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

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

SIZING UP SYRIA

*Pan-Arab news website Elaph.com reports witnesses in Daraa as saying that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are part of the 5,000-strong troop contingent surrounding the southern Syrian city. There are also reports of "Hezbollah elements' in both Daraa and the northern city of Aleppo. The government, meanwhile, has imposed a media blackout across Syria, and journalists are relying on social-networking sites to pass on information from witnesses on the ground.

*The Facebook group "Revolution against Bashar al-Assad" posted an "urgent" message asking Syrians to contribute carpets and mats for the "large numbers of people at sit-ins."

*Singer Samih Shafiq performs a new song called "O, injustice" about the "martyrs' who were killed in Daraa. "They used live bullets against us," he sings, with pictures from protests in Daraa over the music. "This proves the crimes of the government," wrote one commenter.

EYEING EGYPT

*The BBC Arabic reports that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is under house arrest. His family is also living under house arrest somewhere in Egypt, the ruling military leadership said in a statement, denying reports that the Mubaraks had fled to Saudi Arabia.

*Egypt's military announced that Parliamentary elections will be held in September. Following the announcement, rumors started flying that the presidential elections would be postponed. Notice number 28 by the military leadership, posted on its Facebook page, says that presidential elections will not in fact be postponed.

LATEST ON LIBYA

Libyan rebels are slowing advancing on Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, where AFP reports "they seem to face less resistance from Gaddafi's forces."

March 28, 2011


photo credit: illustir

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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