APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN: The Fifth Tunis Exchange Conference June 10-22/The Third Istanbul-Ankara Exchange Conference June 22-July 4
Mideastwire.com and its partners are pleased to announce a series of Political Exchange Conferences this Spring & Summer:
* The Eleventh Beirut Exchange March 22-29 (Deadline I for applications, February 28)
* The Fifth Tunis Exchange June 10-June 22 (Deadline I for applications, April 20)
* The Third Istanbul-Ankara Exchange June 22-July 4 (Deadline I for applications, April 20)
The Exchanges will immerse our participants in the politics of the specific country as well as the region, with a particular emphasis on direct engagement with high-level academic, political, intellectual and religious figures active across the spectrum.
TO REQUEST AN APPLICATION FOR ANY EXCHANGE, email:
Note that tuition discounts are available for those applicants with demonstrated need as well as for alumni of our previous Exchanges. Furthermore, we can and will facilitate logistics for those students who wish to attend both the Tunis Exchange and the Istanbul-Ankara Exchange consecutively. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Background on Six Years of the Exchange in the MENA Region:
The Exchange is an effort by Mideastwire.com and its partners to promote direct engagement and understanding through a variety of city-focused politics conferences.
The First Exchange was launched in June 2008 in Beirut, Lebanon. Now, several years on, over 300 students from 45 different countries have participated in 20 different Exchange programs across the region, with many going on to work as diplomats in their home countries, for NGOs serving the region and as social entrepreneurs.
The Exchange welcomes applications from current students as well as professionals and post-professionals interested in better understanding the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and, we hope, their own country’s involvement in MENA.
To view previous Exchange itineraries in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Tunis and the Gulf, as well as media coverage of our efforts, visit http://www.thebeirutexchange.com
LEARN ARABIC IN TUNIS! To inquire about this summer’s Arabic courses convened by our partner, Mohamed Labidi (email@example.com) and the Bosphore Academy in downtown Tunis, visit: http://bosphoreacademie.com/summerprogram.htm
THE FIFTH TUNIS EXCHANGE CONFERENCE
June 10-June 22, 2014
Application Deadline I April 20/Deadline II May 10
Limited spaces available/Rolling acceptance
As with our other Exchanges, the twelve-day program will engage students from around the world in a multifaceted discussion of some of the key issues facing Tunisia and the wider region. The Tunis Exchange program specifically rests on three tracks this Summer.
Track 1: Academic Seminars. Participants will attend a series of lectures with leading professors and public intellectuals in Tunisia. Topics will include, among others:
- The history and internal transformations of Ennahda, including organizational and ideological evolution since the revolution;
- The post-revolutionary evolution of the UGTT, Tunisia’s powerful labor union, and its role in politics (including implications of its role as primary mediator in the National Dialogue of late 2013);
- Composition, platforms of, and alliances between major opposition parties (including Jebha Chaabia, Nidaa Tounes, Hizb Joumhouri, and Afeq Tounes) with a view toward the next elections;
- Prospects for the next elections, including composition and current activities of the elections commission board, expected timeline of, and possible challenges for the upcoming elections;
- State of the Tunisian economy, including regional inequalities, budget transparency and decentralization, etc.;
- Institutional and legislative reform needs following the passage of Tunisia’s constitution, focusing particularly on reform of the Ministry of Interior (security sector) and Ministry of Justice (judicial sector), Tunisia’s two most problematic ministries;
- Human rights in the new Tunisia (addressing issues such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, status of women, use of torture and the terrorism debate);
- Salafism, its composition (political, quietist, jihadi) in Tunisia and its relationship to and implications for party politics, stability, and governance moving forward;
- Taking stock of what Tunisia has done regarding transitional justice, what steps are planned to realize the recently passed transitional justice law, and what more needs to be done;
- The role of the media and civil society organizations;
- Youth politics and activism within and outside formal party structure.
Track 2: Dialogue with Leaders. Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political, religious and economic leaders from across the spectrum in Tunisia.
