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Entries in Fatah (18)


Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 78 Killed in Fighting in North

A car bomb in Tessalit in Mali on Friday (see 0750 GMT) (Photo: AFP)

See also Syria Live Coverage: Opposition Boycotts International Talks Over Aleppo Deaths
Friday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Parliamentary Elections set for April-June

1755 GMT: Tunisia. Thousands of protesters rallied today against Prime Minister-designate Ali Larayedh.

President Moncef Marzouki asked Larayedh of the Ennadha Party, the leading faction in the ruling coaltion, to form a Government on Friday.

Outgoing Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned on Tuesday because Ennahda rejected his plan for an apolitical technocrat Cabinet to prepare for elections.

Opposition secularists accuse Larayedh of leading a Ministry of Interior which has failed to curb Islamist violence.

About 3000 demonstrators marched on Tunis' main street Habib Bourguiba raising banners hostile to the Ennahda party and Larayedh and chanting, "Larayedh out" and "The people want to bring down the regime".

Meanwhile, Larayedh has tried to assemble a new Cabinet. Fights are expected over the posts of Justice and Foreign Ministers, which independents are demanding for their preferred candidates.

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Tunisia (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Prime Minister Threatens Resignation if New Cabinet Not Accepted

See also Syria Live Coverage: Assad Changes His Ministers Amid Economic Crisis
Saturday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Overnight Clashes In and Beyond Cairo

1900 GMT: Mali. French and Malian troops fought running gun battles with Islamist insurgents in northern town of Gao today.

The French-Malian force took the town earlier this month, as insurgents --- who had moved in last April --- withdrew.

Gunfire broke out in the area of the central market and police station, hours after French and Malian forces reinforced a checkpoint that had been attacked for the second time in two days by a suicide bomber.

French helicopter gunships flew overhead.

"Islamists who have infiltrated the town are trying to attack our positions, but we're fighting back," a Malian army officer said. Another Malian soldier said one group of rebel infiltrators had come in on motorbikes.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Deadly Car Bomb in Damascus

A petrol station in the Barzeh area of Damascus, destroyed by a car bomb on Thursday night

See also Bahrain Audio Feature: Why the Detention of Photojournalist Ahmed Humaidan Matters --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Coverage: UN --- Death Toll Passes 60,000

2107 GMT: Syria. The head of the insurgency's military command, Brigadier Selim Idris, has denied reports that his troops possess chemical weapons and intend to respond in kind if the Syrian regime uses them.

The political adviser of the Free Syrian Army, Bassam al-Dada, said on Wednesday that insurgents could put together components of chemical weapons and use them if necessary.

“In our faith, we can't use such a weapon,” even if the regime attacked with it, Idris said. "We will not try to acquire them, will definitely not produce them or facilitate their production."

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Palestine, Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Hamas Shows Its Strength in West Bank

Thursday's rally for Hamas in the West Bank city of Nablus

See also Saudi Arabia Analysis: Explaining the "Days of Rage" in the Kingdom
Syria Live Coverage: Protests, Bombs, and A Victory That "Cannot Be Ruled Out"
Thursday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Stumbling Towards a Referendum

1535 GMT: Bahrain On January 11, 23-year old Yousef Mowali, who suffers from schizophrenia, left his home for a walk. Two days later, his body was discovered floating in the sea by police. The cause of death was ruled as drowning, however, at the time, his family reported seeing torture marks on his body. In May, Al-Jazeera English revealed that a Turkish forensics expert had secretly entered Bahrain and performed a covert autopsy. She concluded that Yousef had been tortured. In an interview for Hurriyet Daily News, Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı speaks of the experience:

The lawyers in the IRCT [International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims] sent an email to our group and asked for a forensic expert who could take the risk to go to Bahrain and examine the body of a torture victim. I was the most suitable among all of us because I did not need a visa to go inside Bahrain and did not look European at all, so I would not attract any attention.

I bought the surgical equipment in Bahrain, and we also found the necessary chemical solutions to put tissue samples in. I wore a long dress and hijab in order to look like a relative of the family who was visiting to express condolences. There were several police outside the place of the funeral but they were not suspicious of me because they were probably expecting a man and a European

I took tissue samples from the body of the victim at the place of the funeral. The most important thing was the chest bone because the police insisted that he drowned. I took the chest bone and put it in the chemical solution I had brought with me. The most difficult part was making the stitches on my own because I did not have the proper equipment for it. I asked for a quilting needle, and they found it. I finished the work and left the house. However, I heard that police raided the [place] after I left.

