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Entries in Massoud Barzani (23)


Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Gas Plant Siege Ends with 23 Hostages, 32 Attackers Killed

See also Bahrain Propaganda 101: Regime Looking for a Few Good Women on Twitter
Israel Feature: The Settlers and the Politician Trying to Re-Make the Jewish State
Syria Live Coverage: "Darayya is Being Pounded to Dust"
Saturday's Algeria (and Beyond) Coverage: Hostage Situation Continues at Gas Plant

2241 GMT: Egypt. Protesters have set a courthouse in Alexandria on fire after the suspension of the trial of six senior police officers for deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

Young men threw rocks at police, who responded with tear gas. Two trucks that transport riot police was set ablaze.

Judge Mohammed Hammad Abdel-Hadi resigned from the case on Sunday, giving no reason. His resignation means a new trial for the officers accused of using excessive force.

Since President Hosni Mubarak was deposed in February, almost 100 police officers have been brought to trial on charges of killing and wounding protesters. All were acquitted or received suspended sentences.

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Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A "Yes" for the Constitution --- But How Big?

See also Syria Live Coverage: Starving in Aleppo
Saturday's Israel, Palestine (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Netanyahu Dismisses Criticism of Settlements

2100 GMT: Egypt. Scores of journalists have held a silent protest at the headquarters of the Journalists Syndicate to protest the Government's censorship policies and the killing of a colleague at protests near the Presidential Palace earlier this month.

The journalists, from independent newspapers such as Al-Wafd, Al-Dostour and Al-Fagr, wore masks and wielded pens and cameras to protest Government attacks on freedom of journalism and expression. They raised banners such as “No to handcuffing the media and journalism", “No to a constitution that suppresses the freedoms of media and journalism", “No to attacking newspapers’ headquarters,” and “Down with the Shura Council", referring to the legislature's control of the selection of the heads of State-owned newspapers.

The participants also mourned Al-Fagr photojournalist Al-Husseini Abu Deif, killed on 5 December amid clashes between supporters and opponents of President Morsi.

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Egypt, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi Faces a Protest of Judges and Tents

Insurgents celebrated with a captured BMP armoured vehicle following Saturday's takeover of the Marj al Sultan helicopter base

See also Bahrain Propaganda 101: The Regime Turns Britain's Criticism Into Praise
Saturday's Egypt, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi v. The Protests

2146 GMT: Syria. Activists, including the Local Coordination Committees, are reporting the death of 10 children today when a regime shell hit a playground in the Damascus suburb of Deir Assafer. Video (Warning: Graphic Images) has been posted of the casualties.

2106 GMT: Gaza. Israeli security forces have shot a Gazan near the border fence east of Khan Younis.

Israeli military sources said "Palestinians gathered at the fence, and a military force shot rubber bullets in the air", adding that they were not aware of injuries.

Hamas had deployed police to prevent clashes after Israeli troops killed one Gazan and wounded 19 in the "no-go" area on Friday (see 1659).

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Turkey Special: A Tangled Situation --- Ankara, The Kurds, and US Messages

Recep Tayyip ErdoganAn intervention from the US Ambassador, a challenge from Washington's top military commander --- what is “Erdogan’s country” to do now? Facing the Americans, Iraq's Barzani, and the PKK --- all in the context of the evolving Syrian crisis --- will Ankara change its tough-on-Kurds inside Turkey? Will it make a move regarding Syria's Kurds? Or will it try to gain time until Ankara can see a clearer message from Washington following the US elections?

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Iraq Feature: The Critical Issue of Succession in Kurdistan (Van Wilgenburg)

Jalal Talabani & Massoud BarzaniIf you wish to understand the future of Kurdish politics and its significant role in the evolution of democracy in Iraq and the Kurdistan region, then an introduction to the question of succession is essential.

This week's case? Jalal Talabani is both the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Iraqi President. According to Kurdistan Tribune, Talabani has been absent from Iraq when he left for a knee operation on 20 June, feeding speculation about his ill health.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Planning for Life After Assad 

An 8-minute drive through "liberated" parts of Aleppo, Syria's largest city, on Friday --- "Quiet but devastated streets. Tons of garbage. And a long bread queue that I was told was actually short --- they get much longer than this later in the day"

See also Syria Feature: US Plans for a Post-Assad Country
Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Has the Regime Lost Aleppo?