Individual Speakers Have Previously Included (partial list only):
Abdelfattah Morou (Ennahda Party)
Rached Ghannouchi (Ennahda Party)
Mehrezia Laabidi (Ennahda Party)
Imed Dehmi (President, Congress for the Republic Party)
Taieb Bakkouche (Secretary General, Nidaa Tounes)
Hama Hammami (Popular Front)
Meriem Bourbuiba (Former Hizb Joumhouri)
Maya Jribi (Hizb Joumhouri)
Adnen Haji (UGTT, Leader of the 2008 uprising in Redeyef)
Mounir Ajroud (President, Leagues to Protect the Revolution)
Mohamed Belkhouja (President, Reform Front/Salafist Party)
Habib Kazdaghli (Manouba University)
Taieb Ghozi (Imam, Grand Mosque of Kairouan)
Michael Ayari (International Crisis Group)
Ahlem Belhaj (President, Tunisian Association of Democratic Women)
Kamel Laabidi (National Authority for Information and Communication Reform)
Amna Guellali (Director, Human Rights Watch)
Bochra Belhaj Hamidi (Lawyer)
Hamida Ennaifer (Co-founder, Islamic Tendency Movement)
Salaheddine Jourchi (Co-founder, Islamic Tendency Movement)
Youssef Seddik (Philosopher)
Fabio Merone (Researcher, Gerda Hinkel Foundation)
Radwan Masmoudi (Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy)
Amira Yahyaoui (Al-Bawsala)
Sihem Ben Sedrine (Transitional Justice Commission)
Slim Amamou (Blogger, Former Minister)
Yassine Ayari (Blogger, leading figure in the revolution)
Institutions Represented in Past Programs:
UGTT (Tunisian General Labour Union)
Jibha Chaabia (Popular Front)
Nidaa Tounes (Call for Tunisia)
Congress for the Republic (CPR)
Leagues to Protect the Revolution
Jibhat al-Islah (a leading Salafist party)
Afeq Tounes Party
Hizb Joumhouri Party (formerly PDP)
Union of Tunisian Journalists
Committee to Protect Journalists
High Authority for Audio-Visual Communication (HAICA)
Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (Les Femmes Democrates)
Ministry of Women’s Affairs
Human Rights Watch, Tunisia
Ministry of Transitional Justice and Human Rights
Tunisian Observatory for a Democratic Transition
Al-Bawsala (government monitoring NGO)
Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH)
Amnesty International, Tunisia
Tunisian Network for Social Economy
Tunisian-American Chamber of Commerce
Tunisian Association of Young Entrepreneurs
Governorates (meeting with governors of Sidi Bouzid, Gafsa and Sfax)
Ministry of Religious Affairs
Ministry of Finance
International Center for Transitional Justice
Tunisian Judges Association
Tunisian Lawyers Association
(To view previous schedules for the Tunis Exchanges, visit http://www.thebeirutexchange.com)
Track 3: Two-Day Conference and Cultural Day June 13-15. Included in the tuition for the program, Tunis exchange students will participate in a two-day conference at the Ambassadeurs Hotel focusing on the upcoming elections in Tunisia and the wider political situation in the region. The conference will feature speeches and discussions led by a range of Tunisian politicians, activists, intellectuals and academics, including but not limited to (preliminary confirmations): Hamadi Jbeili, Kamal Morjane, Maya Jreibi, Adnan Hajji, Lubna Jreibi, Meherzia Laabidi, Youssef Seddik,Sihem Ben Saddrine, Hama Hammami and a number of other figures. Alumni of previous Exchanges, as well as selected members of the general public, will be invited to register for the two-day conference.
In order to encourage the most open discussion possible, the conference will be held under Chatham House rules and will therefore be off the record and closed to the press.
On Sunday June 15, Alumni of our previous programs are also invited to join our current Tunis Exchange students for a cultural day organized with one of the main arts/youth associations as well as the office of Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Meherzia Laabidi, the highest ranking, female elected official in MENA. Alumni and Tunis Exchange students will be hosted in a traditional Tunisian house in the government district for a lunch and a series of performances together with the government, NGO and diplomatic community.
The Tunis Exchange will be held over twelve days total at the conference room of The Ambassadeurs hotel in downtown Tunis. Students are expected to stay at our hotel, Villa 78 (www.villa78tunis.com), located within five minutes walking distance of The Ambassadeurs Hotel, or at The Ambassadeurs Hotel itself (www.ambassadeurs-hotel.net/), unless permission for offsite stay at alternative hotels or accommodations is requested, since most meetings will take place in the conference room at The Ambassadeurs Hotel.
