News

  • Hisense lance son téléviseur intelligent à écran incurvé 4K ULED(TM) H10 Series de 65 pouces NEW YORK, 29 août 2015 / PRNewswire — Hisense a lancé son téléviseur intelligent à écran incurvé 4K ULED H10 Series de 65 pouces lors d’un événement organisé au Edison Ballroom et animé par le commentateur de NBC Sports Leigh Diffey. L’ULED (Ultra LED) est une technologie tout à fait révolutionnaire d’affichage sur écran LCD […]..
  • Buhari Assures D'Tigers of Adequate Govt Support (allAfrica.com) President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the Nigerian national men's Basketball team, D'Tigers, of the Federal Government's support to prepare and perform well at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The President gave the assurance yesterday wh.....
  • Debbah Calls 26 Players for Tunisia Clash (allAfrica.com) Liberia's Lone Star Head Coach, James SalinsaDebbah, has named 26 players for the crunch duel against Tunisia on September 5, 2015 at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) in Monrovia in the second match of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. - Debbah has finally left out informed striker Patrick 'Ronaldinho' Wleh who plies his trade in the Malaysian Premier League with PKNS. - To aggravate fans of the informed striker worldwide, the Lone Star coach dropped Turkey-based Tonia Tisdell, but rather called LPRC Oilers striker, James Soto Roberts instead of Wleh. - The action by Liberia's Lone Star's head coach has raised serious talking points in many quarters. - Debbah also called Trokon Zeon, who is a complete customer to the bench at LISCR FC as far as competitive football is concerned. - The list released by Lone Star struggling Coach James Debbah brings to the limelight a chunk of talking points as far as performance or current form is concerned. There has been no competitive football in Indonesia for close to a year, yet player Adolphus Marshall is being selected from there. With the news that Tonia Tisdell cannot be reportedly reached, Wleh was still not given a call, something which many keen Lone Star followers believe is personal. - What yard stick has been used to select dreadful Omega Roberts, understudy Trokon Zeon who is still unable to break into his own team, LISCR FC first eleven and literally inactive James Soto Roberts whose International Transfer Certificate (ITC) has since been sent to Seychelles where he is soon to play? - He is no longer in the plans of the Oilers as he is a spectator now in the local league where he is often in the stand awaiting ticket to travel, but hurriedly assembled Coaches James SalinsaDebbah and Kelvin Sebwe are saying he is still useful than those playing week in week out. - Two Breweries players left the local scene for more than a month for Ghana trying to acquire a visa to travel to a European nation. Despite such long stay in the former Gold Coast, Murphy Oscar Dolley and Raymond Fanciah are being preferred to informed lads here who are as well active. - The Debbah led technical crew said Trokon Zeon was selected because no local player has the experience he has, a complete pathological lie as no non outfield player is experienced than Solomon Wesseh, alias Jean Pierre, as far as rating local talents are concerned. - The whole selection process is topsy-turvy and with no Christopher Jackson, who is the best local player of the moment with six goals from five matches since his transfer from Keitrace FC to LISCR FC, Sam Kollie, Patrick 'Ronaldinho' Wleh, Theo Weeks, Melvin Kicmett, Kesselly Kamara, Bill Hiah, Samuel Thompson, Julius Nah, Prince Balde, MalvinBlapoh, Fred Brooks and etc. as per those selected though they are all useful. It remains disappointing relative to players selection in this part of the world. - See Coach Debbah's selection below - Goalkeepers: - Nathaniel Sherman (BYC, Local) - Tommy Sango (LISCR FC, Local) - Sampson Gidding (FC Fassell) - SayleeSwen (LPRC Oilers, Local) - Defenders - Right back: - Solomon Grimes (Nea Salamis Famagusta, Cyprus) - Trokon Zeon (LISCR FC, Local) - Left Back: - GizzieDorbor (HapoelAfula, Israel) - Adolphus Marshall (Unattached) - Aloysius Simujila (FC Fassell) - Central Defenders - Teah Dennis (Al-Ahli, Jordan) - DirkirGlay (GorMahia, Kenya) - Omega Roberts (FK DonjiSremPećinci, Serbia) - Raymond Farciah(Local, in Ghana) - Midfields - Patrick Gehardt(Sarawak FA, Malaysia) - Anthony Laffor (Mamelodi, Sundowns South Africa) - SporoSomah (Sewe Sports, Ivory Coast) - Murphy Oscar Dolley (Local, in Ghana) - Herron Barrian (Platanias, Greece) - ZahKrangar (Felda United FC, Malaysia) - SekouJabateh (Al-Gharafa, Qatar) - Forwards - Francis Grandpa Doe(NS Matrix, Malaysia) - William Jebor(SD Ponferradina, Spain) - Soto Roberts (LPRC Oilers, Local) - SekuConneh (Fortuna Sittard, Holland) - Sam Johnson(Djurgårdens IF, Sweden) - Mark Paye (BYC Oilers, Local)..
  • Buhari Congratulates D'Tigers, Assures Team of Full Support Ahead of Olympics (allAfrica.com) President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the national men's basketball team, D'Tigers, on their victory over Angola in yesterday's final of the FIBA Africa Basketball Championship in Tunisia. "President Buhari joins other sports-l.....
  • Mediterranean Beach Games, Sea Rowing - Algeria Finishes Third (allAfrica.com) Algeria ranked third in the sea rowing event with three medals (2 silver and 1 bronze), at the end of the last day of the competition as part of the Mediterranean Beach Games 2015, taking place from 28 August to 6 September in Pescara .....
  • Confronting the Dictatorial Past in Tunisia - the Politicization of Transitional Justice [analysis] (allAfrica.com) In Tunisia, soon after the fall of the Ben Ali regime in January 2011, the toolkit of transitional justice was almost immediately put in place. Countless conferences, workshops and seminars were organized by the international communit.....
  • Major US Industrial Union Joins BDS Movement (Arutz Sheva) A major industrial union in the United States has voted in favor of supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Citing the Jewish state's "long history of violating the human rights of th.....
  • Organisers Fix Date for Qualifiers, As Registration Begins (allAfrica.com) Qualifying matches for the 2016 Five-A-Side World Football Championship billed to hold in Bangkok, Thailand, next year would kick off at different zones across Nigeria from November 4 to December 19, the organisers have revealed. Acco.....
  • Afrobasket2015 - Angolan Supporters Expected in Tunisia (allAfrica.com) The minister of Youth and Sports, Gonçalves Muandumba, said on Friday to Angop in Luanda that a group of Angolan supporters are travelling this Saturday morning to Rades (Tunisia) to back up the national team that will face Tunisia in the semi-finals of Afobasket2015. - According to the minister, who was speaking at the end of sports activities under the commemorations of the 73rd birthday of the Head of State, José Eduardo dos Santos, marked on August28, pointed out that there is an effort being made, together with the National Spontaneous Movement (MNE) for the presence of these Angolans in Rades. - "There is an effort being made, together with the National Spontaneous Movement (MNE) to see if it is still possible to take this Saturday the Angolan supporters to Tunisia because the most important thing is to win the game and thus qualify for the final", he said. - According to the minister, the aim is that Angolan fans may be in the pavilion and make some noise in the positive sense so as to push and encourage the players of the national team to victory. - Angop learnt from the 2nd vice president of the National Spontaneous Movement, António Manuel Fiel "Didi", that the group is comprised by 100 supporters who travelled to Rades, in the early hours of Saturday in flight from the flag carrier TAAG...
  • Ground troops needed to defeat Daesh (The Jordan Times) Daesh is still recruiting more Europeans, Tunisians, Saudi Arabians and Jordanians. A monthly salary of $700 for new jihadists is a tempting income for unemployed youth in areas where more than 47 per cent of the population lives under the United Nations accepted poverty line. - Recent reports indicate that more than 15,000 jihadists were killed as a result of the air attacks launched by the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The same reports indicate, however, that this left no dent on Daesh. - From Jordan, the group’s flag is visible, hoisted on the nearest Iraqi border town of Ramadi, where the Iraqi army, lacking the willpower to fight, withdrew without combat, just as it did a year ago from Mosul. - Although the Jordanian security forces are alert to all the challenges, and no immediate danger threatens our people, we have to realise the nature of the renownedmoving sands of Arabian political developments where ideological volcanoes erupt unexpectedly. - Years ago, it would have been a nightmare to imagine an Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group, Jabhat Al Nusra, controlling the Syrian border town of Daraa, as well as large swathes of land on the Golan Heights. - It would have also been unbelievable to say that half of Qadhafi’s military arsenal would end up in the hands of Wilayet Sinai Province militias who profess allegiance to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and his Daesh Iraqi lieutenants. - Though some of the militias in Sinai are Egyptians, many are Palestinians who had acquired their fighting skills and guerrilla warfare tactics while fighting the red army in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Others are Arab bedouins, from the Naqab Desert and the city of Beir Saba who have their tribal and personalvendetta against both the Egyptians and the Israeli occupation officers. - Daesh managed to raise a fortune from the sale of oil on the black market, as well as from the sale of rare antiquities from Iraq and Palmyra. - Its full coffers are open to those organisations that declared allegiance to Baghdadi, like Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Mujahedeen in Libya or the Fighting Vanguards in Algeria. - To put an end to Daesh, ground troops have to be sent to fight them, including a Unified Military Contingent as proposed by Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby. - Tehran, with its vested interest in Iraq, might be of great help to those ground forces. - The Daesh tentacles have already reached Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Tunisia. - Though the Jordanian security forces have neutralised Daesh domestically, proactive action should be taken to defeat the group by ground troops...
