The Second Coming, Cartoon Bombs, and Angry New York Mobs: Mosaic's UNGA Roundup

 Press TV / United Nations

 

The UN General Assembly's yearly get-together is a time for high-flying international diplomacy between world leaders. The General Debate, in particular, allows all world leaders who participate in the United Nations to deliver a public address to the General Assembly. As such, it has been used as a highly-visible platform by many countries' representatives to push their views.

This year's debate theme was "Adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means," which seems a little tongue-in-cheek given the current situation in parts of the Middle East and Africa.

As BBC Arabic reported that Somali and African forces were closing in on the final al-Shabab stronghold of Kismayo, Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Ali gave his remarks at the Assembly, saying that there was no place in Somalia for the "few ideological extremists" in the Islamist group's ranks.

Barack Obama's appearance at the UN was brief, which some say was to avoid tough discussions with other world leaders on Iran and Syria. He honored Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in an attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, and condemned the American-made film that criticized Islam's Prophet Muhammad and sparked anti-US riots across the Muslim world. Meanwhile, Libya's new president, Mohamed Yousek al-Magariaf, apologized for the attacks, and apologized to the world on behalf of Libya for Muammar Gaddafi's decades-long rule.

With regard to Syria, world leaders condemned the violence across the board, but their approaches to end the conflict varied greatly. According to IBA News, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Jordan's King Abdullah II both called for Bashar al-Assad to step down, saying that the Syrian president's ouster is vital to the success of peace efforts.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supported the Syrian regime, and criticized the efforts by the Western world to interfere in what he sees as an internal conflict. Ahmadinejad, in his last speech to the Assembly as a world leader, also spoke of his belief in the imminent arrival of Jesus Christ and the twelfth imam, Imam al-Mahdi, whom Shiites believe will come at the end times with the prophet Jesus to help humanity. The United States and Israel were both absent from the General Assembly Hall when he gave his remarks.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also addressed the United Nations with a long-anticipated bid to join the UN General Assembly as an observer. The Palestinian Authority previously asked the UN for full member status last year, but had been rejected by the Security Council, which has the Israel ally, the United States, as a permanent member with veto power. Press TV reports that Abbas also lambasted Israel for its "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians, as well as the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land. A UN report that came at the beginning of the week and before the General Assembly meeting echoed similar statements-- that Israel must do more to halt the abuse of Palestinian rights.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stole the show by using a prop, which has not been done in the General Assembly since the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi pulled out a copy of the UN Charter and threw it in the air in 2009. Netanyahu used a picture of a cartoon bomb and drew a red line through it to illustrate how far Iran has come in enriching uranium, and how the United Nations must draw a red line for the country before it acquires enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Press TV analysts expressed concern over Netanyahu's mental health following this incident.

Outside of the Assembly Hall, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Rahmin Mehmanparast captured the attention of the American channel Fox News after he was attacked by a group of "about 100" Iranian dissident protestors on a New York City sidewalk. He managed to flag down an NYPD police car, but according to Dubai TV, the cops appeared "uninterested."

 

Image: Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line on a bomb illustration at the UN General Assembly, September 27, 2012. Press TV / United Nations

 
 

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The Not-So-Innocent Film that Sparked Rage Across the Muslim World, and More

American film offensive to Islam sparks anti-US protests across Muslim world

REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Adding to the death of the American ambassador to Libya and members of his staff in Benghazi on September 11, demonstrations condemning a film that insulted the Prophet Muhammad have spread to Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Gaza, Tunisia, Sudan, Morocco, and Mauritania, leading to four deaths in Yemen. Other Western embassies have also been attacked in Sudan.

IBA reported that the film that was released on the Internet and sparked the protests is called "Innocence of Muslims," and was produced by a California-based Jewish writer and producer. Most of Mosaic's broadcasters have reported that he is an Israeli American, leading to further anti-US and anti-Israel sentiment among Muslims.

 

Israel quickly denounced the film, with New TV reporting on Wednesday that the Israeli Foreign Ministry called it "unbearable extremism." Press TV noted that US President Barack Obama condemned the killings, but stopped short of condemning the film.