Off-site meetings during the twelve days will entail bus travel as a group in and around Tunis, including to the National Assembly. At least three days of the program (June 19, 20 and 21) will entail travel to other cities and regions in Tunisia for meetings with local activists, intellectuals, academics and political/religious leaders, including in Sidi Bouzid and Sfax. The program will close at 12pm on Sunday, June 22 in Tunis.
Tuition – $1600; Partial financial aid is available for those students and individuals that can demonstrate need as well as alumni of our previous programs. All bus travel, transportation from the airport on arrival and other program costs associated with the full 12-day Exchange are included.
Accommodation – $540; Ten nights of the program will be spent in downtown Tunis, while at least two nights will be spent at hotels outside of Tunis. Room rates vary depending on arrangements, but generally fall within the range of $45 per night, per student for a shared double room (breakfast and taxes are included). Alternative accommodation, including in a single room, is available upon request. Note that the $45 room rate is for stay at our hotel, Villa 78, and at hotels in the south. A shared, double room is priced at approximately $55 per night, per student at The Ambassadeurs Hotel.
Airfare – $450, approximate from the European Union.
REQUEST AN APPLICATION via firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Exchange Co-Directors Nicholas Noe & Monica Marks (See Below)
THE THIRD ISTANBUL-ANKARA EXCHANGE CONFERENCE
June 22-July 4, 2014
Application Deadline I April 20/Deadline II May 10
Limited spaces available/Rolling acceptance
REQUEST AN APPLICATION via: email@example.com
VIEW THE LAST ISTANBUL-ANKARA EXCHANGE PROGRAM (2013) via: http://www.politicsinthefield.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/TurkeyExchange_January2013.pdf
Mideastwire.com and Politics In The Field are pleased to announce the Third Istanbul-Ankara Exchange. The twelve-day conference June 22-July 4 will be held over 10 days in Istanbul and two days in Ankara, immersing students and professionals from around the world in some of the key issues facing Turkey and the surrounding region. This year, there will be also be an optional two-day cultural excursion July 5-6 to Edirne,* the former capital of the Ottoman Empire.
The Istanbul-Ankara Exchange rests on two tracks:
Track 1: Academic Seminars. Participants will attend a series of seminars with leading academics, journalists, business people and public intellectuals. Topics will include (among others):
- Gezi Protests and social movements;
- AK Party and the Gulen Movement conflict;
- Political atmosphere ahead of the upcoming presidential and national elections;
- The future of Turkey-EU and Turkey-US relations;
- Turkey and the Syrian Civil War;
- The Kurdish question and the Peace Process;
- Economic reform challenges now and on the horizon;
- Turkey’s role in energy politics in the region;
- The AK Party in domestic and regional politics;
- Turkey’s constitution and justice system;
- The status of women;
- Human rights and Internet/press freedoms under attack?
- Refugees in Turkey;
- Role of opposition parties.
Track 2: Dialogue with Leaders. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and engage social, political, religious and economic leaders from across the spectrum in Turkey.
