Amer Al Sabaileh
Aleppo and the Turkish-Russian rapprochement
Many analysts believe that the battle under way in Aleppo could help the end of the Syrian crisis. However, it would be a mistake to think that this battle will come to a conclusion easily.
From the very start of the Syrian crisis, Aleppo has represented the weakest point for the Syrian regime.
It is not near the traditional strongholds of the Syrian government and holds a strategic position on the Turkish-Syrian border, which is a major entry point for weapons and fighters into Syria.
The battle could lead to a political solution in Syria, which so far has been stalled.
The Syrian army and its allies are pushing hard to capture the city in order to secure a key strategic foothold on the border, so it is likely that there will be a concerted effort in what could be a bloody, drawn-out battle.
Many of the groups that are fighting will fall if the regime can capture the city; in fact, some are even calling it the “promised battle”.
Some reports indicate that opposition groups received new supplies of US-made anti-tank missiles in order to hold Aleppo.
Meanwhile, the Russians appear to have little involvement at this stage. Moscow appears to be focused on influencing Turkish politics in order to achieve its ends in Syria.
The recent summit in St Petersburg between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was an important step for both the latter, who is seeking his way out of an internal crisis and the former, who is using recent events in Turkey as leverage to put an end to the Syrian crisis.
While Turkey’s role remains ambiguous, regional powers are clearly facilitating and supporting fighters in Syria and the border areas.
Politically, there is pressure on Erdogan to fall in line.
Recent events witnessed renewed calls for a Kurdish state, which could align Turkey with Syria and Iran, who are also rejecting such idea.
The prospect of economic cooperation with Russia, including various strategic projects, could lead Erdogan to rethinking his political positions and the way in which they aggravated the situation in Syria.
Erdogan’s desire to free himself from Western powers’ demands might also push him to reach a compromise with Russia, at least in Syria.
The battle for Aleppo is the last tactical confrontation with a clear path for a political solution to follow. While it may not end the Syrian crisis altogether, it could very well mark the beginning of a political process that brings an eventual end to the conflict in Syria.
It is, in fact, likely to lead to a battle in Daraa, in the southern part of Syria.
Over the coming days, we will see if Erdogan is really willing to cooperate with Putin on Syria. If not, Moscow may find itself obliged to step in to Aleppo and restart the frozen political process in Geneva.
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 حتى نجد فرصة عمل لهم
الخدمة المدنية يعلن عن 557وظيفة للفئة الثالثة الاربعاء
فرص عمل في سلطنة عمان
Editor Ali Jadalla
The first Jordanian Newspaper
published in Four languages
The Grand Russo-Turkish Trade-Off?Abdel Bari Atwan
Turkey and Russia have wasted no time in moving towards full political, military and economic normalization following Tuesday’s talks in St. Peter sburg between presidents Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin. Steps have been quickly taken to translate into practice the understandings reached during the two-hour closed-door meeting the two menheld ahead of their formal reconciliation summit. These can be expected to result, in one form or another, in an entente over the Syrian crisis andthe forming of alliances in other regions, notably the Caucasus.
According to Russian and Turkish diplomatic reports leaked to the media, the tête-à-têtebetween Erdoğan and Putin resulted in what amounts to a grand trade-off, with each side acceding to key demands of the other.
In essence, Moscow wants Erdoğanto seal Turkey’s border with Syria to the passage of any personnel, arms or funds to the Syrian armed groups deemed to be terrorist; to refrain from taking any measures aimed at attempting to change the regime in Syria; and to expel all militants from Chechnya or other parts of the Russian Caucasus presentin Turkey.
In exchange, Ankara wants a clear undertaking that Russia will provide no support to the Kurds in establishing autonomous regions or independent entities anywhere along the northern borders of Syria or Iraq, nor in the secession of the Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey. It also wants Moscow to liftall economic sanctions imposed after last year’s downing of a Russian warplane by a Turkish jet, and to speedup the building of the Turk Stream gas pipeline.
One could hardly expect to see such a trade-off implemented immediately. But moves have begun being made in that direction with remarkable speed.
There was some striking evidence of that on Thursday.
First, Prime Minister Bin ali Yildirim told a delegation of business leaders from the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly to expect “beautiful” news from Syria and elsewhere in the region in the near future.
Then, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğ luissued an insistent appeal for Russia to partner Turkey in joint operations against their shared enemy the so-called Islamic State, andto prevent it from expanding in Syria.
For his part, Erdoğan affirmed in a lengthy interview with the official Russian news agency TASS that he does not want Syriato be broken up — although he did add that it would be hard for the country to remain united under President Bashar al-Asad.
Meanwhile, a delegation of three Turkish officials — representing the military, intelligence service and foreign ministry respectively – set off for Moscow to confer with Russian counterparts about the situation in Syria.
Erdoğan went ahead with his great opening toRussia in part because he wanted to deliver a practical response to the criticisms and insults that have been heaped on him of late from the US and Europe — from accusations of repression and human rights abuses to threats to block Turkey’s quest for EU membership or cancel its refugee agreement with the EU. The Turkish president feels embittered by Western policies that have repeatedly frustrated him, and personally slighted by Western leaders, who have apparently been snubbing him. None have contacted him since last month’s abortive coup attempt nor even taken calls from him. His repeated references in his TASS interview to Putin as “friend” were telling.
Erdoğan also used the interview to direct an unexpected warning, indeed an ultimatum, to the EU over the refugee agreement. Stressing the need for the Europeans to implement their side of the deal, he said that if they did not do so by mid-October or he would consider it cancelled.
Equally surprising was the Turkish president’s admission, for the first time, that the downed Russian jet was shot down over Syrian and not Turkish territory. He went on to say that the Turkish fighter pilot involved was under arrest and being prosecuted, as was the Central Asian fighter who killed the Russian airman after he bailed out of his stricken plane.
Turkey’scall for joint military operations with Russia against Islamic State indicates that Erdoğan has made his mind up and resolved to pursue a new course in Syria. He is gradually coming round to the Russian position that gives absolute priority to combating terrorism and eliminating it comprehensively. That is hugely risky for Turkey, which could well face a backlash of terrorist revenge attacks like those which recently targeted Istanbul and Ankara. Turkish policymakers are certainly not oblivious to this, and it is doubtless a major consideration they are taking into account.
In Damascus, meanwhile, no official comment has yet to be forthcoming about the Russian-Turkish reconciliation meeting. Is the Syrian leadership alarmed by the encounter and its potential consequences? Or is it merely awaiting a full briefing from a Russian envoy before expressing a view, positive or otherwise?
Questions about what Russia and Turkey’snew understandings over Syria may mean in practice may be partially answered by the outcome of the current battle for Aleppo. A decisive showdown there seems to be imminent following the massive build-up of forces by both sides, as occurredin nearby Manbakh. It will be important to observe how the Turks behave on the ground.
There can be no doubt, however, that the meeting of minds between the Turkish and Russian presidents will cause many re-thinks in the region, reconfigure many alliances, and alter many policies.
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
From Our Own Correspondent
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