Informed Comment Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion2015-01-27T08:45:16Z Juan Cole <![CDATA[Obama, Modi and India’s Solar Future]]> 2015-01-27T08:45:16Z 2015-01-27T08:38:12Z By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment)

In his visit to India, Barack Obama pressed unsuccessfully for India to set specific carbon limits. Nevertheless, he did get agreement from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the USA and India would pursue vigorously non-carbon energy sources, including nuclear and renewables such as solar.

That was a better outcome than would have been anticipated based on Indian cabinet members’ statements just last spring. They blamed most of the increased CO2 in the atmosphere on the wealthy countries and hinted that it would be unfair to impede Indian economic growth now, given that India had put relatively little of the extra carbon into the atmosphere.

This situation is sort of like if a bunch of people with water hoses were filling an inflatable swimming pool but were tied up so that if the water got too high they would drown. Saying that you didn’t help fill it at the beginning and so should be allowed to put extra water in makes no since if that policy would drown you.

Modi is known as a proponent of solar energy, though like Obama he has an “all of the above” approach to energy, including an insouciant attitude toward deadly coal.

Alan Neuhauser writes: “Obama agreed to help finance Modi’s planned $100 billion expansion of solar power in the next seven years, from 20,000 to 100,000 megawatts.”

Just for comparison, note that the total US solar installed capacity today is also only 20,000 megawatts.

India was originally planning to double its solar energy by 2020, to 40,000 megawatts. But even before the meeting with Obama, India had decided to go for 100,000 megawatts by 2020.

Obama has pledged help in funding this five-fold increase.

One Indian government project backed by the World Bank will create a 750 megawatt solar facility in Madhya Pradesh, which, when finished, will be the largest such solar plant in the world.

But the fact is that government policy and foreign aid will help along a process that will also grow because of market forces.

By the end of this year, 2015, commercial rooftop solar panels in India will be grid parity or less. That is, it will be cheaper to have solar panels on the roof of a business than to use coal or natural gas. Moreover, you don’t know how much natural gas will cost 20 years from now (especially if India starts using a lot of it), but you can lock in cheap solar rates for 25 years.

Since 2010, the cost of solar panels has declined 62 percent, and similar price falls are likely in the next few years. In sunny India, within five years it will be crazy for people not to put up solar panels.

25% of India still lacks electricity (i.e. some 300 mn. people), and if they electrify with coal that will be disastrous for climate change and human welfare. But if they get it from solar and wind, they will save money and the earth all at once.

The world carbon dioxide output rose to 40 billion metric tons last year. India’s output was up 5%.

But the increasingly cheap solar panels will attract Indian businesses and building owners. Things will change quickly once they begin changing.


CNN: “Obama Guest of Honor at India’s Republic Day Festivities”

contributors <![CDATA[Kurds expel ISIL/Daesh from Syria’s Kobane after months of fighting]]> 2015-01-27T06:50:18Z 2015-01-27T05:32:11Z Rita Daou | Your Middle East

Kurds expel Islamic State group from Syria’s Kobane after months of fighting
Banner Icon War in Syria Kurdish fighters have expelled Islamic State group militants from inside the Syrian border town of Kobane, a monitor said Monday, dealing a key symbolic blow to the jihadists’ ambitions.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had pushed IS militants out of the town after four months of fighting.

In Iraq meanwhile, a senior army officer announced that Iraqi forces had also “liberated” Diyala province from the Islamic State group.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that YPG forces had “expelled all Islamic State fighters from Kobane and have full control of the town.”

“The Kurds are pursuing some jihadists on the eastern outskirts of Kobane, but there is no more fighting inside now.”

The monitor said Kurdish forces were carrying out “mopping-up operations” against remaining IS forces in the Maqtala district, on the eastern outskirts of the town.

There was no immediate official announcement from the YPG, but Mustafa Ebdi, an activist from the town, told AFP that “fighting has stopped” in Kobane.

YPG forces were “advancing carefully in Maqtala because of the threat of mines and car bombs,” he added.

The advance by Kurdish fighters came after 24 hours of heavy bombing by the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the coalition had carried out 17 air strikes against IS positions in Kobane in the 24 hours from January 25 alone.

