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Archive for April, 2014

Part 2 on Fustat is Coming

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

If you’re wondering what’s happened to Part 2 of my posting about the concern over protecting the Fustat excavations:  I should have it up sometime this evening. Sorry for the delay.
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Iraqi vote held in security lockdown

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

Iraq holds its first parliamentary vote since the withdrawal of US troops three years ago, as at least 14 people are killed in sporadic violence.
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ICG: "Turkey should work with Iran to de-escalate foreign involvement in the Syrian war .."

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

“…While Turkey has successfully contained internal sectarian unrest, its Syria policy is highly unpopular domestically, not least with its large Alevi and Kurdish popu­lations. Feeling betrayed by Western failure to live up to promises of intervention or more support, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has re­calibrated its foreign policy in the past year. Its narrative has changed to include jihadi elements of the militant opposition in the growing list of security threats from Syria, along with the regime and its agents. In 2013, it reversed its all-out objection to engaging the Syrian Kurds’ Democratic Union Party (PYD), linked to Turkey’s insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and in March 2014, it let UN aid convoys cross into PYD-controlled areas when Syria finally opened one border crossing for UN humanitarian aid. In the bigger picture, Turkey wants to avoid prolonged military entanglement, but violent border clashes and occasional aerial confrontations with the regime increase risks of an escalation. Even so, extensive Turkish military intervention is unlikely without at least an international mandate and backing.The AKP leadership’s resolve to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gone stays strong, as does its support for the mainstream Syrian opposition. It hosts rebels and their families in well-built refugee camps, allows political and military opposition bodies to convene on its soil and gives logistical and material assistance. But Turkey has never been a main backer of the militant opposition inside Syria, and Gulf actors have gained more political influence. Still, involvement with the opposition’s main political body, the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, helped garner support for Geneva II peace talks and ensure a degree of Kurdish representation. Turkey should use its leverage as a transit ground for supplies to rebel groups in northern Syria to encourage their compliance with international humanitarian law and non-sectarian practices. By maintaining open communication with regional counterparts, including Iran, Turkey should work reciprocally to de-escalate foreign involvement in the Syrian war and build an environment more conducive to peace…., …  Recommendations To the government of Turkey: 

. Continue directly engaging Iran and other regional actors to find a political solution in Syria, including encouraging reciprocal steps from regional counterparts to achieve a mutual reduction in their involvement in the conflict and eventually end proxy warfare. 

. Invigorate recent efforts to demonstrate greater sectarian and ethnic neutrality in foreign policy. 

. Show zero tolerance to border breaches by jihadi elements, whether from or into Syria….”


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Comment on The Sterling Racism Scandal: What about Associating with Muslim People? by dT

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

I have the same question, but let’s include the word “True” American Values. I’m at a loss to understand what that means. I’m sorry but it smacks of propaganda. Isn’t it time to move beyond our deranged notions of exceptionalism

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Children ‘killed in Aleppo strike’

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

An air strike by Syrian government forces hits a school in Aleppo and kills at least 18 people, including 10 children, activists say.
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US: Al-Qaida affiliates surge, terrorism spikes

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

WASHINGTON (AP) — A surge in the number of aggressive al-Qaida affiliates and like-minded groups the Middle East and North Africa poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and allies, the State Department said Wednesday in reporting a more than 40 percent increase in terrorist attacks worldwide between 2012 and 2013.
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Six powers meet in Brussels to fine-tune Iran talks strategy

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton attends a news conference during an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in AthensBy Justyna Pawlak BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Senior diplomats from six world powers met in Brussels on Wednesday to fine-tune negotiating strategy towards Iran with talks on its contested nuclear program entering a crunch stretch before a July 20 deadline. The six – the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – and Iran plan in mid-May to start drafting the key elements of a broad settlement to the nuclear dispute, with the hope of putting an end to a decade of tensions that have heightened the risk of a wider Middle East war. Diplomats have signaled some progress may have been made during three rounds of talks since February on one of the most thorny issues – the future of Iran's planned Arak heavy-water reactor, which Western states worry could prove a source of plutonium for nuclear bombs once operational. Broadly, they want to ensure the program is curtailed enough so that it would take Iran a long time to assemble nuclear bomb components if it chose to do so.

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Comment on If you are younger than 29, you’ve never experienced a cooler than average Month: March Was 4th Warmest on Record Globally by schlim jarschmlooch

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

shouldn’t that say “349th consecutive month” if the headline is true?

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Egypt’s judges rebuff criticism of death sentences

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazi speaks inside a defendant's cage during his trial in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Egyptian court officials say a Salafi preacher and top Muslim Brotherhood ally has been sentenced to a year in prison with labor for insulting judges during a trial at the Cairo police academy. Hegazy, who joined ranks with the Brotherhood in supporting the electoral campaign of the now-deposed Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, was sentenced Wednesday for remarks made the same day while on trial with 130 others, including Morsi, for escaping from prison during the country's 2011 uprising. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar) EGYPT OUTCAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Justice Minister on Wednesday rebuffed international criticism of a mass trial this week in which some 680 defendants were sentenced to death, saying the judiciary is not a tool of executive authority and that rulings can be overturned upon appeal.

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Lebanese Army & Syrian al Qaeda clash again

April 30th, 2014 Comments off
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