Hospital: Ex-Libya rebel HQ attacked in Benghazi, 7 dead

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) — At least seven people died and 30 were wounded on Saturday when demonstrators attacked the headquarters in Benghazi of former rebels who had fought to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, a hospital official said.

“At least seven people are dead,” said a doctor at Al-Jala hospital in the eastern city, which was the cradle of the anti-Gadhafi uprising in 2011.

“We also have received some 30 wounded,” he added, saying the toll could could rise.

Fighting erupted after dozens of demonstrators, some of them armed, tried to dislodge the powerful “Shield of Libya” brigade from its barracks in Benghazi, said an AFP correspondent at the scene.

They encircled the the headquarters and called on regular security forces to step in.

Libya’s post-Gadhafi authorities, who have still not managed to form a professional new army and police corps, often call on the “Shield of Libya” to intervene in the various tribal conflicts that trouble the country.

In October, people in Benghazi managed to force other militias from their bases.

(Source / 08.06.2013)

Een verhaal over het ochtendgebed (Fadjr)

By Marianna Laarif

Dit is een waar gebeurd verhaal ( En Allah weet het beste )

Een basisschoolleraar zat les te geven aan groep vijf, in een Arabisch land en hij had het over hoe belangrijk het ochtendgebed is, vooral als je dat in de moskee doet en hoe goed dat gebed door Allah wordt beloond. Hij had op zo’n mooie en ontroerende manier verteld, dat kinderen van die leeftijd er erg van onder de indruk raakten. Tussen die kinderen was er eentje die vast had besloten om vanaf dat moment nooit meer het ochtendgebed te missen.Hij zat te denken hoe hij zo vroeg wakker kon worden en omdat niemand bij hem thuis wakker werd voor het gebed en hij niet zomaar de wekker mocht gebruiken, besloot hij om niet te gaan slapen en om te wachten tot het gebedstijd werd. Zo gezegd zo gedaan, hij sliep niet en toen het tijd was maakte hij zich klaar en ging hij zich ritueel wassen (woedoe). Maar nu wilde hij ook naar de moskee en omdat hij te jong was om alleen in het donker de deur uit te gaan, was dat een probleem. Hij ging voor de deur zitten denken hoe hij toch naar de moskee kon gaan.
Toen zag hij, dat zijn oude overbuurman richting moskee vertrok en hij besloot om hem in alle rust te volgen tot de moskee. Eindelijk gebeden, voelde het jongetje zich zo goed dat hij nooit meer het ochtend gebed wilde missen. Op de terugweg volgde hij de oude man weer tot aan huis.Zo ging het een aantal weken door en zijn ouders wisten er niks van. Op een dag kreeg hij te horen dat zijn oude buurman overleden was. Het kind was zo droevig dat hij uren zat te huilen en niemand kon hem stil krijgen. Zijn vader kwam bij hem en vroeg: “Waarom huil je zo erg om die man, jij kende hem haast niet en zijn kinderen waren te oud om met je te spelen?”Het jongentje zei: “Ik houd van die man ik had liever gewild dat jij in zijn plaats dood was gegaan!” Zijn vader schrok zo erg van wat hij hoorde dat hij aan zijn zoon vroeg:”hoe kun je nu zo iets zeggen, wat heb ik verkeerd gedaan?” Het kind zei: ” Omdat je nooit het ochtendgebed bidt en dus Allah ondankbaar bent en die lieve oude man was de enige achter wie ik elke ochtend naar de moskee ging! Waarom bid je niet pappa?”Zijn vader was hiervan zo geschrokken en tegelijkertijd zo verdrietig en had heel veel spijt, hij knuffelde zijn zoon en beloofde hem om nooit meer het gebed over te slaan. Sindsdien bidden de twee bijna elk gebed in de moskee

Syrian opposition denounces ‘Iranian invasion,’ says world must act

George Sabra, acting head of the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, says the international community must act against the Iranian invasion in Syria.