 

In addition to depicting the prophet Muhammad, which is strictly taboo in many interpretations of Islam, the film struck a nerve in the Muslim and Arab worlds for being American-made. Al Jazeera English discusses the nature of the protests, touching on the deep-seated anger of some citizens in the region regarding US foreign policy, especially in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Syrians come out for another round of Friday protests after a week of heavy shelling

As the new UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi visits Damascus for the first time since his appointment, cities and villages across Syria have continued to endure heavy army shelling, especially in and around Aleppo and Damascus. Algerie TV reported that the most recent statistics from the UNHCR indicate the number of Syrian refugees has surpassed 250,000, with 85,000 currently in Jordan.

Despite the daily attacks, BBC Arabic reported that on Friday, anti-regime demonstrations took place across Daraa, Idlib, the countryside of Damascus-- which the Syrian government says still harbors "terrorists" that they are trying to pursue-- and al-Hasaka Province, which has a Kurdish majority.

Newly-elected Somali president escapes assassination attempt

Hassan Sheikh Mahmud, who hails from the same tribe as departing president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, is the first Somali president to be elected within the country in more than two decades. However, BBC Arabic reported that just days after his election, he escaped two bombings that targeted the Mogadishu hotel in which he was residing. He was was meeting with Kenyan Foreign Minister Samson Ongeri at the time of the attack, which came as a surprise given the number of Somali and African Union forces protecting his hotel and convoy.

 

Image: Tunisian protesters burn the U.S. flag during a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy in Tunis September 12, 2012. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

 
 

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Was Yasser Arafat Killed by Polonium Poisoning? and More

A Palestinian woman walks past a mural depicting late leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City July 4, 2012: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

 

Was Yasser Arafat killed by polonium poisoning?

Al Jazeera - The Institute of Radiation Physics at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland found abnormally high levels of polonium on the personal belongings of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. If an analysis of Arafat's remains produce similar results, experts say it proves that the Palestinian leader was poisoned with this material, since it is usually only produced in nuclear reactors. The Geneva-based Forum for Human Rights and Development indicated that it is ready to send an independent investigative team that includes experts in forensic medicine and criminal investigation to find out if the late Palestinian leader was assassinated.

Sudanese activists protest for third week in hope of sparking popular uprising

BBC Arabic - Sudanese activists organized new protests today dubbed "Vagabonds Friday," in response to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's description of protestors as a handful of rogue vagabonds with no prospects. This is the third week of protests in Sudan, which is witnessing unprecedented popular anger due to deteriorating living conditions in the aftermath of the government's attempt to implement austerity measures, in response to worsening economic conditions, especially after the secession of the South one year ago.

Syrian Republican Guard General Tlass defects to Turkey

New TV - A high-level Syrian security source confirmed that Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, the brigade commander of the 105th Republican Guard, has fled to Turkey. Tlass is the highest ranking officer to defect from the regime. The source added that Tlass is an important witness to the crimes of the Syrian regime, and that rejected the destruction that killed thousands in his city of al-Rastan.

Libyans set to vote in first post-Gaddafi election amid fears of violence

Dubai TV - Amid fears over the inability of Tripoli's government to maintain security, Libyans are preparing to hold their first free general elections in over half a century. Nearly three million voters will head to the polls tomorrow to elect 200 foundation council members out of the 3,700 mostly Islamist candidates. However, the election process is facing significant challenges, mot notably security threats and anti-election groups, which include pro-federalism protestors who closed the eastern oil port of Ras Lanuf in protest of the allocation of seats in the General National Congress.

Egypt's Morsi orders investigation into killing of protestors

Al-Alam - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a presidential decree ordering the formation of a fact-finding committee to investigation the killing and injury of protestors during the January 25th revolution. The decree orders a review of the investigations and a reexamination of sites that witnessed acts of violence and killings.

