Archive for December 4th, 2011

Tripoli protesters set Hezbollah flags ablaze

July 30, 2011
By Antoine Amrieh

TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Supporters of Syria’s popular uprising set Hezbollah flags ablaze during a small protest in the northern city of Tripoli Friday, while the imam of one of the city’s mosques lashed out at the party and Syria’s Baath party.

Following Friday prayers at the Hamza Mosque in the Qibbeh neighborhood of Tripoli, dozens of worshipers began to march to the nearby Ibn Sina Square, in what has become a weekly rally. The protesters were joined by others from Al-Wadie Mosque.

The demonstrators, some of whom are Syrian students residing in Tripoli, raised Islamic banners and posters of victims of the Syrian regime’s violent response to the uprising, which is now in its fifth month.

They also chanted slogans in support of Syrian protesters, a sign of solidarity and support for the popular movement.

The protesters burned the flags of Hezbollah, Syria’s ruling Baath Party and Israel, and several speeches were made at the Ibn Sina Square.

The imam of the Qibbeh Mosque, Sheikh Zakaria Masri, who speaks at the square each Friday, called on President Michel Sleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati to make Hezbollah into a political party like any other in Lebanon, as a punishment for its domestic use of arms and attempts to dominate Lebanon.

He also lashed out at Hezbollah’s sit-in, which the party held for around 18 months in a bid to topple the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The sit-in ended following the Doha accord.

Masri also lambasted the ruling Baath Party in Syria, saying that the Syrian regime “has used its arms against the Syrian people and commits against them all types of persecution, injustice … arrests, killings and torture only because they demand freedom and oppose the Baath party’s monopoly on power.”

Source: The Daily Star.

Jordanian protesters demand constitutional reform

AMMAN (BNO NEWS) — Thousands of people on Friday took to the streets across Jordan to demand constitutional reform and vowed to continue demonstrating until they witness genuine measures to combat corruption.

Ammon News reported that nearly 4,000 pro-reform demonstrators participated in the rally dubbed “Oath Friday” in downtown Amman following midday prayers. The protesters took an oath in which the movement pledged “to remain the voice of the oppressed and those who are deprived of their freedom.”

Protesters condemned the endemic and rampant corruption in the country, while many chanted slogans such as “The people want to reform the state” and “The people want justice and freedom.” They also demanded public freedoms and rejected any attempt to restrict the media and mislead people through government propaganda.

A number of Islamist leaders and representatives of youth and political opposition movements called for reform in their speeches during the rally and denounced the recent attacks on journalists.

At least 10 journalists were injured on July 15 when policemen tried to disperse protesters in a demonstration organized by a coalition of youth activists. Several cameras were also destroyed or confiscated as journalists covered the pro-reform demonstration in downtown Amman.

Jordanian protesters have been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit’s government for its failure to carry out political reforms. They are also demanding the trial of corrupt officials and have stressed that they will continue protesting until they witness “real and tangible measures” to combat corruption.

Earlier this month, Jordan’s King Abdullah II issued a decree approving a cabinet reshuffle in Bakhit’s government. This was the first reshuffle of the cabinet, which was formed in February after protesters called for the resignation of then-current prime minister Samir Rifai and his government. The previous government was blamed for price hikes, excessive taxation, unemployment, and difficult economic conditions.

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.

Syrian opposition ready to lead

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 29 (UPI) — The Syrian opposition has entered a new phase of organization with the goal of taking on a leadership position once the regime collapses, an activist said.

High-ranking officials in the U.S. State Department told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that despite the repressive tactics used by Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Syrian opposition is starting to articulate an agenda for Syria’s future.

“President Assad can delay or obstruct it but he cannot, however, stop it,” they testified.

Najib Ghadbian, a member of the so-called Syrian Opposition Consultative Council, told London’s pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat the anti-regime movement was preparing to take over the country following the collapse of Assad’s regime.

Assad’s government recently passed measures that allow opposition groups to organize into political parties. The reforms come as Syrian security forces continue their assault on pro-reform demonstrators, leading Washington to question Assad’s regime.

“The opposition is seeking to show the world’s leaders that there is an alternative to the Assad regime that is capable of filling the vacuum in the forthcoming stage,” Ghadbian was quoted as saying.

Syrian security forces fired on anti-government groups protesting in Homs, killing at least one person and injuring several others Friday, CNN reports, citing the Arabic-language Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Jordan jails mentor of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Zarqawi

28 July 2011

The former mentor of Iraq’s slain al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been sentenced to five years in prison in Jordan.

Abu Mohammed al-Maqdessi was convicted of recruiting people in Jordan to join the Taliban in Afghanistan.

He faced a military court with three fellow Palestinian-born Jordanians.

As the ruling was handed down, he shouted at the judges: “Even if you sentence us to death, we will continue to be fighters until the day we die.”

Maqdessi – whose full name is Isam Mohammed Taher al-Barqawi – was often praised by al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US air strike north-east of Baghdad in 2006.

In 1995, the two men were jailed in Jordan for five years for membership of an outlawed Islamist organization, but freed as part of a general amnesty in 1999.

They later fell out over “ideological differences”, said aides quoted by the AFP news agency.

Three other men were tried alongside Maqdessi. The military court sentenced two of them to two-and-a-half years each, while a third was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.

Source: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).