Wraak Kadhafi hangt af van verouderd leger

TRIPOLI – De Libische leider Muammar Kadhafi zweert vergelding voor de internationale aanval op zijn land, die zaterdag is begonnen. In een televisietoespraak zaterdagavond laat dreigde hij met aanvallen op militaire en burgerdoelen in landen rond de Middellandse Zee. Zijn strijdkrachten zouden die wraak waarschijnlijk moeten toebrengen, maar hun kracht is onbekend.

Door internationale sancties heeft Kadhafi zijn strijdkrachten tientallen jaren lang niet op peil kunnen houden. Veel materiaal is verouderd en tijdens de opstand zijn militairen met wapens en al overgelopen naar de rebellen.

Een officieel leger heeft Kadhafi niet meer. Na couppogingen besloot hij de strijdkrachten op te heffen. Ideologische organisaties zoals de Revolutionaire Comités, de Revolutionaire en Republikeinse Garde en de Veiligheidsbrigades zijn sindsdien verantwoordelijk voor de veiligheid en verdediging van het land. Voor de opstand had Kadhafi ongeveer 100.000 militairen, ongeveer achthonderd tanks, enkele duizenden pantservoertuigen en meer dan vierhonderd luchtdoelraketten. Ook maakt hij gebruik van huurlingen.

Kadhafi had ooit de beschikking over massavernietigingswapens. Rond 2004 heeft de leider zijn voorraad chemische wapens grotendeels vernietigd, aldus de internationale Organisatie voor het Verbod op Chemische Wapens (OPCW). In die periode zocht hij toenadering tot het Westen. Kadhafi zou nog 9,5 ton mosterdgas bezitten, maar geen middelen hebben om die te gebruiken in de strijd.

Het succes van Kadhafi in de strijd tegen de opstand komt mede door de luchtmacht. Die drong de rebellen met bombardementen terug uit bolwerken als Ras Lanuf, Ajdabiyah en Brega. Kadhafi heeft naar schatting honderden gevechtsvliegtuigen, surveillancetoestellen, bommenwerpers, helikopters en transportvliegtuigen. Die zijn vooral van Russische makelij. Hoeveel vliegtuigen hij daadwerkelijk kan inzetten, is niet bekend.

(www.parool.nl / 19.03.2011)

Is Nederland klaar om in te burgeren ?

Volgens de overheid moeten immigranten die langdurig in Nederland komen wonen, de Nederlandse taal spreken en de Nederlandse samenleving kennen. Hiervoor worden door de gemeenten de inburgeraars actief opgezocht in de wijken en op het werk, waarna ze een inburgeringscursus aangeboden krijgen die passen bij hun mogelijkheden.

Maar is Nederland wel klaar om in te burgeren? Gaat het allemaal wel zo als de wet dit heeft vastgelegd in de Wet Inburgering van 2006?

Laten we de zaken eens op een rijtje zetten. Mevr. Verdonk heeft op 30 november 2006 een Wet Inburgering, houdende regels inzake inburgering in de Nederlandse samenleving, publiekelijk gemaakt. In deze wet wordt aangegeven dat de inburgeringsplichtige mondelinge en schriftelijke vaardigheden in de Nederlandse taal verwerft en tevens kennis van de Nederlandse samenleving en dit binnen drieeneenhalf jaar.  In deze wet worden al een aantal belangrijke zaken genoemd, nl. inburgering, inburgeringsplichtige, vaardigheden en kennis. Op de website van de overheid wordt gesproken over immigranten die hier langdurig komen wonen, echter waar het meestal over gaat, zijn mensen van niet-westerse afkomst die hier mee te maken hebben.

Een immigrant die naar Nederland komt, moet in het thuisland (lees: land van herkomst) basiskennis van de Nederlandse taal en samenleving hebben opgedaan, vóór dat men naar Nederland komt. Hiervoor moet men het basisexamen inburgering hebben gedaan met goed gevolg. Hier zit voor de immigrant al een probleem: waar kan men de kennis opdoen (school) of waar haalt men de kennis van wat men moet doen (documenten)? Uit een gesprek met een dame uit Marokko is naar voren gekomen, dat dit niet echt makkelijk is en zeker niet met positief gevolg afgelegd kan worden, indien men geen actieve hulp krijgt uit Nederland, direct en via het internet. Indien het examen met positief resultaat is afgelegd, kan men verwachten dat men toestemming krijgt van de Nederlandse overheid en dat men naar Nederland mag.

