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[Transcript]  Mosaic News - 11/28/11: World News from the Middle East [VIDEO]

Egypt holds landmark elections amid fears for the revolution

BBC Arabic, UK
Presenter, Female #1
Egyptians continue to cast their votes on the first day of parliamentary elections amid high turnout. No violence or major problems were reported at the polls, which are secured by security and armed forces under full judicial supervision. However, some social and civil organizations monitoring the elections said there were administrative and organizational mistakes in a number of provinces. They said it was an indication of the Supreme Council's insufficient capability of administering the elections.

Reporter, Male #1
Millions of Egyptians in nine provinces, especially Cairo and Alexandria, headed to poll centers to begin the first phase of parliamentary elections. Since the early morning, citizens have been enthusiastically flowing to what appeared to be a high turnout for voting. The elections come as a coronation for the dramatic political change that the country has been witnessing since the beginning of the January 25 Revolution which overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak and his regime. A number of Egyptians hope the elections will be fair.

Guest, Male #2 (Amr Moussa, Potential Presidential Candidate in Egypt)
I'm so happy, if you ask anybody here, they are happy too. This is the first step towards achieving the goals of the revolution. This is it, this.

Reporter, Male #1
Nearly 50 political parties are running in these elections competing for 70 percent of the seats. Meanwhile, thousands of candidates are competing for the 30 percent of individual seats in the People's Assembly. Among the numerous exceptional characteristics of these elections, the most significant may be the fact that the newly elected parliament will be delegated to form a founding committee to draft a new constitution for Egypt.

Guest, Female #2
My voice will count for something now. Before, our voices didn't matter. This is why I feel like we have to do something for our country so we can witness a true transition to democracy.

Reporter, Male #1
These elections mark the beginning of the political process. But many are concerned that the results of the elections will not reflect the will of the revolutionary youth parties, dozens of which are still rallying in Tahrir Square.

Guest, Male #3
When we go there, we will only see political signs. There is no real political agenda or program. No one said we should do this or that.

Reporter, Male #1
These people are also apprehensive of the election results, especially if the Islamists win and ally with the state organizations like the Military Council. They fear that such a result will abort the revolution's demands, which raised the slogans of bread, freedom, and social justice.

Syria considers Arab League sanctions a declaration of economic war

New TV, Lebanon
Presenter, Female # 1
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem held a press conference during which he presented graphic images portraying the actions of armed gangs. He said the Arab League's proposal undermines Syrian sovereignty.

Guest, Male # 1 (Walid Muallem, Syria's foreign minister)
With the decision they made yesterday, they ended these windows of opportunity.

Reporter, Female # 2
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem did not hold this press conference the way he usually does. Instead, he showed a documentary showing the crimes committed by armed terrorist gangs in Syria. He dedicated the film to the members of the Arab ministerial committee, who still deny the presence of these armed groups despite US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's admission that they are well-armed and well-financed. During al-Muallem's press conference, he confirmed that some Arab League members are pushing to turn the issue into an international one.

Guest, Male # 1 (Walid Muallem, Syria's Foreign Minister)
Your Excellency, secretary-general, you are supposed to guard the charter of the league.
You have to read this charter and particularly article eight of this charter. I think you are deluded if you are targeting the Syrian regime and you are violating the league's charter. But we all know that the target is the Syrian people. Brothers, cutting off transactions with the Central Bank is a declaration of economic war from the viewpoint of international law.

Presenter, Female # 1
Popular Syrian protests against the Arab League were held in the capital Damascus.

Reporter, Male # 2
This is the Syrian street, strongly responding to the Arab League's decision to impose economic sanctions on the country. The square here, in the Syrian capital Damascus, is the decision center where hundreds of thousands of President Bashar al-Assad's supporters gathered. They chanted against the Arab League and against those they described as traitors and conspirators. In Saba'a Bharat Square, protestors raised their country's flag and large photos of President al-Assad.

Guest, Female # 3
I just want to tell the Arab League one thing: they are betting that the president will be removed early next year, but I want to tell them that you will lose. The president will remain and the entire country wants him.

Guest, Female # 4
All those Arabs ganging up on us reveal that this is a conspiracy. A conspiracy; a conspiracy whether they like it or not.

Reporter, Male # 2
On the ground, the Syrian army clashed with a number of anti-regime gunmen in al-Khalidiya of Homs Province; and managed to arrest a number of those who surrendered during the fighting. Opposition websites posted videos showing protests demanding the downfall of the regime, saying they took place in Khan Sheikhun in Idlib Province and in Saqba in the countryside of Damascus, where the opposition organized a student protest. As for Homs, in al-Insha'at neighborhood, the mobilization continued on the street despite the Syrian forces' entry into al- Khalidiya in the same province. A report by a UN Human Rights Council panel, released in Geneva, found that Syrian security forces committed crimes against humanity in the crackdown on protests. It expressed deep concern over the issue and held the army responsible for these acts. In a new Russian stance, Moscow announced it will send a fleet of warships, including an aircraft carrier, to Syria early next year. Izvestia newspaper reported the ships will dock in the spring at the port of Tartous, where a Russian military base is located. As for France, its foreign minister, Alain Juppe, said the Syrian government's days are numbered since it is now completely isolated. He also expressed hope that the idea of humanitarian corridors will not been ruled out, saying the demand was submitted by the Syrian National Council.

