The Middle East Channel

Libyan forces arrest 32 alleged Qaddafi loyalists for car bombings

Libyan forces have arrested 32 alleged pro-Qaddafi militants in connection with twin car bombings that hit Tripoli on Sunday. Libya’s Supreme Security Committee said it had dismantled an "organized network of remnants of the previous regime." Both attacks, which occured near dawn, killed at least two people and injured several others. One explosion took place ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Libyan forces have arrested 32 alleged pro-Qaddafi militants in connection with twin car bombings that hit Tripoli on Sunday. Libya’s Supreme Security Committee said it had dismantled an "organized network of remnants of the previous regime." Both attacks, which occured near dawn, killed at least two people and injured several others. One explosion took place near a women’s police academy, and the other hit Libya’s interior ministry. The attacks came on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Tripoli’s fall to rebel fighters, and were the first deadly bombings since the overthrow of Muammar al-Qaddafi last year. Violence in the country has however increased during the Muslim holy-month of Ramadan.

Syria

The U.N. observer mission in Syria has formally ended. It was incapable of standing up to mounting violence. The U.N. Security Council met on Thursday and decided that conditions to extend the mission had not been fulfilled with the breakdown of Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan. The United Nations said that instead of the observer mission there would be a small civilian "liaison office" setup in efforts to achieve a political settlement. United Nations and Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, who is replacing Annan after his resignation in early August, said he will work as a mediator to end the civil war in Syria. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare public appearance Sunday attending a prayer service in Damascus for the first day of Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan. He was not joined by Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa, whose whereabouts are uncertain. There are unconfirmed rumors he has been intending to defect. However, Assad and Sharaa are rarely together due to security concerns. Violence continued in Aleppo, Daraa, Azaz, and around Damascus over the weekend as activists reported they had found 40 bodies on the streets of a suburb of the capital. On Monday, Syrian forces began an offensive to retake Mouadamiya, a southwestern suburb of Damascus. Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the United Nations may need to create a "safe zone" inside Syria for refugees. There are currently near 70,000 displaced Syrians in Turkey, and Davutoglu said they country would not be able to accommodate more than 100,000 refugees.

Headlines  

  • Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has announced a plan to visit Iran, seemingly attempting to repair relations. This move has been deemed an "excellent" step by the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Weekend attacks in Yemen left at least 20 people dead at the Intelligence Headquarters of the southern port city of Aden.
  • A Shiite Bahraini teenager was killed on Saturday in clashes with police near the capital of Manama.

Arguments & Analysis

Why Syria’s revolution is not like Libya’s‘ (Husam Dughman, Informed Comment)

"When a popular uprising started in Tunisia less than two years ago, it took the world by surprise. Not many observers had anticipated the outbreak, let alone the success, of popular uprisings in a region far better known for the longevity of its tyrants and despots. Contrary to what some analysts have stated, the region loosely known as "the Arab world" had in fact seen important, albeit failed, uprisings: the Muslim Brotherhood’s revolt against Hafez Al-Assad’s regime in Hama, Syria, was brutally put down in 1982. The mass uprisings in both the northern and southern parts of Iraq in the aftermath of the Gulf War of 1991 were crushed just as mercilessly by the Saddam Hussein regime."

The Emergence of Salafism in Tunisia‘ (Fabio Merone and Francesco Cavatorta, Jadaliyya)

"Political Islam did not really play a prominent role in the success of the Tunisian revolution. Islamists were notably absent from the protests and the revolutionary slogans were about freedom, dignity, and jobs rather than Sharia law or the creation of an Islamic state… The October 2011 elections, however, offered a different and surprising, at least for some, picture of the country. The Islamist party Ennahda became by far the dominant political movement and now leads a three-party government coalition together with two secular left-leaning parties. This means that former Islamist political prisoners and exiles are today in power. Ennahda’s landslide victory contradicted the assumptions of many analysts and scholars about Tunisia, which was believed to be a haven of secularism in North Africa, thanks to the modernizing policies of both Bourguiba and Ben Ali. If the electoral strength of Ennahda was not enough to question the effective penetration of Tunisian elite-led secularism in society, the very public emergence of Salafism certainly did the trick."

Obama Needs U.S. Debate Before Making Pledges to Israel About Attacking Iran‘ (Peter Beinart, The Daily Beast)

"For years now, Israelis have been noisily debating military action against Iran. And their conclusion, according to polls, is that America should do it. That’s somewhat ironic given that self-reliance-never again putting Jewish destiny in non-Jewish hands-is core to the Zionist ideal. But it’s also quite rational: an American strike would likely set back Tehran’s nuclear progress far more than an Israeli one would. And an American strike would not leave Israel as isolated in the world. The problem is that back here in the United States, we haven’t been noisily debating military action against Iran. Yes, we’ve watched the Israeli debate voyeuristically. Countless pundits have weighed in on whether the Iranian regime would really risk its own survival to end Israel’s, on what Israel’s military capacities really are, on how Iran might strike back. But there’s been much less discussion of whether an attack on Iran is in America’s interest. And that needs to change."

–By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey 

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