The targets included “tactical units” and “fighting positions” as well as an IS vehicle and staging areas, the statement said.

– ‘A huge symbol’

The loss of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, would be a key symbolic blow against IS, which has lost more than 1,000 fighters since it began its advance on the town on September 16.

At one time it looked set to overrun Kobane, which lies on the Syrian-Turkish border.

The group vastly outgunned the YPG thanks to weapons captured from military bases in Syria and Iraq, and sent hundreds of fighters to the battle.

But Kurdish forces gradually pushed back the jihadists with the help of extensive air raids by the US-led coalition fighting IS as well as fighters from Iraq’s Kurdish peshmerga forces.

Analysts say the loss of Kobane is both a symbolic and strategic blow for IS, which set its sights on the small town in a bid to cement its control over a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border.

Since the group emerged in its current form in 2013, it has captured large swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq.

It has declared an Islamic “caliphate” in territory under its control, and gained a reputation for brutality, including executions and torture.

But its apparent failure in Kobane could put the brakes on its plans for expansion in Syria.

“Kobane has become a huge symbol. Everyone knows Kobane, it’s where the Kurds stopped IS,” Kurdish affairs analyst Mutlu Civiroglu said earlier in January.

“They (IS) lost hundreds of fighters, millions of dollars of weapons, and the image that wherever IS goes no one can stop them,” he told AFP.

“Instead of being a great prize for them, it’s turned around on them like a boomerang.”

The fighting in Kobane has killed at least 1,600 people, according to the Observatory.

Civilians though were largely spared because the town’s residents evacuated en masse, mostly across the border into Turkey, in the early stages of the fighting.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in Syria’s complex, multi-front war, which began in March 2011 with anti-government protests but spiralled into a bloody conflict.

Over the border in Iraq, Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir al-Zaidi announced they had “liberated” Diyala province from IS militants.

“We announce the liberation of Diyala from the (IS) organisation,” he said.

“Iraqi forces are in complete control of all the cities and districts and subdistricts of Diyala province.”

Via Your Middle East

Related video added by Juan Cole:

WotchitGeneralNews: “Kurds Close to Driving Islamic State Out of Syria’s Kobani: Monitor”

contributors <![CDATA[Photo-Bombing Obama’s Iran Talks (Cartoon)]]> 2015-01-27T06:50:40Z 2015-01-27T05:27:33Z Paul Jamiol | Jamiol’s World –


Via Jamiol’s World

contributors <![CDATA[Egypt: 28 Protesters Killed Marking Revolution – Police & Excessive Force]]> 2015-01-27T06:51:01Z 2015-01-27T05:27:27Z Human Rights Watch | —

(New York) – The death of at least 20 people in Egypt during clashes with security forces surrounding the commemoration of the 2011 uprising underscores the need for an independent investigation into the authorities’ excessive use of force.A woman and 17-year-old girl were killed ahead of the January 25 anniversary while participating in apparently peaceful protests, and at least 18 died on the anniversary.

Sondos Reda Abu Bakr, 17, and Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, 32, were killed on January 23 and 24 when security forces broke up protests in which they were participating, according to eyewitnesses, media reports, videos, and photographs reviewed by Human Rights Watch. In al-Sabbagh’s case, clear evidence – including videos of the gathering before, during and after its dispersal – shows that police responded to a small, peaceful protest with excessive force, leading to al-Sabbagh’s death.

“Four years after Egypt’s revolution, police are still killing protesters on a regular basis,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “While President Sisi was at Davos burnishing his international image, his security forces were routinely using violence against Egyptians participating in peaceful demonstrations.”

Since former Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power following a July 2013 military coup that removed former President Mohamed Morsy, Egyptian security forces have carried out widespread killings of more than 1,000 Egyptian protesters. Most of those killed were supporters of Morsy or opponents of the coup who died in Rabaa and Nahda squares in the capital on August 14, 2013 – the worst mass killings in Egypt’s modern history. In November 2013, the government put in place an anti-protest law that forbids impromptu demonstrations and gives the Interior Ministry wide authority to forcefully disperse unauthorized gatherings. On January 25, 2014, the third anniversary of the uprising, at least 64 people died across Egypt in clashes between protesters and security forces.

