Radicalism still alive and kicking in U.S. and UK elections
The early flourish of right-wing tycoon Donald Trump and veteran progressive Senator Bernie Sanders in the U.S. Presidential primaries has been impressive. On the other side of the Atlantic, the “Old Labour” left-winger Jeremy Corbyn is creating shock waves in the race for the Labour leadership. In fact, as the extreme Right, which was once marginal, has scored spectacular successes throughout Europe, the dire economic crisis has pushed Greece’s electorate to take refuge under the tent of an untried, newly formed “hard left” party.
In the United States, it is not surprising to see a conservative right-winger leading the field of Republican presidential candidates, for two reasons:
First, the Republican Party, as a whole, has been steadily moving to the right and becoming increasingly conservative. The Tea Party movement is now a powerful bloc, and the religious and social conservatives appear to be decisive players in choosing the GOP’s flag-bearer in the battle for the White House.
Second, the Republicans are today as keen as ever to defeat an ultraliberal Democratic cabal led by two-term President Barack Obama, who is the ideological opposite of the Republican Right. Following Obama’s political successes on the domestic front, Republicans believe that the Obama administration’s dubious silence about the details of the Iran nuclear deal, and its zeal for marketing it in the face of their doubts and reservations, may provide them with a chance of sweet revenge against the Democrats.
Egypt’s Bloody Chaos Amid Assassinations And IS Sinai Attacks
Egypt is experiencing at first hand an Islamist insurgency as car bombs explode in the heart of Cairo, State Prosecutor General, Hisham Barakat is assassinated, and Islamic State fighters launch multiple attacks on military check-points and police targets in the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 100.
Coming on the eve of the second anniversary of Egypt’s military coup which ousted the elected President Morsi on 30 June 2013, the assassination of Barakat is a powerful warning to General al-Sisi’s regime that the Muslim Brotherhood is not finished and was followed, the next day by two further car bombs in the 6th of October City area of Cairo.
Barakat was appointed as soon as al-Sisi and his fellow Generals took power and presided over more than 50,000 political detentions in just 2 years. It was Barakat who gave the green light to troops to open fire on protestors demonstrating against the coup, killing 900, injuring 3000 and putting 1000 on trial. Most significantly, Barakat presided over the prosecutions of leading Muslim Brotherhood figures, including President Morsi whose death sentence was upheld last month.
The attacks in the Sinai targeted at least 15 army and police positions, focusing on the town of Sheikh Zuweis near the border with Gaza, where scores of fighters from Islamic State’s ‘Sinai Wiliyat’ (formerly known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis before the group gave their bayat to Baghdadi) beseiged the police station. The battle raged all day in what Egyptian officials described as the ‘biggest battle in Sinai since the 1973 Arab-Israeli ‘Ramadan War’ leading Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to declare that ‘the Islamic State is knocking on Israel’s borders’.
Egypt deployed all its advanced, US-supplied weaponry, including F-16 fighter planes and Apache helicopters. IS claimed it shot down one of the helicopters using anti-aircraft missile launchers. Al-Sisi has vowed to ‘wipe out’ the entire IS presence in Sinai and Israeli newspapers reported that he may ‘invite’ Israel to bombard IS strongholds.
Egyptian officials announced that al-Sisi will shortly ratify new legislation designed to ramp up anti-terror security operations and fast-track judicial proceedings involving militants, including the appeals process. We would not be surprised if President Morsi and other leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood are executed soon – quite possibly before the end of Ramadan.
The execution of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will ignite violence and terrorism, forcing Egypt, into a dark, bloody tunnel and dispelling all hopes of security and stability. Like Tunisia – where IS massacred 38 tourists just days ago – the Egyptian economy is dependent on its tourism industry and is already in deep crisis.
The Muslim Brotherhood has long been a problem for Egypt’s rulers. The late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser battled against them and their influence, imprisoning and executing the man who has become one of the Islamists’ (including the Salafi-Jihadis) leading lights – the scholar and ideologue, Sayyid Qutb. Nasser, however, was pursuing a well-defined political and economic policy with an emphasis on alleviating poverty through agrarian reform act and the elimination of feudalism. No such social conscience, or covenant with the people, marks the current regime’s approach which is predicated on violence and war.
President Anwar Sadat took the opposite approach and encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood, loosening restrictions on them and their publications; he saw in them a useful ally against the burgeoning left and a counterbalance to Israel.
