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Entries in Sheikh Isa Qassim (12)


Middle East Today: Bahrain --- Amid Raids & Detentions, Opposition Suspends Participation in "National Dialogue"

Bahrain leading opposition society Al Wefaq has suspended its participation in the Kingdom's "national dialogue" after a wave of raids and detentions by security forces.

The Dialogue began in February, with the involvement of pro-regime and opposition groups, as well as Government ministers and MPs, in an attempt to resolve the issues of reform and justice highlighted by mass protests from February 2011.

However, other opposition factions have denounced the Dialogue as little more than a token gesture, and the discussions have made little progress.

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Middle East Today: Iraq --- Deadliest Day in More than 8 Months

Bahrain: Protests Against Raid on Senior Cleric's Home

Thousands of Bahrainis marched on Friday to protest the early-morning raid by security forces on the home of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the leading leading Shia cleric in the Kingdom.

Qassim, a supporter of the mass pro-reform demonstrations that began in February 2011, was not at home but his family was present during the operation.

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Bahrain 1st-Hand: Former MP Matar Matar "It is Difficult to See an Internal Solution"

Matar Matar on release from prison, August 2011 (Photo: Reuters)We are just victims of this revenge policy. And it is very far fetched to expect the King will think about compromises if he has the space to maintain the power. The solution will never come from inside: it should be forced from outside after agreement by the regional powers, including the US. And the solution can start if all outsiders push for a new Prime Minister.

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Bahrain Special: Growing Concerns Amid Questions Over Bombs and A Tide of Repression

One of the claimed sites of Monday's explosions in Manama (Photo: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters)

The fear is that the regime will exploit the violence and tragic deaths to publicly --- and internationally --- justify its current path of repression, rather than reform, evading any accountability and obligations. Equally, regime factions will likely use the conflict to stoke up the loyalist base to ensure that any attempts at dialogue or reconciliation are undermined.

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Bahrain Live Coverage: Day 100 of a Hunger Strike

The march today protesting closer ties with Saudi Arabia

See also Bahrain Opinion: On Day 100 of a Hunger Strike, Thoughts About the Regime's Strategy
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Students Rise in Aleppo
Thursday's Bahrain Live Coverage: Playing the Iran Card

2008 GMT: After today's mass rally, the Ministry of Interior is trying to cap the show of oppposition:

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Bahrain Live Coverage: Recognising an Independent Journalist

Flashback to Wednesday when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of "human rights" during the visit by Crown Prince Salman --- Today, Washington followed up further meetings with Salman by renewing arms sales to the Kingdom

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Uncertainties After the Damascus Bombs
Thursday's Bahrain Live Coverage: "Almost Broken, But Not Entirely So"

2019 GMT: Amid clashes including tear gas to disperse marchers, police approach youth in Karzakan:

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Bahrain Live Coverage: King Hamad Goes Through The Motions

Clashes in Sitra on Thursday night

See also Bahrain Propaganda 101: New York City Judge "Educates Local Cops"
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Deaths at the University
Thursday's Bahrain Live Coverage: The Regime Loses A Friend in US Congress

1600 GMT: Many thousands marching today in a call for significant reforms:

1442 GMT: Today's march, protesting the illusion of Constitutional amendments as "reform", on the Budaiya Highway:

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Bahrain Feature: Polemic and "Analysis" --- Exorcising Ed Husain's Demons (Carlstrom)

Funeral march for activist Salah Abbas Habib, slain by security forces, 26 April

You can criticize Husain for several sins of omission — like the scant attention he gives to the excessive use of tear gas in Bahraini villages, the ongoing torture of detainees, the near-complete impunity enjoyed by members of the security forces. He criticizes the "language of Shiite sectarianism," but says nothing about the state-sponsored sectarianism directed against the Shia community.

The central issue with his analysis, though, is the framing, and the focus on Sheikh Isa Qassim. It's true that Qassim can mobilize large numbers of people: his endorsement was one reason for the huge turnout during the March 9 protest on Budaiya highway. But don't confuse that with ideological influence; the protesters carried signs calling for democratic reforms, not vilayet-e-fiqh. In four trips to Bahrain since the uprising began, and hundreds of interviews with opposition members, I have never met one who endorsed theocracy.

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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Will the Regime Challenge the Protests?

Mass demonstration last night in Freedom Square in Deir Ez Zor, Syria

1919 GMT: According to the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, they have been able to confirm the deaths of 13 so far today:

3 martyrs were documented in Hama as a result of sporadic gunfire at the protesters, 2 martyrs in each of Daraa and Aleppo as a result of sporadic gunfire at protesters. Also, 2 martyrs were documented in Idlib and one of corpses was un-identified. 2 martyrs in Homs in a random shelling at some neighborhoods. 1 martyr in Daraya, Damascus suburbs, in a sporadic gunfire by security forces at the protesters and 1 martyr in Hasaka, a defected recruit who was executed.

Homs, and several surrounding towns, were heavily shelled once again today. In this video, a building burns as heavy gunfire fills the background in Qosour:

Ahmed Al Omran provides this video, a wider view of the Khalidiya district of Homs:

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: "Assad Will Have to Kill Us All"

2134 GMT: Amazing videos of night protests in Syria - the first, a VERY large protest in Soran, Hama:

Next, the LCCS shares this video from the Hamadiyah district of Hama:

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