Monday, September 29, 2008

Turkey Roundup

A Turkish singer is in hot water for daring to suggest that perhaps there should be some kind of solution to the Kurdish problem, instead of more deaths. Turkey is an interesting state: it's secular, parliamentary, and yet run by the military. And sometimes they get a little annoyed. My favorite part of the story is that the singer is a transsexual, which doesn't seem to be a big deal. At least something is going right in Turkey.

This is an older story, but amusing. A hotel owner in Turkey fired all the male employees - because they were having sex with the female guests. Apparently there is quite a large tourist-sex trade going on in some areas. Who knew? (I feel so naive.)

A Turkish woman has designed a new mosque for Istanbul, and it's currently under construction. She's the first Turkish woman to do this. The article has a picture of the design.

Tourists Snatched in Egypt

Last week a group of European tourists was kidnapped in Egypt. There were 11 tourists and 8 Egyptian guides. They were in southwest Egypt, in an empty section near the borders of Libya and Sudan. On Thursday the BBC said the group had been moved to Libya after being in Sudan. Sources said that the kidnappers sounded like Darfuri rebels. The BBC said the tourists were freed today, after a lucky break when the Sudanese army killed some of the kidnappers.

I'm glad the tourists made it out alive. Hopefully the guides are safe too. I don't want to place blame, but when you go out into basically the middle of nowhere, an area that's not that far from Libya and Sudan (which has been having a lot of problems) then you are taking your life in your hands. You have to pay attention to these things.

Top Stories 09/29

Arabian Business - US bailout rejected, fears seizes markets: Yes, the US economy is on everyone's minds these days.

The Daily Star (Leb) - Explosion in Tripoli kills five people, including four soldiers: A parked car exploded as a bus full of soldiers drove by. Thirty-three were injured.

The Egyptian Gazette - Sudan's army kills 6 blamed in desert abduction: A group of tourists in Egypt were kidnapped last week. The Sudanese army killed some armed men supposedly involved in the kidnapping. I'll relate this story in separate post.

Haaretz (Israel) - Israel slams fresh Arab move to isolate it at IAEA: Arab nations want a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, but Israel has nukes. But many of these same Arab nations don't even recognize Israel, so it's a big mess.

Hurriyet (Turkey) - U.S. lower house rejects bailout in shock vote, fear seizes markets: Again, the US economy is big news around the world.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Top Stories 09/22

I've posted a poll about the Top Stories on the right side-bar. Please take the poll so that I can have some kind of feedback about these postings. Thank you!

Algeria Daily (WN Network): 'China repression grows', says US - It's getting worse over there.

Middle East Newsline: Iraq Army Crosses the 200,000 Mark - Just what it says. (Note: this is a subscription site. You only get a small article preview.)

Oman News Agency: Air Blue is offering direct flights from Lahore, Pakistan to Muscat.

Tehran Times: IAEA has become a tool of the U.S. - Iran says that documents about their nuclear program are fake, and the US is using the IAEA for its own purposes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Update: German Anti-Islamophobia

Things are getting pretty violent over there. While I applaud protesters wanting to stop Islamophobia, violence is not the answer. Let's hope things settle down.

All Things Yemen

On the 17th the Yemen Times updated about the US Embassy attack.

Remember the little girl who got divorced (see my post Yemeni Child Brides)? She's back in school now, though not the first one she applied to. The first school thought she was too knowledgeable about certain affairs and might disturb the other students. But she found a school and is doing well.

A Yemeni comic was released from prison. He was in jail because a government official was offended by his political commentary, but the comic refused to cave in and was released. It wasn't the first time he'd been in jail for his comedy.

An opinion piece in the Yemen Times, about the US elections and culture. The column is called Common Sense. He refers to Sarah Palin as the "newly found ignoramus of a running mate."

German Anti-Islamophobia

There's also some Islamophobia going on in Germany, but they appear to have a good anti-Islamophobia movement fighting it. They had the Islamophobists on the run (literally).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Italian Islamophobia

The Turkish Daily News has an interesting article on Islamophobia in Italy, courtesy of Reuters (the article, not the prejudice). Apparently the Northern League (a political party, I think) is trying to stop mosques from being built in Italy. Because everyone knows that all Muslims are terrorists. In all seriousness, some of the quotes in the article are disturbing:

"I consider this to be an unfettered colonisation of our culture." (on the number of mosques built)

"Why do they have to stay here in the middle of all the people? People have their homes here. They should go away, into the country somewhere."

I find all of this really disturbing.

Yemen Attacks

You've probably already heard that the US Embassy in Sana'a was attacked. Here's a lot of different articles about that: BBC, Yahoo!, Gulf News. I couldn't find any mention of the attack in the Tehran Times or the official Iranian news agency.

The Yemen Times updates every few days, so there should be information available there tomorrow.

Trans-Saharan Pipeline

Not exactly the Middle East, but close and gas-related. The EU is helping Nigeria on their end of the pipeline. And Russia is trying to butt in as well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stress Relief!

No ranting about the Middle East today! This is fun stuff:

Last year they found giant camel bones in Syria. This year they found 1 million year old camel bones.

