Archive for ‘World Affairs’

2011/03/12

NUKE MELT DOWN!!!!!!

FOLLOW REPORTS OF THE NUCLEAR MELTDOWN HERE, HERE AND HERE.

2011/03/04

Analyst: Saudi Arabia Is Not Immune – Regime Will Collapse Also, And Fast

Fadel Gheit, a managing director at Oppenheimer & Co., explains why he believes that Saudi Arabia is not immune from the revolutionary forces sweeping the Arab world and points to rumors of a “massive demonstration in in major cities of Saudi Arabia” on March 11th.


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2011/03/04

Gaddafi Has Mariah Carey ‘Embarrassed’

Now that revelations about the multi-million dollar paychecks the A-list celebrities were cashing from Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s kids, publicists are working overtime.

Mariah Carey turns 41 this month but still hopes to play the bimbo card of 20 years – and 60 pounds – ago.

“I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for,” Carey said in a statement undoubtedly written by one of many celebrity publicists that were working overtime this week. “I feel horrible and embarrassed to have participated in this mess.”

Beyoncé is likewise playing us for fools when she blames “a third-party promoter” for booking her for the 5-song, $2 million New Years gig with the Gaddafis.

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2011/03/04

Gaddafi Jr.: Bombs Are ‘Just To Frighten’


In an interview with Sky News, Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi’s son, Saif, said that Libyan Air Force bombing runs conducted against civilians in Brega weren’t intended to cause any injuries.

“The bombs [are] just to frighten them to go away. Not to kill them,” he told Sky News.

The younger Gaddafi said western media reports and videos had created a “big misunderstanding.”

2011/03/04

US To Begin Airlifting Libya’s Refugees


US President Barack Obama today ordered military airlifts to transport refugees, mostly from Egypt, who have massed across the Libyan border in Tunisia. The president also ordered the US Agency for International Development to charter civilian planes to transport refugees from several countries.

“There is a danger of a stalemate that over time could be bloody,” Obama said today. “And that is something that we’re obviously considering. So what I want to make sure of is, is that the United States has full capacity to act – potentially rapidly – if the situation deteriorates in such a way that you had a humanitarian crisis.”

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2011/03/03

Analysis: Revolutions, Regime Change, and State Collapse in the Arab World

[Ed. Note: The commentary below, abridged from the original available at the Carnegie Middle East Center, provides an important overview of events unfolding throughout the Middle East and North Africa and should serve to temper those swept up in the emotional exuberance of the Arab Awakening and its potential to reorder the lives of millions. The link to the full article is available at the end.]

Of Revolutions, Regime Change, and State Collapse in the Arab World by Marina Ottaway and David Ottaway

With breathtaking speed, massive popular protests across the Arab world have swept away two Arab strongmen and shaken half a dozen monarchies and republics to their core. But the Arab world has yet to witness any fundamental change in ruling elites and even less in the nature of governance.

Libya now seems poised to be the first country to see a true change in governance, thanks to Muammar Qaddafi’s megalomania and his amorphous jamahiriya (state of the masses). But such change may not have a happy ending. The damage Gaddafi has inflicted on his country is likely to extend well past his demise because he leaves behind a weak state without functioning institutions.

The uprisings sweeping across the Middle East have similar causes and share certain conditions: authoritarian and ossified regimes, economic hardship, and a growing contrast between great wealth and dire poverty, all worsened by the extraordinarily large number of young people who demand a better future. But the consequences will not be the same everywhere.

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2011/03/03

Three Dutch Marines Captured In Libya

[Ed. Note: An update to this post has been added to the end and can be seen after the jump.]

Three Dutch marines are being held by authorities in Libya after they were captured by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi while trying to rescue Dutch workers, a Defense Ministry spokesman said today.

The three, crew members of a Dutch naval helicopter from the HMS Tromp, were “surrounded by armed Libyan forces late on Sunday afternoon” after landing near the Gaddafi hometown of Sirte. The Tromp has been anchored off Libya’s coast to assist with evacuations from the conflict torn country, spokesman Otto Beeksma told the Associated Press.

Asked if the Dutch government considered the marines hostages, Beeksma said, “they are being held by Libyan authorities.”

Government officials had kept word of the capture a secret until the Dutch daily De Telegraaf broke the story.

“These are situations that benefit from total secrecy because then you can carry out discussions in peace to ensure these people get home safely,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

The Netherlands is now engaged in “intensive negotiations” with Gaddafi’s government to secure the marines’ release, Beeksma said.

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2011/03/03

Rebels Repel Pro-Gaddafi Forces In Brega

On TV, Gaddafi Threatens “Bath of Blood”


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In the fierce day-long battle, Libyan rebels were able to repel an aggressive attack launched by Libyan Army forces backed by artillery and war planes against Brega, an oil-refining town approximately 500 miles east of Tripoli.

At least six were confirmed dead with that number expected to rise, according to witnesses cited by the New York Times.

During the day, Muammar Gaddafi made another appearance on state TV. The embattled dictator said that he would “fight until the last man and woman” and warned of “baths of blood” if Western forces intervened.