On January 23, in the buildup to the fourth anniversary of the uprising, police violently dispersed an anti-coup march in Alexandria, according to the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political wing. Abu Bakr, a student, was participating in the march when she was shot and killed, the party said in a Facebook post. A Health Ministry official in Alexandria told the Reuters news agency that Abu Bakr was one of two people taken to hospital for gunshot wounds.

On January 24, police similarly dispersed a peaceful protest led by the Socialist Popular Alliance Party in Cairo’s downtown Talaat Harb Square, firing tear gas and birdshot, arresting at least six people and leaving al-Sabbagh dead, according to eyewitnesses and other evidence. The party had organized the march to commemorate the January 25 revolution and remember its “martyrs.”

Human Rights Watch reviewed numerous publicly available media documenting the protest, including four videos – one of which appears to show al-Sabbagh seconds after being shot – and 21 still photographs, 15 of which show the protest as it is being dispersed.

Though none of the videos or photographs show when and how she was shot, they do show that at least some of the security forces present in the square were carrying shotguns and automatic rifles. Two photos, which seem to have been taken at or around the moment al-Sabbagh fell, show armed police chasing her and others.

Hisham Abd al-Hamid, spokesman for the Justice Ministry’s Forensic Medical Authority, told the television channel Al-Hayat in a live interview that al-Sabbagh had been shot in the back and neck by birdshot from around 8 meters. Abd al-Hamid said the type of “light” birdshot that killed al-Sabbagh could have been used by police or civilians. He also said that Qasr al-Nil district prosecutors had asked him not to publish the autopsy report because the prosecutor general was issuing a publication ban on the case, according to the Aswat Masriya news service.

Osama Hammam, a photojournalist documenting the protest, wrote on Facebook that the marchers, about 30 people, carried a wreath and stood on a sidewalk after reaching the square, chanting, “bread, freedom, social justice” – a popular protest slogan. Video posted to YouTube by the quasi-official Middle East News Agency shows the protesters, also holding a large banner, marching through the street and standing and chanting peacefully near the square. Another video, which also appears to show al-Sabbagh moments after being shot, shows the crowd chanting peacefully. Police stationed in the square – where they had dispersed protesters who fired fireworks at them on January 22 – suddenly fired tear gas at the group, Hammam wrote, and the protesters began to walk away.

“Suddenly I received birdshot and began to run, not understanding anything that was happening,” Hammam wrote. “I took some pictures as I ran and when I felt the firing stop I looked and saw Shaima al-Sabbagh fall to the ground.”

Graphic videos posted to YouTube show a colleague of al-Sabbagh and another man carrying her away from the square and seeking help. Al-Sabbagh appears to be unconscious, and blood can be seen flowing from her mouth and nose.

A forensic medical report documenting al-Sabbagh’s death, a photo of which former member of parliament Ziad al-Alimi posted on Twitter, states that al-Sabbagh died after being shot in the back, causing lacerations to her lungs and heart and massive bleeding in her chest.

Security officials denied that police had shot al-Sabbagh. Assistant Interior Minister Abd al-Fattah Othman told the Agence France-Presse news agency that security forces had only used tear gas to disperse the protest. “It was a small protest that did not require the use of such weapons, only two tear gas canisters were fired,” he said.

Another Interior Ministry statement claimed that the protesters had used fireworks against security forces, Ahram Online reported.

Maj. Gen. Hany Abd al-Latif, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said security forces were working to speedily bring al-Sabbagh’s killers to justice and told a privately owned television channel that a group of protesters caught on tape carrying rifles had fired the gunshots, according to Aswat Masriya. Abd al-Latif “warned” that Muslim Brotherhood members were using such gatherings to “drive a wedge between the police and the people,” the newspaper Al-Watan reported.

None of the publicly available media reviewed by Human Rights Watch showed any protester with a weapon or fireworks.

On January 25, Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat announced the opening of an “immediate and extensive” investigation into al-Sabbagh’s death and ordered members of the security forces who participated in the incident to be questioned. Barakat said he had also ordered the unit’s logbooks, which detail what kinds of weapons and ammunition they used, to be preserved, and that a team of criminal forensic experts had viewed the scene of al-Sabbagh’s death and her autopsy report. Prosecutors seized footage from three security cameras in the area and questioned five other eyewitnesses as well, according to a report in Al-Youm Al-Sabaa newspaper. They released all six of those arrested during the dispersal.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said whoever was responsible for al-Sabbagh’s death would be punished and that “the state after [the] January 25 [, 2011 uprising] respects the law and applies it to everyone.”