We have proved that the scars on the hands and feet were the scars of electrical torture. The victim was most likely unconscious when he was thrown into the sea and this is why he drowned. We sent the report to the IRCT.

1529 GMT: Egypt. As hundreds of supporters and opponents of the Government rallied in Cairo today, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed El-Beltagy accused the US, Israel, and Gulf States of trying to ruin Egypt's democratic process.

El-Beltagy, who is also Secretary-General of the group’s Freedom and Justice Party, said those who say the final draft of the Constitution was rushed are “liars" and assured, “The people are the best judges. A revolt against the legitimate authorities will produce thousands of martyrs.”

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Palestine Analysis: A 6-Point Guide to the "Style and No Substance" of the UN Vote for Statehood

Mahmoud Abbas Addressing the UNThe upgrade in status at the UN will not be produce a two-state solution in weeks. Indeed, there is still no practical alternative to the reality before Palestine, with a political stalemate not only between Israel and the Palestinians but also between Gaza and the West Bank.

A 6-Point Guide....

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Israel Analysis: Benjamin Netanyahu's Best Political Friend --- Iran

What is distinctive about Netanyahu's invocation of the “Iranian threat” now?

This is not just a tactical manoeuvre against Kadima, the rival to Netayahu's party Likud, ahead of elections. It is also the device to bypass serious and difficult negotiations, especially on the "peace process" with the Palestinians.

And with recent developments, Benjamin Netanyahu might need "strength" and Iran more than ever.

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Palestine Feature: Secrecy, Intermediaries, and Deals --- How Fatah and Hamas Reconciled (Fisk)

Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled MeshaalSecret meetings between Palestinian intermediaries, Egyptian intelligence officials, the Turkish foreign minister, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal --- the latter requiring a covert journey to Damascus with a detour round the rebellious city of Deraa --- brought about the Palestinian unity which has so disturbed both Israelis and the American government. Fatah and Hamas ended four years of conflict in May with an agreement that is crucial to the Paslestinian demand for a state.

A series of detailed letters, accepted by all sides, of which The Independent has copies, show just how complex the negotiations were; Hamas also sought --- and received --- the support of Syrian President Bachar al-Assad, the country’s vice president Farouk al-Sharaa and its foreign minister, Walid Moallem. Among the results was an agreement by Meshaal to end Hamas rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza --- since resistance would be the right only of the state --- and agreement that a future Palestinian state be based on Israel’s 1967 borders.

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Israel-Palestine Special: 4 Ways to Understand Latest Situation (and Why Hamas is on the Rise)

Israel should understand that its state policy of collective punishment has cracked, if not come to an end: Egypt’s announcement that it will permanently open the border crossing with Gaza and plans for a new Gaza flotilla in June are only the drops of a shower washing away West Jerusalem's approach.

If the terms of the Shalit deal are made public, with Hamas offers a relatively "better" deal --- which it will do to increase the international pressure on Israel --- the Gaza group will not only advance in the hearts and minds of millions of Arabs, and possibly some Israelis, as well as boosting its credibility in the eyes of Western capitals. 

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Palestine Special: Fatah & Hamas Make a Deal --- What Will Israel Do?

With smaller Palestinian factions’ signatures, Fatah and Hamas formally ended a four-year conflict on Wednesday. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’s Syria-based leader Khaled Mashaal were present in Cairo, and Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank celebrated by raising Palestinian, Hamas, Fatah and Egyptian flags.

The Ramallah-based website, Palestine Monitor, claimed to have the text of the reconciliation deal....

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Israel-Palestine Special: So What's the Deal Between Hamas and Fatah?

The rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas have reportedly reached an agreement, brokered by Egypt,  to end their rift and that between the West Bank and Gaza. 

The two sides have been in a series of talks in the last few years, climaxing when Fatah signed a reconciliation deal in 2009. Hamas had reservations, however, over the arrangement for security forces in the Gaza Strip and the lack of a guarantee that its victory in elections would be recognised. Hamas demanded further gestures before considering unity, such as a release of hundreds of it prisoners locked up in the West Bank, the re-opening of Hamas charities, and the removal of a ban on its activities in the West Bank.

So why an agreement now? 

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