If you live in Petah Tikva (near Tel Aviv) then you better curb your dog! They're setting up a doggie DNA database, so if your dog poops on the street, you better pick it up. Otherwise they will find you. I'm not making this crap up (pun intended)!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Top Stories 09/15

Asia Times: Lehman and the end of the era of leverage - Yes, the top story is Lehman Brothers and the US economy. I'm always amused at how much the rest of the world knows about America, while America knows little about the rest of the world. Did I say amused, I meant depressed.

Khaleej Times (UAE): Iran blocks probe of alleged atom bomb work: IAEA - Just what it sounds like.

Syria Today: News Update - This is their weekly news roundup. It contains everything from Palestinian refugees to the UAE banning a Syrian soap opera to the new Syrian ambassador to France.

Turkish Daily News: A Shaky Life under Dusts - Residents of a neighborhood in Istanbul are being covered in dust because of nearby stone quarries.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Medicine in Gaza

If you need medical care in Gaza, then I wish you luck. Things are getting worse and there's even partisan strikes taking place. This is part of the Hamas-Fatah power struggle, but as usual, it's innocent people who pay the price.

Oh those Saudis...

Apparently there are still crazy people in Saudi Arabia. Don't like all that sin on your satellite TV? Don't turn it off - just kill the people who make it! I can't wait till that one makes it into the Republican Party Platform. Seriously though, this is a real problem. I understand that not everyone wants to see scantily-clad women on TV, especially during Ramadan. But not everyone celebrates Ramadan, and not everyone thinks women's entire bodies and face should be covered when they're in public. This man may be the religious authority for Saudi Arabia, but he is not the religious authority for the entire world. If they don't like these programs in Saudi Arabia, then maybe they should look at blocking them. I'm sure a little muscle would convince the satellite companies not to sell certain channels in the Kingdom.

Israel & Iran...

...but not together.

Article about the implications of the Oslo Accords (15 years ago) and what's happening today. Written by the then-chief negotiator for Israel.

BBC video - People in Tehran are not all that happy with Ahmadinejad.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Israeli Stories

These popped up recently too:

Separate but equal? School woes in East Jerusalem.

An American dancer with an Arabic first name traveled to Israel with a dance troupe and had to dance at the airport, to prove he was legit. And hey, it happened to him in the US too.

An Israeli cabinet member, who was involved in the Eichmann kidnapping in 1960, has suggested kidnapping Ahmadinejad. Personally, I think that would just make things worse. Ahmadinejad is a blowhard. I don't think he actually believes a lot of what he espouses, but it gets him airtime, and it helps him to keep the Iranian people from looking at their own problems.

Random Stories

I found a few interesting stories the past 2 weeks so I thought I'd just put them all here.

A guy hacked into UN e-mail in Abu Dhabi and tried to blackmail the owner.

Apparently there's a lot of sexual harassment in Egypt. That seems kind of odd for the Middle East. I mean, in some areas if you don't dress appropriately men may assume you are a prostitute. But women are generally fine if they dress correctly. But not in Cairo.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Top Stories 09/08

Al-Ahram (Egypt) - Not business as usual - More info on that murdered pop star.

Tehran Times - Iran nuclear reactor launch 'irreversible' by February: Russia - Looks like the nuclear plant is a "go."

Yemen Times - Yemen among the world's most vulnerable states - Yemen is on the list of Failed States, meaning that it has features that could make the state fail. Most people think of Middle Eastern countries, especially the ones on the Arabian Peninsula, as being rich, but Yemen is not.

AME Info (business) - Tatweer restructures operations to reflect conglomerate's robust growth trajectory - Tatweer is a subsidiary of Dubai Holding.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pay No Attention to the Terrorist Behind the Curtain

Condi Rice is initiating a new phase in US-Libya relations. No, really. I remember a time when the US didn't deal with terrorists or people of their ilk. Unless they worked for us (Bin Laden) or they were a brutal dictator (Saddam Hussein) or they were in charge of an area we needed to deal with (Yasser Arafat) or they were in charge of a country and we didn't feel like ousting them at that time (Milesovic). But the US still likes to declare that terrorists are bad and we won't deal with them. Especially if they are democratically elected (Hamas). Yes, the Gator is a bit snarky today.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Top Stories 09/02

Yes, I know it's Tuesday. Labor Day holiday confused me this week.

Algeria Daily - Algeria death toll 130 says Al Qaeda - There have been several attacks in Algeria lately.

Azzaman (Iraq) - Iraq will not expel Iranian exiles - There are Iranian anti-government forces in Iraq, since before the US entered in 2003. The US and Iraq differ on what should be down about them.

Khaleej Times (UAE) - Egyptian tycoon charged in murder-for-hire case - This is just weird. Lebanese singer Suzanne Tamim was murdered in late July, in Dubai. The man accused of hiring the killer is an Egyptian tycoon who is also on the Shura Council. BBC article.

Syria Today - Back in Business - Syria's standing in the world has changed, because of its actions to things like the Doha Accord. What does this mean to its relationship with the US?