 

Image: A Palestinian woman walks past a mural depicting late leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City July 4, 2012: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

 
 

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Developments in Libya and the Middle East


REUTERS/Ismail ZitounyLibyan court revokes law banning Gaddafi glorification


Al Jazeera - Libya's Supreme Court ruled that a law, passed by the National Transitional Council, was unconstitutional. The law criminalizes the glorification of Gaddafi and his ideas, and punishes with a prison sentence anyone who harms the February 17 Revolution. The court's ruling ended the debate between the law's opponents and proponents. Some viewed the law as a restoration of the former regime's tools of governance, while others considered it a rupture with the Gaddafi era.

Egypt's high court dissolves parliament two days before presidential elections

New TV - Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court dissolved parliament, and confirmed the presidential run-off elections will be held on time. the struggle between Egypt's judges and the dissolved parliament seems ongoing, after parliament insulted and defamed the Egyptian judiciary and Judge Ahmed Rifaat, who presided over Mubarak’s case. This led the chairman of the union of judges to respond in kind, as the battle continues between the legislative and judicial powers. The ruling also found the disenfranchisement law invalid, keeping Ahmed Shafiq in the presidential race.

A look at Gaza after five years of Hamas rule and Israeli siege

BBC Arabic - Tuesday marked the 5th anniversary of Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip following an internal battle with its opponent Fatah, that lasted many months and shaped the beginning of the Palestinian political division. Attempts to remedy this division continue today. It also paved the way for an economic blockade by Israel on Gaza's crossings, the price of which is being paid by Gaza’s residents.

As rhetoric intensifies, the Syrian conflict nears global proxy

Al-Alam - In light of the on-the-ground developments of the Syrian crisis, and as clashes continue between armed groups and government forces while a political solution is still lacking, the positions of European and world capitals have differed on the situation in Syria. In contrast to the UN position expressing concern over the eruption of a civil war in Syria, France's position explicitly urged an escalation of the situation in order to topple the regime. It also threatened to impose harsh sanctions on Syria.

 

Tunisia arrests dozens of Salafi Islamists rioting over art show

BBC Arabic - Clashes in some areas of the densely populated capital continued until the early morning hours. According to the Interior Ministry, the clashes erupted overnight between security forces and groups affiliated with Salafi forces, and vandals in several neighborhoods of the capital Tunis. Vandalism, burning and looting affected security and judicial institutions, and syndicates. Protesters say the reason is the display of portraits they considered offensive to Islam.

 

Image: Judge Kamal Bashir Daham, head of Libya's Supreme Court, and members of the court panel meet to approve the constitutional invalidation of a law that will criminalise the glorification of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi or any of his supporters in Tripoli June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

 
 

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Egyptians Rally in Tahrir for Mubarak Retrial and More

REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
Egyptians hold the second million-man march within two days

Al Jazeera - Tahrir Square witnessed a demonstration titled the “Friday of Determination”. Following the verdict of Mubarak and some of his regime’s figureheads, masses took the squares and held spontaneous protests; they were not mobilized by any particular revolutionary or political force. The protests, in which thousands participated, viewed the verdict as a step toward reproducing the former regime. The demands varied throughout the demonstrations, and included the implementation of the disenfranchisement law on candidate Ahmed Shafiq, preventing him from participating in the presidential run-off round, and the re-trial of deposed President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, and his regime's figureheads.

 

Two Sudans disagree over border of demilitarized zone

Dubai TV - The current African-mediated talks between Sudan and South Sudan have stalled once again since they started four days ago in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Both sides have failed to establish a demilitarized zone on their shared borders. Observers believe that both sides do not wish to continue fighting in light of their current crises, and the fear of UN sanctions if they fail to resolve their problems.

Benghazi residents protest unequal distribution of Libya's National Council seats

Al Jazeera - Hundreds of people demonstrated in the Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday, demanding a fair redistribution of the Public National Conference's seats among all Libyan regions. The protestors believe the current distribution of seats is prejudice, as it is based on the population density, and may lead to the monopoly of political decisions. In addition, the protestors expressed their intention to boycott the anticipated parliamentary elections, if their demands are not met.

