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Associated Press | Mar 5
Arizona Sen. John McCain is calling for the United States to lead an international effort to begin air strikes on Syria. McCain says Syria's neighb...
Syrian anti-regime protests continue amid crackdown [Al Jazeera, Qatar]
Presenter, Female #1
Syrians continue to stage protests, demanding the ouster of the regime and rejecting its call for a dialogue. Massive protests have been held in the past 24 hours in Hama, Homs, Latakia, Der al-Zor, and other cities in Rif Dimashq.
Presenter, Male #1
Meanwhile, the Syrian army continues to carry out its security campaign in the area of Idlib. In what was attributed to eyewitnesses, Reuters said that army tanks have stormed several areas in the Jabal al-Zawyya region in Idlib province, where sounds of shelling could be heard.
Reporter, Male #2
In Syria, where the president is inviting the opposition to begin talks, security forces are engaging in a rather different dialogue with the protestors with an iron fist. Here in Homs, security forces are beating this protestor because he dared call for a democratic state that protects his rights. In Syria, there's a wide gap between the ruling Baath party and the people who are rising up for freedom. As the protests continue the killings do as well. The protestors took to the streets of Homs, Hama, Latakia, Rif Dimashq, Der al-Zor, and al-Qamishli, demanding the ouster of the regime. They chanted slogans in solidarity with the victims who lost their lives and the thousands of political prisoners and refugees. Assad the son is talking about reforms like the opposition is. However, the two sides are not talking about the same reforms. Assad's reforms don't meet the minimum objectives of the people rising up for the sake of building a civil and democratic state. They are calling for comprehensive not partial reforms that are limited to constitutional amendments, such as the amendment of Article 8 of the constitution. It's true that Article 8 affirms the Baath Party as the leading authority. However, it is not the only obstacle to the democratic transition in Syria, as confirmed by the opposition. The opposition says that the constitution is filled with additional articles granting the president absolute power and immunity from accountability or prosecution. The president can only be tried before a constitutional court whose members are appointed by him. The opposition is demanding a number of articles be deleted from the constitution, including Article 11 which authorizes the army to defend the objectives of the Baath Revolution. Article 11 was put to test today in Jabal al-Zawyya in Idlib province, where Syrian army tanks have moved to besiege the area. Article 11 grants constitutional authorization for the president and the army to conduct military operations not only along the border but also against those being described by the regime as "enemies on the internal front." Enemies which the regime is accusing of targeting the objectives of the revolution: unity, freedom, and socialism. The revocation of Article 8 of the constitution is one of many demands. Among other demands is the revocation of all articles granting absolute power to the president, in addition to drafting new laws for judicial authorities, political parties, the media, and elections. In brief, what the protestors are calling for is the drafting of a new constitution. In other words, the establishment of a new republic and not a second Baath republic. A new republic that is an extension of the first democratic state built in the era prior to military coups. The opposition is calling for an awakened Syria, a liberated Syria that embraces democracy and diversity.
Martyrs' Day of Rage erupts in Cairo's Tahrir Square [Dubai TV, UAE]
Presenter, Male #1
Following a confrontation that lasted until early morning, calm was restored to the Egyptian capital's central Tahrir Square. Entrances to the square were closed and police forces have withdrawn from the site. The clashes injured dozens of police and protestors. Clashes broke out after a group of people stormed a celebration honoring the families of victims of the January 25 Revolution. The confrontation deepens the split between the people and security forces, especially since frustration dominates the Egyptian street due to the repeated postponement of the trials of former high-ranking officials who served during Mubarak's era. Our correspondent Ahmed al-Kilani reports from Cairo.
Reporter, Male #1
Tahrir Square is witnessing a tense morning. Protestors shut down some of its entrances and the police have fully withdrawn from the square after a night of violent clashes that led to dozens of casualties. Stories on the reason behind the clashes are varied. The Interior Ministry's official story indicates that a group of people stormed a celebration honoring the martyrs' families, claiming they were also family members of martyrs. They forcefully entered the celebration and assaulted a number of participants. Then, they left the site and headed toward a protest in front of the state TV headquarters, Maspero, and from there headed to the Interior Ministry. There, they broke the windows of some shops and threw stones at police officers. The police was forced to respond with tear gas. However, the truth has many different faces. Protestors deny the Interior Ministry's story and say that police assaulted protestors for no reason. The protestors were demanding to rush the sentencing of the former regime's figureheads. Others said the celebration was to honor the martyrs of the police, not the citizens.
