Brahimi-brokered Eid al-Adha ceasefire quickly broken
New TV reported over the week that UN-Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi had been working with the Syrian government on a ceasefire for the Eid al-Adha holiday. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced a conditional truce on behalf of the Syrian regime, but armed opposition groups such as Ansar al-Sharia rejected the conditions and made their own demands. Sure enough, the ceasefire was broken on Friday, the first day of Eid.
Afghanistan: Dozens killed in Eid suicide blast
BBC Arabic reported on Friday that in the most violent attack in Afghanistan in months, 41 people were killed and at least another 50 were injured when a man blew himself up inside a mosque in the city of Maimana, the capital of the Faryab region in northern Afghanistan, during the early morning prayers for Eid al-Adha. The suicide bomber was reportedly wearing a police uniform. Many of the victims were government soldiers, and prominent local authorities were inside the mosque at the time of the explosion.
Sudan blames Israel for bombing of arms factory in Khartoum
Press TV reported on Wednesday that Sudan has blamed Israel for an air raid on an ammunition factory in Khartoum that killed two people. Sudanese Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman announced that evidence pointing to Israel was found among the remnants of the explosives, adding that Sudan reserved the right to retaliate. Hamas also accused Israel of orchestrating the bombing. However, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday that Israel denied the claims, and Israeli defense official Amos Gilad described Sudan as a "dangerous terrorist state."
More violence erupts against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar
Press TV reports that at least 112 Rohingya have been killed in Rakhine State, and homes of Rohingya Muslims have been torched all across Myanmar in a new round of sectarian violence perpetrated mainly by Buddhist extremists. The violence had died down after a spate of killings in August that drove a number of Rohingya to flee the country, but they are again forced to leave their homes in light of the new wave of attacks.
Image: A member of the Free Syrian Army talks on the radio during an operation in Haram town, Idlib Governorate, October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
American film offensive to Islam sparks anti-US protests across Muslim world
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
Millions of Egyptians vote in historic presidential elections
Al Jazeera - After decades or even centuries of single rule, Egyptians are on the verge of a new period of their history, voting for a new president for the country on a democratic basis. After counting 90 percent of the votes the Muslim Brotherhood group said that the candidate for the Freedom and Justice Party obtained 25 percent of the votes, as opposed to candidate Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister in Mubarak’s era, who obtained 23 percent. The group said Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh ranked third place, with 20 percent and Hamdeen Sabahy came in fourth with about 19 percent.
Iran's nuclear talks moved to Moscow after reaching a stalemate
Dubai - Amid 'significant differences' between the P5+1 group and Iran, over the latter's nuclear program, the talks were moved to Moscow. This news comes after two days of intensive negotiations in Baghdad failed to bring about a solution to the nuclear crisis. Iran has agreed in principle, to discuss the issue of uranium enrichment at 20 percent, only if the UN recognizes its right to enrich uranium. The two sides agreed to hold a new round of talks in Moscow next month.
After suicide bombing, Yemen marks National Unity Day
Al Jazeera - It was the first time that a military parade was held to mark the unification of Yemen without Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was toppled by a popular revolution. President Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi attended the parade that was held at the Institute of Aviation instead of the al-Sabeen area, which was subjected to a bombing that led to the deaths of dozens of soldiers, and injured hundreds, during the preparatory exercises for the parade. While the investigation into the al-Sabeen Street bombing continues, the head of the National Security Council confirmed that the al-Qaeda organization was behind the attack.
Bahrainis continue to protest against US arms shipment to al-Manama regime
Al Alam - Bahrain's revolutionaries called for demonstrations on the Friday of ‘rejecting the U.S. arming of the regime’, which crushed protests in numerous regions. The revolutionaries called for taking to the streets to express loyalty to political prisoners. The revolutionaries shut down some of the vital roads to protest the continuing arrest of women by the regime. The marches were soon confronted by the regime with gunfire and teargas, wounding a number of protesters and many others were arrested, mostly women. Bahraini cleric, Sheikh Isa Qassim, asserted that the crisis will not end until authorities submit to the people's demands.
Israeli protesters attack African migrants in Tel-Aviv
Al Jazeera - Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated in central Tel Aviv, against the increasing numbers of illegal African immigrants in the country, and called for deporting them immediately. These protests came several days after the Interior Minister Eli Yishai called for arresting all African immigrants, and deporting them from Israel. Israeli sources estimate the number of Africans in Israel at 60,000 ranging from various countries. The scene was not free of aggression against Africans and local shops that employ them. The recent crimes and rapes committed by Africans instigated the Israelis to come out in protest.
