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Yemeni protestors reject granting "immunity to killers," Bahraini activists take action on the "Friday of revolutionary will," Palestinians commemorate Arafat as speculation over his death continues, and more.
Mosaic | Nov 27
Egyptians take to the streets again to protect revolution from "new Mubarak," rights group condemns Syria's continued use of cluster bombs, new stu...
Yemeni protestors reject granting 'immunity to killers' [BBC Arabic, UK]
Presenter, Female #1
Our BBC correspondent in Yemen said at least 11 people, including two women, were killed in an artillery shelling launched by the Yemeni army on Freedom Square and a number of neighborhoods in the southern Yemeni city of Taiz. The artillery shelling comes in response to the gunfire of anti-regime gunmen who targeted the government forces deployed in the streets of the city. Two people were killed yesterday, including a 14-year-old, in a similar artillery shelling.
Reporter, Male #1
More innocent people are falling in the whirlpools of the escalating violence in Yemen. There is no foreseeable end to this bitter conflict that has cost the lives of children, women, and men. In the last 48 hours, Taiz in central Yemen has been a platform for the most violent shelling launched by President Ali Abdullah Saleh's forces. They shelled residential neighborhoods in the city, believing that armed opposition fighters are entrenched in several buildings there. In the face of such violence, anti-Saleh protests this Friday carried the slogan "no immunity for killers" in various parts of the country. In the remote southern city of Aden, demonstrators demanded to try the head of the regime and hold his associates accountable for what the protestors referred to as murder crimes committed by Saleh's forces against civilians. In northern Yemen, protestors in Sa'ada Province refused to grant Saleh immunity and demanded to take him to trial soon. In addition, protests in central, eastern and western Yemen are calling for refusing Saleh any guarantees that exempt him from being held accountable. In the capital Sana'a, this Friday's protests were divided into two: one was for Saleh and the other against him. On as-Sabeen Street, thousands of Saleh's proponents chanted their support for the president and for him staying in power. Meanwhile on as-Siteen Street, protestors repeated their demands for the downfall of the regime and the trial of Saleh. These protests continue amid reports that the West is moving towards imposing sanctions on the Yemeni president, his entourage, and his senior associates.
Guest, Male #2 (Sultan al-Burkani, Deputy Secretary-General of Ruling Party)
If the UN Security Council unanimously issues a resolution, we respect that. But if it's issued only by Britain, France, and the US, I have concerns about it. But we have nothing to be afraid of.
Reporter, Male #1
A political source from the Yemeni opposition told the BBC that the proposed sanctions include an asset freeze, a travel ban, and an embargo on weapons and military equipment to spare the Yemeni people's pain and suffering. Anwar al-Ansi, BBC.
Bahraini activists take action on the 'Friday of revolutionary will' [Al-Alam, Iran]
Presenter, Female # 1
The Bahraini regime's security forces cracked down on a peaceful march in the village of al-Nuwaidrat. The march was held as part of a series of actions taken on the "Friday of revolutionary will." Our sources reported that security forces used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. The Bahraini capital Manama and other areas witnessed protests to demand the release of female prisoners detained in the regime's jails.
Reporter, Male # 2
The situation in Bahrain continues to stand on the threshold of a confrontation between the wide-scale popular movement and the US and Saudi-backed regime that ignores the demands of the people, despite the bloodshed. The people's legitimate demands are for serious reforms, notably electing a parliament and government, an end to the crackdown, and the withdrawal of Saudi occupation forces from the country. The masses continue to express their commitment to those demands through ongoing actions and events. The Bahrain capital al-Manama and other areas witnessed wide-scale protests, during which main roads were shut down but were targeted by regime forces with live bullets. These demonstrations come as part of the 'volcano of anger' actions that started last week in protest to the continued detention of women. Demonstrators managed to block many other roads with burning tires in Jidhafs, Karzakan, and al-Diya. Peaceful protests were also held in the regions of Nabih Saleh, al-Dair, Ma'ameer, Nuwaidrat, Sufana, and other parts of the country, with some lasting until nighttime. And as night fell, additional Saudi-backed security forces were deployed, attacking some homes across different Bahraini areas and arresting young a woman, Ashwaq al-Muqabi, from her bed in Sulaimaniya hospital despite the deterioration of her health and her diabetes. For its part, the Bahraini al-Wefaq National Society condemned the attacks by the security forces and the regime's mercenaries on the house of the father of the secretary-general of the National Democratic Assembly, Fadel Abbas, in the village of Masallah. The house was subjected to stun grenades, tear gas, and suffocating gas. In the same context, the Bahraini opposition abroad considered statements by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on Bahrain as lacking credibility and aimed to save the face of the regime. The opposition criticized the US administration's disregard for the Bahraini people's legitimate demands. It said the US is looking out for its own interests, seeing that it considered the regime a partner that intends to reform while the oppressive regime carries out massacres and violates human rights without clear and serious condemnation. The opposition considered the US administration's positions a blatant promotion to the fact-finding committee that seeks to exonerate the authorities from their crimes against the Bahraini people.