  • Ground troops needed to defeat Daesh (The Jordan Times) Daesh is still recruiting more Europeans, Tunisians, Saudi Arabians and Jordanians. A monthly salary of $700 for new jihadists is a tempting income for unemployed youth in areas where more than 47 per cent of the population lives under the United Nations accepted poverty line. - Recent reports indicate that more than 15,000 jihadists were killed as a result of the air attacks launched by the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The same reports indicate, however, that this left no dent on Daesh. - From Jordan, the group’s flag is visible, hoisted on the nearest Iraqi border town of Ramadi, where the Iraqi army, lacking the willpower to fight, withdrew without combat, just as it did a year ago from Mosul. - Although the Jordanian security forces are alert to all the challenges, and no immediate danger threatens our people, we have to realise the nature of the renownedmoving sands of Arabian political developments where ideological volcanoes erupt unexpectedly. - Years ago, it would have been a nightmare to imagine an Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group, Jabhat Al Nusra, controlling the Syrian border town of Daraa, as well as large swathes of land on the Golan Heights. - It would have also been unbelievable to say that half of Qadhafi’s military arsenal would end up in the hands of Wilayet Sinai Province militias who profess allegiance to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and his Daesh Iraqi lieutenants. - Though some of the militias in Sinai are Egyptians, many are Palestinians who had acquired their fighting skills and guerrilla warfare tactics while fighting the red army in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Others are Arab bedouins, from the Naqab Desert and the city of Beir Saba who have their tribal and personalvendetta against both the Egyptians and the Israeli occupation officers. - Daesh managed to raise a fortune from the sale of oil on the black market, as well as from the sale of rare antiquities from Iraq and Palmyra. - Its full coffers are open to those organisations that declared allegiance to Baghdadi, like Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Mujahedeen in Libya or the Fighting Vanguards in Algeria. - To put an end to Daesh, ground troops have to be sent to fight them, including a Unified Military Contingent as proposed by Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby. - Tehran, with its vested interest in Iraq, might be of great help to those ground forces. - The Daesh tentacles have already reached Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Tunisia. - Though the Jordanian security forces have neutralised Daesh domestically, proactive action should be taken to defeat the group by ground troops...
  • Egyptian Ambassador honours Tunisian, Cypriot counterparts upon winding up Lebanon mission NNA - Egyptian Ambassador to Lebanon, Dr. Mohammad Badreddine Zayed, held a dinner banquet on Thursday night in honour of the Ambassadors of Tunisia and Cyprus, upon winding up their diplomatic missions in Lebanon, in presence of Greek Ambassador, Theo.....
  • Hisense Launches 4K ULED(TM) H10 Series Curved Smart TV – 65″ Class NEW YORK, Aug. 28, 2015 / PRNewswire — Hisense launched their Hisense 4K ULED H10 Series Curved Smart TV – 65″ Class at an event held at the Edison Ballroom and hosted by NBC Sports commentator Leigh Diffey. ULED is a game-changing LCD display technology from the Chinese electronics company. Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150827/261484 During the […]..
  • U.S. Fully Willing to Support Tunisia's Democratic Transition (allAfrica.com) Tunisia-U.S. co-operation in the legal and judicial fields was discussed at a meeting Friday in Tunis between Minister of Justice Mohamed Salah Ben Issa and US Deputy Assistant Secretary Alexander Arvizu. Arvizu reaffirmed his country.....
  • U.S. Fully Willing to Support Tunisia's Democratic Transition (allAfrica.com) Tunisia-U.S. co-operation in the legal and judicial fields was discussed at a meeting Friday in Tunis between Minister of Justice Mohamed Salah Ben Issa and US Deputy Assistant Secretary Alexander Arvizu. Arvizu reaffirmed his country.....
  • International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances - Snapshot On a Widespread Practice [press release] (allAfrica.com) On 30 August each year, the international community observes the International day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, established by the United Nations in December 2010. - Last year, this day represented the chance for the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) to "urge Governments to support relatives of the disappeared by removing all obstacles hindering their search for loved ones, including through the opening of all archives, especially military files." - Today, reiterating this call to all Arab States, Alkarama presents numerous cases of enforced disappearances that it recently documented, such as in Egypt, where over 1,000 people are believed to have been abducted since the beginning of 2015; in conflict-ridden countries such as Libya, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, where both the government and armed groups use the practice of enforced disappearance as a tool to spread terror within the populations; and in countries thought to be more "progressive", such as in the United Arab Emirates, where we are currently witnessing a troubling pattern of enforced disappearance practiced by State security actors in the form of prolonged incommunicado detention in secret places. - North Africa: focus on Algeria, Libya and Tunisia - Algeria still carries the marks of the "dark years"; in the 1990s, thousands of people were subject to enforced disappearances, with total impunity and no chance for their families to see those crimes recognised by the Algerian authorities. - One emblematic case is that of the Bourefis family, who, faced with the Algerian authorities' refusal to shed light on the fate of their relatives, addressed the UN Human Rights Committee (HRCtee) which, in 2014, urged the Algerian government to investigate the cases of Tahar and Bachir Bourefis and insisted on its obligation to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of such abuses as well as to provide adequate compensation to the family, so as to ensure the non-repetition of such violations in the future. - In response, the Algerian authorities took retaliatory measures against the family, summoning them to the Court to question them on the reasons of their appeals to the HRCtee, with the aim to further intimidating them. - In Libya, the practice of enforced disappearances has left the families of the victims in total ignorance about the circumstances of their relatives' death. - Such is the case of the family of a young air force pilot, who disappeared following his arrest without warrant by internal security agents in 1989, and for whom the family only received a vague death certificate devoid of detail. Enforced disappearance in Libya, however, is not a practice of the past. - To the contrary, and especially due to the prevailing political and security situation, this practice has become systematic. In fact, the army and the militias are responsible for numerous abductions and subsequent enforced disappearance in the country. On 20 October 2014, a young Deputy Prosecutor was abducted in front of the Arab Medical University in the Belaon neighbourhood of Benghazi by the "Battalion 21", a militia aligned with the Libyan Army. - Unlike in Algeria and Libya where the practice of enforced disappearances is endemic because of the impunity that prevails, in Tunisia this practice is closer to that of incommunicado detention, which becomes systematic for terrorism suspects. Except for one case of disappearance documented by Alkarama in early 2010 that remains unresolved to this day, victims are generally either abducted at night, without an arrest warrant, and secretly detained for several days during which they are subject to torture. - Among such cases are that of a young man accused of terrorist links and that of a 20-year-old woman suspected to have managed two Facebook accounts linked to a terrorist movement, allegations that she firmly denies. Both victims are still detained in horrendous conditions and without having been examined by a doctor despite the fact that the judge was witness to the clear marks of torture on their respective bodies. - Nile Region: focus on Egypt - The Arab country in which the situation is most concerning is Egypt, which has become the scene of a grave escalation of enforced disappearances, to the extent that this practice is now considered widespread and systematic, which amounts to a crime against humanity according to Article 7 of the Rome Statute. - According to Alkarama's estimations, more than 1,000 individuals have been abducted across the country since the beginning of 2015 and, if some individuals have reappeared since, many remain disappeared to date while others have been arbitrarily killed without any investigations launched into their deaths. - Alkarama has documented numerous cases of enforced disappearances, including that of a 16-year-old child along with six other men, of students and of a former Member of Parliament, illustrating that this practice affects all fringes of the population. - In fact, the Security Forces act in total impunity, and judicial bodies, such as the public prosecution, are not always made aware of the arrests they conduct. Moreover, many individuals who secretly detained inside Security Forces camps or police stations have been subjected to all kind of tortures, such as this young charity worker arrested by the Homeland Security on 22 September 2014 and secretly detained and tortured for 119 days. - Alkarama also documented cases where individuals had only reappeared after confessing under torture to crimes that they could not have committed since they were detained when these crimes occurred, such as the case of six men who were then sentenced to death by a military court before being executed on 17 May 2015. - Mashreq Region: focus on Iraq and Syria - In Iraq and Syria, enforced disappearances are used by both the government and armed groups with the aim of spreading terror within the populations, of silencing any critical voice of their respective governments, or in retaliation against the civilians for acts of war committed by opposing parties. - In Iraq, while the fate of thousands of people missing for years remains unknown to date - especially those handed over to the Iraqi authorities by the U.S. forces during the occupation, such as Wissam Al Hashimi who disappeared in 2005 - further mass arrests and secret detentions have been carried out under the pretext of the "fight against terrorism". - Such is the case of 12 Iraqi citizens who disappeared on 21 April 2014 following their abduction from their homes in Baghdad during a night raid of the SWAT forces; or the case of two brothers also abducted from their homes by the security forces respectively on 11 August 2014 and 3 May 2015. - Today, their parents fear that they may be held in the secret detention centre of the old Al Muthanna airport in Western Baghdad. Pro-government militias also play a role in thousands of enforced disappearances, with the government authorities guaranteeing their total impunity as the abuses committed are never investigated and hence brought to justice, especially since the creation, in June 2014, of a State-sponsored umbrella organisation. This organisation, composed of about 40 militias and led by former Minister of Transport and commander of the Badr Brigades, Hadi al-Amiri, the "People's Mobilisation" or "al-Hashd al-Shaabi" militia is strongly supported by the government in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). - In Syria, enforced disappearances have become widespread and systematic since the beginning of the conflict, with most victims being arrested at military checkpoints or during mass arrest campaigns carried out by different branches of State security. - Arrests take place without any judicial warrant and can involve political activists, human rights defenders, members of humanitarian organisations or even ordinary citizens, who are then secretly detained and tortured, such as this 21-year-old student who disappeared on 14 March 2014 following his arrest by the Military Intelligence after he refused to serve in the army. - Although the student was last seen in early February 2015 by a former co-detainee in Damascus' Military Intelligence Branch 215 notorious for its practice of torture, the authorities keep on refusing to provide any information about his fate. - Several armed groups also use the practice of enforced disappearances in order to further their aims, such as IS, which abducted a Syrian Kurdish activist in November 2013; the al-Nusra Front, which abducted a Syrian Kurd on 23 July 2013 seemingly in retaliation for the capture of this town by the Kurdish forces, just days before; or the Kurdish forces of the People's Protection Unit (YPG) operating in the north of the country, which abducted a Palestinian father born in Syria, on 27 October 2013. - In both countries the current climate of terror makes it difficult for the families of the victims to denounce the cases of enforced disappearances and, even when they do, they always have to face the absolute denial of the authorities. - Gulf Region: focus on UAE and Yemen - In the United Arab Emirates, we are witnessing a troubling pattern of enforced disappearance practiced by State security actors in the form of prolonged incommunicado detention in secret places. During these months of secret detention, detainees are at serious risk of torture used with the aim of extracting false confessions. - The measure mostly targets political or human rights activists or anyone criticising the Emir or other State authorities in order to punish critics and send a message to activists both Emirati and foreigners. Indeed, it is also becoming increasingly common against citizens of countries with whom the UAE have political disagreements. - Among prominent cases that illustrate this pattern feature two Qatari nationals who were arrested by UAE immigration officials when they entered the country from Saudi Arabia on 27 June 2014 for allegedly criticising the UAE authorities. - The men were detained incommunicado for over than eight months without being allowed to let their families know about their fates. Furthermore, on 2 October 2014, a Turkish academic and businessman was abducted by the security forces at Dubai's Airport. He was detained incommunicado for 135 days, before being freed without any charges pressed against him. - Another case is that of a Libyan-Canadian businessman who disappeared for 130 days following his arrest by Emirati Security Service officers on 28 August 2014 while he was on vacation with his family in Dubai. During his incommunicado detention, he was severely tortured for 130 days. - He is still detained without trial at Abu Dhabi's Wathba Prison. The most recent case is that of prominent Emirati economist, academic and advocate for political reforms, Dr. Naser Bin Ghaith who disappeared following his arrest by State security forces on 18 August 2015. - In Yemen, the practice of enforced disappearance became systematic in the early 1970s as a tool used by the security forces of North Yemen against their opponents. On 17 April 2014, 33 years after his arrest and subsequent disappearance, 66-year-old Ahmed Al Masraba, a member of the Arab Socialist Baath Party opposed to the government of North Yemen, was finally allowed to receive a short visit from his son. - Although the officer in charge then promised to release him by transferring him to a psychiatric hospital, Al Masraba is still detained incommunicado. He was arrested in 1981 during the civil war opposing Marxist guerrillas to the government of northern Yemen. This practice continued until 1990, when Yemen was re-unified. - Today, the practice of enforced disappearance is used by all forces fighting in Yemen, from those close to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, to those of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, to the Houthi insurgency, Al Qaeda and other armed groups. In particular, Alkarama has documented dozens of cases committed by both State and non State actors such as the Houthis and affiliated forces. - For example, in 2012, when the Houthis controlled the governorate of Saada, the group arrested several students and teachers - including the chairman of the teacher's syndicate, who refused to accepted the group's slogans - and used schools as detention centres. - After obtaining control of the capital in 2014, the Houthis abducted a tribal elder, Sheikh Mohamed Abdullah Ghalib, who had been a vocal critic of the expansion of the Houthis in Yemen. He was also taken to an unknown place and is disappeared since. - "Enforced disappearance is one of the most serious human rights violations: placed outside the protection of the law, disappeared persons see all their fundamental rights violated," says Inès Osman, Coordinator of the Legal Department at Alkarama. "The crime of disappearance also inflicts severe suffering on entire families, who will never be able to turn the page until they learn what happened to their relative."..