Individual Speakers Have Previously Included (partial list only):
Tariq Al-Hashimi, Vice-President of Iraq
Mustafa Akyol, Star Daily
Talip Küçükcan, Foreign Policy Director, SETA
Cengiz Çandar, Radikal Daily
Hugh Pope, Turkey/Cyprus Program Director International Crisis Group
Ceyda Karan, Journalist
Joost Lagendijk, Analyst at Istanbul Policy Center – Today’s Zaman
Bulent Kenes, Chief of Editor Today’s Zaman
Fuat Keyman, Director of Istanbul Policy Center, Sabanci University
Diba Nigar Göksel, European Stabilty Initiative – GMF
Idris Kardas, General Coordinator Platform for Global Challenges
Hasan Köni, Istanbul Kültür Univeristy
Oğuz Demir, İstanbul Trade University, Economists Platform
Burcu Gültekin Punssman, Researcher TEPAV
Faik Tunay, Republican People’s Party MP-CHP
Oktay Vural, Vice President of Nationalistic Movement Party Group
Nuh Yılmaz, Marmara University, Star Daily
Zeynep Baser, TESEV
Asaad Asaad, Chairman of Support Center of Psychological and Personal Development of Syrian Refugees in Turkey
Murat Çekiç, Turkey Director of Amnesty International
Kemal Cicek, Turkish Historical Society
Mustapha Turkes, METU
Ersel Aydinli, Bilkent Universtiy
Arzu Celalifer, USAK
Aysegul Kibargoglu, OKAN University
Lale Kemal, Taraf Newspaper
Onur Oymen, MP-CHP
Yassar Yakis, Former Foreign Minister of Turkey
Suleyman Ozeren, Police Academy
Alper Sozen, Police Academy
Ozlem Tur, METU
Zita Onis, Koc University
Institutions Represented in Past Programs:
AK Party Foreign Affairs Presidency
Secretary General for EU Affairs
Prime Ministry, Housing Development Administration (TOKI)
Information Technologies and Communication Agency (BTK)
Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA)
Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD)
Hrant Dink Foundation
Neve Şalom Synagouge
Turkish Radio Television (TRT)
Municipality of Istanbul
Religious Affairs Presidency
The first nine days of the Exchange will take place at a hotel in downtown Istanbul (program opens at 6pm on June 22), although there will be several bus trips to meetings arranged outside the conference center. After that, two days of the Exchange will be spent in the capital, Ankara, where a series of meetings with political and diplomatic leaders will be convened. The final day of meetings on July 4 will be held in Istanbul at the hotel (program closes by 6pm on July 4).
Tuition – $1800. Partial financial aid is available for those students and professionals that can demonstrate need, including being a current recipient of financial aid.
Accommodation – $780. Our group rate is $65 per night, per person for a shared double room, breakfast and all taxes included. Students residing in Istanbul have the option of off-site stay during the duration of the program. The hotel will be announced to those students accepted in the program.
Airfare – $400 approximately from the EU. Bus travel to and from Ankara is included in the overall tuition cost.
* Optional Cultural Excursion – $200. Participants will have the option of joining us on a trip to Edirne, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire before Istanbul located at the intersection between Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria. The additional cost for the excursion is $200 which includes bus transportation, one hotel night stay and all meals and taxes. The group will leave Istanbul early Saturday morning on July 5th and will return to Istanbul by the early afternoon on Sunday, July 6th.
TO REQUEST AN APPLICATION email firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Exchange Co-Directors:
Baybars Orsek (Istanbul-Ankara) holds his Bachelors degree in International Relations from İstanbul Bilgi University and obtained a Masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Sabancı University. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Political Science at Yeditepe University. After serving as a coordinator at Istanbul Bilgi University’s Platform for Global Challenges for two years, Orsek is currently acting as the Founder & CEO of the Istanbul Solution Center and is General Coordinator of Politicsinthefield.com.
Monica L. Marks (Istanbul-Ankara & Tunis) is a Rhodes Scholar and doctoral candidate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. Her work, which focuses primarily on Islamism, youth politics, and security reform in Tunisia, has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and the Huffington Post, as well as academic publications. As lead Tunisia researcher for the Barcelona-based Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) in 2012-2013, Ms. Marks drafted “Inside the Transition Bubble,” a report analyzing international technical assistance flows to four key sectors of Tunisia’s transition. She is also the author of the Brookings Doha Center’s February 2014 analysis paper “Convince, Coerce, or Compromise? Ennahda’s Approach to Tunisia’s Constitution.”A former Fulbright Scholar to Turkey, Ms. Marks returned there to work as an instructor at Istanbul’s Bogazici University in 2013 and again in 2014. Despite frequent trips to Oxford and to Turkey, Ms. Marks is based in Tunisia, where she has also moonlighted as a freelance journalist for the New York Times, covering the September 2012 attack on the US Embassy, the February, 2013 assassination of Chokri Belaid, and other breaking stories.
Ferdi Ferhat Özsoy (Istanbul-Ankara) was born in New York City, in 1985. He received his undergraduate diploma from City University of New York at Brooklyn College where he triple majored in History, Political Science and Education. He is currently completing his MA on International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University and is working at the Platform for Global Challenges at Istanbul Bilgi University as an Organization Coordinator, organizing seminars, conferences and panels on foreign affairs. He is also a member of the Politics in the Field team.
