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Sunday, January 23, 2011
Excerpts: Jordan asks opposition for openmidedness and dialogue. Jordans Day of Rage. Yemen, Algeria inspired by Tunisian revolt. Gaza al-Qaeda-linked Army of Islam bombed Egypts Coptic church. Lebanons serious quandry , Massive suicide bombings reveal Ir

Excerpts: Jordan asks opposition for openmidedness and dialogue. Jordan's
'Day of Rage". Yemen, Algeria inspired by Tunisian revolt. Gaza'
al-Qaeda-linked Army of Islam bombed Egypt's Coptic church. Lebanon's
serious quandry , Massive suicide bombings reveal Iraq's reality. Syria
absent from mediation=planning for Lebanon. Hariri to again run for
premiership 23 January 2011

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 23 Jan '11:"Gov’t ready for constructive, healthy
dialogue - Safadi",By Hani Hazaimeh

SUBJECT:Jordan asks opposition for openmidedness and dialogue

QUOTE: " 'We are ready to sit down and talk toany party as long as this is
in the service of the government.' '

FULL TEXT:AMMAN - The government adopts a policy of open-mindedness and
dialogue with all components of the society as long as such a process is
“constructive and healthy”, a top government official said.
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of State and Government Spokesperson Ayman
Safadi told The Jordan Times over the phone on Saturday[22 Jan] that
partners in dialogue are expected to respect the Constitution and the rule
of the law.
From the opposition camp, a leading Islamist called on the government to
deal with its opponents “with seriousness”.
“We are open to any party that is willing to talk and who has workable
ideas,” said Safadi.
“We look forward to a real partnership with whoever is concerned with
serving national interests and the interests of the public,” he added,
stressing that the government is sincerely looking to build “real
partnerships” with the various civil society institutions.
The official was speaking two days after he took part in a televised debate
with Hamzah Mansour, the secretary general of the Islamic Action Front
(IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in the Kingdom,
the largest and most influential opposition group.
The debate touched on economic difficulties and living conditions in the
country as well as the government’s policies and its efforts to realise
reform.
Meanwhile, former IAF secretary general Ruheil Gharaibeh told The Jordan
Times that the IAF supports a “constructive dialogue that leads to positive
results”.
“We are not the enemies of anyone and we do not oppose for the sake of
opposing. We welcome the government’s initiative to start dialogue with the
opposition but we want this dialogue to take place within an
institutionalised framework and with a clear agenda in order to achieve
results,” Gharaibeh said.
He stressed that the IAF is ready to cooperate with the authorities
“whenever the other side [the government] is ready to deal with the
opposition seriously as an important element in the political fabric of the
country”, adding that the domestic situation is getting worse in all
aspects: socially, economically and politically.
“Before we start any dialogue, it is important to acknowledge that we have a
problem that needs all parties to shoulder their efforts to address. It is
not acceptable to keep denying the deteriorating situation locally and say
we are better off than other countries,” Gharaibeh added.
“Dialogue is the only way to find solutions to any problem that emerges. We
are open to any suggestions or views. We are ready to sit down and talk to
any party as long as this is in the service of the country. We have our
terms of reference [stipulated in] the laws in effect and the Constitution,”
Safadi said, concluding that the government “works under the sun and has
nothing to hide”.

+++SOURCE: BBC via Egypt Daily News 23 Jan'11:"Jordan protests:Thousands
rally
over economic policies"
The biggest demonstration was in the capital, Amman

SUBJECT: Jordan's "Day of Rage"

QUOTES: " [Demonstators] include left-wingers and Islamists.and trade
unionists", "Jordan's largest opposition group ,the Islamic Action Front"

EXCERPTS:More than 5,000 people have rallied in Jordan to protest over
economic policy and call for the government to resign.
The protesters have taken to the streets over the past week, angered by
rising prices and unemployment.
The government recently announced a $125m (£78m) package to reduce prices,
as well as measures to boost salaries.
But demonstrators say the measures are insufficient, and that they will
continue to protest until Prime Minister Samir Rifai steps down.
Friday's[21 Jan] protests, dubbed the "Day of Rage", took place in the
capital, Amman, and several other cities, and were the largest so far. . .
. They include left-wingers and Islamists, and trade unionists.
'King should be guide' . . .
Opposition groups in Jordan object to economic reforms introduced by Mr
Rifai after he took office in November 2009.
The changes led to cuts in subsidies for basic commodities.
But the latest measures, which correspondents say are aimed at preventing
protests from spreading, reverse the reforms.
Protesters also want the prime minister to be democratically elected rather
than appointed by King Abdullah.
"The king should be the guide, not the executor of the country's daily
affairs," said Hamza Mansour, the leader of Jordan's largest opposition
group, the Islamic Action Front.
Jordan has a population of about six million. The official unemployment rate
is 14%, though other estimates put it much higher, especially among the
young.

