Tuesday, August 16, 2005

MideastWire

I'm still trying to learn more about MideastWire.com, but, assuming that it is on the up-and-up, it may merit a daily visit. It certainly is worth the sixty seconds it takes to register.

A sampling of today's stories.

A story from a paper in Iraq about facist local "governments":

Iraq is witnessing a state of confusion and anarchy in all fields due to the inability of both the current and former governments to impose their legitimate power throughout Iraq. Some political parties, forces, entities andorganizations, especially Islamic political parties, are actively working and moving in their domains, where they formed their own substitute governments away from the Iraqi government. These local governments enjoy full authority and power to issue decrees and to detain, imprison and unjustly prosecute people, in accordance with their own laws.

For example, they have the authority to punish hairdressers who do modern haircuts, whose punishment may go as far as prompt execution in their shops. As a matter of fact, a large number of hairdressers were killed in this way. The same punishment applies to the owners of cassette and CD shops who sell all kinds of music, songs, cassettes, and CDs. These shops are either set on fire or blown up if their owners do not abide by the regulations issued by these 'local governments' . . .

Not only that, these governments interfere also in people's private and personal affairs, including their clothes. Women and young girls are forced to wear the veil and are forbidden to wear jeans and trousers similar to men. Women who do not abide by these rules are assaulted and punished by the followers of these 'local governments,' which are being formed throughout Iraq.

The latest of these governments' bizarre decisions was to forbid the sale of ice cream in shops. Shopkeepers who sell and people who eat ice cream will be punished because it is an immoral and indecent taboo, according to the followers of these governments . . .
An editorial from a government-influenced Saudi paper regarding the Gaza pull-out:

Israelis are now convinced that the Palestinian intifada achieved victory by getting them out of the Gaza Strip, just as they were convinced that the Lebanese resistance quashed them in Southern Lebanon and accelerated their withdrawal from that area.

The above-mentioned argument requires from the Palestinians, including their political and military factions, an awareness that they achieved victory in Gaza, and that this is the first military and political Palestinian victory over the Israeli war machine. They should be ready for future battles of any kind, and put away their differences until another victory is achieved. That in turn will lead the international community to face a clear fact and force it to implement its resolutions to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and achieve a suitable solution for the return of refugees.

When Sharon announced the unilateral Gaza pullout plan, the Israelis tried to picture it as if it was a gift from Israel to the Palestinian Authority. They tried to bargain with Gaza for political achievements on the international level ... by categorizing the pullout as an item listed on the list of road map requirements. Sharon and Shaoul Mofaz, the Defense Minister ... tried to stir doubt between the PNA from one side and the Hamas Movement and Islamic Jihad Movement from another side ... [But] the factions [foiled] such aspirations by forming a joint committee to oversee the Gaza pullout ... . Today, the evacuation of the settlers from the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of occupation forces verify that Palestinian unity is able to add a new page to Palestinian history.

And, a story about the arrest of the owner of a priniting press that published a book critical of the Egyptian government:

Al Quds Al Arabi, an independent pan Arab newspaper, reported on August 16 that: “The Egyptian security forces released, late last Sunday, Ramadan Hassan, owner of a a printing press which printed the 'Mubarak Family’s Repingdom' [word formed out of 'republic' and 'kingdom'] by Mohammed Taima, a reporter for the AlQuds Al Arabi newspaper.”

Hassan, who was arrested, and transfered to a police center on Sunday, was released the same night after officials worried that news of his arrest would help the book gain publicity. The book derives its name from a term coined by Saadeddine Ibrahim, which hints at the transform of the system from a republic to a patriarchal one. The book discusses the process of passing on power to President Mubarak’s son, ever since his first appearance on the political scene in 1998. Other writers contributed to the book at a time when it was considered taboo to discuss anything related to the ruling family. Mohammed Taima was also among the pioneers to talk about the growing influence of the first lady. The article reports that such criticism was responsible for taking the fight against an unofficial monarchy from secret rooms into the streets by groups such as Kifaya. Furthermore, websites and discussion forums have been established since 2002 to discuss the subject of the book, which is a
compilation of articles and stories written by several writers and journalists.

At this early stage of my exploration of the site, I have no undertanding of the reliability of any of these sources. But, the stories make for interesting reading.

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