Gallery: Azawad Interim Council President Inauguration


Supporters of an independent Azawad gathered in Mali on Friday, 15 June 2012 for the official inauguration of an interim president, MNLA Secretary-General, Bilal Ag Acherif.

Ag Cherif reiterated [fr] the aims of the council as listed in the Azawadi Declaration of Independence and announced initiatives to establish state institutions, and to develop a charter that defines the fundamental principles of a new constitution for Azawad. He again called on the international community to recognise the 28-member Transitional Council of the State of Azawad (Conseil de Transition de l’Etat de l’Azawad, CTEA).

A concerted lobbying effort for military intervention by members of ECOWAS and the African Union is still in progress, notably with the United Nations Security Council. Old enmities between key north African countries impact discussions, and force interested parties to perform an elaborate diplomatic dance of meetings followed by visits to share developments with estranged ones. A little like friends and family trying to maintain relationships with both sides of an acrimonious divorce, it all slows and complicates the process, while creating a breeding ground for intrigue. Countries that under normal circumstances might be expected to have a say – Libya, Egypt, Yemen – are to be excused, as they have enough on their respective domestic plates. Beyond Africa, France (its Foreign Minister more specifically) is still bullish, while the US is relying on “media diplomacy” for now. I’ve not noticed any official statements from Gulf states. Perhaps Iran will weigh in with an opinion on Azawad, and then the rhetoric can really begin to fly.

One thing all sides agree on is the worrying humanitarian situation of tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people as the “lean period” approaches. There is ample space at the borders with Algeria and Mauritania to create humanitarian corridors under an agreement not to resume hostilities. I am interested to see if anyone raises this idea, and whether this possibility also exists at the borders with Niger, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. I assume this would conflict with the agenda of the rebel groups, as they now enjoy relatively unrestricted access to and from neighbouring countries, and the pro-invasion crowd aren’t canvassing for suggestions. Therefore I don’t hold out much hope for a logical solution.

Syria Death Toll Mounting Daily, Refugees in Crisis


Total deaths,
by governorates,
March 2011 through
March 25, 2012

The city of Homs, known as the capital of the revolution, was one of the first to join the uprisings against the Syrian government. With nearly 3,500 people killed, the city and its suburbs have been hit hardest by the government’s brutal crackdown. On March 1, after nearly a month of shelling by government forces, rebel fighters fled the Baba Amr district of Homs. Syrian military forces continue to bombard the city and its surrounding neighborhoods.

deaths on Syria map

Diplomatic steps

What other countries and outside groups have done to try to end the violence.

May 23 European Union imposes sanctions on Assad and other senior officials.
Aug. 18 The United States, Canada, France, Germany and United Kingdom call for Assad to step down. A U.N. report says the Syrian government may have committed crimes against humanity.
Sept. 2 EU imposes ban on purchases of Syrian oil.
Oct. 5 China and Russia veto a U.N. resolution condemning Syria.
Nov. 12 The Arab League suspends Syria.
Nov. 27 Arab states vote to impose economic sanctions on Syria.
Dec. 19 Syria signs the Arab League peace plan, and agrees to let monitors into country.
Jan. 22 The Arab League urges Assad to step down. Saudi Arabia quits monitoring mission.
Jan. 28 The Arab League suspends monitoring.
Feb. 4 Russia and China veto U.N. Security Council resolution, backed by Arab League, calling for Assad to step down.
Feb. 6 The United States closes its embassy in Syria.
Feb. 16 The U.N. General Assembly endorses an Arab League plan for a U.N.-Arab peacekeeping force.
Feb. 24 Foreign ministers from more than 50 countries meet in Tunis to discuss the situation in Syria. Russia and China do not attend.
March 1 Russia and China join other members of U.N. Security Council in expressing disappointment over Syria’s refusal to let U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos visit the country.
March 6 The five permanent Security Council members and Morocco meet to discuss a U.S.-drafted resolution urging an end to the crackdown.
March 9 After finally being allowed into the country, Amos says the destruction in the Baba Amr neighborhood is devastating. She said she demanded access for humanitarian aid, but Assad’s government did not commit.
March 11 U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan ends talks with Assad and leaves Syria with little sign of progress.
March 21 The Security Council, including Russia and China, backs Annan’s six-point plan for ending the violence.
March 27 Assad agrees to Annan’s plan.