  • D'Tigers Rout Gabon, Reach Afrobasket Semis (allAfrica.com) Nigeria's senior men's basketball team D'Tigers yesterday defeated Gabon, 88-64 to qualify for the semi-finals of the ongoing 2015 Afrobasket Nations Cup Basketball tournament holding in Tunisia. D'Tigers went into an early lead, outs.....
  • President of Republic Meets Fiba President (allAfrica.com) President Beji Caid Essebsi received, on Friday at the Palace of Carthage, President of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Horacio Muratore and President of FIBA-Africa Hamane Niang who were accompanied by the Secretary-Ge.....
  • Afrobasket2015 - Minister Praises Angolan Win Over Egypt (allAfrica.com) The minister of Youth and Sports, Gonçalves Muandumba, has praised on Thursday, central Huambo province, the national senior men's basketball team's 83-63 win over Egypt, but he recalled that Angola "has not yet won anything" and should continue with the same " guts and determination" to win the title. - "Today we witnessed a game of the true national team, showing what we can do in basketball", he said. - The minister dedicated the victory to the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, who is celebrating this Friday his 73rd birthday. - In the semi-finals, Angola will play Tunisia on Saturday...
  • Tunisia Preparing to Introduce New Protest Deterrence Methods (allAfrica.com) Tunisia is preparing to introduce new protest deterrence mechanisms, respectful of human rights. Dedicated to the Police and National Guard, these mechanisms provide for new protest deterrence methods respectful of human rights and co.....
  • President of Republic Meets Fiba President (allAfrica.com) President Beji Caid Essebsi received, on Friday at the Palace of Carthage, President of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Horacio Muratore and President of FIBA-Africa Hamane Niang who were accompanied by the Secretary-Ge.....
  • Afrobasket2015 - Minister Praises Angolan Win Over Egypt (allAfrica.com) The minister of Youth and Sports, Gonçalves Muandumba, has praised on Thursday, central Huambo province, the national senior men's basketball team's 83-63 win over Egypt, but he recalled that Angola "has not yet won anything" and should continue with the same " guts and determination" to win the title. - "Today we witnessed a game of the true national team, showing what we can do in basketball", he said. - The minister dedicated the victory to the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, who is celebrating this Friday his 73rd birthday. - In the semi-finals, Angola will play Tunisia on Saturday...
  • Afrobasket2015 - Minister Praises Angolan Win Over Egypt (allAfrica.com) The minister of Youth and Sports, Gonçalves Muandumba, has praised on Thursday, central Huambo province, the national senior men's basketball team's 83-63 win over Egypt, but he recalled that Angola "has not yet won anything" and should continue with the same " guts and determination" to win the title. - "Today we witnessed a game of the true national team, showing what we can do in basketball", he said. - The minister dedicated the victory to the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, who is celebrating this Friday his 73rd birthday. - In the semi-finals, Angola will play Tunisia on Saturday...
  • D'Tigers Rout Gabon, Reach Afrobasket Semis (allAfrica.com) Nigeria's senior men's basketball team D'Tigers yesterday defeated Gabon, 88-64 to qualify for the semi-finals of the ongoing 2015 Afrobasket Nations Cup Basketball tournament holding in Tunisia. D'Tigers went into an early lead, outs.....
  • African Education Officials to Explore School Dropout at International Summit WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2015 / PRNewswire — Education officials from Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, Zambia and Tanzania will join approximately 200 experts and government representatives at a two-day summit here to explore drivers of school dropout and strategies to keep children in classrooms, the U.S. Agency for International Development (www.usaid.gov) and Creative Associates International announced. […]..
  • Des responsables africains de l’éducation vont étudier le décrochage scolaire lors d’un sommet international WASHINGTON, 27 août 2015 / PRNewswire — Des responsables de l’éducation du Nigeria, du Maroc, d’Egypte, du Sénégal, de Zambie et de Tanzanie rejoindront quelque 200 experts et représentants de gouvernement lors d’un sommet de deux jours à Washington afin d’explorer les facteurs du décrochage scolaire et les stratégies visant à garder les élèves dans […]..
  • Emboldened UK government eyes ISIL strikes in Syria (Al Jazeera) August 27, 2015 - By Alasdair Soussi - After extending air war against fighters in Iraq, London contemplates military targets in Syria as well. - Glasgow, United Kingdom - As Britain's politicians return - to parliamentary duty on September 7 after summer recess, they will face ever-present questions surrounding the UK's role in combating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). - In July, British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that UK air strikes against ISIL fighters in Iraq - endorsed by parliament last year - would continue until 2017. - But fresh from the general election victory in May, the Conservative government of Prime Minister David Cameron has made no secret of its wish to extend its military sorties into Syria - putting it on a potential collision course with parliament, and raising questions about the limits of Britain's global ambitions. - "The UK finds itself in a difficult position in that it wants to play a leading role in international affairs - it has its permanent seat at the UN Security Council - so it really has to step up and fulfil that obligation," Neil Quilliam, acting head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at London's Chatham House, told Al Jazeera. - "But the shape of the British economy … places it in a difficult situation. It's got to reconcile wanting two competing things at the same time: that is, making quite severe economic cuts across the country, and at the same time maintaining and extending its global reach." - Amid reports that the UK government will ask MPs to vote on military action against ISIL in Syria when parliament sits this autumn, speculation has also centred around the wisdom of increased British military involvement in such a conflict-ridden region. - Expanding into Syria - The Ministry of Defence wouldn't provide an on-the-record comment to Al Jazeera on any impending House of Commons vote, instead referring to the words of Britain's defence secretary last month, in which he professed it would be "illogical" for Britain to engage ISIL in Iraq - but not Syria. - Quilliam sympathised with such an argument, but maintains the pitfalls of Britain doing so are many. - "From the Syrian population point of view, the Assad regime used chemical weapons and crossed a red line, but there was no [Western] intervention whatsoever," Quilliam said, noting British MPs rejected military action against the Assad government in Syria two years ago. - "The fact that there was no intervention meant that a lot of Syrians felt let down by the international community - by the US and UK in particular." - Quilliam added UK government moves towards military operations against ISIL in Syria at this juncture would appear like it was doing so largely because of the June atrocity in the Tunisian city of Sousse, which claimed the lives of 30 British nationals. - "If the UK was willing on the back of Tunisia - and this is how it would be viewed - to extend its operations in Syria distinctly against ISIL, but not the Assad regime, it means that you lose any remaining credibility that you may have had [in the region]," he said. - Much of Britain's Muslim community has also raised questions about the legitimacy of the UK widening its role in combating ISIL. - Moral predicament - Abdullah al-Andalusi, a UK-based Islamic activist, told Al Jazeera that Western intervention in the Middle East has proved to be nothing short of a disaster. - "The people in Syria and Iraq need to be left alone to deal with ISIL themselves," he said. - "Whenever there are air strikes, attacks, or Western intervention, ISIL claims a moral high ground of being the victims of foreign aggression. And Western intervention has left a sour taste in the mouth of many people in the region - increasing sympathy for ISIL, which they try to capitalise on," Andalusi explained. - RELATED: Hundreds of casualties in air raids on Syrian market - Yet support for extending UK air strikes against ISIL into Syria exists in many quarters of British society, with advocates insisting Britain has a duty to help stop the advance of the hardline fighters in the war-ravaged state, despite question marks surrounding international legality of military action there. - "We have a moral obligation to consider how best we could help the victims of ISIL, and that must include the re-evaluation of the likely impact of military intervention," Rupert Myers, a UK political commentator, told Al Jazeera. - "Nobody would argue that military intervention is without the risk of civilian casualties or loss of life within our armed forces … [but] the only route to rid ourselves of ISIL involves confronting them, not just talking to those people here in Britain who are tempted to join the ISIL cause," Myers said. - A July opinion poll for The Independent newspaper put UK public support at 67 percent for striking ISIL fighters in Syria as well as Iraq from the air. A majority opposed the use of UK ground troops, which has also been ruled out by the defence secretary. - Cynicism about the UK's presence in the Middle East has remained high since its role in the 2003 Iraq war. - While Myers maintained that "faith and trust in our political leadership to pursue Islamic extremism has come a long way since the years of [George W] Bush and [Tony] Blair", Quilliam said any talk of increased British involvement in the region was still haunted by both the outcome of the invasion of Iraq and the UK's more recent role in conducting air strikes over Libya to remove then-leader Muammar Gaddafi. - "In the early days when [Britain's] Libya campaign was seen as a success that, to a large extent, exorcised the ghosts of Iraq," said Quilliam. - "But we've seen what's happened to Libya subsequently. It wasn't a failure of the operation but a failure of the political process beyond the operation… So we're reminded of Iraq because of Libya." - Follow Alasdair Soussi on Twitter: @AlasdairSoussi..
