“… When asked about Seif’s comments during a March 12 interview on France’s TF1 television, Sarkozy replied: “I am sorry to see you in the role of a spokeswoman for Kadhafi’s son, frankly I’ve known you in better roles…. It’s grotesque and I am sorry that I am being interrogated about declarations of Kadhafi or his son on an important channel like TF1,” Sarkozy said.
“When one quotes Mr. Kadhafi, who is dead, his son, who has blood on his hands, that is a regime of dictators, assassins, whose credibility is zero (How convenient!) … frankly, I think we have sunk low enough in the political debate.”
Takieddine is already under investigation for his alleged role in the funding of Edouard Balladur’s failed 1995 presidential campaign for which Sarkozy was spokesman….”
Nadwa Al-Dawsari (with her tribal shiekh colleague)
by Nadwa Al-Dawsari, Carnegie Paper, April 2012
The power-sharing deal signed by Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh in November 2011 mentioned presidential elections, the formation of a national unity government, and a military commission to reform the armed forces. It was at best the first step in Yemen’s recovery from the protracted turmoil and instability that wracked the country for months.
In this uncertain period of transition, as the new government struggles to establish legitimacy and address its most pressing issues, tribal law and traditions will play an important role in restoring a degree of stability because government capacity is extremely limited. This is particularly true given increasing conflicts and emerging sectarian and political divisions in the country. State and rule of law institutions are not only weak and ineffective outside of the main cities but also widely untrusted.
Yemenis have relied on indigenous tribal traditions to regulate conflict and establish justice for centuries, if not millennia. Tribal law has effectively handled conflicts between various tribes, between tribes and extractive companies, and between tribes and the government. It has successfully prevented and resolved conflicts over resources, development services, and land, and has sometimes managed to contain complex revenge-killing cases. Nationally, tribal mediators have played an important role in promoting political dialogue and building consensus among political groups. During the past year, where government forces withdrew, tribes took responsibility and managed to provide a reasonable level of security within their territories and along the main roads that connect tribal governorates.
Ahmed Eleiba discusses Moscow’s exact role in the Syrian crisis
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Earlier this year I noted some of the mysteries surrounding Egypt’s Upper House of Parliament, the Shura Council; the biggest one being “What’s it supposed to do?” Other than providing a lot of appointive positions (a third of its members are appointed, two-thirds elected), it’s official duties are mostly to ratify constitutional amendments, treaties, etc. The newly-elected Shura Council met for the first time today, electing Ahmad Fahmy of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party as its Speaker. The FJP won a solid majority of 105 of the 180 elected seats in the Shura Council elections, with extraordinarily low turnout in the elections (the runoff of round two got only a 7.2% turnout).
The elections cost a lot of money, and many people were openly wondering why Egypt even needed an upper house. Many liberals (and others) think the Council should be abolished. This would seem to be logical, but the current government (and thus presumably the SCAF) and the Muslim Brotherhood — in other words, the two bodies whose opinions can be implemented — disagree.
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, counselor Mohammed Attiya, said the meeting will be held under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the People’s Assembly Saad el-Katatni.
He told reporters that the Shura Council has become “worthy of obtaining a stronger parliamentary role by increasing its legislative and oversight competencies in parallel with the People’s Assembly to strengthen democratic life.”
He added that the role of the Upper House, or Shura Council, would “achieve balance in the performance of the parliamentary institution, especially since it includes the competencies needed by the country at the present stage of the Shura Council,” and rejected the abolition of the Upper House under calls to reduce state expenditures.
Nor is the government alone. Since the FJP dominates the lower house and controls the upper house outright, guess which party (surprise, surprise!) also wants to strengthen the role of the Shura Council?
One new role the Council is already slated to play is joining with the People’s Assembly in choosing the body to write the new Constitution. The two chambers will assemble Saturday to choose that Constitutional Assembly to write the new charter.
Precisely what the Shura Council will do after that remains to be seen.
BEIRUT – Hezbollah chief has denied that his groups had any role in attacks this week on Israeli diplomats in India, Georgia and Thailand.
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The armed forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have released a book on its role in providing security, stability and humanitarian aid in war-torn Afghanistan.
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“… Turkey has also indicated that it will move to undermine France’s position in the Middle East, particularly Syria and Lebanon, where France has the strongest links, and in the South Caucasus. Ankara has complained about France’s role in the OSCE Minsk Group, which is tasked with mediating a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. ……. with tension in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean already high, having two NATO allies at loggerheads as well as further tensions in EU-NATO cooperation is far from desirable. Turkey is clearly aiming to prevent Paris increasing its role in those countries in which France believes it has a strong influence. Unfortunately this conflict will weaken the international communities’ position in this region and serves no useful purpose at all.
If the senate adopts the bill, it will damage relations permanently. It could also create difficulties for Turks visiting France, particularly academics and diplomats, as they may be asked the genocide question and could face charges. There is also fear it could lead to further legal actions, such as demands for reparations or territorial claims. With its tough response, Turkey wants to send the message to other countries not to copy the French, as the reaction will be severe. With the Arab Awakening still unfolding, requiring a unified front from Euro-Atlantic actors, Sarkozy’s timing could hardly have been worse.”
Exactly which factors contributed most to the conclusion of the Shalit deal now rather than at any of the several times in recent years when it seemed near may not be known for a while. One factor I think may have contributed is the fact that Egypt’s relations with Hamas have improved since the fall of Husni Mubarak and the departure of ‘Omar Suleiman, the longtime head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service.
It was still the GIS which brokered the deal; it is the one Egyptian agency that still has solid ties to Israel, but with Suleiman gone from the scene (Murad Mawafi now heads the GIS), relations with Hamas apparently have improved. Suleiman ha a deep and poorly concealed contempt for Hamas, which doubtless proved an impediment to Egypt’s effort to be an honest broker.