Greece to hold vote on recognition of Palestine state

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses lawmakers during a parliamentary session in Athens, December 6, 2015. (AP photo)

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses lawmakers during a parliamentary session in Athens, December 6, 2015

Greece has decided to recognize the State of Palestine as its parliament is preparing to vote on the issue later this month, reports say.

According to Thursday reports by Greek media, the non-binding vote is planned to be held on December 22, a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas travels to Athens for a two-day official visit.

During the past months, other European legislatures, including those of the UK, France, Spain, Ireland, Belgium and Portugal, have recognized the Palestinian state. In December 2014, the European Parliament also overwhelmingly backed the recognition of a Palestinian state “in principle.”

Back in June, Athens announced that its officials would begin using the term “Palestine.”

“We decided to issue instructions throughout the Greek public administration for the uniform use of the term ‘Palestine’ when we refer to our friendly country,” Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said then.

A boy waves a Palestinian flag during a solidarity demonstration for Palestinians outside the Israeli embassy in Athens, October 20, 2015

In May, the Vatican also declared in a new treaty that the Holy See had switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to the State of Palestine.

On November 29, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from the Israeli regime and the United States.

On December 2, 2014, French lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of a motion to recognize Palestine as an independent state. The motion, urging the government to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, was backed by a majority of 339 lawmakers while 151 members voted against.

On November 18 the same year, Spanish lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution on recognizing a Palestinian state. Britain and Ireland also passed similar non-binding motions.

Sweden went a step further on October 30, 2014, and officially recognized the State of Palestine, drawing stringent criticism from Tel Aviv and Washington.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

(Source / 12.12.2015)

Saudi Arabia’s Most Famous Blogger Is Now On a Hunger Strike in Prison

Raif Badawi2

Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi began a hunger strike this week after being transferred to an isolated detention facility, his wife has announced.

Badawi was arrested in 2012 and sentenced in 2013 to seven years in prison and 600 lashes for apostasy and allegedly “insulting Islam through electronic channels.” His sentence was expanded in 2014 to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. Badawi has also been banned from carrying out media work or traveling abroad for 10 years following his scheduled release.

Human Rights Watch and other groups have criticized his jailing and the use of corporal punishment, which they consider a violation of international law barring torture. Amnesty International says Badawi is a “prisoner of conscience.”

After he was initially flogged 50 times in public this January, international outcry led to a postponement of the remaining 950 lashes. Badawi, however, remains imprisoned, and future lashes still loom.

On Thursday, Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada with the couple’s three children where they were granted political asylum, said in a Facebook post that her husband had been moved to Shabbat Central Prison, some some 50 miles from Jeddah. Haider, who has led a campaign to free her husband, said he had been on a hunger strike since Tuesday.

On his website Saudi Free Liberals, Badawi pushed the envelope in the conservative Kingdom, advocating freedom of speech and human rights until it was shut down in 2012. Two years later, Badawi’s own lawyer, Waleed Abdul-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Daniel Arshack, a New York-based lawyer representing Abdul-Khair in the United States, says his client has suffered severe beatings while incarcerated.

‘He is in prison now simply for speaking about human rights.’

In October, Badawi was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov prize, the EU’s highest human rights accolade. Despite the award, Saudi authorities have steadfastly ignored calls to release Badawi.

Since his imprisonment, Badawi’s plight has come to signify the seemingly hardened stance of Saudi authorities, who for decades have played a delicate balancing act with the country’s powerful clerical leadership.

This year, following the ascension of newly crowned King Salman, the country has stepped up executions. As of November, at least 151 people have been executed in the country — the most since 1995.

VICE News spoke with Haider during a trip to Washington and New York in the fall. She recalled meeting Badawi by chance, when in 2000 he misdialed — entering her number — on a friends phone. They began talking, and Badawi courted her. After a month, they were engaged.

“I’m with him 100 percent despite the high price we are paying,” said Haidar. “Since day one that I met him I support his freedom of speech and he is in prison now simply for speaking about human rights.”