Image: An Egyptian man folds his ballot paper before casting his vote in a school used as a polling station in Cairo May 24, 2012. Egyptians, choosing their leader freely for the first time in history, voted for a second day on Thursday in an election that is a fruit of last year's popular revolt against Hosni Mubarak. The words on the Al Ahly club jersey read, "Glory to the martyrs". REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Devastating bombings hit Syrian capital as the blame game continues
New TV - Two terrorist bombings rocked the Qazzaz area in the southern part of the capital as workers, students and employees were heading to their schools, universities and workplaces. Syria's Interior Ministry confirmed the two bombings were carried out by two suicide bombers driving two booby-trapped vehicles carrying a large amount of explosive materials, estimated at over 1,000 kg. The preliminary outcome of this terrorist act is 55 martyrs, and 372 injured civilians and soldiers.
BBC Arabic - Tens of thousands participated in demonstrations across different parts of Syria on Friday to demand the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad's regime despite the heavy security deployment of regime forces, according to activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Meanwhile, condemnations and international reactions to Thursday's two explosions in Damascus continue.
Algeria holds parliamentary elections amid voter apathy
BBC Arabic - Voters in Algeria are headed to the ballot boxes to cast their votes in parliamentary elections described as "fateful" by the authorities. Over 21 million people are registered to vote to elect 462 candidates affiliated with 44 political parties, and a large of number of independent candidates. However, the election campaign that looked weak did not attract much attention from many people.
Al Jazeera - Algeria's interior minister, Dahu Ould Kablia, announced the results of the parliamentary elections, saying the ruling National Liberation Front won 220 of the 462 seats. The National Democratic Rally received 68 seats, and the Islamists received almost 60 seats, including 48 for the Green Algeria alliance, which came in third place.
Israeli settlers burn hundreds of olive trees in West Bank
Palestine TV - Jewish settlers burned hundreds of trees in the villages of Bureen and Jamaeen in Nablus province with the goal of seizing more land from the Palestinians. It is an expression of their deep hatred for the Palestinian land and people. Over 100 trees were burnt in this area, located three kilometers southeast of the town of Jamaeen. The area between the town and the two settlements of Ariel and Tafuh has witnessed torching operations targeting fruit trees. The two settlements have seized vast areas of Palestinian villages in this region.
Egyptian ex-pats begin voting in Egypt's first post revolution presidential elections
Press TV - Egyptian ex-pats in several countries began voting in Egypt's first post revolution presidential elections. Ex-pats have until May 17th to cast their ballots in Egyptian embassies and consulates. The election's front runners took part in the country's frist ever presidential debate. Former member of the Muslim Brotherhood Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh faced former Arab League cheif Amr Moussa over issues regarding Israel and the principles of Sharia law as the main source of legislation.
Thousands of Mauritanians declare readiness to kick out President Aziz
Al Alam - The Mauritanian opposition organized a festival in Nouakchott to demand the departure of President Mohammad Ould Abdel Aziz’s regime. The ruling party's deputy chairman, Oumar Ould Matallah, said the people placed their trust in Ould Abdel Aziz, and the president is continuing the path of reforms and combating corruption. The opposition considered the turnout a new referendum on the legitimacy of the regime. The majority says the only way to topple the president is through the ballot box in about two and a half years. Former Mauritania president, Ely Mohamed Vall, who is one of the most prominent figures supporting this movement, described the regime as a failure and finished.
Image: People run carrying a burnt body at the site of an explosion in Damascus May 10, 2012. Dozens of people were killed or wounded in two "terrorist explosions" which struck a southern district of the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday, state television said. REUTERS/Sana/Handout
Jordanian protestors demand a change in policies instead of governments
BBC Arabic - Demonstrations were held in several Jordanian governorates with a variety of slogans and chants, and diverse affiliations and demands. But they were united in their call for accelerating the reform process and combating corruption. The protestors also sharply criticized the council of ministers, and the way in which governments are formed in Jordan. In the capital Amman, the Islamic Action Front had a prominent presence in the protests and participated alongside different popular and youth movements. The protests come one day after the Awn al-Khasawneh's government resigned, and after the Jordanian king, Abdullah II, appointed Fayez al-Tarawneh to form a new government.
Deadly bombing rocks Syrian capital
New TV - A suicide bombing shook the neighborhood of al-Midan in the center of the Syrian capital Damascus. At least nine people were killed as a result, and dozens were injured with body parts seen scattered across two medical centers. The same site had witnessed a similar explosion in January that led to the killing of 27 people. The official news agency SANA described the blast as a terrorist operation carried out by a suicide bomber. Syrian TV raised the death toll to 11, adding that 28 civilians and members of the security forces were injured, broadcasting videos of the explosion site under al-Midan's bridge, near Zein al-Abidin Mosque.
