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[Transcript]  Mosaic News - 06/20/11: World News From The Middle East [VIDEO]

Fierce battles continue in western Libya

Al Jazeera, Qatar
Presenter, Male #1
A Libyan revolutionary source said fierce battles were waged between the battalions and the revolutionaries on the front line of Dafniya. The battles led to the deaths of five revolutionaries.

Presenter, Female #1
The same source said they were caught off guard by Gaddafi's battalions as they approached the revolutionaries with Grad rockets and artillery shells from only 50 meters away. A medical source in Misurata's hospital said that ten revolutionaries were killed and 54 were injured.

Reporter, Male #2
These days, western Libya is at the front line of the Libyan crisis. Thirty kilometers west of the city of Misurata, near al-Dafniya, a round of violent fighting is being waged between Gaddafi's battalions at the revolutionaries’ front lines. The battalions used heavy weaponry, tanks, Grad rocket launchers, and mortar shells. The revolutionaries repelled their attacks with their weapons, taking advantage of some trees to protect their front lines, which were situated only 50 meters away from Gaddafi's battalions.

Guest, Male #3
From the first day, they tried to enter the city using long-range weapons. They even target houses of worship and have destroyed some; they have no respect for houses of worship.

Reporter, Male #2
As days pass, the revolutionaries' need for additional military support to repel Gaddafi's battalions becomes more evident. This, in anticipation of paving the way toward Tripoli, which is still rebelling against the revolutionaries and remains under the control of the battalions.

Guest, Male #4
They should hit Gaddafi; they should stop targeting other sites, they should hit Gaddafi.
Gaddafi is the only one who needs to be targeted. Other people and military sites should stop being targeted. Only Gaddafi should be hit.

Reporter, Male #2
In the relatively calm east, the revolutionaries discovered a new cell they say was preparing for retaliatory operations. Back in the west, the revolutionaries say fierce battles are ongoing in the surrounding areas of Qazaya village. Local sources also confirm the presence of Grad rocket-launchers directed toward the city in the al-Orban region and Gar'at el-Rih. At the same time, the Transitional National Council is waging diplomatic battles that are just as fierce as those on the ground.

Guest, Male #5
We accepted the political solution that guarantees Gaddafi's complete resignation and his departure with his regime and sons.

Reporter, Male #1
In light of this situation, there are talks of the discovery of mass graves in a number of regions, including Ein Marra near the city of Baida. The revolutionaries said one grave holds the remains of seven people believed to have been buried in the 1990s. This scene sums up the Libyan crisis, which has entered its fifth month without any looming sign on the horizon that it is nearing its end.

Presenter, Male #1
On the other hand, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi held Britain, France, the US, and Italy responsible for what he referred to as crimes committed against the Libyan civilians in the last three months.

Presenter, Female #1
Al-Obeidi added that the United Nations in turn shares its responsibility of what he called atrocities.

Bahrain accused of systematic torture inside hospitals

Al-Alam, Iran
Presenter, Male # 1
The British newspaper, the Independent reported that the humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, alleged that Bahraini forces tortured injured demonstrators in hospitals. The newspaper based its report, entitled "Bahraini leadership faces new claims that torture took place in hospital," on the organization's documentations and meetings with the injured.

Reporter, Male # 2
Doctors Without Borders volunteers released a report on Bahrain's Sulaimaniya hospital, where injured demonstrators were tortured. The volunteers documented the torture methods used against those who were injured in the popular peaceful protests. The Bahraini leadership is facing new claims of having committed torture inside hospitals, as reported by the Independent newspaper, citing Doctors Without Borders. Meanwhile, 20 Bahraini doctors are being prosecuted for disrupting public order after merely having treated injured demonstrators. Based on testimonies by the organization's volunteers and interviews with patients, the report confirms that Bahraini security forces tortured the hospital's injured demonstrators. Bahrain's protest movement was launched in February. The head of Doctors without Borders' mission in Bahrain, Jonathan Whittall, was quoted saying that Bahraini forces carried out constant torture in the Sulaimaniya medical complex in the capital Manama. He confirmed that security forces took control of the hospital after tanks moved outside and set up checkpoints for anyone entering or leaving the hospital. According to Whittall’s testimony, all those wounded with injuries that could have been sustained during the peaceful protests were taken to the hospital's sixth floor where they were severely beaten everyday.

Guest, Male # 3 (Abbas Al-Omran, Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
The Bahraini authorities militarily controlled Sulaimaniya hospital. They would investigate one doctor after the next inside the hospital. They set up an investigation room inside the hospital where many doctors were taken. When doctors treated the injured, they saw the traces of the crimes committed by the regime against the protestors.

Reporter, Male # 2
Whittall, who was in Sulaimaniya hospital at the time, says the hospital has become a terrifying place that is feared by the people. He confirmed the claim after having witnessed the security forces' treatment of a patient who was trying to leave the hospital but was beaten and then detained and tortured. The report by Doctors Without Borders affirms that many patients were tortured even though there was no evidence that they led the demonstrations or committed violent acts during the protests. The organization ended its report by saying the situation escalated to the point where people didn't dare go to the hospital even if they needed medical aid. It confirmed that many of the injured disappeared from the hospital, only to reappear days later with more serious injuries.