“I know that Raif should be free, and that Raif shouldn’t be punished,” she said. “He was respectful of the government, and the laws, and the religion.”

She said it was particularly hard on her children having their father away.

“Just simply things, like going to dinner — the kids notice that all the other kids are with both their parents,” said Haidar.

On Thursday, she said that any harm that came of Badawi would be the responsibility of prison officials.

“We take this opportunity to call on his Majesty King Salman to act on his promises and pardon my husband, end his and his family’s ordeal and unite him with his wife and children,” she wrote on Facebook.

(Source / 12.12.2015)

Israeli approves plan to expand Ramat Shlomo settlement in J’lem

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The district planning and building committee in Occupied Jerusalem recently approved the construction of 82 housing units as part of a two-stage plan in Shuafat neighborhood near the Old City.

The Hebrew newspaper Yerushalayim said on Friday that deliberations on the plan had been frozen by the committee prior to the last visit of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington for fear it would have angered the White House as happened before.

According to the newspaper, the plan may be small in terms of its size, but it is an issue of great international sensitivity.

The same plan had stirred up angry reactions from the White House spokesperson in 2010 and severely strained the relations between the two sides at the time.

The plan involves the building of about 1,000 housing units in Ramat Shlomo settlement on Shuafat hill, north of Jerusalem, but 82 units were approved last week by the committee as a first stage.

(Source / 12.12.2015)

Israeli military raids medical center in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli military forces ransacked several homes and a medical center in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem before dawn on Saturday, locals said.Locals told Ma’an that soldiers broke into al-Sadaq Medical Clinic in the al-Madbasa neighborhood in the center of Bethlehem, removing the clinic’s main door and confiscating equipment.The medical clinic is a part of al-Ihsan Charitable Association, locals added.Israeli military also raided a Bethlehem residential building and broke into three apartments, a Palestinian family told Ma’an.The Buja family said that soldiers broke into the homes of Ahmad Theib Buja, Muhammad Buja and Ashraf Abu Hlayyil, damaging the interior of the apartments.Seperately, Israeli forces raided a science supply store, al-Maktaba al-Eilmia — located in the city center of Ramallah — for the second night in a row.Locals told Ma’an that around ten military jeeps entered the area before clashes broke out.

An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on Saturday’s raids.

Israeli forces raided the same shop early Friday, breaking the doors of the shop and confiscating surveillance cameras, the owner of the center, Azmi Walid Abu Rahmeh told Ma’an at the time.
Five Palestinians were injured with live fire when clashes broke out during the night raid.
An Israeli army spokesperson denied the use of live fire at the time, saying Israeli forces entered Ramallah on “routine activity,” and were met by dozens of Palestinians who “attacked forces by hurling rocks at them and blocking roads.”
The spokesperson said Israeli forces “responded using riot dispersal means in order to prevent and escalation of violence.” The spokesperson added that “hits were confirmed,” but said no live fire was used during the incident.
Israeli forces regularly carry out search and arrest raids in the occupied Palestinian territory, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documenting a weekly average of 83 raids since the start of 2015.
Such raids have increased over the past few months, coinciding with a series of measures implemented by Israeli authorities in the wake of violence that increased in October.
The military raids have regularly taken place in areas under full Palestinian jurisdiction.
(Source / 12.12.2015)

121 Palestinians killed in 11 Fridays of new ‘intifada’

121 Palestinians killed in 11 Fridays of new ‘intifada’

RAMALLAH, Palestine

Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza on the 11th Friday of the third Palestinian “intifada” (uprising), according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The ministry said that 55-year-old Issa Haroub was killed by Israeli forces under the pretext that he attempted to run over Israeli soldiers in Halhoul near Hebron.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that the Israeli army did not allow medical crews to provide assistance to Haroub and left him to bleed to death.

Later on Friday, another young Palestinian man was killed during clashes with Israeli forces near Ras Al-Joura in Hebron.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 24-year-old Oddai Arshid was killed after a bullet hit him in the chest.

Oddai is the oldest brother of Dania Arsheed who was killed a few weeks ago near the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque under the pretext of an alleged stabbing attack.

