1/31/2018

Yemen: ad Aden è battaglia fra Arabia Saudita ed Emirati

https://www.ilfarosulmondo.it/yemen-aden-battaglia/


Salvo Ardizzone on 31 gennaio 2018

di Salvo Ardizzone


Lo Yemen meridionale è divenuto teatro dello scontro aperto fra gli interessi di Arabia Saudita ed Emirati. La scorsa settimana i leader del gruppo separatista Stc, che mirano a separare il Sud con l’aiuto degli Emirati Arabi Uniti, si sono riuniti ad Aden per protestare contro la corruzione del Governo dell’ex presidente Mansour Hadi, creatura dell’Arabia Saudita ed insediato provvisoriamente nella città.

I leader separatisti hanno intimato ad Hadi di rimuovere Obeid bin Daghar, il primo ministro del suo Esecutivo ritenuto responsabile del collasso economico e sociale del Paese, entro il 28 gennaio; ultimatum respinto da Hadi.
Scaduto inutilmente il termine, la situazione ad Aden è degenerata con violenti scontri fra le Srf, l’ala armata dei separatisti dell’Stc, e le forze fedeli al Governo fantoccio; secondo la Croce Rossa, fra domenica e lunedì almeno 36 persone sono state uccise e 185 ferite.
Per comprendere la portata dello scontro occorre ricordare che l’Stc è stato costituito nel maggio del 2017 grazie al supporto degli Emirati; il suo obiettivo è separare il Sud dal Nord dello Yemen. Il sostegno aperto a tale programma ha posto in rotta di collisione Riyadh e Abu Dhabi, i due attori che tre anni fa hanno dato inizio all’aggressione allo Yemen.
Per adesso, la coalizione guidata dai sauditi non si è schierata ufficialmente, invitando le parti alla moderazione e ad aprire trattative; nei fatti, malgrado la resistenza opposta, ambienti governativi hanno dichiarato all’Agenzia Ap che Obeid bin Daghar è fuggito in Arabia Saudita e che i miliziani separatisti hanno occupato il palazzo presidenziale di Aden.
È già da qualche tempo che gli obiettivi di Arabia Saudita ed Emirati si stanno divaricando, sfociando ora in una lotta sanguinosa condotta per interposte milizie; la Stc sta manovrando apertamente per abbattere il Governo di Mansour Hadi e dunque per eliminare l’ex Presidente dalla scena.
Gli scontri fra le forze sostenute dall’Arabia Saudita e quelle manovrate dagli Emirati erano attesi: nel suo intervento in Yemen Riyadh mirava principalmente a restaurare il suo dominio sul Nord, piegando la Resistenza Houthi; dinanzi all’impossibilità di realizzare i propri progetti per le pesanti sconfitte, ha dirottato le sue mire al Sud, entrando in concorrenza con gli Emirati che lo considerano propria area d’influenza.
Al tempo dell’avvio dell’aggressione allo Yemen, era il marzo del 2015, anche gli equilibri fra i due Paesi erano diversi, ma dinanzi alla crisi di Riyadh ed alle sue sconfitte, Abu Dhabi ha preso a giocare la sua partita in modo sempre più scoperto.
Da tempo gli Emirati puntano al controllo di Aden ed hanno posto proprie basi nel Corno d’Africa, in Eritrea e Somalia, nell’ottica di un’espansione in un’area strategica; la crescente debolezza saudita ha solo accelerato i questi progetti.
Nei fatti, il piano di scissione dello Yemen risale al 2014, quando il Consiglio del Golfo, allora ampiamente dominato dai sauditi, propose una proposta di pace, subito accettata dal Governo fantoccio di Mansour Hadi, secondo la quale il Paese sarebbe stato diviso in sei regioni federali.
Adesso che le condizioni (e i rapporti di forza) sono mutate grazie alla Resistenza dell’Ansarullah yemenita, si apre uno scenario di crescente contrapposizione fra Arabia Saudita ed Emirati per il dominio sul Paese (o quantomeno sulle parti di esso a cui le due potenze sono interessate), di cui già nell’aprile scorso si sono visti chiaramente i sintomi, quando Mansour Hadi estromise dal suo Governo i personaggi vicini ad Abu Dhabi.
Lo Yemen, come la guerra in Siria e le dinamiche politiche in atto in Iraq, sta imprimendo un’accelerazione al crollo delle strutture di potere e di asservimento che l’Arabia Saudita ha mantenuto sulla regione con l’aiuto di Washington ed ora anche di Israele.
Lo scontro che si delinea fra Riyadh e Abu Dhabi è l’ennesimo segnale dello sgretolarsi degli antichi equilibri; sotto la spinta della Resistenza un nuovo Medio Oriente sta già sorgendo.

