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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Excerpts: Qatar aid to Egypt $5 billion. 1994 Iran involvement in bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish aid group. Hizbullah training Shiite Syrians against rebels. Syrian refugees riot in Jordan January 09, 2013

Excerpts: Qatar aid to Egypt $5 billion. 1994 Iran involvement in bombing of
Buenos Aires Jewish aid group. Hizbullah training Shiite Syrians against
rebels. Syrian refugees riot in Jordan January 09, 2013

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 9 Jan.’13:”Qatar Raises Financial Aid to Egypt
to $5 Billion”, Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Qatar aid to Egypt $5 billion

QUOTE:”outright grant of $1 billion and $4 billion in bank deposits”

FULL TEXT:Qatar said on Tuesday[8 Jan.] it will increase its financial aid
to Egypt by $2.5 billion to a total of $5 billion, comprising an outright
grant of $1 billion and $4 billion in bank deposits.

The financial lifeline comes as Egypt battles a currency crisis and seeks an
IMF cash injection into its teetering economy of an almost equivalent
amount.

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem told a Cairo press conference
that the gas-rich emirate had doubled its previously announced aid, which
comprised $500 million as a grant and $2 billion in bank deposits.

"The sum is there," Sheikh Hamad said.

The press conference came shortly after a government statement said it had
"fruitful" discussions with a visiting IMF delegation.

An IMF team is expected within weeks for further talks after a delegation
headed by the monetary fund's Middle East director Ahmed Massood met with
President Mohamed Morsi and other Egyptian officials on Monday[7 Jan.].

The IMF, which was reported to have pledged $4.8 billion, "remained
committed to supporting Egypt in confronting its economic challenges," said
a statement by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil on Tuesday[8 Jan].

The IMF "views the authorities' determination on taking the necessary steps
to achieve financial stability as encouraging," the statement said, adding
an IMF team will visit Egypt "in the coming weeks" for further talks.

Egypt had expected the IMF loan, which would provide crucial encouragement
for foreign investors in the restive market, in December or January, but
weeks of sometimes deadly street clashes and protests postponed the aid.

Morsi's government has also temporarily balked at raising taxes and other
measures of an economic reform program in the face of simmering opposition
ahead of parliamentary elections in two months.

Egypt's currency has plunged to a record low over the past week as the
Central Bank began auctioning dollars to preserve dwindling foreign
reserves.

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 9 Jan.’13:”Iran Hails Talks with Argentina on
1994 Bombing(of Jewish aid group in Buenos Aires), Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: 1994 Iran involvement in bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish aid group
QUOTE: “Iran said. . . it held ‘very constructive’ talks with Argentina last
week over long-standing accusations of Iranian involvement”
FULL TEXT:Iran said on Wednesday[9 Jan] that it held "very constructive"
talks with Argentina last week over long-standing accusations of Iranian
involvement in a deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish aid group in Buenos Aires.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met his Argentine counterpart
Hector Timerman in Zurich, Switzerland, last Thursday to discuss the
accusations leveled against eight Iranians, including top regime officials,
the foreign ministry said on its website.

"The meeting with Timerman aimed at achieving progress in the legal process
was very constructive," the ministry quoted Salehi as saying.

"I hope these talks lead to a good outcome," he added.

In the July 18, 1994 attack, a van loaded with explosives blew up outside
the Israeli-Argentine Mutual Aid Association (AMIA), leveling the
seven-floor building housing it.

The bombing came two years after an attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos
Aires killed 29 people and wounded 200.

Iran has always denied involvement in the attacks.

In 2006, the Argentine judiciary issued a request for the extradition of
eight Iranians, including current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and former
president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, to face charges over the AMIA bombing.

Timerman said last month that Argentina was going to "present an action plan
that will be discussed at the next meeting to be held in January."

Argentine and Iranian officials held preparatory discussions in Switzerland
in October last year.

That drew criticism from both Israel and Argentina's 300,000-strong Jewish
community, the largest in Latin America. Both have been demanding there be
no let-up in the Argentine authorities' efforts to put the Iranian suspects
on trial.

