Archive for February 24th, 2012

Jordanian protests worry Saudi king

Sat Aug 27, 2011

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz has expressed concerns about the persistence of protests in Jordan in a letter to the country’s King Abdullah II.

“The political development in Jordan will have a negative impact on Saudi Arabia,” wrote the Saudi King in the letter to his Jordanian counterpart, Fars news agency reported.

“The status of Arab countries such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia are linked together and therefore Saudi Arabia will spare no effort to resolve Jordan’s problems,” the Saudi ruler pledged.

Saudi king’s letter came as protest rallies have been staged across Jordan for the past seven months in efforts to push the government to expand powers of the parliament.

Jordanians have also been demanding lower food prices, a greater participation in politics and the election of a prime minister.

The rise in anti-government protests and mounting political tension in Arab countries such of Jordan, Yemen and Bahrain have worried the US-backed Saudi kingdom and prompted King Abdullah to grant Jordan more than $1.2 billion in financial assistance since the beginning of 2011.

Saudi Arabia has been criticized over its double standards toward anti-government protests in the region. Riyadh has been a strong supporter of opposition groups in Syria, while it has deployed troops in Bahrain to help regime forces crush protesters there.

Source: PressTV.

Lebanon sends aid shipment to Somalia

Sun Aug 28, 2011

Lebanon has sent its first consignment of humanitarian assistance to famine-hit Somalia as millions are on the brink of starvation.

The consignment, comprising rice, sugar, flour, baby milk, and medical supplies, arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday, Lebanon’s The Daily Star reported on Saturday.

The campaign to help Somali famine refugees was launched jointly by the Lebanese government’s Higher Relief Committee, Lebanon’s Health Ministry, and the country’s Dar al-Fatwa Endowment Fund.

Drought and famine have affected more than 11.8 million people across Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Somalia has been the hardest-hit country in what is being described as the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in 60 years.

According to the United Nations, a quarter of Somalia’s 9.9 million people are now either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees.

The UN has declared famine in five regions of Somalia and says that the international humanitarian response to the crisis has been insufficient.

The United Nations says that more than thirteen children out of every 10,000 aged less than five die in the Somalia famine zone every day.

“This means that 10 per cent of children under five are dying every 11 weeks. These figures are truly heart-wrenching,” UN representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga told the UN Security Council on August 10.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Source: PressTV.

Anti-Israel protests held in Saudi Arabia

Fri Aug 26, 2011

As people across the world rally in support of Palestinians, thousands of anti-Israel protesters have taken to the streets in several Saudi Arabian cities and mark the International Quds Day.

Protesters in the town of Awamiyah in the al-Qatif region in the eastern province of the Middle Eastern country have burned the Israeli flag on Friday, witnesses said.

Protesters in the eastern city of Qatif have called on all citizens of the city to join the international rally.

Anti-Israeli protesters also voiced their support for the people of Bahrain and condemned their government for aiding the Al Khalifa regime’s brutal crackdown on peaceful Bahraini protesters.

Saudi Arabia’s east has been the scene of protests over the past months and authorities have arrested scores of people, including bloggers and writers for taking part in anti-government demonstrations.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 160 dissidents have been arrested since February in the Saudi crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan was declared as the International Quds Day by the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, in August 1979.

Millions of people around the world come out on this day to show support for the people of Palestine and to call for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Source: PressTV.

Turkey grows frustrated with Syria

ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 29 (UPI) — Ankara won’t talk with Damascus until the Syrian president carries out promised reforms in the country, a Turkish source said.

Ersat Hurmuzlu, an adviser to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, told London’s pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that Ankara doesn’t have a hidden agenda in Syria, noting the fate of the country in the hands of the people.

His comments echo those from Western officials who’ve issued sweeping condemnations of the bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters while keeping a non-interventionist stance.