Pakistanis protest deadly US-led NATO airstrike

Press TV, Iran
In Pakistan, people have taken to the streets protesting against a US-led NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on Saturday. The protestors also held placards calling on Washington to stop its incursions into Pakistan. The protests were staged in Pakistan's largest city Karachi. Among the protestors chanting slogans against the US and NATO were lawyers and politicians. Protestors are angry with the US and the Western military alliance.

Iraqi explosions kill over 20, injure MP

Press TV, Iran
Explosions have killed at least 21 people and wounded another 21 in Iraq. One blast was caused by a mortar round that landed near the parliament in Baghdad. Two people died in that incident. One parliament member was also wounded. The other explosion was caused by a car bomb. It left 19 people dead and 20 others injured. The bomb was detonated at the main entrance of a prison in the town of Taji, north of Baghdad. Victims include police officers, prison guards and employees.

Iran warns US that chemical weapons are 'threat to global security'

Press TV, Iran
Iran has warned that America's illegal move to keep a part of its chemical arsenal is a threat to global peace and security. Iran's ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons made the comment during the body's 16th annual conference in The Hague. The US announced it will not be able to destroy its chemical weapons by the end of April 2012. Kazem Gharibabadi said Washington is "trying to bring in another discriminating order in international organizations" by not meeting the assigned deadline. According to the Chemical Weapons Convention, any country found to be in noncompliance could be referred to the UN Security Council.

Yemen names opposition leader as interim PM

Dubai TV, UAE
Presenter, Female #1
Yemeni Vice-President Abed-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has designated opposition leader and head of the National Council of the Popular Revolutionary Forces, Mohammed Salem Basindwa, to form a national unity government in which ministerial portfolios will be divided equally between the ruling party and the opposition, as mandated by the Gulf initiative. Basindwa is from south Aden and held several key positions before presiding over the foreign ministry ten years ago. Among the challenges facing Basindwa is whether or not he will be able to convince the youths of change to give his government a chance. Abdel Rahman al-Shimiri reports from Sanaa.

Reporter, Male #1
A second step has been taken to implement the Gulf initiative aimed at bridging the gap between political rivals in Yemen. The Yemeni vice president issued a communique designating opposition leader, Mohammed Salem Basindwa, to form the country's first national unity government, bringing both opposition blocs and the ruling party together. This news comes after a power transfer deal was signed last Wednesday in Ryadh. The new government's makeup will be announced in a week.

Guest, Male #2 (Abdullah bin Amer, Journalist at Wast Newspaper)
The Gulf initiative is constrained by deadlines, which requires all sides to display a serious intention for implementing it. The initiative is being monitored regionally and internationally to ensure its implementation. In addition, all sides of the conflict must meet their ethical responsibility.

Reporter, Male #1
The salvation government will be shared equally between the authority and the opposition. All ministerial portfolios will be drawn from two separate lists, and the posts will be allocated equally between the two sides. The new government is facing a real test stemming from its ability to restructure its army and end the division of its security forces.

Guest, Male #3 (Khalil al-Umari, Writer and Journalist)
This government was left with a huge inheritance of political polarization, a security breakdown, and partisan rivalries. Therefore, its mission will be very difficult to maneuver.

Reporter, Male #1
Despite the fact that he is over 75 years old, Basindwa is considered to be one of the most notable leaders opposing President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule. In his political career, since being a young activist in the southern city of Aden, Basindwa has long fought against oppression and tyranny. He held several ministerial positions before and after the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990. The last post he held was as foreign minister ten years ago. In light of the complicated political, economic, and security situations in Yemen, the challenges facing the upcoming salvation government are growing, which requires finding serious and real remedies to resolve such thorny issues. Abed Rahman al-Shimiri, Dubai TV, Sanaa.

Presenter, Female #1
The official legislative election results in Morocco have been announced, with the Islamist Justice and Development Party winning with a relative majority, granting it the right to head a new coalition government. The ministry of interior announced that the Justice and Development party won 107 out of a total 395 parliamentary seats. Meanwhile, three parties from the Democratic Coalition bloc won 117 seats. The Islamist party, whose supporters celebrated their victory last night, said it's waiting for the Moroccan Monarch to nominate the new prime minister next week before holding talks with other political parties to form the government. The secretary general of the Justice and Development Party, Abdelilah Benkirane, is expected to be nominated to form the new government.

Morocco announces election results

Dubai TV, UAE
The official legislative results in Morocco have been announced, with the Islamic Justice and Development Party winning with a relative majority, granting it the right to head a new coalition government. The MInistry of Interior announced that the Justice and Development Party won 107 out of a total 395 parliamentary seats. Meanwhile, three parties from the Democratic Coalition bloc won 117 seats. The Islamist party, whose supporters celebrated their victory last night, said it's waiting for the Moroccan monarch to nominate the new prime minister next week, before holding talks with other political parties to form the government. The secretary-general of the Justice and Development Party, Abdelilah Benkirane, is expected to be nominated to form the new government.