Guest, Male #2
They were honoring the families of the martyrs in the Balloon Theatre in the Agouza neighborhood. The police attacked them without any reason.
Reporter, Male #1
Another narrative indicates that a court decision to dismantle local councils angered its members. So they headed to the celebration honoring martyrs and beat people, then came to the square and the Interior Ministry headquarters. For this reason, the police interfered in an attempt to disperse the group. However, the police's intervention only made matters worse.
Guest, Male #3
The people are sick of it. The government's thugs wouldn't even do this to slaves.
Guest, Male #4
The Interior Ministry is using the same system and methods and has the same manners. The Interior Ministry has not changed the way people think it has. The agency is still the same.
Reporter, Male #1
The events ended only after the interior minister ordered his men to completely withdraw from the square. The government and the military council warned of plots to incite agitation between the people and the security forces. It appears that these plots have been successful. These clashes prove that the situation on the Egyptian street is still fragile and subject to explode at any moment, during any tense events or uncalculated measure. Ahmed Kilani, Dubai TV, Cairo.
Dozens of Yemeni troops defect to the opposition [BBC Arabic, UK]
Presenter, Male #1
Our BBC correspondent in Yemen reported that fresh protests broke out in the Yemeni capital Sanaa and 11 other cities. Protestors reaffirmed their demand that all symbols of the regime leave and denounced what they referred to as the US and the Gulf's position of accomplice with the regime in dealing with the people's revolution. On the other hand, local medical sources confirmed to the BBC that five citizens were killed and 15 others were wounded in the preliminary outcome of an air strike that targeted a squad of cars at the entrance of Abyan province. Local residents say civilians were driving the cars, but security sources said the strike targeted al-Qaeda members in the cars.
Report, Male #1
Yemen, with a population of 23 million, is on the verge of a complete humanitarian crisis. Reports speak of the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's imminent return from a Saudi hospital after having to leave the country for treatment. He was injured in an ambiguous and violent attack earlier this month. However, political observers do not expect that the wounded president's reappearance will resolve the crisis, regardless of whether he transfers power immediately or retains it. They say that he couldn't have solved the crisis when he was healthy, and the situation is bound to be aggravated further by his remaining in bed for a longer period of time without reaching an urgent political solution. Dozens of soldiers from President Saleh's army announced that they will join the people in the squares demanding the toppling of the regime. But it does not seem as though the opposition figures will resolve the conflicts in their favor anytime soon. In terms of security, the violence has moved from Zinjibar and Aden in the south, to Arhab north of Sanaa. In addition, attacks with various weapons were carried out on Freedom Square in Taiz in central Yemen. As usual, all sides accuse each other of being behind the acts of violence. Activists in Sanaa took to the streets demanding the formation of a transitional council, rejecting the Gulf solution and condemning what they said to be human rights violations committed against protestors by the president's loyalist security forces.
Guest, Male #1
This is a message to the world that all those detained and kidnapped have a right to enjoy the freedom that people of the whole world seek.
Reporter, Male #1
These protests come as UN Human Rights Council envoys are visiting Sanaa to inspect the situation and submit a report to the Security Council, paving the way for what appears to be the internationalization of the Yemeni issue.
Guest, Male #2 (Azz ad-Din Saeed, Human Rights Coordinator in Yemen)
The delegation is assessing the situation in Yemen to prepare a report and make specific recommendations to the Human Rights Council and various international organizations in order to build a foundation for an important international resolution.
Reporter, Male #1
The deteriorating living conditions across the country are just as bad as the pictures show. After recent events took place, tens of thousands of Yemenis lost their jobs and their source of livelihood. Adding to their suffering is the price hike of basic food supplies, and the scarcity of fuel and water. At night, the country is left to endure long hours of darkness because the electricity has been cutoff. However, some Yemenis say that the night will end and a new dawn will break. Anwar al-Ansi, BBC.