With no clear agenda other than destruction of any dissent, Egypt is hurtling along the same path as Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, towards bloody chaos and even, perhaps, division and fragmentation. There is much talk these days about the redrawing of Sykes-Picot.
But the greatest threat to the Egyptian regime is not the Muslim Brotherhood but the Islamic State which is expanding in all directions using the system of Wiliyats (provinces) which, when contiguous, as in parts of Iraq and Syria are extremely stable and secure. Paradoxically, IS is at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood for ideological reasons, considering their interpretation of Islam to be incorrect. If IS manages to enter Gaza – which is possible – it will topple Muslim Brotherhood-linked Hamas’s rule which it considers too far from Shari’a.
If Egypt is to escape from looming crisis it needs – not money from fair weather friends, nor weapons from Russia and America, nor war on the Muslim Brotherhood or the Islamic State but the re-establishment of national cohesion, national reconciliation, the Egyptian national project. The Egyptian people are well known for their tolerance and good humour as well as their love of their country. The Egyptian army is strong and can affect a change of direction, helping to restore security and stability for the sake of the people and the nation.
Will Israel get away with its policy?
The low-key US reaction to the condemnation of Israel this week by a UN-backed commission for its bloody assault on the besieged Gaza Strip is appalling.
Home to 1.7 million Palestinians, last year 2,251 Palestinians were killed in Gaza; of these, 1,462 were civilians, of whom 299 were women and 551 children.
Israeli losses were six civilians and 67 soldiers.
The 217-page report, issued by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry and submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, found that both Israel and Palestinian fighter groups, primarily Hamas, were responsible for violations of international law that could amount to war crimes.
But both Israel and Hamas refused to cooperate with the commission, and Hamas is reportedly planning to submit its version of the 51-day war later this week.
The Israeli launching of the war was triggered by several events in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, primarily the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youngsters and the subsequent burning to death of a Palestinian teenager by Israeli extremists.
There was huge Israeli firepower during this aggression, compared to two earlier Gaza wars, amounting to “more than 6,000 air strikes … and approximately 50,000 tank and artillery shells fired”.
In contrast, the UN commission reported that the Palestinian fighters fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars towards Israel.
Whether this conflict will lead to an Israeli trial is doubtful in the view of an Israeli analyst who writes that “the UN’s Gaza report makes for good headlines and will keep UN officials busy for weeks to come, but it doesn’t provide any evidence that will help get Israelis in the dock in The Hague”, at the International Criminal Court, as the Palestinians are hoping.
It is too early to tell whether the US administration will totally support the Palestinians in their position; there was a recent public hint from President Barack Obama that they can approach the United Nations on this issue.
Judging from this week’s mute reaction to the just released UN report, US support is not very encouraging, if not disappointing.
For a start, the American media have been low-keyed about the UN report, which did not merit front-page attention in the country’s two leading newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
However, the Times editorial last Tuesday had a powerful last paragraph: “… Israel has a duty, and should have the desire, to adjust its military policies to avoid civilian casualties and hold those who have failed to do so accountable. Absent some kind of peace agreement with the Palestinians, another war in Gaza seems inevitable.”
American politicians are not willing to crack the whip against Israel for its extremist and uncompromising policies, especially given the upcoming presidential election.
New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie had to apologise publicly for having used a correct term at an event hosted by pro-Israel Republican billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
He reportedly used the term “occupied territories” in a reference to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and then said he misspoke.
He asserted that “he is an unwavering friend and committed supporter of Israel and was sorry for any confusion that came across as a result of the misstatement”.
This “apology” preceded an announcement by the Episcopal Committee for Justice in Israel and Palestine that focused on the upcoming 78th General Convention of the Church in Salt Lake City “to open and produce discussion of the resolutions calling for use of economic leverage to advance a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land”.
The event will mainly focus on the committee’s proposed resolution “calling for boycott and divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s nearly half-century occupation of Palestinian lands and denial of Palestinian freedom”.
The announcement said: “As Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu wrote in a letter of support for the committee’s resolution, we act in order to bear witness to the use of Christ’s justice to free the oppressed and by so doing to liberate the oppressor so that these two peoples can finally be reconciled and live together in dignity, security and peace.”
This event follows a fire started earlier this month by Israeli Jewish extremists that damaged the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes alongside the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, where Christians believe Jesus performed the bread and fish miracle.
