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[Transcript]  Mosaic News - 8/26/09: World News From The Middle East

Iraq, Syria withdraw envoys in wake of Baghdad attacks

Dubai TV, UAE
Presenter, Female #1
The Iraqi-Syrian relations are heading back to square one, after Baghdad accused Damascus of harboring the suspects in last Wednesday’s bombing, which left more than 100 Iraqis dead. The Iraqi government demanded Damascus hand over two suspects it says masterminded the bomb attack on the Iraqi capital. Baghdad and Damascus have also recalled their ambassadors to seek consultation, which comes a few days after the two sides signed a strategic cooperation agreement. Abed-Latif Omar reports.

Reporter, Male #1
A few days ago, the political tone between Baghdad and Damascus was neither sharp nor intense. The visit by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki to Damascus last week ended with the signing of a political declaration to form a high level strategic council, led by al-Maliki and his Syrian counterpart, Mohammad Naji al-Utari. However, “black” Wednesday has changed everything. Days after more than 100 Iraqis were killed in sporadic bomb attacks, Baghdad recalled its ambassador from Syria, and demanded Damascus hand over Mohammad Ynis al-Ahmad, and Sattam Farhan, two former senior officials of the dismantled Baath Party. Al-Ahmad and Farhan are accused of masterminding the bloody bomb attack in Baghdad last Wednesday.

Guest, Male #2
The recall of ambassadors is a normal diplomatic practice. In case of problems, ambassadors are usually summoned to their countries for consultation.

Reporter, Male #1
This is not the time to talk about the details, as the issue is still under discussion. Meanwhile, the Iraqi public is divided over the issue, with some blaming outsiders for Iraq’s tragedies and others criticizing the Iraqi government over security failure.

Guest, Male #3
Some of the problems in Iraq have nothing to do with Syria but they are part of a partisan feud. The parties in Iraq are competing for power. Therefore, they can’t maintain order…Or perhaps al-Maliki is not able to run the country.

Guest, Male #4
All the bombing incidents are being fueled by neighboring countries.

Reporter, Male #1
Damascus, which condemned the recent bombings in Baghdad, recalled its ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf al-Faris. This will likely further strain the Iraqi-Syrian relations, which have been severed since the 1970’s. The two countries’ relations witnessed a breakthrough nearly three years ago.

Iraq Shiite leader Abdelaziz Hakim dies

Al Jazeera, Qatar
Presenter, Female #1
The leader of the Islamic Supreme Council, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, has died due to health complications. Hamid Rashid al-Ma’ala, a senior official in the Council, reported al-Hakim’s death.

Presenter, Male #1
Doctors said that al-Hakim was admitted to the intensive care unit in an Iranian hospital, after his health deteriorated due to lung cancer.

Reporter, Male #2
Abdul Aziz Muhsen al-Hakim was born in 1950 in the Iraqi city of Najaf. He was the youngest of Ayatollah Muhsen al-Hakim’s ten sons. Al-Hakim left Iraq for Iran before the Iraq-Iran War. Al-Hakim founded the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution with his brother Muhammad Baqer al-Hakim, in 1982. The council joined the armed struggle against the Iraqi government. Abdul Aziz directed operations for the Badr Origination, the military wing of the Supreme Council. The Badr organization fought on the side of the Iranian forces in the war against Iraq in the 1980s. Al-Hakim represented the council in meetings and conferences against the Iraqi regime, including the 2002 London Confernce. During the London Confernce, the vast majority of Iraqi opposition blocs met and laid out the groundwork for a regime change in Iraq, in cooperation with the United Sates. Abdul Aziz assumed several leading positions in the Supreme Council. In 2003, al-Hakim was elected president of the council, following his brother’s murder in a booby trapped car in Najaf. He was criticized over the announcements he made, in which he called for compensating Iran in the amount of 100 billion dollars in war reparations. However, al-Hakim’s aides said that his statement was misinterpreted. Along with Shia parties, al-Hakim formed the United Iraqi Alliance, which made major achievements in the first parliamentary elections after the occupation of Iraq. After being diagnosed with lung cancer al-Hakim’s poor health cut his political and religious life short. According to al-Hakim’s son, Ammar, his father was treated under the supervision of an Iranian medical committee. Al-Hakim returned to Iraq after months of treatment but his health remained unstable. He was transferred back to Iran, where he died. With his death, the Islamic Supreme Council will likely witness historical changes, amidst a dispute over his successor in the Supreme Council.

