Archive for June 15, 2012

Sep 7, 2011

Paris – Libya’s transitional authorities plan to disarm the rebels who toppled Moamer Gaddafi’s regime by buying back their weapons and inviting them to join the national army, the National Transitional Council’s envoy to Paris, Mansour Saif al-Nasr, said Wednesday.

Libya is awash with weapons, including large amounts of shoulder-fired aircraft missiles snatched from the regime’s stockpiles over the course of the six-month civil war.

Some such missiles have reportedly found their way across the border into Mali, raising fears among neighboring states and Western governments that they could fall into the hands of the Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorist group. AQIM has bases in northern Mali.

‘Once security is established, we will recover all the weapons,’ Al-Nasr told the German Press Agency dpa, saying there was ‘a plan to buy back the arms.’

Already, a commission in Tripoli is registering weapons and issuing the bearers with permits, he said.

For those young fighters who were loathe to disarm, ‘we will offer to them to join the army,’ he said.

The NTC’s first priority however is to convince remaining pockets of Gaddafi loyalists in the towns of Bani Walid, Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte and the southern town of Sebha to surrender.

The whereabouts of the fugitive strongman himself is unknown.

A military spokesman for the rebels said he was ‘trapped in a 60-kilometre radius area surrounded by forces of the (rebels’) Transitional National Council.’

Al-Nasr would not be drawn on his whereabouts but said he believed he was still in Libya.

NTC leaders Mustafa Abdul Jalil and Mahmoud Jibril would move to Tripoli ‘in the coming days, maybe even this week,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the NTC would demand from Niger that it confiscate and hand over assets siphoned away by fleeing regime members, he said.

Al-Nasr reiterated claims that large sums of cash and gold had been ‘stolen’ from the Central Bank in Tripoli and in Sirte, possibly by regime members that fled to Niger in recent days.

Libya’s neighbor to the south has admitted that Abdullah Mansoor, said to be Gaddafi’s internal security chief and Mansour Daw, a senior army member, are both in Niger. Reports of a convoy of as many as 200 vehicles arriving from Libya Monday have yet to be confirmed.

Al-Nasr said Niger had given assurances that ‘all those who arrive in Niger will be disarmed and placed under surveillance so that they do nothing to disrupt the revolution.

Niger had also assured that any regime members sought by the International Criminal Court would be dealt with ‘according to the conventions in place,’ he said. Niger is a signatory to the treaty that established the ICC.

Source: Monsters and Critics.

Tue Sep 6, 2011

An Afghan governor and his three guards have been killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar.

The incident took place on Tuesday when Asil Khan Khogyani, the governor of Sherzad district, was heading to work, AFP reported.

“Asil Khan was killed in a roadside bomb attack. Three of his guards, one of them also driving the car, were also killed,” said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the provincial administration spokesman.

Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assault.

“In a bomb attack, the Sherzad district governor was murdered today,” said Zabihullah Mujahed, the spokesman for the militant group.

Another roadside bombing attack on Tuesday left at least five Afghan National Army soldiers dead and wounded several others in the northwestern province of Badghis.

No group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on soldiers.

The roadside bombs or the improvised explosive devices are Taliban’s weapons of choice against US-led foreign troops, Afghan government officials as well as civilians.

Source: PressTV.

Wed Sep 7, 2011

Anti-government protesters have once again taken to the streets in Bahrain, demanding the downfall of the repressive Al Khalifa regime.

Chanting anti-regime slogans, protesters held a protest rally in Sanabis, a suburb of the capital city Manama, and called for the release of prisoners detained by the Saudi-backed forces of the despotic regime.

Protests against Manama rulers have flared up in different parts of the tiny Persian Gulf sheikhdom despite the persisting brutal crackdown by the regime’s Saudi-backed forces.

Earlier this week, government forces attacked several peaceful rallies.

Demonstrations intensified following the killing of 14-year-old Ali Jawad during an anti-government protest rally following Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, last Wednesday.

He was killed when a tear-gas canister fired by regime forces hit him in the head.

His family is planning to file a lawsuit against the Al Khalifa regime at an international court.

