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Libyan regime blasts NATO over "massacre" of 85 villagers, Saudi Arabia renews mediation efforts to end Yemeni crisis, Syria continues pursuing "terrorist groups" as Turkey urges an end to violence, and more.
Mosaic | Sep 12
Somali famine outpacing the delivery of humanitarian aid, Morocco's February 20 Movement reiterates its rejection of cosmetic reforms, Yemen's Sale...
Saudi Arabia renews mediation efforts to end Yemeni crisis [Al Jazeera, Qatar]
Presenter, Male # 1
Knowledgeable sources said Yemeni opposition representatives, the Joint Meeting Parties and the al-Ahmar clan are currently in the city of Jeddah to find a way to end the political crisis sweeping Yemen.
Presenter, Female # 1
On the other hand, an official Saudi source said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia offered a new proposal that would transfer the authorities of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to his deputy in exchange for commitments by the Joint Meeting Parties and the opposition.
Reporter, Male # 2
The political crisis sweeping Yemen for almost six months is once again in the spotlight. The country's cities and towns have turned into squares witnessing massive popular demonstrations to demand an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been holding onto power for over 33 years. The protests turned into daily events reaching their peak on Fridays. The youth of the revolution are supported by a wide range of the Yemeni society, including army units and a number of high-ranking officers. However, the demonstrators' goal has still not been accomplished. Even when President Saleh was being treated in Riyadh from injuries sustained during an assassination attempt at the beginning of June, he continued to impede a solution to the crisis. He has not displayed any readiness to relinquish power and his two-month long absence has added additional doubt and instability in Yemen. Regional and international powers have attempted to convince him to change his position and, according to a media source, American officials have managed to convince him not to return to Yemen. However, Yemeni officials have denied the claim, saying he will return to Sanaa. Sanaa and other Yemeni cities have been witnessing an increasing number of clashes between pro-Saleh Republican Guard forces and armed tribal groups who support the opposition. But on the horizon, there are new attempts and efforts to put an end to the crisis and they are essentially based on amending the Gulf initiative, which would be its sixth amendment. The initiative calls on Saleh to resign one month after the opposition forms a national unity government, to be followed by presidential elections within 60 days. Knowledgeable sources say the visit of Abdel Karim al-Iriani, the Yemeni president's advisor to Riyadh, tackled a new plan that includes additional amendments to the initiative. Saudi Arabia suggested that Saleh transfer his authorities to his deputy in exchange for commitments by the Joint Meeting Parties and the opposition that Saleh would become the honorary president of Yemen in Saudi Arabia until the end of the year when presidential elections are held. At the same time, the city of Jeddah is hosting Yemeni opposition representatives from the Joint Meeting Parties and the al-Ahmar clan. They are looking into finding a way out of the crisis, a crisis during which President Saleh reneged three times on the deal despite accepting having accepted it.
Libyan regime blasts NATO over 'massacre' of 85 villagers [Al-Alam, Iran]
Presenter, Female #1
The Libyan regime announced that NATO killed 85 people in the village of al-Majar, south of Zlitan. Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said 33 of the victims were children, 32 were women and 20 were men. Ibrahim added that the first air strike targeted the village and killed a number of citizens, while the second strike killed people who rushed to rescue the victims of the first strike. As for the revolutionaries, they have been trying for a week to seize the city of Zlitan, located east of Tripoli. In another development, Libyan opposition leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil dismissed the Executive Board of the Transitional National Council and appointed Mahmoud Jibril to form a new board. Reliable sources said the move was taken following escalating disputes between the liberal and Islamic wings within the opposition in general, and specifically within the council.
Reporter, Male #1
The assassination of the Libyan opposition's military leader Abdul Fatah Younis several days ago dealt a strong blow to the revolutionaries and it seems it has forced them to recalculate and reorganize their internal structure. The first new arrangements were made by Transitional National Council Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, who announced the executive board will be dismantled and its work suspended. Media sources confirmed the head of the board Mahmoud Jibril was appointed again to form a new executive board. The move was taken due to some members' lack of competence in dealing with the military commander's assassination, especially since the case remains ambiguous. On the ground, fierce seesaw battles are still ongoing between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi's battalions. The Libyan revolutionaries said they consolidated their strongholds in the town of Bi'r al-Ghanam, which they claimed control over two days ago. They denied Tripoli's assertion that its forces recaptured the town from the revolutionaries.
Guest, Male #2 (Ahmed Bani, Libyan revolutionaries spokesman)
The February 17 revolutionaries approached form az-Zawiyah and reached Bi'r al-Ghanam. It is certain that they have regrouped their units by now. The current important mission is to enter into a new round of battles with the tyrant's battalions.
Reporter, Male #1
While France announced its decision to recall the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle from Libyan waters after it took part in the military campaign on Libya, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova strongly condemned NATO's air strikes on Tripoli, which killed dozens of citizens. In another development, President of Chad Idriss Deby called for dialogue and an end to the fighting. He believes the war on Libya has reached a dead end and the time has come for the African Union and the international community to sit at the dialogue table in order to restore peace in Libya.