  • Protests in Lebanon reflect the disease not the cure (Al Jazeera) August 27, 2015 - By John Bell - Without long term planning and a radical shift away from sectarianism and favouritism, Lebanon will not heal itself. - Another set of political demonstrations has taken off in the Arab world. This time it is in Lebanon, where a summer of rubbish in the streets has triggered street riots reminiscent of Tahrir Square. No one knows what all this portends, some hope and dream of a Lebanon "whole", others dismiss the events or gaze at a conspiracy. - The Lebanese demonstrations come against a backdrop of a country without a president, and with a transitional government barely holding things together. Cabinet decisions cannot be made because of internal disputes over procedures and priorities, including appointments favouring one side or another. All is interlinked in a warp of self-interest, the drive for power and greed trumps clean streets and decency. Welcome to the future. - Before the rubbish issue, there was (and is) an electricity shortage, and wild uncontrolled speeding on the highways, missiles of death disguised as cars. The most basic of state functions is victim to favour, patronage, or the whims of local thuggery. - Indeed, in Lebanon, the state barely exists, it is hollowed out, weakened by narrow agendas, non-state actors and a Lebanese propensity to side with whatever local or regional group serves short term interest - or pays. - Real political change - The response to the mess has been street demonstrations. What else can the citizen do in such a morass? Many of the organisers and protesters are decent, serious people who want real political change. However, after half a decade of such events in the Arab world and elsewhere, there is a question around the efficacy of "the street" as a method. - Also read: How Lebanon's rubbish spurred a budding revolution - In Greece, the demonstrations rose to a very high pitch - before the government folded rapidly in the face of fiscal realities and an economic abyss. In Egypt, they led to a change of government - and the return of the military, the ultimate establishment power. - In Syria, peaceful demonstrations were outmuscled by the ruthless Bashar al-Assad, and hijacked by extremists. There is indeed the serious risk of "hijack", of other powers taking advantage and filling the temporary void of protests that shake the system. - Tunisia is the only country that has seen some political evolution and a relatively coherent process. Can precarious Lebanon do the same? Those organising the demonstrations today may have all the right ingredients, but they face a well-entrenched and corrupt elite with many supporters. The latter are an underestimated problem: They are regular citizens with reflexes that maintain the status quo. - The reality may be that street demonstrations are more reflective of the disease than the cure. People get fed up and they signal loudly that something is wrong. However, there is a large gap between demonstration and the reform of political systems. The system may need a shock, but sustained and sustainable reform is the real game. - Demanding that vested interests create necessary space is fine, but voting them out may be more effective. - As Maya Baydoun, a Lebanese journalist, said: "T - he day that Lebanese youth start ridding themselves of worshipping their leaders and warlords, and start electing representatives based on merit not religion, then and only then will Lebanon become a developed country. In the meantime, what's going on is shallow protest and definitely not a revolution!" - Political habits - The larger problem here is one of political habits, at the top and the bottom. Culture diffuses in every direction, down, as well as up. A citizen unused to choosing wisely can go in many strange directions (eg, Donald Trump). This is where the real battle for the decent demonstrators lies: in long term change, and in changing the habits that created the problem. - Also read: - Cabinet members storm out of Lebanon trash-crisis talks - In Lebanon, the context breeds distrust, and a short term mind-set. I remember a Lebanese woman railing against her leaders and their corruption. Not a minute passed before she told me that she would accept money to vote for x, y, or z. "Why not take advantage when they are," was her logic. Her mind had two separate compartments: how others should behave/how she should behave. The corruption diffuses in every direction, up, down, in, out; she is not a solitary case. - In 2005, the anthropologist Jared Diamond wrote a book called "Collapse - How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed." He explained how societies like the Khmer and the Mayan collapsed. He also mentions how Iceland and the southwest Pacific island of Tikopia were successful in meeting the challenges. Importantly, he indicates as keys to that success "long term planning and willingness to reconsider core values". Neither is happening in Lebanon. - What we may now be seeing is the collapse of Arab states under the combined brew of globalised economics, climate change, resource depletion, and corruption. There is a large mismatch between governance capacities and the challenges ahead. Today's problems may seem like nothing in the face of what's coming. - During my recent summer stay in Lebanon, road rage led to a car chase and a public murder in downtown Beirut. In another case, an army officer was killed point blank for no reason other than the untamed egos of young men. Rubbish piled up in the streets while the young and cool party on rooftops. Scenes from Blade Runner may no longer be as distant as they once seemed. - Stop favouritism and privilege - Lebanon may solve its rubbish crisis in the near future. It may even create a national dialogue to mitigate some of its problems. But, the desire to consume and survive, to forget , seems strong - the impulse for immediate gain may bury the future. - Is there a way out? The question is whether people are ready to pay the price for it, and forego something now for future gain. In Greece, despite the street noise, leaving the euro was not an option. So far, people prefer to pay the price of staying in, with the handcuffs that come with it. - In Lebanon, the price is to stop favouritism and privilege, get out of sectarianism, and out of the games of regional power. It's a decision to abide by the law, even when others don't. It's a tall order but it's the price of avoiding collapse, it's a "willingness to reconsider core values". - The option is there to change political culture, and pursue a sensible system where material and emotional needs of people are clearly met. But, it seems, leaders won't let the Lebanese do it - or they won't let themselves. - Old habits die hard, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step (maybe one step more than a street demonstration). If Iceland and Tikopia can do it, surely Lebanon can. - John Bell is director of the Middle East programme at the Toledo International Centre for Peace in Madrid. He is a former UN and Canadian diplomat and served as political adviser to the personal representative of the UN secretary-general for southern Lebanon and adviser to the Canadian government. - The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy...
  • Nouvelle Etude: L’ingérence de l’exécutif limite le renforcement de l’indépendance de la magistrature, des institutions d’audit et de la fonction publique WASHINGTON, 27 août 2015 / PRNewswire — L’ingérence de l’exécutif limite le renforcement de l’indépendance de la magistrature, des institutions d’audit et de la fonction publique en Afrique, selon les Indicateurs d’Intégrité en Afrique, un nouveau rapport évaluant la transparence et la redevabilité dans les 54 pays africains. Même dans les pays où l’indépendance du […]..
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  • Action for Culture (Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt)) photo: Bassam Al-Zoghby - When on 9 November 2014, Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (the Cultural Resource) announced suspending its activities in Egypt, the news spread like wildfire. Many questions were raised about the decision and its timing. Given that the Cultural Resource was no small part of Egypt’s cultural scene, such a commotion and raised eyebrows could only be expected. - To the regular audience, the Mawred was recognised through the Hayy Festival and CirCairo as well as the regional Spring Festival, alongside numerous musical and art activities, many of which take place at the El-Genaina theatre in - Al Azhar Park, Cairo, as well as other locations. For Egyptian artists and cultural players, the Mawred was an important platform nurturing creativity through grants, workshops and seminars. - It was a means for local and regional artists to perform and develop their talents, and an important knowledge source for wannabe cultural managers. The Mawred’s inclusive cultural philosophy also embraced underprivileged communities, giving them the artistic tools for development, of which the most palpable example is the Al Darb Al Ahmar Arts School teaching the circus arts to children and young people from economically deprived areas. All the Mawred’s programmes use the fundamental denomination of art/culture as a tool for reaching out, nurturing and developing civil society. The benefits of the Cultural Resource make up too long a list and any description of the values they brought to Egyptian society would need a lot of ink to print. - The history of the Cultural Resource goes back to 2003, when a small group of cultural activists came up with the idea of establishing a non-governmental and non-profit Arab cultural organisation. The group was registered as a non-profit organisation in Belgium and began operating throughout the Arab region. Its regional office in Cairo was under the directorship of Basma El-Husseiny, a woman whose biography points up her involvement with the independent culture scene. - In the 1970s and the 1980s, El-Husseiny was active in independent theatre. Her experiments led her to work in community theatres across many popular districts: Boulaq Al-Dakrour and Bab Al-Shareya in Cairo and Qeit Bey in Alexandria, where she worked on the folk tales told by the locals. El-Husseiny later found employment with the British Council, moving onto the Ford Foundation where she worked as a consultant for art-related funding. It was finally with - Al Mawred Al Thaqafy, first in Egypt but soon after across the region, that El-Husseiny combined her passion for civil society and community welfare with the skills and expertise she had accumulated. Naturally, under her directorship, the Mawred excelled in Egypt, extending its field of activity to make a strong impact on the regional scene. El-Husseiny announced she would step down from the Mawred’s directorship shortly before the institution closed in Egypt, but as a board member she remained in close contact with its activities while working on many new and fascinating projects. - To better understand El-Husseiny’s incessant dynamism and dedication to civil society through culture, however, one might need to go back to that memorable day in 2014 when the Cultural Resource announced suspending its activities in Egypt: - “We suspended activities in an atmosphere of uncertainty, at a time when many people felt threatened. In fact, we felt that continuing to work in Egypt might put all the staff in danger,” El-Husseiny explains, referring to the Law on Associations presented by the Ministry of Social Solidarity to Egyptian NGOs in mid-2014, when the ministry gave 10 November as a deadline for the associations and foundations to register under the new, more restrictive regulations or be subject to investigation and possible prosecution. - Shortly, as briefed by Human Rights Watch Online (Beirut), the draft law aimed to regulate nongovernmental organisations by giving the government and security agencies veto power over all activities of associations in Egypt. - The law “would empower the government and security agencies to dissolve existing groups, pending a court order, or refuse to license new groups if it decided their activities could ‘threaten national unity.’It would allow officials to inspect the premises of any association suspected of engaging in the work of a nongovernmental organization. It would impose crippling restrictions on foreign funding of Egyptian nongovernmental groups and their capacity to communicate or cooperate with groups abroad. It would impose sentences of at least one year in prison and a fine of at least EGP100,000 (US$13,985) for infractions,” the brief reads. Moreover, according to the International Centre for Non-for-Profit Law, the “denial of registration [under the new law] are overly vague, inviting the exercise of excessive government discretion” and includes “vague grounds for dissolution, thereby inviting subjective and arbitrary decision-making on dissolution decisions.” - El-Husseiny explains that “this whole situation was particularly blown up in the media and we felt we had a responsibility to protect our staff. We didn’t stop our activities in Egypt, we only suspended them until we could figure out what might be done”. She adds that, in an ideal situation, such a law should not challenge the activities of any NGO so long as it does not call for violence or engage in corruption. - MAWRED’S OLD-NEW CHAPTER: With the Culture Resource closing its doors in Egypt for the time being, the management now moved principally to Lebanon, where the Beirut office is now in charge of managing regional programmes, though one programme also moved to Tunisia. Many of the Mawred’s activities – production awards, cultural management training, workshops, etc. – continue