Kuwait cabinet resigns amid political crisis

Al-Alam, Iran
Presenter, Female #1
The emir of Kuwait, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, accepted the cabinet's resignation amid an escalating political crisis in the country. The cabinet's resignation came after the Council of Ministers convened a meeting this morning attended by the emir. Reliable sources suggested that the emir is likely to dissolve parliament and call for early elections, which will be the fourth in five years. These developments come ahead of a protest called for by Saudi-affiliated parties this evening to demand the ouster of the cabinet. Protests called for by youth movements broke out in two eastern Saudi cities, Safwa and al-Awamia, demanding reprisal for the dead, the release of prisoners, and the resignation of the emir of the eastern region. Thousands took part in the protests amid heightened security measures. The military forces deployed their vehicles at intersections and major streets and set up checkpoints to inspect the IDs of passers-by. The protestors demanded a neutral investigation into the parties and individuals responsible for opening fire on peaceful protests in al-Awamia and al-Qatif last week, which killed four people and wounded several others. The protestors also demanded the emir of the eastern region step down.

Bahraini protestors demand release of political prisoners

Al-Alam, Iran
In Bahrain, the Court of Cassation postponed its final verdict for two citizens who were sentenced to death by a military court last April until January 9 of next year. Meanwhile, peaceful marches took place in a number of regions in the country condemning the death sentences on Abdul Aziz Abdu Rida and Ali Abdullah Hassan al-Sankis in the military court. The protestors raised angry slogans against the regime, calling for the release of all political prisoners. Bahrain's public prosecution presented a number of weapons, live ammunitions, Molotov bombs, chemical materials, and white weapons to the Court of Appeals today. The prosecution claimed that the weapons were in the possession of medics in Salmaniya Hospital. This move was mocked and denounced by doctors and lawyers who rejected the showcase of these weapons, as the weapons were never indicated in the investigations conducted by the military prosecution. The prosecution also showed 282 complaints against the medics submitted by regime-affiliated parties. In turn, the lawyers had over 3,000 witnesses proving the medics' innocence of the allegations against them.

Terrorists blow up Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel

IBA, Israel
Just hours before polling stations open, terrorists struck the Egyptian pipeline that supplies natural gas to Israel and Jordan. Extremists detonated two explosions: the first near the town of al-Arish in the northern Sinai, the second occurred 100 meters away less than a minute later. This is the ninth attack on the pipeline this year. Israel generates 40 percent of its electricity using natural gas with nearly half of that coming from Egypt. Jordan depends on natural gas for 80 percent of its electricity needs.

Netanyahu considering releasing PA funds

IBA, Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is considering resuming the transfer of tax payments to the Palestinian Authority. Speaking before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense committee today, the prime minister also said that Israel hopes to stabilize its peace agreement with Egypt. A month after Israel froze Palestinian tax revenues following UNESCO's acceptance of the PA as a full member, Israel is now considering releasing those funds, about 370 million shekels. Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Foreign Affairs and Defense committee today that he is contemplating the move because the Palestinians have refrained from pursuing further unilateral appeals to international organizations.

Nearly 300 Palestinian children prisoners in Israeli jails

Algérie TV, Algeria
Presenter, Male #1
The Arab League reported that the number of Palestinian children in the Israeli occupation's prisons has reached 285. Our correspondent Wisam Abu Zaid reports on the tragedy of Palestinian children enduring torture, arrest, and terrorization.

Reporter, Male #2
These Palestinian children seem to be the prey in the occupation's claws, which imprison them for several years. This is a tragedy that still haunts Palestinian society today. Just like other Palestinian prisoners in the occupation's jails, the children prisoners endure torture and brutal practices prohibited by international law.

Guest, Male #3 (Rafit Saleh, Independent Commission for Human Rights)
We believe that arresting these children, presenting them to military courts, in addition to beating, torturing, and forcing them to confess are considered obvious violations of international human rights law, especially the Geneva Agreement.

Reporter, Male #2
When the occupation soldiers arrest children, they follow through with several steps: the first is investigation; then they extract confessions by force; then achieve their final goal of distancing this generation of children from the resistance against the occupation after all their sufferings.

Guest, Male #4 (Sabir Abu Karsh, Waed for Released Prisoners Association)
They are kept in cells that are completely isolated from other prisoners. There is no communication between them, absolutely no meetings or visits.

Reporter, Male #2
They go as far as putting these children in solitary confinement or even putting them with Israeli criminals to brainwash them to be against Palestinian virtues.

Guest, Male #5 (Majdi Hamad, Released Prisoner)
During a certain period of time, the Israeli occupation put groups of children detainees with groups of convicted Israeli criminals.

Reporter, Male #2
Children endure their share of Palestinian misery: prisoners are cooped up in jail; Gazans suffer from the siege; Palestinians are tortured and killed by occupation forces. These children will grow up to lead the Palestinian cause and will be the first ones to defend the Palestinians' rights.