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Entries in King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (23)


Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: An Activist Tries to Re-Enter the Kingdom

See also Syria Live Coverage: The End of the Brahimi Mission?
Thursday's Turkey (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Three Kurdish Officials Killed in Paris Attack

1748 GMT:Tunisia. Hundreds of protesters demanding jobs and the reopening of a border crossing with Libya set fire to a police station and cars, as security forces used tear gas and fired shots into the air to disperse them.

Demonstrators in Ben Guerdane want the Ras Jedir crossing reopened so that trade with Libya, on which most of the population depend, can resume.

Tunisian and Libyan authorities opened the crossing briefly on Thursday but shut it when four days of protests in Ben Guerdane turned violent.

1818 GMT: Bahrain. Zainab AlKhawaja's reaction:

Maryam and Zainab Alkhawaja:

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Talks and Declarations as 234 Die on Sunday

2131 GMT: Bahrain. EA's John Horne reports:

Amidst calls for an independent investigation, the Bahrain government has blamed the opposition for the reported bombings. Minister for Information Sameera Rajab said that the attacks "are due to religious fatwas issued by some religious figures who haven't ceased inciting violence against civilians and policemen". This is a likely - if false - reference to Sheikh Isa Qassim, spiritual leader of AlWefaq, the largest opposition society. The Interior Minister implied that the deaths were an end to any possible dialogue between the regime and the opposition:

What happened was a terror act and major part of our work focuses on chasing those terrorists. Negotiation couldn't be carried out with terrorists and talks couldn't take place within this violence.

In a statement, AlWefaq condemned the incidents, adding that it is its "fixed stance to refuse violence". They also demanded "independent parties" to investigate this and previous incidents, as well as "to allow credible media and human right organizations to take part in presenting the truth to the public".

2125 GMT: Bahrain. Images, broadcast by State TV, of the victims of today's bombings:

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The Latest from Iran (6 August): Breaking Ranks

See also Iran Feature: Can Tehran and the West Close the Nuclear "Trust Gap"?
The Latest from Iran (5 August): The Supreme Leader Talks About Morality

Mohsen Rezaei (see 0555 GMT)1910 GMT: All the President's Men. Ali Akbar Bakhtiari, the head of the Administrative Court, has maintained the pressure for enforcement of the Court's ruling that Presidential aide Saeed Mortazavi must resign as head of the Social Security Fund.

The Court has ordered Mortazavi to step down because of his alleged role, as Tehran Prosecutor General, in the abuse and killing of protesters at Kahrizak detention centre in summer 2009; however, President Ahmadinejad and his advisors have defied the command.

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The Latest from Iran (5 August): The Supreme Leader Talks About Morality

Claimed footage of insurgents speaking in front of the 48 Iranians seized in Syria on Saturday --- Tehran says the men are pilgrims, but the Free Syrian Army claims they are members of the Iranian military assisting the Assad regime

See also Iran Feature: Can Tehran and the West Close the Nuclear "Trust Gap"?
The Latest from Iran (4 August): The Regime Admits Its "Economic War"

1735 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has warned that growing public despair over economic conditions "would be a blow to the roots" of the Islamic Republic.

1355 GMT: Currency Watch. The Iranian Rial has slipped another 1% vs. the US dollar, sinking to 20420:1.

The Rial is now approaching its lowest point in a currency crisis that started last autumn.

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Bahrain Live Coverage: Why Did Saudis Pour Cold Water on "Union"?

See also Bahrain Live Coverage: "Union" with Saudi Arabia?

1930 GMT: A march on Monday night rejecting union with Saudi Arabia:

1540 GMT: In another sign of the authorities' intent to crack down on expression in social media, Parliament has been considering legislation "to curb misuse of electronic means of communication as well as punish perpetrators using the platform to incite violence in the Kingdom".

The MPs are considering the formation of a committee with jurisdiction over offences allegedly committed via electronic and social media.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: "Time to Call It What It Is"

Despite shelling, the people protest on Friday in Hawleh, west of the Syrian city Homs

See also Bahrain Live Coverage: The Many 1000s on the Highway
Friday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Deaths at the University

1950 GMT: Syria. The Local Co-ordination Committees in Syria say 27 people have died in violence today, with nine killed in Aleppo Province, eight in Barzeh outside Damascus, and six in Homs Province.

1800 GMT: Egypt. The head of the military prosecution, Adel El-Morsi, has announced that all women arrested during Friday demonstrations at the Ministry of Defence will be released.

According to lawyers and military statements, at least 14 women amongst the hundreds arrested on Friday were to be detained for 15 days pending investigations. They faced charges including infringing upon state institutions, using violence against members of the armed forces, halting traffic, and congregating and trespassing on a military area.