1/29/2018

Activists say Bahrain human rights deteriorate as world looks away

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180128-activists-say-bahrain-human-rights-deteriorate-as-world-looks-away/#.Wm40tdiSPSI.twitter


January 28, 2018
Human rights in Bahrain have deteriorated significantly in the past year because international pressure on the Gulf Arab kingdom has weakened, Reuters reports activists as saying on Thursday.
“Bahrain is now clearly sliding in a new and very dangerous direction with 37 people arrested yesterday alone,” said Brian Dooley of US-based Human Rights First.
“The fairly weak level of restraint that was there before has all but gone,” he said, adding that countries influential in Bahrain such as the United States and Britain needed to step up their criticism.
Bahrain, where the Shia Muslim majority is ruled by a Sunni Muslim royal family, has pursued a crackdown on opposition activists since quashing 2011 protests calling for democracy.
Authorities have closed opposition political groupings, revoked dissidents’ passports and arrested suspected militants. Activists say many arrests are for political reasons and breach detainees’ human rights.
Bahrain, where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based, denies clamping down on dissent. It says it faces a militant threat backed by arch-foe Iran on the opposite side of the Gulf.
The Bahraini Embassy in Britain, responding to a request for comment, cited an earlier statement which said that the Gulf state was committed “to transparency and the protection and safeguarding of Human Rights enshrined in the Constitution, as well as in international treaties and obligations”.
Human rights activists, at a news conference in Lebanon on Thursday, said the situation has taken a turn for the worse with 19 people now sitting on death row, renewed reports of torture in detention and military courts now trying civilians.
In January 2017 Bahrain executed three Shia men convicted of killing three policemen in a 2014 bomb attack. They were the first such executions in over two decades, and sparked protests.
Bahrain is due to hold parliamentary elections in 2018.
The activists also said they have concerning new information about the health of detained prominent rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab, and demand he be given access to adequate healthcare.
“Recently alarming signals have multiplied … regarding his detention condition,” said Dimitris Christopoulos, president of human rights organisation FIDH, calling for his release. Rajab is FIDH’s deputy secretary general.
Rajab, a leading figure in the 2011 pro-democracy protests, has been in and out of detention since that time. He faces up to 15 years in jail over Twitter statements he made about the war in Yemen. A verdict is expected on Febuary 21.
“Nabeel is in real danger,” said Sheikh Maytham Al-Salman from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.
Bahraini authorities said Rajab had received medical checks twice in December and January and his health was “stable”.
“We take very seriously the safety and wellbeing, including healthcare both in terms of access and adequacy, of any person, whether in prison or in detention,” the director general of the prisons authority said in a statement.

1/26/2018

Al Jubeir slams Iranian sectarianism


http://gulfnews.com/news/mena/iran/al-jubeir-slams-iranian-sectarianism-1.2162675

Bahraini Foreign Minister calls on Tehran to be part of international coalition to protect region

Davos: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir yesterday condemned Iran’s attempts to destabilise the region, terming it a “vision of darkness”. He was speaking at a panel discussion titled “Finding a New Equilibrium in the Middle East” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, along with UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash and Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa.
Al Jubeir told the forum, “The vision of darkness is sectarianism, it’s trying to restore an empire that was destroyed thousands of years ago, it’s using sectarianism and terrorism in order to interfere in the affairs of other countries so that you can promote this revolution and this imperialistic expansion, even at the cost of the well-being of your own people. That’s the dark vision … It’s called Iran.”