Help Refugees Fleeing Syria

Intense fighting in Syria has forced over 30,000 people to flee and seek safety. We are already on the ground in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, but we expect thousands more refugees in the coming weeks.Please help us raise enough money to purchase 2,400 blankets and other critical supplies to prepare for the influx of new refugees.

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Or, join the Emergency Response Team today and provide 48 large blankets for $20 per month!

Help Syrian Refugee Children
Syrian refugees arrive in northern Lebanon. ©Reuters/Afif Diab

Sources: United Nations Institute for Training and Research; Institute for the Study of War; State Department; CIA;; staff reports; UNHCR
GRAPHIC: Laris Karklis, Laura Stanton, Bill Webster, Sisi Wei and Karen Yourish – The Washington Post. Published March 14, 2012.

via Washington Post and UNHCR.

#Syria: Non-Violence, Not Military Intervention – Gene Sharp


Despite an Arab League observer mission in Syria, there has been no let up in the bloodshed. Author and scholar Gene Sharp told RT in an exclusive interview that non-violence is the only way for people to bring about a democratic change.

“You get bloody mess when you get people standing up and saying we want a change because dictators don’t want to be told “We don’t love you anymore”. They do not like to be told “It is time for you to go” and they will use whatever means of control,” Sharp says.
Meanwhile, reports of bloodshed in Syrian cities escalate daily. Syrian activists said Monday that government troops opened fire on protesters in the restive city of Homs, killing more than a dozen people.

The UN estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed since the country erupted into conflict in March.
Gene Sharp says that if Arab world follows a violent path, more casualties are guaranteed.

Sharp says that change can be brought out by many ways. “But what kind of change?” he asks.

What Sharp warns about is that change might pave the way to new dictatorship, but not to democracy.
“Change can be from dictatorship to a new dictatorship,” he concludes. Sharp believes that military intervention as an option to solve the situation in Syria will lead to chaos instead of new democratic regime in the country.
Speaking about the previous bitter experience, referring to Libya, Sharp says that the US has no right to meddle in other countries’ foreign affairs. “My opinion is that the US government should not be intervening military in the name of establishing democracy,” he says.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad delivered a 100-minute speech on Tuesday which failed to impress as he repeated previous statements, mocked the Arab League, and failed to offer any hope for an end to the ongoing bloodshed. In his first speech since June 2011,  al-Assad said he’s “not someone who abandons responsibility”. Once again blaming unrest on “foreign planning,” Assad promised to “fight terrorists with an iron fist.” He also made vague promises of reform, saying Syria might hold a referendum on a new constitution, maybe in March. Later today, The UN Security Council will also meet for the first time this year to discuss the situation in the embattled country in another closed-door meeting.

Meanwhile, there may be a new way to end the bloodshed in Syria in the offing. Avaaz activists have covertly compiled a harrowing report of crimes against humanity conducted by Assad’s regime, and it is making world headlines. Using that list of atrocities to as a call to the UN Security Council might help bring a case against Assad and the leadership of his forces before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

via RT News – US-World News – CNN – Yahoo News

Brookings Conference Int’l Responsibility After #Libya Transcript http…


Brookings Conference: Int’l Responsibility After #Libya – Transcript
Edward Luck, Special Adviser on the Responsibility To Protect, United Nations;
Jared Genser, Managing Director, Perseus Strategies, and President, Freedom Now;
Richard Williamson, Nonresident Senior Fellow on Foreign Policy, Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement

Presider: Elizabeth Ferris, Senior Fellow and Co-Director, Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, The Brookings Institution

Location: The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.
Time: 10:05 a.m. EST
Date: Monday, January 9, 2012

1 Jan 2012 News…articles…opinions

English: Maikel Nabil Sanad العربية: مايكل نبي...