+++SOURCE: Egyptian Gazette 223 Jan'11:"Thousands demand Yemen President
ouster",AP

SUBJECT: Yemen, Algeria inspired by Tunesian revlolt

FULL TEXT:ADEN--Drawing inspiration from the revolt in Tunisia, thousands of
Yemenis fed up with their President's 32-year rule demanded his ouster on
Saturday[22 Jan] in a noisy demonstration that appeared to be the first
large-scale public challenge to the strongman.
Clashes also broke out Saturday[22 Jan] in Algeria, as opposition activists
there tried to copy the tactics of their Tunisian neighbours, who forced
their longtime leader to flee the country more than a week ago.

The protests in Yemen appeared to be the first of their kind. The nation's
23 million citizens have many grievances: they are the poorest people in the
Arab world, the government is widely seen as corrupt and is reviled for its
alliance with the United States in fighting al -Qaida, there are few
political freedoms and the country is rapidly running out of water.

Still, calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down had been a red
line that few dissenters dared to test.

In a reflection of the tight grip Saleh's government and its forces have in
the capital, Saturday's[22 Jan] demonstration did not take place in the
streets, but was confined to the grounds of the University of Sana'a.

Around 2,500 students, activists and opposition groups gathered there and
chanted slogans against the president, comparing him to Tunisia's ousted
President Zine al Abidine Bin Ali, whose people were similarly enraged by
economic woes and government corruption.

"Get out get out, Ali. Join your friend Bin Ali," the crowds chanted.
One of the organizers, Fouad Dahaba, said the demonstration was only a
beginning and they will not stop until their demands are met.

"We will march the streets of Sana'a, to the heart of Sanaa and to the
presidential palace. The coming days will witness an escalation," said
Dahaba, an Islamist lawmaker and head of the teachers' union.

+++SOURCE: Egyptian Gazette 23 Jan'11:"Egypt: Militant group in Gaza behind
church attack",Associated Press

SUBJECT: Gaza's al-Qaeda-linked Army of Islam bombed Egypt's Coptic Church

FULL TEXT:CAIRO - Egypt says an al-Qaida-linked group in Gaza is behind the
New Year's suicide bombing that killed 21 Christians and wounded about a
hundred outside a church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

The announcement was made Sunday[23 Jan] by Interior Minister Habib
al-Adly in a ceremony attended by President Hosni Mubarak, senior cabinet
ministers and top police officials. He named the group as the Army of Islam.
The Alexandria bombing was the deadliest attack against Christians in
Egypt in more than a decade.
Security officials said an unspecified number of people have been
detained in connection with the bombing but gave no more details. They spoke
on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share the
information with the media.

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 23 Jan '11:"Christian leader backs Hariri"

SUBJECT: Lebanon's serious quandry

FULL TEXT:BEIRUT: Lebanese Christian leader Samir Geagea called Saturday[22
Jan] for caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri to be re-appointed as
government leader as the country’s political groups jockeyed for power.

“We are in a tense conflict over every parliamentary vote,” Geagea told a
news conference at his residence in Maarab, 25 kilometers north of the
capital Beirut. “We will do everything possible to bring back Hariri as
premier,” he added.

Lebanon has had only a caretaker prime minister since Hariri’s government
collapsed last week when Hezbollah pulled its ministers from the cabinet.

On Friday[21 Jan], Druze leader Walid Jumblatt backed Hezbollah in the
struggle to decide who will be the next premier, giving Hezbollah an edge in
the power struggle.

On the side of Hariri’s coalition, Geagea warned that if Hezbollah and its
allies nominated pro-Syrian former premier Omar Karami then “the cabinet
will be formed by Rustom Ghazaleh (a Syrian security official) and Wafiq
Safa (Hezbollah security official).”

Hezbollah brought down Hariri’s government in a dispute over a UN probe into
the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, former premier Rafiq Hariri.

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 23 Jan'11:"Bombings highlight Iraq’s
instability',LARA
JAKES,Reuters

SUBJECT: Massive suicide bombings reveal Iraq's reality

QUOTE " 'They [insurgents] are still able to cause major blows in many
directions day after day' "