An official in the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the newspaper on condition of anonymity that Ankara was “very concerned” by what’s happening in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has issued a series of statements addressing reforms ranging from the right to form political parties to voting measures. Despite pledges of reform, however, the United Nations estimates that at least 2,000 people were killed at the hands of Syrian security forces, including hundreds during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“There will be no dialogue with the Syrian authorities unless they carry out their promises within an acceptable and reasonable period,” the Turkish source said.

More gunfire was reported Monday in Syria near the border with Lebanon.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Jordan, Egypt to sign natural gas deal

Sun, 28/08/2011

Jordan’s energy czar says his country will sign an agreement with Egypt next month to resume natural gas supplies.

Energy Minister Khaled Toukan says several attacks this year on Egypt’s pipeline delivering the fuel may prompt Jordan to look for alternatives, but Jordan will now try to use Egyptian gas to meet its energy needs.

Toukan said Sunday the agreement stipulates higher costs, but declined to say how much.

Jordan depends on Egyptian gas to generate 80 percent of its electricity. The resource-poor country has resorted to heavy fuel and diesel to keep national power plants running. The shift cost Jordan $4.2 million a day.

Source: Egypt Independent.

Jordanians pay price as Syria roils


Border town residents cheer on the Syrian protesters, but feel the sting of trade restrictions placed by Assad’s regime.

RAMTHA, Jordan – A melting pot for refugees from around the world, Jordan has recently welcomed the latest batch of asylum seekers from neighboring Syria, but officials in Amman fear this bite is more than they can chew.

Ever since the popular uprising against the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad took a violent turn five months ago, Jordan’s northernmost towns over the border with Syria have been welcoming dozens of Syrians families and soldiers fleeing crackdown on protesters.

When revolts first broke out across the Arab World at the start of the year, Jordanians here in the city of Ramtha and its neighboring villages were excited at the prospect of despots being brought down. When the unrest spread to Syria, which started in the country’s south not far from Jordan, they welcomed the first wave of Syrian asylum seekers with open arms.

But as the protests wore on and the government of Assad counterattacked with a violent crackdown, the mood shifted. For many residents, cross-border trade is what puts bread on the table, but the crackdown virtually shut the border with Jordan. Syrian authorities refused to allow Jordanian merchants into its territory to buy food and other essentials that supply Ramtha’s stores and markets.

“The siege on this small town sent a message to Jordanian officials that Damascus was ready to cut Jordan from a vital food source in case it supported the revolt,” says Abdullah Zubi, an activist from Ramtha, whose population numbers 100,000 people, making it the biggest town near the border.

The Arab Spring has dealt roughly with Jordan, an American ally, and there is little sign that the regional unrest in abating. At home, King Abdullah has faced protests calling for deep political reforms while chaos in the Sinai Peninsula has cut off the country’s supply of Egyptian natural gas. The economy has had to contend with higher prices for oil and food.

Assad has killed more than 2,000 people in his bid to quell protests against his rule. On Saturday, Syrian forces attacked demonstrators in suburbs of the capital, Damascus, as well in the cities of Deir Al-Zour, Homs and Nawa, human rights activists said. The foreign minister of Iran, Syria’s most important ally, on Saturday called on Assad to “pay heed to the legitimate demands of his people” and warned that a potential power vacuum in Damascus “would bring about unpredictable consequences” for the region.

Jordan imports most of its foodstuffs from Syria or through Syrian territories. So far, the trade line has not been disrupted, but concern is growing that retaliation could lead Syria to seal its borders with Jordan, a blow that the kingdom would find difficult to handle, considering its limited resources and options in the region, say analysts.

But the distress involved more than trade. Several influential businessmen and lawmakers with close links to Syria, hired thugs to stop local residents from taking to the streets in support of the uprising against Assad’s Baath regime, Zubi said. Meanwhile, with protests spreading in Syria and the death toll rising, the exodus intensified from Houran district, the southern tip of Syria and cradle of anti-Assad protests.

