Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Transcript: President Obama's Full NPR Interview

    Tuesday, December 30, 2014   No comments
NPR's wide-ranging interview with President Obama covers recent executive actions on Cuba and immigration, race relations in the U.S., health care, the midterm elections and extending democracy in the Middle East.

STEVE INSKEEP: Since your party's defeat in the election, you have made two major executive actions — one on immigration, one on Cuba. One of those might have been difficult to do before the election; the other surely would've been difficult to do before the election, which makes me wonder: Is there some way in which that election just passed has liberated you?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Over 60% of Tunisians able to vote voted; 56% of them voted for Beji Caid Essebsi, 44% voted for Mohamed Moncef Marzouki

    Monday, December 22, 2014   No comments
Over 60% of Tunisians able to vote voted; 56% of them voted for Beji Caid Essebsi, 44% voted for Mohammed Mouncef Marzouki. 

Essebsi, 88, appeared before 2,000 supporters who gathered outside his campaign headquarters in the capital Tunis shouting “Long live Tunisia!” and thanked the voters.

“Tunisia needs all its children. We must work hand in hand,” he said as supporters cheered.

Marzouki dismissed the declaration as unfounded and refused to concede defeat. His camp said the result was too close to call and accused the Essebsi of election “violations”.

It is the first time Tunisians have freely elected their president since independence from France in 1956.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The bodies of more than 230 people believed to have been killed by Islamic State (IS) have been found in a mass grave in eastern Syria

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014   No comments
From archives: ISIL committed similar crimes in Iraq in 2014
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they were thought to be members of a tribe that fought the jihadist group in Deir al-Zour province in the summer.

The mass grave was discovered after the Sheitat were allowed to return to their homes by IS leaders, it added.

Last month, the UN said it had received reports of a massacre there in August.

Investigators said it appeared to have been perpetrated by IS in a struggle for control of oil resources near the town of Mohassan.

One survivor described seeing "many heads hanging on walls while I and my family escaped", while locals saw several freshly-dug mass graves.

Qatar and Terror Finance

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014   No comments
Qatar’s performance in the fight against terror finance tests the notion that it is a reliable friend and ally. Despite its tiny size, Doha is now being described by some U.S. officials  as the region’s  biggest source of private donations to radical groups in Syria and Iraq.

Qatar’s  historical legacy of negligence against terror finance stretches back over two decades. Doha mishandled al-Qaeda’s  old guard in  the lead-up to 9/11, making those events more rather than less likely. In recent months, there has been considerable focus on Abdulrahman al-Nuaymi, a Qatari national who has been blacklisted by the  United  States, United Nations, and European Union on charges of financing al-Qaeda. Reports indicate that Nuaymi is still a free man in Qatar, presumably because of his extensive ties to Doha’s ruling elite. This report reveals new details about several other major Qatar-based terror finance cases over the past decade in which Doha’s  policies fell considerably short of full enforcement, allowing suspected terror financiers to continue their activities after coming under initial scrutiny. This report also explains why Qatar’s mishandling of these cases cannot be attributed to a lack of institutional capacity or societal opposition but instead must be understood as willful negligence on the part of Qatari authorities.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

ISIL origins roots are in U.S. prisons in Iraq

    Thursday, December 11, 2014   No comments
In the summer of 2004, a young jihadist in shackles and chains was walked by his captors slowly into the Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq. He was nervous as two American soldiers led him through three brightly-lit buildings and then a maze of wire corridors, into an open yard, where men with middle-distance stares, wearing brightly-coloured prison uniforms, stood back warily, watching him.

“I knew some of them straight away,” he told me last month. “I had feared Bucca all the way down on the plane. But when I got there, it was much better than I thought. In every way.”

The jihadist, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed, entered Camp Bucca as a young man a decade ago, and is now a senior official within Islamic State (Isis) – having risen through its ranks with many of the men who served time alongside him in prison. Like him, the other detainees had been snatched by US soldiers from Iraq’s towns and cities and flown to a place that had already become infamous: a foreboding desert fortress that would shape the legacy of the US presence in Iraq.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jordanian King Abdullah II: Muslim Brotherhood hijacked Arab Spring

    Sunday, December 07, 2014   No comments
Jordanian King says Brotherhood hijacked Arab Spring
Jordanian King Abdullah II on Saturday said that the Muslim Brotherhood was an organized entity that had hijacked the series of popular uprisings that swept through the Arab world and came later to be called the "Arab Spring."
In an interview with U.S. interviewer and broadcast journalist Charlie Rose, King Abdullah said the Brotherhood was an official organization in his country.
He said his government had asked the Brotherhood to be part of Jordan's political process at the beginning of the Arab Spring.
He added that the Brotherhood was the first political party he had talked to at the beginning of the spring.

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