In Gaza, 34-year-old Sami Madi was killed after an Israeli sniper shot him in the chest during clashes near Al-Bureij refugee camp in southern Gaza.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Friday’s killings bring the total number of Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces since Oct. 1 to 121, including 25 minors and five women.

At least 90 of those slain were killed “in cold blood”, according to the ministry.

The last nine weeks have also left 22 Israelis dead.

The anger behind a recent uptick in violence has been attributed by several observers to a July arson attack in the West Bank, by suspected Jewish settlers, that killed 18-month-old Palestinian child Ali Dawabsheh and his parents.

(Source / 12.12.2015)

American Troops Fight To Keep Opium Fields In Afghanistan

A Royal Marine from 42 Commando (Cdo) is pictured in a poppy field as a Chinook helicopter takes off in the background. On the 15 May 2011 J Company went on a Helo Operation which proved to be successfull and locals were very friendly and accomodating in the area. J company flew in to the area at 0400in the morning under cover of darkness just before first light. Thereafter they proceeded to do a friendly, thorough, surprise search of all the compounds in the area. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Photographer: LA(Phot) Dave Hillhouse Image 45152881.jpg from

U.S. forces are back helping Afghan troops repel Taliban insurgents from the strategic opium-growing town of Musa Qala in Helmand province, where in 2007 British and U.S. soldiers waged one of the emblematic battles of the war.

U.S. aircraft carried out three strikes over the weekend after the Taliban advanced on the town, seizing weapons and vehicles from Afghan soldiers they captured in an offensive aimed at expanding the militants’ grip on Helmand.

The Taliban have sought to secure territory in the north and south this summer but, despite some gains and a spike in attacks in the capital Kabul, they struggle to hold ground, even though most foreign coalition forces withdrew from Afghanistan in 2014.

Brian Tribus, spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said air strikes were called in against “individuals threatening” both Afghan and NATO coalition troops. He did not give details. A spokesman for the Afghan army in the area said 37 militants were killed in the strikes, and another 40 wounded.

The district governor in Musa Qala called on Monday for more military support to stop the town falling back into the hands of the Taliban, who occupied it for months until a 2007 battle that involved thousands of troops.

Success in that battle was hailed by then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and was a morale boost for the fledgling Afghan army, which fought its first major battle in Musa Qala.

British forces have suffered more fatalities in Helmand than any other Afghan region, losing more than 400 soldiers from the U.S. invasion of the country that ended the Taliban’s five-year, radical Islamist rule through last year. More than 350 U.S. Marines have also died there.

The Marines operated a base in Musa Qala until 2013, although the area was never completely free of militants drawn in part to the district’s status as one of Afghanistan’s most lucrative opium-producing centers.

“The Taliban are getting prepared to attack us from three directions tonight. If we don’t get support soon the district will collapse in Taliban hands,” governor Mohammad Sharif said.

Sabiq Jihadmal, a Twitter user with links to the insurgents, said they had seized several army posts on Sunday night. Over the weekend, a large army camp a few miles from town was overrun, and 25 soldiers were captured.

“They are missing now. The Taliban have their weapons and vehicles now and are fighting us with those heavy weapons,” Sharif said.

Since the Taliban were toppled from power by the U.S. invasion prompted by the Sept. 11 al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, they have waged a guerrilla war to regain power in Kabul.

One Helmand district bordering Musa Qala is already totally controlled by the Taliban and they dominate several other neighboring districts. One of those, Naw Zad, has been under alternate Taliban and Afghan army control for several weeks.

Another district, Tajiki, is home to Afghanistan’s largest hydroelectric dam. The dam generates electricity to Helmand and Kandahar but on Monday, because of the fighting, supplies were cut, a frequent occurrence.

(Source / 12.12.2015)

Israeli forces shoot 20 Palestinians in West Bank clashes

A Palestinian demonstrator is carried away from clashes in Bethlehem on Oct. 6, 2015

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot and injured 20 Palestinians during demonstrations held in the occupied Palestinian territory on Saturday, locals and medics said.

