But silent he was not as the Arab revolts spread to Libya and Syria; he spoke out emphatically in support of Muammar Qaddafi and Bashar Assad.
Entries in Muammar Qaddafi (144)
1900 GMT: Bahrain. Claimed footage of police firing tear gas at three women:
There were no casualties.
The Minister of Interior, Ashur Shwayel said the gunmen were demanding that legislators pass a bill barring former associates of ousted leader Muammar Qaddafi.
Magarief survived a gun attack at his home in January.
Government forces on the road to Konna in northern Mali this week (Photo: Eric Gaillard/Reuters)
In plain terms, let the natives of the region do the job outsiders cannot do. Let them earn the right to decide their destiny in exchange of defeating all foreign and domestic terrorists who have infected their lives, destroyed their shrines and cut their limbs. Back those whose interest is to cut Al-Qaeda’s tentacles. Keep a credible threat of firepower in place. Keep Mali’s military under close watch, and neuter it if necessary – they have already caused more than their fair share of harm by overthrowing an elected government.
Put an offer to negotiate on the table and build smart alliances. Let diplomats talk, and keep warriors close. Feed refugees, and keep their hope of going back home soon alive. Only such a policy is likely to save lives, and defeat nihilist jihadism.
The Question We Asked Last Year: A Reliable Prediction? --- Right to Left: Tunisia's Ben Ali, Egypt's Mubarak, Libya's Qaddafi, Yemen's Saleh, Syria's Assad, Iran's Khamenei
On 1 January, I offered some predictions about the year ahead. How did they turn out?...
4. Speaking of Syria, things will get worse before they get better. The Arab League observers will produce a middling report, one that speaks of a crisis that needs fixing but will be slow to blame the highest levels of the Assad regime. International outcry will be loud. Eventually, someone will crack, and there will be intervention.
However, I would be shocked if this happened before April, and absolutely bewildered if it happened before March. The opposition is still, in the eyes of the world, not organised enough to serve as a skeleton upon which the international community can build a mission.
In the meantime, the protests will not go away, and more and more people will defect. Those defections, however, will not reach a tipping point for a long time for the regime, unless that international intervention happens.
Human Rights Watch has published a 50-page report, "Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte", which charges Misurata-based militias with the apparent execution of dozens of detainees, including former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, in Sirte in October 2011.
HRW claims the militias captured and disarmed members of the Qaddafi convoy. They brutally beat the men and executed at least 66 of them at the nearby Mahari Hotel. The organisation alleges that militias took Qaddafi’s wounded son Mutassim from Sirte to Misrata and killed him there.
Among the new evidence is a mobile phone video, filmed by opposition militia members, that shows the abuse of captured convoy members. At least 17 of the detainees in the video were later executed at the Mahari Hotel.
Smoke this morning above Army Staff Headquarters in Damascus after two explosions
1820 GMT: Syria. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has upheld his initiative of a four-nation contact group --- Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran --- and declared, "The bloodshed in Syria and the humanitarian crisis that has unfolded, must be stopped."
A full English-language text of the speech has been posted.
1720 GMT: Syria. Back from a long break for a business meeting to find the official casualty figure for today's double bombing near Army Staff Headquarters is six dead –-- t four security guards and two suicide bombers --- and 14 wounded.
Security has been increased in the area of the explosions with roadblocks and checkpoints. A resident said, "Most of the people who work at governmental institutions could not go to work today."
Meanwhile, the Local Coordination Committees report one of the bloodiest days in the 18-month conflict, with 290 people killed by security forces. The 162 dead in Damascus and its suburbs include a claim of 107 people slain in a mass killing in al-Thiabieh. There are also 37 killed in Deir Ez Zor Province, 26 in Homs Province, and 25 in Daraa Province.
Live Coverage has been re-titled and moved to the top of the homepage, "Double Explosion Hits Army Staff HQ in Damascus".
2340 GMT: Syria. Since this morning, a rumor, pushed initially by Russian media RT, spread that a high ranking Syrian general had died in a Russian hospital. Syrian State Media denied the story, and there have been debates and rumors all day as to the identity of the dead general.
Now, an activist who has a great rack record lately posts this report:
BREAKING | The high ranking military person who died in a Moscow hospital is of Jamil Hassan, Head of Air Force Intelligence Directorate.— ♕The 47th♕ (@THE_47th) August 20, 2012
A German news agency is also carrying the report that Jamil Hassan has died.
We have to stress that this rumor is completely unconfirmed.
2320 GMT: Syria. A note on our last update - Bashar Fahmi, one of the missing journalists, apparently works for Alhurra, described as "a United States-based Arabic-language satellite TV channel funded by the U.S. Congress that broadcasts news and current affairs."
More information on what happened today (noted, this is still unconfirmed):
The last broadcast of Mohammed Nabbous on Libya Alhurra TV on 19 March 2011 --- he was killed later that day, recording a firefight in Benghazi
The war against Qaddafi was fought with global brains, NATO brawn, and Libyan blood. But it took brains and blood to get the brawn. On February 18, three days into the protests that would swell into the successful revolt against the regime, Libya went offline. Internet and cell-phone access was cut or unreliable for the duration, and people used whatever limited connections they could. In Benghazi, Mohammed "Mo" Nabbous realized he had the knowledge and the equipment, from an ISP business he had owned, to lash together a satellite Internet uplink. With supporters shielding his body from potential snipers, Nabbous set up dishes, and nine live webcams, for his online TV channel Libya Alhurra ("Libya the Free"), running 24/7 on Livestream.
Fatima Bouchar's case is different from the countless other renditions that the world has learned about over the past few years, and not just because she was one of the few female victims.
Documents discovered in Tripoli show that the operation was initiated by British intelligence officers, rather than the masked Americans or their superiors in the US. There is also some evidence that the operation may have been linked to a second British-initiated operation, which saw two men detained in Iraq and rendered to Afghanistan. Furthermore, the timing of the operation, and the questions that Bouchar's husband and a second rendition victim say were subsequently put to them under torture, raise disturbing new questions about the secret court system that considers immigration appeals in terrorist cases in the UK – a system that the government has pledged to extend to civil trials in which the government itself is the defendant.