Bahraini opposition group deems national dialogue a sham [Al-Alam, Iran]
Presenter, Female # 1
Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa ordered the formation of an independent fact-finding commission tasked with investigating the protests and events witnessed in the kingdom in February and March. During an extraordinary Cabinet meeting, Bahrain's king confirmed the invitation to launch a national dialogue and stated that the kingdom will not tolerate any human rights violations by any side.
Guest, Male # 1 (Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa)
We have decided to appoint an independent fact-finding Commission to look into the events of February and March. It will be comprised of eminent persons with extensive expertise in international human rights law, who have no role in our government, nor in our political sphere. They have been chosen because of their personal stature and international achievements.
Presenter, Female # 1
The news agency said Saudi occupation forces were redeployed across Bahrain while Sheikh Sadeq el-Jumari demanded the Saudi occupation immediately leave the country. He indicated that opposition parties have called for a "self-determination" demonstration on Thursday.
Reporter, Male # 2
Over three months after Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain to crackdown on peaceful protests there, news agencies reported on the redeployment of Saudi occupation forces. Statements made by an unidentified Saudi official contradicted the news. He considered it to be standard to restructure the position of these forces but stated it did not imply that danger was over. He confirmed that these forces will not completely retreat. A Saudi government source had earlier announced that the majority of these forces were getting ready to withdraw from Bahrain on Monday. Another source said the pullout would be gradual. In either case, observers believe that both scenarios will not reduce the anger of the Bahraini people or international condemnation.
Guest, Male # 3 (Abdullah al-Mahuzi, Bahraini political activist)
When the Saudi army entered Bahrain, it did so while raising the banner of victory. As for now, it is leaving while raising the banner of surrender and the shame that will pursue it. This shame has led it to the trash bin of history. The Bahraini people will always remember this oppressive army.
Reporter, Male # 1
A February 14 Revolution Coalition leader, Sheikh Sadeq el-Jumari, demanded Saudi occupation troops immediately leave the country after having surrounded Bahrain by land, air, and sea. He announced that all opposition parties are calling on all sides to participate in the "self-determination" demonstration on Thursday, denying Bahraini officials' accusations of Iranian interference in Manama's affairs. He stated that the Bahraini king's invitation to hold a dialogue was destined to fail and said it is opposed by all opposition parties, individually and collectively. They view the dialogue as an attempt to thwart and seize the revolutions and reduce international pressure on Manama. The series of persecutions carried out by Manama's authorities, in all shapes and forms, against its unarmed people is still ongoing. The latest episode was the Ministry of Education's announcement of having fired 11 teachers from the Imam al-Ghazali Intermediate Boy's School. They were fired on the basis of recommendations by investigation committees. The salaries of others were reduced without any investigation. According to a statement released by the Ministry of Education, the number of teachers who were fired has reached 24. Meanwhile, the military court continues the prosecution of doctors and nurses. Some have been released on bail while others have had their trials postponed. Despite the authorities' crackdown, protestors managed to commemorate the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Musa al-Kazim, peace be upon him, in massive funeral convoys that were challenged by Saudi occupation forces, especially in the capital Manama.
Pakistani attacks kill 22 Afghans [Press TV, Iran]
Pakistan's military has launched a barrage of missile attacks inside Afghanistan killing at least 22 people and injuring scores of others. Reports say rockets hit a border area in the eastern Kunar province. Afghan officials say a number of women and children are among the dead. At least 78 people have been injured. The attacks have reportedly destroyed or damaged several homes. The incident comes as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the US are holding tripartite talks in Kabul.
Death toll from Taliban hotel attack reaches 21 [Press TV, Iran]
The death toll from the Taliban attack on a luxury hotel in Afghanistan has reached 21: ten civilians, nine attackers, and two policemen reportedly killed after militants stormed the Intercontinental hotel in the capital Kabul. Two foreign nationals are also among the dead.