Syria unrest: Assad’s speech falls on deaf ears

BBC Arabic, UK
Presenter, Female #1
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that his country was subject to a conspiracy. He believes that what is happening now is vandalism and has nothing to do with reform. Assad added that the public's demands are legitimate but he called for differentiating between those demands and the attempts of what he referred to as vandalism. The Syrian president also confirmed that he began a series of meetings with various Syrian social communities in order to conduct a national dialogue.

Reporter, Female #1
President Bashar al-Assad's speech and efforts did not bring anything new to his people.
The man and his thoughts have not changed since the protests erupted in Syria: a conspiracy seemed to be the only explanation for all the protests demanding the toppling of country’s ruling regime. Assad only sees these protestors as a small number of vandals working for a foreign agenda.

Guest, Male #1 (Bashar al-Assad, Syrian President)
But some say there is no conspiracy. This saying is not objective either, not in terms of the crisis, but in terms of the conditions, the history, and the historical context of Syria.

Reporter, Female #1
At the same time, the president did not forget to stress the importance of taking steps on the path of reform. This was not the first call of its kind, as he has previously spoken of reform. However, this talk of reform is always offset by renewed security crackdowns on any anti-regime movements. Assad spoke in general terms, saying that a comprehensive national dialogue is the exit for the country's current crisis. He expressed his rejection of what he referred to as "attempts to promote sectarian discourse" to provoke strife among the Syrian people.

Guest, Male #1
Therefore, we can say that a national dialogue has become the main theme of this coming phase.

Reporter, Female #1
The call for a dialogue came with efforts to create change in the political scene of a country that has been under the rule of one party for four decades, and where voices of opposition are not tolerated.

Guest, Male #1
The formation of the committee to study a new Parties law was a fundamental step in the country’s political development and the expansion of democratic life. The new Parties law endorses pluralism and provides room for a wider-range of political groups to participate in political life.

Reporter, Female #1
The Syrian president's speech comes at a time when over 10,000 of his people are living as refugees in Turkey, after escaping from what they described as the repression by security institutions. Assad called on them to return, denying all the claims that Syrian security forces are carrying out retaliatory operations. It is not known whether his calls will be responded to. As soon as the president finished his speech, the Syrian street was quick to react. Protestors took to the streets of various cities denouncing Assad’s statement.

Presenter, Female #1
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has passed the point of no return in terms of his fate. At the opening ceremony of an aircraft exhibition in Paris, Barak added that Assad has lost legitimacy with his people.

Lieberman insists Iran nuclear weapons is top foreign policy issue

IBA, Israel
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said today that the biggest issue facing Israel is Iran, which has continued to advance its nuclear program, defying the international community. Liberman charged that the world has forgotten about the Iranian issue and its desire to achieve nuclear weapons. Speaking to the board of governors at the World Jewish Congress in Jerusalem, Lieberman said the expected vote on Palestinian statehood at the United Nations in September is important but not that important and he offered his vision of how peace with the Palestinians can be achieved.

Moroccan reform proposals met with massive demonstrations

Press TV, Iran
In Morocco, pro-government demonstrators have attacked democracy activists in the capital Rabbat. Loyalists broke up the demonstration called in protest against constitutional reforms proposed by Kink Mohammed VI. Morocco has been rocked by pro-reform demonstrations since February. On Friday, the king unveiled a series of constitutional reforms. They include granting additional powers to the prime minister and to parliament. However, King Mohammed keeps his hold on key powers. The proposed reforms will be put to referendum on July 9.

Tunisia's Ben Ali stands trial

Press TV, Iran
A criminal court in Tunisia has begun the trial in absentia of ousted President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. The judge says his charges include unlawful possession of foreign currency, jewelry, drugs, and weapons. Ben Ali denies all charges. In a statement, he says he was duped into leaving the country in fear of an assassination plot. The ousted Tunisian president is also due to face a separate trial in a military court on charges of manslaughter and conspiracy against the state. Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia in mid-January following the popular revolution that sparked uprisings across much of the Arab world.

World Refugee Day given urgency by 'Arab Spring'

Dubai TV, UAE
Presenter, Male #1
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UNHCR, has marked World Refugee Day today, amid unrest witnessed in the Middle East, North Africa, and Sudan, which have caused a new wave of displacement. Meanwhile, Syrians in the northwest region are continuing to flee into neighboring Turkey. According to humanitarian organizations, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the violence in Libya. Most of them are still living in camps on the Libyan-Tunisian borders. Tens of thousands of refugees were displaced in Sudan, which continues to witness sporadic unrest. The number of refugees around the world has reached 44 million, the highest in 15 years.

