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Decades on, families of Lebanon’s war missing see hope

Sudan’s new transitional leader promises civilian government and to ‘uproot’ Bashir regime KHARTOUM/CAIRO: Sudan’s new military ruler held talks on Saturday with opposition leaders about forming a temporary civilian government, promising to “uproot” deposed president Omar Al-Bashir’s regime, in a bid to placate demonstrators demanding civilian rule.  Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan said the…

Decades on, families of Lebanon’s war missing see hope

Sudan’s new transitional leader promises civilian government and to ‘uproot’ Bashir regime

KHARTOUM/CAIRO: Sudan’s new military ruler held talks on Saturday with opposition leaders about forming a temporary civilian government, promising to “uproot” deposed president Omar Al-Bashir’s regime, in a bid to placate demonstrators demanding civilian rule. 

Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan said the transition could take up to two years but protesters demanded more rapid change.

Protest organizers had earlier on Saturday urged people to keep marching to demand a civilian government after the defense minister and the intelligence chief stepped down. 

Sudanese political parties and movements behind nearly four months of anti-government protests met with the country’s military on Saturday, activists and the military said, holding the first talks since the army forced Al-Bashir from power two days ago.

In his first televised address, Burhan canceled a curfew ordered by his predecessor and ordered the release of all prisoners jailed under emergency laws imposed by Al-Bashir.

“I announce the restructuring of state institutions according to the law and pledge to fight corruption and uproot the regime and its symbols,” Burhan said, a day after he was sworn in to head Sudan’s new ruling military council.

The head of Sudan’s rapid support forces, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo known by his nickname Hemeti, was appointed deputy of Sudan’s transitional military council, Sudanese state TV said on Saturday.

The channel showed footage of Hemeti being sworn in as well as the new appointed members of the military transitional council.

Sudanese demonstrators celebrate near the Defense Ministry in Khartoum on  April 13, 2019 after Defense Minister Awad Ibn Auf stepped down as head of the country’s transitional ruling military council. (REUTERS)

Career soldier Burhan took the helm of Sudan’s transitional military council on Friday when his predecessor General Awad Ibn Auf — a close aide of Al-Bashir — quit after little more than 24 hours in power.

Burhan was the third most senior general in the Sudanese armed forces and is little known in public life. As head of Sudan’s ground forces he oversaw Sudanese troops fighting in the Arab coalition to restore the legitimate government in Yemen.

Burhan pledged Saturday that individuals implicated in killing protesters would face justice.

His initial announcements indicated he wanted to show the tens of thousands of protesters on the streets that he is not part of the regime’s old guard and was genuinely committed to reform.

He also accepted the resignation of the head of the feared National Intelligence and Security Service, Salah Abdallah Mohammed Salih — widely known as Salih Ghosh — the military council announced.

Salih Ghosh had overseen a sweeping crackdown against protesters in four months of mass demonstrations that led to the army’s toppling of Bashir on Thursday.

Events have moved rapidly since Al-Bashir was deposed on Thursday after mass protests. 

Defense Minister Awad Ibn Auf took over as head of the transitional military council, but quit on Friday, after less than a day and was replaced by Burhan. 

Celebrations erupted on the streets of Khartoum overnight after Ibn Auf’s resignation. Thousands of protesters waved flags and illuminated mobile phones in the darkness and drivers hooted car horns. People chanted: “The second has fallen!” a reference to Ibn Auf and Bashir, witnesses said.

Salah Gosh, also resigned on Saturday. He was once the most influential people in the country after Al-Bashir and protesters blamed him for the killing of demonstrators. 

As head of the feared National Intelligence and Security Service, Salah Gosh led a violent crackdown by NISS agents on protesters taking part in four months of mass demonstrations that led to the toppling of Al-Bashir. Dozens of protesters were killed and thousands of activists, opposition leaders and journalists arrested. Sixteen people were killed in live fire in Khartoum alone in the two days before Al-Bashir was deposed.

Young Sudanese rally to celebrate outside the army headquarters in Khartoum on April 13, 2019 after Sudan’s new military ruler announced the end of a curfew and the release of political prisoners. (AFP / Ebrahim Hamid)

The military council under Ibn Auf had said it would not extradite Bashir to face accusations of genocide at the international war crimes court. Instead he might go on trial in Sudan.

It has rejected opposition demands for his extradition to face war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been leading protests to demand a civilian government, called on Saturday for more demonstrations.  “We assert that our revolution is continuing and will not retreat or deviate from its path until we achieve … our people’s legitimate demands of handing over power to a civilian government,” it said.

“We assert that our revolution is continuing and will not retreat or deviate from its path until we achieve … our people’s legitimate demands of handing over power to a civilian government,” it said.

Al-Bashir, 75, seized power in a 1989 military coup.