In Nederland aangekomen, moet men zich houden aan de regels van de IND en zich melden binnen een aantal dagen na aankomst. In die dagen heeft men het hoofd niet bij inburgeren, maar hier zit dus de bekende adder onder het gras. Als men naar Nederland komt, is men verplicht om ‘weer’ een inburgeringcursus te volgen. Het kabinet heeft aangegeven dat meer immigranten moeten inburgeren én beter inburgeren. Inburgeren volgens het kabinet houdt hier in, dat de inburgeraar de Nederlandse taal leren en kennis nemen van de Nederlandse maatschappij. Belangrijk hierbij zijn twee dingen: het is een verplichting voor nieuwkomers en het examen moet binnen drieënhalfjaar met goed resultaat zijn afgelegd.

Dit laatste is niet algemeen bekend of (meestal) helemaal niet bekend. Bij navraag van de dame boven in dit verhaal, bleek dat het helemaal niet bekend was. Dan maar eens de gemeente gebeld. Bij navraag bij een gemeente, bleek het inderdaad zo te zijn, dat de immigrant die in Nederland aankomt, verplicht het inburgeringexamen binnen 3,5 jaar met goed gevolg moet afronden, sterker nog: de klok gaat tellen vanaf het moment dat de IND de papieren heeft goedgekeurd voor voorlopig verblijf. Ook dit laatste is algemeen onbekend bij de immigrant, sterker nog: het wordt ook aan niemand vertelt bij binnenkomst. Bij navraag bij een gemeente bleek dat dit bekend is, en dat zelf zo erg was, dat er immigranten bekend waren die nog een half jaar de tijd hadden om het examen te halen, terwijl voor de voorbereiding normaal anderhalf jaar staat. Even weer terug naar de dame in dit verhaal. De dame is in juni 2009 binnengekomen in Nederland en in november heeft een collega van haar de gemeente gebeld over een inburgeringcursus of Nederlands. De betreffende gemeente heeft geen antwoord gegeven, totdat de vrouw toevallig in voorjaar 2010 op gemeentehuis voor wat anders moest zijn en dat ze in gesprek kwam met een ambtenaar over het inburgeren. Die was pas begonnen, heeft de excuses van de gemeente aangeboden en gezorgd dat ze via een bepaald inburgeringbureau aan een cursus kon beginnen, echter dat was pas in najaar 2010. Ondertussen dus ook voor deze inburgeraar anderhalf jaar verloren, wegens het niet werken van de procedures van de gemeente, het onbekend zijn met de regels, omdat IND niets heeft verteld en het feit dat het inburgeringbureau geen docenten kon leveren. En wie is de dupe: de inburgeraar.

Echter, een groter probleem wordt door de meeste instanties over het hoofd gezien en dat is het Nederlands. In de Wet Inburgering staan de rechten en de plichten van de inburgeraar; deze zijn ook te vinden op de site ( http://www.hetbegintmettaal.nl/inburgeraars/wat-is-inburgeren.)  Op deze site staat het volgende te lezen: “Inburgeren is de Nederlandse taal leren begrijpen, spreken, schrijven en lezen én leren hoe we in Nederland wonen en werken. Waar je naartoe moet als je ziek bent bijvoorbeeld. Hoe je een baan kunt vinden. Wat de tradities zijn. En hoe we met elkaar omgaan in Nederland.”

Op het moment dat u de zin doorneemt, staat er geschreven dat inburgeren bestaat uit een deel over de taal (leren begrijpen, spreken, schrijven en lezen) en een deel over de gewoontes in Nederland. Belangrijk is het eerste deel en dat is de taal: hoe spreken we de zinnen uit in Nederland en hoe is de zinsopbouw. En hier draait het dus om; bij navraag bij een enkele gemeente of dit in de inburgeringcursus zit, werd er steevast gezegd, dat het niet zo is. Hoe kan iemand nu zich voorbereiden op het inburgeren als de basisprincipes niet worden uitgelegd?  Hoe kan de regering vragen dat nieuwkomers (maar geldt ook voor een aantal oudkomers) hier integreren en in een cursus gesprekken moeten voeren, zonder uitleg te geven over het Nederlands? Waar blijft de uitleg over de grammatica, zinsopbouw, vervoegingen, rijtjes leren? Is de regering alleen maar uit om zoveel mensen te laten slagen of te laten zakken? Nummertjes trekken?