to take place at the regional level. The Spring Festival will continue to take place under the Cultural Resource, regionally. As for the activities held by El-Genaina theatre – the Hayy and CirCairo festivals and the Al Darb Al Ahmar Arts School – they are now disconnected from the Cultural - Resource. Those activities have now been placed under the umbrella of a newly established the El-Genaina limited liability company, headed by Ashraf Kenawy, the former director of El-Genaina Theatre. The final break was announced in a Mawred press release last May in which the Culture Resource “wished the El-Genainacompanyall success in this new stage and hoped it will yet become profitablecompany working in arts and culture that can sustain itself by developing an entrepreneurial business model.” - But the move to Beirut took several months and required much red tape. It wasn’t until July 2015 that the Culture Resource announced the launch of its Beirut office. “Beirut is a central city, well-connected with the region, with a good media environment. There is no reason why we should not be there if Cairo is not feasible at this moment,” El-Husseiny explains. - It certainly hasn’t stopped the Mawred from pursuing its dynamic regional agenda. One remarkable project is the Masters Degree in Cultural Policy and Cultural Management, whose first students will start studying at Casablanca’s UniversityofHassanII this September. “This is one of the most important projects fully developed by the Cultural Resource. Following many studies conducted since 2013, we concluded that an MA programme should be instated and looked at four countries for its implementation: Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon. Further studies resulted in choosing theHassanII University.” - A trilateral memorandum of understanding was signed by the Culture Resource, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Morocco’s Hassan II University and the Cultural Policy Department of Hildesheim University in Germany. Hassan II University provides the basic academic staff for ongoing courses, in addition to courses given by the visiting professors, whether from Hildesheim University or elsewhere in Europe and Arab region. A handful of topics are taught by non-academics, practitioners in the cultural sector. - But El-Husseiny stresses the fact that this is not the only culture-related MA in the Arab region. She points to other programmes, which are however limited to cultural tourism or cultural heritage and museums: “In Morocco there are programmes in heritage and museums, in Lebanon we find programmes on cultural mediation. In Egypt, there is the Masters in Cultural Heritage Managementat the French University of Egypt, under Professor Fekri Hassan. Helwan University has also recently launched a Cultural Heritage Management programme. Cairo University offers a Cultural Development Diploma, but the latter is not an MA and does not qualify the holder for further academic study.” - The programme at Hassan II University will welcome a total of 15 students: five from Morocco and 10 from other Arab countries. Regionally selected students are offered a partial scholarship which supports their flight, tuition fees and part of their living expenses. The two-year MA culminates in a certificate accredited across many Arab and European academic institutions, allowing students to proceed with a PhD. - Though El-Husseiny no longer holds the director’s responsibilities at the Cultural Resource, naturally she remains aware of its many activities. “Now I am only on the Mawred’s board and as such I’m probably a bit more distanced. I can tell you however that the Mawred continues its work on cultural policies. The full report on the cultural situation in the region is expected to be released this year. Imkan, a new cultural leadership training programme, was successfully completed very recently,” El-Husseiny says, also mentioning a new initiative called Tazamon (In-Sync) spaning three cities – Tunis, Beirut and Amman – that supports the work of young Arab artists. Tazamon will be linked with the Spring Festival organised by the Culture Resource in its upcoming, 2016 edition, which will take place in the three aforementioned cities. - One initiative that seems particularly interesting is Tunisia’s Balad El-Fann, a pioneering cultural management training programme that brings together people who work in the Ministry of Culture (mostly the cultural houses across Tunisia) and the country’s independent cultural sector’s players. Executed with full support from the Tunisian Ministry of Culture, Balad El-Fann involves workshops in six different regions in Tunisia, which result in the participants working on projects that rely on cooperation on both sides of the line dividing governmental and independent cultural players. The best projects receive a grant $10,000 for their implementation. - Involved in some of those workshops, El-Husseiny reveals many challenges that have cropped up in the process. - “There is a great difference in skills between the two sectors. Though exceptions do exist, generally speaking, we find that governmental employees do not depend on an internet environment, email or social media, they are not aware of what a proposal or a cultural plan is. People in the independent sector have huge problems as well, but at least they have knowledge of some basic things; they know how to ask for the things they need, they operate with clear checklists. The governmental players are rather used to following instructions coming from supervisors and are rarely aware of the bigger picture and their role in the whole cultural process. I expect that the same situation exists in Egypt as well, if you leave out top government personnel and look at the desks of employees of lower ranks.” - El-Husseiny gives an example of any state-run theatre festival in Egypt. Normally hundreds of employees are involved, most of them unaware of the bigger picture. She says the development of a successful cultural sector and successful work in culture depends on understanding the whole project. “Many government employees might not have major responsibilities, they might not have much authority, but they must know what is happening in the project, what generates their small tasks and what their role leads to.” - El-Husseiny concludes that the government structure in several countries in the Arab world somehow discourages this - “general understanding” phenomenon. On the other hand, while she understands all the reasons behind the distance that independent players tend to keep from state institutions, she agrees that they should put their distrust aside and try to infiltrate state institutions. “Culture does not belong to state employees, it belongs to society. The Ministry of Culture with all its buildings and resources should be ‘our resources’ somehow. It’s not easy but at least we should push for it and then hold them accountable.” - NEW GROUND: No longer managing the Cultural Resource, El-Husseiny remains very passionate about its activities, and participates in many of them. Recently however her work in civil society took her to another fascinating initiative: Action for Hope. The programme’s pilot year was launched in early 2013, under the Cultural Resource’s umbrella. - “Action for Hope is very different to anything the Mawred has ever done before. The initiative’s main aim is to work with – and I underline: work with – communities in crisis, to strengthen them, using art as its main medium,” she explains, recalling that the pilot year touched on communities in Lebanon as well as Egypt’s Al Dowair Village in Assiut, Istabl Antar and Ezbet Khairallah, densely populated and underprivileged slum area in the southern part of Cairo. - “This was followed by a transition period in 2014, in which the program was gradually turning into an independent organisation with a separate administrative and organizational structure,” we read on Action for Hope’s Facebook page. Finally, earlier this year, Action for Hope was registered – in Belgium and Lebanon – as an association with El-Husseiny as its director, with a board and members from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. On 18 August 2015, Action for Hope released a statement that read, “Action for Hope announces its official independence from Culture Resource. The independence is a culmination of two years of field work with communities suffering from difficult social and economic conditions.” Operations are covered through individual donations and help so far is provided mainly by the Goethe Institute and the British Council. - “We are lucky that Action for Hope attracts a lot of attention as we work a lot with poor and underprivileged people, or with communities that suffer from war. On the other hand, this being a benign initiative, no one can claim that we support any kind of violence or anything like that. Also, we work with art and support the communities through artistic tools,” El-Husseiny explains. - This year and the next, Action for Hope will focus on Syrian refugees. Apart from the palpable need for help, Syria also strikes El-Husseiny on the personal level. She recalls visits to the country with her father and then alone, and the many relations she developed with people there. When the crisis started and Syria made the headlines, El-Husseiny felt that this was the time to step in. Together with a group of people, she visited Syrian refugee camps in Kilis, Turkey and the nearby camps inside the Syrian border. There she noticed that, despite being isolated from the world, and subject to the Turkish government’s strict security measures, the camps had many of their needs provided in an adequate and humane manner. - “Still, people in the camps were very sad; they felt forgotten by the whole world. In fact, this feeling has developed into the nation-wide dogma. Today many Syrians feel that the world doesn’t want them, or that the world would actually like it if they all disappeared. We saw this in Turkey, and it was my personal connection and feelings towards Syrians – not to forget the size of the tragedy – that moved me towards further infiltration of the Syrian refugee communities. There are so many tragedies around the world but this one is so close to us. Angelina Jolie seems to be doing more for the Syrian refugees than we. I felt this was the priority now.” - El-Husseiny directed her efforts to two Syrian refugee communities in Lebanon. She decided to launch a music school that will provide permanent teachers and a curriculum; with locations in Qaavillage in northernLebanon and the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, the schools will operate in rented rooms for 11 days a month, providing a total of 30 hours of teaching monthly. She explains that the model is partly inspired by Egypt’s Al Darb Al Ahmar Arts School, which aims to provide underprivileged communities with tools to help them develop and become professionals in art-related domains. - “Most of the kids we teach in Lebanon do not go to schools or have dropped out of them; usually they work. Hence, the music school has to attract them in the afternoons and not full time. We brought many instructors from Europe but mostly highly qualified Syrian teachers. They give a few days of lessons which are then followed by the local Syrian teachers,” El-Husseiny explains that this pilot will function for five months before its first evaluation. - El-Husseiny goes on to explain that the school aims first at the development of singing and percussion skills, then ear training and solfege. Since most children do not read and write, lessons depend on the memorisation. - “Syrians love to sing. We find many good voices among them. Percussions are not as strong as among Egyptian children for instance but we’re working on its development. Maybe next year we will introduce ney or some other easy instrument. The point is to develop people who will eventually be able to use their skills in the market and make a living.” Since many of the children have to work alongside their parents, often in farming, the development of an artistic skill will give them better – and easier – tools to support their families. “They can become darbuka players, singers in local occasions, etc. This is easier money.” - As she looks at all these accomplishments and initiatives, El-Husseiny is particularly passionate about Action of Hope. Its establishment included even personal sacrifices on her part. “I was at a point when I had to choose between pursuing a PhD programme in Germany, something that I would really have loved to do, or setting up Action for Hope as an organisation and devoting my time to it. The PhD was very tempting, but I also knew that this was the time I should focus on Action for Hope. Time is passing and even if all that we achieve is a drop in the ocean, if we do not focus on Syrian refugees in Lebanon now, we are going to lose at least 500 very talented kids in a year. So the choice was worth it,” she concludes, adding that she is already looking at Jordan as another potential location for Action for Hope, where they would work under the UNICEF. - El-Husseiny hopes the day will come when she will be able to resume her work back in Egypt (and Sudan for that matter). “It all depends on the whole atmosphere in the country. Egypt is very challenging on many levels. It is also quite dangerous for initiatives such as Action for Hope. In many slum areas – including Ezbet Khairallah – almost everybody carries some kind of weapon, from knives to guns.” She says a legal backbone and full support from the authorities would be essential for Action for Hope to operate in Egypt. “We cannot put people involved in the project at risk, have them hurt or thrown behind bars.”..
