Showing posts tagged as "shiite"

Showing posts tagged shiite

22 Aug
Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms | Agence France-Presse
Thousands of armed Shiite rebels in Yemen strengthened their positions in the capital Sanaa this week as they pressed their campaign to force the government to resign.
The rebels have been fighting an off-conflict with government troops in the northern mountains for the past decade but analysts warned their bid for a greater share of power in a promised new federal Yemen was creating a potentially explosive situation.
The Zaidi Shiites are the minority community in mainly Sunni Yemen but they form the majority in the northern highlands, including the Sanaa region.
Rebel activists used cranes to build walls around protest camps across the capital, where protest leaders have given the government a deadline of Friday to meet their demands.
FULL ARTICLE (Agence France-Presse via France 24)
Photo: AJTalkEng/flickr

Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms | Agence France-Presse

Thousands of armed Shiite rebels in Yemen strengthened their positions in the capital Sanaa this week as they pressed their campaign to force the government to resign.

The rebels have been fighting an off-conflict with government troops in the northern mountains for the past decade but analysts warned their bid for a greater share of power in a promised new federal Yemen was creating a potentially explosive situation.

The Zaidi Shiites are the minority community in mainly Sunni Yemen but they form the majority in the northern highlands, including the Sanaa region.

Rebel activists used cranes to build walls around protest camps across the capital, where protest leaders have given the government a deadline of Friday to meet their demands.

FULL ARTICLE (Agence France-Presse via France 24)

Photo: AJTalkEng/flickr

31 Jul
With Heartland Threatened, Lebanon’s Shiites See Hezbollah as “Protector of the Community”: Q&A with Sahar Atrache | Ramy Srour
The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has engaged in intense fighting on the Syria-Lebanon border in recent weeks, as violence increasingly threatens to spill into the group’s heartland in Lebanon’s northeastern Bekaa Valley. As the Shiite militia clashed with Syrian rebel forces, including the al-Nusra Front, reports also emerged suggesting that the nephew of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had been killed during the clashes.
Despite its heavy involvement in a war that increasingly shows signs of violent spillover into Lebanon, Hezbollah has been able to retain a great deal of support from the Lebanese Shiite population, said Sahar Atrache, Lebanon analyst for the International Crisis Group, in a recent interview with the Global Observatory. Ms. Atrache, who is based in Beirut, indicated that the heavy casualties suffered by Lebanon’s Shiites because of the Syrian conflict have not altered the fact that Hezbollah is seen as “the protector of the community” against Sunni extremism.
FULL INTERVIEW (IPI Global Observatory)
Photo: Omarr/flickr

With Heartland Threatened, Lebanon’s Shiites See Hezbollah as “Protector of the Community”: Q&A with Sahar Atrache | Ramy Srour

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has engaged in intense fighting on the Syria-Lebanon border in recent weeks, as violence increasingly threatens to spill into the group’s heartland in Lebanon’s northeastern Bekaa Valley. As the Shiite militia clashed with Syrian rebel forces, including the al-Nusra Front, reports also emerged suggesting that the nephew of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had been killed during the clashes.

Despite its heavy involvement in a war that increasingly shows signs of violent spillover into Lebanon, Hezbollah has been able to retain a great deal of support from the Lebanese Shiite population, said Sahar Atrache, Lebanon analyst for the International Crisis Group, in a recent interview with the Global Observatory. Ms. Atrache, who is based in Beirut, indicated that the heavy casualties suffered by Lebanon’s Shiites because of the Syrian conflict have not altered the fact that Hezbollah is seen as “the protector of the community” against Sunni extremism.

FULL INTERVIEW (IPI Global Observatory)

Photo: Omarr/flickr

30 Jun
Redrawn Lines Seen as No Cure in Iraq Conflict | Robert Worth
Over the past two weeks, the specter that has haunted Iraq since its founding 93 years ago appears to have become a reality: the de facto partition of the country into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish cantons.
With jihadists continuing to entrench their positions across the north and west, and the national army seemingly incapable of mounting a challenge, Americans and even some Iraqis have begun to ask how much blood and treasure it is worth to patch the country back together.
It is a question that echoes not only in Syria — also effectively divided into mutually hostile statelets — but also across the entire Middle East, where centrifugal forces unleashed by the Arab uprisings of 2011 continue to erode political structures and borders that have prevailed since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago.
Yet Iraq and Syria’s potential fragmentation along sectarian or ethnic lines is not likely to offer any solution to the region’s dysfunction, analysts say, and may well generate new conflicts driven by ideology, oil, and other resources.
FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)
Photo: Austin King/flickr

Redrawn Lines Seen as No Cure in Iraq Conflict | Robert Worth

Over the past two weeks, the specter that has haunted Iraq since its founding 93 years ago appears to have become a reality: the de facto partition of the country into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish cantons.