Maar er gaan nog meer problemen komen: de regering is van plan te gaan bezuinigen op inburgeringcursussen, en wel met flinke bedragen: 2011: 100 miljoen euro minder, in 2012 175 miljoen minder en in 2013 235 miljoen euro. Vanaf 2014 gaat er structureel 333 miljoen euro op inburgering bezuinigd worden. Dit houdt gewoon in, dat nu nog een aantal nieuwkomers een aanbod krijgen van de gemeente, maar na een bepaalde tijd is dit over en moet men zelf gaan betalen. Tevens wil de regering dat gezinsimmigranten (dus de getrouwde vrouw, man of kinderen) die naar Nederland komen, beter voorbereid zijn. Hiervoor worden hogere eisen aan de taalvaardigheid in het buitenland gesteld bij het examen dat afgelegd wordt.

Wederom is hier sprake van: “We leggen wat op, maar we doen er niets aan”. In bepaalde landen zijn geen mogelijkheden voor zo’n cursus en het gaat meestal niet om Nederlands leren, maar hoe zit Nederland in elkaar.

Een advies aan de gemeente en de regering: als mensen moeten inburgeren, probeer dit voor iedereen te laten gelden, maak het mogelijk en begin bij de basis: Nederlands leren.

U.S., allies launch missiles against Gadhafi forces

More than 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from U.S and British ships and submarines, striking more than 20 integrated air defense systems and air defense facilities ashore, a Joint Chiefs of Staff official said Saturday.

The goals of Saturday’s strikes are to prevent further attacks on Libyan citizens and opposition groups and to degrade the capability of Moammar Gadhafi’s forces to resist a no-fly zone, Vice Admiral William E. Gortney Director said.

The strikes were carefully coordinated based on an assessment of whether the targets posed a direct threat to coalition pilots or to the people of Libya, he said.

“This is an international military operation urged by the Libyan and people and other Arab nations,” Gortney said.

“This is just the first phase of what will likely be a multi-phase designed to enforce the U.N. Security Council resolution.”

(news.blogs.cnn.com / 19.03.2011)

U.S. Launches Missile Strikes On Libya

The U.S. military attacked Moammar Gadhafi’s air defenses Saturday with strikes along the Libyan coast that were launched by Navy vessels in the Mediterranean.

A senior military official said the assault would unfold in stages and target air defense installations around Tripoli, the capital, and a coastal area south of Benghazi, the rebel stronghold under attack by Gadhafi’s forces.

Complete details were not immediately available.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive military operations.

Hours after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended an international conference in Paris that endorsed military action against Gadhafi, the U.S. kicked off its attacks on Libyan air defense missile and radar sites along the Mediterranean coast to protect no-fly zone pilots from the threat of getting shot down.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive military operations, said the Obama administration intended to limit its involvement — at least in the initial stages — to helping protect French and other air missions.

At a news conference in Paris, Clinton said Gadhafi had left the world no choice but to intervene urgently and forcefully to protect further loss of civilian life.

“We have every reason to fear that left unchecked Gadhafi would commit unspeakable atrocities,” she told reporters.

Clinton said there was no evidence that Gadhafi’s forces were respecting an alleged cease-fire they proclaimed and the time for action was now.

“Our assessment is that the aggressive action by Gadhafi’s forces continues in many parts of the country,” she said. “We have seen no real effort on the part of the Gadhafi forces to abide by a cease-fire.”

President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he had given the go-ahead for U.S. forces to participate in operations designed to enforce the provisions of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Gadhafi cease firing on civilians. At the outset of a visit to Brazil on Saturday, he spoke briefly about Libya, noting the Paris talks.

“Our consensus was strong and our resolve is clear,” Obama said. “The people of Libya must be protected and in the absence of an immediate end to the violence against civilians our coalition is prepared to act and to act with urgency.”

Among the U.S. Navy ships in the Mediterranean were two guided-missile destroyers, the USS Barry and USS Stout, as well as two amphibious warships, the USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce, and a command-and-control ship, the USS Mount Whitney. The submarine USS Providence was also in the Mediterranean.