Al Jubeir also said Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman wants to turn Saudi Arabia into a normal and powerful country. “The world is not used to seeing Saudi Arabia moving quickly and boldly. Some criticised Saudi Arabia for progressing slowly, and today the opposite is happening,” he added.
Hinting at Iran, Shaikh Khalid said that it needs to realise that whatever aims it has “be they hegemonic or support for proxies ... will not work”. Making a clear distinction between Iran, with its deep-rooted culture and ancient civilisation, and the present regime, he said, “There is a mistrust that came with the [emergence of] the Islamic republic [in 1979]. Iran really needs to change its behaviour. We are not there to destroy Iran, or interfere with Iran. They need to be part of the international coalition to protect the region with the United States. They should not look at the presence of the [US] Fifth Fleet in Bahrain as a threat. They should not look to export their revolution. They should respect their own revolution and not think of [exporting it].”
Dr Anwar Gargash stressed during the panel the significance of moving from the state of chaos that feeds on religious extremism.
He said too much blood was being spilt in the name of ideologies, and that there was a need to move back to the normal state where security prevailed in a civilian state, he added.
He also said that the recent unrest in Iran was “very significant”. “Clearly the Iranian economy is floored. People want an emphasis on jobs and opportunity. Your [Iran’s] own population wants you to not spend $5 billion [Dh18.3 billion] annually in Syria, $1 billion annually on Hezbollah and concentrate on creating opportunities [at home]. This is the time for Iran to analyse what it is doing, for its own sake. They have to be a normal country. And have a dialogue; we can’t be neighbours and not have dialogue … I am hoping that the anger we saw on Iranian streets does not go in vain …”



Bahrain: Rights groups demand care for jailed activist

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/bahrain-rights-groups-demand-care-jailed-activist-180125152603236.html


The health of a prominent activist jailed in Bahrain is failing and authorities are not providing medical care, international human rights groups said.
Nabeel Rajab - a leading figure in the 2011 protests in Bahrain - was sentenced to two years in jail last July for "disseminating rumours and false information".
He also faces a potential 15-year sentence in a second case linked to comments on Twitter that criticised Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Bahrain, over their military intervention in Yemen's war.   
Bahrain's government has denied healthcare to and "detained, imprisoned, tortured... or forced into exile" a number of prominent dissidents, said a statement by the rights groups on Thursday.
The organisations said they had evidence authorities withheld medication for Rajab, who has been hospitalised multiple times in recent years, "in a clear attempt to threaten his security and integrity".
"Recently alarming signals have multiplied raising security concerns regarding his detention condition," said Dimitris Christopoulos, president of FIDH, an international consortium of 184 non-governmental organisations from around the world.
"The government should put a stop to these tactics and immediately release him. We seriously fear for his life." 
A request for comment from Bahrain's Ministry of Interior wasn't immediately answered.
Bahraini authorities have jailed dozens of activists and disbanded opposition groups since 2011.
Bahrain's government accuses neighbouring Iran of backing the demonstrations in order to overthrow the government, an allegation Tehran denies.

UK fines Al Arabiya for Bahrain 'torture confession'


http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/uk-fines-al-arabiya-bahrain-torture-confession-180126103741660.html