International human rights treaties ratified by Egypt oblige the government to safeguard the right of peaceful assembly and to restrict it only when required by law and when necessary to achieve a greater public good. When dispersing a demonstration or responding to acts of violence, security forces should abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officers.

Governments and law enforcement agencies must ensure that there is an effective review process and independent administrative or prosecutorial authorities to exercise jurisdiction in such cases. Those affected by the use force should have access to a judicial process.

Such provisions apply to all demonstrations, and Egyptian prosecutors should ensure that the other deaths that occurred before and during the January 25 anniversary are investigated fairly and impartially.

Egypt’s successive prosecutors general have failed to hold government and law enforcement officials accountable for mass, unlawful killings since the 2011 revolution. Only three low-level officers have served prison sentences for killings in 2011. No police officer or security official has been prosecuted for the mass killings of July and August 2013. A judge convicted four police officers for the August 18, 2013 fatal tear-gassing of 37 detainees at Abu Zaabal Prison, but an appeals court has ordered them retried. The official June 30 Fact-Finding Committee, established to investigate the violence surrounding Morsy’s removal, did not recommend any prosecutions.

Human Rights Watch has called for the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate widespread killings of protesters since July 2013. 

Via Human Rights Watch


Related video added by Juan Cole:

BBC: “Egypt: Footage shows shot protester Shaimaa al-Sabbagh”

Juan Cole <![CDATA[All Lives Matter: from Ferguson to Palestine]]> 2015-01-27T06:51:25Z 2015-01-27T05:24:47Z By Heike Schotten | (Ma’an News Agency) –

In the United States, “Ferguson” — the name of the town where unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by police last summer — has become a shorthand name for the free reign given to police officers to murder black people in the streets (and parks, stores, even their own homes) with impunity.

At the same time as Brown was murdered, the world watched as Israel was given free reign to murder Palestinian people in the streets of the Gaza Strip (and beaches, cafes, hospitals, even their own homes) with impunity.

In the US, people are therefore beginning to see the connections between Ferguson and Palestine. The fact that Israel and the US share police training and tactics, not to mention weaponry and military strategy, seems increasingly significant.

Residents of Ferguson describe their small Missouri town — largely black, run by a largely white police force via rampantly racist, economically devastating police tactics — as “occupied.”

Ferguson protesters were moved and taken aback when Gazans sent them messages of solidarity on Twitter along with advice about how to handle tear gas from militarized police.

Of course, the struggles of African Americans and Palestinians are not identical. African Americans are not occupied the same way as are Palestinians, who are being deprived of their land as well as their rights. The legacies of chattel slavery and colonial dispossession, however vile, are not interchangeable histories of oppression.

Nevertheless, yet another commonality faced by folks in struggle from Ferguson to Palestine is the all-too-frequent refusal to recognize their oppression as oppression.

For example, in public discourse, I have noticed a consistent rhetorical positioning of police officers and Israel — rather than unarmed black people and Palestinians — as the real victims of brutality and violence.

I first struggled with this rhetorical casuistry during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, back in 2008-09. In those days, any criticism of Israel’s actions — which included killing almost 1,500 Palestinians, leveling Gaza’s civilian infrastructure and residences, and unleashing illegal chemical weapons on noncombatants, amongst other atrocities — was met with the unmoved reply, “But what about the rockets?”

This past summer, as Israel re-visited genocidal terror on the Gaza Strip for the third time, “What about the rockets?” was updated to “But what about Hamas?” (Alternative versions of this question include the demand that anyone who criticizes Israel affirm that Hamas is a terrorist organization.)

An echo of Israel’s explicit rationalization of Operation Protective Edge, “But what about Hamas?” alleges that the people “in charge” of Gaza are terrorists. Therefore it is appropriate, even necessary, to destroy its hospitals, mosques, schools, and disabled persons facilities, as well as catastrophically traumatize, injure, and murder the people who live there.