A look back at Naksa Day, or the Day of the Setback

Palestine TV - Tuesday was the 45th anniversary of the June War, known as the Naksa, or the day of the setback, when tens of thousands of Palestinians were displaced. On that day in 1967, Israel launched an attack that targeted a number of Arab countries and occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. It changed the geographic and demographic reality in what remained of Palestine, in the years following the Nakba, or the catastrophe, when its land was occupied and its people were displaced. And despite the long years of great pain between 1948 and 1967 that hold the history of dark massacres, the refugees have never stopped waiting for their return. Refugee camps and journeys of displacement remain witnesses to the severity of the occupation that has changed and is still changing the map of this region.

Afghan President Karzai condemns NATO air strike as Panetta arrives in Kabul

Al-Alam - Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the NATO air strike conducted in the southern province of Logar that resulted in the death of 18 people, assuring that targeting civilians cannot be justified. Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Panetta arrived to Afghanistan in a surprise visit. Panetta said the purpose of his visit is to get an assessment from American General John Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, of the ability to cope with the Taliban's threats and Haqqani fighters, referring to another network tied to al-Qaeda.

Image: A protester acting as Hosni Mubarak wears a mask depicting the deposed Egyptian president during a mock trial at Tahrir square in Cairo June 8, 2012. Hundreds of activists gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to demonstrate against presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik ahead of a run-off vote, saying they did not want to be ruled by another former military man. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

 
 

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Latest Headlines from the Middle East

REUTERS/Ammar Awad

 

Israel seals off West Bank and Jerusalem to celebrate Passover

Dubai TV - Tight security measures and restrictions characterize every Friday in the occupied territories, rendering the Palestinians' attempt to enter al-Aqsa mosque a difficult mission. But, this week, these measures were doubled under the pretext of celebrating Jewish holidays, but no consideration was taken for the Palestinian Christians' observance of Good Friday. Israel imposed a full security cordon on the West Bank, and raised the state of alert in occupied Jerusalem in an arbitrary measure that will extend until Sunday night.

Thousands rally behind dying 'godfather of human rights' in Bahrain

Al-Alam - Massive demonstrations were held in the areas of A'li and Jadhafs west of the Bahraini capital, al-Manama, in solidarity with human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. The demonstrators said they would hold the regime responsible for his death. The peaceful demonstrations were led by scholars, community leaders, and political figures. The participants called on the international community, notably the US, Britain, and countries that offer political support for al-Manama's regime, to take responsible action in Bahrain.

Mali's Tuareg rebels declare independence in the north

Al Jazeera - The independence of Azawad starting on April 6th, 2012. The declaration was followed by a movement leader's affirmation in Paris that the movement will not work with al-Qaeda and is not affiliated with any Islamist movement. Dozens demonstrated in the capital Bamako in protest of Azawad leaders' declaration of independence in northern Mali and the proclamation of the Azawad State. Protesters of northern descent chanted slogans calling for the country's unity, saying they would fight against those they referred to as separatists.

Egyptian Brotherhood presidential candidate says implementing sharia is 'main goal'

Dubai TV - Competition flared among prominent presidential candidates in Egypt as the closing date for the candidate nominations approaches this coming Sunday. Omar Suleiman, Hosni Mubarak's former deputy, pulled out of the competition and announced in a statement that he did not plan to run for the nomination due to what he described as "administrative and financial obstacles". In turn, the Islamist Freedom and Justice Party candidate, Khairat Al-Shater, filed his nomination papers with the High Election Committee. Al-Shater confirmed that implementing Islamic Sharia law will remain his principal agenda.The ruling Military Council in Egypt pushed forward the process to transfer authority to a president-elect and to set a date for the handover in late June, regardless of whether the country's new constitution is ready or not.

Libya announces truce to end deadly tribal clashes

Al Jazeera - A ceasefire is now in effect in western Libya after intervention from the Supreme Council for the Revolutionaries, the National Army, and the High Reconciliation Committee. The National Transitional Council announced a state of emergency in the cities of Zuwarah, al-Jamil, and Rigdaleen, and declared these cities to be a military zone under the control of the Libyan army's chief-of-staff.