Nicholas Noe (Istanbul-Ankara, Tunis & Beirut) is currently co-editor of the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s journal on the Middle East, Perspectives, the editor of the 2007 book, Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah (Verso), Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of the Beirut-based news translation service Mideastwire.com covering the Middle East media and the Director of The Exchange program which now counts more than 300 student alumni from 45 different countries. He regularly provides commentary for Al-Jazeera International, BBC, CNN and several US and European publications and is the author of a White Paper for the Century Foundation entitled: “Re-Imagining the Lebanon Track: Towards a New US Policy.” His Op-Eds on the region have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Policy Magazine, Asia Times, The National and The National Interest.
Yamen Soukkarieh (Tunis & Beirut) is the co-founder of the Beirut Exchange program. Since graduating in 1999 with a Communication Arts Degree from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, he has worked as a producer and cameraman for numerous Lebanese and international films, media productions, documentaries and journalists including CNN, Arte and Al-Jazeera among others.
THE ELEVENTH BEIRUT EXCHANGE
March 22-29, 2014/Application Deadline I February 28, 2014/Deadline II March 7, 2014
Limited spaces available/Rolling acceptance
The Beirut Exchange program rests on two tracks:
Academic – Participants will attend a series of lectures and colloquia led by leading academics and public intellectuals in Lebanon. Topics will include: The Arab Uprisings; The Syrian conflict and its regional implications; The Special Tribunal for Lebanon; The United Nations as peacekeeper and mediator; Engaging political Islam; Asymmetrical conflict: The July 2006 Lebanon War; Human Rights in Lebanon and the wider Middle East; Sectarianism and its deployment, as well as a range of other topics.
Dialogue with Leaders – Participants will have the opportunity to meet, listen and engage leading social, political and economic leaders from across the spectrum in Lebanon – with a particular (though not exclusive) emphasis on exposure to Islamist and opposition currents.
NOTE: Due to the current security situation in Lebanon, the Eleventh Beirut Exchange will generally restrict its meetings and activities to the hotel.
Previous Speakers (partial list only):
·Omar Bakri, Iqra Islamic Trust for Research and Islamic Studies
·Bilal Baroudi, As-Salam Mosque Tripoli
·Nicholas Blanford, Times of London
·Richard Chambers, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
·Alastair Crooke, Conflicts Forum
·Abdullah Dardari, Frm. Syrian Arab Republic
·Robert Fisk, The Independent
·Toufic Gaspard, Economist
·Hanin Ghaddar, NOW Lebanon
·Timur Goksel, American University of Beirut
·Judith Palmer Harik, Matn University
·Nadim Houry, Human Rights Watch
·Farid El-Khazen, AUB
·Rami Khouri, Daily Star & AUB
·Eli Khoury, Quantum Communications
·Karim Makdisi, AUB
·Sayyid Mohammed Marandi, Tehran University
·Ibrahim Mussawi, Al-Intiqad
·Omar Nashabe, Al-Akhbar
·Nir Rosen, Journalist
·Osama Safa, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
·Paul Salem, Carnegie Middle East Center
·Milos Struger, UNIFIL
·Fawwaz Traboulsi, AUB
Tuition – $900; Partial financial aid is available for those students and individuals that can demonstrate need.
Accommodation & Conference Location – Except for those students already residing in Lebanon, we recommend that all participants in the Exchange reside at the conference hotel during the duration of the seven day program. The hotel, located near Downtown Beirut, is priced at $65 per person/per night, including all taxes and breakfast. Single rooms are available for $95 per night.
Airfare – $400, approximate from the European Union.
At the discretion of the student, tuition is 75% refundable up to one week before the program commences. (Airline tickets and accommodation should be purchased with travel insurance.)
REQUEST AN APPLICATION via email@example.com
FOR PREVIOUS PROGRAMS, visit our Exchange website here.
Ambassador Hale heads to…Saudi Arabia… to discuss cabinet….in Lebanon/Returned prisoners from ISIL on wide European role
The US ambassador is publicly touting a trip to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to intervene on the cabinet formation in… lebanon.
