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Entries in Fawzi Barhoum (2)


Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: New Opposition Coalition Formed "In Principle"

2015 GMT: Syria. The new opposition umbrella Syrian National Coaliation has chosen Damascus cleric Moaz al-Khatib as its head.

Al-Khatib, the former Sunni Muslim imam of the Umayyad Mosque, left the country for Cairo in July after several periods of detention.

Leading dissident Riad Seif said a "12-point agreement" had been sealed. Proposals include an assembly of 55-60 members, with representation for ethnic Kurds, Christians, Alawites, and women, and from the SNC. The new body will also have a military council that will include the Free Syrian Army.

The Syrian National Council, the previous umbrella leadership, was reportedly given a deadline of 10:00 (0700 GMT) to join the Coalition or risk being left out.

Bassem Said Ishak of the SNC said the Kurds required 48 hours to get the approval of their leadership.

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Palestine Snapshot: The Palestinian Authority's Three Steps After "Mubarak Friday"

After the departure of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, senior Palestine Liberation Organisation official Yasser Abed Rabbo has confirmed Ramallah's determination to have elections in September, without giving a specific date. Rabbo, signalling to Hamas and its leadership in Gaza, continued, "We call on parties to put aside all of their differences and to focus on conducting the elections by September at the latest."

However, Hamas is determined not to take the offer. Its spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Saturday:

Hamas will not participate or recognize or give any cover for this election and we consider this announcement a conspiracy against the Palestinian people. Hamas believes in elections but elections can come only after [political] reconciliation.

In a second step, the Palestinian Authority's top negotiator Saeb Erekat quit in the wake of the scandal over the leak of more than 16,000 "Palestine Papers" revealing the PA's manoeuvres on talks with Israel and on Gaza: "If there was any security failure in my office, then I am responsible. For that, I have resigned."

Still, as protesters march in other Arab countries, this may not be enough for Ramallah to be secure from an uprising. This morning, it is reported that  a "massive change" is expected in West Bank Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's Cabinet. More Erekats are expected to give their resignations for a "fresh' face to the region and to the Palestinian people.