  • Republican praise for Al-Sisi (Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt)) During their presidential primary debates earlier this month, a number of high-profile US Republican hopefuls teamed up to heap praise on Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. The key American conservative media also spoke highly of Al-Sisi, lauding his role in standing up to Islamist terrorism, pressuring Muslim clerics to modernise religious discourse, and calling for “a religious revolution”. - As part of his response to a question on how he would deal with the threat of the Islamic State (IS) group, US Republican Senator Ted Cruz in a debate on Fox News on 6 August sharply criticised US President Barack Obama by heaping praise on Al-Sisi. - Cruz blasted Obama “for not demonstrating the same courage that Egypt’s President Al-Sisi — a Muslim — did when he called out the radical Islamic terrorists who are threatening the world.” Cruz described Obama as an “apologist” who was doing his best to justify Islamist terrorism, while Al-Sisi was a “tough, terror-fighting commander” who should be both befriended and emulated. - “Why don’t we see the president of the United States demonstrating that same courage as Al-Sisi, just to speak the truth about the face of evil we’re facing right now,” Cruz asked. - Mike Huckabee, another potential Republican presidential contender, also said in an interview with NewsMax TV “thank God for president Al-Sisi in Egypt.” Huckabee praised Al-Sisi for his role in fighting Islamist terrorists and for his calls for Al-Azhar to cleanse Islam of militant jihadist ideology. - Huckabee and other conservative figures said “Al-Sisi’s speech in Al-Azhar University last January could be as historically resonant as US human rights activist Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech.” - Some, like conservative commentator George Will, went so far as to suggest that “Al-Sisi may deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.” - Jeb Bush, another Republican candidate and brother of former US president George W. Bush, also joined forces, wondering “why the White House has told Al-Sisi you are not on our team as jihadism spreads like wildfire through the Middle East.” Bush told the US news channel CNN that “Al-Sisi gave an incredible speech about Muslim extremism, saying it’s the responsibility of the Arab world to step up to fight this.” - Another conservative, Republican Louie Gohmert, said “I hope one day that our top leaders in this country will have the courage of President Al-Sisi of Egypt and they will reflect, as Al-Sisi has, the will of the people of their country.” - The increasing popularity of Al-Sisi in America’s conservative circles, however, has not gone down well with the US liberal media, especially such TV and newspaper behemoths as CNN, the Washington Post and Newsweek, which have led a hostile campaign against Al-Sisi, describing him as Egypt’s “new dictator or strongman,” or a “military coup leader”. - On 6 August, Newsweek ran a story with the sensational headline “in Republican debate, Cruz praises the Egyptian dictator Al-Sisi.” In two articles entitled “the GOP’s new favourite Arab leader” and “Republican debate highlights GOP obsession with Egypt’s Al-Sisi,” the two liberal media outlets joined forces to attack Al-Sisi. - Egyptian political analysts who follow the American presidential debates said they were not surprised by Al-Sisi becoming a contentious issue. Hassan Abu Taleb, an Al-Ahram political analyst, said he was “not surprised by the American liberal media’s anti-Al-Sisi rhetoric.” - “This media, coupled with the Obama administration and other similar organisations like Human Rights Watch and American think tanks like the Carnegie Institute, have been for years promoting an extremist liberal agenda that has led to the Middle East languishing in chaos and terrorism,” Abu Taleb said. - “These liberal circles have a very simplistic view of political conditions in the Middle East. They believe that organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood are moderate and should be integrated in the political process as part of what they call ‘inclusive democracy’ and that this would put an end to terrorism.” - “The result of this view, which has been espoused by the Obama administration and was evident during his speech in Cairo in June 2009, has been a ‘destructive democracy’ that has allowed extremists and terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood to ride the wave of the Arab Spring, turning it into a religious revolution.” - “The problem with these American liberal fanatics is that they have not been able so far to see the catastrophic results of their views or of Obama’s pro-Brotherhood doctrine, and they still insist on portraying people like Al-Sisi as a military dictator who usurped power from a democratically elected president,” Abu Taleb said. - In its commentary, CNN insisted that Al-Sisi had “ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected president in a coup,” crushed political dissent, let foreign journalists languish in jail, and jabbed at the US by greeting Russian President Vladimir Putin as a hero. And while Jeb Bush in a TV interview described Al-Sisi’s speech at Al-Azhar as “an incredible speech about Muslim extremism,” the Washington Post insisted that Al-Sisi’s speech was “standard stuff”. - According to the CNN report, “Al-Sisi’s remarks in Al-Azhar University were not that unusual and a number of Arab leaders have previously given similar speeches to limited effect.” - Daniel Pipes, a US political analyst, disagrees with CNN, countering that “Al-Sisi’s call for religious revolution in his speech was unprecedented, not to mention that it was delivered in a highly symbolic venue — Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, one of the most vaunted seats of learning in the Muslim world.” - In his speech before Al-Azhar clerics on 1 January, Al-Sisi warned that Islam was “being torn and destroyed by extremism.” He said it was “inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire Islamic world to be a source of anxiety, killing and destruction for the entire world,” asking “does this mean that 1.6 billion Muslims should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is seven billion people — so that they themselves may live?” - Gamal Zahran, a political science professor at Suez Canal University, said that “the popularity of President Al-Sisi in some American political circles clearly shows that there is a large sector of the American elite that has begun to see the truth about what is happening in Egypt and that the US liberal media’s coverage of events in the Middle East has always been misleading.” - “This media, especially CNN and the New York Times, has proved itself to be flawed and biased since the Arab uprisings in 2011, and we see now that many circles in America have become highly sceptical of this media,” Zahran said, adding that “different sectors of the political elite in America and even in Western Europe have decided to change their views since Egypt led its revolution against the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.” - “These sectors now realise that the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings were stolen by the Islamists and that Obama’s ‘inclusive democracy’ has paved the way for these Islamists, especially in Egypt and Tunisia, and that the secularist backlash against these Islamists was necessary to stem the tide of extremism and put the Arab Spring back on track,” he said. - A US diplomat also warned in an interview with the WorldViews Website this month of “the dangers of Morsi-style majoritarianism,” referring to the ways in which Islamist dictators like Egypt’s ousted former president Mohamed Morsi or Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erodgan can win elections not to establish democracy but to build religious totalitarianism. - Zahran, however, believes that “the persistent anti-Al-Sisi rhetoric in America’s liberal circles will continue to keep Al-Sisi’s relations with the Obama administration out in the cold,” adding that “I do not think there will be any improvement in these relations despite US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent visit to Egypt and growing talk about an expected visit by Al-Sisi to America next September.” - He warned that “the election in 2016 of another liberal Democratic president like Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden will not help improve Egypt’s relations with America because these adopt the same Obama doctrine that still sees Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood as moderates.” - At the same time, Zahran warned that “the conservative praise for Al-Sisi could be deceptive.” He said it was important not to forget that “former US president George W. Bush, a Republican, was the first to hold talks with Muslim Brotherhood leaders as an alternative to [Egypt’s former president] Hosni Mubarak,” recalling that “the Bush administration received them as independent MPs who believed in democracy.” - “The Republicans might see Al-Sisi as a major force against Islamist terrorism, but they hold the same liberal view that Al-Sisi has stifled freedoms and cracked down on political opponents,” Zahran said. - Zahran and Abu Taleb both think the best way to deal with American misconceptions could be gradually to phase out Egypt’s strategic relationship with Washington. “I think President Al-Sisi is moving in this direction, although he is keen not to cut all ties with Washington. He is giving the US the message that it is no longer reliable,” said Abu Taleb. - Zahran was particularly happy that Al-Sisi had been able to neutralise Egypt’s dependence on American weaponry by forging stronger military cooperation with countries like Russia, China and France. “Al-Sisi’s visit, with other Arab leaders, to Moscow this week is very important in telling Washington that we have become fed up with Obama’s hollow jargon about democracy and its lack of will to fight IS. It is a way of saying we cannot trust the US,” Zahran said...
  • Dinar Exchange Rate - 1 Percent Depreciation Versus Dollar and 0.5 Percent Appreciation Against Euro (july 2015) (allAfrica.com) The dinar exchange rate recorded a depreciation of 1% versus the dollar and an appreciation of 0.5% against the Euro in July 2015. During the first seven months of the year, the dinar depreciated by 5.6% against the dollar and 1.4% ag.....
  • Dinar Exchange Rate - 1 Percent Depreciation Versus Dollar and 0.5 Percent Appreciation Against Euro (july 2015) (allAfrica.com) The dinar exchange rate recorded a depreciation of 1% versus the dollar and an appreciation of 0.5% against the Euro in July 2015. During the first seven months of the year, the dinar depreciated by 5.6% against the dollar and 1.4% ag.....