In the northern al-Bireh area of Ramallah, three Palestinians were hit by live fire and 16 by rubber-coated steel bullets when clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces.
Locals told Ma’an that university students had organized a peaceful march which came under heavy Israeli fire when demonstrators approached the northern entrance of al-Bireh.
Separately, in the Qalqiliya district town of Kafr Qaddum, Israeli forces shot and injured a 17-year-old Palestinian in the thigh.
A coordinator of a popular committee in the town, Murad Ishteiwi, said that several Israeli snipers had deployed across the area, “shooting at anyone who moved.”
The teen was identified as Raed Hussam, who was taken to the Rafidiya Hospital for treatment.
An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on Saturday’s clashes.
Ishteiwi called upon human rights and international institutions to intervene in order to limit the excessive use of force by Israeli forces during demonstrations.
Recent calls by Palestinian leadership for international protection from Israeli forces have yet to come to fruition, and well over 11,000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since Oct. 1.
Israeli forces also suppressed on Saturday a sit-in protesting the closure of the eastern entrance of the Abud village northwest of Ramallah for the second week in a row.
Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces initially sealed the entrance on Dec. 4 when a village resident, Abed al-Rahman Barghouthi, was killed after the Israeli army said he stabbed an Israeli soldier.
The closure has forced residents of Abud — home to some 3,000 Palestinians, many of whom are Christians — to travel on dangerous roads in order to move in and out of the isolated town.
Head of the village council, Youssef Masaa, told Ma’an Saturday that the closure by Israeli forces has turned the village into a “massive prison.”
Masaa said that the closures have “increased the suffering” of students and workers of the village who have been forced to take long routes to their universities and workplaces.
Such closures have become commonplace since a wave of unrest beginning in October shook the occupied Palestinian territory and has continued into December.
The Hebron district came under repeated lock down last month, and the Tulkarem area on Saturday entered its third day of Israeli blockade.
(Source / 12.12.2015)

Hebron family mourns death of second child in two months

Two other Palestinians were shot dead on Friday, including a 41-year-old man in the Gaza Strip and a 55-year-old man near Hebron city

Jawad Irsheid lamented that what he’s feeling ‘can’t come close to what their mother and father are going through’

HEBRON, Occupied West Bank Thirteen-year-old Mohammed Irshied thought his older brother had only been shot in the leg when he arrived alone to the hospital and asked for his brother’s room number.

“The police officer at the front just looked at me and said ‘your brother isn’t in a room, he’s a martyr now,’” Mohammed told Middle East Eye a few hours later at the mourning hall where friends and family were gathering to show their respects for the young man.

It’s the second time in less than two months that Mohammed has found himself in the same hall mourning a sibling. Israeli forces shot Ouday Irshied, 24, in the chest and leg during clashes in Hebron city on Friday, killing him just six-and-a-half weeks after his sister Dania Irshied, 17, was shot dead at the same city-centre.

Mohammed is now the oldest of his four remaining siblings. He and his brother spent most of their time together. At home they shared a room, and together they ran the family’s small bakery in the centre of town. Dania, he said, was his oldest sister and took care of him like a mother.

“Of course I miss them, but I don’t feel so sad because I know they are martyrs in heaven now,” Mohammed explained.

Jihad Irshied, the boys’ father shakes his sadly, “that is what every kid here will say,” he said.

“The future is so bleak for them, they are oppressed here so much and they have so little hope that all the young people you speak to say they aren’t scared to die, they’re all dreaming to be martyrs – just go ask the kids,” Jihad said, motioning towards a groups of young boys gathered to the side of Mohammed. “It’s not that they don’t love life, they just don’t see any life for themselves.”

The mourning hall was packed with nearly 400 people, some of them family members of the other 118 Palestinians shot and killed by Israeli forces since the start of October.

Jihad was at a gathering for family members of those killed whose bodies have not been released by Israeli authorities when he found out his son was dead. A few hours later, roles had reversed and he became the one greeting mourners.