The international community must act to get rid of the “Iranian invasion,” in Syria, acting head of the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), said during a press conference held in the Turkish capital on Saturday.

George Sabra said Iran and its proxy in Syria, the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, “are working to destroy national security in Syria and in the region.”

Sabra sounded the alarm that what is happening in Syria is also an attempt by the allies: “Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki” to transform the region into opposing groups and to dismantle peaceful coexistence that has long been enjoyed by the region’s different religious sects.

“Alarm bells are now ringing. What is happening in Syria will open the doors of hell on the region,” he said, adding that “Iran is working to transform our region into warring groups. This is what the Mullahs in Iran want.”

However, he said what is happening in Syria “will close doors” for diplomatic initiatives needed to end the conflict.

“You invaders, Syrians will wait for you in every street in the country,” he threatened, indicating a stronger stance being taken by the SNC.

He urged the Arab League to enact a provision that stipulates other Arab countries defend another Arab state under invasion. The Syrian opposition gained the empty Syrian seat at the Arab League in March 2013.

“The invaders have placed their black flags on our mosques and churches in Syria,” Sabra said in reference to Hezbollah supporters raising flags with the Shiite “Ya Hussein” or “Oh hail Hussein” inscribed on it.

“World powers do not need convincing, they know facts, that’s why we request them to take responsibility for what is happening.”

Sabra, a Syrian Christian, rebuffed claims that the rebels fighting against Assad’s regime are “terrorists” or radical Islamists.

“The sheer fact that 100 different protests took place yesterday in Syria,” indicates Syrians are demonstrating peacefully, he added.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the SNC, Mustafa al-Sabbagh, said it is “evident” the Syrian regime has fallen.

“The biggest indicator that the Syrian regime has fallen is that we Syrians are fighting Hezbollah and Iran on our land,” adding, “we urge the international community to show its commitment,” and end the two-year conflict.

(Source / 08.06.2013)

Thousands join Turkey protests defying PM

Protesters sit in Gazi park next to Taksim square during a demonstration in Istanbul on June 7, 2013

ISTANBUL (AFP) — Thousands of angry Turks poured into the streets on Saturday to join mass anti-government protests, defying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call to end the worst civil unrest of his decade-long rule.

Protesters blew whistles and waved flags in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the epicenter of the protests which erupted on May 31, while others brought blankets and food to settle in for the weekend at the adjoining Gezi Park, now a festival-like camp site.

“A week ago, I could never imagine myself sleeping out on the streets of Istanbul,” said 22-year-old Aleyna, wrapped up under a blanket with a stray kitten, pointing to her dirty clothes. “Now I don’t know how I can ever go back.”

Fresh rallies were also held in the capital Ankara, with over a thousand people gathering peacefully in the central Kizilay Square, singing revolutionary songs and dancing.

Erdogan, meanwhile, was meeting in Istanbul with top officials of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) to discuss the crisis, and a deputy prime minister was due to make a speech later on Saturday.

Turkey’s assertive leader on Friday called for an immediate end to the protests, saying his Islamic-rooted government was open to “democratic demands” but insisting that the protests were “bordering on vandalism”.

The political turmoil erupted after police cracked down heavily on a small campaign to save Gezi Park from demolition, spiraling into nationwide protests against Erdogan and the AKP, seen as increasingly authoritarian.

Police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators in clashes that have left three dead and thousands injured, tarnishing Turkey’s image as a model of Islamic democracy.

In a bid to calm tensions, Istanbul’s mayor Kadir Topbas on Saturday said the park would not be turned into a shopping mall, as some feared.

But the reconstruction of Ottoman-era military barracks at the site would go ahead, he said, echoing earlier comments by Erdogan. “The plan for the barracks was part of our election promises,” the mayor told reporters.