It was reported earlier today that 179 people seized on Friday were being held on 15-day detention orders. Ahram Online has claimed from a military source, however, that orders have been handed down to 300 people.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Shelling of a Damascus Suburb

UN observers arrive in the Damascus suburb of Douma today

See also The Real Net Effect and Libya: The Information Campaign against the Qaddafi Regime
Bahrain Special: How Regime Supporters Became The "Silent Majority" for 3 Foreign Journalists
Turkey Live Coverage (25 April): Clashes with Kurdish Insurgents, Tension with Iraq
Tuesday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 80 Dead As UN Says Ceasefire "Incomplete"

2245 GMT: The US State Department has issued a statement expressing their deep concerns about the "increase in violence in Bahrain". This follows a renewal of their travel alert to Americans traveling to Bahrain, released earlier in the day. The State Department has been noticeably quiet on Bahrain in the past fortnight, following the US Ambassador's visits to the Defense Minister and Prime Minister on April 10th and 11th. Indeed, with the exception of a question on Friday about safety at the F1, Bahrain hasn't merited a mention in the recent daily State Department Press Briefings, despite the noticeable escalation in violence, suppression and regime intransigence.

The statement goes on to "urge the [Bahrain] government to consider urgently all available options to resolve the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja". With serious concerns about the current condition of AlKhawaja, who has been cut off from his family, his lawyer and the Danish Ambassador, this specific call by the State Department is a strong indication that they are very worried about the possibility of his death and the consequence that could have for the situation in Bahrain. However, with AlKhawaja now on day 77 of his hunger strike, such a call from the State Department may very well be too little too late.

The statement reads in full:

We are deeply concerned about the increase in violence in Bahrain, including the recent death of a protester, as well as the explosion last night that injured four policemen, two critically. We welcome the Ministry of Interior’s investigation into these incidents and look forward to seeing appropriate action taken to hold those responsible for these acts of violence to account.

We condemn the use of violence in all its forms – whether against peaceful demonstrators or police and government institutions – and urge all parties to reject such actions. Violent acts are counterproductive to efforts to rebuild trust and pursue meaningful reconciliation in Bahrain. We call on the Government of Bahrain to permit peaceful protest and to exercise maximum restraint in maintaining order, just as we call on all those demonstrating to do so peacefully.

As a longstanding partner, we continue to urge the Government of Bahrain to fully implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, including the need to commute the sentences of those charged with offenses involving peaceful political expression and to review all sentences rendered in State of National Safety Courts in a way that ensures the fundamental principles of a fair trial are respected. Specifically, we urge the government to consider urgently all available options to resolve the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja. We also renew our call for the government, opposition parties, and all segments of Bahraini society to engage in a genuine dialogue leading to meaningful reforms that address the legitimate aspirations of all Bahrainis.

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Bahrain, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: No Sleep Until....

1950 GMT: Al Jazeera finds this picture, reportedly taken in the town of Dael, Daraa, a small town that is no stranger to the ferocious crackdown of the Assad regime. The protesters hold signs, in English, and wave pre-Baath party Syrian flags, the symbols of the opposition. The message echoes that of many in Syria:

1945 GMT: A bold claim by the opposition in Quriyah, Deir Ez Zor:

"The Free Syrian Army killed the Major General Mohamed Hameem, the Commander, 17th Division-Armored Vehicles."

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Saudi Arabia Feature: A Growing Rebellion? (Hill)

A protest in Qatif, 9 February

Saudis are protesting. They’ve been protesting for over a year. Their numbers are growing. And there’s no sign of them stopping.

It’s all happening in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, home to most of the Kingdom’s Shia minority, and 90 per cent of its oil. Seven people have been shot dead by Saudi security forces since October 2011, two in the past month alone. The Saudi Interior Ministry says these deaths resulted from gun battles between protesters and police. But in all amateur videos that show protesters being shot, there is no evidence that protesters were shooting back.

There have been remarkable scenes of rebellion. One photograph, taken on February 10 this year, shows a young man hurling an effigy of Crown Prince Nayef at a row of armoured anti-riot tanks.

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Saudi Opinion: Hamza Kashgari, "Blasphemy", and the Two Sides of Islam

Saudi writer Hamza Kasghari is sitting in a holding cell in Malaysia. He’s not a murderer. He's not a rapist. His only crime is that he sent three tweets to a man who died more than a millennia ago, expressing his dissatisfaction with the deification of that man --- Mohamed, the prophet of Islam.

Those who have elevated that mortal man to the status of a living god want Kashgari's head. And they might get it.

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