The Israeli police are now investigating the event, reported The Washington Post.
A police spokesman said the arson attack resembled previous acts of vandalism by Jewish extremists who target monasteries, churches, mosques and cemeteries.
It added that “Israel has debated whether to label the hate crimes as terrorism”.
The Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land said in a statement: “We consider this to be a serious hate crime. It comes at a time when many hate crimes are taking place against holy sites, and we are wondering where the government and the security services [are].”
Bee Gees- Immortality
Every year, 20 Jordanian women are killed because of “family honor.” In 2011, societal pressure forced Jordan’s parliament to backtrack on amending Article 76 of the temporary penal code whereby “the use of mitigating reasons for assault crimes” would have been abolished. This article protects the perpetrators of honor crimes who often benefit from mitigating reasons and avoid receiving a deterring punishment.
A 2011 study titled “Cultural and Legal Discrimination Against Jordanian Girls” polled the country’s main population centers (the capital Amman, Zarqa, Irbid, Mafraq, Aqaba and Karak) and found that 80.9% of parents believe that protecting the female equates to protecting the family’s honor. Among those polled, 55% believed that a woman should be accompanied by her brother when she is outside the house; 66% are opposed to women having the same rights as a men of the same age with regard to being unaccompanied outside the house; 49% are opposed to a female child playing outside the house; and 29% say that all women should get married regardless of their education. According to the study, 29% of those polled said their convictions emanate from traditions, 25.1% said their convictions emanate from personal attitudes, 16% attributed their convictions to societal factors and 15.5% to religion.
Kingdom fourth best Arab country for women — survey
LONDON — Jordan is the fourth best country in the Arab world to be a woman, a poll of gender experts showed on Tuesday.
The Kingdom scored 58.218 points, ahead of Qatar, Tunisia and Algeria.
Comoros, where women hold 20 per cent of ministerial positions and where wives generally keep land or the home after divorce, came on top, followed by Oman and Kuwait.
The poll by Thomson Reuters’ philanthropic arm surveyed 336 gender experts in August and September in 21 Arab League states and Syria, which was a founding member of the Arab League but was suspended in 2011.
Questions were based on provisions of the UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which 19 Arab states have signed or ratified.
The poll assessed violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy.
Experts were asked to respond to statements and rate the importance of factors affecting women’s rights across the six categories. Their responses were converted into scores, which were averaged to create a ranking.
Egypt is the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman, according to the poll, citing sexual harassment, high rates of female genital mutilation and a surge in violence.
Discriminatory laws and a spike in trafficking also contributed to Egypt’s place at the bottom of a ranking of 22 Arab states, the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey found.
Despite hopes that women would be one of the prime beneficiaries of the Arab Spring, they have instead been some of the biggest losers, as the revolts have brought conflict, instability, displacement and a rise in Islamist groups in many parts of the region, experts said.
“We removed the Mubarak from our presidential palace, but we still have to remove the Mubarak who lives in our minds and in our bedrooms,” Egyptian columnist Mona Eltahawy said, referring to Egypt’s toppled dictator, Hosni Mubarak.
“As the miserable poll results show, we women need a double revolution, one against the various dictators who’ve ruined our countries and the other against a toxic mix of culture and religion that ruin our lives as women.”
The foundation’s third annual women’s rights poll gives a comprehensive snapshot of the state of women’s rights in the Arab world three years after the events of 2011 and as Syria’s conflict threatens further regional upheaval.
Iraq ranked second-worst after Egypt, followed by Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.
Egypt scored badly in almost all categories.
A UN report on women in April said 99.3 per cent of women and girls are subjected to sexual harassment in Egypt.
Human Rights Watch reported that 91 women were raped or sexually assaulted in public in Tahrir Square in June as anti-Mohamed Morsi protests heated up.
“There are whole villages on the outskirts of Cairo and elsewhere where the bulk of economic activity is based on trafficking in women and forced marriages,” said Zahra Radwan, Middle East and North Africa programme officer for the Global Fund for Women, a US-based rights group.
Female genital mutilation is endemic in Egypt, where 91 per cent of women and girls — 27.2 million in all — are subjected to cutting, according to UNICEF. Only Djibouti has a higher rate, with 93 per cent of women and girls cut.
In Iraq, women’s freedoms have regressed since the US-led 2003 invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the poll showed.
Domestic abuse and prostitution have increased, illiteracy has soared and up to 10 per cent of women — or 1.6 million — have been left widowed and vulnerable, according to Refugees International.