BAC KGROUNDER:
FULL TEXT:The new Iraqi government was settling in. The Americans sounded
ready to pull out their troops as promised. Even the Iraqi soccer team was
winning. The winter days in Baghdad were sunny with a whiff of hope in the
air.
Then came major suicide bombings on three straight days this week. The
bombings, which killed more than 120 people and wounded hundreds, laid bare
Iraq’s reality: Despite many gains since it teetered on the brink of civil
war, the nation remains unstable with occasional bursts of large-scale
attacks.
“There is maliciousness and criminal schemes to destabilize Iraq, to create
sedition among Iraqis so that the chaos prevails,” Sheik Abdul-Mahdi
Al-Karbalaie said Friday21 Jan] in the city of Karbala.
Karbala, south of Baghdad, was the destination of pilgrims who were among
those killed in a triple suicide bombing at highway checkpoints Thursday[20
Jan] that left 56 dead and more than 180 wounded.
Wednesday[19 Jan], another suicide bomber crashed the ambulance he was
driving through the gates of a police headquarters in Baqouba, 35 miles (60
kilometers) northeast of the capital, killing seven people and wounding 67.
And at least 65 people died and 150 people were hurt Tuesday[18 Jan] when a
suicide bomber set off his explosives-packed vest in a crowd of police
recruits in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers)
north of Baghdad.
The bombings abruptly ended a month of relative calm across Iraq. Until now,
the newly designated government, its leaders seated in December, largely
were focused on the prospect of running the country without the help of the
American military when its 47,000 troops are scheduled to leave at the end
of the year.
US officials optimistically predicted Iraq may have turned the corner after
a mid-January visit by Vice President Joe Biden came off without the Green
Zone being shelled with rockets and mortars.
Now, in the bombings’ wake, Iraqi officials and foreign diplomats alike are
again sounding the alarm.
UN envoy to Iraq Ad Melkert “is deeply concerned at the continuation of
targeted attacks,” according to a statement from his office. Iraqi President
Jalal Talabani said the Karbala bombings aimed “at provoking sedition and
spreading fear and turmoil.” “Iraq has serious problems that need to be
addressed,” said Joost Hiltermann from the International Crisis Group. “And
if any international community takes its eye off the ball, then the security
situation could easily deteriorate, as the groups that carry out these
attacks are still around and obviously capable of penetrating security
cordons.”
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombings, which bear the
hallmarks of Al-Qaeda or its allied militant organizations. The attacks
could signal Al-Qaeda’s response to the recent displays of Shiite dominance
in Iraq –including this month’s surprise return of anti-American cleric
Muqtada Al-Sadr – or simply a reminder of its might.
Hakim Al-Zamili, a lawmaker in Al-Sadr’s political movement, said the fiery
cleric’s supporters were unlikely to wait for the government to fix the
security crisis.
His remarks were a veiled threat to reassemble the Mahdi Army, Al-Sadr’s
militant wing. “We have reached a stage where we will not stand for any more
attacks,” Al-Zamili said in an interview Friday [21 Jan].
Al-Zamili maintained Al-Sadr’s offer to register the Mahdi Army with Iraqi
forces and help plug security gaps, but said the government continues to
rebuff it. “The government does not really trust us,” he said.
The United States has long feared that the return of the Mahdi Army –
especially if unchecked – will lead to the tit-for-tat killings that nearly
brought Iraq into civil war from 2005 to 2008. Such a specter could force
Baghdad to negotiate a new security agreement with Washington to keep US
forces in Iraq beyond their Dec. 31 departure deadline.
Senior officials at the US Embassy in Baghdad continue to say they plan for
the military to leave at the end of the year. But the Obama administration
has left the door open for some troops to remain if Iraq’s government asks
for them.
Baghdad political analyst Kadhum Al-Muqdadi said insurgents are taking
advantage of Iraq’s rudderless forces as Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki waits
to appoint his Cabinet’s national security, defense and interior police
ministers.
The prime minister, who says he wants more time to select leaders who are
apolitical, controls all security forces until those Cabinet posts are
filled. Al-Muqdadi said attacks show the insurgents are far from being
cowed. “It is a message that they have not been paralyzed yet,” he said.
“And they are still able to cause major blows in many directions day after
day.”

+++French-Saudi-Turkish-Qatari Consultations in Paris to Reach Solution to
Lebanese Crisis

SUBJECT: Syria absent from mediation-planning for Lebanon

FULL TEXT:A meeting between the French, Saudi Arabia, Turkish, and Qatari
foreign ministers is expected to be held in Paris on Sunday[23 Jan] in order
to reach a solution to the Lebanese political crisis, reported the daily An
Nahar Sunday.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to also join these talks, in a
sign of France's determination to continue efforts that would ensure
Lebanon's stability and sovereignty.

Informed French sources told the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat Sunday[23 Jan] that
the consultations are dependent on developments in Lebanon, especially
Monday(24 Jan] and Tuesday's[25 Jan] parliamentary consultations to appoint
a new prime minister.

The daily added that the quartet meeting in Paris may be postponed if the
Turkish foreign minister is unable to attend.

Meanwhile, Voice of Lebanon radio reported on Sunday[23 Jan] that the French
leadership is working in coordination with regional and concerned countries
to prepare a contact group that would include France, Turkey, and Qatar that
would start its functioning on Monday[24 Jan].

The group would visit Lebanon at the beginning of the week to take get
informed of the latest developments in the country, it added.

On Saturday[22 Jan], Secretary General of the French presidency Claude
Gueant held talks in Riyadh with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud
al-Faisal on the situation in Lebanon.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was in Paris on
Saturday[22 Jan] to hold talks on Lebanon, while Turkish Foreign Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu is also set to arrive in Paris on Sunday[23 Jan] for similar
consultations.

+++SOURCE: Naharnet {Lebanon] 21 Jan.'11:"March 14 Re-Nominates Hariri"

SUBJECT: Hariri to again run for premiership.

FULL TEXT:The majority March 14 coalition announced it was re-nominating
Saad Hariri as their candidate for the premiership.

The announcement was made shortly after Hariri delivered a speech, declaring
his re-nomination.
The position came after a late Wednesday meeting of the March 14 leaders at
Hariri's residence in Qoreitem.
The coalition also warned against March 8's "ongoing attempts to seize
political power through pressures."
===========
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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