Yemen renews ceasefire conditions

Al Arabiya TV, UAE
Presenter, Female #1
Knowledgeable sources told Al Arabiya correspondents in Sanaa that there is news of a verbal truce between the Yemeni government and the Houthis. The sources added that the Houthis upheld only two of the High Security Committees conditions; the withdrawal from their positions and opening up roads. The government insists on the implementation of the six conditions. The sources also said that confrontations continue.

Reporter, Male #1
Fighting continues on the axis of confrontations between government forces and the Houthi rebels in northern Yemen. Meanwhile, planes continue to bomb Houthi positions in the region of Malaheet. Clashes between the two sides come after news that neither side upheld the ceasefire, especially after leaks about attempts to reach a new truce. There is conflicting information that the Salafi faction joined the clashes against the Houthis after the outbreak of battles in the province of Saada in the first confrontation between the two sides since the 6th war which broke out 2 weeks ago. The confrontation took place close to Fatah School which is run by the Salafists, where they used light and medium weapons 2 days after reconciliation was reached between the two sides. Previously, similar clashes between the two sides erupted over which Imam would lead prayers in one of the mosques in the province of Jufi in Eastern Yemen. At the same time, the Yemeni insurgents said that they repelled attacks from government forces after battles of fierce fighting in previous days. Yemeni insurgents made a statement that the government failed to make progress in the region of Harf Sufyan. Government sources denied this information, describing it as a false allegation; adding that the army regained control of one of the valleys after fierce fighting led to losses on both sides. Sources clarified that the main route that links Saada with the capital, Sanaa, remains closed to military supplies and reinforcements due to mines and guerilla warfare that they attribute to the Houthis. Khaled Al Kashif. Al Arabiya.

PLO to pick new leaders at landmark meeting

Al-Alam, Iran
Presenter, Male #1
The Palestinian National Council held an exceptional meeting in Ramallah, in the West Bank. It is the first one of its kind since 1996. The council, which Hamas is not participating in, will choose 6 new members for the Executive Committee of the PLO to replace members that left in the past few years. It is expected that the council will announce, later in the day, the name of the 6 members who will join the Executive Committee of the 18-member PLO, headed by the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.

Presenter, Female #1
To open the Palestinian National Council meeting, the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas called for the council to hold a complete session during the next 3 months according to the 2005 Cairo Accords. Abbas reaffirmed his rejection of the naturalization of refugees abroad and the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders; stressing the refugee issue according to Resolution 194. He also held Hamas responsible for obstructing the formation of an agreement for a temporary government to begin reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. He confirmed his push for elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and left the doors open for national dialogue.

Presenter, Male #1
Hamas’s spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri, considered the convening of the Palestinian National Council and whatever it produces, illegitimate. During a press conference in Gaza, Abu Zuhri clarified that this move undermines efforts towards dialogue and Palestinian understanding.

Guest, Male #2
We reiterate our rejection of the meeting of the Palestinian National Council and we consider it and all that is produced from it illegitimate. The PLO will remain an institution that lacks legitimacy and does not have the right to represent our Palestinian people until it is reformed based on fair democratic and organizational principles. It is the goal of this council and Mahmoud Abbas’s objective to use the organization to gain imaginary legitimacy.

Shalit deal: Hamas chief heads for Cairo

IBA, Israel
[Summary]

Reports are surfacing about a prisoner exchange deal for the return of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. According to Palestinian Media sources, a deal is close to being finalized. Tomorrow marks Shalit’s 24th birthday, and his fourth year in Hamas’ custody.

The IDF has released footage which shows fighting between Hezbollah forces and the residents of a southern Lebanese village. The clashes lasted over two days.