Syria continues pursuing 'terrorist groups' as Turkey urges an end to violence [Future TV, Lebanon]
Presenter, Male #1
As the massacre continues in Syria, Arab and international powers escalated their positions as President Bashar al-Assad received a firm letter from the Turkish leadership. The letter was delivered by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during his one-day visit to Damascus that lacked the customary warm welcoming.
Presenter, Female #1
During the meeting that lasted many hours, signs of uneasiness were apparent on the faces of the Syrian president, his foreign minister and media advisor. According to the Syrian state news agency, Assad confirmed to Oglu that he will not be tolerant in pursuing what he referred to as "armed terrorist groups."
Presenter, Male #1
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr confirmed that his country is following with great concern the dangerous deterioration of the situation in Syria. He expressed fear that the situation in Syria is headed toward a point of no return; he stressed on the importance of acting quickly to salvage the situation. Amr reiterated the statement he issued at the beginning of Ramadan on the necessity to conduct reforms in Syria on the national level in order to avoid the risk of internationalizing the crisis, something the region would not be able to handle. He affirmed that blood-soaked reforms are useless. Twenty-two Syrian civilians were killed and dozens were wounded by the gunfire of Syrian security forces in Deir az-Zour, Hama's countryside and Idlib. The areas are witnessing military operations in which tanks are participating.
Reporter, Male #2
This is a glimpse into leaked scenes displaying what Syrian cities and towns are being subjected to at the hands of those referred to as the "protectors of the homeland", in reference to the Syrian Arab Army, backed by the shabeha. No Arab condemnation or international pressure managed to put an end to the bloody attacks and massacres committed by the Syrian regime in its attempt to repress the ever-expanding protests. The regime claimed that security forces began withdrawing from central Syria's Hama one week after storming the city and committing a number of massacres in its neighborhoods. However, the reality on the ground appears to contradict the official story. The opposition's websites said tanks stormed a number of areas in Hama on Tuesday at dawn, especially the towns of Halfaya, Tibet al-Imam and Souran. It is reported that about 30 people were killed, including five children from the same family, and dozens were wounded. While Syrian security forces continue their operations in the province of Homs, it was reported that the town of al-Giza in Horan is witnessing broad raids and arrest campaign. Meanwhile, tanks stormed a number of cities in Idlib province and snipers were stationed on the buildings in Ma'arrat al-Numan. In Binnish, near the Turkish border, the situation on the ground was described as critical after a number of people were killed and injured while mosques sent out calls to rescue the wounded. Heavy gunfire was also reported in Latakia, especially in Slaibeh and al-Achrafieh. As additional evidence of the policy of intimidation adopted by the regime against its people is a video circulating on the opposition's social networking sites. It shows the extent of the damage perpetrated by Syrian security to some houses in Hama and on the walls, apostatical statements were written equating Assad to God. Every night after the Taraweeh and dawn prayers, the streets of Syrian cities and towns are filled with massive anti-regime demonstrations. The demand to lift the siege on besieged cities is renewed, as well as the demand for President al-Assad to relinquish power. Syrian protestors did not forget to salute and thank the Arab countries that recalled their ambassadors from Damascus in protest to the bloody repression the regime is using against its citizens.
Intervention in Syrian state internal affairs violates international law [Syria TV, Syria]
Presenter, Male #1
Despite the many materials prohibiting intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, certain countries continue to meddle in Syrian affairs, not out of concern for Syria's security and stability but out of concern for their own interests and special agendas.
Reporter, Female #2
All of the measures, methods, and languages that were used by certain countries against Syria are in blatant violation of international laws and principles, as mandated by the UN Charter on foreign interventions. The UN Charter has specifically stated that "nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the UN to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state." According to the 1981 UN Charter on the "Inadmissibility of Intervention," no state has the right to intervene directly or indirectly for any reason in the internal and external affairs of other states.
States must refrain from the threats of using force, armed intervention, political disruption, and military occupation. The vast majority of countries suddenly showing this special interest in the welfare of Syria and its people have violated such principles. These countries have taken unilateral measures, targeting Syria's sovereignty, security, and development.
Guest, Male #1
Foreign intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states violates international laws. It's prohibited for anyone to intervene in the internal affairs of any state. We, as Syrians, will not allow any foreign, European, Arab, or Gulf Cooperation Council, or Turkey to intervene in Syria's affairs. Syria is a sovereign nation.
Bahraini protestors demand end to Al Kahlifa dictatorship [Press TV, Iran]
Anti-regime protestors have once again flooded the streets of Bahrain despite a heavy handed security response. Demonstrations took place in the capital Manama and several other villages. Protestors chanted slogans again King Hamad and to put an end to his dictatorship. Saudi-backed Bahraini troops used tear gas against the protestors. One protestor's home was also set on fire. The Persian Gulf sheikhdom was been rocked by a wave of anti-regime protests since February.