British media regulator, Ofcom, has fined a Saudi-owned channel 120,000 pounds ($171,000) for broadcasting statements by a Bahraini opposition leader, who is now in prison, that were extracted under torture.
Al Arabiya, which is based in Dubai, featuredHassan Mushaima's statements in a February 2016 programme, which dealt with the Bahraini uprising of 2011 and purported ties between the Bahraini opposition and Iran.
In the clip, Mushaima confesses to wanting to overthrow the Bahraini government and replace it with an Iranian style Islamic government.
The comments were filmed while he was in Bahraini police detention.
In April 2017, Ofcom upheld a complaint by Mushaima's representative, Husain Abdulla, claiming Al Arabiya had treated Mushaima unfairly and infringed his privacy without warrant.
Al Arabiya wrongly presented the confessions as "wilful testimony", Ofcom said.
Mushaima, who leads the Haq movement, was sentenced to life by a Bahraini military court for his role in the 2011 protests.
He has maintained that the judgement against him should be overturned as the confessions were obtained under torture.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, which was established by the king of Bahrain, had earlier found that the confessions by Mushaima and other prisoners were made under torture.
Mushaima, the commission said in 2011, was forced to insult his own religion; inappropriately touched while being searched after returning from court or the medical clinic; interrogated two or three times per day; severely beaten during interrogations and burned with cigarettes and choked while being coerced to confess.
"He signed false confessions as a result of threats, particularly against his family. One confession stated that he had carried out operations for Hezbollah as well as kidnappings; both statements were false," the commission's report said.
"For three weeks he was not allowed to see a doctor regarding his injuries from beatings and burns. When he was finally allowed to have a medical examination, the doctor refused to report his injuries."
Despite this report, Mushaima remains in prison.
In a statement published on Thursday by a Bahraini human rights group, Mushaima's son Ali said: "Al Arabiya's deplorable programme shows my father at his most vulnerable and it deeply distressed our whole family."
Ali Mushaima added that the channel had "diverged" from journalistic ethics and allowed itself to become a "propoganda tool".
Thurday's ruling also required Al Arabiya to broadcast Ofcom's judgement and refrain from airing the offending segment again.
Not complying with the ruling could result its UK broadcasting license being revoked.
Al Jazeera was unable to reach Al Arabiya representatives for comment.




Bahrain: Security situation stable

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-security-situation-stable-1.2160622

290 fugitives, suspects referred to public prosecution

Manama: The security situation in Bahrain is stable following the intensification of efforts and the coordination of operations last year to limit escalations, the interior ministry said on Sunday.
The authorities carried out 105 security missions, including the search of 42 sites and warehouses, referred 290 fugitives and suspects to the Public Prosecution and seized a large quantity of weapons, equipment and explosives, Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said as he highlighted some of the most salient public security-related developments in 2017 at a meeting with public figures, religious scholars and legislators.

The minister who was talking as part of the ministry's strategy to reinforce partnership and interaction with the community said a comprehensive operation was launched last year to gather information about active cells in coordination with the National Security Agency and other security agencies.
The operation continued for several months and even as it was going on, some acts of terrorism, such as the November oil pipeline blast in the village of Buri south of the capital Manama, occurred, he said.
The operation showed that terror cells were responsible for storing weapons and bomb-making material and for transporting and distributing bombs and cash, Shaikh Rashid said, displaying envelopes containing BD50 that were distributed as rewards to those carrying out acts of vandalism and terrorism.
The cells are run by individuals in Iran who coordinate with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Popular Mobilisation Forces in Iraq and Hezbollah in Lebanon to train terrorists, he said.
The activities of the members running the cells in Bahrain were not limited to the operation, only but also included previous cases.
"Following vigorous work, the targets were identified and a security plan was put in place to target risks and threats to the homeland on the security map. It was the most important preventive security operation and essentially achieved the arrest of 47 main terrorists. Most of them are members of three terror groups - Saraya Al Ashtar, Saraya Al Muqawama Al Shaabiya and Saraya Al Mukhtarthat- have been internationally designated as terrorist organisations and their members as terrorists."
The operation resulted in arresting dangerous fugitives accused in earlier terrorist crimes and the foiling of terrorist crimes including attempts to assassinate officials and public figures, arson, vandalism and targeting policemen and oil installations.
"Those arrested were referred to the Public Prosecutor’s office which would release the details of its investigations later," the minister said.
He added that individuals implicated in acts of terror would be held legally accountable.
"If the countries in which they live do not cooperate with Interpol and ignore the Red Notice or bilateral coordination, then those individuals will have no civil rights or the right to stay among us," he said.