Jund-Allah in Gaza

France 24, France
Host, Man # 1
Has the movement of Junda Ansar Allah, which announced the establishment of an Islamic State in Gaza, ended? Will the killing of Abdel Latef Musa, the leader of the movement, put an end to his extremist ideology? How did this organization grow under Hamas’s watch and its ousted government in Gaza? We will have our correspondent in Gaza, Raja Abu Daqa who is with me in the studio, answer these questions. Raja, did you hear about Junda Allah group when you were in Gaza? Where did it come from?

Correspondent, Man # 2
This group grew gradually, not suddenly. It emerged since 2003 and 2004 and grew alongside other resistance factions. They never made a clear declaration of an Islamic state in Gaza. However, they used to disperse leaflets in the streets to explain their decision to blow up an internet café as an example.Sometimes they would threaten hookah café owners. Although these kinds of actions were viewed as isolated and limited, they were taking place in public. This group eventually declared an Islamic state in Gaza.

Host, Man # 1
Hamas knew that these kind of organizations existed and it was aware of their activities. Why did Hamas allow these groups to develop?

Correspondent, Man # 2
Although Hamas has a different strategy in implementing Islamic law, both Hamas and Junda Allah share a common goal. They both share the goal of establishing a Muslim society and enforcing Islamic law. Many of the people who support this kind of movement voted for Hamas because they also believe that Islam is the solution. Although the two employ different methods to enforce Sharia Law, both groups believe that Islam should be enforced. Hamas insists that it represents Islamic moderation. However other groups believe that they must intervene, even if they have to use force to ensure their Islamic society is established properly, even under Hamas rule.

Presenter, Man # 1
This explains why the group declared the establishment of an Islamic state. Raja, we will continue talking about this group and others, but let us watch this report.

Reporter, Man # 1
People have been killed and injured during clashes between security forces of the ousted Hamas government in Gaza and a number of extremists in the group “Jund Ansar Allah”. The clashes came after the Jund Ansar Allah announced the establishment of what they called the Islamic State in one of its Mosques in Rafah, in order the enforce Islamic law.

Correspondent, Man # 3
We announce, we announce, we announce the birth of the Islamic Emirate. Who ever thinks its okay to kill us, we will do the same to them.

Reporter, Man # 1
Ismail Haniyah condemned the group and said that extremism serves foreign interests.

Correspondent, Man # 3
These announcements help turn other countries against Gaza and makes it possible for the establishment of an international coalition against Gaza. We warn about the risk of being dragged behind such Zionist and Israeli statements. Gaza has only steadfast people.

Reporter, Man # 1
Hamas is launching a wide scale campaign against Salafi movements in Gaza accusing them of committing actions that serve foreigners, not the Palestinian plight.

Many dead in Chechen attack

Russia Today, Russia
Presenter, Female #1
The authorities in the Russian Republic of Ingushetia said that they were able to kill one of the gunmen in the area of Ordjonikidzifskaya and confirmed that he had plans to launch terrorist attacks against officials in the region. Official sources indicated that the gunman was eliminated in one of the homes during a special operation in search of the insurgents. The gunman was killed when he refused to turn himself in to the security forces and opened fire on them which forced the security official to respond with fire, killing him. The operation also led to one injured police officer. Meanwhile, upon arrival to the Ingushetian capital, Magas, after a period of treatment in Moscow, the Ingushetian president said that the situation in Ingushetia is not helpless, but it is difficult.

Guest, Male #1
The situation is difficult because the republic has been dealt a major blow and naturally we should work to improve the situation. Combat will continue, without mercy, with those who refuse to surrender their weapons but there is still time for whoever wants to turn their arms in.

Presenter, Female #1
At least 7 people were killed, among them the 2 suicide bombers in the 2 explosions that rocked the Chechen capital of Shushaniyatagrosni. The Southern Federal Security Organization warned of more suicide bombers in Grozny and warned of the possibility of more explosions.

