Several doctors and nurses who treated injured anti-government protesters during months of unrest in Bahrain have been charged with acts against the state and will be tried in a military court, the justice minister has said.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa, the justice minister, read the charges against the medical staff, which included “promoting efforts to bring down the government'’ and “harming the public by spreading false news.'’
Al Khalifa also said that another 23 doctors and 24 nurses faced charges included participating in attempts to topple the Gulf island’s Sunni monarchy and taking part in illegal rallies.
The announcement is the latest in the Sunni rulers’ pursuit of Shia opposition supporters after weeks of street marches demanding greater freedoms, equal rights and an elected government in Bahrain.
Democratic Syria could destabilize region - political analyst.
RT.com 7 May, 2011, 19:14
As violent clashes between the protesters and the security forces resume in Syria, political analyst Professor Mark Almond says democratic changes in the country could be for worse and not for better.
Six protesters have reportedly been killed as Syrian tanks stormed the coastal city of Banias on Saturday. The protesters were trying to keep them out by forming human chains amid deadly confrontations with the security forces.
It follows a day of nationwide protests across the country that left at least 30 people dead and hundreds arrested.
The Sawasiah human rights group claims 800 people have been killed since the uprising began almost two months ago.
The US is warning the regime that it will take new steps against it in response to Friday’s bloody crackdown by security forces. The EU has also agreed on an assets freeze and a travel ban on top Syrian officials.
But international relations expert and visiting professor at Bilkent University in Turkey, Mark Almond, believes the Americans or the Europeans have little leverage to influence Syria.
“One of the big causes of discontent in Syria is precisely the transfer of the state assets into private hands – private hands of people associated with the government. That’s what we see happen across the whole of the former communist world and Syria, in this sense, is a bit like a former communist country, ” he said. “One problem is –we’ve been saying for years to Syria, not just, but certainly there too – if you introduce market reforms you’ll begin to stage the process towards democracy,” he said.
Professor Almond believes that Western leaders have an ideal hope for democracy in the country but they believe that President al-Assad has turned out not to be such a good reformer as they hoped, and not as co-operative in the peace process with Israel. So they hope if they get rid of him, things will be better.
“I think myself,” continued Professor Almond, “that is possibly an illusion. The illusion might be that democracy would be good for peace in Syria, good for peace in the region. I fear that the democratic Syria would make a much more difficult regional neighbor for Israel, for instance, and much more difficult for us [the West] to refuse its demands, so it could be destabilizing, or there could be chaos, which could be even worse.”
Professor Almond says things in Syria are very complicated and contradictory and people there say they want less capitalism, not more.
“Yes, we can see there a lot of protests, there’s a lot of discontent,” he continued. “But also there are significant groups who say change could be for the worse, not for the better.”
Comparing the country with Libya, Professor Almond stressed that Syria is in a much more sensitive position.
“It has Israel to the south, Iraq next door and also Turkey – a NATO ally- to the north. Turkey doesn’t want chaos in Syria. There’s a choice in Syria not just between democracy and dictatorship, but possibly instead of dictatorship – anarchy – who wants another Iraq?” he questioned.
“There’s a lot of outside pressure from, as we see, Europe and the United States. On the other hand, it’s quite striking Israel has been very quiet about this crisis. It’s also the case with Iraq – which has the government, if you like, installed by the US.”
“There are also lines of contact with Iraq, where the government in Iraq says we don’t necessarily want another regime change in Syria because that could produce a kind of civil war flowing over our borders… So, not everybody is happy and, above all, Turkey is sitting next door. There are trade links with Syria but there also are minority links – Kurds in Turkey and Kurds in Syria. If Syria broke up that could destabilize Turkey too,” says Professor Almond.
“So there are a lot of people with fingers in the pie who don’t necessarily want change. The further away from Syria you get – Europe, America – you can then perhaps say that’s how the change is – it might be for the better and if it goes bad – it’s a long way from us,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, Dr. Franklin Lamb, the director of ‘Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace’ is not one of those who think that regime change in Syria would be a catastrophe.