With jihadists continuing to entrench their positions across the north and west, and the national army seemingly incapable of mounting a challenge, Americans and even some Iraqis have begun to ask how much blood and treasure it is worth to patch the country back together.

It is a question that echoes not only in Syria — also effectively divided into mutually hostile statelets — but also across the entire Middle East, where centrifugal forces unleashed by the Arab uprisings of 2011 continue to erode political structures and borders that have prevailed since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago.

Yet Iraq and Syria’s potential fragmentation along sectarian or ethnic lines is not likely to offer any solution to the region’s dysfunction, analysts say, and may well generate new conflicts driven by ideology, oil, and other resources.

FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)

Photo: Austin King/flickr

31 Jul
Iraq’s Secular Opposition: The Rise and Decline of Al-Iraqiya
Baghdad/Brussels  |  31 Jul 2012
The demise of Iraq’s Al-Iraqiya Alliance, at threat of marginalisation, would remove the country’s sole credible political representative of a very important community: the secular, non-sectarian middle class.
Iraq’s Secular Opposition: The Rise and Decline of Al-Iraqiya, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the declining fortunes of the cross-confessional, predominantly Sunni and mostly secular Al-Iraqiya Alliance and argues it will need to engage in serious soul-searching and internal reform if it is to survive and play a constructive role in Iraq’s current political crisis.
“Iraqiya is experiencing an existential crisis due to a series of missteps at the time the present government was formed in 2010, as well as dysfunctional internal decision-making”, says Joost Hiltermann, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director. “It will need to urgently address these issues if it is to effectively stand up to a prime minister with an authoritarian bent and retain its broad constituency as the country heads into new rounds of provincial and parliamentary elections”.
Led by a secular Shiite, Iraqiya garnered more than 80 per cent of the vote in predominantly Sunni areas in the March 2010 elections, and also made inroads in majority-Shiite areas. In winning 91 seats in the 325-seat parliament, it beat the State of Law coalition of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. However, it lost its chance to play a dominant role in the new coalition government by overplaying its hand: by insisting he be prime minister when he lacked the required support, Iraqiya leader Iyad Allawi ended up being marginalised; and by rushing to grab senior positions, other Iraqiya leaders failed to use their leverage to create effective institutional checks on Maliki’s authority, leaving Iraqiya as a weak junior partner in a government led by a prime minister intent on amassing power.
Iraqiya was thus at a disadvantage when, joined by other parties, it decided to challenge Maliki in April 2012, seeking to unseat him via a parliamentary no-confidence vote. This faltering effort has served to highlight Iraqiya’s waning power as a force that could limit the prime minister’s authority. It also demonstrated that what remains of the country’s secular middle class lacks an influential standard bearer to protect its interests and project a middle ground in the face of ongoing sectarian tensions that Syria’s civil war risks escalating. And it underlines the marginalisation of Sunni Arabs and Sunni Turkomans by the Shiite-led government, further increasing the potential for violence.
“An emboldened prime minister, growing sectarian tensions and a deeply mistrustful opposition are a recipe for violent conflict, especially in light of alarming developments in neighbouring Syria”, says Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. “Iraqis across the divide express fears that a spiralling sectarian-tinged civil war across the border could exacerbate tensions at home and usher the country into another round of sectarian conflict”.
FULL REPORT

Iraq’s Secular Opposition: The Rise and Decline of Al-Iraqiya

Baghdad/Brussels  |  31 Jul 2012

The demise of Iraq’s Al-Iraqiya Alliance, at threat of marginalisation, would remove the country’s sole credible political representative of a very important community: the secular, non-sectarian middle class.

Iraq’s Secular Opposition: The Rise and Decline of Al-Iraqiya, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the declining fortunes of the cross-confessional, predominantly Sunni and mostly secular Al-Iraqiya Alliance and argues it will need to engage in serious soul-searching and internal reform if it is to survive and play a constructive role in Iraq’s current political crisis.