In Saudi Arabia, ranked third worst, experts noted some advances. S. Arabia remains the only country that bans female drivers but cautious reforms pushed by King Abdullah have given women more employment opportunities and a greater public voice.
Since January, 30 women have been appointed in the 150-member shura council, but the council has no legislative or budgetary powers.
Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system forbids women from working, travelling abroad, opening a bank account or enrolling in higher education without permission from a male relative.
Syria’s civil war has had a devastating impact on women at home and in refugee camps across borders, where they are vulnerable to trafficking, forced and child marriage and sexual violence, experts said.
Rights groups say forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have targeted women with rape and torture, while hardline Islamists have stripped them of rights in rebel-held territory.
The poll highlighted a mixed picture for women’s rights in other Arab Spring countries.
In Yemen, ranked fifth worst, women protested side-by-side with men during the 2011 revolution and there is a 30 per cent quota for women in a national dialogue conference convened to discuss constitutional reforms.
But they face an uphill struggle for rights in a largely conservative country where child marriage is common.
In Libya, ranked 14th for women’s rights, experts voiced concern over the spread of armed militias and a rise in kidnapping, extortion, random arrests and physical abuse of women.
In Tunisia, ranked best among Arab Spring nations, women hold 27 per cent of seats in national parliament and contraception is legal, but polygamy is spreading and inheritance laws are biased towards males.
Along with Syria, all Arab League member states except Somalia and Sudan have signed or ratified CEDAW.
In the absence of full statehood recognition for the Palestinian territories, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas symbolically endorsed the convention on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
But protection offered by CEDAW is superficial, experts said. Signatories may raise reservations against any article that contradicts Sharia (Islamic law), a country’s family code, personal status laws or any piece of national legislation.
Annoucer in a fit of laughter
عمان الأردنية ترحب بكم
صحيفة عمان الأردنية تناشد الشركات والمؤسسات ايجاد فرص عمل لابنائنا الشباب الأردنيين لأنهم جيل المستقبل وسنبقى نناشد ونناشد من هذا المنبر الحر على رفض الواسطة والمحسوبية ،
محلي/ "العمل" تعلن توافر فرص عمل فندقية
عمان الأردنية - عمان 4 تشرين الأول - اعلنت وزارة العمل عن توفر عدد من فرص العمل في المعرض الوظيفي الدائم في مديرية تشغيل عمان الأولى في قطاع الفنادق هي: مديرو مبيعات, موظفو كابتن سفرة وسفرجية, موظفو تكييف وتبريد وتدبير فندقي, وموظفو مصبغة ومنسقات قسم التدبير الفندقي, وموظفو علاقات, وموظفو أمن حماية.وتبدأ الرواتب للمقبولين بحسب بيان للوزارة بـ 320 دينارا مع ضمان اجتماعي وتأمين صحي.ودعت الوزارة الراغبين بالتقدم لهذه الوظائف الى مراجعة المعرض الوظيفي الدائم في مديرية تشغيل عمان الأولى في العبدلي اعتبارا من بعد غد الثلاثاء في تمام الساعة العاشرة صباحا، او الدخول على الموقع الوطني للتشغيل www.nees.jo او الاتصال على رقم 5675791 لمزيد من المعلومات.
وظائف شاغرة في قطاع البيع بالتجزئة والمولات
أعلنت وزارة العمل عن توفر فرص عمل في القطاع الخاص/ قطاع البيع بالتجزئة والمولات (مساعدي مدراء فروع، سكرتيرة، ديلفري، تحضير طعام، كاشير، موظفي مبيعات، موظفي مقبلات، كول سنتر، ناقل بضائع، منسق بضائع، مبيعات الكترونيات، أمن وحماية، قصابين، سفرجي) علما بأن الرواتب للمقبولين تبدأ من 220 دينار مع ضمان اجتماعي وتأمين صحي. و طلبت الوزارة من الراغبين بالتقدم لهذه الوظائف مراجعة المعرض الوظيفي الدائم في مديرية تشغيل عمان الأولى في العبدلي يوم الثلاثاء 29/9/2015، و الدخول على الموقع الوطني للتشغيل www.nees.jo او الاتصال على رقم 5675791 لمزيد من المعلومات.
