarak, who had recently survived an attempt on his life in Addis Ababa. Al Arabiya reports that Sheikh Mohammed al-Shaarawi tells Mubarak and the entire nation, "If the ruler chooses to be fair, people will love him and will benefit from his fairness. If he chooses to be a tyrant, people will hate him." Rulers do not choose to stay in power, the sheikh says, but rather are chosen by God.
DEMOCRACY DEFICIT 1
*Protests and strikes continued in Oman, where Sultan Qaboos has ruled for more than 40 years. Protesters have said they are not looking to bring down the sultan, but rather are calling for a legislative branch of power and an end to systemic corruption. The sultan has reshuffled his cabinet and announced political reforms, but the protests continue. At the same time, private- and pubic-sector employees, from oil-refinery workers to airline employees, are holding protests to demand better wages. On Wednesday, 500 private security guards blocked the airport road and were only dispersed after the police intervened.
DEMOCRACY DEFICIT 2
* "The Syrian Revolution against Bashar al-Assad 2011" is the Facebook headquarters for Syrians trying to unseat the president. The administrator posted a video of a pro-Bashar rally in the middle of a downtown Damascus street on Wednesday, one day after an anti-government protest broke out in the old city, with the caption "Bashar's thugs are chanting his name and breaking up our protest using violence and intimidation." Regime loyalists shouted, "with our blood and souls, we sacrifice for you, O Bashar," the standard cry of loyalty used around the Arab world...insert local leader's name after the O.
March 16, 2011
photo credit: illustir