#AfricanUnion #AFP #ArabLeague #Azerbaijan #Azeri #Bahrain #Brazil #Colombia #earthquake #Egypt #Gaza #internet #Iran #Israel #IzuIslands #Japan #Lebanon #Libya #Mali #Mauritania #media #Morocco #NewYear #Nigeria #Pakistan #Peru #propaganda #Sahrawi  #Saudi #Syria #Tunisia #Twitter #UNSC #WesternSahara #Yemen #ZuccottiPark

Police raided New York’s Zuccotti Park, clearing Occupy Wall St protesters and making several arrests v @AJELive 08:37 AM
A total of 2,645 people were killed last year in Iraq nearly 1,000 fewer than in 2009 still a number that probes the tragic legacy of 2003 v @javierespinosa2 08:41 AM
Clashes across Bahrain as protesters demand reform v @javierespinosa2 08:50 AM
Today Morocco starts a 2-year term as non-permanent member of the UNSC representing the group of African states… Don’t hold your breath. v @__Hisham 09:07 AM
6.8 earthquake 242 km (150 miles) SW of Hachijo-jima, Izu Islands, Japan. 05:27:54 UTC
Sunday, January 01, 2012 at 02:27:54 PM at epicenter, depth +/- 9.7 km (6.0 miles)
v @NewEarthquake 09:53 AM
Big news from jailed blogger Maikel Nabil’s brother Mark: Nabil has ended his 4-month hunger We are all hitting the streets.Jg pt v @Egyptocracy 10:02 AM
Burnt remains after a fire set off by New Year’s fireworks engulfed shanty homes in Manila Philippines burnt remains after a fire set off by New Year's firewor... on Twitpic another pic: burnt remains after a fire set off by New Year&#... on Twitpic v @khalidkhan787 10:12 AM
Muslim Brotherhood not to recognize Israel says the group’s Vice Chairman v @__Hisham 10:18 AM
In 2011: Over 5,800 killed in Syrian revolt v @khalidkhan787 10:24 AM
Armed Libyans hijack Tunisian border patrol v @khalidkhan787 10:27 AM
Pakistan, India exchange lists of nuclear installations, prisonersttp:// v @khalidkhan787 10:46 AM
100 Years in 10 Minutes (1911 – 2011 in 10 Minutes)
v @ Babadeye 11:35 AM
Twitter 2012 wishlist: better spam control, all our tweets reindexed & a functional search engine, rate limits abolished, fix site bugs. RT @teacherdude and add indicator that tells us when sb has DMed u [asteris: Yeah, Twitter, how hard can it be?] v @asteris 12:18 PM
Arab League says its monitors are allowing Damascus to cover up continued violence and abuses, should withdraw immediately – Reuters Syria v @__Hisham 12:27 PM
 – in Daraa Syria
v @AlexanderPageSY 12:55 PM
OmairAndOtaibi 2 Saudis still in jail since they protested against Israeli war on Gaza 3 years ago! v @Dima_Khatib 01:25 PM
Good news- Lebanon and Brazil two allies of Al-Assad are out of UNSC starting today. Syria v @wissamtarif 01:38 PM
Residents of Jamiliye in Aleppo line up their gas canisters to highlight Syria’s energy crisis
v @LeShaque 01:46 PM
Saharawi Coordinator with the MINURSO, Mr. Mhamed Khaddad, shared the contents of a message from the Malian government confirming “the Republic of Mali gives the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic the right to pursue within its national territory the criminal groups” and expressed strong dissatisfaction towards the Mali office of Agence France Press for stories indication that the cross-border operation happened without consent. v @Sahara_Voice 01:47 PM
On the day I relocated away from Twitter, @rupertmurdoch joined. I like the odd symmetry. 02:00 PM
Azerbaijani political prisoners talk about horrors they faced in Iranian prisons v @ Ehatemi 03:06 PM
African Union to Declare Fate of Libya Assets in East Africa. Hotels, telecoms, oil pipeline, agriculture… v @robinenergy 03:09 PM
imagine what happens next when today: 1st January 2012–> Japan earthquake 7.0, Philippines fire, Pakistan bombings, Ohio earthquake 4.0 etc. v @khalidkhan787 03:12 PM
Huge part of the upper floor of the Science Complex in Cairo, Egypt, collapsed. Lots of wreckage. v @Psypherize 03:13 PM
New Year 2012: Dead Blackbirds By The 1000s Fall Again In Arkansas Town v @khalidkhan787 03:20 PM
