Monthly Archives: January 2012

Saudi Arabia and Qatar offer assistance to Syrian opposition

By Robert Asketill Saudi Arabia and Qatar have agreed to fund the Syrian opposition, which is struggling to afford weapons in its fight against President Assad. This week, Syrian Opposition figures held a secret meeting with Saudi and Qatari officials after an Arab League meeting in Cairo where the Gulf countries decided to pull their observers from a monitoring mission that has been widely criticized for being toothless. “The Saudis are offering their support in any way,” according to Syrian dissidents sources. Until now, the so called Free Syrian Army has largely been funded by individual donors, many of them in the Syrian diaspora, which has enabled small arms to … Continue reading

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Gingrich is comeback kid in South Carolina primary

Surprising his rivals and upending the highly unpredictable Republican race for the presidency, Newt Gingrich won the pivotal South Carolina primary Saturday, just 10 days after a fourth-place finish in New Hampshire left the impression his candidacy was all but dead. Mr Gingrich rode to victory by winning a plurality among a wide swath of important Republican voting blocs, outperforming the rest of the four-person field among evangelical Christians and Tea Party supporters, men and even women, despite the publicity given to his marital problems. Gingrich now leaves here for Florida in the best position to pose a singular, insurgent threat to Mitt Romney, the favoured candidate of the Republican … Continue reading

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US restores diplomatic relations with Myanmar

The United States moved to restore full diplomatic relations with Myanmar on Friday, rewarding the sweeping political and economic changes that the country’s new civilian government has made, including a cease-fire with ethnic rebels and, only hours before, the release of hundreds of political prisoners. Freeing the prisoners, which President Obama praised as a “substantial step forward for democratic reform,” was one of the most significant gestures yet by Myanmar’s new civilian government to address international concerns about the country’s repressive history, which led to decades of diplomatic and economic isolation. Among 651 prisoners given amnesty on Friday were leaders of the brutally repressed student protests in 1988; a former … Continue reading

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Mitt Romney romps home in New Hampshire

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney swept to victory in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, turning back a ferocious assault from his Republican rivals who are working to slow his march to the Republican presidential nomination. As the polls closed here, Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, was projected as the winner, becoming the first Republican candidate since 1976 to win the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Representative Ron Paul of Texas and former Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. of Utah were battling for second, according to surveys of voters leaving the polls. Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, were trailing their … Continue reading

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Rebirth of the Middle East and North Africa

By Ruth Pollard Standing amid the violent chaos of Egypt’s Tahrir Square, as the tear-gas hung heavily in the air and badly injured protesters were rushed to makeshift field hospitals, it was easy to feel that the Arab Spring had veered way off script. Democracy, it seems, cannot deliver the Hollywood ending many have come to expect from such an extraordinary year. Twelve months ago, it was impossible to imagine an Egypt without Hosni Mubarak (30 years in power), a Libya without Muammar Gaddafi (42 years), a Tunisia without Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (23 years), or a Yemen without Ali Abdullah Saleh (33 years). Since then, we have been … Continue reading

Posted in Libya, Middle East, The World, Tunisia | 2 Comments