“Many academics and supporters of the regime are saying we must keep the dictatorship because it would be uncertain,” says Dr. Lamb. “I don’t accept this. I think people in Syria, if they overthrow the regime and if they get proper support internationally, including from Russia, they will survive. The people are determined here and I’m not concerned about the spill over to Lebanon and Palestine. Let the people decide. They are the ones who are sacrificing, and it is their future and their country and I think it behoves all of us to support them in their struggle.”
“I would argue we are just at the beginning of the great Islamic and Arab awakening of 2011 that would be felt throughout the Middle East and also in America and probably in Russia in one form or another. It’s difficult to predict where it will end,” he added.
Post by TsarSamuil on May 19, 2011 13:17:43 GMT -5
“Bin Laden trashed to make way for US alliance with radical Islam”
RT.com 19 May, 2011, 16:02
The assassination of Osama Bin Laden, whether true or staged, is part of the US big plan to turn radical Islam from its greatest enemy to a close ally and tool, believes General Vladimir Ovchinsky, former head of Interpol’s Russian bureau.
The general, who has dealt with the fight against terrorism for many years, spoke to the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda about the high-profile death and its long-term consequences.
Komsomolskaya Pravda: Mr. Ovchinsky, the world continues actively to discuss the main piece of news this spring, if not this year, which is the elimination of the sinister terrorist No 1. What do you think is the most important part out of the avalanche of news, theories and forecasts, which are often mutually exclusive?
Vladimir Ovchinsky: Along with the excited comments about Bin Laden’s death, there have been quite a number of publications in the world media expressing great skepticism about the US authorities’ announcement regarding his liquidation. May 6 saw the explosion of a political nuclear bomb in the information space, which could radically change the situation not just in Washington, but also around the globe.
One of the best-informed and most high-ranking analysts of the United States, an expert on psychological warfare and fight against terrorism, former head of the planning department of the US State Department, who was in office during the rule of several presidents, incumbent consultant of the Defense Ministry Dr. Steve. R. Pieczenik made two sensational statements in his interview to the popular Alex Jones radio and internet show. First, he said that Bin Laden had died a natural death back in 2001. Moreover, he stated this for the second time already, having already made that statement in 2002 (by the way, Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi has recently said the same). And second, he clearly explained to the public that the 9/11 terrorist attack had been staged by American special services. This kind of statement and a possible reaction to it may plunge the United States into a political crisis. At any rate, it is a serious blow to the problem-solving model developed by Obama to deal with the most critical strategic issues.
Their own Osama
VO: Obama’s statement on the ‘liquidation’ of Bin Laden, who was named responsible for the 9/11 attack, has been met with excitement by a part of the US elite, both Democratic and Republican. It looked like a certain consensus had been reached in terms of covering up what happened ten years ago, the events that have in many respects determined the US foreign policy.
KP: They have drowned Bin Laden or a person who looked alike, as if “it will be all right on the night”!
VO: But Pieczenik has destroyed this consensus. He voiced the names of those who, according to an American general, orchestrated the 9/11 attack in the US.
Pieczenik declared that he’s ready to testify on the issue before a grand jury. The charges are most serious! And it’s unclear how they are going to fix the scandal around 9/11 this time. Will they declare Pieczenik insane? Or will he die suddenly? Or will they make him eat his words?
KP: He “knocked off” both the Democrats and the Republicans at once. Interesting move.
VO: The reaction will depend on what kind of forces are behind this champion of truth. It’s hard to believe that Pieczenik acts on his own. Taking into account his life experience and his intimate circle during his term in office in the White House, including Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, George Schultz and James Baker. Washington has to fix the situation somehow. We haven’t seen any investigation after last year’s publication on the popular American website Prison Planet released on May 25, 2010 with the sensational title “Former CIA Officers Confessed Having Forged a Video with Bin Laden.” Meanwhile, the article described it in detail how the main piece of evidence against Bin Laden about his involvement in 9/11 events – the footage where he spoke on how the terrorist attack had been organized – had been fabricated.
KP: What’s your personal take on what happened to Osama and on who exploded the twin towers?
