Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saudi Arabia admits killing Khashoggi, Turks will reveal the ''real'' truth

Saudi Arabia has admitted to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.Khashoggi, a Saudi writer and dissident, entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He never came out.
After two weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom admitted on Saturday that the dissident journalist died in a "fist-fight" inside the consulate but made no mention of where his body is.
 Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said Khashoggi died after "discussions" at the consulate devolved into an altercation.
"Discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him … at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fist fight with the citizen, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death, may his soul rest in peace," the attorney general said in a statement.The investigations are still under way and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested."Royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Asiri were fired from their positions, the statement said.
Turkey will uncover the full details of Khashoggi's killing using all possible means, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said.Turkey will reveal whatever happened. Nobody should ever doubt it," spokesperson Omer Celik was quoted as saying by Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.
"We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don't accept anything remaining covered [up]," Celik added.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

After 70 Years of Abuse, a Definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism

Is this where the fight-back begins?
 (earlier published in Dissent Voice )

What is the matter with the Palestine solidarity movement? Since 1948 (and before that, even) the Palestinians have been viciously abused and dispossessed while the perpetrators and their supporters have continually played the anti-Semitism card.
Bemused spectators have been bored witless by the long and ludicrous propaganda campaign to vilify Jeremy Corbyn, bully the Labour Party into accepting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism as a cornerstone in their code of conduct and stifle discussion of Israel’s crimes against  the Palestinian people. The expected riposte never came.

Anti-Palestinian Racism
Now Jewish Voice For Labour, of all people, have struck back with a useful looking definition of Anti-Palestinian Racism which they decribe as “hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians”. In a document faintly mocking the pronouncements on anti-Semitism they suggest that manifestations of anti-Palestinian racism might include the denial of Palestinian rights to a state of Palestine as recognised by over 130 member countries of the United Nations and blaming Palestinians for their own plight under brutal military occupation and lock-down. Here’s how they put it:
Contemporary examples of anti-Palestinian racism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Nikki Haley quits post at UN

(Photo AP)

US President Donald Trump has accepted Nikki Haley's resignation as US ambassador to the United Nations, saying she would be leaving his administration at the end of the year.
In the White House's Oval Office on Tuesday, Trump called the ambassador a "very special" person "who gets it", adding that she told him six months ago that she might want to take some time off.
Trump said that together they "solved a lot of problems".
Haley, 46, said she had no immediate plans, and denied she would be running for president in 2020.
Trump said on Tuesday that she could have her "pick" of posts if she ever decided to come back to the administration.
Before she was named by Trump to her UN post, Haley was governor of South Carolina, the first woman to hold the post. She was re-elected in 2014.The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley clashed with then-candidate Trump during the 2016 campaign. Trump picked her nevertheless.
During her time as the UN ambassador, Haley was outspoken on several issues.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Israel will deliver first gas to Egypt in March

Egypt will begin importing natural gas from Israel under a $15 billion deal as early as March if an undersea pipeline connecting the Mediterranean neighbors is found to be in good condition, moving the country closer to its goal of becoming an energy-exporting hub.
Mohammed Shoeib, chief executive officer of East Gas Co., a major Egyptian partner in the pipeline, said supplies would begin at 100 million standard cubic feet of gas per day in the first quarter of 2019 and gradually rise to a maximum of 700 million scf a day.
“We expect the pipeline is in good condition,” he told Bloomberg in an interview. “We aim to reach the pipeline’s full capacity or maximum flow rate within three years.”
East Gas and the companies developing Israel’s largest natural gas fields agreed last month to buy 39 percent of the East Mediterranean Gas Co., which owns the pipeline connecting southern Israel to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, clearing the main legal obstacle to the 10-year export contract signed in February. East Gas separately made a deal to buy a further 9 percent from MGPC.The EMG pipeline was originally built to export Egyptian gas to Israel, but has been idle for about six years.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Kavanaugh sworn in at the US Supreme Court

Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in as the 114th US Supreme Court justice after the Senate narrowly voted to confirm him. 
The confirmation on Saturday ended a bitter battle between Republicans and Democrats during a confirmation process that transfixed the nation following allegations of sexual misconduct against the nominee, which he has denied. 
Senators voted 50-48 in favour of Kavanaugh, Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Montana opposed the nomination, but voted "present" out of courtesy for fellow Montana Senator Steven Daines who was out of town for his daughter's wedding. He was in favour of Kavanaugh.
The confirmation is seen as a clear win for President Donald Trump in his efforts to further push the court to the right.