توفر فرس عمل في القطاع الخاص
عمان الأردنية - عمان 20 ايلول - أعلنت وزارة العمل عن توفر فرص عمل في القطاع الخاص/ قطاع المحروقات (فني غسيل سيارات، مراقب محطة، كاشير، بائع محروقات، مساعد ميكانيكي سيارات، مساعد كهربائي سيارات، فني غسيل سيارات، حداد سيارات، حداد عام، فني غيار زيت) علما بأن الرواتب للمقبولين تبدأ من 200 دينار ومعظم الشركات تقدم حوافز ومكافآت و تأمين صحي. وطلبت الوزارة من الراغبين بالتقدم لهذه الوظائف مراجعة المعرض الوظيفي الدائم في مديرية تشغيل عمان الأولى في العبدلي يوم الثلاثاء 22/ 9/ 2015، و الدخول على الموقع الوطني للتشغيل www.nees.jo او الاتصال على رقم 5675791 لمزيد من المعلومات.
محافظات/ تشغيل المفرق توفر 200 فرصة عمل
عمان الأرددنية - المفرق 20 ايلول - اعلنت مديرية تشغيل المفرق عن توفر 200 فرصة عمل في عدد من المنشآت الصناعية والتجارية في المحافظة وفقا لمديرها سعيد جبر .وقال جبر ان فرص العمل المتوفرة تشمل 100 فرصة عمل كعمال نظافة اضافة الى 100 فرصة عمل اخرى في مجال التغليف في عدد من المنشآت الاقتصادية في محافظة المفرق ولكلا الجنسين مستعرضا اهم الميزات التي توفرها تلك الفرص من مواصلات مؤمنة ووجبات غذائية وتأمين صحي وضمان اجتماعي وغيرها من الحوافز الاخرى التي من شأنها ان تمكن الباحثين عن عمل من تأمين حياه كريمة لهم ولذويهم .ودعا جبر الباحثين عن عمل لزيارة المديرية خلال اوقات الدوام الرسمي للاطلاع على شروط وميزات فرص العمل المتوفرة، لافتا الى ان مديرية تشغيل المفرق لا تتوانى عن بذل اقصى الجهود لتامين فرص عمل للعاطلين عن العمل حسب الشروط المنصوص عليها في قانون العمل الاردني وعلى راسها الحد الادنى للأجور وغيرها من الحقوق العمالية التي تضمن للعامل حقه خلال العمل
محافظات/ مديرية عمل الشونة توفر 205 فرص عمل
عمان الأردنية - الشونة الشمالية 16 ايلول - اعلنت مديرية عمل الشونة الشمالية اليوم الاربعاء عن توفر 205 فرص عمل للذكور والاناث وبرواتب جيدة وفي قطاعي الخدمة الفندقية وصناعات الالبسة.وقال رئيس قسم التشغيل في المديرية ليث الشياب ان فرص العمل المتوفرة تتمثل ب 100 فرصة عمال مطبخ و25 طهاة بخبرة و50 عمل سفرة و20 عاملة خياطة و10 عمال باطون.واضاف ان فرص العمل تتوفر في عمان مع تامين المواصلات والاقامة وفي محافظة اربد مع تامين المواصلات داعيا الراغبين بالعمل مراجعة المديرية ومعهم الوثائق اللازمة لتامين التحاقهم بالعمل.
فرص عمل للأردنيين في قطاع الاعلام
أعلنت وزارة العمل عن توفر فرص عمل لحملة البكالوريوس في قطاع الإعلام: (مصور، مقدم برامج، معد برامج، محرر، أمن و حماية) علما بأن الرواتب للمقبولين ستبدأ من 500 دينار مع شمولهم بالضمان الاجتماعي.و طلبت الوزارة من الراغبين بالتقدم لهذه الوظائف مراجعة المعرض الوظيفي الدائم في مديرية تشغيل عمان الأولى في العبدلي يوم الثلاثاء 15/9/2015، و الدخول على الموقع الوطني للتشغيل www.nees.jo لمزيد من المعلومات او الاتصال على رقم 5675791
فرص عمل للأردنيين في القطاع الصحي
عمان الأردنية - أعلنت وزارة العمل عن توفر فرص عمل للذكور و الاناث في القطاع الصحي (صيادلة، ممرضين قانونيين، ممرضين مشاركين، فني تحاليل، موظفي استقبال/ادخال، مدخلي بيانات، مشرف سلامة مهنية، فني صيانة عامة) و براتب يصل إلى 700 دينار حسب الخبرة والكفاءة.