(As we pass the 13th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay and read the completely unsurprising if nevertheless still shocking Senate Torture Report, one shudders to think what Americans must deserve for having twice elected George W. Bush into office — much less Barack Obama, drone war trailblazer extraordinaire.)

Further proof that Gazans deserve the havoc and destruction visited upon them is the specious claim that they use children as human shields. To this day unproven, the human shields argument provided ideological cover for Israel’s extermination of more than 500 children during this war and solidified the empire-serving propaganda that Palestinians don’t value life, much less the lives of their children, the same way civilized Israelis do.

The human shields argument had particular resonance in the US, where it trickled down to street level protest. In Boston, Zionist counter-protesters assembled at every anti-Protective Edge demonstration, responding to our chants of “Free Palestine!” with “…from Hamas!” Most telling was the sign brandished by paid Zionist agitator Chloé Simone Valdary (who graced us with her presence more than 1,500 miles away from her New Orleans hometown, where she is also a student), clearly illustrating the difference between “us” and “them” on the issue of the value of human life:

I was reminded of these moments as I listened to reports of #Black Lives Matter counter-protesters who assembled in ostensible defense of police officers in New York City. In the frequent criticisms of Ferguson protesters as “violent” and the dismissal of street demonstrations as “looting,” I hear clear echoes of the criticism of Palestinians as “violent” and the dismissal of Palestinian political violence as “terrorism.”

For example, in response to the chant, “Hands Up Don’t Shoot!,” a nationwide refrain of #Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the country (and an invocation of Brown, who was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson with his hands in the air in the universal sign of surrender), counter-protesters yelled back in response “Hands Up Don’t Loot!”

Further investigation on Twitter revealed an even more vicious version of this re-purposed chant: “Pants Up Don’t Loot!”

These street-level counter-protesters were matched by the higher-ups, most prominently former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who grabbed media attention by invoking the specter of “black on black” crime. Sidestepping the fact that Ferguson raises the issue of unaccountable state violence against black people, Giuliani changed the subject to focus instead on the criminal and dysfunctional nature of black people themselves (incidentally casting himself as a great savior of black lives along the way).

Indeed, remember the spinning of Michael Brown as “no angel” in the immediate aftermath of his murder? Without even a mention of the officer who killed him, the Ferguson police department proceeded to release surveillance video of Brown stealing cigarillos from a convenience store and accused him of smoking marijuana.

The implied conclusion of this line of reasoning is apparently that shoplifting and pot-smoking mean Michael Brown deserved to die. Or, more precisely, that he deserved to be murdered by police. (I wonder if the same holds true for Giuliani’s daughter.)

From Ferguson to Palestine, there are chilling parallels in these reactionary responses. One is the claim that the very nature of the people in question renders them deserving targets of state violence. Palestinians are terrorists who don’t love their children. African Americans are lazy, stupid criminals. The proliferation of tweets under the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown highlights the rhetorical sleight-of-hand whereby black people are held responsible for their own deaths at the hands of police.

Another parallel is the suggestion that it is actually the marginalized and oppressed who are victimizing themselves.

Giuliani’s “black on black crime” talking point is not only a throwback to the “culture of poverty” thesis long ago abandoned by social science. It also suggests that cops aren’t really killing black people after all. It is actually black people who are killing black people.

This is structurally similar to Israel’s claim regarding human shields: it’s not Israel who is killing Palestinian children. In hiding weapons or fighters in civilian areas, it is actually Palestinians who are killing Palestinian children. Netanyahu made clear this was the force of the argument when he declared that Hamas sought “telegenically dead” Palestinians in order to score pity points from the world community.

Each of these “arguments” purports to justify state violence. In the first, Palestinians and African Americans deserve death because of their terrorist and/or criminal natures. Killing happens because the nature of the murdered invites it. In the second, Palestinians and African Americans are actually the ones doing the killing, not cops or Israel, so there’s not really a problem with state violence at all. Killing happens because the murdered are killing themselves.

It doesn’t matter that these arguments are inconsistent with one another, much less which one of them is, uh, “true.” Like a racist shell game, the only thing that matters is the one thing that is consistent between them: the reversal whereby the victim is portrayed as the aggressor and the aggressor, the victim.