1/15/2018

Qatar: UN report proof Saudi-led blockade illegal

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/qatar-report-proof-saudi-led-blockade-illegal-180108152547009.html

A blockade against Qatar by several fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is arbitrary and negatively impacting the people of the region, according to a newUN investigation.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, as well as Egypt, cut diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in June last year, accusing it of supporting "terrorism". Doha strongly denies the charge.
In November 2017, representatives from the United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) visited Qatar, where they met with some 20 governmental and civil society groups, as well as people who had been affected by the blockade. 
Following the mission's visit from 17 to 24 November, OHCHR issued a report and sent a copy to the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar (NHCR).
In a press conference on Monday, Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, head of NHRC, said the study was proof the blockade is illegal.
"This report shows without a spec of doubt that these procedures undertaken by blockading countries are not mere diplomatic severing of relations, they are not just an economic boycott," he said.
"These are unilateral, abusive, arbitrary measures that are impacting citizens and expats in Qatar."
Marri said the report described the measures taken against Qatar by the countries imposing the blockade as arbitrary and negatively infringing on human rights. 
He also said the Saudi-led group's actions amounted to "economic warfare".
According to Marri, the OHCHR had requested a visit to the countries imposing the blockade before issuing the report, but never received a reply.
Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, reporting from the Qatari capital, said the report was seen in Doha as "a victory for human rights, and for the citizens who have been affected" by the blockade.
"For the Qataris, this is the first official confirmation by one of the major UN institutions, of what Qatar has been reiterating during the last several months," he added.
Vall noted that the OHCHR report said the sanctions imposed by the Saudi-led group have not distinguished between Qatar's government and Qatari citizens.
He added that the investigation had also found that the measures not only impacted Qataris with interests in the blockading countries, but also citizens of those states residing in Qatar.
The NHCR has previously said that the blockade is "breaking up families and disrupting young people's education".
Before the crisis, GCC citizens enjoyed a great deal of freedom of movement between the six member states, and close tribal ties, meaning that over generations, thousands of intermarriages have been celebrated between Qataris and other GCC citizens.
Visits between these family members have also been made harder, leading to the NHCR previously calling the blockade "worse than the Berlin wall".
Those claims by the NHCR were supported by Amnesty International, which, in June, accused the Gulf states of toying with the lives of thousands of people in their dispute with Qatar.




Bahrain condemns hostile act against UAE civilian aircraft

http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/bahrain-condemns-hostile-act-against-uae-civilian-aircraft-1.2157176

Manama affirms full support for UAE measures to maintain security, stability


1/08/2018

BAHRAIN, UN ARCIPELAGO SPROFONDATO NELLA REPRESSIONE

http://caffedeigiornalisti.it/bahrain-un-arcipelago-sprofondato-nella-repressione/

Il giorno di Natale del 2017, il Bahrain ha emesso 6 sentenze di morte. L’accusa: terrorismo. Per aver tentato di assassinare il Capo della Forza di Difesa del Bahrain, diciotto uomini in tutto sono stati condannati alla pena capitale; otto sono latitanti nel Golfo Persico. Si tratta di un atto gravissimo e intimidatorio contro tutti gli oppositori del governo.
Risale al 4 gennaio scorso il tweet che riporta il fermo di Younis Sultan, picchiato nella stazione di polizia di Hamad Town dall’ufficiale Taher Alalawi. Younis è il fratello più giovane di Mohamed Sultan, difensore dei diritti umani, che lavora con UN Media occupandosi degli abusi nelle carceri.
Nabeel Rajab, tuttora in carcere e presidente del Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, deve affrontare processi separati per alcune sue dichiarazioni pubblicate in un articolo del New York Times, intitolato “Lettera da un carcere bahreinita” e per una missiva pubblicata sul quotidiano Le Monde.
Lo scorso giugno, il Ministero degli Interni ha rifiutato di rinnovare la licenza giornalistica di Nazeeha Saeed, che lavorava regolarmente perFrance 24 e Radio Monte-Carlo. Saeed ha un divieto di viaggio, il famigerato travel ban: l’accusa, per lei e per tutti gli altri, è di mancato accreditamento per lavorare per i media stranieri.