Earlier Saturday, the rebel-held stronghold of Benghazi came under heavy bombardment by loyalist forces, despite Gadhafi’s claim that he was honoring a cease-fire. In response, French warplanes began attacking selected targets in Libya
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the allied nations would use “all means necessary, particularly military” to enforce the U.N. mandate.

The French leader said the military action was being taken “to protect the civilian population” from the “deadly madness of a regime which, by killing its own people, has lost any legitimacy.”

He said that Gadhafi “still could avoid the worst” by complying with the requirements of the international community.

“The door of diplomacy will open when the fighting stops,” he said.

“The future of Libya belongs to the Libyans,” Sarkozy said, adding that the intervention was taking place because of “a universal conscience that cannot tolerate such crimes.”

Canadian, Italian, Danish and Norwegian planes were also participating in the operation, working out of military bases around the Mediterranean region. However, it was still unclear what role Arab nations would play.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement Saturday that it given the situation on the ground in Libya, “it is imperative that we continue to act with speed and decision.”

In an open letter read out hours before the announcement, Gadhafi had a warning: “You will regret it if you dare to intervene in our country.”

Fighting In Benghazi

Earlier Saturday, a plane was shot down over the outskirts of Benghazi, sending up a massive black cloud of smoke.

But it was not immediately clear whether the warplane belonged to loyalist or rebel forces.

“If it did indeed belong to the Libyan government … it would be another sign that [Gadhafi] is in open defiance of the world right now,” NPR’s David Greene said, reporting from Tripoli.

But rebels told NPR the plane was theirs and that it had been shot down by loyalist forces as it tried to defend the city. Opposition forces are known to have obtained at least some aircraft from pilots who defected from the Libyan air force in the opening days of the conflict.

Witnesses said Benghazi was hit by artillery and mortar fire and an explosion was reported near the rebel headquarters. The Red Cross and other aid groups said there was a sharp increase in the number of civilians trying to leave the city.
Rebel leaders fighting to push Gadhafi from power also said cities such as Misrata and Ajdabiya were still being shelled. A Pentagon official told NPR that the U.S. saw surveillance suggesting Libya’s military was still active, firing on areas around the eastern city.

Libya Denies Attacks

Government spokesman Ibrahim Musa denied that a government plane had gone down. He also denied government forces shelled any Libyan towns on Saturday, saying the rebels were the ones breaking the cease-fire by attacking military forces.

“Our armed forces continue to retreat and hide, but the rebels keep shelling us and provoking us,” Musa told The Associated Press.

Musa also said the planned U.N. Security Council embargo of Libya’s military airspace was “invalid” because, he said, “the Security Council is not authorized according to the U.N. Charter to intervene in the internal affairs of any country.”

“This is injustice, it’s a clear aggression and there’s an uncalculated risk for its consequences on the Mediterranean and for Europe,” Musa said.

A Quick End To Weeks Of Debate

In a joint statement to Gadhafi late Friday, the U.S., Britain and France — backed by unspecified Arab countries — said a cease-fire must begin “immediately” in Libya, the French presidential palace said.

The statement urged Gadhafi to end his troops’ advance toward Benghazi and pull them out of the cities of Misrata, Ajdabiya and Zawiya. It also called for the restoration of water, electricity and gas services in all areas, and said Libyans must be able to receive humanitarian aid or the “international community will make him suffer the consequences” with military action.

The statement followed a U.N. Security Council resolution offering protection to Libya’s citizens late Thursday with the backing of the United States, France and Britain — hours after Gadhafi vowed to launch a final assault and crush the nearly five-week-old rebellion against him.

Western powers faced pressure to act urgently after weeks spent deliberating over what to do about Gadhafi as his regime gained momentum.

“Things really came together quickly at the end,” said NPR’s Greene said. “There was a sense for days that this might never happen, the debate might continue.

“All sides said the support from the Arab League and potentially the willingness of Arab countries to take part in this lent that final needed support to push this through,” he said.

Rebel Forces Falling Back

The shift toward international action reflected dramatic change on the ground in Libya in the past week. The rebels, once confident, found themselves in danger of being crushed by an overpowering pro-Gadhafi force using rockets, artillery, tanks and warplanes. That force has advanced along the Mediterranean coast aiming to recapture the rebel-held eastern half of Libya.