Erdogan has faced international condemnation for his handling of the unrest in Turkey, a NATO member and key strategic partner for the United States and other Western allies.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, speaking in Istanbul on Friday, called for a “swift and transparent” probe into the protest violence.

But Erdogan accused his critics of double standards, saying those involved in a similar protest would in any European country “face a harsher response”.

Only one Istanbul suburb saw fresh clashes overnight, with police using tear gas and water cannon on protesters who reportedly threw fireworks and homemade bombs at them.

Taksim itself has been free of a police presence since officers relinquished the square to protesters last Saturday after the government acknowledged it was the police’s heavy-handed response that fueled the unrest.

Bracing for Erdogan’s reaction to their continued demonstrations, many said they felt safe in Taksim, as local media reported Istanbul police would not interfere with their action over the weekend.

“I don’t like protests or riots or stuff like that. But I like being here to make a point,” said Emre Altinok, 22, on his way to a yoga session in Gezi Park, a rolled-up mat under his arm.

The young investment banker said he doubted the protests would lead to Erdogan’s resignation “but now he knows he’s not going to be able to say or do anything he wants”.

The national doctors’ union says the civil unrest has so far left two protesters and a policeman dead while almost 4,800 people have been injured across Turkey.

Critics accuse Erdogan, in power since 2002, of forcing conservative Islamic values on Turkey, a mainly Muslim but staunchly secular nation, and of pushing grandiose urban development projects at the expense of local residents.

Explaining their anger in a full-page ad in the New York Times Friday, supporters of the protest movement said Turks have seen their civil rights and freedoms steadily erode, with many journalists, artists and elected officials arrested.

Opposition to Erdogan is intense, but the 59-year-old is the country’s most popular politician, with his AKP winning three elections in a row and gaining almost 50 percent of votes in 2011, having presided over strong economic growth.

(Source / 08.06.2013)

IOF brutally attack Friday marches of W. Bank


RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Violent clashes broke out between Palestinian young men and Israeli soldiers during the weekly marches that were organized in different West Bank areas after the Friday prayers as part of the global march to Jerusalem and to protest settlement expansion activities.

Hundreds of Palestinians took part in the weekly march in Ni’lin village to the west of Ramallah city.

The IOF suppressed the march and clashed with young men as they reached near the segregation wall causing many of them to suffer tear gas suffocation.

Dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists also suffered injuries in the weekly march in Bil’in village near Ramallah.

A vast tract of cultivated land caught fire when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) attacked the protestors with a barrage of tear gas grenades.

In Masarah village near Bethlehem, the IOF quelled and physically assaulted the protestors as they were trying to reach the segregation wall.

Nabi Saleh village, northwest of Ramallah, also saw clashes between young men and Israeli soldiers who randomly fired a hail of tear gas grenades and rubber bullets at the march and nearby houses.

The IOF arrested two Palestinian kids and severely beat a child during the events in Nabi Saleh village, according to eyewitnesses.

(Source / 08.06.2013)

PA Economy Minister walks out of BDS conference

After making insulting comments in response to a “provocative” question, participants ask Jawad al-Naji to leave.

PA policeman.

PA policeman.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Economy Jawad al-Naji on Saturday was forced to walk out of The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions conference after participants demanded that he leave for insulting a man who asked a “provocative” question.

The man was later severely beaten by PA security officers accompanying the minister and taken to hospital.

Eyewitnesses reported that when one of the participants, Nizar Banat, asked the minister why PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the PA were continuing to conduct security coordination with Israel while fighting “normalization” with Israelis.

In response, the angry minister called on the activist to to “stop barking.” The minister’s remark drew sharp criticism from the participants, who demanded that he leave the conference instantly.

When the moderator asked the minister, to apologize, al-Naji walked out of the conference. One of the participants said that PA security officers and Fatah “thugs” later beat Banat as he walked out of the conference.

Banat was taken to hospital, where he was being treated for bruises, the participant said. He said that at least seven men attacked him shortly after he left the conference hall. “They tried to pull me out of a car,” he said. “When I resisted,they dragged me out and beat me.” He added that some of the attackers were aides to the minister.