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2011/03/03

Libya’s Systematic Torture Revealed

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2011/03/02

Shared Bonds Boost Anti-Gaddafi Forces

The people of Libya are closer than ever to freedom from the 42-year-long rule of the world’s longest serving leader in the Arab world, Muammar Gaddafi. Though notorious for severely repressing opposition movements, Libyans no longer fear their government and are now closer than ever to changing it. The Libyan people’s direct confrontation with the Gaddafi dictatorship highlights the many factors that have brought them closer than ever to their long-awaited goal.

One of the main contributors to unrest in the country lies in Libya’s economic sector. Libya is one of the richest Arab nations in terms of its natural resources particularly oil. The country exports approximately 1.5 million barrels per day, yet approximately one-third of Libyans live at or below the poverty line.

Aside from facing economic challenges, Libya also enjoys the unique position of being “sandwiched” between the Arab world’s two successful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. This provides not only inspiration but also logistical support to popular revolt in Libya. It is therefore no surprise that the Libyan revolution began and has been most robust in the easternmost part of the country where people enjoy close relationships with their Egyptian neighbors.

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2011/03/02

Pentagon Shoots Down No-Fly Zone Talk


US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates played down the possibility of American military intervention in Libya yesterday, saying now was not the time for the United States to be entering into another war in the Middle East and that there was no agreement within NATO about the use of force in the north African country.

Both Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen distanced themselves from comments made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday and Tuesday that imposing a no-fly zone over Libya was under “active consideration.”

Gates told reporters that the United States needs to think “frankly” about “the use of the US military in another country in the Middle East.”

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2011/03/02

Israel Allowing Gazans To Sell Tomatoes – Issues Worldwide Press Release


Israel today issued a press release to announce it was “answering Western demands” when it “further eased its blockade” of the people of Gaza today by permitting “a truckload of cherry tomatoes destined for Europe.”

The press release provided details of the truck’s route through a main crossing as well as an Israeli Defense Ministry statement explaining how the shipment would go with other the produce to Europe.

Since 2007, 184 truckloads of strawberries, carnations and peppers have been exported via Israel to Europe, the Israeli press release said.

Human rights groups say the embargo has worsened economic conditions for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza. The United Nations World Food Program estimates 80% of Gaza’s people live in poverty.

Israeli settler groups expressed outrage at the tomato truck, describing it as Israeli “economic aid to the Gaza Strip.”

2011/03/01

Removing Gaddafi From Libyan Capital ‘Could Go On A Long Time’

While the regime of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi may be greatly weakened, he retains enough support among critical tribes and institutions, including parts of the Libyan military, to retain power in the capital, Tripoli, for some time to come, according to experts cited by the New York Times.

They caution that while the situation on the ground is still fluid, tribal loyalties remain an important indicator, and that there is no clear geographical dividing line between the opponents to Gaddafi and his supporters.

They suggest that eastern Libya, now under rebel control, was always the most rebellious part of the country and had been starved of funds and equipment by the regime. The region, known as Cyrenaica, was an Italian colony and the heartland of the Senussi tribe that produced the monarch, King Idris I, who was overthrown by Colonel Gaddafi and his army colleagues in 1969.

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2011/03/01

US Pulling Out Of “Vital” Afghan Valley


In a major strategic reversal, the US military has begun withdrawing most of its forces from eastern Afghanistan’s Pech Valley – territory once described as “vital” to the campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

The withdrawal began two weeks ago. Afghan units will remain in the valley, a test of their military readiness.

While American officials say the withdrawal matches the latest counter-insurgency doctrine’s emphasis on protecting Afghan civilians, Afghan officials worry that the shift of troops amounts to an abandonment of territory in an area that Afghans are not ready to defend on their own.

The reorganization follows the complete Afghan and American withdrawals from isolated outposts in nearby Nuristan Province and the Korangal Valley and is likely to be used by the Taliban to claim success.

It also raises more questions about the alternating strategies that are guiding the war.

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2011/03/01

Yemen Cleric: ‘An Islamic State Is Coming’

In Yemen today, thousands continued to demonstrate throughout the country, one day after opposition groups rejected President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s offer to form a unity government. Demonstrators and opposition groups are calling for an immediate end to Saleh’s three-decade rule.

Tens of thousands filling Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, chanted “the people want the downfall of the regime.” Other cities, including Ibb and Taiz, also reported demonstrators numbering in the tens of thousands.

Saleh lashed out at the United States today, accusing it of instigating protests and coordinating with opposition groups and complained of Washington’s pressure on Arab leaders to respond to protesters with restraint.

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2011/03/01

Proof: Why Gaddafi Is Blaming Al-Qaeda

2011/03/01

Iran: Report Of Mousavi, Karroubi Arrests


Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and their wives, have reportedly been taken from their homes by security forces, according to the BBC.

Karroubi’s son told BBC he was told his father had been moved. A website tied to Mousavi is claiming the men have been taken to Heshmatiyeh jail in Tehran.

Iranian government officials denied the report, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

The arrests, if confirmed, come ahead of planned protests that are due to be held on tomorrow.

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2011/02/28

Muammar Gaddafi – Zenga-Zenga Remix

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