  • Gaza beach corn vendor attempts suicide after Hamas ‘harassment’ (The Times of Israel) Four and a half years after Tunisian vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi triggered the Arab Spring by setting himself on fire in protest of harassment and humiliation by local authorities, the attempted suicide of a desperate Gaza sweet corn vendor, for similar reasons, is threatening to spark public protests against Hamas rule in the Strip, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Thursday night. - “This is a very tense moment” in Gaza, the TV report said. Hamas fought a 50-day war with Israel last summer, in which more than 2,000 Gazans (almost half of them combatants, Israel says) were killed and hundreds of thousands lost their homes, little rebuilding has happened since, and poverty and joblessness are widespread. Gazans largely blame Israel for their plight, while Israel says Hamas brought ruin upon Gaza by emplacing its rockets and tunnel opening in residential areas. - Muhammed Abu Asi is in intensive care in a Gaza hospital, having poisoned himself after what his family said was repeated harassment by the Hamas-run Gaza City local council, which tore down his sweet corn and hot drinks stand at the beach a few months ago and had been threatening him again in recent weeks after he revived his business with the help of charitable donations. - An anti-Hamas cartoon protests the attempted suicide of corn vendor Muhammed Abu Asi (screen capture) - Abu Asi attempted to take his own life on Saturday night, and the publicity surrounding his care is now fueling protests by locals who are threatening to march on city hall and set fire to that building and other Hamas offices, the report said, comparing his case to that of Bouazizi in Tunisia in early 2011. - (After his produce was confiscated by the authorities in the town of Sidi Boudid, Bouazizi set himself on fire in despair, dying a few days later, an act that triggered what became first the Tunisian Revolution and then the Arab Spring.) - The Gaza City local council has denied harassing Abu Asi, and issued a statement wishing him a speedy recovery. - In this March 8, 2011 file photo, Manoubiyeh Bouazizi, the mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, the local fruit vendor who set himself on fire December 17, holds a picture of him, in the town of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, Tuesday March 8, 2011. (Photo credit:AP/Giorgos Moutafis, File) - But it acknowledged intervening to prevent stallholders like Abu Asi putting chairs out around their stalls, but said it was its responsibility. “What the Gaza municipality does is organize these stands, despite the fact that they are illegal,” it said. “As long as they keep the place clean and do not breach the law, we keep them because we take into account the dire conditions in which people are living.” - Abu Asi’s sister told the Palestinian Ma’an news agency that the family would take legal action against the local authorities...
  • 'Tunisian Economy Goes Into Technical Recession' - BCT (allAfrica.com) Tunisia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went down 0.7% in the second quarter of the current year, compared to the previous quarter, after a 0.2% decrease in Q1, confirming the entry of the Tunisian economy in technical recession, accord.....
  • MoneyGram Expands Mobile Money Choices in Africa New agreement enables customers to receive money directly to M-Pesa accounts in Tanzania DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — MoneyGram (NASDAQ: MGI), a global provider of innovative money transfer and payment services, and Vodacom, the leading telecom company in Tanzania, has announced that Vodacom subscribers can now receive money directly into their […]..
  • Last-Lunge Kiyeng Lands Sixth Beijing Gold (allAfrica.com) Hyvin Kiyeng final lunge for the finish after the final barrier clinched the steeplechase double and the sixth gold medal for Kenya as the country maintained their lead at the top of the charts for a third day running on Wednesday. Ki.....
  • SMEs await 'genuine' empowerment — experts (The Jordan Times) By Laila Azzeh - Aug 26,2015 - Last updated at Aug 26,2015 - Participants in a forum, titled ‘SMEs: The Road to Economic Growth’ pose for a group photo on Wednesday in Amman (Petra photo) - AMMAN — Developments in the region, especially the drop in oil prices, require a "genuine" stance to empower small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), experts said Wednesday. - During a forum, titled "SMEs: The Road to Economic Growth", Arab economists and bankers stressed the need for a holistic strategy to address challenges facing micro businesses which are deemed as drivers for national stability and growth. - Despite accounting for around 50 per cent of gross domestic product ( GDP) in Arab countries, challenges facing SMEs range from financing, training and marketing to innovation and sustainability. - While nearly 90 per cent of the regional economies are driven by SMEs, participants underlined the "poor" policies towards them, urging for establishing ministries designated to serving the sector. - Arab economists and bankers highlighted trends adopted by their respective governments to nurture this dynamic sector, especially in light of the drop in oil prices and political instability. - "It is true that in times of economic downturn, SMEs are the first to be affected, but they are the first to interact and grow in times of prosperity," said Fouad Zmokhol, president of the Lebanese Businessmen Association. - Officials at the two-day forum, organised by the Union of Arab Banks (UAB), mentioned that the lack of innovation and sufficient technical and financial support hinder SMEs from reaching their full capacity and becoming large businesses. - "The inability to access financial resources is related to the incomplete reform efforts in many Arab countries and having legal loopholes that result in maximising banks' potential losses," said Marwan Awad, chairman of Association of Banks in Jordan. - Majid Al Suri, member of the Central Bank of Iraq's board of directors agreed, underlining the need of Arab countries to identify the type of market economy they embrace as a way to identify the type of projects they need to encourage. - "Till this day, Arab states have no specific type of market economy…banks should work towards entrenching a culture of free work among young people," he stressed. - In the Kingdom, the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) has channeled around JD1 billion to SMEs through banks at very competitive conditions, CBJ Governor Ziad Fariz told the forum. - "The government is planning to establish a fund to provide guarantees for start-up loans...," he said. - Adel Sharkas, CBJ deputy governor, noted that the budget deficit in Jordan is in "better shape" now and no longer competes with SMEs for financing. - "The government's financing needs used to stand at JD1 billion in the past three years, but with the drop in oil prices, the deficit is improving. This would definitely benefit the SMEs," he said. - According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) survey, which covered the period between May 2013 and April 2014, almost 70 per cent of Jordanian firms that needed a loan were either discouraged from applying for a credit or rejected when they did, which is above the SEMED average of 57.2 per cent and the average for the rest of the region (47.5 per cent). - More than three quarters of young firms and over 70 per cent of SMEs were credit-constrained, compared with 68.1 per cent of old and 19.7 per cent of large firms, the survey showed. It involved the four countries where the bank works in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region: Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Political instability was among the top five concerns in all four countries, and was the biggest concern for Egypt and Tunisia, according to the study. - Regarding access to finance in Jordan, the EBRD report indicated that only 16.7 per cent of the firms had a loan or a line of credit, well below the SEMED average of 32.1 per cent and the rest of the EBRD region average of 37.4 per cent. - A recent study suggested that the banking sector in Jordan is reluctant to lend to SMEs because they are unable to pledge enough collateral...
  • Last-Lunge Kiyeng Lands Sixth Beijing Gold (allAfrica.com) Hyvin Kiyeng final lunge for the finish after the final barrier clinched the steeplechase double and the sixth gold medal for Kenya as the country maintained their lead at the top of the charts for a third day running on Wednesday. Ki.....
  • ‘Islamic State’ Pretence and the Upcoming Wars in Libya (The Palestine Chronicle) By Ramzy Baroud - Another war is in the making in Libya: the questions are ‘how’ and ‘when’? While the prospect of another military showdown is unlikely to deliver Libya from its current security upheaval and political conflict, it is likely to change the very nature of conflict in that rich, but divided, Arab country. - An important pre-requisite to war is to locate an enemy or, if needed, invent one. The so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS), although hardly an important component in the country’s divisive politics, is likely to be that antagonist. - Libya is currently split, politically, between two governments, and, geographically, among many armies, militias, tribes and mercenaries. It is a failed state par excellence, although such a designation does not do justice to the complexity of the Libyan case, together with the root causes of that failure. - Now that ‘IS’ has practically taken over the city of Sirte, once a stronghold for former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and the bastion of al-Qadhadhfa tribe, the scene is becoming murkier than ever before. Conventional wisdom has it that the advent of the opportunistic, bloodthirsty group is a natural event considering the security vacuum resulting from political and military disputes. But there is more to the story. - Several major events led to the current stalemate and utter chaos in Libya. One was the military intervention by NATO, which was promoted, then, as a way to support Libyans in their uprising against long-time leader, Gaddafi. NATO’s intentional misreading of UN resolution 1973, resulted in ‘Operation Unified Protector’, which overthrew Gaddafi, killed thousands and entrusted the country into the hands of numerous militias that were, at the time, referred to collectively as the ‘rebels’. - The urgency which NATO assigned to its war – the aim of which was, supposedly, to prevent a possible ‘genocide’ – kept many in the media either supportive or quiet. Few dared to speak out: - “While NATO’s UN mandate was to protect civilians, the alliance, in practice, turned that mission on its head. Throwing its weight behind one side in a civil war to oust Gaddafi’s regime, it became the air force for the rebel militias on the ground,” wrote Seumas Milne in the Guardian in May 2012. - “So while the death toll was perhaps between 1,000 and 2,000 when NATO intervened in March, by October it was estimated by the NTC (National Transitional Council) to be 30,000 – including thousands of civilians.” - Another important event was the elections. Libyans voted in 2014, yielding a bizarre political reality where two ‘governments’ claim to be the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people: one in Tobruk and Beida, and the other in Tripoli. Each ‘government’ has its own military arms, tribal alliances and regional benefactors. Moreover, each is eager to claim a larger share of the country’s massive oil wealth and access to ports, thus running its own economy. - The most that these governments managed to achieve, however, is a political and military stalemate, interrupted by major or minor battles and an occasional massacre. That is, until ‘IS’ appeared on the scene. - The sudden advent of ‘IS’ was convenient. At first, the ‘IS’ threat appeared as an exaggerated claim by Libya’s Arab neighbours to justify their own military intervention. Then, it was verified by video evidence showing visually-manipulated ‘IS’ ‘giants’ slitting the throats of poor Egyptian labourers at some mysterious beach. Then, with little happening in between, ‘IS’ fighters began taking over entire towns, prompting calls by Libyan leaders for military intervention. - But the takeover of Sirte by ‘IS’ cannot be easily explained in so casual a way as a militant group seeking inroads in a politically divided country. That sudden takeover happened within a specific political context that can explain the rise of ‘IS’ more convincingly. - In May, Libya Dawn’s 166th Brigade (affiliated with groups that currently control Tripoli) withdrew from Sirte without much explanation. - “A mystery continues to surround the sudden withdrawal of the brigade,” wrote Kamel Abdallah in al-Ahram Weekly. “Officials have yet to offer an account, in spite of the fact that this action helped ‘IS’ forces secure an unrivalled grip on the city.” - While Salafi fighters, along with armed members of the al-Qadhadhfa tribe, moved to halt the advances of ‘IS’ (with terrible massacres reported, but not yet verified) both Libyan governments are yet to make any palpable move against ‘IS’. Not even the insistent war-enthusiastic, anti-Islamist General Khalifa Heftar, and his so-called “Libyan National Army” made much of an effort to fight ‘IS’, which is also expanding in other parts of Libya. - Instead, as ‘IS’ moves forward and consolidates its grip on Sirte and elsewhere, the Tobruk-based Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni urged “sister Arab nations” to come to Libya’s aid and carry out air strikes on Sirte. He has also urged Arab countries to lobby the UN to end its weapons embargo on Libya, which is already saturated with arms that are often delivered illegally from various regional Arab sources. - The Tripoli government is also urging action against ‘IS’, but both governments, which failed to achieve a political roadmap for unity, still refuse to work together. - The call for Arab intervention in Libya’s state of security bedlam is politically-motivated, of course, for Al-Thinni is hoping that the air strikes would empower his forces to widen their control over the country, in addition to strengthening his government’s political position in any future UN-mediated agreement. - But another war is being plotted elsewhere, this time involving NATO’s usual suspects. The Western scheming, however, is far more involved than Al-Thinni’s political designs. The London Times reported on August 1st that “hundreds of British troops are being lined up to go to Libya as part of a major new international mission,” which will also include “military personnel from Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the United States … in an operation that looks set to be activated once the rival warring factions inside Libya agree to form a single government of national unity.” - Those involved in the operation which, according to a UK Government source, could be actualized “towards the end of August”, are countries with vested economic interests and are the same parties behind the war in Libya in 2011. - Commenting on the report, Jean Shaoul wrote, “Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, is expected to provide the largest contingent of ground troops. France has colonial and commercial ties with Libya’s neighbours, Tunisia, Mali and Algeria. Spain retains outposts in northern Morocco and the other major power involved, Germany, is once again seeking to gain access to Africa’s resources and markets.” - It is becoming clearer that Libya, once a sovereign and relatively wealthy nation, is becoming a mere playground for a massive geopolitical game and large economic interests and ambitions. , with Arab and Western powers scheming to ensure a larger share of Libya’s economic wealth and strategic value. - The takeover of Sirte by ‘IS’ is reported as a watershed moment that is, once again, generating war frenzy – similar to that which preceded NATO’s military intervention in 2011. Regardless of whether Arabs bomb Libya, or Western powers do so, the crisis in that country is likely to escalate, if not worsen, as history has amply shown. - – Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: www.ramzybaroud.net. - The post ‘Islamic State’ Pretence and the Upcoming Wars in Libya appeared first on Palestine Chronicle...