For Giuliani, David Brooks, Darren Wilson, and the likes of FOX News, it is white people in general and white police officers in particular who are the victims of demonic, terrifying, criminal black people. For Netanyahu, Charles Krauthammer, and the rest of the Zionist lineup, it is Israel who is the victim of evil, terroristic, life-denying, Muslim/Arab Palestinians.

In another place, I have described arguments like these as a form of slave morality. They are reactionary attempts to portray oneself as a victim of forces beyond one’s control and a moralizing justification of extracting compensatory revenge against them.

The thing is, when it comes to American cops and Israeli soldiers, they are not the weaker power. They are avatars of the state — two of the most powerful and heavily armed states in the world at that. Their victims are the subordinated, segregated, and formerly enslaved, on the one hand, and dispossessed, indigenous refugees on the other. To drop the white hankie and play victim is fundamentally to obscure the unequal relations of power that characterize white supremacy in America and Zionist supremacy in Palestine.

Recently, a delegation of US black activists and youth leaders from Ferguson and beyond returned from a 10-day solidarity trip to Palestine. In crossing checkpoints, they were reminded of US prisons. In witnessing Palestinians’ limited freedom of movement, they gained new insight into apartheid and the seemingly infinite permutations of white supremacy

As #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors recently tweeted:

These are the kinds of connections African Americans and Palestinians are beginning to make, and they’re not on the wrong track.

The conservative guardians of the social order had best be on notice.

Heike Schotten is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she teaches political theory, feminist theory, and queer theory (her work is available here). She has been active in the Palestine solidarity movement since 2006.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect Ma’an News Agency’s editorial policy.

Via Ma’an News Agency


Related video added by Juan Cole:

GlobalPalestine: “Solidarity Demonstration in Nazareth Ferguson to Palestine”

Juan Cole <![CDATA[Egypt Cancels Revolution Fete to Mourn Saudi King who derailed Revolution]]> 2015-01-26T08:41:48Z 2015-01-26T08:39:57Z By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment)

In a great irony, the Egyptian government attempted to cancel the commemoration of the January 25 revolution four years ago, on the grounds that the late King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia needed to be mourned. The Saudis played a sinister behind-the-scenes role in undermining budding Egyptian attempts at democracy, and appear to be complicit in the coup against the Muslim Brotherhood government of Muhammad Morsi in 2013 (though to be fair, that government was very widely hated).

As it was, dissidents from the left and from the Muslim religious right did manage to mount rallies to protest the authoritarian turn of the current Egyptian government. The police reacted horribly, deploying live ammunition at the protesters– killing 18 and wounding 52.

National security police and plainclothesmen had a heavy presence throughout the capiteal of Cairo.

About 1,000 leftists marched in memory of secular activist Shaima al-Sabbagh, who was killed at a Talaat Harb Square rally in downtown Cairo on Saturday.

The government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has just banned protests by fiat in the absence of a parliament. It has also conducted a fierce and largely successful campaign to silence and marginalize the Muslim Brotherhood, which is being blamed for the violence in the Egyptian press. Tens of thousands of Muslim Brothers are in jail, in addition to some liberals and leftists.

Supporters of the revolution rue that two of its leaders, Ahmad Maher of the April 6 Youth Group and Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger, are in jail on charges of illegally protesting, while dictator Hosni Mubarak and his sons have been released from prison at least for the moment.

Related video:

Euronews: “Egypt: Protests to mark 2011 uprising anniversary turn deadly”

Related book:

The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East

contributors <![CDATA[Angelina Jolie in Iraq: Int’l Community Failing Refugees from ISIL Brutality]]> 2015-01-26T07:37:27Z 2015-01-26T07:37:27Z Associated Press | —

“Actress and director Angelina Jolie is calling on the international community to do more to aid refugees displaced by fighting in Iraq and Syria. The UN special envoy for refugees visited a camp in Iraq Sunday, saying that despite good intentions, “the international community has failed …”

Angelina Jolie Visits Refugees in Iraq

contributors <![CDATA[Can US can help Mediate Yemen Crisis? US Embassy Cuts Staff…]]> 2015-01-26T07:24:56Z 2015-01-26T07:24:56Z CNN | —

“The United States struggles to maintain a sense of diplomacy in Yemen during political chaos.”

CNN: “U.S. embassy cuts staff in Yemen”