Presenter, Female # 1
Hisham al-Sabbagh, a leader in the Islamic Works Association, said American support for the Bahraini government will not last due to the situation on the ground. In a phone interview with al-Sabbagh, he confirmed that the American position and advice to the Bahraini regime will not end the ongoing bloodshed in Bahrain.
Palestinians commemorate Arafat as speculation over his death continues [Al Jazeera, Qatar]
Presenter, Female #1
Former Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kidwa said that an abridged French medical report revealing late President Yasser Arafat's cause of death will be released within a month after it is translated into Arabic. On the seventh anniversary of his uncle Yasser Arafat's death, al-Kidwa said the report will answer many Palestinian questions. The report will specifically show that Arafat didn't die of natural causes but was poisoned by an Israeli group. Our correspondent Walid al-Umari has the details.
Reporter, Male #1
These candles were lit by Palestinian children in front of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's memorial site in Ramallah. These children didn't know Arafat but heard about him from their parents on the eve of the seventh anniversary of his death, which still remains a mystery. Many undoubtedly believe he was the victim of a conspiracy, and that he was killed by an unknown poison provided by informants working for the enemy. However, the question still puzzles many, and was the focus of speeches during the opening ceremony marking the seventh anniversary of Arafat's departure.
Guest, Male #2 (Nasser al-Kidwa, Former Palestinian Foreign Minister)
It's an old issue that once again poses the painful question of how Arafat was martyred. We have not yet received a conclusive answer. It is our people's right to know and our duty to find out. While reiterating our confidence that Israel was responsible for poisoning Yasser Arafat, we admit that there has been negligence in searching for the right answer.
Reporter, Male #1
Awaiting the answer, the Yasser Arafat Heritage Association granted the Yasser Arafat Award of Achievement on this year's anniversary to the Palestinian Popular Arts Band. However, as usual, politics overshadowed art; politicians reflected back on Arafat's role in building the state of Palestine, which the US and Israel are trying to impede.
Guest, Male #3 (Salam Fayyad, Palestinian Caretaker Prime Minister)
Yes, this is the story of Yasser Arafat. The story is embodied today and every day in the determination of our people to continue the struggle and growth on the path of freedom, independence, and national sovereignty in order to establish our independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with holy Jerusalem as its capital.
Reporter, Male #1
As part of their campaign against Israeli policies, some West Bank towns devoted their weekly peaceful anti-occupation demonstrations to mark the anniversary of the departure of their leader, who spent his final years under siege at his Ramallah headquarters. This is also his burial site, but Palestinians hope that one day it will be moved to Jerusalem as he requested. As the eighth year after Arafat's departure begins, the question that has been causing concern to Palestinians remains unanswered: was Arafat killed or did he die by an act of God? It's a question that is repeated ever year on his anniversary, as the forces that benefited from his death didn't hide their intentions then and haven't changed their policy toward the Palestinian people since. Walid al-Umari, al-Jazeera, in front of Arafat's memorial, Ramallah.
PA warns 'violence and anarchy' could follow stymied UN bid [IBA, Israel]
Now, to an ominous warning from the Palestinian Authority. A top Palestinian official said today that the region could be headed toward violence and anarchy if the PA bid for statehood is rejected at the United Nations Security Council. A subcommittee of the council is slated to meet today and is expected to declare that the Palestinians have so far failed to garner the nine votes necessary to ensure the approval of their request. Regardless, the US has repeatedly vowed to veto the motion.
US Middle East envoy resigns [IBA, Israel]
Middle East envoy Dennis Ross is calling it quits after three years of service for the Obama administration. Ross cited personal reasons for stepping down from his post saying that he wanted to spend more time with is family. The envoy initially committed to working for the White House for two years but extended his time due to the ongoing uprisings in the Arab world. His resignation follows the departure of Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell and leaves many analysts wondering about the future of Obama's Middle East strategy.
Nasrallah: 'Attacking Iran will ignite war in Middle East' [Press TV, Iran]
Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has warned that any military action against Iran or Syria would spill into other parts of the region. Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said the developments in the region have weakened the stance of Israel and the United States. He said they are trying to weaken what he called the 'Axis of Resistance' by putting Tehran and Damascus on the defensive. Nasrallah also pointed out that the US is trying to cover up its defeat in Iraq by ratcheting up the pressure on countries that opposed the Iraq invasion.
Jordanian protestors demand tangible reforms, end to occupation [Press TV, Iran]
Jordanians have once again taken to the streets of the southern city of Tafila to demand tangible reforms. The protestors also demanded an end to corruption and have vowed to continue the uprising until its eradicated. The voices calling for reforms in Jordan have not leveled off despite the appointment of a new prime minister last month to replace Maarouf al-Bakhit. His government has been accused of corruption and failure to implement new reforms. The country's king has appointed Awn al-Khasawneh as the country's new premier amid escalating protests demanding political change.