Pakistan orders US to leave remote airbase [Press TV, Iran]
Pakistan's defense minister has ordered the US to leave a remote desert airbase in the country. Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar says secret airbase Shamsi is reportedly being used for unmanned drone attacks and will soon be passed on to the Pakistani army. He said Pakistan has made many sacrifices for the war against terrorism, while payments from the coalition support fund have stalled.
Revolutionaries seize Gaddafi arsenal [Press TV, Iran]
At least, eight civilians have reportedly been killed in a NATO airstrike in Libya. Several other civilians were also injured in the air attack that targeted a market in the town of Wawarga. Since it began its campaign in Libya, NATO has repeatedly targeted civilians and the revolutionary forces fighting the troops loyal to longtime Muammar Gaddafi. Moving on the warfront, battles are raging on between the forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and the revolutionary fighters. The latest reports say the revolutionaries have a major complex of weapons bunkers belong to the Gaddafi forces in western Libya.
Islamic Movement leader to be deported from UK [IBA, Israel]
Leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, was arrested last night in London. The hard-line Muslim cleric was due to appear at a pro-Palestinian event in the British parliament at the invitation of Labor Party MPs. According to British press reports Salah landed in Heathrow airport and managed to pass immigration checks despite a decision made last week by the home secretary to ban him from the country. Salah avoided police and gave a lecture to a crowd of 500 hundred Muslims in London on Monday night on the effect of Arab Spring on Palestinians. He is expected to be deported in the coming hours.
Netanyahu uses new media to connect with Arab youth [IBA, Israel]
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Speaking last night to the Jewish Agency Board of Governors in Jerusalem Netanyahu also restated his commitment to a Palestinian state. Netanyahu is also reaching out through new media. Using the prime minister's YouTube site, he will be fielding questions from around the world. A few months back, Netanyahu's first live question and answer site session attracted over a million views. This time he is hoping to field questions from viewers in the Arab world.
Kadugli sends appeal for South Kordofan refugees [Sudan TV, Sudan]
Presenter, Male # 1
The high committee to support South Kordofan launched Kadugli's call to raise monetary and material aid for those affected by the war in Kosti's Tahrir Square in the White Nile State, under the auspices of the state's civil administration. It is expected to continue the appeal for one week.
Reporter, Male # 2
Under these captivating tunes and under the auspices of the White Nile State's civil administration, the high committee to support South Kordofan launched Kadugli's call to raise monetary and material aid for those affected by the war in the state of South Kordofan.
Guest, Female # 3 (Afaf el-Loz, Vice Chairman of the Assembly's Health Committee)
This is the first group that we witness in Sudan. For one week, all residents of the White Nile from varied ethnic backgrounds and political affiliations, including the People's Movement, will come together to contribute to this appeal by supporting the people in Southern Kordofan.
Reporter, Male # 2
In addition to gathering financial and material support to those affected by the war, the high committee to support South Kordofan has called on residents of the White Nile to view the situation on the ground and the current level of stability witnessed in the state.
Guest, Male # 3 (Mohamamad Markzu Kuku, Secretary of the South Kordofan political secretariat)
I could say that the situation has returned to normal. Many of the brothers and sisters who fled the state have returned home. We, the high commission in the White Nile, have told this great group of people that we are ready to work on helping those who wish to go back to Nuba.
Reporter, Male # 2
Confirming the bond that links all Sudanese, the residents of Nuba expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the experience they shared with other citizens of the country, who are watching over their security and stability. They confirmed it is a message for all those concerned within the People's Movement.
Guest, Male # 4 (Al-Tayeb Hasan Badri, Nuba Mountains residents leader)
Today, we can say that we discovered in reality a conspiracy from the People's Movement, which is now proposing the situation of Darfur and the situation of the relations with the south, from the Nuba Mountains platform, and within the Nuba Mountains negotiations. We say this has really confirmed to us that this agenda is not that of the residents of Nuba.
Reporter, Male # 2
Kadugli's appeal in the White Nile will continue for one week, granting the state's residents the opportunity to renew the era of former cooperation with the residents of Southern Kordofan by offering all they can to those in need. Mustafa Ali Abdallah, Sudan TV, the White Nile State, Tahrir Square, Kosti.