The rebellion began Feb. 15 in Benghazi and spread east to Tripoli. Like other uprisings in North Africa and the Mideast, Libya’s protest started with popular demonstrations against its leader, rejecting Gadhafi’s four decades of despotic and often brutal rule. The tone quickly changed after the regime’s security in Tripoli forcefully put down the gatherings there.

Opposition forces began arming themselves and quickly seized control of the country’s east, basing themselves in Benghazi, which is Libya’s second-largest city and has a population of about 700,000. Some Libyan army units joined the rebels, providing them with needed firepower, but much less than Gadhafi’s remaining forces and, crucially, no air power.

There are no official death tolls. Rebels say more than 1,000 people have been killed in a month of fighting, while Gadhafi claims the toll is only 150.

With reporting from NPR’s Eric Westervelt in Tobruk, David Greene in Tripoli, Eleanor Beardsley in Paris and Phillip Reeve in London and Alan Greenblatt. Material from The Associated Press was used in this story.

(www.npr.org / 19.03.2011)

Egypte houdt referendum over grondwet

Veel Egyptenaren hebben vandaag hun stem uitgebracht in het referendum over de wijziging van de grondwet. Het referendum is een eerste resultaat na het vertrek van president Mubarak.
Voor de meeste Egyptenaren is het voor het eerst in hun leven dat ze in vrijheid hun stem kunnen uitbrengen.
Mohamed El Baradei, één van de oppositieleiders, werd in Caïro belaagd door een menigte toen hij wilde stemmen. Jongeren gooiden stenen naar zijn auto en schreeuwden: ,,Wij willen jou niet.” Volgens El Baradei gaan de wijzigingsvoorstellen niet ver genoeg. El Baradei heeft gezegd zich kandidaat te willen stellen voor het presidentschap.
Verkiezingen
Na de val van president Mubarak vorige maand is aanpassing van de grondwet nodig om de weg vrij te maken voor nieuwe verkiezingen aan het einde van de zomer.
Als het voorstel wordt aangenomen, mogen meer mensen dan voorheen zich kandidaat stellen en wordt de zittingsduur van de president beperkt. Het nieuwe parlement moet dan een nieuwe grondwet schrijven.
Kritisch
Leden van de oppositie zijn sceptisch en zeggen dat de voorgestelde wijzigingen cosmetische aanpassingen zijn. Vooral de gevestigde partijen zouden ervan profiteren. Daarmee doelen ze op de NDP, de partij van de verdreven president Mubarak, en de Moslimbroederschap.
Veel oppositieaanhangers willen liever meteen een compleet nieuwe grondwet.
Egypte wordt op dit moment geregeerd door een militaire raad. De militaire leiders hebben beloofd dat ze opstappen als de bevolking een nieuw parlement en een nieuwe president heeft gekozen.

(www.nos.nl / 19.03.2011)

Arab regimes need change: Analysts

Feb 13, 2011


Within less than a month, popular uprisings toppled the long-time presidents of Egypt and Tunisia, and revolts could spread to other Arab countries if they do not implement reforms quickly, analysts say.

Egyptian soldiers stand behind veiled women opposition supporters at Tahrir Square in Cairo February 13, 2011. Egypt's new military rulers, who have promised to hand power to civilians, faced impatient protesters on Sunday who want swift steps to prove their nation is set for democracy after Hosni Mubarak's overthrow.

Egyptian soldiers stand behind veiled women opposition supporters at Tahrir Square in Cairo February 13, 2011. Egypt’s new military rulers, who have promised to hand power to civilians, faced impatient protesters on Sunday who want swift steps to prove their nation is set for democracy after Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow.
“The Arab leaders are in a race against time: either they quickly adopt liberal changes, or they suffer the same fate as (the leaders) of Tunisia and Egypt,” said Anwar Eshki, the director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak, who resigned on Friday after being in power since 1981, and Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who departed after ruling for 23 years on January 14, both bowed to unprecedented waves of popular protests.

Angered by injustice, unemployment and corruption, “the Arab citizen is not the same as he was two months ago” and “has proven he can bring down an Arab head of state after two or three weeks of demonstrations,” said Paul Salem, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Centre.