VO: Bin Laden is definitely dead. It makes no difference how he died: in reality or virtually. If Osama suddenly returned to life, Obama would immediately face impeachment. It would appear that the president had lied to the Americans. Obama would never take such risks. I repeat, Bin Laden is dead. When did he die? I think this will remain a mystery, just like John Kennedy’s assassination. A similar mystery surrounds the attack of September 11, 2001. Quite a big amount of evidence has been gathered proving Bin Laden has nothing to do with it. After Bin Laden was “killed”, several websites in the US promptly re-published his interview with a Pakistani newspaper. The interview is dated September 28, 2001, and Osama strongly denies his involvement in the 9/11 attack in it. This confirms the version put forward by former CIA agents that all the videos of “Bin Laden’s speeches” were fakes.
KP: This is curious. The media kept throwing the scare at us that the terrorists would stage a series of retaliation strikes across the world to avenge bin Laden. Two weeks have passed since he was killed and yet nothing is happening. Does this mean Bin Laden is long since gone?
VO: They were right to scare us, or rather to warn us. Regardless of whether Bin Laden was killed two weeks ago or has been dead for some time, radical Islamic groups’ response to Obama’s statement on his elimination could be very harsh. Osama’s death doesn’t mean the global terrorism problem has been resolved. We have to stay vigilant.
KP: Let us go back to Pieczenik. You said he made his statement on May 6. Why has there been no reaction to it? Why hasn’t this information bombshell exploded?
VO: US information warfare experts have made a smart move. They used the Voice of America website to spread several versions that denied Bin Laden’s elimination on May 1, 2011. Among others, they dispelled Pieczenik’s version. The truth is hard to see in the huge stream of misleading information. That is their way of keeping the situation under control. Strike while the iron’s hot!
VO: Osama’s “elimination” will enable Obama to work on solving more urgent problems such as the upcoming withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. They have to withdraw the troops as Obama’s pre-election rating depends on it. Besides, he spoke about reconciliation with Islam in his Cairo speech, introducing a new vector of US foreign policy.
KP: To create a dangerous global “axis” of Islam that the US can use against its biggest competitor, China, or India. It could be used against Russia too.
VO: With the ongoing “Arab revolutions”, the US has extended that friendship to groups that were formerly considered extremist. This is where the recent statements by CIA seniors in congress about the Muslim Brotherhood being a moderate Islamic group are coming from. The US went even further in the war with Gaddafi, allying itself with members of Al-Qaeda. In a situation like this, the existence of a “living” Bin Laden as Al-Qaeda’s symbol would undermine the whole “new” ideology fabricated in the White House. With Osama dead, nothing stands in the way of the US co-operating with a “moderate” and “renewed” Al-Qaeda. This may turn out to be very beneficial for the US.
KP: Mr. Ovchinsky, what did Gaddafi do that the west suddenly turned against him? Was it because he started resisting them? Other “friends of the West” – Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt – didn’t last very long. They surrendered their power without military interference from the US. Gaddafi has been resisting NATO for three months now.
VO: Policy in the Middle East and North Africa is being redefined. They no longer need Gaddafi, or any other “dictator”. New plans bring new friends.
Obama has solved his biggest problem by eliminating Bin Laden. It is directly connected with the upcoming US presidential elections. The economic situation in the US is clearly not in Obama’s favor (a huge national debt, an actual risk of the economy defaulting, etc.). The only choice he is left with is to pull the trump card out of his sleeve. Kill Bin Laden. And it worked! His ratings are soaring!
KP: I see. What could all this mean for Russia?
VO: Nothing good, I’m afraid. The situation with terrorism in our country is disturbing as it is. We are constantly battling gangs in the North Caucasus. Now we might be facing an escalation in Central Asia. This is entirely possible following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan this summer. If the situation there becomes strongly destabilized, Russia will have to interfere since we are bound by the Collective Security Treaty. We have to monitor the situation constantly and be ready for a turn for the worst.
Post by TsarSamuil on May 20, 2011 14:25:20 GMT -5
Reason not to invade Syria.
Russian Navy to base warships at Syrian port after 2012.
Russia's naval supply and maintenance site near Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus will be modernized to accommodate heavy warships after 2012, the Russian Navy chief said on Monday.
"Tartus will be developed as a naval base. The first stage of development and modernization will be completed in 2012," Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said, adding it could then serve as a base for guided-missile cruisers and even aircraft carriers.
The Soviet-era facility is operated under a 1971 agreement by Russian personnel.
Since 1992 the port has been in disrepair, with only one of its three floating piers operational.