I am excited to know when I get back next month who is now running public diplomacy affairs at the US embassy… Does this make sense to draw attention to this very strange role for a US ambassador in Lebanon? I mean beyond the obvious problem of the entire Saudi role in Syria and Lebanon…. and the US position etc etc.
“Ambassador David Hale traveled to Saudi Arabia today to meet with government officials there. Their discussions will focus on enhanced international support for Lebanon.”
Oh – and enjoy this – translated by MIDEASTWIRE.COM. A prisoner recently escaped from on ISIL prisoner explains that “MOST” of the ISIL fighters did not speak arabic and … were from europe.
On January 20, the Qatari-funded Al-Jazeera TV carried an interview with Abu-Safiyah al-Yamani by anchor Khadijah Bin-Qinnah: “[Bin-Qinnah] You are welcome, Abu-Safiyah al-Yamani. You had been held captive by the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant for about 70 days. You have had a firsthand experience with them and their methods. You have stayed with them all that period while in captivity. What can you tell us about the ISIL fighters’ methods of action and combat?
“[Bin-Qinnah] Were you tortured?
“[Al-Yamani] Yes, everyone was tortured. Some were tortured with electric shocks. I have never seen in my life electric shocks that cause holes in the body except by those people.
“[Bin-Qinnah] But why? Did not they tell you why?
“[Al-Yamani] Some were told why; others were not told. For example, when they interrogated me, they asked me both reasonable and unreasonable questions. When the security men interrogated me…
“[Bin-Qinnah] Like what?
“[Al-Yamani] There was nothing specific. There was nothing indicative to know what charges were made against me. Some people were faced with clear and direct charges, while others were not faced with charges. For example, two women were held in a solitary cell in the same prison with us. The cell was 160 by 90 centimeters. They were accused of being agents. One of the two women was hung for 13 hours.
“[Bin-Qinnah] Agents for whom?
“[Al-Yamani] For one of the revolutionary groups present inside and outside Aleppo. That woman was hung for 13 hours and tortured. The other woman said she was put in a tire and was hung, but not for long. So I could not understand what mentality allows putting two women in men’s cells.
“[Bin-Qinnah] Were they Arab nationals?
“[Al-Yamani] They were two Syrian Arab women, from Aleppo.
“[Bin-Qinnah] No, I mean the ISIL fighters who detained you.
“[Al-Yamani] Most of them did not speak Arabic. Most of them were foreigners, from Europe…”
My interview for Al-Jazeera English yesterday regarding the STL… The question I wanted to ask the Future MP: Was Saad Hariri willing to withdraw his support for the STL in 2010 and early 2011 in return for political gains? And if so, as the record seems to suggest, doesn’t this undermine the lofty rhetoric of seeking justice and an end to impunity?
The venerable New Yorker: So venerable, but not when it came to Dexter Filkins reporting on Hizbullah
Angry Arab has this link about why Hersh was forced to publish outside his normal channels…
A New Yorker spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
…[Washington Post] Executive Editor Marty Baron decided “that the sourcing in the article did not meet the Post’s standards.” (thanks Regan)
I found this particularly hilarious given the story that Dexter Filkins – award winning D. Filkins no less – was able to get through in February via the New Yorker.
I wrote about it then, below…. one of the worst pieces I had seen in eight years in Lebanon – and there have been some real bad ones.
I think what made his story so incredible, so depressing really, was precisely that the New Yorker let it fly when the errors, omissions, questions of plagiarism, source duping/invention etc were all so glaring.
Who is doing their PhD on the syria war coverage, please?
Dexter Filkins and the New Yorker: Was his story fact checked? Why is his anon source “Dany” saying the same damaging things, at the same time, as “Dani” in David Enders piece at McClatchy Newspapers?
Please let us know! Sounds a bit like the Hezbollah “sources” who say the worst things about the party… yet this lady is named…?
On November 24, the independent Al-Masry al-Yawm newspaper carried the following interview with newly-appointed Hamas spokeswoman Isra al-Modallal:
“…Q: “How do you perceive your experience as the first spokeswoman for Hamas ?
A: “I am not the first woman in Hamas’s government. There is a Ministry for Women’s Affairs, many employees and activists. But there is no doubt that for a woman to assume this post is a very positive step by Hamas’s government. To me, journalistic work in Gaza was dangerous and insecure. Therefore, my move from one difficult profession to a more difficult one was not odd at all, especially since I am a mother, divorced and a Palestinian refugee suffering like the rest [of the Palestinians]…
Q: “This shows you are aware of how difficult it will be to change Hamas’s image in the West as a terrorist movement. How will you do that?