Various Arab leaders, some of whom, such as Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, have been in power for over 40 years while many of those who have ruled with an iron fist have suddenly announced social security measures and political reforms.

The popular uprisings in those two countries “will have repercussions throughout the region” and the United States, which encouraged change in Tunisia and Egypt, will try to do the same in other Arab countries, said Saleh al-Qallab, a former Jordanian information minister.

“Who is next? No one can predict,” he said, adding that this excludes Saudi Arabia, a rich oil state governed by the ultra-conservative Wahhabism doctrine, where “the process of reforms initiated by King Abdullah is moving slowly due to the weight of tradition and religion.”

Eshki echoed that assessment, saying that “the United States will seek to avoid sudden change in the Gulf monarchies that could disrupt oil supplies to the world economy,” but Washington “will advise them to engage in reforms and accelerate their implementation.”

But he added that “the winds of change will blow on these (Gulf) countries. And if the leaders do not take the initiative, their people will.”

The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, which were initiated and led by young people using the social networking site Facebook and micro-blogging site Twitter, have showed the limits of Islamist activism, which Arab regimes have used as a scarecrow to ward off calls for reform, Salem said.

“Without adhering to an ideology,” the uprisings have succeeded where Islamist movements have failed for decades, during which “they were presented or presented themselves as the only alternative to repressive Arab regimes,” he said.

Salem added however that Mubarak’s fall, in the eyes of Riyadh, “exacerbates the imbalance of power in the favour of Iran,” which wants “an Islamic Middle East,” and sees the departure of the Egyptian president as “the failure of the United States and Zionism in the region.”

“The alliance of the Arab countries and the United States will weaken in favour of a degree of autonomy on the Turkish model, but these countries have no choice but to remain in the American fold,” Salem said.

(www.timeslive.co.za / 19.03.2011)

French military jets over Libya

French military jets are preventing forces loyal to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi from attacking the rebel-held city of Benghazi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy says.

It is believed to be the first act of intervention since the UN voted on Thursday for a no-fly zone over Libya.

Western and Arab leaders have been meeting in Paris to agree a course of action to confront Col Gaddafi.

“Our air force will oppose any aggression,” Mr Sarkozy said.

Hours earlier, Pro-Gaddafi forces launched an assault on the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi, a BBC journalist witnessed.

However, the Libyan government has denied it is attacking.

‘Stop the bombardment’

The French Rafale jets took off from their base at Saint-Dizier in eastern France, a military source told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

The planes encountered no problems during the first few hours of their mission, the source said, and the flights will continue for the next several hours.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told journalists at the summit in Paris that he believed British, French and Canadian aircraft would launch the first airstrikes, the BBC’s Carole Walker in Paris reports.

Asked if those strikes would take place later on Saturday, Mr Rutte said that was a possibility, our correspondent says.

The new UN resolution authorised “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians.

The rebels’ leader has appealed to the international community to stop the bombardment by pro-Gaddafi forces.

Reports from Benghazi suggest hundreds of cars packed with people were fleeing eastwards as fighting spread.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the world must “speak with one voice” on Libya.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama said forces loyal to Col Muammar Ghaddafi had to stop attacking rebel areas or face military action.

“Gaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zawiya and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas,” he said on Friday.

(www.bbc.co.uk / 19.03.2011)

Police disperse pro-unity protest in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Security forces in the Gaza Strip dispersed a demonstration between Al-Azhar University and the Unknown Soldier Square in Gaza City on Saturday morning.

Police imposed an apparently impromptu ban on a number of students who were calling for unity.

About 800 youths gathered in front of Al-Azhar University, but police dispersed the protesters and beat some of them, participants said.

Young people attempted to stay inside the courtyard of the square but police cars encircled the area and prevented any gatherings, a protester in the coalition told Ma’an.

The coalition said it asked for permission to hold the protest but never heard back from police.

(maannews.net / 19.03.2011)

Muhammad Nabbous

Over the past few days I have been observing a webcam channel sponsored by the Libya17Feb folks and in particular the citizen journalism of a young married Libyan man named Muhammad Nabbous. “Mo” as he is nicknamed, has been an inspiration to many Libyans across North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

I do not know much about Muhammad Nabbous, or rather I only know him by watching his webcam broadcast over the last few days. He was an intelligent, very tech savvy young man who spoke English very well which made him very popular as he attempted to raise awareness in North America regarding the violence taking place in Libya, and specifically from Benghazi.