Dissidents who arrive in Jordan talk of random killings and arrests as well as looting and sabotage by the Syrian army and civilian groups believed to be close to the under fire regime.

Abdul Rahman, a former Syrian soldier, says he crossed the border on foot from Deraa two months ago, after he refused to shoot at civilians.

“We were given orders to shoot protesters, destroy houses and arrest anyone believed to be a threat,” says Abdul Rahman after performing taraweeh prayer among several Syrian asylum seekers.

The 34-year-old former soldier is seeking asylum with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“I can’t return to Syria as long as the Assad regime is ruling. They arrested my brother and destroyed my house after I escaped to Jordan,” says Abdul Rahman, who often takes part in anti-Assad protests in several cities across Jordan.

In the border town of Mafraq, a tribal stronghold loyal to Jordan’s King Abdullah, several Syrian soldiers cross the landmine infested region in search for safety. Residents say refugees have been welcomed by local families, but there is little public discussion about it for fear of retaliation from the Syrians.

Abu Samara, a tribal leader from Khalidya, is one of the few who are willing to talk about what is happening. He says the livelihood of many Jordanians depends on cross border trade with Syria, including transport of cattle, food items and other merchandise. Scores of residents in Mafraq also work in the smuggling business. Some bring in cigarettes, electric appliances, food items and often drugs.

But more than trade, tribes and families straddle both sides of the border, creating a network of loyalty and mutual support that transcend political and national divisions.

“Jordan and Syria are one country, the people are the same. These borders came into existence only a few years ago, but we still have relatives on the other side of the border and our duty is to help them,” he told The Media Line in a telephone interview.

At Abu Samara’s house lives a Syrian family of six people from Deraa in southern Syria, who arrived nearly two months ago when the Syrian army pushed into the city to silence anti-Assad demonstrators. The parents arrived along with their three daughters and one son.

Political ties between Jordan and Syria, particularly between the fathers of the current two leaders, the late King Hussein and Hafez Assad, have been marred by periodic episodes of tension. While Syria has grown into an ally of Iran and Lebanon’s Shi’ite militant movement Hezbollah, Jordan’s royal family is a traditional ally of the West. In the late 1970s, Syria and Jordan came close to a military confrontation over how to deal with their common neighbor, Israel. In more recent years, relations improved, but they are still fragile as Syria remains in the grip of the Hafez Assad-era old guard.

As the smaller of the two countries and facing its own domestic tensions, Jordan has been sensitive to Syrian concerns. When Syrian dissidents, including renegade soldiers, activists and ordinary citizens, began coming across the border, Amman imposed a media gag on refugees. By comparison, the approximately 7,000 Syrian refugees who have cross into Turkey, on Syria’s north, have been interviewed by the media while dissident leaders routinely meet in Istanbul, the Turkish capital.

Jordanian Ministry of Interior officials insist that the number of Syrians who have fled to Jordan as refugees is limited, pointing out that many Syrians would visit the kingdom in summer for vacation. An official source, who requested anonymity, will admit to only several refugees being welcomed in. Sources at UNHCR said the agency has recently approved requests for asylum from a number of Syrians.

Nevertheless, Jordan has recently accused Syria of siphoning off its underground water and placing the kingdom under strain as it struggles with chronic water shortage and rising population. On August 14, Jordan’s prime minister, for the first time, scolded the Syrian government for resorting to violence to crush protesters and urged an end to violence.

Such remarks could have a profound impact on the already fragile ties between the two sides, say observers.

Source: The Jerusalem Post.