Meanwhile, over 200 Bahrainis imprisoned for participating in anti-government protests have gone on a hunger strike.

Last week, a number of doctors and nurses arrested for treating injured anti-government demonstrators went on hunger strike to protest their prosecution by a military tribunal.

Some of the doctors and nurses are reported to be in critical condition due to long detentions and harsh treatment by the Al Khalifa forces and have been hospitalized.

In February, massive protests broke out in Bahrain, with people taking to the streets and calling for a constitutional monarchy — a demand that later turned into calls for the ouster of the monarchy.

In mid-March, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates deployed military forces to Bahrain to assist the Bahraini government in its crackdown on the popular protests.

Scores of protesters have been killed — many under torture — and numerous others have been detained and transferred to unknown locations during the regime’s crackdown.

Source: PressTV.

Subulussalam, Indonesia (AFP)
Sept 6, 2011

Three people were killed Tuesday when a 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia’s Sumatra island, officials said.

The quake struck deep underground shortly after midnight around 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra, the US Geological Survey said.

Falling debris killed a 10-year-old boy as he slept in his home in Subulussalam, Aceh province, a doctor said.

“The boy was sleeping next to his mother when a wall collapsed and bricks fell onto his stomach, crushing him. His mother brought him to us but we couldn’t save him in time,” the doctor, named Hasbi, said.

Two other people were killed in separate incidents, the National Disaster Management Agency said.

Panicked residents rushed out of their homes, many crying and screaming for help, as the quake shook the area for around two minutes, according to an AFP correspondent.

“That was the strongest quake I’d ever felt. I thought the end of the world was here,” 42-year-old farmer Abdul Kader Angkat said.

The jolt was also felt by residents in the cities of Banda Aceh and Medan, officials said.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the quake was too far inland to generate a tsunami.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where the collision of continental plates causes high seismic activity.

Aceh was devastated when a 9.1-magnitude quake off Sumatra in December 2004 triggered a huge tsunami that killed more than 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean.

Source: Terra Daily.

By Kaouther Larbi – DJERBA, Tunisia

Among the tens of thousands of Libyans who have taken refuge in neighboring Tunisia in the past six months to wait out the worst back home, the richest are saving the tourist haven of Djerba.

The usual bookings from Europe to this island resort known for stunning beaches and sunsets dropped off after Tunisia’s own uprising in January. That revolt not only led to the collapse of president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s dictatorship but touched off the “Arab Spring” movement against repressive regimes, which hit Libya in February.

Now, the Libyans have made up for the loss of Europeans and other Westerners, according to local entrepreneurs.

“The misfortune of some brings good luck to others,” quipped taxi driver Jamel.

Though 2011 has already been declared the worst year yet for Tunisian tourism — a sector that accounts for seven percent of the gross domestic product and employs 400,000 people in this North African state — Djerba has been rescued by wealthy refugees.

Several thousand Libyan refugees have settled on this island of 139,000 residents right off Tunisia’s coast, waiting for the complete fall of Moamer Gathafi’s regime and greater stability before they decide to return under the new rebel leadership in Tripoli.

Big cars with Libyan license plates fill many of the parking places. Their owners bide time in the restaurants, cafes, shops and apartments for rent close to the sea.

“Without them, my income would have been close to nothing,” acknowledged Cherif, 39, a grocer in Midoun.

“Since the uprising against the Libyan regime, we have recorded a turnover of 100,000 dinars (51,000 euros / 72,000 dollars) per day, which is an increase of 10 percent over the year 2010,” said Adel Khlifi, the deputy director of a large supermarket at Houmet Souk, the main town on the island.

Khlifi said that the Libyans are “very good clients” who buy a lot of food products. “The cost of their purchases are more than 120 dinars by day,” Khlifi added.

“It’s true that we miss the foreign currency income (brought in by European tourists), but we cannot deny that we have been saved by our Libyan brothers,” said Salem, 49, who runs a restaurant in Djerba’s tourist zone and has for the past two months served meals to about 50 Libyans a day.