Eman Salehi, giornalista sportiva, uccisa a soli 28 anni
Alla fine di dicembre 2016 Eman Salehi, giornalista sportivo di un’emittente televisiva del Bahrain è stato ucciso. Ancora oggi non sono chiare le circostanze e l’accaduto; è stato fermato un uomo, rilasciato qualche giorno dopo.
Ad aprile, più di venti bahreniti sono stati sottoposti a un divieto di viaggio a Manama; partivano per partecipare al meeting delle Nazioni Unite a Ginevra. In ottobre, a Zainab Al-Khamees del WHRD (Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition), membro dei Diritti Umani del Bahrain, non è stato permesso di uscire dal paese per una sessione importante della Human Rights in Europa.
Ad almeno cinque giornalisti del Bahrain che lavoravano per i media internazionali,Agence France-PresseAssociated PressFrance 24 e Reuters, è stato rifiutato il rinnovo dell’accreditamento; a febbraio 2016, quattro giornalisti americani sono stati arrestati e deportati dopo che il governo li ha accusati di essere entrati nel Paese senza registrarsi come giornalisti e fingendosi turisti.
Per molti giornali americani vige tuttora il divieto di ingresso da parte governo: non possono entrare nel Paese. Proprio il New York Times è uno di questi. Nel maggio 2012, il giornalista Abdulla Al Mannai è stato eletto Freedoms Committee Chairman della Bahrain Journalists Society; limite professionale di Abdulla, una bella quanto liberale formazione canadese. Ha lasciato l’incarico nel maggio del 2014, molto probabilmente no volutamente; nell’occasione, ha dichiarato che i termini erano scaduti.
Prima delle proteste del 2011, la copertura dei notiziari del Bahrain sui fatti politici era più critica e indipendente, al confronto con altri Paesi del Golfo Persico. Da quando sono esplose le proteste, i media e i singoli giornalisti hanno affrontato una crescente pressione da parte del governo, anche attraverso procedimenti legali restrittivi. Come le leggi che vietano le critiche nei confronti dell’Islam, del re, o di emblemi nazionali, considerate azioni che minano la sicurezza dello Stato e la destituzione del governo in carica. Molti giornalisti sono stati imprigionati e accusati di diffamazione, calunnia, divulgazione di segreti: secondo il Cpj, il Commitee to protect journalists, c’erano sette giornalisti dietro le sbarre in Bahrain, da dicembre 2016. I giornalisti locali riportano anche intimidazioni dirette da parte del governo; tutte le pubblicazioni, compreso il quotidiano di opposizione Al Wasat, sono stati chiusi. Internet rappresenta ancora lo spazio alternativo per l’espressione pubblica, ma è strettamente monitorato: il governo dedica risorse considerevoli alla sorveglianza e alla cosiddetta sicurezza informatica.
Secondo l’International Telecommunication Union (Itu), il 98% della popolazione del Bahrain ha avuto accesso a Internet nel 2016.
Le autorità fanno uso di misure tecnologiche e normative per controllare il flusso di informazioni, perseguitando i giornalisti per ogni tipo di violazione. A luglio 2016, il Ministro dell’Informazione ha emesso una nuova nota, un regolamento che richiede ai giornali di ottenere licenze annuali rinnovabili, pubblicate online. Inoltre, ha proibito il live streaming video, così come videoclip più lunghi di 120 secondi. Il governo ha inoltre limitato l’accesso dei giornalisti stranieri al Paese, sia negando l’entrata sia deportando quelli che avevano ottenuto le autorizzazioni e gli accrediti. I primi sei mesi del 2017 hanno visto crescenti casi di intimidazioni e rappresaglie contro i difensori dei diritti umani, giornalisti e membri attivi della società civile. Il Bahrain Center for Human Rights ha documentato un aumento del numero di individui arrestati arbitrariamente, un numero maggiore di proteste, un numero significativo di ordini di revoca della cittadinanza e la fine di una moratoria non ufficiale sulla pena di morte. Tutti i movimenti di opposizione sono stati sciolti e privati dei loro beni. Molti manifestanti pacifici sono morti per le ferite riportate durante gli scontri con le forze di sicurezza e tanti sono stati feriti dall’uso di pallinebirdshot e gas lacrimogeni. Il Bahrain è classificato al 164 ° posto su 180 Paesi nella mappa mondiale della libertà di stampa RSF del 2017.