Reporter, Male #1
Shrapnel flying in all directions: the result of two explosions that aimed at taking a maximum number of lives on the first day of Ramadan. This is not a new event for the Northern Caucuses. Suicide bombers infiltrated the Chechen capital, Grozny, and blew themselves up on bicycles, causing the death and injury of security officials and civilians. The work of these new terrorist has compelled the Southern Federal Security Organization to issue warnings that indicate the presence of additional suicide bombers with more plans.

Guest, Male #2
We had information about the presence of people who were preparing for terrorist acts. Our Interior Ministry tried to stop them but they blew themselves and this is what happened in the two other operations. Now, we are working to discover and eliminate the terrorists.

Reporter, Male #1
On the internet there was another message sent by the Kata’ib Al Saliheen Brigades. They declared what they called the “Economic War on Russia” and said that groups of the fighters were sent to neighborhoods of the country to carry out attacks that would target the infrastructure. Likewise, they claimed responsibility for blowing up the Sayana Shunskaya power station in Siberia and the police station in Ingushetia. Russian authorities denied that the explosion in the power station was due to terrorist activities and confirmed that there were no traces of explosions on the location. Meanwhile, the Kremlin described the terrorists’ claims as “baseless” and not worth commenting on. Last months events in the Caucuses may drag the region into a new era of internal, regional, and international polarization. Not to mention the threats of more violence that will lead to more and more deaths; a violence that will not be prevented by the holy month of Ramadan. Sargon Hadaya. Sanmarayasa. Russia Today.

Turkey: Kurds Can Now Give Their Villages Kurdish Names

BBC Arabic, UK
Presenter, Female #1
According to a Turkish government resolution, Kurdish villages are retrieving their Kurdish names. There is talk about changing the language of Friday sermons from Turkish to Kurdish in areas mostly inhabited by Kurds. Turkey officially exerted this effort in a plan titled “the Kurdish Initiation”. Turkish Prime Minister, Erdogan, is trying to convince the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to give up their weapons and end their rebellion through this resolution. The resolution also came in response to the EU’s demand upon Turkey to respect the ethnic minorities as one of the conditions for joining the EU.

Reporter, Male #1
More than 1,200 Kurdish villages in southeastern Turkey have had Turkish names for a long time, as part of the Turkification movement that began in the 1940s. Today, Kurdish names begin to be returned to some of these villages, as part of the “Kurdish Initiation” that the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has adopted. The Prime Minister is launching this initiation to end the war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has lasted more than two decades and killed nearly 50,000 people. The latest chapters of this war were about a year ago, when the Turkish army launched severe attacks on the PKK’s strongholds, and even raided Northern Iraq, which led to a humanitarian catastrophe. Many villagers fled their homes. Despite this massive military crackdown, the situation of more than 12 million Kurds in Turkey has relatively improved, under the Justice and Development Party, which came into power in 2002. Pressures from EU have also contributed to the improvement of Kurds’ situation, as EU has stipulated it as a condition for accepting Turkey as a member country. Before 2002, the Kurds were not allowed to teach their language or perform Friday prayers in Kurdish. Today, the Kurds are allowed to open their own institutes like this one, to teach the Kurdish language. It was also forbidden to broadcast Kurdish songs on official television programs before 2002. These Kurdish arts and music are now given more media attention, but these artists demand more.

Guest, Female #1
The music that we are playing reflects the sorrows and tragedies that Kurds are living in. Some of the songs may cause us trouble, that’s why we have to choose the lyrics very carefully. We feel that we’re second-class citizens.

Reporter, Male #1
By giving Kurdish people their rights, the ruling party in Turkey tries to change the Turkish norm. However, it should also guarantee support from the people, the parliament, and the army for the “Kurdish Initiation”, which aims at responding to the Kurds’ demands that have been long overdue. The Kurds consider the long-term rejection of their demands a blatant proof of discrimination against them. Mohammed Taha, BBC.

No Hijabs Allowed in Banks

Press TV, Iran
[Summary]

A twenty-four year old woman in France was told to remove her hijab for “security reasons” when she entered her local bank.