Qatari activists slam government's close ties to Israel [Press TV, Iran]
In the small Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, activists have criticized the government for its close ties with Israel. They have posted photos showing the emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and its prime minister shaking hands with Israeli officials. The activists have also dubbed the Doha-based new channel al-Jazeera as an Israeli news network serving Tel Aviv's agenda in the region. They claim many citizens living in the Arab Emirates are unhappy with their ruler's policies.
Activists urge Arab League to freeze Syria membership [New TV, Lebanon]
Presenter, Female #1
All eyes are turning to Cairo, where an Arab ministerial meeting headed by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani will convene this evening as a prelude to the Arab ministerial meeting tomorrow at the Arab League headquarters to discuss the current developments in Syria. Reuters reported that Arab countries are largely divided over how to handle the situation in Syria, doubting the possibility that the ministerial meeting will bridge the gap. The Syrian representative at the Arab League, Yousef Ahmed, said he sent a memorandum to the Arab League Secretariat this morning saying Syria will welcome and fully cooperate with the Arab delegation to Syria, reiterating that Syria is committed to the Arab action plan. Casualties took place on the "Friday of freezing Syria's membership." The Arab League will convene a large meeting of foreign ministers tomorrow to follow up on the discussion of the Syrian issue.
Reporter, Female #2
Conflicting reports are emerging from Syria on the death toll of the "Friday of membership freeze is our demand." The figures ranged between 13 to 18 and were all according to opposition sources. While Damascus welcomed the plan to send a delegation from the Arab League to see the true situation in the country, activists said protests erupted in Hama, Latakia, Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib and al-Qamishli demanding the suspension of Damascus' membership at the Arab League in response to the continued violence against civilians. In light of the intense security deployment in al-Qadam neighborhood of Damascus, as well as the numerous checkpoints and arrests of nearly 20 people, protestors took to the streets in neighborhoods of al-Maydan, az-Zahirah and Barzi in support of Homs. Activists say security forces killed seven civilians and a defected soldier in Homs, and another person was killed in the northern province of Idlib. Meanwhile, the General Authority for the Syrian Revolution said people were wounded in heavy gunfire in the neighborhoods of Deir az-Zour and al-Bukamal, and in the gunfire on protestors in the coastal city Jabla. In Homs, demonstrations broke out in the neighborhoods of Insha'at, Hamra, al-Qusour, Bab Dreeb, Jib al-Jandali, Bab Sbaa, and al-Houla. Participants chanted slogans for the downfall of the regime and the support for neighborhoods in the besieged city. The local coordination committees reported hearing strong explosions that shook al-Bayyada neighborhood amid heavy gunfire with various types of weapons.
Iraq official says US apology for helping Saddam quell Shaaban Uprising is 'too late' [Al-Forat TV, Iraq]
Presenter, Male #1
The US ambassador's apology to the Iraqi people for the United States' position in assisting Saddam's regime in quelling the Shaaban or Popular Uprising of 1991 has reinforced the justice of the uprising and its pioneering of the Arab Spring. The following report has more details.
Reporter, Male #2
Twenty-one years after its launch, the Shaaban Uprising has proven it was just and had the right approach. This was acknowledged by the United States in its apology to the Iraqi people for the behavior the former President George Bush Sr.'s administration, which sided with Saddam's regime against the Iraqi people in 1991. The US stance was influenced by certain countries, which have openly and repeatedly announced their stance with the regime due to special interests. Just like they stand today against certain nations for the same narrow interests. The Shaaban Uprising, which was rejected by major powers, began in 1991 when the oppressed and persecuted people of Iraq raised their voices to demand justice and to stop the regime from quelling and silencing them. What followed was the most barbaric forms of killing and abuses against an unarmed people who carried nothing but the slogan, "We bow to no one but God." They taught mankind peaceful ways to demand rights, at a time when only the voices of the regime's media could be heard. The media helped cover up the most brutal forms of genocide, killing, and suppression of demands committed by the regime. The US administration did not only apologize but described the uprising as "the first spark for the Arab Spring," and thanked the two religious and tribal institutions that led the popular protest mobilizations. These mobilizations had a significant and lasting impact on the Iraqi people's will for victory over tyranny. The uprising also had an impact on the Arab people, who triumphed by expressing their vision of dignity and will for freedom. They have proven their power over long-standing dictators in the region. The US's acknowledgement prompted other countries that opposed the uprising to also commit to legally and morally compensate the stricken people for turning a blind eye toward these violations.
Presenter, Female #1
Deputy speaker of al-Muwatin bloc, Mohammed al-Mashkour, said the US ambassador's apology to the Iraqi people for not supporting the Shaaban Uprising came "too late." Mashkour said it would have been more worthwhile had the US government supported the Shaaban Uprising, which demanded justice and the most basic human rights. He continued by saying that if the uprising had succeeded, Iraq and the region would have avoided many of the problems that ensued after 1991. For its part, the New York Times said Bush Sr.'s position towards the Iraqis was extremely cruel, as he ordered the US troops to step aside when the uprising was crushed by the warplanes of Saddam's regime, which executed tens of thousands of people.