Pearl Roundabout, Manama, i primi giorni delle proteste contro il governo. Febbraio 2011, foto di Adriana Fara



Saudi Arabia: Cleric Held 4 Months Without Charge

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/07/saudi-arabia-cleric-held-4-months-without-charge

Family Members Under Arbitrary Travel Bans

Beirut) – Saudi authorities have held a prominent cleric for four months without charging or questioning him, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi authorities detained the cleric, Salman al-Awda, on September 7, 2017, and later imposed arbitrary travel bans on members of al-Awda’s immediate family. More...

1/06/2018

Let's Talk: Personal Boundaries, Safety & Women in Journalism

VIDEO: http://www.rcmediafreedom.eu/Multimedia/Video/Let-s-Talk-Personal-Boundaries-Safety-Women-in-Journalism


In October 2017, following the spreading of the #MeToo movement reckoning with sexual harassment, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma asked nine leading female journalists to talk about what it means to be women in journalism, managing personal boundaries and safety, both with sources and colleagues, and how this poses difficult choices and challenges. Women journalists have to face unwanted presumptions, sexual harassment and the threat of gender-based violence. The video is in memory of the murdered Swedish freelance reporter Kim Wall.








1/01/2018

Misreading Qazvin in Washington: On the Protests in Iran

http://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/34931/Misreading-Qazvin-in-Washington

