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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Excerpts: Egypts Black Bloc opposes Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey's Erdogan warns Syria re regime crimes. No dialogue in Syria February 26, 2013

Excerpts: Egypt's Black Bloc opposes Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey's Erdogan
warns Syria re regime crimes. No dialogue in Syria February 26, 2013

+++SOURCE: The(Canada) Star via Egypt Daily News 26 Feb.’13:”Egypt’s Black
Bloc surges in popularity”

By:Jesse RosenfeldSpecial to the Star, Published on Sun Feb 24 2013

SUBJECT: Egypt’s Black Bloc opposes Muslim Brotherhood

QUOTE:” ‘We want the Constitutional Court to replace(Morsi’s) regime. We
want a (secular) civilian regime’ “

FULL TEXT:CAIRO—Rocks and Molotov cocktails fly at police lines as
co-ordinated teams of masked youth charge Mohammed Morsi’s presidential
palace. After unleashing their payload, they fade away as security forces in
riot gear respond with tear gas, birdshot and water cannons. Since the Jan.
25 second anniversary of the revolution that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak,
Egypt’s own Black Bloc has emerged at the centre of regular clashes on the
edges of Tahrir Square and at the presidential palace. The masked protesters
are mimicking the tactics of western anarchists, including those who played
such a prominent role in Toronto’s G20 riots in 2010.

In makeshift stalls around Tahrir, black balaclavas are on sale next to Guy
Fawkes masks — adopted from the anti-authoritarian book and film V for
Vendetta, the hacker group Anonymous and the Occupy protests. “We got the
idea through an online connection between Egyptian and American youth,” says
Mohammad Hattab (not his real name), a stocky middle-class man in his
mid-20s. He is wearing a black balaclava with an Egyptian flag on the cheek.

“I am here because people are hungry and the police respond to us with
beatings.”

Networking primarily online, Egyptian Black Bloc Facebook pages have
garnered more than 60,000 likes and young masked demonstrators have appeared
in the front lines of clashes around the country. It is a movement surging
in popularity, mostly among young men who want to confront the Muslim
Brotherhood government and the country’s much-loathed Central Security
Forces.

Like their western counterparts, they are leaderless, organize in small
groups and are incredibly agile. However, they are not ideological
anarchists.Running down side streets from tear gas billowing in front of the
Canadian Embassy during clashes in Cairo earlier this month, Hattab
describes the bloc’s goals: “We want the constitutional court to replace
(Morsi’s) regime. We want (a secular) civilian regime, one that understands
the needs of the people and addresses their problems.”

The regular clashes between Black Bloc members and police have been spurred
by discontent over a worsening economy and a constitutional process that
strengthened Islamic influence and military power in the state. More than 60
people have been killed in protests since the anniversary of the revolution.

“I am here because people are hungry and the police respond to us with
beatings,” says “Billal,” a street kid in his late teens covered in black
running from tear gas fired during a protest in front of the presidential
palace.

Hattab said the Black Bloc was formed primarily to confront Muslim
Brotherhood supporters who attacked December’s protests against the draft
constitution. In some of its first public actions, the Black Bloc torched
offices of the Muslim Brotherhood and the affiliated Freedom and Justice
party while clashing with Islamist supporters.

In response, Egypt’s chief prosecutor ordered police to arrest anyone in
black who was wearing a mask.

“This behaviour, to burn and destroy our offices, is a kind of terror. The
people who did this are criminals,” says Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson
Yasser Mehrez. Hattab says the movement’s goals are as open as the
revolution that brought down Mubarak.

“We want bread, freedom and social justice,” he contends, repeating a slogan
first uttered in Tahrir Square in 2011.

+++SOURCE: Egyptian Gazette 26 Feb.’13:”Erdogan vows no silence on Syria
regime 'crimes' “,Agence France Presse

SUBJECT: Turkey’s Erdogan warns Syria re regime crimes

Quote;”Turkish P.M. Erdogan saidon Sunday [24 Feb.] that his country wll
‘not remain silent’over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s crimes against
his own people”

FULL TEXT:Sharjah, United Arab Emirates - Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday[24 Feb.] that his country will "not remain
silent" over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's "crimes" against his own
people.

Every day a large number of innocent children and women fall dead in Syria,"
Erdogan said in a speech at the Government Communication Forum in the United
Arab Emirates.
"We will not remain silent on those committing crimes against their people,"
he said.
"We will not remain silent on the brutal dictator in Syria," Erdogan added.
"Some people are annoyed with the loud voices with which we confront world
problems" but "we will not stay silent."
Turkey's southern neighbour has been locked in a 23-months-long conflict in
which the United Nations estimates over 70,000 people have been killed since
an uprising began against Assad's regime.
Early in the revolt, Turkey broke ties with Damascus and led international
calls for Assad's ouster.
It has since backed the uprising by offering shelter to defectors from
Assad's army and hosting opposition meetings. Some 200,000 Syrian refugees
have fled the conflict in their country for Turkey, many of them living in
insalubrious camps.

+++Source: Naharneet (Lebanon) 26 Feb.’13”’Extremists’ in Syria Opposition
Blocking Dialogue, Says (Russia’s) Lavrov”

SUBJECT: No dialogue in Syria

QUOTE:”Russia’s Lavrov:said that recent faint hopes that dialogue was
possible. . . had dissipated”

FULL TEXT:Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday[26 Feb.] slammed
"extremists" within the Syrian opposition who he said were blocking the
start of dialogue in the war-torn country by making unrealistic demands.

Speaking hours before meeting new U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for the
first time in Berlin, Lavrov said that recent faint hopes that dialogue was
possible between the opposition and the regime of Bashar Assad had
dissipated.

"Several days ago we thought that the conditions had become more clear for
the sides to sit at the negotiating table and begin discussing the future of
their country," Lavrov told reporters after meeting with counterpart from
the Netherlands Frans Timmermans.

"There emerged voices in favor of urgently starting such dialogue, without
prerequisite conditions."

However these voices were later silenced, he added. "Blood continues to be
shed and statements are being made which move away the prospect of starting
dialogue."

"It seems that extremists who bet on an armed solution to the Syrian problem
have prevailed in the ranks of the opposition at this time, including the
so-called (Syrian) National Coalition, blocking all initiatives that could
lead to the start of dialogue," Lavrov said.

Other countries with leverage over the Syrian problem seem to "increasingly
understand the need to influence both the government and the opposition, to
convince them not to put forward unrealistic demands as prerequisites for
starting dialogue," Lavrov said.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem had said in Moscow on Monday that
the authorities in Damascus were ready to talk to armed rebels.

"We are ready for dialogue with all who want dialogue, including those who
are carrying arms," Muallem said, the first time a senior official of the
Assad's regime has made such a proposal.

But the rebel Free Syrian Army's chief of staff Selim Idriss dismissed
Muallem's offer.

Kerry flew into Berlin for a visit that will include talks on Tuesday with
Lavrov to try to agree on a way to end the crisis, over which the two
countries are deeply divided.

Rebels have been fighting the Assad regime since an uprising against his
rule in March 2011 and now control large parts of the country, especially in
the north. According to the U.N., the fighting has claimed 70,000 lives

==========
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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