“Iraqiya is experiencing an existential crisis due to a series of missteps at the time the present government was formed in 2010, as well as dysfunctional internal decision-making”, says Joost Hiltermann, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Program Director. “It will need to urgently address these issues if it is to effectively stand up to a prime minister with an authoritarian bent and retain its broad constituency as the country heads into new rounds of provincial and parliamentary elections”.

Led by a secular Shiite, Iraqiya garnered more than 80 per cent of the vote in predominantly Sunni areas in the March 2010 elections, and also made inroads in majority-Shiite areas. In winning 91 seats in the 325-seat parliament, it beat the State of Law coalition of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. However, it lost its chance to play a dominant role in the new coalition government by overplaying its hand: by insisting he be prime minister when he lacked the required support, Iraqiya leader Iyad Allawi ended up being marginalised; and by rushing to grab senior positions, other Iraqiya leaders failed to use their leverage to create effective institutional checks on Maliki’s authority, leaving Iraqiya as a weak junior partner in a government led by a prime minister intent on amassing power.

Iraqiya was thus at a disadvantage when, joined by other parties, it decided to challenge Maliki in April 2012, seeking to unseat him via a parliamentary no-confidence vote. This faltering effort has served to highlight Iraqiya’s waning power as a force that could limit the prime minister’s authority. It also demonstrated that what remains of the country’s secular middle class lacks an influential standard bearer to protect its interests and project a middle ground in the face of ongoing sectarian tensions that Syria’s civil war risks escalating. And it underlines the marginalisation of Sunni Arabs and Sunni Turkomans by the Shiite-led government, further increasing the potential for violence.

“An emboldened prime minister, growing sectarian tensions and a deeply mistrustful opposition are a recipe for violent conflict, especially in light of alarming developments in neighbouring Syria”, says Robert Malley, Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa Program Director. “Iraqis across the divide express fears that a spiralling sectarian-tinged civil war across the border could exacerbate tensions at home and usher the country into another round of sectarian conflict”.

FULL REPORT

23 May
Syria Violence Shakes Lebanon’s Fragile Stability | Reuters
By Dominic Evans
Fragile Lebanon’s sectarian tensions, which festered for two decades since the end of its ruinous civil war, have been re-ignited by the turmoil in powerful neighbor Syria and threaten to plunge the country into a sustained period of unrest.
In the northern city of Tripoli, where Sunni Muslims strongly support the 14-month uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, nine people were killed in clashes last week triggered by the arrest of an anti-Assad activist.
The violence spread to the capital on Monday when Sunni gunmen fought street battles in a Beirut neighborhood following the killing of a Sunni cleric, also opposed to Assad, by Lebanese soldiers at an army checkpoint in the northern Akkar province.
On Tuesday, angry Shi’ites blocked roads in southern Beirut in protest against the abduction in northern Syria of a dozen Lebanese Shi’ites by rebels from the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim insurgency against Assad.
"We are entering a phase of protracted instability in Lebanon. There is no direct way in which these events will be fully contained," said Eurasia Group analyst Ayham Kamel.
The Syrian uprising forced Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati into a near-impossible balancing act between diehard supporters and opponents of Assad in a country which was long dominated by Syrian military power.
FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)
Photo: Xansas/Flickr

Syria Violence Shakes Lebanon’s Fragile Stability | Reuters

By Dominic Evans

Fragile Lebanon’s sectarian tensions, which festered for two decades since the end of its ruinous civil war, have been re-ignited by the turmoil in powerful neighbor Syria and threaten to plunge the country into a sustained period of unrest.

In the northern city of Tripoli, where Sunni Muslims strongly support the 14-month uprising against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, nine people were killed in clashes last week triggered by the arrest of an anti-Assad activist.

The violence spread to the capital on Monday when Sunni gunmen fought street battles in a Beirut neighborhood following the killing of a Sunni cleric, also opposed to Assad, by Lebanese soldiers at an army checkpoint in the northern Akkar province.

On Tuesday, angry Shi’ites blocked roads in southern Beirut in protest against the abduction in northern Syria of a dozen Lebanese Shi’ites by rebels from the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim insurgency against Assad.

"We are entering a phase of protracted instability in Lebanon. There is no direct way in which these events will be fully contained," said Eurasia Group analyst Ayham Kamel.

The Syrian uprising forced Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati into a near-impossible balancing act between diehard supporters and opponents of Assad in a country which was long dominated by Syrian military power.

FULL ARTICLE (Reuters)

Photo: Xansas/Flickr