She said that PA security officers also started searching the mobile phones of some participants to make sure they had not filmed the confrontation between Banat and the minister.

“What happened today at the Bethlehem University conference is very serious,” she said. “The activist only asked the minister why he and President Abbas were campaigning against normalization with Israel while at the same time conducting security coordination with Israel.” She insisted that the minister was “expelled” from the university and did not voluntarily walk out.

(Source / 08.06.2013)

Rohingya Population Control: The Onslaught in Burma Continues

At a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. (Photo: Zoriah -

At a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

On April 21, the BBC obtained disturbing video footage shot in Burma. It confirmed extreme reports of what has been taking place in that country, even as it is being touted by the US and European governments as a success story pertaining to political reforms and democracy.

The BBC footage was difficult to watch even when faces of Muslim Rohingya victims were blurred. To say the least, the level of violence exhibited by their Arakan Buddhist attackers was frightening. “The Burmese police (stood) by as shops, homes and mosques are looted and burnt, and failing to intervene as Buddhist mobs, including monks, kill fleeing Muslims,” the BBC reported. A Rohingya man was set ablaze while still alive. The police watched.

To some extent, international media is finally noticing the plight of the Rohingyas who are experiencing what can only be described as genocide. And there are reasons for this. On one hand, the atrocities being carried out by the Burmese state, local police and mobs belonging to nationalist Buddhist groups in the northwestern Arakan State, are unambiguous attempts at removing all Rohingyas from Burma. The Rohingya numbers currently hover between 800,000 and one million. On the other hand, Burma (also known as Myanmar) has, as of late, been placed in the limelight for the wrong reasons – thanks in part to western governments breaking the political and economic siege of the country’s decades-long military dictatorship.

While the ‘new Burma’ is being rebranded in a new positive discourse in order to open Rangoon up for foreign investments and steer it way from growing Chinese influence, western governments are deliberately ignoring the fact that a human rights crisis of unprecedented proportions is taking place. This all being done with the active involvement and encouragement of the government.

In the eyes of many in Burma, the Rohingyas are considered subhumans, and are treated as such. Most Rohingya Muslims are native to the state of “Rohang” – also known as Rakhine or Arakan. The majority of them live in very poor townships – mainly Buthidaung and Maungdaw – in the northwestern part of Arakan, or live in refugee camps. Their population subsists between the nightmare of having no legal status (as they are still denied citizenship), little or no rights and the ethnic purges carried out by their neighbors. The worst of such violence in recent years took place between June and October 2012. However, the onslaught targeting Rohingyas is resurfacing and spreading. This time around the intensity and the parameters of violence grew to include other Muslim minority groups in the country.

The BBC footage is not only revealing in the sense that it confirmed the authorities’ complicity in the violence, but it also reflected the government’s general attitude towards this minority group, described by the UN as the ‘world’s most persecuted people’. Responding to the outcry against his country’s brutal treatment of its minorities, Burmese President Then Sein made an ‘offer’ to the UN last year where he was willing to send the Rohingyas “to any other country willing to accept them.”

This peculiar behavior by the Burmese government is problematic in more than one way. Rangoon doesn’t seem even slightly mindful of international humanitarian laws or simply wishes to ignore it altogether. Its legal frame of reference is hardly a reflection of a repented dictatorship. But what is even more dangerous is that Rangoon has been sending unmistakable messages to nationalist groups who are leading the ethnic purges, that their extremely violent behavior is in fact consistent with the central policies of their governments.

Groups like Human Rights Watch (HRW) have become markedly more outspoken regarding the violence against the Rohingya. To quell growing criticism, perhaps fearing a backlash in terms of lucrative business contracts, the Burmese government decided to investigate the ‘sectarian violence’ through a supposed independent commission. Its recommendations were as equally disturbing as the violence itself.