Reporter, Male #2
The UN marks June 20 each year as World Refugee Day. On this day, the UN issues a report on the number and humanitarian conditions of refugees around the world. The UNHCR, which was created nearly 60 years ago to cope with the two million refugees in Europe in the aftermath of the World War II, is facing major challenges due to the doubling of the number of refugees several times over. The rapidly unfolding developments witnessed in various regions around the world have increased the number of displaced people to its highest level in 15 years. Over 400,000 refugees were displaced from their countries this year alone, raising the total number of refugees by the end of 2010 to 43.7 million. The UNHCR said that 15.4 million refugees have fled across their countries' borders. Eighty percent of them fled to nearby developing countries. The UN agency added that 27.5 million were "uprooted" within their own homeland. More than 850,000 have sought political asylum. What's different about this year is that the world's poorest countries are being left to host a large number of refugees. Pakistan, Iran, and Syria host the most refugees, with 1.9 million, 1.1 million and 1 million respectively. From the list of countries where most refugees originate, Afghanistan tops the list with three million refugees, followed Iraq, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The UNHCR said that more than half of the refugees and displaced are children under the age of 18. Meanwhile, many questions are being raised about the growing anti-refugee sentiment witnessed in the developed countries. According to the UN, fears about supposed floods of refugees in industrialized countries are being vastly overblown or mistakenly conflated with migration issues. However, humanitarian organizations said that it’s the poorer countries that are being left with most of the burden. The civilians, including women, children, and seniors, are being left to pay the cost of wars and turmoil throughout the world.

Bomb targets French embassy convoy in Iraq

Oman TV, Oman
Seven people were wounded today when a French embassy convoy was hit by a makeshift bomb in Baghdad in the second attack on the mission’s vehicles in a month. An embassy official and local police said the attack in Baghdad underscored the still shaky security situation in the capital, as the last US troops prepare to withdraw by a planned year-end deadline. Iraqi security sources said seven people were wounded in the attack, but an embassy spokesman said no French diplomatic or security personnel were hurt, though one of the convoy’s vehicles was badly damaged.

11 killed in US drone attack in Pakistan

Oman TV, Oman
Suspected US drones fired missiles into Pakistan today, killing at least 11 militants, nine of them from a major Afghan militant group fighting Western forces in Afghanistan. Seventy-seven militants have been killed in missile strikes by US drones this month according to a Reuters tally based on statement from intelligence officials. Most of the strikes focused on Waziristan, but today’s attack targeted militants in Kurram.

The Libyan war's long-term effects

France 24, France
Presenter, Female # 1
The humanitarian situation in Libya is deteriorating as bloody clashes continue between the revolutionaries and Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi's loyalists.

Reporter, Male # 1
They say there is no such thing as a "clean war" since each war has its victims. The ongoing battles in Libya between Gaddafi's battalions and the revolutionaries have led to the deaths of thousands and the injury of even more. As for refugees and the displaced, their number stands at hundreds of thousands. The Tunisian-Libyan border bears witness to these tragedies, not only because it welcomed hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the flames of battles, but also because it has received its share of shelling and attacks by Gaddafi's battalions. As for the Libyan cities experiencing battles, death besets civilians from all directions. Amnesty International reported on the indiscriminate gunfire by Gaddafi's battalions in residential areas, a clear violation of international law. And when war breaches all rules and regulations, the death toll rises and it becomes more difficult to treat the wounded and provide shelter for refugees. The path to end the fighting in Libya doesn’t seem clear. Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross expects the number of those affected by the war to reach 850,000 by the end of the year. Regardless of the war's outcome, it is certain that its suffering will leave a mark that will be hard to erase.

Landmines in Iraq claim dozens of innocent lives

Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
Presenter, Male #1
The consecutive wars waged by the former Iraqi regime have left behind many problems, with the Iraqi citizens paying the price.

Presenter, Female #1
Unexploded missiles and shells buried underground are turning into a killing machine, especially considering that some of them were buried in residential areas.

Reporter, Male #2
The outcome of the consecutive wars waged by the deposed Iraqi regime is still casting its shadow. The area of Nahiya Siba, which was the center stage of battles in the 1980s, is still suffering from the war remnants, targeting residents and especially children.

Guest, Male #4 (Majid Kathem, a resident of the Nahiya area)
There are remnants of war buried in the residential areas. You know what these remnants can do to the people and children. The problem is that no one knows where they were buried. Many explosions occurred due to these remnants.

Reporter, Male #2
The Civil Defense Agency and the Red Crescent Society have joined forces in the search of landmines. The aim is to help protect citizens from the danger of landmines by creating a safe environment.

Guest, Male #5 (Naser Hussein, head of Civil Defense Agency)
Today, we launched a campaign in the area of Nahiya Siba in the beloved county of Fao. We are seeking to clear the remnants of war left near our dear and beloved citizens and residents, who are trying hard to revive these areas.

Guest, Male #6 (Saif Zaki, Director of Red Crescent)
The Iraqi Red Crescent Society has deployed a medical response team and an ambulance.
The agency's awareness team is spreading the message about the danger of these war remnants.

Reporter, Male #2
Over 150 unexploded missiles are believed to be buried underground in this area. They are posing a grave danger, and if they are not cleared out, they will lead to serious repercussions. The policies of the deposed Iraqi regime have caused destruction in most Iraqi territories, including the area of Nahiya Siba, which is suffering from remnants of war that continue to cause irreparable harm to residents. From the area of Nahiya Siba in Basra, Tarek Saleh, Iraqiya.


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