Turkey thinks Khashoggi has been murdered

Turkish authorities believe that prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared four days ago after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, has been killed.
"The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate," a Turkish official told Reuters news agency on Saturday.
The suspected assassination of the leading critic of the Saudi regime came four days after he entered the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Istanbul, said there has not been any disclosure of the whereabouts his body.
"However, we have heard a funeral will take place in the coming two or three days," he said before adding that it was unknown if Khashoggi's body will be present at the funeral.
 Earlier on Saturday, sources told Al Jazeera that a delegation of 15 Saudi officials arrived in Turkey the day Khashoggi, 59, disappeared.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Erdogan: ''Turkey will not leave Syria until elections are held''

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country will not leave Syria until a general election is held in the war-torn Middle-Eastern nation.
"Whenever the Syrian people hold an election, we will leave Syria to its owners," Erdogan said at the TRT World forum in Istanbul on Thursday.
Turkey sent troops to Syria in August 2016 to clear a border area of fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also referred to as ISIS).
It launched another operation earlier this year in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin to remove Kurdish fighters affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Erdogan agreed with President Vladimir Putin of Russia last month to establish a "demilitarised zone" between rebel and government fighters in northern Syria.
The zone, which will have a depth of 15 to 20km will see groups deemed radical by Moscow withdraw from the area by October 15.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Two years for Egyptian woman who published video of her sexual harassment

Amal Fathy and her husband who was banned from the trial. (Photo Guardian)

An Egyptian woman who made a video alleging sexual harassment has been given two years in prison and a fine on charges of “spreading false news”.
Amal Fathy, an actor and a former activist, uploaded a video to her Facebook account in May detailing how she was sexually harassed during a visit to her bank and criticising the government’s failure to protect women.
Two days after the post, Egyptian security forces entered her home in a pre-dawn raid and arrested her along with her husband and young son, both of whom were later released.
Fathy was subsequently put on trial accused of spreading false news with intent to harm the Egyptian state and possessing “indecent material”. She was sentenced to one year in prison for each charge, and given a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds (£430) for making “public insults”.
In a second trial that is under way, she faces allegations that include being a member of a terrorist organisation.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Russia has started delivering S-300 missiles to Syria

Russia has started delivering S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syrian forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations (UN) on Friday that "the delivery started already" after a decision was reached following downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft which was hit by a Syrian missile.
Moscow said Israel was culpable as the Il-20 was caught in the crossfire as four Israeli fighter jets attacked targets in northwestern Syria.The Israeli military said that Syria's indiscriminate air defence fire was the cause of the incident.
"As President [Vladimir] Putin said, after that incident ... the measures that we will take will be devoted to ensuring 100 percent safety and security of our men," said Lavrov.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Electoral farce in Egypt

On March 26 and 28 Egyptians will be called to the polls to choose the President of the Republic. If we had to describe in one word a process which can hardly be termed “electoral,” the word that comes immediately to mind is “farce,” a theatrical performance mingling ridicule and hypocrisy. The stage has been carefully cleared of all the actors who might overshadow the star, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, candidate for his own succession.
Thus countless politicians have been disqualified on the most far-fetched pretexts. And, first of all, there was former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik who scored 48% in the 2012 presidential run-off—the only democratic election the country has ever known—against Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood. Having declared his candidacy in Abu Dhabi where he had taken refuge, he was bundled into a plane for Cairo, where it took several weeks of “friendly persuasion” to make him withdraw.
At the beginning of January, the former chief of staff (2005-2012) Sami Anan declared his intention to run. It wasn’t a good idea: he was arrested and jailed, in spite of an unwritten law that former generals never go to prison. Colonel Ahmed Konsawa was also sentenced to five years in prison by a military court for having dared to put forward his candidacy. Under these conditions the last remaining hopefuls, Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat —the former president’s nephew, who was not even allowed to hold a press conference—and Khaled Ali, a left-wing lawyer, withdrew from what is obviously a rigged election.
The second act of this farce took place a few days before the close of nominations. (Read on on the original site of this post)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Presidential candidate in Egypt in prison, deputy attacked

Hisham Geneina 
Egypt's former top auditor and a leading member of an opposition campaign against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was seriously injured during a suspected kidnapping attempt, lawyers said. 
Ali Taha and Tareq el-Awady, lawyers of Hisham Geneina, told the Associated Press that three men with knives jumped out of two cars that blocked the path of Genena's car outside his suburban Cairo home on Saturday. 
The men attempted to force Geneina into their car, but were stopped by passers-by and a fight ensued, in which Geneina suffered injuries to his face and leg. 
Photos circulating on social media showed an injured Geneina. A security official told al-Shorouk newspaper, however, that Geneina was injured after a fight followed a vehicle accident. 
Geneina had been tapped earlier this month to be a deputy to Sami Anan, the former head of Egypt's armed forces, who initially said he would run in March's presidential election.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sentence Bahraini human rights activits Nabeel Rajab widely condemned

Nabeel Rajab
Human rights groups have roundly condemned a ruling by a Bahraini court to affirm a two-year jail sentence for activist Nabeel Rajab, saying the verdict "illustrates the corruption" of the kingdom's justice system.
Rajab had been found guilty in July of "spreading rumours and untruthful information" against the government in TV interviews. The verdict was upheld in November, following a legal challenge by Rajab. On Monday, an appeals court affirmed the lower court verdict, in a decision that was final. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) on Tuesday urged the Bahraini government to immediately release Rajab, saying he is a political prisoner who had "done nothing"."Nabeel is not only a human rights defender but also a man of intellectual value. He should not be in jail," Dimitris Christopoulos, president of the Paris-based group, told Al Jazeera.