Syrian army and opposition agree to a truce in Zabadani
Syrian army and opposition agree to a truce in Zabadani After a reported two days of negotiating, Syrian regime forces and the opposition agreed to a ceasefire in the town of Zabadani, 19 miles north of Damascus, near Lebanon’s border. The town has been a frequent site of large demonstrations and was attacked on Friday ...
Syrian army and opposition agree to a truce in Zabadani
After a reported two days of negotiating, Syrian regime forces and the opposition agreed to a ceasefire in the town of Zabadani, 19 miles north of Damascus, near Lebanon’s border. The town has been a frequent site of large demonstrations and was attacked on Friday by troops and tanks in one of the biggest strikes since the beginning of the Arab League’s observer mission in Syria. The ceasefire was brokered between President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law, Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat, and town leaders. According to senior opposition leader, Kamal al-Labwani, the deal was sparked by “stiff resistance and defections among the attacking forces.” However, one resident reported to the Associated Press that the Syrian army had broken the truce and resumed shelling. Meanwhile, the Arab League is debating continuing its operations in Syria after Assad said he would permit the mission to extend for a month. In a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II, U.S. President Barack Obama again called for Assad’s regime to step down, saying there were “unacceptable levels of violence” in Syria.
- Egyptian Field Marshal Tantawi has warned of “grave dangers” as the military plans for January 25 anniversary protests calling for a transfer to civilian rule.
- Israeli air forces and tanks attacked Palestinian men in Gaza suspected of planting a bomb along the Israeli border, killing one and wounding three.
- Gunmen killed an Iraqi Sunni village chief and three of his sons who were part of the Sawha, the Awakening Council, that cooperated with the U.S. army to fight al-Qaeda linked militants.
- Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal said he will step down during upcoming elections after proposing a change in direction to non-violent resistance.
- A hearing for Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman began Tuesday over fraud and corruption charges.
Tribal gunmen loyal to dissident tribal chief Sadiq al-Ahmar inspect the damage in a burnt out building as they withdraw from key government sites under the agreed security plan in the capital Sanaa, on January 17, 2012. The building was damaged during fighting last year between tribes men loyal to al-Ahmar and those soldiers loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images).
Arguments & Analysis
‘Bahrain’s Sunni Awakening’ (Justin Gengler, Middle East Report online)
“There are signs that the social forces unleashed by the uprising, and the wider Arab awakening, have made Bahraini Sunnis more cognizant of their perennial position as political counterweight — and more resistant to it. The same grassroots movements that rose in defense of the regime in February and March are now daring to articulate reform demands of their own, albeit not yet with a coherent purpose. Ever since the days when the Iranian revolution threatened to inundate the Arab Gulf with Islamic populism, Bahrain’s rulers have raised that specter to win the reflexive support of ordinary Sunnis and to diffuse citizen pressure for a political opening. Ironically, it may be an upheaval initiated by Bahraini Shi‘a that hastens the end of this arrangement.”
‘Cairo loses its voice’ (Mike Giglio, The Daily Beast)
“Once the revolution took hold, everyone from poets to punk rockers flocked to the cause. Egyptian graffiti gained global fame, and museums put together showcases of revolutionary art. The most popular song of the protest movement came from a struggling acoustic guitarist named Ramy Essam. He wrote the compilation of popular chants and some improvised lines in a few minutes from inside Tahrir. Banning Eyre, the music journalist who runs the radio series Afropop Worldwide, says the time was ripe for what he calls “people power” music. “You could record a song that was an expression of being free,” he says. “It felt right.””
‘Iran is finding fewer buyers for its oil’ (David Ignatius, Washington Post)
“The squeeze is already beginning on Iran’s oil exports – and guess which nation quietly reduced its purchases from Tehran this month. Why, that would be China, Iran’s supposed protector. The Chinese cut their imports from Iran roughly in half for January, trimming 285,000 barrels per day from their average last year of about 550,000 barrels per day, according to Nat Kern, the publisher of Foreign Reports, a respected industry newsletter. Iran’s reduced sales to its biggest oil customer resulted from a dispute over payment terms, Kern explains. But it’s an early sign of what may be significant reductions in Iranian exports to Europe and Asia, as buyers there hedge against the likelihood of tighter sanctions.”
Latest from the Channel
— ‘Just what does Jordan’s Abullah understand?’ by Laurie A. Brand & Fayez Y. Hamad
— ‘The Iraqi revolution we’ll never know’ by Michael Wahid Hanna
–Mary Casey and Tom Kutsch
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