+++SOURCE: Naharnet (Lebanon) 9 Jan.’13:”Report” Hizbullah Training Shiite
Syrians to Defend Villages against Rebels”
SUBJECT: Hizbullah training Shiit Syrians against rebels
FULL TEXT:Hizbullah has been training Syrians from the Shiite sect in
Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley to defend themselves against the rebel Free
Syrian Army, sources told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Wednesday[9
Jan.].

The Syrian Shiite sources said around 1,500 men are receiving salaries and
being trained in the Bekaa camps to fight in Syria and defend Shiite
villages and towns against the rebels.

The FSA media official, Fahd al-Masri, told Asharq al-Awsat that Hizbullah
sent scores of its fighters to Jabal al-Qalamoun two weeks ago.

The Hizbullah members are mainly spread in al-Zabadani and Reef Homs,
specifically in the Christian town of Debleh, he said.

Al-Masri expected the area to witness heavy battles between rebels and
pro-government gunmen backed by Hizbullah.

Reports that 5,000 members have been sent to Syria to fight alongside the
army of Syrian President Bashar Assad are exaggerated, he said.

The Saudi al-Watan daily reported on Monday[7 Jan.] that some 5,000
Hizbullah members have been fighting alongside regime troops in the restive
suburbs of Damascus.

The newspaper quoted sources as saying that the fighters crossed the border
into Syria last month. But they said that around 300 of them were killed in
the fighting in the past few days.

Battles have flared in areas around Damascus as rebels seeking to topple
Assad try to push into the city itself.

The United Nations estimates more than 60,000 people have been killed since
the revolt against Assad's rule erupted in March 2011.

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 9 Jan.’13:”Syrian refugees riot as rainfall worsens
camp conditions”, by Taylor Luck
SUBJECT: Syrian refugees riot in Jordan

QUOTE: Violent riots erupted at at the Zaatari (Syrian) refugee camp as
heavy rain submerged hundreds of tents.”; “The Kingdom hosts some 295,000
(Syrian) refugees”

FULL TEXT:AMMAN — Violent riots erupted at the Zaatari Refugee Camp on
Tuesday as heavy rain submerged hundreds of tents.

According to a security source, Syrian refugees clashed with security forces
and aid workers at the camp near Mafraq, 80km north of Amman, early on
Tuesday[8 Jan.] during a protest over the facility’s “lack of preparedness”
for harsh weather conditions.

Some 200 residents attacked aid workers with stones and makeshift clubs
during the daily food ration distribution, eyewitnesses said, forcing
authorities to evacuate local and international staff from the camp.

Gendarmerie forces fired tear gas and live rounds into the air in order to
disperse the mob, according to residents and security sources, with at least
20 arrests reported.

Seven aid workers were injured in the riots, according to the security
source.

The clashes came as high-speed winds and heavy rainfall pounded the desert
camp for the second straight day, damaging 500 tents and leaving dozens of
families without shelter, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

The Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation, which co-administers the camp
along with the UN, said the heavy rainfall has forced officials to enact an
“emergency response plan”, transferring hundreds of camp residents to
makeshift housing.

Meanwhile, refugees criticised the “lack of winter preparations”, claiming
that the camp suffers an ongoing shortage of kerosene, blankets and winter
clothing.

“We are being drenched in pouring rain, frozen by strong winds, and the only
thing we have to protect ourselves is a single blanket,” said Mohammed
Zoubi, a 45-year-old Daraa resident and father of five.

Residents said the canvas tents were unable to keep out strong winds and
torrential rains, which have submerged much of the camp in up to half a
metre of water and mud.

The camp’s winter woes come as ongoing violence in Syria continues to drive
Syrians into Jordan in record numbers, with the UN reporting the entry of
9,400 refugees since January 1.

The recent surge in new arrivals has pushed the total number of Zaatari
residents to above 64,000, over the facility’s 60,000-person capacity.

In light of the influx, the government is racing to open the country’s
second refugee camp, a 30,000-person facility on the outskirts of Zarqa, by
the end of the month.

Efforts to meet the winter needs of Syrian refugees continue to be hampered
by a funding shortfall, with the UN yet to receive over half a $400 million
aid appeal launched last year.

Last month, UN officials launched a second, record $1 billion aid appeal to
provide basic services for Syrian refugees, expected to top one million by
June.

The Kingdom currently hosts some 295,000 of the 550,000 Syrians dispersed
across the region: more than the rest of Syria’s neighbours combine
==========
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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