‘فك القيد’ حملة لمعرفة مصير 250 أردنيا في سوريا


خبرني – أطلق ناشطون وحقوقيون وعدد من الأهالي حملة شعبية للدفاع عن المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية حملت اسم ” فك القيد”.
وقالت الحملة في بيان لها صدر الأحد وحصلت ” خبرني ” على نسخة منه الحملة “تهدف لتسليط الضوء على جرائم النظام السوري و الضغط على الحكومة الأردنية حتى تتبنى موقف جاد يكفل عودة المعتقلين”.
وأضاف بيان الحملة إن هذه الخطوة تهدف أيضا “لمتابعة قضية المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية وإعطائها الزخم الشعبي والإعلامي الذي تستحقه”
حيث سيكون باكورة عمل اللجنة مخاطبة الجهات المعنية للعمل على حل قضية المعتقلين وصولا إلى تنفيذ خيمة اعتصام دائم أمام السفارة السورية في عمان حتى تتحقق الحرية للمعتقلين.
وكررت الحملة أسفها “للدور السلبي للحكومة الأردنية ممثلة بوزارة الخارجية في التعامل مع ملف المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية، فما الفائدة من الاتفاقيات البينية والاجتماعات على مستوى رؤساء الوزراء إذ لم نستطع حل قضية المعتقلين”.
وتاليا نص البيان كما وصل ” خبرني ” :
الحملة الوطنية للدفاع عن المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية
” فك القيد”
مازلت اللجنة الوطنية للمعتقلين الأردنيين في الخارج تستغرب نهج النظام السوري في تعاطيه مع قضية المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية، فرغم مرور ما يقرب الأربعة عقود على اعتقال بعض الأردنيين يواصل النظام السوري ضرب الحائط بكافة المواثيق والاتفاقيات العربية والدولية المعنية بحقوق الإنسان، حيث يعاني المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية أبشع صور التعذيب والإهانة.
إن المعتقلين الأردنيين ضحايا ممارسات تعذيب دموية ومهينة حيث يمارس عليهم التعذيب بطريقة الشبح والضرب بكوابل الكهرباء وربط الرجال من بشرهم وجرهم والضرب بالصعقات الكهربائية والتعذيب بالدولاب وخلع الاضافر وإجراء العمليات الجراحية دون وجود أمراض لديهم كما حدث مع المعتقل المفرج عنه حافظ ابو عصبة والذي خلعت أضافره وأسنانه بالكماشة.
إننا في اللجنة الوطنية للمعتقلين الأردنيين في الخارج نرى القصور الكبير من قبل الحكومة الأردنية في متابعة هذا الملف الإنساني الذي يمس ما يقارب الـ 250 مواطن أردني يقبعون في السجون السورية، والسؤال الذي نطرحه على الحكومة اين موقفك من النظام السوري الذي ينتهك اتفاقية الرياض التي تنص في احد بنودها ” انه في حال صدر عفو عام أو خاص يجب أن يشمل كافة المعتقلين بغض النظر عن جنسيتهم” كما هو مطبق في الأردن.إن العفو العام الأخير الذي أصدره بشار الأسد عبارة عن عفو كرتوني حبر على ورق لم يستفيد منه الأردنيين وما زال الأردنيين في غياهب السجون السورية يتلقون أبشع صور التعذيب في فرع 251 على يد سجانهم المدعو أبو غضب.
اليوم وبعد مرور كل هذا الزمان على استمرار اعتقال الأردنيين في السجون السورية منهم أربعة سيدات على رأسهم وفاء عبيدات المعتقلة منذ العام 1985 لا يرق للنظام السوري جفن ولم يصحوا ضميره تجاه الأمهات اللاتي جفت عيونهن من البكاء على أبنائهن.إننا في اللجنة الوطنية للمعتقلين الأردنيين نحمل النظام السوري وعلى رأسه بشار الأسد المسؤولية عن سلامة المعتقلين الأردنيين، مؤكدين أن مصيره سيكون المحاسبة أمام القضاء العادل الذي سيقتص منه.