“At least we are not going bust this year,” added Mohamed, a manager in a trendy cafe in Midoun.

Legend holds that Djerba, ironically, was the land of the Lotus Eaters described in Homer’s Greek epic “The Odyssey”, where eating the local fruit made Ulysses’ men not care about returning home.

While the Libyans are unlikely to forget their own homecoming, Mohamed and others dependent on the tourist trade try to make their stay a bit easier.

“Spoil them as they deserve,” he urged his waiters on a recent evening as he welcomed the first customers with a big smile.

“They’re a long way from home, their country is at war. They need us to boost their morale. They certainly deserve that in light of what they spend,” Mohamed said.

In some hotels, a special price for Libyans has been posted up in the reception, no higher than 60 dinars (about 30 euros, 42 dollars) including full board.

“This is a symbolic price for these people who are living in a difficult situation. We must help them during this period,” said Adbelwahab Majoul, the manager of a four-star hotel.

The Libyan VIPs stay in five-star hotels, which have kept their high prices. These palatial buildings in recent months took in officials of the Gathafi regime and representatives of the Libyan rebels for secret talks.

However, not all agree with Mohamed and the presence of the Libyans has upset some Djerba residents, who are waiting impatiently for their guests from across the border to leave.

“Since the Libyans arrived, the price of vegetables and fruit has almost doubled,” complained Ali, a civil servant. “You can queue for an hour to buy water and milk, since there are so many Libyans in our shops.”

Source: Middle East Online.

Sep 07,2011

AMMAN (JT) – Jordan will reopen its embassy in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, within the few coming days, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Kayed said on Tuesday.

Jordan’s mission to the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) will soon relocate from Benghazi to the premises of the Jordanian embassy in Tripoli, according to Kayed.

“The decision to reopen our embassy in the Libyan capital was taken in light of the improvement of situations on the ground,” Kayed told The Jordan Times yesterday.

He added that the embassy was closed and the staff was brought back to Amman in April due to the fighting and violence that had erupted.

According to the spokesperson, around 9,000 Jordanians used to reside in Libya before the revolution started, adding that after the missions left the Libya territories, many Jordanians left Libya by different means of transportation.

“We believe that no more than 2,000 Jordanians are still living in Libya. Hopefully, the embassy will communicate with the Jordanian citizens once it resumes its services and we will be able to accurately identify the number of our citizens there,” he added.

The reopening of the Jordanian embassy in Tripoli also reconfirms Jordan’s recognition of the NTC of Libya as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted the official as saying.

Jordan recognized the council in May. It also presented humanitarian and logistic assistance to Libya within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

In an international conference on Libya held in Paris last week, His Majesty King Abdullah voiced Jordan’s readiness to contribute to the reconstruction of Libya and maintaining its stability, including providing it with military and police training as well as capacity building in the educational, judicial, medical and construction fields.

Source: The Jordan Times.

By Dylan Stableford | The Lookout
(June 14th 2012, Thursday)

Egypt’s high court ordered the entire Egyptian parliament dissolved on Thursday, saying the January elections held there were unconstitutional.

The constitutional court in Cairo declared that one-third of the lower house of parliament was elected unconstitutionally, according to the Washington Post.

“The makeup of the entire chamber is illegal and, consequently, it does not legally stand,” the court said.

The high court also ruled that Ahmed Shafiq, an ally and former prime minister to ousted president Hosni Mubarak, can run for president against Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood candidate.

The rulings—both of which favor Mubarak supporters—were met with an immediate outcry from protesters, who clashed with police outside the courthouse.

Egypt’s historic presidential election—the first since Mubarak’s ouster—begins Saturday.

“Both decisions empower the Mubarak status quo,” Omar Ashour, director of Middle East studies at Exeter University, told the Post, “which is no surprise, as the judges of the court were appointed by the latter, and represent a part of the so-called ‘deep-state.'”

Islamists secured a majority of seats in the lower house of parliament in the Jan. 7 elections.

Mubarak stepped down in February 2011 following more than two weeks of anti-government demonstrations—part of the so-called Arab spring.