“I’m just so thankful they aren’t holding either of my children in a refrigerator like some of our martyrs,” Jihad said, his voice always seemingly on the edge of breaking, but without shedding a single tear.

His daughter’s body was released by Israeli forces five days after her death, along with seven others, following several protests in Hebron against the policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians accused of attacks.

Ouday is expected to be buried near his sister Dania in Hebron’s Marytrs’ Cemetery.

“Ouday was heartbroken when Dania was killed,” his father said. “He was her older brother and she was the closest in age to him from all his siblings, anyone would be, but he wasn’t looking to die.”

Jihad said Ouday was engaged and in the middle of building a house before his upcoming wedding. Ouday, like most single young Palestinians his age, attended protests in his area frequently, but his father said he was not overly political, and would have stopped going to clashes once he was married and starting a family.

“He was a normal kid, he loved life, even with all the hardships that come with living here,” his father said.

Around 30 percent of Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces since the start of October have been from the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron.

Ouday’s uncle, Jawad Irshied, said that the people in Hebron have a more “hopeless existence” than other communities in the West Bank.

“We are surrounded here by Israeli settlers, and checkpoints and closed neighbourhoods. Life is always some sort of struggle in Hebron,” Jawad said, motioning to Jihad. “Can you imagine? My brother has lost two of his children, of course I’m sad for the loss of my niece and nephew but what I’m feeling can’t come close to what their mother and father are going through.”

Jihad bowed his head and ran his hands over his face. A pin of his daughter, Dania, next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque was stuck dead centre to his chest. The pin reads “father of the martyr” in Arabic.

As he greets mourners paying respects to his dead son, Jihad Irshied wears a pin of his daughter Dania next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque stuck dead center to his chest. The pin reads “father of the martyr” in Arabic

While Dania was shot dead by Israeli forces in what Israeli authorities have said was an attempted stabbing attack, video footage of the incident has lead many to question the validity of those claims.

In a statement released on 27 October, Amnesty International said it found that Dania’s killing was “absolutely unjustified.”

“Even if Dania [Irsheid] had a knife in her possession, eyewitness accounts indicate she was not posing a threat to Israeli forces when she was shot, and her killing is therefore absolutely unjustified,” the statement said.

Amnesty International added that it had gathered numerous other pieces of evidence that suggest that Israeli forces have used “unwarranted lethal force in what were likely extrajudicial executions.”

Two other Palestinians were shot dead on Friday, including a 41-year-old man in the Gaza Strip who was shot dead during clashes on the border of the enclave and a 55-year-old man who was shot dead following an attempted car ramming attack near Hebron city.

No Israelis were injured in any of the incidents mentioned in this article.

(Source / 12.12.2015)

Israel prevents Tulkarem university from building protective wall

Clashes on Palestine Technical University – Khadoorie in Tulkarem

TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces prevented the administration of Tulkarem’s Palestine Technical University – Khadoorie from building a wall around the campus intended to both protect students and stop clashes, a university administrator said.

A head administrator of the university, Dirar Elayyan, told Ma’an Saturday that Israeli forces prevented the university from erecting the wall, which administrators hoped would prevent non-students from entering the campus.
Following student-organized marches that started in October to protest Israeli violations and raids onto the university campus, campus administrators reported that Israeli forces had positioned themselves at a temporary base on the university’s campus.
Non-students then began to enter the campus and throw stones at the Israeli base, prompting violent clashes that have severely interrupted normal campus life and left several students injured.The university reportedly began preparations to build the wall to prevent the entrance of outsiders last month, however Israeli forces stopped the construction and confiscated a bulldozer, assaulting workers, Elayyan said.
Violence on the occupied West Bank campus has been near-daily over the past month, with nine students injured by live Israeli fire on Friday alone.
(Source / 12.12.2015)

Libyan Saga: UAE and Qatar Fighting for Gaddafi’s Legacy

One of the members of the military protecting a demonstration against candidates for a national unity government proposed by U.N. envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon, is pictured in Benghazi, Libya October 23, 2015.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have a unique opportunity to re-shape the future of post-Gaddafi Libya, but instead they are fuelling an insurgency in the North African region, US experts Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner note.