According to Navy experts, the facility is being renovated to serve as a foothold for a permanent Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in November 2009 Russia would increase its naval presence in the world's oceans.
Moscow announced in 2007 that its Navy had resumed and would build up a constant presence throughout the world's oceans. Once one the world's most powerful forces, the Russian Navy now has few ships regularly deployed on the open seas.
Iran challenges Western model of the world - professor.
RT.com 24 May, 2011, 15:06
With the US and EU acting as if they are the only civilized communities on the globe, Iran wants to prove that this model of the world is not viable, argues Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran.
Marandi explained that in Tehran, it is believed that the United States and its allies, including certain EU members, are violating human rights more than any other country in the world.
“They are constantly waging wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now they are in Libya killing and murdering hundreds of thousands of people. In addition is the siege on Gaza, an illegal and barbaric act being committed with the support of the US and the EU,” Marandi maintains.
“The Iranians want to break the American and European habit of constantly acting as if they are the center of the world and more civilized than others, whereas in reality the harm they have caused in the world is unprecedented,” Marandi continues.
Iran is considering imposing sanctions on 26 US officials for violating human rights. The Iranian parliament accused the US officials of escalating terrorism and drug-trafficking. This comes a day after the EU imposed sanctions on Iran.
Marandi believes that today, Iranians worry less about the sanctions themselves, but rather breaking the Western model that has been imposed upon the rest of the world.
“Basically Europeans and Americans decide who is civilized, human and humane and who is not. Muslim rights in Europe are being violated – women can no longer wear head scarves at places of work and in the US Muslims are put in jail for giving funding to Palestinian groups who are helping orphans in the Gaza strip”.
Professor Marandi claims that the time has finally come for the to US understand that it is losing its hold over the Middle East and the Iranians are, on the other hand, in support of continued revolution in the region.
“As more countries become independent countries and the more revolutions that occur, Western countries will be forced to diversify their assets to try to bring about some sort of control over the region. And that will limit their influence over the region as a whole since the more spread out they become, the less effective their actions are. The Iranians feel that the Americans are running scared. The Iranians and the people of the region at large are the winners in all this,” concluded Marandi.
Post by TsarSamuil on May 27, 2011 17:30:04 GMT -5
Russia Makes U-Turn on Libya, Offers West Help on Ousting Gaddafi.
Novinite.com World | May 27, 2011, Friday
Russia's leadership has offered to mediate Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's departure from power during the G-8 summit in Deauville, France, in a marked shift from its previous policies.
While being opposed earlier to the Western, NATO-led intervention through air strikes in Libya, where dictator Gaddafi is fighting a popular uprising, Russia's leaders have now declared that Gaddafi must go.
"We think that Qaddafi has stripped himself of his legitimacy and it is necessary to help him leave. If a respectful approach pursued by Russia in the dialog with the Libyan government helps make this decision, it will become our serious contribution to the settlement of the extremely explosive situation in this country and the region as a while," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said at a news conference Friday, as cited by The New York Times, which points out that the announced shift has occurred after "intensive talks" between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
During their meeting, the two presidents agreed that Russia would use its contacts to try to end the conflict, with Gaddafi's departure as a necessary condition, a senior US administration official is quoted as saying.
The Group of Eight adopted a statement Friday saying that Gaddafi and his government "have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy."
"He has no future in a free, democratic Libya," the statement reads. "He must go."
"If you saw the [summit's final] declaration, it is written there that the regime of Gaddafi has lost its legitimacy and he must leave," Russian President Medvedev said at a press conference on the summit's results, as cited by RIA Novosti, adding, "This was decided unanimously."
Medvedev added that Russia wants Libya to remain a free and independent state.
Medvedev said he expects Russian senator and special envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov, who heads the foreign relations committee of the Russian parliament's upper house, to meet both with the Libyan opposition and authorities during his visit to the country.
Medvedev said Russia will not grant asylum to Gaddafi adding that the international community no longer considers him as the Libyan leader.
Earlier, NATO denied reports that it had received a letter from Gaddafi's regime seeking a ceasefire.
A day or so ago the west came begging Russia to mediate in Libya, perhaps there's something worthwhile for Russia, like the west won't try to cut out Russia from energy sector in Libya? Must be something good or Medvedev is a fool..
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