The government Inquiry Commission on the Sectarian Violence in Rakhine State, assembled last August, was composed of 27-members, all Arkanese Buddhists, none of them from the Rohingya minority. The long-awaited report on the violence finally emerged on April 29, 2013. Its major findings included concerns over “rapid population growth” among Rohingya and Kaman Muslims. Its recommendations compelled a swift response from local authorities that moved in to limit the birth rate of Muslim Rohingya in two large townships.

On May 26, Arakan State spokesperson Win Myaing told journalists that the findings of the commission were consistent with the 2005 law that limits birth rate among Roghingya Muslims to two children per family. That discriminatory law goes back to 1994 where severe marriage restrictions were imposed on the Rohingya community, requiring long and complicated procedures. The BBC said, “it is not clear how (the ‘two-child policy’) will be enforced.”

Regardless of what sort of mechanisms Burmese authorities plan to put in place to implement the ‘law’, limiting population growth of the Rohingya people, is an abhorrent principle in and of itself. It even compelled celebrated ‘democracy icon’ Aung San Suu Kyi to break her silence regarding the violence against Rohingyas, however, she carefully selected her language.

“It is not good to have such discrimination. And it is not in line with human rights either,” Suu Kyi told reporters, although “she could not confirm whether the policy was being implemented,” reported the BBC online on May 27.

Considering the level of violence directed at Rohingyas and the fact that more than 125,000 Rohingya have already been pushed into internally displaced camps, (tens of thousands more have already been forced to flee the country and are scattered in refugee camps throughout Southeast Asia) one can only imagine the kind of sinister plans which are being put into action, amid the deafening international silence.

In fact, ‘silence’ is an understatement, for following the early wave of devastating violence, European officials welcomed the country’s ‘measured response’ and spokesperson for the EU’s high representative on foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, said on June 11: “We believe that the security forces are handling this difficult inter-communal violence in an appropriate way.”

Meanwhile, western countries led by the United States, are clamoring to divide the large Burmese economic cake amongst themselves. As Rohingya boats were floating (or sinking) in various waters, Burma’s President Sein met with Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in a ‘landmark’ visit in Oslo on February 26. Regarding the conflict in Arakan, Jens Stoltenberg unambiguously declared it to be an internal Burmese affair, reducing it to the most belittling statements. In regards to ‘disagreements’ over citizenship, he said, “we have encouraged dialogue, but we will not demand that Burma’s government give citizenship to the Rohingyas.” Moreover, to reward Sein for his supposedly bold democratic reforms, Norway took the lead by waving off nearly half of its debt and other countries followed suit, including Japan which dropped $3 billion last year.

Meanwhile, the Rohingyas are left to ponder their punishment for flouting one discriminatory law or another. “Fear of punishment under the two-child rule compel far too many Rohingya women to risk their lives and turn to desperate and dangerous measures to self-induce abortions,” Asia director at HRW, Brad Adams said in a report published May 28.

No words can suffice to describe the plight of the Rohingyas who are trying to survive an unprecedentedly violent ethnic purge, with support and complicity of the Burmese government and silence of the very western governments that never cease to preach democracy and human rights.

Matthew Smith is a researcher for HRW and author of the organization’s report, “All You Can Do is Pray”: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State.’ Concluding a commentary in CNN online, Smith wrote: “The world should not be blinded by the excitement of Myanmar’s political opening. Rohingya are paying for that approach with their lives.” Since then, more Rohingyas were killed, many more homes, mosques, shops and orphanages were burned to the ground and there has been no international uproar as of yet.

(Source / 08.06.2013)

FSA: Assad recruiting more fighters from Iraq, Iran

The Free Syrian Army chief of staff, Salim Idriss, says the Hezbollah-backed Syrian regime is currently recruiting more fighters from Iraq and Iran.