The protests against him escalated last Saturday when thousands of demonstrators, apparently bolstered by change in Algeria following similar protests, marched towards the Defense Ministry in Khartoum to deliver a memorandum demanding the military side with them.

Demonstrators have been camping outside the compound since then to push for a handover of power, in a 16-week long demonstration brought on by rising food costs, high unemployment and increasing repression.

At least 16 people were killed and 20 injured by stray bullets at protests and sit-ins on Thursday and Friday, a police spokesman said. Government buildings and private property were also attacked, spokesman Hashem Ali added. He asked citizens to help ensure safety and public order.

 

(With Reuters, AFP)

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Middle East News

Council of Arab Interior Ministers calls for cooperation to alleviate suffering of terrorism victims

Council of Arab Interior Ministers calls for cooperation to alleviate suffering of terrorism victims TUNIS: Not only does the harm caused by terrorist crimes affect innocent victims, it also leaves their families and communities with psychological and social pain, the Secretary-General of the Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior has said. This situation requires…

Council of Arab Interior Ministers calls for cooperation to alleviate suffering of terrorism victims

Council of Arab Interior Ministers calls for cooperation to alleviate suffering of terrorism victims

TUNIS: Not only does the harm caused by terrorist crimes affect innocent victims, it also leaves their families and communities with psychological and social pain, the Secretary-General of the Council of Arab Ministers of the Interior has said.

This situation requires the cooperation of all to alleviate the suffering of the victims and their families and help them overcome their predicament, Dr. Mohammed bin Ali Koman said.

Koman was commemorating Arab Day to raise awareness of the pain of victims of terrorist acts, held every year on April 22 by the General Secretariat of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers, member states and the League of Arab States.

“Today is an opportunity to raise awareness of the pain and tragedies of victims of terrorist attacks and encourage all initiatives undertaken by official bodies and civil society organizations to alleviate their suffering,” he said.

“The effects of terrorist crimes have exceeded aggression against human lives and property to psychological and social impacts as well as affecting families,” he said.

“Terrorist crimes result in a continuous bleeding to the heart of affected communities, especially with the terrorist media being devoted to inspiring and promoting their criminal operations, which have affected thousands of victims, including children, women and the elderly.”

He hailed the efforts of the security services in their fight against terrorism and the great improvement in reducing its crimes in recent years, expressing his sympathies for the victims and his support for their families to overcome the aftermath of these crimes.

Koman stressed that the Council of Arab Interior Ministers has taken special measures to raise awareness about the pain of victims of terrorist acts, including the development of media programs to raise security awareness and improve citizens’ contribution to countering terrorist acts in implementation of the Arab counter-terrorism strategy. This was in addition to assigning the Arab bureau for security-related information activities, which operates under the General Secretariat of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers, to prepare media programs and materials to raise awareness about the dangers of terrorist acts and the suffering they cause.

He highlighted that the council’s efforts go beyond raising awareness to taking concrete measures to support the victims of terrorist acts, including members of the Arab security services and their families.

Koman said that these efforts include the establishment of an Arab security solidarity fund to cover the expenses of medical, social, and psychological support for Arab police and security personnel and their families, in addition to the development of a model for the organizational structure of a department in the security services specializing in psychological counseling.

“The department will be operated by social workers and psychologists who have the capacity to help victims overcome the pain and tragedy of terrorism,” he said.

Koman praised the efforts of Arab countries in assisting the victims of terrorist acts and alleviating their suffering, including providing financial and moral support and providing them with treatment and privileges, such as monthly wages, scholarships for their families and medals of honors to their martyrs.

He urged public and civil society institutions to develop awareness-raising efforts through holding seminars and organizing events to remember the suffering of the victims and provide them with social, psychological and financial support.

Koman concluded by saying a prayer for the victims harmed by terrorist acts and members of the security services who died foiling terrorist crimes and fighting terrorists.

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US puts up $10m reward for Hezbollah information

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will lead two emergency summits with other African leaders on Tuesday to address events in Sudan and Libya, his presidency said.The leaders will focus on “the evolution of the situation in Sudan” where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar Al-Bashir.They will also seek to “stem the current…

US puts up $10m reward for Hezbollah information

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will lead two emergency summits with other African leaders on Tuesday to address events in Sudan and Libya, his presidency said.The leaders will focus on “the evolution of the situation in Sudan” where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar Al-Bashir.They will also seek to “stem the current crisis” in Libya, where commander Khalifa Haftar is leading an offensive on Tripoli, Egypt’s presidency said in a statement.El-Sisi is also the current president of the African Union.He will receive the Chadian president Idriss Deby, Rwanda’s head of state Paul Kagame, Congo’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa as well as Dijbouti’s leader Ismail Omar Guelleh.The planned summits are the first to be convened by African leaders on the current crises in Sudan and Libya.For Sudan, the objective “is to discuss … the most appropriate ways to address the evolution of the situation and to contribute to stability and peace,” Egypt’s presidency said.The AU on April 15 threatened to suspend Sudan if the military does not hand over power within 15 days of that date to a civilian authority.President of the African Union commission Moussa Faki is also expected to participate in the discussions, along with officials from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria.Another summit on Libya, which will bring together the leaders of Rwanda, South Africa and the Congo with El-Sisi, will focus on “relaunching a political process… (and) the elimination of terrorism,” Egypt’s presidency said.Strongman Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, on April 4.Egypt is a strong ally of Haftar, who is also backed by the UAE and — according to the White House — was consulted by US President Donald Trump in a phone call last week.