 

Image: Arab Christian worshippers hold a cross as they enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during a procession on Good Friday in Jerusalem's Old City April 6, 2012. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

 
 

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2011: The Year of the People

This time last year, Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire, sparking a popular uprising in Tunisia that spread to countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The uprisings have come to be known throughout the world as the "Arab Spring" and have caused more change in one year than the region has seen in decades. For months, chants across the Middle East echoed, "The people want the downfall of the regime." Only a month after Tunisians ousted Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, it took the Egyptian people only 18 days to overthrow Hosni Mubarak after being in power for 30 years. 

An anti-government protester displays paintings on her hand of other countries involved in the Arab Spring revolutions during a rally to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa October 26, 2011. The words read, "Go out." REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

 

Shortly after the downfalls of Ben Ali and Mubarak, Libyans took up arms against Muammar Gaddafi. After ten months of violent battles that took the lives of thousands of civilians, Libyan revolutionaries claimed victory when Gaddafi was killed in his hometown of Sirte. 

 

Protestors in Yemen hope to turn a new page after months of bloody crackdowns as embattled ruler Ali Abudllah Saleh belatedly signed the Gulf-brokered deal that will transfer power in the country by early next year. 

 

In Syria, anti-regime activists are unyielding in their ongoing fight against Bashar al-Assad. As the death toll has reached over 5,000 according to the UN, the international community is slowly boosting efforts to end the months-long bloody crackdown. 

 

Protests and subsequent crackdowns have spread through Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia but have received far less media attention.

 

In his article "From Tunis and Tahrir to Wall Street, and back again," UC Irvine Professor Mark Levine explains the common frustrations of people throughout the region. He states, "The lack of hope or possibility to find decent work, or overcome the corruption and repression there that defined life in [Sidi Bouzid, Bouazizi's hometown], was a microcosm of political and economic life in Tunisia under Zine Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt under Hosni Mubarak and most every other country in the region."  Khoda, a Syrian housepainter turned insurgent, had a different view: "In Egypt, the revolution started because of poverty and hunger," he said. "In Libya it started because of misuse of power. In Syria, the main purpose of the revolution is to gain back our dignity and our honour."


As the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are being hailed as successes by some, other observers aren't as optimistic that they will lead to the kinds of changes that protestors had hoped. Daniel Byman of the Washington Post predicts, "The Arab Spring may not bring freedom to much, or even most, of the Arab world. Even as the United States prepares to work with the region's new democracies, it also must prepare for the chaos, stagnation and misrule."


As we reach the one year mark of the start of the "Arab Spring," there are many lessons to be learned from the unparalleled and tumultuous revolutions that rocked the Middle East and North Africa in 2011. Mohamad Al-Ississ, a professor of economics at the American University of Cairo, says the fight is not over and that "this is the moment where we go forward or we go back to ground zero." Levine warns that "democracy is a means, not an end," pointing to our own Western system today that is "so dominated by money and power that inequality and corruption are reaching 'third world' levels."

 

Huguett Labelle, chair of Transparency International and author of  "The keys to change across the Arab world," offers wise words of advice to the future leaders of the Arab world: "listen to the people, or risk being overtaken by them."

 

Photo Credit: An anti-government protestor displays paintings on her hand of other countries involved in the Arab Spring revolutions during a rally to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on October 26, 2011. The words read, "Go out." REUTERS/Louafi Larbi 

 

 
 

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Deadly Racism In Post-Gaddafi Libya

In the aftermath of the Libyan revolution against Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, many black Sub-Saharan African migrants and dark skinned Libyans continue to be the target of attacks by armed "revolutionaries". While race has long been a dividing line in the predominantly Arab country, "the atrocities attributed to black mercenaries during the uprising against Gaddafi, as well as the allegiance some regions populated by dark-skinned Libyans showed him in the war, have given the race question a new and deadly currency," according Joseph Logan of IOL News.