  • Tunisian-British Military Co-Operation Looked At (allAfrica.com) Minister of National Defence Farhat Horchani, on Wednesday, discussed with ambassador of the United Kingdom in Tunis Hamish Cowell ways to strengthen Tunisian-British military co-operation. The Minister pointed to the sensitive stage .....
  • Mckinstry - It Won't Be a Disaster Without the Three Points (allAfrica.com) After a shocking lone goal win away in Maputo against Mozambique, head coach of Rwanda, Jonathan McKinstry has declared "it won't be a disaster if we don't get the three points" in their Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 qualifier again.....
  • Daesh’s pretence and the upcoming wars in Libya (The Jordan Times) Another war is in the making in Libya. The questions are how and when? - While the prospect of another military showdown is unlikely to deliver Libya from its current security upheaval and political conflict, it is likely to change the very nature of the conflict in this rich, but divided, Arab country. - An important pre-requisite to war is to locate an enemy or, if needed, invent one. Daesh, although hardly an important component in the country’s divisive politics, is likely to be that antagonist. - Libya is currently split politically between two governments and geographically among many armies, militias, tribes and mercenaries. It is clearly a failed state, although such designation does not do justice to the complexity of the Libyan case, together with the root causes of that failure. - Now that Daesh has practically taken over the city of Sirte, once a stronghold of former Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi and the bastion of Al Qadhadhfa tribe, the scene is becoming murkier than ever before. - Conventional wisdom has it that the advent of the opportunistic, bloodthirsty group is a natural event, considering the security vacuum resulting from political and military disputes. But there is more to the story. - Several major events led to the current stalemate and utter chaos in Libya. One was NATO’s military intervention, which was promoted then as a way to support Libyans in their uprising against long-time leader Qadhafi. - NATO’s intentional misreading of UN Resolution 1973 resulted in “Operation Unified Protector”, which overthrew Qadhafi, killed thousands and thrust the country into the hands of numerous militias that were, at the time, referred to collectively as the rebels. - The urgency NATO assigned to its war — the aim of which was, allegedly, to prevent a possible genocide — kept many in the media either supportive or quiet. Few dared to speak out. - “While NATO’s UN mandate was to protect civilians, the alliance, in practice, turned that mission on its head. Throwing its weight behind one side in a civil war to oust Qadhafi’s regime, it became the air force for the rebel militias on the ground,” wrote Seumas Milne in The Guardian in May 2012. - “So while the death toll was perhaps between 1,000 and 2,000 when NATO intervened in March, by October it was estimated by the NTC [National Transitional Council] to be 30,000 — including thousands of civilians.” - Equally important were the elections. Libyans voted in 2014, yielding a bizarre political reality where two “governments” claim to be the legitimate representatives of the Libyan people: one in Tobruk and Beida, and the other in Tripoli. - Each “government” has its own military, tribal alliances and regional benefactors. Moreover, each is eager to claim a larger share of the country’s massive oil wealth and access to ports, thus running its own economy. - The most that these governments managed to achieve, however, was a political and military stalemate interrupted by major or minor battles and an occasional massacre. That is, until Daesh appeared on the scene. - The sudden advent of Daesh was convenient. At first, the Daesh threat appeared as an exaggerated claim by Libya’s Arab neighbours to justify their own military intervention. Then, it was verified by video evidence showing visually manipulated Daesh “giants” slitting the throats of poor Egyptian labourers on some mysterious beach. - Then, with little happening in between, Daesh fighters began taking over entire towns, prompting calls by Libyan leaders for military intervention. But the takeover of Sirte by Daesh cannot be easily explained in so casual a way as a militant group seeking inroads in a politically divided country. That sudden takeover happened within a specific political context that can explain the rise of Daesh more convincingly. - In May, Libya Dawn’s 166th Brigade (affiliated with groups that currently control Tripoli) withdrew from Sirte without much explanation. - “A mystery continues to surround the sudden withdrawal of the brigade,” wrote Kamel Abdallah in Al Ahram Weekly. - “Officials have yet to offer an account, in spite of the fact that this action helped Daesh forces secure an unrivalled grip on the city.” - While Salafist fighters, along with armed members of Al Qadhadhfa tribe, moved to halt Daesh’s advances (with terrible massacres reported, although not yet verified) both Libyan governments are yet to make any palpable move against Daesh. - Not even the insistent war-enthusiastic, anti-Islamist General Khalifa Haftar and his so-called “Libyan National Army” made much of an effort to fight Daesh, which is expanding in other parts of Libya as well. - Instead, as Daesh moves forward and consolidates its grip on Sirte and elsewhere, the Tobruk-based Prime Minister Abdullah Al Thinni urged “sister Arab nations” to come to Libya’s aid and carry out air strikes on Sirte. - He has also urged Arab countries to lobby the UN to end its weapons embargo on Libya, which is already saturated with arms that are often delivered illegally from various regional Arab sources. - The Tripoli government is also urging action against Daesh, but the two governments, which failed to achieve a political roadmap for unity, still refuse to work together. - The call for Arab intervention in Libya’s security bedlam is politically motivated, of course, for Thinni is hoping that the air strikes would empower his forces to widen their control over the country, in addition to strengthening his government’s political position in any future UN-mediated agreement. - But another war is being plotted elsewhere, this time involving NATO’s usual suspects. - The Western scheming, however, is far more involved than Thinni’s political designs. - The London Times reported on August 1 that “hundreds of British troops are being lined up to go to Libya as part of a major new international mission”, which will also include “military personnel from Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the United States … in an operation that looks set to be activated once the rival warring factions inside Libya agree to form a single government of national unity”. - Those involved in the operation, which, according to a UK government source, could be actualised “towards the end of August”, are countries with vested economic interests, the same parties behind the war in Libya in 2011. - Commenting on the report, Professor Jean Shaoul wrote: “Italy, the former colonial power in Libya, is expected to provide the largest contingent of ground troops. France has colonial and commercial ties with Libya’s neighbours, Tunisia, Mali and Algeria. Spain retains outposts in northern Morocco and the other major power involved, Germany, is once again seeking to gain access to Africa’s resources and markets.” - It is becoming clearer that Libya, once a sovereign and relatively wealthy nation, is becoming a mere playground for a massive geopolitical game and large economic interests and ambitions. - Sadly, Libyans themselves are the very enablers of the division of their country, with Arab and Western powers scheming to ensure a larger share of Libya’s economic wealth and strategic value. - The takeover of Sirte by Daesh is reported as a watershed moment that is, once again, generating war frenzy — similar to that which preceded NATO’s military intervention in 2011. - Regardless of whether Arabs bomb Libya or Western powers do, the crisis in that country is likely to escalate, if not worsen, as history has amply shown. - The writer, www.ramzybaroud.net, has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally syndicated columnist, a media consultant, author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His - latest book is “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London). He contributed this article to The Jordan Times...
  • Tunisia Has Not Opened Channels of Negotiation With Jihadists in Syria - MFA (allAfrica.com) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied the statements attributed to Taieb Baccouche on the opening of channels of negotiation with Jihadists in Syria. The department was responding to the interview of the Minister of Foreign Affai.....
  • "Germany Welcomes Tunisia's Strategy in Renewable Energy"- Thomas Silberhorn (allAfrica.com) Germany is working to expand its co-operation with Tunisia and African countries, in general, said Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister for Economic Co-operation and Development Thomas Silberhorn, who is making .....
  • ICCT Director to Visit Tunisia Soon (hatem Ben Salem) (allAfrica.com) The Director of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is visiting Tunisia soon, announced Director of the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies (ITES) Hatem Ben Salem. At his meeting Tuesday with Prime Minister Habi.....
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