A: “I am a Palestinian refugee with a cause. My life is an inherent part of the Palestinian people’s lives. I represent Palestinian women. Does my face show I am a terrorist? And do you think that when Hamas defends its people, this is an act of terrorism?… International Law gives us the right to defend ourselves, while Israel, the number one criminal, is trying to strip us of that right…
Q: “Is it not odd that you were chosen although you do not belong to Hamas?
A: “I do not belong to Hamas or any other political faction. I do not believe in parties but I respect all the Palestinian parties. I am a Palestinian refugee and my goal is to convey the Palestinian cause to the world.
Q: “Would you have accepted a similar position in the Ramallah government?
A: “I would have accepted it in a national unity government solely. And I will not add to that…
Q: “What do you think about the performance of Hamas’s government in Gaza?
A: “This performance can be judged from many angles, knowing that it has widely improved since the beginning after the Gaza government acquired experience… This government features few competencies and many individual mistakes were seen within the movement and the government in particular. I will not talk about the movement because it works in the opposition and calling fields. However, there are many sit-ins and protests on the Unknown Soldier Square which is similar to Tahrir Square. And a few days ago, the police suppressed a demonstration, which is unjustifiable. They always justify these acts by pointing to individual mistakes and this is not acceptable. Our people have many complaints in regard to freedom. Freedom is restricted in the Gaza Strip…
Q: “You grew up in Egypt. What do you think about the current situation, especially following June 30?
A: “I always say I wish I could live in Egypt, the platform of art, literature, music and life. It is truly the Mother of the world… I do not belong to any political party and I am not a member in the Muslim Brotherhood, but I strongly reject all the practices targeting them, as well as the violations, arrests, insults and harm. I hope the next stage will be better… I am against violence in Egypt, regardless of the side carrying it out. I visited Egypt under Morsi and there was no security, rather thuggery. I did not see one policeman and I personally was not pleased with Muhammad Morsi’s arrival to the presidency. Maybe the government in Gaza disagrees with me on that.
Q: “Why do you oppose Morsi’s presidency?
A: “Because it is very difficult for someone who was not in power to be brought in to become the head of the state…””
MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: US Embassy Beirut turns over… One Cessna Aircraft (OCA) to Lebanese Army; Amb Hale calls it “strong” and “effective” move;” Hizbullah and Sunni Jihadist groups announce mutual disbanding, UN Verification
Ambassador Hale was supposed to represent something of a different turn from the darth vader years of Maura Connely that saw her outmanned by no-name politicians from the Bekaa Valley:
Look – if you are going to turn over a CESSNA embarrassment fine. But please Mr. Hale no need to embellish and exaggerate – it only hurts your Public Diplomacy mission, cant you see the obvious?
Hand over the joke aircraft and DONT DO press availability or issue a release – especially not this kind of one, with this level of soaring rhetoric, which only makes most (I would surmise) lebanese dislike the US more – m14 because it shows AGAIN the US security cooperation is and will always remain a joke, anti-hizbullah people for the same reason and m8 people for the obvious reasons.
These guys at beirut embassy never learn the lessons of the past TEN YEARS.
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador David Hale during a Ceremony to Handover a Cessna Aircraft to the Lebanese Armed Forces
Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here today as we handover this Cessna Aircraft to the Lebanese Armed Forces. This transfer is a reflection of the strong cooperation between the United States and Lebanon, particularly in enhancing Lebanon’s security. Now more than ever, it is important to show the benefits of U.S.-Lebanese security cooperation.
For some years, the LAF has been rebuilding itself from the ground up. All militaries have basic needs for standard equipment, and the United States has worked with the LAF to help meet those needs. But the military-to-military partnership between the United States and Lebanon is multifaceted, to include substantial training and equipment of increasing sophistication.
Today’s transfer of an advanced Cessna Aircraft reflects that progress and builds upon previous Cessna and Huey helicopter transfers. These aircraft will help the LAF conduct effective border security missions and combat threats from extremist groups.