 

Human Rights Watch reported that the town of Tawergha, a predominantly black town south of Misurata which used to be home to over 30,000 residents, remains deserted in the weeks following the revolution. Militias from Misurata are "terrorizing the displaced residents…accusing them of having committed atrocities with Gaddafi forces." Katrina Nikolas of the Digital Journal writes, "[The death of Gaddafi] has not satisfied the desire for vengeance amongst still-armed NTC militias."

A rebel points his rifle at a man accused of being a mercenary fighting for Muammar Gaddafi.

 

One Liberian migrant who is one of 600 Africans camping out at a fishing port in Tripoli said, "If children see us they hold their noses, and revolutionaries sometimes shoot by us. Blacks are Gaddafi, they say. We need to leave." Another migrant said they faced constant assaults including robbery, physical attacks, and rape. 

 

Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council have called on the African Union and the NTC to protect the rights of migrants and refugees. Middle East and North Africa Director at HRW Sarah Leah Whitson said, "It's a dangerous time to be dark-skinned in Tripoli. The NTC should stop arresting African migrants and black Libyans unless it has concrete evidence of criminal activity. It should also take immediate steps to protect them from violence and abuse."

 

Last month, the National Transitional Council denied the allegations, saying "We do not make any distinction among people on grounds of color. And we do not discriminate against our brothers from African countries." He added that any captured mercenaries will receive fair trials and that the NTC will "fully investigate any human rights violations committed by its fighters," but that remains to be seen.

 
 

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Tonight on Mosaic: UN calls on Yemen to halt attacks on peaceful demonstrations

Yemen: The United Nations demanded the Yemeni government put an end to the attacks and use of live ammunition against civilians. In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime to immediately release all detainees arrested for peacefully protesting. Meanwhile, Yemeni protestors in Sanaa flocked to Change Square to take part in a rally called for by the Organizing Committee of the Youth Revolution, demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down and be prosecuted. 

 

Syria: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Syrian security forces killed three people today. Two died when security forces opened fire on a funeral in the outskirts of Hama, and the third died during a raid in Deir az-Zour. Several protests occurred in Daraa, Hama, Homs, and Deir az-Zour on what is being called the "Tuesday of Anger" against Russia, which still supports the Syrian regime and is preventing any move against Syria at the UN Security Council. Protestors hoped to relay their message to Russia by burning the Russian flag. 

 

Libya: Residents of Bani Walid continued to flee the city today as battles between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi's battalions continue. Supply and aid convoys follow close behind the revolutionaries to provide them with the necessary food, ammunition, and fuel for battle. Field hospitals also move alongside the battles, taking into consideration the terrain of the site and conditions of the battle. 


Egypt: Former vice president and intelligence chief, General Omar Suleiman testified in front of the Cairo Criminal Court today in the case against former President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli, and six others. They are accused of ordering the killing of protestors during Eygpt's January 25 revolution. The court issued a ban on media broadcasts of the court proceedings and on the publication of witness testimony.  

 
 

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Tonight on Mosaic: Moroccans reiterate rejection of cosmetic reforms

Morocco: The February 20 Movement renewed its rejection of what it describes as "sham reforms." The movement demands genuine political reforms that transform Morocco's controlled political process to one capable of producing the change demanded by the masses. The movement also renewed its demands for prosecuting corrupt officials and holding fair elections. In addition to the political demands, the movement raised slogans demanding social justice, freedom, and dignity.

 

Syria: The Syrian opposition is rallying its supporters to participate in a day of anger against Russia, as Moscow continues to support President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Following Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Medvedev stated that it is wrong to place additional pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and force him to end security operations. The Syrian opposition has called on supporters online to protest across Syrian cities and towns and to burn the Russian flag.

 

Libya: Fifteen people were killed in an attack by Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi's battalions on an oil facility near Ras Lanuf. The Libyan National Transitional Council announced that its fighters fended off the battalions' attack on Bani Walid, one of the final strongholds of Colonel Gaddafi's loyalists. The NTC forces began reinforcing their siege on the city of Sirte, also under Gaddafi's control.

 
 

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