Tag Archives: Mideast

International community must support Mideast reforms: UN

GENEVA – The UN human rights chief on Monday called on the international community to support reforms in the Middle East and urged vigilance in Libya amid fears of violent reprisals. “The international community bears the great responsibility of extending its support in words and deeds to assist such indispensable reforms.
It must do so with dispatch and firmness,” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. She told the UN Human Rights Council that it should remain

Kurd play adds voice to Mideast Anger

BAGHDAD – A play whose plot took actors and audience alike across Iraq’s Kurdish capital of Arbil this week delivered a stinging portrait of the northern region’s leaders as power-mad and greedy.
When Karukh Ibrahim’s 90-minute production climaxed outside the Kurdistan region’s parliament building, it was the 28-year-old director’s way of adding his voice to protests that have raged against entrenched rulers throughout the Middle East.
“Qabristan”, or “The Cemetery” in

Anger, grief and hatred as Mideast turmoil mounts

CAIRO – The Middle East boiled with anger as protesters trying to topple more of the region’s rulers staged fresh mass demonstrations after Friday prayers and buried the victims of crackdowns by embattled regimes. A week on from the overthrow of Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak, hundreds of thousands flooded Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square to celebrate his departure.
But elsewhere in the Middle East, a sense of anger, grief and hatred pervaded at the end of a week which has seen

US warns Mideast nations on popular ‘discontent’

WASHINGTON – The United States called on Middle East leaders to heed popular unrest in the region, as key regional ally Israel on Wednesday sent Defense Minister Ehud Barak to Washington for top-level talks.
Despite a push by US officials on Egypt to begin enacting reforms and broaden dialogue with opposition groups, Vice President Omar Suleiman warned against such a “hasty” move that he said would lead to even more unrest. Barak was to arrive later on Wednesday for talks that

Egypt, Mideast in focus at Munich conference

BERLIN – Revolt in Egypt and the implications for the stalled Middle East peace process are set to be key talking points for top defence officials at the Munich Security Conference in Germany from Friday. The three-day annual get-together of ministers, top military brass, national security advisors and experts will also tackle hot-button issues like Iran, Afghanistan, the rise of China, NATO-Russia relations and disarmament.
Other topics for the 750 participants, who will include

Al Jazeera: powerful counter to Mideast regimes

DUBAI – Al Jazeera television, banned in Egypt on Sunday, has often angered Arab governments with its coverage of dissent and served as a counterweight to regimes which accuse it of stirring dissent.
Egypt’s official MENA news agency said the outgoing information minister, Anas al-Fikki, ordered Al Jazeera’s closure in Cairo after its blanket coverage of anti-government protests sweeping the country. The Doha-based Al Jazeera slammed the move as an attempt at “censoring and

Mideast Christians victims of ‘cleansing’: Sarkozy

PARIS – French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday said Christian minorities in the Middle East are victims of “religious cleansing”, following deadly attacks on churches in the region.
“We cannot accept and thereby facilitate what looks more and more like a particularly wicked programme of cleansing in the Middle East, religious cleansing,” he said in an annual New Year’s address to religious leaders.
An attack on a Coptic church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on

At Christmas, Pope urges end to Mideast Christians’ pain

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI urged an end Saturday to conflict in the Middle East and support for the region’s Christians, saying those living in Iraq needed comfort from their pain after deadly attacks.
In his traditional Christmas Day address delivered at the Vatican, the pope also called for human rights to be respected in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as for an end to the turmoil in African troublespots. And there was a plea for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula

Xmas joy mixed with threats for Mideast Christians

BAGHDAD: Christians in the Middle East prepared Friday to celebrate Christmas, some in fear of attacks against their community, as in Iraq, and others in the most discreet way possible, as in Saudi Arabia.
For Iraq’s battered Christian community, threats of attacks from Al-Qaeda and mourning for the victims of an October massacre at a Baghdad church have turned a normally festive season into one of fear and sadness. Many mass gatherings in Iraq were cancelled on Friday, and

United States doubts Mideast peace

PARIS: Fresh leaks of diplomatic cables from 2009 by online whistleblower Wikileaks on Monday showed US doubts over Israel’s commitment to the Middle East peace process due to disagreement over Israeli settlements.
A US cable from November 2009, published online by Wikileaks and by French newspaper Le Monde, said Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted to negotiate with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen.
But it added: “it remains unclear to us how

Pope seeks religious liberty in Muslim Mideast

Pope Benedict called on Islamic countries in the Middle East Sunday to guarantee freedom of worship to non-Muslims and said peace in the region was the best remedy for a worrying exodus of Christians.
He made his a appeal at a solemn mass in St Peter’s Basilica ending a two week Vatican summit of bishops from the Middle East, whose final document criticised Israel and urged the Jewish state to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.
In his sermon at