Since toppling of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi the UAE and Qatar have been struggling for power in Libya; according to US experts Giorgio Cafiero and Daniel Wagner the countries should shift their focus from “military issues to the diplomatic arena” in order to halt the ongoing strife in the region.

“Two Gulf Arab states, the UAE and Qatar, which both played pivotal roles in the Libyan uprising as sponsors of anti-Qaddafi rebels, have emerged as rivals in this grander geopolitical struggle,” Giorgio Cafiero, the Co-Founder of Gulf State Analytics, and Daniel Wagner, the CEO of Country Risk Solutions, narrate in their article for The National Interest.

Interestingly enough, the UAE, along with Egypt, backs the Tobruk-based government, while Qatar, together with Turkey and Sudan, takes the side of the Islamist-led government in Tripoli.”Abu Dhabi and Doha’s proxy war in Libya is illustrative of a division within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is proving highly influential in shaping Libya’s post-Qaddafi political order,” the US experts emphasize.

Incredible as it may seem the apple of discord is the Muslim Brotherhood and its “democracy promotion” in the region. According to the US experts, the Gulf royalties are at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood, since it “promote[s] democratic institutions and espouse[s] social justice concerns across the region.”

Cafiero and Wagner call attention to the fact that the Brotherhood gained power in many countries through Arab Spring elections, prompting deep concerns among Gulf monarchs.

However, the US experts do not specify whether the Arab royals were concerned over the potential prospects of regime change in their realms or the Muslim Brotherhood’s radical Islamist agenda.While Qatar has sponsored the Brotherhood’s branches across the Arab world in order to spread Doha’s influence, the UAE and Egypt have cracked down on the Islamists.

As for Saudi Arabia, it “sits somewhere in the middle.” Still, in Syria, Saudi Arabia sided with Qatar backing Sunni Islamist rebels, including the Muslim Brotherhood, seeking to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, the US experts elaborate.

Cafiero and Wagner note that Qatar has had an active foreign policy agenda since 1995, when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani toppled his father in a palace coup.

According to the experts, one of Qatar’s political instruments is the pan-Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera.

“Al-Jazeera’s coverage of other Arab nations’ affairs prompted several Arab regimes to criticize the network as early as 2002,” they point out.

Quoting WikiLeaks, the experts note that in 2009 the UAE’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed called Qatar a “part of the Muslim Brotherhood” during a meeting with US officials.

As the Brotherhood has gained ground both in Libya and Syria, the UAE has decided to launch an air strike campaign against the Islamist group in Libya.

“The extent to which the UAE has committed itself to countering Islamist groups in Libya was underscored in August 2014, when Emirati pilots flying out of bases in Egypt carried out strikes against Islamist militants seeking control of Tripoli.”

Cafiero and Wagner emphasize that the UAE’s strikes targeting the Muslim Brotherhood’s Libya Dawn contradicted international law. The UAE is also funding anti-Brotherhood Libyan militias.Needless to say, Qatar is doing just the same, sponsoring and sending weapons to Libya Dawn Islamists.

The US experts argue that the Gulf countries should reach a mutually beneficial compromise and halt their proxy war in Libya. They insist that the UAE and Qatar have a unique chance to re-shape the future of post-Gaddafi Libya.

But what about the Muslim Brotherhood and its radical Islamist agenda? On the one hand, some US neoconservative decision-makers are inclined to regard the Brotherhood as the West’s “ally” in the MENA region.

For instance, the Brookings Institution reported in August 2015 that “the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has become an important component of the western-backed Syrian opposition” (“Project on US Relations with the Islamic World”).

Back in 2007, the influential Council on Foreign Relations’ mouthpiece even went so far as to claim the Brotherhood had eventually embraced elections and other “democratic features” and given up their jihadi fight.

At the same, a number of US Senators including Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz introduced a bill in November 2015 seeking to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization.”

The question remains open whether the legislation will be adopted.

(Source / 12.12.2015)