Humanitarian crises in Sudan and Yemen
Dubai TV - The war between Khartoum and the northern command of the People's Movement, the armed confrontations between rebel movements in Darfur, and the Heglig battles are all factors that have contributed to the humanitarian crisis raging in the regions witnessing an armed conflict. According to a new UN report, nearly four million displaced people are at risk of starvation, due to a sharp shortage of food supplies and the difficulty of delivering aid to the famine-stricken because of the violence. The humanitarian situation is far worse in the region of Darfur, especially at the refugee camps scattered along both sides of the Sudanese-Chadian border.
Al Jazeera - Many Yemenis are facing a food crisis due to the high prices and food shortages, especially since the spark of the revolution more than a year ago. Yemeni children are suffering from a number of diseases due to a sharp shortage in food and poor medical care. When a child gets sick and requires hospitalization in the city, transportation is a real challenge due to the shortage of fuel. The bumpy roads and the high cost of medical care pose another challenge.
Egypt announces list of presidential candidates
BBC Arabic - The Presidential Electoral Committee in Egypt announced a list of candidates running in the presidential elections, which are expected to be held next month. There are now 13 candidates, the most prominent of which are Amr Moussa, the former secretary general of the Arab League and a former foreign minister, and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. The committee's surprise decision was allowing Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister during Mubarak's era, back into the presidential race after accepting his appeal. He was initially disqualified by the disenfranchisement law.
Today, Press TV reported that thousands of Islamists rallied in Tahrir Square against an attempt to revive the Mubarak era. They also demanded that the remnants of the former regime be banned from running for president.
Palestinians rally in solidarity with hunger strikers, clash with Israeli troops
Al Jazeera - The area near Ofer Prison, located west of Ramallah, witnessed clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli occupation forces. Israeli soldiers fired large amounts of tear gas at the protestors who organized a sit-in in solidarity with the prisoners waging a hunger strike in the occupation's prisons. Meanwhile, over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners are continuing their open-ended hunger strike for the 10th consecutive day.
Image: BBC Arabic
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
Ennahda: Tunisia's constitution will not be based on Islamic law
Dubai TV - The debate raging over the new constitution in Tunisia has intensified, after the government-led Ennahda Islamist Movement announced that it will not adopt sharia, or Islamic law, as the main source of legislation.
The decision was met by opposition from members of the Ennahda and its coalition blocs, which said the decision violates the principles which the party was elected based on. It is an ongoing debate over state identity, which has been polarizing the country since the downfall of the regime a year ago.
Sudan Summit Suspended After Border Clashes
Al Jazeera - South Sudan's authorities said the Sudanese army's fighter-jets shelled its border state for a second consecutive day after ground battles broke out between forces of Khartoum and Juba the day before. The long border between Sudan and South Sudan, still awaiting demarcation in accordance with the treaty recently signed by the two sides, has suddenly turned into a battlefield for military conflicts targeting the oil-rich areas in the two countries.
After several days of clashes, the Sudanese army celebrated the withdrawal of South Sudan soldiers from the disputed border region Heglig. Both Sudan and South Sudan agreed to meet in Addis Ababa do discuss security issues.
Israeli Website Recruits Retired Soldiers to Evict Palestinians
Palestine TV - An Israeli extremist recently created a website, announcing job opportunities for soldiers who completed their military service. The website is recruiting them to storm the homes of Jerusalemites and evict them to later seize their houses. These calls seek to evict citizens from their homes were started by Israeli militant Aryeh King, the director of the Israel Land Fund and a founding member of the Israeli Association for Distributive Justice, called on soldiers with a strong build to join him in evicting Jerusalemites.
Rift Widens Between Egypt's Military Rulers and Muslim Brotherhood
New TV - In Egypt, anger erupted after the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis monopolized the Constituent Assembly as the youth of the revolution are calling for a million-person march next Friday, under the banner "the constitution is for everyone."
The constitutional committee, consisting of 100 members, ended with an Islamist majority from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi al-Nour Party, turning the world upside down for the Islamists, who monopolized the committee as the Copts only received six seats and the youth only one seat. In a stern address, the council announced it will not allow the Brotherhood or its Freedom and Justice Party, to seize control of the constitution.
Image: Protesters hold up placards, which read "Down with Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie", during a rally against the formation of a constituent assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution outside the Cairo convention centre March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh