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Saturday, May 28, 2011

WAR has endless consequences

For those who make WAR, for those made to suffer because of WAR
Compiled and edited by Carolyn Bennett

She received a four-year jail sentence last week “for offending a public official, inciting hatred of the ruling system, and taking part in illegal protests.”

Since the March 15 declaration of martial law, “an unprecedented number of Bahraini women, more than 100, have been seized by security forces — at least a third of the women are still in custody.”

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) says those arrested have been physicians, nurses, and teachers. Schoolgirls have been arrested and asked to identify dissidents in their schools. Women detainees have reported cruel treatment, sexual assault, forced labor.

Violence against women in Bahrain is illustrative of what is happening across the region. In Libya, a woman reported having been gang raped by “militia.” Amid Egypt’s revolution in Tahrir Square, a number of women were reported raped.

After the “revolution,” the chair of Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights received death threats warning her to discontinue her women’s rights campaign. Women protesters on International Women’s Day March 8 received threats.

Though Saudi Arabia has avoided mass demonstrations, Saudi women have come under attack “for daring to flout the rules.”

A woman was arrested on May 22 and “charged with besmirching the kingdom’s reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion” for having driven a vehicle in defiance of “the kingdom’s ban on female drivers.” [IFEX Communiqué]

“The attacker wore a police uniform.”

Two German soldiers died today and three suffered wounds when a suicide bomb exploded in the northern Afghan city of Taloqan. Among the injured were General Markus Kneip, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in northern Afghanistan; and the governor of Takhar, Abdul Jabar Taqwa. Among the dead were the police chief of northern Afghanistan, General Mohammed Daud Daud, and the head of the provincial police in Takhar, Shah Jahan Noori. The incident reportedly left a total seven people dead and nine injured.

Al Jazeera also reported ongoing violence on Saturday between Taliban and Afghan security forces in the northeastern province of Nuristan.

May 24 Kandahar province

Ten workers died and 28 suffered wounds when a roadside bomb exploded in southern Afghanistan. The people, whose jobs involved clearing streams and rivers in the southern province, were riding in a truck Tuesday morning on their way to work.

The day before this incident four people died and 14 suffered wounds when a suicide bomb exploded in a crowded Afghan  bazaar in the small town of Najeel Khail in the Alishing district of Laghman province about 100km east of the capital, Kabul. Last Sunday, six members of the Afghan security forces died when the Taliban stormed a traffic police office and two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in a nine-hour standoff.

“A wave of Taliban suicide bombings has accompanied the militants’ announcement of the start of their annual spring offensive late last month.”

May 21, 2011, North
Protesters used stones

Germany’s Defense Ministry in Berlin said on Friday May 20 that German soldiers had in an earlier incident “not only fired warning shots but also targeted demonstrators during violent protests in the Northern Afghanistan city of Talokan.”  The soldiers “deliberately shot several people during a violent protest on Wednesday outside their base” in this Afghan city.

Using stones, hand grenades and Molotov cocktails, protesters had reportedly “attacked the German soldiers’ camp.” The deadly reaction left 3 German soldiers and 5 Afghan guards wounded, and 12 demonstrators dead.

Recent attacks [Al Jazeera reports]

  • May 13 - 98 died, Charsadda, suicide bomb attack
  • May 16 - Saudi diplomat died, Karachi, Gunmen
  • May 18 - 17 including 15 insurgents died,  outskirts of Peshawar, security post gun battle
  • May 20 - One Pakistani died, 12 others wounded (among them 2 U.S. nationals), U.S. consulate,  Peshawar, attack
  • May 21 – 16 died, Khyber tribal region, bomb attack
  • May 22 - 10 military personnel died, two U.S.-supplied surveillance aircrafts destroyed; naval base in Karachi, militants attack
Today at least eight people died and 10 others suffered wounds when a detonated device hit a marketplace in a tribal region near the Afghan border. The bomb blast came as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was wrapping up a visit to Pakistan “with words of conciliation … [and] some stern demands for the country.”

Reporting from Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, Al Jazeera correspondent Imtiaz Tyab said Clinton asked that “very decisive steps to be taken by the government to combat a rise in extremism and extremist groups operating in the country” and the day before the Secretary had “pledged further support to Pakistan.” Also on Friday, 27 people died in the town of Hangu, in the country’s northwest, when a suicide car bomb exploded.

May 26

Dozens of people died and 56 suffered wounds Thursday in the town of Hangu when someone detonated explosives on a pick-up truck. The device reportedly exploded near several government buildings including the office of the district commissioner.

Several attacks have been carried out since “the Pakistani Taliban group vowed retaliatory attacks to avenge the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid.” An earlier attack, before Thursday’s attack, targeted a naval base in the city of Karachi. Thirteen people died and 20 others suffered wounds.

The base was the headquarters of Pakistan’s naval air wing. Armed attackers destroyed two P-3C Orion aircraft from the United States, crucial assets for Pakistan’s anti-submarine and maritime surveillance capability. Approximately 100 commandos, rangers and marines were deployed to kill the attackers and recapture the base.


Rafah crossing opens with restrictions to Gazans

The Rafah crossing has been opened by Egypt in eight-hour periods daily except Fridays and public holidays. Saturday, after four years, Egypt reopened its border with the Gaza Strip, easing travel restrictions on isolated Palestinians. Two ambulances carrying patients from the blockaded strip were the first to make the journey for treatment in Egypt.

Approximately 300 Palestinians reportedly traveled in four buses into Egypt. More are expected to cross the border in the coming days after the Hamas government in Gaza lifts its own restrictions.

All Jazeera correspondents from Gaza report the change “was ushered in by Egypt’s new government in a bid to ease the suffering of the territory’s residents” but “there will still be restrictions in place, preventing men younger than 40 from leaving the enclave, which is ruled by the Palestinian group, Hamas.”

Months of unrest, hundreds dead

In the latest violent incidents, 12 people have died, according to Syrian rights activists. Syrian authorities have reported nine deaths and a number of wounded among them several police officers.

Israeli spies

Lebanon since 2009 “has launched a nationwide crackdown on Israeli spy cells.” More than 100 people have been arrested among them members of security forces and telecommunications personnel, on suspicion of spying for Israel’s spy agency of Mossad. “A number of the suspects have admitted to their roles in helping Israel identify targets inside Lebanon, mostly belonging to Lebanon’s resistance force, Hezbollah, which Tel Aviv heavily bombed during its 2006 war against the country.”

According to a Friday report, “The Lebanese Army has taken control of a Telecommunications Ministry building, a day after some 400 heavily-equipped members of the Lebanese police force raided the facility. A Lebanese Army unit, the Internal Security Forces (ISF), took control, secured the second floor of the telecoms building in Beirut’s Adlieh district, and imposed security in the area.”  

Anger about peace treaty with Israel

Protesters under the name “Youth of Tafileh” took to the streets Friday, calling on the government to cut ties with Israel and demanding the resignation of Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit’s government and the dissolution of the Lower House of the parliament.

The Tafileh province protesters reportedly “furious over their country’s peace treaty with Tel Aviv burned an Israeli flag.” They also “slammed remarks made by Israeli Knesset member Arye Eldad as ‘racist and provocative.’” Eldad last week had “urged Jordanian King Abdullah II to set up a Palestinian state in his country instead of in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

On Thursday, Jordan’s 120-member Lower House also issued a statement condemning Eldad and calling on the government to take a firm position against his harmful statements to Jordan and its people. Their statement also asserted Jordan’s unceasing call “for the creation of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian national soil with al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital.”

May 25

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said after the Israeli prime minister’s speech in the U.S. earlier this  week that without a renewal of peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians will seek UN recognition.

Benjamin Netanyahu [and some of the Western leaders] had said “‘The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace; it should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end.’”

The Palestinian leader said Netanyahu’s speech added obstacles on the road to peace and contained “‘errors and distortions.’” Abbas stated the first choice of his people as negotiations “‘but if there is no progress before September,’” he said, “‘we will go to the United Nations.’” Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh restated the view that the Israeli prime minister’s speech “had left Palestinians with one choice — ‘to go to the UN General Assembly in September.’”

U.S. 5th Fleet

Since the start of anti-government protests in mid-February, Bahrain’s capital city, Manama, has launched a harsh crackdown on anti-government protesters, rounding up senior opposition figures and activists in dawn raids and arresting doctors, nurses, lawyers and journalists who have voiced support for the protest movement.

Officials have charged protesters with attempting to overthrow the monarchy and have tried them in a special security court set up under martial law.

Human Rights Watch has called on the country to stop trying civilians in military courts. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticized the Bahraini government for its brutal crackdown on civilians. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been trying to see and contact Bahraini-detained activists since mid-March but Manama has refused to grant it permission.

On Friday, the Saudi-backed Bahraini forces attacked anti-government protesters in several villages across Bahrain. Bahrain’s state news agency says that military prosecutors have asked the country’s highest court to review death penalties issued against two anti-regime protesters.

‘Day of Rage’

Hundreds of Kuwaitis gathered outside the national assembly in Kuwait City on Friday to press their demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Protests reportedly stem from “Sheikh Nasser’s refusal to face questioning in the parliament for allegedly wasting public funds and committing financial and administrative irregularities.”

Misurata violence continues
Cease fire Secretly discussed?  

NATO’s overnight raids have caused “‘human and material’” damage near Mizda, to the south. Fighting on Friday took a heavy toll on people on the western outskirts of Misurata. Five opposition fighters died and more than a dozen others suffered combat wounds, according to physicians at local hospitals.

Al Jazeera reported sources Saturday saying, “Secret channels are being opened between the Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi and British citizens with a view to ending the conflict.” However, anti-government fighters “would not be in favor of any kind of ceasefire [because] they want Gaddafi to stand trial for crimes against humanity.”

A country in which 40 percent of its 23 million people live on less than $2 a day could become a failed state located on a shipping lane through which three million barrels of oil pass daily.

At least 120 people died in fighting this week, prompting thousands of residents to flee Sana’a. Concerns rose about increased violence “[benefitting] the Yemen-based branch of al-Qaeda and [threatening] adjacent Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter.”

The latest violence between pro- and anti-government forces — sparked by President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s refusal to sign a power transfer deal — is being described as “the bloodiest since pro-democracy unrest erupted in January.” Explosions continued Saturday in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

In other reports on Saturday, three French aid workers have disappeared in Yemen’s southern province of Hadramout.

U.S. stay beyond December 31 will incur Mahdi army against U.S. forces

Thousands of supporters of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr rallied in Baghdad Thursday in a show of force against any extension of U.S. military presence in the country past a year-end deadline.

Peaceful protesters marched without weapons but their message for Americans was clear. “‘If you stay beyond the deadline set by the SOFA agreement, the security agreement signed between the U.S. and Iraq — if they stay beyond that date which is 31 of December, the end of this year, the Mahdi army will resume its military activities and they will battle U.S. forces,’” said Al Jazeera’s reporter, Al Saleh.

Al-Sadr became popular among Iraqi Shiites in the months after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion when his Mahdi Army fighters battled U.S. troops. American troops remaining in Iraq are estimated at 45,000, primarily tasked with training and equipping their Iraqi counterparts. Under the terms of a bilateral security agreement, foreign troops must withdraw by the end of the year.

In early January, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called for a national dialogue to gauge whether U.S. troops should stay beyond 2011. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed hopes that Iraqi leaders will ask the Americans to stay beyond the deadline.


Casualty sites reporting May 28, 2011
(Accurate totals unknown)
Anti-war dot com Casualties in Iraq since March 19, 2003
[U.S. war dead since the Obama inauguration January 20,
2009: 226] Information out of date
Wounded 33,041-100,000
U.S. veterans with brain injuries 320,000
Suicides estimated: 18 a day
Latest update on this site: May 24, 2011
Iraq Body Count
The worldwide update on civilians killed in the Iraq war and occupation
Documented civilian deaths from violence
101,060 – 110,384
Full analysis of the WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs may add 15,000 civilian deaths.  http://www.iraqbodycount.org/
ICasualties figures:
1,595 United States
2,487 Coalition
IRAQ: 4,454 United States
4,772 Coalition


Amnesty International — 
Dedicated to informing public opinion about human rights and to 
securing the release of political prisoners, 
Amnesty International was founded in London, England, May 28, 1961.  

Amnesty International won the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize.

Sources and notes

Women face human cost of Arab Spring uprisings, May 25, 2011, IFEX Communiqué Vol. 20, No 21, May 25, 2011 http://www.ifex.org/2011/05/25/comm_20_21/

International Freedom of Expression Exchange Network (IFEX) was created in Montréal, Canada in 1992 when a dozen leading free expression organizations came together to create a coordinated mechanism to rapidly expose free expression violations around the world. IFEX today numbers more than 80 independent organizations worldwide and is recognized internationally as a highly credible and effective global network.

IFEX runs the world’s most comprehensive free expression information service through its daily Alerts, weekly IFEX Communiqué newsletter, free expression headlines Digest and website – www.ifex.org. Thousands of subscribers receive information via e-mail. Highly publicized alerts have helped free journalists, writers and free expression advocates from detention, or even helped save their lives.

The IFEX Clearing House, based in Toronto, Canada, runs the day to day operations of the network and is managed by founding member organization Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE).

As violations of the right to free expression continue, so do the efforts of the membership of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange Network (IFEX), which has emerged as a strong global opposition to forces challenging the right to free expression.    http://www.ifex.org/what_we_do/

“German soldiers killed, NATO general wounded in Afghanistan attack — Two German soldiers and the police chief of northern Afghanistan were killed in a suicide attack in Takhar province. General Markus Kneip, the German commander of NATO forces in the region, survived the attack,’ May 28, 2011, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15114394,00.html

“Afghan police commander killed in blast — Gen. Daood Daood among the dead after Taliban suicide attack on compound of a northern provincial governor [A large blast has hit the compound of the governor of Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province, killing at least six people, including General Daood Daood, the regional police commander, and several German soldiers, officials say],” May 28, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/05/2011528135517924431.html

“Roadside bomb ‘kills Afghan workers’ Ten laborers dead, dozens wounded after their truck hits a roadside bomb in Kandahar, says local doctor,” May 24, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/05/2011524631516255.html

“German army confirms firing on violent protesters in Afghanistan,” May 21, 2011, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15094515,00.html

“Deadly bomb blast hits Pakistan — At least eight people killed and 10 others wounded in marketplace explosion near Afghan border,” May 28, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/05/201152863447829481.html

“Deadly blast hits northwest Pakistan — At least 26 killed after explosives are detonated on pick-up truck driving through Hangu, north west of the country,” May 26, 2011,  

“Suicide blast hits Pakistan police station  — Taliban claims responsibility for car bomb attack in Peshawar, which left at least six dead and up to 26 wounded,” May 25, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/05/2011525033781560.html


“Egypt opens gateway to Gaza for first time in four years,” May 28, 2011, http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15113657,00.html

“Egypt opens Rafah border with Gaza  — Palestinians welcome easing of four-year blockade on coastal enclave - a move ushered in by Egypt’s new leaders,” May 28, 2011,  http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201152872159493180.html

“Nine killed in Syria violence,” May 28, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/182162.html

Lebanon’s army takes telecom building, May 28, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/182084.html

“‘Jordan must cut ties with Israel,’” May 28, 2011

“Abbas: Palestine to go to UN in September — Abbas determined to take diplomatic campaign to UN after Netanyahu rules out peace negotiations based on 1967 borders,” May 25, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/2011525105036617619.html

“Bahraini Shia cleric calls for reform, May 28, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/182140.html

Manama is the capital and largest city of the state and emirate of Bahrain. It lies at the northeast tip of Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf.

Long an important commercial center of the northern Persian Gulf, the traditional economy was based on pearling, fishing, boatbuilding, and import trade. Harbor facilities were poor; ocean vessels had to anchor in the open roadstead 2–4 miles (3–6 km) offshore. The discovery of petroleum on Bahrain (1932) revolutionized the city’s economy and appearance, with the construction of many modern buildings.

Manama developed as a trade, financial, and commercial center; it is the seat of numerous banks.

About one-fifth of the emirate’s population lives in the city.
First mentioned in Islamic chronicles about AD 1345, it was taken by the Portuguese (1521) and by the Persians (1602).

It has been held, with brief interruptions, by the ruling Āl Khalīfah dynasty since 1783. Because Bahrain concluded a series of treaties (1861–1914) placing the country under increasing British protection, there was a British political agent stationed at Manama from 1900, subject to the political resident for the Persian Gulf, whose headquarters were long at Bushire, Iran. In 1946, the residency was moved to Manama, where it remained until the city became the capital of independent Bahrain in 1971.

“Kuwaiti protesters call for PM ouster,” May 28, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/182078.html

“‘Talks under way’ to end Libya fighting  — Libyan deputy foreign minister hints at ongoing exchange of views between UK citizens and Gaddafi's government,” May 28,  2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/05/2011528143329921352.html

“Tenuous ceasefire eases unrest in Yemen — Saleh’s government and armed tribesmen agree to temporary truce after five days of clashes that left up 120 people dead,” May 28, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201152815531552947.html

“Sadr supporters rally over U.S. troops in Iraq — Iraqi cleric’s supporters march in Baghdad, threatening to take up arms if US troops stay beyond year-end deadline, May 26, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201152614115431859.html

Today in history, Britannica note

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