ونكرر أسفنا للدور السلبي للحكومة الأردنية ممثلة بوزارة الخارجية في التعامل مع ملف المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية، فما الفائدة من الاتفاقيات البينية والاجتماعات على مستوى رؤساء الوزراء إذ لم نستطع حل قضية المعتقلين.
ولمتابعة قضية المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية وإعطائها الزخم الشعبي والإعلامي الذي تستحقه فقد أطلق مجموعة من الحقوقيين والناشطين وأهالي المعتقلين الحملة الوطنية للدفاع عن المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية تحت عنوان ” فك القيد” والتي تهدف لتسليط الضوء على جرائم النظام السوري و الضغط على الحكومة الأردنية حتى تتبنى موقف جاد يكفل عودة المعتقلين.وسيكون باكورة عمل اللجنة معادة مخاطب الجهات المعنية للعمل على حل قضية المعتقلين وصولا إلى تنفيذ خيمة اعتصام دائم أمام السفارة السورية في عمان حتى تتحقق الحرية للمعتقلين. .
منسق الحملة الوطنية للدفاع عن المعتقلين الأردنيين في السجون السورية ” فك القيد”
المحامي عبد الكريم الشريدة
وفيما يلي اسماء عدد من المعتقلين والمفقودين الأردنيين في سوريا
1 – عاهد عبدالله علي الخريسات موجود ومعتقل لدى شعبة فلسطين زنزانة رقم 6 ويلقب ابو الطيب.
2 – ابراهيم عبدالله فايز الشوا، دخل سوريا بتاريخ 6/9/2006 اعتقل منذ دخوله ويعاني من مرض نفسي ويعالج في مستشفيات وزارة الصحة.
3 – حاتم عبدالرحيم محمد البوريني، مفقود في سوريا، غادر الى سوريا في 22/2/2005.
4 – جبر محمد خليل عثمان البستنجي معتقل في السجون السورية منذ 24 عاما.
5 – عماد ابراهيم عبدالهادي محمد الدواية، معتقل منذ 25 سنة.
6 – بشار شريف علي صالح.
7 – خالد محمد عبدالرحيم جابر العموري، معتقل منذ 1982 وهو في سجن تدمر.
8 – محمد خميس الصعبي مفقود في سوريا منذ عام 1983.
9 – احمد فؤاد نمر بشير، معتقل منذ 1982 بسوريا.
10- باسم خميس سمور صقر معتقل منذ 1991 في سوريا.
11 – خالد محمد حسين ظاهر معتقل في سوريا في سجن سدناية وهو محكوم 20 عاما.
12 – حسيب نديم صالح.
13 – وفاء فهمي علي عبيدات، طالبة طب اسنان جامعة دمشق، اعتقلت مساء 17 تشرين اول منذ 1986 من قبل الفرع (251) في المخابرات العامة. وبعد التحقيق معها سلمت للفرع (285) في كفر سوسة.
14 – هاني فهمي علي عبيدات، اعتقل عام 1986 من قبل الفرع (251).
15 – وليد ايوب بركات، في سجن سديانة.
16 – عماد العنابي سكان اربد موجود حاليا في سجن صدنايا .
17 – ابراهيم حسن علي الصقور، موجود في السجن منذ عام 1999 في سجن صدنايا، حكم 15 سنة.
18 – محمد جابر عبد الغني، معتقل منذ عام 1982، ما زال موجودا في سجن صدنايا.
19 – سعيد حتاملة، معتقل منذ عام 1985 سجن صدنايا.
20 – محمد طه عبد المحسن معوسة، موجود داخل السجن باسم مستعار وائل الرمحي.
21 – خالد محمد عبدالرحيم جابر العموري، معتقل منذ عام 1982 في سجن صدنايا.
22 – عمر احمد بدران بدير.
23 – اسامة بشير بطاينة.
24 – يسري احمد يوسف الحايك.
25 – شيخة احمد يوسف الحايك .
26 – ميسر جميل العيساوي، معتقلة منذ عام 1985.
27 – حاتم عبدالله خلف زريقات، وكان الاعتقال في حمص منذ تاريخ 4/3/1981.
28 – احمد محمد اسماعيل زعترة، معتقل منذ عام 1994.
29 – نبيل حسن مصطفى ابو حجاب. 30 – عماد ابراهيم عبدالهادي حمد، معتقل منذ 1988.
31 – خالد عزيز عارف حرزالله، 32 – عدنان محمد محمود حموضة، اعتقل منذ عام 1985 .
33 – خليل نايف مبروك، معتقل منذ عام 1985
34 – بهاء وجيه الشنطي، مفقود منذ عام 1990 اعتقل اثناء عودته من السويد.
35 – عبد الواحد محمود اسعيد (ابو علاء) معتقل منذ 28 عاما.

