Sunday, October 30, 2011

Top Stories October 31, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Governors receive citizens' pledge of allegiance to crown prince - Prince Naif is set to become the next king.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Egypt-brokered truce falters as Israel strikes on Gaza kill 10 -  Egypt was trying to create a ceasefire, but it didn't work.

Haaretz (Israel):  Israel to open Gaza crossing amid reports of new ceasefire - Haaretz is still reporting that Egypt is trying to get a ceasefire working.

Turkish Daily News:  More democracy to finish PKK: Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan - "Erdo─čan says more democracy and freedom is the antidote to the terrorism problem as Davuto─člu urges neighbors to pick a side."  PKK is the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Women's News October 15, 2011: Update

The Iranian actress sentenced to 90 lashes and a year in jail has been released.  Her sentenced was reduced to the 3 months she has already spent in prison.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Muslim Drivers Fired by Hertz

Hertz, a rental car company, suspended 34 Muslim drivers on September 30th.  It said these drivers were "abusing break times."  The drivers said they were praying, and held a protest with their union.  Hertz says the drivers are required to clock out for prayer time, and that the rule was agreed to 2 years ago; the union says that Hertz just recently started that rule, and that last year Hertz said Muslims did not have to clock out.

Last week, 8 of the drivers agreed to clock out for prayer time, and the other 26 were fired.  The union is upset and has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.  It will also file a complaint of religious discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Top Stories October 24, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Tunisia's Ennahda wins poll - Ennahda, described as a "moderate Islamic party" has won the majority of votes in the new Tunisian elections and will have a lot of sway with the new constitution and parliament.

Lebanon Daily Star:  U.S. warns Lebanon could face serious consequences over failure to fund STL - STL is the UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon, investigating the Rafik Hariri assassination.  The STL indicted 4 members of Hizbollah in June, but since Hizbollah has more power in the cabinet now, they're trying to de-fund the STL.

Haaretz (Israel):  Netanyahu offers condolences, earthquake relief in phone call with Erdogan - Relations between Turkey and Israel have been deteriorating since the Gaza Flotilla incident.  Turkey is turning down international assistance while it sees what is needed in the earthquake zone.  Netanyahu and Erdogan had not spoken since December of last year.

Turkish Daily News:  Toll rises as aid pours in for quake survivors - Almost 300 people are dead after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Van province of Turkey.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quick News Roundup

A lot of stuff has happened over the past few days:

Big earthquake in Turkey.  Magnitude 7.2  It's been a while since the last one.

The Saudi crown prince died.  So far all the kings have been the sons of Abdul Aziz, the founder of the Kingdom.  Call me crazy, but maybe they should try having a ruler who isn't over 80 years old?  Or maybe even less than 60?

Qaddafi is dead and Libya is "officially" free now.

The United States is leaving Iraq.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

YemenWatch: Thursday October 20, 2011

Earlier this week Yemeni women held a sit-in in Sana'a, against the Yemeni foreign minister.  And the first woman has died, in the protests, prompting a lot of anger.

Shelling is going on in Aden.

There are US drones in Shabwa province, where AQAP and its affiliates are hiding out.  AQAP is vowing retaliation against the US and Yemen governments for the death of Al-Awlaki.  Three French hostages are still being held too.

President Saleh is saying he will sign the GCC proposal, on certain conditions.  He is also blaming the protestors and everyone else for "hindering political solutions."

Saleh is blaming the Islamic party al-Islah for some of Yemen's problems, and now there are conspiracy theories about them.  Who knows what the truth is?

Displace families in southern Yemen are living in schools.  As many as 100,000 people may have fled Abyan province because of fighting and AQAP.

Life in Yemen is getting more and more difficult as food prices rise and humanitarian relief falls short.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Top Stories October 17, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  King arrives at hospital for surgery - King Abdullah is having more back problems.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Cabinet won't approve tribunal funding - The cabinet, with a Hizbollah majority, does not want to pay for the STL, which is investigating the Rafik Hariri assassination.  It's a big mess.

Haaretz (Israel):  Shalit family: High Court must not delay 'delicate' Israel-Hamas deal - Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is being exchanged for Palestinian prisoners.  But some Israelis do not want a swap that releases Palestinians (I don't know what these prisoners have been jailed for, it may be for terrorism).  Here's the timetable of what is supposed to happen.