Muhammad’s activities were particularly interesting to me. While at home in front of his webcam, we would take phone number requests from the thousands of people monitoring his web channel and reach out to loved ones on behalf of those overseas. All phone calls to Libya continue to be blocked by the government, but telecommunications works inside Libya, so to many hundreds Muhammad would function as a lifeline to connect families and provide status updates to those concerned outside Libya.

Muhammad would also conduct other activities as a citizen journalist, for example, last night while I was monitoring his channel there were around 20-30 explosions inside Benghazi. The young man connected one cell phone to his webcam, grabbed another cell phone and his camera, and drove around to various checkpoints to investigate the explosions while live streaming audio descriptions to those watching. He would hold the camera with one hand, drive with the other, hold the cell phone in his lap and describe all activities.

During these times media would often tune in and report through Twitter what was being said and done during this young mans live investigations. Once he would return home after his investigations, he would upload the video to the same channel and people could watch these investigations that would add video to the audio for more context to explain events unfolding in Benghazi. It really has been incredible to observe this citizen journalist in action inside a war zone, in particular a city under siege like Benghazi.

This morning Muhammad Nabbous was shot and killed during one of these investigations. The channel is always being viewed by thousands of people, and it is remarkable the outcry of inspiration and mourning taking place in chat this morning after his wife confirmed the young mans death.

I can’t help but observe how important Muhammad Nabbous is as an example of the intersection between technology and war. As people become more aware and more capable utilizing these technologies, the ability of people to connect out of war zones on a personal level to a large audience poses challenges to decision makers as sympathetic movements can force the hands of political leaders and influence decision making. There were many news organizations that reported the activities of Muhammad Nabbous with as much if not more credibility as Libyan State TV (for good reason).

As I watched Muhammad Nabbous and began to observe major news organizations linking to his webcam feed, my impression was he on the verge of becoming an enormously popular individual world wide for his efforts in Libya, indeed last night he conducted several phone interviews with the western media and I suspected we would see these stories about this young man on cable news networks over the coming days.

It was not to be. God bless Muhammad Nabbous and comfort his wife. I never met the young man, but I found him both inspiring and admirable for the courage he repeatedly demonstrated to do all he could for his country and his people as they struggle to break from the grips of dictatorship.

Posted by Galrahn

(http://www.informationdissemination.net/19.03.2011)

Egypt seeks to end gas exports to Israel

A popular campaign by a group of Egyptian activists against gas exports to Israel has won a court case on the terms of the country’s gas deal with Tel Aviv.

The court ruled on the ministry of petroleum “not to export one single unit of gas before satisfying the local needs,” head of the Campaign against Gas Export to Israel Ibrahim Yousri told Press TV on Wednesday.

For Egyptians, the issue of supplying the Israeli regime with gas has always been a contentious one. Egyptians view Israel as an enemy and oppose engaging in any kind of business with the regime.

Egypt’s gas supply to Israel has been one of the main economic conditions of the US-sponsored 1979 peace treaty between the two sides.

Under a $2.5-billion export deal with Tel Aviv, signed in 2005, the Israeli regime gets around 40 percent of its gas supply from Egypt at a considerably low price.

However, after Egyptians faced electricity blackouts last summer due to gas shortages, most experts are demanding an extensive revision of the deal.

Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman Walid Shalaby also told Press TV, “This deal was made in the dark, away from the sight of supervisory and legislative bodies. It has to be proposed to the new parliament which will decide on who to export to and to determine the price of the exported gas.”

The development comes despite a reported Israeli plan to opt for gas instead of nuclear energy following the recent crises in Japan over radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear power plant.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Tel Aviv is going to reconsider its nuclear energy plans for the coming years and choose natural gas as the main alternative.

Egypt has resumed exporting natural gas to Israel after a one-month hiatus due to an explosion that damaged the pipeline delivering gas to Israel, Jordan and Syria.

On Wednesday, Israeli firms confirmed that supplies had resumed but that initial quantities were below normal level. The resumption of gas deliveries was delayed repeatedly due to leaks.

(www.presstv.ir / 19.03.2011)