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  decided to resume diplomatic relations with Libya v @ Ehatemi 03:21 PM
Egypt to cut energy subsidies for heavy industry | Reuters v @ Hany2m 03:35 PM
Workers storming terminal 1 at Cairo airport to demand better conditions v @ Hany2m 03:38 PM
The trip first by a Western journalist @Raghavanswp since fighting began in May. A rare glimpse inside Zinjibar, Yemen v @ionacraig 03:57 PM
5.1 earthquake, south of the Mariana Islands. Jan 2 1:44am at epicenter (21m ago, 209km SW of HAGATNA, depth 22km) v @NewEarthquake 04:06 PM
Damascus Suburbs: Daraya: Security forces kidnapped martyred Ghiyath Matar’s brother-in-law while he was undergoing an operation Syria v @ZainSyr 04:11 PM
Justice minister said that Egypt has 35,000 registered NGOs. v @moftasa 04:27 PM
The Power of Listening “The Question is, can we afford ineffective listening in the post Arab-awakening Middle East? The answer is undoubtedly no. […] Let’s get out of our bubble, stop the tyrannical voice inside our mind and listen to each other more effectively in 2012.” v @Nervana_1 04:33 PM
Morality police’ in Egypt got beaten up by some women. 2012 needs such news! v @monakareem 04:36 PM
Hourly Wage of Iran’s Soft War Soldiers: 7000 Toman v @dustandtrash 05:11 PM
Gaddafi treasures buried in the desert spark battles: the Libyan authorities find 20 tons of gold and 80 million euros v @ Marebpress 05:15 PM
I don’t understand this constant state of denial: 1st SCAF tells us not to use the phrase ‘protesters were crushed’ Then.. PM Ganzouri tells us not use phrase ‘excessive use of force or even violence against protesters’ And finally Fayza Aboul Naga asks us not to characterize what happened to the NGOs as ‘raids’??? Can’t those in power just own up to their actions for goodness’ sake??? Egypt v @RawyaRageh 05:42 PM
at least 315 martyrs fell in Syria since the arrival of ArabLeague observers on the 23rd Dec 2011, RIP their souls & damn the Arab regime v @ZainSyr 06:06 PM
Libya Gaddafi supporters ‘try to blow up Tripoli power grid’ v @TelegraphNews 06:12 PM
Human Rights Watch has warned Saleh there will be no immunity for him once he leaves Yemen 06:38 PM
Terhran airport chief says Iran government directive has ordered a reciprocal refuelling ban for some European and Arab airlines 07:36 PM
External satellite TV channels have arrived in Mauritania. Wonder how many years until the people get satellite receivers, the few who can afford them. v @Ahmedouldbah 07:47 PM
Colombia: Colombia: Santos signed legislation against wage discrimination against women v @infolatam 08:01 PM
How Iran Spreads Propaganda through the International Press v @dustandtrash 08:03 PM
Anti-slavery activist group leader Biram Ould Dah Ould Obeida demanded a thorough and impartial investigation into ongoing issues of slavery and human rights abuses in Mauritania 08:07 PM
Internet users face spotty service in Iran Iran IranElection v @abu_xales 08:25 PM
Peru: Cajamarca resume protests against mining project v @infolatam 08:46 PM
Tawakul Karman says that she will run for the presidency of Yemen and that she will win. v @Saudiwoman 09:08 PM
Death toll rises to 66 in Nigeria communal clash v @Nervana_1 09:20 PM
Interesting, a group of psychiatrists started a new initiative for helping people with PTSD. Dr Manal Omar was on OnTV now talking about it. v @moftasa 09:34 PM
I’m really sorry, I hope our Tunisian brothers don’t see the kidnapping case as a normal thing. Apologies on behalf of Libya :/ Some ex Gaddafi bastards are trying really hard to ruin Libya Tunisia relations… v @ChangeInLibya 09:49 PM
The number of documented deaths in Syria today is 13, including a child; 4 in each of Homs & Idlib, 3 martyrs in Hama & 2 in Daraya (Damascus suburbs) v @ZainSyr 10:05 PM
9th episode of the unique Syrian Revolution puppet series released today v @MasasitMati 10:54 PM
Call for speakers at Cairo Security Camp Sep 2012, Send your CV with your paper to info (at) by 15 May 2012 11:54 PM