36 – منذر عبد الكريم نمر تايهة، معتقل منذ عام 1976
37 – كايد صالح حسن ابو جيش .
38 – عماد نايف جبر كناني، معتقل منذ عام 1999 بسجن صدنايا.
39 – خالد ابراهيم يوسف بشابشة، معتقل منذ ستة شهور.
40 – خالد صادق محمود صبيح، طالب صيدلة في تركيا معتقل في سوريا.
41 – عدلي سليم عبدالقادر عبده.
42 – فيصل حماد بن سعيد.
43 – ابراهيم عبدالعال.
44 – جهاد القشة .
45 – ملاك ابراهيم علي الرملاوي .
46 – سمر الخطيب.
47 – امين يوسف جمعة .
48 – محمود صوالحة.
49- عبدالكريم ابو عيشة. معتقل منذ عام 1978 .
50 – عبد الفتاح حسن ابو سنية .
51 – ياسر صالح حسن ادريس.

المصدر: خبرني.

Syrian death toll rises as government crackdown continues

DAMASCUS (BNO NEWS) — At least eight people were killed on Friday during anti-regime demonstrations across Syria, a rights group said on Saturday.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria (LCC), a network of Syrian opposition activists, said eight protesters were killed during demonstrations which took place across the country on Friday, which was dubbed a day of “patience and determination.” According to CNN, at least one person was wounded when security forces opened fire on a group of demonstrators in the Bab Sbaa neighborhood of Homs during a funeral of a man killed Thursday by sniper fire.

In a separate incident, security forces fired on a car, wounding at least one man outside Damascus, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. At least one demonstrator was also wounded when Syrian security forces opened fire in Deir Ezzor.

The crackdown continued on early Saturday when security forces surrounding the Rifaie Mosque in the Damascus suburb of Kafr Sousa fired tear gas on thousands of worshipers as they ended their prayers and tried to leave the building, CNN reported. The LCC also reported that security forces were making random arrests outside the mosque.

In the restive city of Daraa, security forces fired randomly in an attempt to disperse two groups of demonstrators. Tanks surrounded more than 2,000 protesters and two armored vehicles outside Daraa’s Omari Mosque, according to CNN which cited LCC.

Meanwhile, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported that 11 army and security forces were killed by “terrorist groups” in Homs and Deir Ezzor. Another 16 soldiers were wounded, the agency claimed.

The violence occurred on one of the most holy days of Ramadan and on the same day that a United Nations team concluded that there is “an urgent need to protect civilians from the excessive use of force” after completing a five-day humanitarian mission to Syria.

The August 20-25 mission added that “the constant presence of government officials” limited the visitors’ ability to assess the situation. “However, the people it was able to talk to in areas of previous or ongoing unrest said they felt extremely intimidated and under constant threat,” the UN said.

This week, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said that more than 2,200 people have been killed in Syria since pro-democracy demonstrations began in Syria in mid-March as part of a broader uprising across North Africa and the Middle East that has led to the toppling of entrenched regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and conflict in Libya. More than 350 people have reportedly been killed since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on August 1.

The Syrian government has repeatedly claimed that the violent acts have been instigated by terrorists who use military uniforms and weaponry to pose as soldiers while attacking citizens but these claims have been rejected by residents, human rights groups, and the international community.

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Source: WireUpdate.