Gaza struggles with electricity crisis during Ramadan [Press TV, Iran]
Gazans still suffer from continued power-outages in the coastal Strip. The Israeli siege of the territory has made fasting during this Ramadan a challenge for the residents of Gaza. Under an Israeli blockade for over five years, Gazans electrical crisis continues unabated. As a result, Gaza experiences outages of up to 12 hours a day, severely disrupting normal functions and infrastructure. The situation is especially hard during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Most Gazans are forced to have their Iftar meals in the dark, with many unable to cook a meal due to the power outages.
Lebanon deploys army after Israel breaches southern border [New TV, Lebanon]
Presenter, Female #1
The occupation soldiers once again violated the Blue Line at the technical fence and withdrawal line near as-Simaqa outpost on the outskirts of Kfar Shuba. In response, the Lebanese army is taking necessary field measures in coordination with UNIFIL.
Reporter, Male #1
The hills of Kfar Shuba are the new target of Israel's violation of UN Resolution 1701; these violations have been ongoing for ten days. A 12-member Israeli patrol unit crossed on foot what is known as the withdrawal line, and was reinforced by mechanized forces that remained inside the occupied territories. As a result, army units in the region and international forces were mobilized. A statement issued by the Lebanese Army's Guidance Directorate indicated the violation began at 10:30 a.m. and lasted about half an hour. During that time, enemy forces crossed the technical fence near as-Simaqa outpost and advanced 200 meters.
Guest, Male #2 (Ribah Furukh, Resident of Kfar Shuba)
The Jews set up an ambush from as-Simaqa outpost; 12 of them came down. Two hid under the line and the other ten hid somewhere else. We took the goats and fled. We called the shepherd, put away the goats and came from the other side. It's either water or land. How is this possible? How can Israel breach the border everyday from a different side? We hope that the Lebanese authorities, the international forces, and the international community take action.
Reporter, Male #1
How often is their a breach of the border here?
Guest, Male #2
Everyday. Last week, they came down from this outpost three times. Today, they came down from another outpost.
Reporter, Male #1
Guest, Male #2
No, no gunfire.
Guest, Male #3 (Ahmed Attiya, Resident of Kfar Shuba)
We didn't see anything but we heard vehicles from this outpost and a lot of movement. We hear their vehicles circling around but they usually stay behind the line and we don't see anything. But yesterday, there was a lot of movement here and gunfire towards the Shebaa Farms, from the other side. On the outpost on top of Shebaa, there were artillery and heavy machine guns. Sometimes at night, vehicles come up to Ruwaysah el-Sina' and Ruwaysah el-Ranfah. We see their lights as they're going to outposts above.
Reporter, Male #1
During our tour of the region that extends from Kfar Shuba to Birkat Ba'athail, there was clear deployment of international forces and the Lebanese army. Together they were patrolling the border, including some stable locations. At the same time the violation in Kfar Shuba was recorded, an Israeli force consisting of about six soldiers entered the Kouroum el-Chariqa region in Meiss al-Jabal. The unit crossed the technical fence without breaching the Blue Line; it stayed there for about ten minutes. Such violations were repeated in the last few days. Israeli reports indicate that changes in the Arab world will force Tel Aviv to change its foreign and security policies. If these statements are combined with the semi-daily violations in the south and the reports that indicate there is no exit to the Israeli economic and social crisis except if a change in its priorities is implemented, this could mean war. From the hills of Kfar Shuba, Basil al-Aridi, New TV.
Netanyahu appoints task force to address protestors' demands [IBA, Israel]
Here at home, the Trachtenberg Committee appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today met for the first time, charged with finding solutions to the burning social issues by restructuring budgetary priorities. At the start of the opening session, head of the commission Professor Manuel Trachtenberg said that the wave of social unrest is justified and that the test will be for the commission to collectively develop legitimate remedies. This after protest leaders issued a statement detailing their central demands.
Netanyahu resumes efforts to resume Palestinian peace talks [IBA, Israel]
Efforts to persuade the Palestinians to return to direct peace talks with Israel and cancel their plans to pursue UN recognition of statehood are still underway. These words from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a group of international ambassadors to the United States were currently on a week-long fact-finding mission. The Prime Minster told the diplomats that Israel is currently prepared to make concessions but the Palestinians are refusing to compromise by acknowledging Israel as the Jewish state, forfeiting the right of refugees or agreeing that any future agreement will serve as comprehensive resolution to the conflict between the two peoples.
US pledges $105 million in aid to Somalia [Oman TV, Oman]
The White House today said the United States is giving 105 million dollars in aid to alleviate hunger in Somalia. White House Spokesman Jay Carney said the assistance would come from existing pools of money. The US has earmarked five hundred million dollars for famine relief efforts in the Horn of Africa, a region which includes Somalia. Meanwhile, the United Nations Refugee Agency has flown aid into the war-torn area of Somalia for the first time in five years as the country battles with a devastating famine.