Archive for November 13th, 2011

Hezbollah warns Israel over gas fields

Mon Jul 18, 2011

Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has warned Israel against violating Lebanese sovereignty by exploring disputed waters in the Mediterranean Sea for offshore gas fields.

“The Israeli enemy cannot drill a single meter in these waters to search for gas and oil if the zone is disputed,” said Mohammed Raad, head of the Hezbollah parliamentary bloc, AFP reported on Sunday.

Raad added that the Lebanese government, where Hezbollah holds the majority, will restore the sovereignty of their waters in their entirety.

The controversy over the eastern Mediterranean gas deposits has intensified since July 12 when Tel Aviv approved a map of Israel’s proposed maritime borders with Lebanon.

Last week, Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour stated that the maritime frontier as proposed by Israel, which cuts through Lebanon’s economic zone, threatened regional security.

Israel has long been trying to develop several large offshore natural gas fields in the hope that, by exploiting them, it could turn into an energy exporter.

Some of the natural gas fields are shared with Cyprus.

Meanwhile, Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s minister of energy and water, has also stressed that Beirut will not abandon its maritime rights, voicing serious concerns about Israeli “violations of (Lebanese) waters, territory and airspace, and … oil rights.”

The Israeli military invaded southern Lebanon in July 2006 with the intention of eliminating the resistance movement. The invasion, also known as the 33-Day War, killed about 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians.

Hezbollah, however, inflicted heavy losses on the Israeli forces and Tel Aviv was compelled to withdraw without having achieved any of its objectives.

Israel violates Lebanese airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes.

Lebanon’s government, the Hezbollah resistance movement, and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, have repeatedly condemned the overflights, saying they are in clear violation of the country’s sovereignty and the UN Resolution 1701, which calls on Tel Aviv to respect Beirut’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Source: PressTV.

Jordanians protest govt. brutality

Sun Jul 17, 2011

Dozens of Jordanians protest the government’s recent brutality against the journalists, who were trying to cover anti-regime rallies.

The protesters, who consisted of journalists and human rights activists, staged a sit-in in the capital, Amman, on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

They voiced outrage at the police brutality against scores of journalists during anti-government demonstrations on Friday.

At least ten people were injured during the crackdown with witnesses saying that some of the assaulted journalists had suffered bruises and fractures.

The Jordan Press Association, who joined the expression of objection, said it would file lawsuits against those involved in the assault.

Tareq Momani, the association’s president said that the reporters were only “doing their job.”

Emboldened by the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, Jordanians have been staging sporadic popular protests since January.

During the Friday rallies, they repeated their demand for the resignation of the prime minister, dissolution of the parliament and implementation of political and economic reforms.

Source: PressTV.

Syrian forces surround border town

ALBOKAMAL, Syria, July 18 (UPI) — Syrian security forces were poised to begin a major military operation to quash dissent in an eastern town where dozens of soldiers defected, residents said.

At least 1,000 troops, some backed by tanks, surrounded Albokamal, near the Iraqi border Monday in an “explosive” situation, the pro-government private daily newspaper al-Watan reported.

The army was “preparing to intervene,” the newspaper said, but Syrian authorities feared fierce resistance among insurgents who could “easily find logistical and political support.”

Until now, the military largely stayed out of Albokamal and Deir el-Zour, a city of more than 500,000 on the Euphrates River, also near Iraq, out of fear its presence could ignite tribal anger against the government, The New York Times reported.

The tribes wield great influence and have relations with tribes in Iraq, the Times said.

“I expect the regime to send more troops to seize the city and punish those soldiers who defected,” an Albokamal resident who arrived in Damascus Sunday told the U.S. newspaper. “It will be a big mistake to let the army enter our city.”

The troops arrived a day after security forces and armed plainclothes men killed five protesters in Albokamal, including a 14-year-old boy.

The killings brought thousands of angry residents into the streets, overwhelming the security forces, the Times said, and video posted on YouTube indicated.

Residents of Hama told the BBC Monday that 50 protesters arrested recently have been freed and government offices have reopened.

The city has been under opposition control since the security forces withdrew in June. Activists have lifted their checkpoints and let businesses reopen in return for a halt to raids.

In Homs, sectarian violence was reported over the weekend.