2007 GMT: Egypt. Security officials have said at least 15 Egyptian policemen have been killed and seven wounded in an attack on a police station in north Sinai on the border with Israel.

Egyptian state television said an Islamist group was responsible but did not give details.

A border police patrol was reportedly breaking their fast when they were ambushed by armed men.

A senior security official said the attackers seized an armoured vehicle before driving away.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Annan Quits, The Mass Killings Do Not

Claimed footage of the aftermath of regime attacks on the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, which killed at least 20 people on Thursday (Warning: Graphic)

See also Syria Audio Feature: "Annan's Resignation is A Sideshow...and What Is Really Important" --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Syria Video Feature: Fighting the Battle with Camera Phones
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Is Aleppo Out of Control?

2040 GMT: Syria. For two weeks we have been talking about the likelihood that the Syrian Army will liberate Aleppo in the sudden push of a massive military assault on the country's largest city. For two weeks, we have been saying that the Free Syrian Army will make Assad pay for every inch of that liberation. Now, however, we need to consider that the most likely scenario may no longer be regime victory in Aleppo.

The roads north of Aleppo are virtually clear of the Syrian army. The area as far east as Kobani (also known as Ayn-al-Arab), and as far west as Dar T'Izzah, all the way north to the border with Turkey, is either completely or largely in insurgent hands. Free Syrian Army fighters have captured perhaps hundreds of vehicles, some of them armoured, and a few of them are tanks.

The FSA has more and more weapons, and has proven it can beat Assad's armour. Those fighters have been hit hard by the helicopters and jet fighters, but have proven that they are strong enough to take those hits. We have now gone many days without a regime victory in the area, and the FSA continues to advance. Perhaps as much of 70% of Aleppo is under some degree of FSA control, while the insurgents are closing in on Assad's military bases south of Salaheddin.

Common knowledge says that the regime will strike soon, but common knowledge said that the regime would retake the city last Saturday. It didn't happen. The FSA won the battles. In fact, there is no available empirical evidence that suggests the Assad regime can win the future battles inside Aleppo.

A quick look at the map tells the story --- the area in blue is area over which the FSA has at least partial control, though this is likely too conservatively drawn):

View Syria - 2012 August 3 - EA Worldview in a larger map

The regime is working against the clock. Since February, the Syrian military has not retaken a single city or town that has been in insurgent control for more than 2 weeks. Reporters on the ground are saying that the FSA is become better equipped and better supplied and that its ranks, both inside Aleppo and outside, are growing.

The regime could make a significant military assault in a bid to take Aleppo back, but it would likely have to be much larger than anything we have seen so far.

Without being alarmist, the most likely scenario may not be a regime assault on the city. Soon, the Free Syrian Army could be poised to take Aleppo --- all of it.

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Syria and Turkey Analysis: Ankara Looks to Iraq's Barzani Amid the "Kurdish Spring"

Ahmet Davutoglu with Massoud BarzaniAnkara faces its recurring problem: in its search for a post-Assad settlement in Syria involving the Kurds, it cannot escape the situation of the Kurds inside its borders.

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Turkey Analysis: Facing The Complications of Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan

Prime Minister ErdoganAt the end of the day, whatever the fate of the Assad regime, Ankara has to face the Kurdistan reality and the importance of a solution of their own Kurdish problem. Given a stronger PKK and a more demanding opposition party BDP on the streets, the Erdogan Government will be pushed to the edge of its rule unless it recognizes this.

For now, apart from preparing his foreign minister to Iraqi Kurdistan, Erdogan is looking for every option to make the Turkish public forget the growing importance of the Kurdistan reality.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Divided Country

Insurgents drive a captured tank on a highway near Izaz in northwest Syria

See also Yemen Feature: A New Leader Emerges in Taiz
Turkey Special: Ankara is Overtaken By Events in Syria's Kurdistan
Sunday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Fighting Reaches Aleppo

1948 GMT: Syria. Very interesting news from Aleppo via the BBC's Ian Pannell:

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