The Syrian regime that is backed by the Lebanese Shiite group, Hezbollah, is currently recruiting more “sectarian” militia fighters from Iraq and Iran, the Free Syrian Army chief of staff told Al Arabiya Saturday.

Salim Idriss, who spoke to Al Arabiya via Skype, said the Syrian army lacks vitality, and needs “mercenaries from abroad.”

“The Syrian regime is putting Hezbollah fighters on the frontline…these well-trained fighters have high-fighting spirits and have the latest weapons,” he said, adding that “Iraqi and Iranian groups come second (in number).”

Iranian presence in Syria initially started with the supplying of “experts” to the Syrian government for both “technical and intelligence backing,” however, their role has now grown as more Iranian forces arrive in Syria, he said.

The chief also unveiled some information on Hezbollah’s training process.

“There is a large number of Hezbollah fighters in an Aleppo military academy. They are in charge of training, recruitment and leading military operations in the province.”

The FSA leader urged the “Friends of Syria” group to send helicopters, anti-tanks arms instead of “food supplies and medicine” to the rebels.

Meanwhile, he described European fighters backing rebels as an “individual case” of people who infiltrated Syrian borders.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls told Al Arabiya on Friday that more than 600 European nationals, including 120 from France, were fighting in Syria.

“The phenomenon of European fighters in Syria forms a serious and big terrorist and security challenge,” Valls said.

He said many jihadists were fighting alongside groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, warning their return could jeopardize the security of their home countries.

On Saturday, the village of Buwayda, the final opposition stronghold in the area surrounding Syria’s central town of Qusayr, has been reportedly captured by Syrian government forces backed by Hezbollah.

“Our heroic troops have restored safety and security in Eastern Buwayda,” AFP news agency reported Syrian state television as saying on Saturday.

Hundreds of people who fled Qusayr during battles between opposition and regime fighters had taken refuge in Buwayda when the town was captured by Syrian forces earlier this week, according to AFP.

Syrian state television broadcast footage of a barren village devoid of signs of life.

Hezbollah also announced the news of Eastern Bweida’s fall on its own television channel, Al-Manar.

Syrian opposition fighters withdrew overnight Wednesday from Qusayr near the border with Lebanon after an onslaught by the Syrian army and Hezbollah fighters killed hundreds of people, a rebel statement said.

Wounded rebels treated in Lebanon

Meanwhile, dozens of rebel fighters wounded in Qusayr battles were treated in Lebanon, a security official told AFP on Saturday.

“Some 30 wounded fighters are being treated in hospitals in the Baalbek area” of eastern Lebanon, the security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He also said “dozens of wounded rebels” had arrived in Arsal in northern Lebanon, awaiting treatment.

Lebanon is becoming increasingly drawn into the two-year Syrian conflict that killed at least 80,000, according to the UN.

More than 500,000 Syrians fled the conflict and sought refuge in Lebanon.

(Source / 08.06.2013)

Gaza health ministry to spend $46 million on new projects

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Ministry of Health in Gaza is set to implement projects in 2013 worth $46 million, a spokesman said Saturday.”The health situation today is much better than before, despite the blockade and closures, because the ministry has taken it upon itself to provide health services for the Palestinian people,” Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma’an.

The health ministry works around the clock to facilitate the medical needs of Palestinians and has opened a center specialized to carry out open-heart surgeries, he added, praising the joint efforts of the ministry and WHO in implementing projects in the coastal territory.

Al-Qidra did not provide further details about the planned projects.

(Source / 08.06.2013)

Kom in actie!

Binnenkort bezoekt Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Frans Timmermans Israël en de bezette Palestijnse gebieden. Stuur deze kaart per post of via op aan de minister en vraag hem: kom in actie en spreek de Israëlische autoriteiten aan op het schenden van de rechten van Palestijnse kinderen door het Israëlische leger!

Wilt u liever een of meer kaarten om per post sturen, stuur dan een e-mail

briefkaart 06-2013 -  web

(Source / 08.06.2013)