The Observatory for Human Rights told the BBC a pro-regime militia attacked a Sunni Muslim neighborhood, killing 30 people, after the mutilated corpses of three Alawites, members of President Bashar Assad’s sect, were found.

Human rights activists say at least 1,400 protesters were killed in the Assad regime’s crackdown on dissent since March and more than 12,000 people were still detained, most without being charged.

The government disputes death toll and blames the unrest on Islamist extremists, accusing them of killing hundreds of soldiers and other security forces.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Jordan riot police held over Amman clashes

17 July 2011

The Jordanian authorities have detained four police officers on suspicion of using excessive force against pro-democracy protesters and journalists.

Friday saw baton-wielding police officers clash with dozens of demonstrators trying to set up a protest camp in the center of the capital Amman.

At least 15 people were injured in the confrontation.

Among them were several photographers and journalists.

This has led to claims that police targeted reporters to stop them covering the protest.

About 100 journalists held a protest in Amman on Sunday to condemn the police action.

Police spokesman Lt Col Mohamed al-Khatib said an investigation was under way to determine whether policemen had broken the law. He said more officers could be arrested.

The Jordan Press Association has said it plans to sue the country’s police department.

Jordan, in common with Arab nations across the Middle East, has seen the recent emergence of a protest movement demanding political and economic reforms, and an end to corruption.

Source: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Protesters denounce attack on journalists

By Hani Hazaimeh

AMMAN – Some 200 people gathered at the Jordan Press Association (JPA) headquarters on Monday to denounce an attack on journalists by riot police on Friday.

The protesters carried banners that read “The media want to try the assailants and those who gave the orders” and “Condemnation and apologies are not enough and will not stop us from seeking justice”.

The protest was preceded by a JPA council meeting during which the members discussed how to bring an end to assaults on journalists.

Last Friday, riot police allegedly attacked journalists covering the first open-ended sit-in in the Kingdom since that of March 24, which also ended in violence and witnessed attacks against reporters.

Friday’s protest attracted some 300 local and international journalists, who almost outnumbered the pro-reform protesters.

Despite a series of preventative measures taken by police and media organizations to protect journalists, including the issuance of orange vests and an instant hotline to lodge complaints, the first hour of what was to be a peaceful sit-in soon witnessed attacks on members of the press, according to journalists.

Media activists said 20 journalists were injured and around 15 sent to hospital.

“The JPA will pursue legal action to prosecute those responsible for the attack on our colleagues,” JPA President Tareq Momani told The Jordan Times yesterday, adding that the JPA council called on all journalists who were attacked by the police to file a complaint.

“We want an independent ad hoc investigation committee to identify those responsible for the attack to bring them to justice. We also want to be part of any investigation and we want a daily update of the procedures,” he said at the protest, which also saw the participation of Hamzah Mansour, secretary general of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He expressed the IAF’s support for and solidarity with the media, claiming that “Friday’s incident and the attack on members of the March 24 youth movement at the Interior Ministry Circle earlier this year were engineered by the same party”.

The Public Security Department has also launched an investigation and suspended four police officers for their role in the violence.

Momani described the arrest of four policemen as “a joke” and insisted that those who took part in the attack, whether physically or by issuing orders, must be held accountable and brought to justice.

Meanwhile, MP Jamil Nimri, also a columnist, condemned the attack and charged that whoever orchestrated it aimed to prevent the media from reporting the incident.

18 July 2011

Source: The Jordan Times.

Syrian Forces Surround Town

By Shannon Liao
July 17, 2011

Syrian police forces on Sunday surrounded a town on the eastern border with Iraq after tens of thousands of residents staged protests denouncing President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reported.

Protesters in Albu Kamal were encouraged to come to the streets by recent defections of some security personnel, according to the report.

Around 1,000 loyal military and security personnel surrounded the town overnight with tanks and helicopters.

Media and Syrian human right groups put the number of killed over the past four months of unrest at between 1,400 and 1,900.

Security forces have been shooting protesters and are responsible for most of the killings, according to Hozan Ibrahim, a spokesperson for the rights group, Local Coordination Committees of Syria.

An activist told Reuters that tribal leaders are negotiating with the army to arrange a deal to return previously seized army vehicles and weapons and in return army troops will stay out of Albu Kamal and nearby villages.

On Saturday, military agents killed five protesters including a 14-year-old boy.

Source: The Epoch Times.