و طلبت الوزارة من الراغبين بالتقدم لهذه الوظائف الدخول على الموقع الوطني للتشغيلwww.nees.jo ،و مراجعة المعرض الوظيفي الدائم في مديرية تشغيل عمان الأولى في العبدلي يوم الثلاثاء 4/8/2015.
محلي/ توافر فرص عمل في قطاع الانشاءات
عمان الأردنية - الاول من اب - أعلنت وزارة العمل عن توفر فرص عمل في قطاع الانشاءات (مهندس مدني، مهندس ميكانيك، مهندس كهرباء، مهندس معماري، مدير دائرة هندسية، مدير دائرة تصميم هندسي، مدير مشروع، حاسب كميات، نجار/ مساعد نجار، حداد/ مساعد حداد، مواسرجي، فني كهرباء، مساعد فني كهرباء، فني ميكانيك، مساعد فني ميكانيك، نجار طوبار، قصير، سائقو معدات انشائية، سائق لودر، سائق قلاب، سائق قليدر، سائق سطحة، سائق فئة سادسة)، وبرواتب لا تقل عن 250 دينارا.
وطلبت الوزارة من الراغبين بالتقدم لهذه الوظائف الدخول على الموقع الوطني للتشغيل www.nees.jo ومراجعة المعرض الوظيفي الدائم في مديرية تشغيل عمان.
العمل "فرص عمل في مديريتي تشغيل عمان الاولى والثانية
By Abdel Bari Atwan, Special to Gulf News
Now in its fifth year, the Syrian civil war has claimed more than 250,000 lives and the regime of Bashar Al Assad, though weakened, is still firmly in place. All attempts by the West and its allies to influence the course of events have so far proved ineffectual.
The main problem is the complexity and instability of the political landscape. Yesterday’s enemies can suddenly become today’s great allies and vice versa. Until recently, Iran — which, along with Russia, is Al Assad’s most stalwart backer — was for decades the West’s regional nemesis. Then came this summer’s nuclear deal between the P5+1 (United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) and Tehran. For Tehran — and Moscow — there is no discussion on the future of Al Assad. They support him and see him as part of the solution to the much bigger problem that confronts and threatens the whole region — Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). The West, in rapprochement mode with Iran, is now reluctant to cross this red line.
The US, its Gulf allies and Turkey spent millions of dollars attempting to fund, arm and train a ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition, but the results have been unimpressive. Much of the funding and weaponry ended up in the hands of militants, including Daesh, while a recent training programme, funded by Washington to the tune of $1 million (Dh3.67 million), has produced just 54 soldiers for the latest project — the ‘New Syria Force’.
In the fight against Daesh, the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit militias (YPG) proved a most useful — and apparently acceptable — ally; the Kurds are the only fighters who have had the courage to meet Daesh on the ground and they achieved several notable military successes including retaking Kobane supported by American air power. When the US recently succeeded in pressurising Turkey to join the fight against Daesh, however, Ankara demanded a ‘safe zone’ on its border with Syria in exchange. Many commentators believe that the ‘safe zone’ is actually intended to break up contiguous, Kurdish-held territories because Turkey greatly fears Kurdish autonomy and waged a 30 year civil war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separatist guerrillas.
Now Turkey has revived its conflict with the PKK (which is designated a terrorist entity by the US) and Washington recently confirmed the country’s ‘right’ to retaliate against renewed terrorist activities by the group which has so far killed 20 policemen and soldiers. The problem here is that the YPG is closely linked to the PKK.
Washington has not given up on this useful ally though. On August 17, Cemil Bayik, one of the PKK leaders, told British newspaper the Daily Telegraph that the group had held secret talks with Washington in a bid to re-instate the truce they had established with Ankara in 2013. That would then liberate the Kurdish fighters for a renewed effort against Daesh.
The Syrian conflict has seen Moscow emerge as a powerful diplomatic broker. In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested the formation of a ‘quartet’ to confront Daesh, comprising Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Syrian Army. This suggestion initially seemed unthinkable, since Saudi Arabia and Turkey had been the most adamant among the anti-Al Assad allies that there would be no accommodation with the Syrian regime. Earlier this month, however, came the surprise news that Major General Ali Mamluk, the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, had arrived in Riyadh on a Russian plane for a secret meeting with his counterpart, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. The latter had probably been ‘softened’ during his visit to Moscow in June, where he met Putin, who also hosted Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mua’alem — along with his deputy Faisal Al Makdad and Buthaina Shaaban — just a few days later.