Turkish Daily News:  Kurdish education brings questions on employment - Artuklu University is starting Turkey's first Kurdish program.  But can you find a job afterwards?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Women's News October 15, 2011

An Iranian actress, who appeared in a movie criticizing Iran, may get a year in jail and 90 lashes.  The movie is also banned in Iran.


Nice opinion column by a female Saudi journalist, on The role of women in the Shoura Council.

Information about female genital mutilation.  Several Islamic countries have issued fatwas banning it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Iranian Plot Against Saudi Arabia: Update I

More about this confusing plot, which Iran says it is "an American-Zionist plot."  The US has put sanctions on Mahan Air (an Iranian airline that flew operatives), and wants to sanction the Central Bank of Iran.

One of my friends initially wondered if this was another US entrapment-style capture of an alleged terrorist (like too many of the "terrorist plots" have turned out to be).  According to Juan Cole, that may be what happened. 

Let the Iran-bashing ramp up, just like the Iraq-bashing did before we invaded.  After all, the US is moving troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Iranian Plot Against Saudi Arabia

Weird news yesterday about a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador, and maybe even bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C.  Iran is supposedly behind the plot.  Considering the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, it doesn't really surprise me.  But to actually do this on US soil seems a bit bold, maybe even an act of war to some politicians.

Juan Cole has more on the situation - that the Iranians behind it may be running a drug cartel.  And the evidence he cites is convincing: if it was government sanctioned, then it was pretty sloppy work.

Of course, that brings up the topic of why is the US government claiming it's Iran if it's really a rogue agent?  Because of US friendship with the Saudis?  The Saudi's are very upset and want some kind of action taken.  So is this just another rung on the ladder of "We really need to do something about Iran?"  Will it be easier for the Israelis to possibly bomb Iranian nuclear plants after this?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top Stories October 10, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Syrian activists say at least 31 killed on Sunday - Protests and fighting are still going on across Syria.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Cassese resigns, Judge Baragwanath elected STL president - Cassese resigned for health reasons.  The STL is the UN's Special Tribunal for Lebanon, that is still investigating the assassination of Rafik Hariri.

Haaretz (Israel):  France FM: Palestinian statehood bid starting to create cracks in European unity - The European Union is having trouble reaching a unanimous decision on the Palestinian question.

Turkish Daily News:  Turk convicted of Sivas massacre had German passport, report says - The massacre happened in 1993, and this man was recently captured by Polish police.  He had managed to get political asylum in Germany, hence the German passport.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

YemenWatch: Thursday October 6, 2011

Interesting article in The Week about how Yemen may be turning into a "Somalia."  IRIN is also reporting similar problems for Yemen.

Yemeni-Americans in the US state of Michigan are holding a solidarity rally tomorrow for a free Yemen.

Ta'iz is under attack by government forces, and 8 people were killed.

Government forces in Sana'a seem to be preparing for the next protest and shelling killed a child.

More fighting in Abyan province between the military and the AQAP-linked group.  US drones killed 5 members of either them or AQAP itself.

A Yemeni general is saying that Western nations have cut counter terrorism aid to Yemen, as the protests have progressed.

And, of course, AQAP is claiming that Al-Awlaki is alive.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Women's News October 3, 2011

Women in the eastern Turkish province of Van are committing suicide.  There have been 22 deaths so far in 2011.  Women's associations are very alarmed and worried about reports of incest.  And some of the deaths may not be suicides, but homicides.  Most of these women were only 18 or 19 years old.

Bahrain has 3 newly elected women MPs, bringing the total up to 4 out of 40 in Parliament, and 11 out of 40 in the Shura council.  This is a big step for female equality:  10% of Parliament and 27% of Shura.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Saudi Arabia Craziness: Update I

Remember the Saudi woman sentenced to 10 lashes?  King Abdullah has decided to overturn that sentence.  Maybe one day women will be able to freely drive in Saudi Arabia.

Top Stories October 3, 2011

ArabNews (Saudi Arabia):  Assad opponents unite, ask world for help - The National Council is asking for humanitarian help from the rest of the world.

Lebanon Daily Star:  Syrian opposition forms united front - The new National Council of Syrian opposition leaders announced their plans in Istanbul.

Haaretz (Israel):  Peres: Galilee mosque arson shameful for the State of Israel - I was very happy to see this article.  A mosque in Galilee was burned and Peres and Netanyahu are condemning the action.  I'm actually surprised by that.  More from Yahoo!

Turkish Daily News:  One PKK member killed in clashes in east Turkey - PKK is the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which is illegal.