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How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

Meir Kahane grew up in Brooklyn, in an atmosphere of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred fostered by his father, who entertained in his home Jewish Zionist fanatics such as Ze’ev Jabotinsky, founder of the Irgun terrorist organization and mentor to British Mandate-era terrorist Menachem Begin. Kahane’s extremist ideology was nurtured by his parents and associations, and…

How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

Meir Kahane grew up in Brooklyn, in an atmosphere of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred fostered by his father, who entertained in his home Jewish Zionist fanatics such as Ze’ev Jabotinsky, founder of the Irgun terrorist organization and mentor to British Mandate-era terrorist Menachem Begin.

Kahane’s extremist ideology was nurtured by his parents and associations, and in 1968 he founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL), which the FBI describes as a terrorist organization. 

He used his rhetoric to build a strong following, and was elected to Israel’s Knesset (Parliament), where he served one full term. Although Kahane was assassinated in November 1990, his extremism endures until today, not only among his followers in the US but in Israel, too. 

He began as a militant protesting against communism in the 1950s and 1960s, when he was hired as the rabbi for a conservative, later more orthodox, synagogue congregation in Howard Beach. There, he had great public influence, including preparing the singer Arlo Guthrie for his Bar Mitzvah. 

Kahane received praise from other Jewish musicians, including Bob Dylan, who attended JDL meetings. Dylan described him, in a Time magazine interview in 1971, as “a sincere guy.”

But Kahane’s open militancy caused him to lose his rabbinical position, and he began publishing articles and books encouraging “Jewish militancy,” particularly against the Soviet Union, the Arab world and Palestinians, especially those living in Israel and under Israeli occupation. JDL members were suspected in, and accused of, numerous acts of violence throughout the US against Arab and Soviet properties. 

The FBI identified three of Kahane’s JDL disciples — Robert Manning, Keith Fuchs and Andy Green — as the primary suspects in the murder of Christian Palestinian activist Alex Odeh, West Coast director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), in California on Oct. 11, 1985. Odeh was killed by a bomb that exploded when he entered his ADC offices that morning.

Manning, Fuchs and Green fled to Israel, where they were given sanctuary and lived in the illegal Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron. Manning was later extradited to the US, and was charged and convicted in other violent acts related to his JDL membership. JDL militants were suspected in many acts of violence, yet continued to assume high-profile roles in the US and in Israel, where they spouted their virulent ideology of hate.

In June 1978, Kahane held a press conference in Chicago in front of the national headquarters of the National Socialist Party of America. I was a reporter at the time, and covered the press conference. Before it began, Kahane pointed to me and asked: “What are you?” I said I was American, Arab and Palestinian. He announced at the press conference that he would not take questions from me.

Kahane was assassinated on Nov. 5, 1990, by Egyptian-American El Sayyid Nosair. A park in Kiryat Arba was named in Kahane’s honor by the settlement’s leadership. Four years later, a memorial was established near Kahane Park in honor of one of his disciples, Dr. Baruch Goldstein, an American Israeli who was serving in the Israeli military. 

On Feb. 25, 1994, Goldstein was with Israeli soldiers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron when he used his automatic weapon to massacre 29 Muslims as they prayed. He was a member of the JDL and Kahane’s Kach political party.

Kahane has had a profound influence on Israeli politics and the growth of anti-Arab extremism in the country. Although his rhetoric was denounced by mainstream Jewish-American groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and Israeli organizations, his following persists inside and outside Israel.

The emergence in Israel, prior to last month’s general election, of the Otzma Yehudit political party, led by Kahane disciple and former Kach leader Baruch Marzel, highlights the durability of ultra-religious nationalist ideology on the far right of Israeli politics. It also demonstrates that the radicalization that extreme ideologues take forward in life can endure after their death.

Prior to the election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached out to Otzma Yehudit to bring it into his own coalition. This demonstrates how in Israel’s political system, even small extremist parties can play a role in government when more mainstream political parties need a Knesset majority. 

Israel’s Central Elections Committee allowed Otzma Yehudit to run in the election, but the Supreme Court intervened and banned it from doing so. Despite the ban, Otzma Yehudit’s activism keeps the flame of Kahanism alive.

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