The extent to which the Saudis are prepared to compromise on the future of Al Assad will be the key. The reality is that Daesh is out of control. Russia has several tools for bringing pressure to bear on Saudi Arabia. It has used its right of veto in the United Nations Security Council as a diplomatic bargaining tool since Saudi Arabia intervened militarily in neighbouring Yemen. In addition, Prince Salman’s July trip to Moscow produced six high-value business incentives including arms sales and plans for nuclear installations in Saudi Arabia.
Russia is working hard to rehabilitate the Al Assad regime on the international stage on the basis of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. On August 4, following a tripartite meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Adel Al Jubeir, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s plan for a coalition to confront Daesh, specifying the make-up of fighting units that would be composed of ‘Kurdish forces, the Iraqi Army and the Syrian Army’.
Earlier this week, Russian president Vladimir Putin hosted a series of diplomatic meetings over Syria and in a significant move, invited a delegation of Syrian opposition (tolerated by Al Assad) to take part. This suggests that Putin is working on a solution that could please countries like Saudi Arabia who insist Al Assad must go.
Washington, too, has shifted its position from a definitive call for Al Assad to go to what Kerry has recently been framing as a “diplomatic outcome” to the Syrian crisis, including negotiations with the rogue president. The UN’s Syrian Envoy, Stefan de Mistura, on Tuesday announced new peace talks in September aimed at establishing a “transitional government” in Damascus. It is not clear whether the “working parties” scheduled to broker this transition will include representatives of the regime.
The West’s policies on Syria remain hazy, but it is clear that the Syrian regime is increasingly perceived as key to the fight against Daesh, which now occupies the top spot on the West’s agenda. Regardless of political alignments, neither the West nor the region’s powers can risk a security vacuum in Syria or the dismantling of the military and civic infrastructure. We have already seen how Daesh was able to take Libya by storm in recent months due to the absence of a central government or any form of security establishment.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, while insisting that Al Assad must go, has taken to talking of a settlement that will “preserve regime institutions” and this is likely the preferred option among the West and its regional allies.
However, it could be argued that when it comes to the Syrian dictatorship, the institutions of state are inextricably linked with the head of that state — just as they were in the case of Saddam Hussain’s Iraq or Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. Is there a risk that in severing the head, the body will be destroyed just when its full strength is required?
It seems that in the short term, the international community will be obliged to talk to Al Assad if it is to effectively confront Daesh and bring an end to the bloodshed and suffering of the Syrian people. In the long term, the West could work to foster democracy in Syria enabling the people, ultimately, to dispose of Al Assad, if they so wish, via the ballot box — something Daesh would never allow.
Jordan’s public sector seen more corrupt this year — report
AMMAN — Jordan’s public sector is perceived to be more corrupt than last year, graft watchdog Transparency International (TI) said in a statement on Tuesday, as the Kingdom scored 45 points on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2013, compared with 48 in 2012.
Jordan ranked 66 among the 177 countries surveyed, compared with 58 last year.
Two-thirds of the countries surveyed scored below 50, on a scale from 0, perceived to be highly corrupt, to 100, perceived to be very clean.
The Berlin-based non-profit group said the result indicates the world has a “serious, worldwide corruption problem” that needs to be addressed.
The UAE is perceived to be the cleanest in the MENA region, while Sudan is seen to be the most corrupt.
The CPI saw Jordan’s regional ranking drop to the sixth among Arab countries compared to the fourth last year, after Oman and Saudi Arabia gained on the Kingdom.
According to the graft index, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are seen as the world’s most corrupt countries while Denmark and New Zealand are nearly squeaky-clean.
The most widely used indicator of corruption in political parties, police, justice systems and civil services worldwide, the CPI is a composite index of surveys and assessments of corruption collected from independent institutions.
The nature of corruption makes it impossible to measure meaningfully, says TI, which leads the group to collect data from institutions like the World Bank, African Development Bank, Economist Intelligence Unit, Bertelsmann Foundation, Freedom House and others.
Among countries that have slipped the most on CPI 2013 are war-torn Syria, Libya and Mali.
In a statement on its website, TI said the world urgently needs a renewed effort to crack down on money laundering, clean up political finance, pursue the return of stolen assets and build more transparent public institutions.
Bee Gees :To love somebody
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