By : Eskandar Sadeghi-Boroujerdi

Iran has featured protests throughout several provincial cities (e.g., Mashhad, Kermanshah, Rasht, and Isfahan) since they first started on Thursday 28 December 2017. Some reports indicate that conservative opponents of the Rouhani government in the north-eastern city of Mashhad initiated the protests. However, they have since spread and escaped their oversight. In the early stages, protestors’ demands largely revolved around spiraling prices of basic foodstuffs and bore the classic signs of frustration with the country’s ongoing economic torpor. Today, they reached Tehran and have been taken up in limited numbers by students around the university. As of yet, it is not clear whether we can speak of one protest movement or several protest movements, as there are different (and sometimes conflicting) grievances and solutions being articulated.
Appropriating “The People”
Commentators and self-styled experts have been quick to jump to hasty conclusions and decree what is driving the present bout of discontent. The giddy enthusiasm of the Trump administration, rightwing DC thinktanks, and many others is palpable. Predictably, the same voices who have consistently demanded Iran’s international isolation, along with the imposition of sanctions, military intervention, and regime change, have rapidly sought to bandwagon the recent expressions of discontent and appropriate them for their own imperial agendas. Such rampant and frankly malevolent opportunism is frustrating to say the least. Within the space of some twenty-four hours, and with only a small number of exceptions, nearly every mainstream Western media outlet has inclined to assimilate legitimate expressions of socioeconomic distress and demands for greater governmental accountability into a question of “regime change.”
Needless to say, these very same individuals and venues have time and again completely ignored the fact that countless strikes and protests from Khuzestan to Tehran, ranging from teachers to retirees, have become a regular occurrence in Iran since President Hassan Rouhani’s 2013 election. The latter’s administration and those sympathetic toward its agenda have sought on many an occasion to scale down levels of securitization and similarly distinguish between those citizens who express legitimate civic grievances and others who seek the system’s overthrow. These may seem like fine distinctions which fail to assuage the liberal conscience, but they are nevertheless immensely important for the institutionalization of legal and mutually recognized channels of civic contestation. These achievements and many others besides (e.g., indications of relaxed policing of “bad hijab” and the commuting of the death penalty for drug smugglers under two kilograms) are not inconsequential or to be belittled. They harbor implications for the lives of thousands if not millions of Iranians.
It is almost as if many of these commentators suffer from a fundamental epistemological blind-spot which ensures such misrecognition, and which makes Iranian state paranoia all the more inevitable. Almost without exception, anytime there are protests these commentators and media outlets depict them as a fundamental question of legitimacy about the system in toto; which in turn can only be solved when said system is swept away in its entirety. Indeed, one of the great dividends of the reformist period, which saw seventy percent of the electorate (some twenty million votes) elect Hojjat al-Islam Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005), was its ability to show that other discourses and political practices exist and are available to citizens. As a process, it was slow and messy, complicated by state parallelism and the disproportionate distribution of powers. It did not always yield immediate alleviation or the much awaited “democratic transition.” However,  it nevertheless allowed people to retain a genuine horizon and belief that their circumstances will gradually improve and empowered them as citizens’ harboring agency for change.
The pernicious “all or nothing” outlook, which permeates mainstream media coverage of discontent inside Iran, systematically prevents serious consideration of other grievances at work. These include growing inequality, high food prices, air pollution and environmental degradation, diminished domestic productive capacities, the lack of economic diversification, youth unemployment, and everyday corruption, to list a few. These issues can hardly be analyzed through wishfully-propelled narratives of “regime change” and the facile assumption that what guides the policies of Western powers and their allies is a commitment to democracy. In fact, if these same commentators could escape their caged prejudices they might realize that these very real issues are faced by many countries across the global south and beyond.
These problematic and skewed kinds of mediatized narratives similarly took hold with the emergence of the 2009 Green Movement. As prominent Iran scholars (Hamid Dabashi among them) have declared time and again, that movement is best seen as a civil rights movement which sought to reform the system relying upon the Islamic Republic’s very own constitutional and normative sources of appeal. The protesters aired their grievances to the country’s leaders and political elite, because the overwhelming majority of those who participated were convinced that their protestations might be taken seriously and could possibly provoke a change in state policy. The basis of people’s objections was their conviction that elements within the state had violated the social compact. Their chant was “where is my vote?” This is why they first took to the streets, as the peaceful right to protest is constitutionally guaranteed, not because they sought to tear the system down.
Historical Precedents
The current protests, at least at their inception (they have since been taken up by students around the University of Tehran), are to some extent similar to the provincial ones witnessed under the presidency of the late Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani (d. 2017) where in 1991-1992 inflation hit over forty-six percent and the price of basic foodstuffs (above all, bread) skyrocketed. This period also featured the devaluation of the Iranian rial to a twentieth of its value. During Rafsanjani’s second term (1993-1997) there were repeated protests over spikes in prices, first in Mashhad and Shiraz in mid-1992 and then Islamshahr and Qazvin in mid-1995. Each protest eventually diffused and subsided, yet subsequently hampered the Rafsanjani government and forced the ambitious president to concede much of his economic policy agenda (e.g., subsidy reductions, increases in foreign borrowing, etc.) to the traditional right, but also those rightists who took matters of social justice more seriously. In large part, this is because the latter (i.e., the right) saw and continue to see the core of their social base emanating from those poorer, often provincial strata.
On this cursory appraisal we can therefore see different political mobilizations making the most of the sudden burst of protest onto the scene: the poorer, economically frustrated which populate provincial towns and the south of the capital; students and disgruntled members of the professional and salaried middle class whose demands align more closely with the student protests of 1999 and Green Movement of 2009, which were quickly, albeit violently curbed. Whether these groups are simply talking past one another (which seems likely) or prove capable of dialogue and coalition building is an open question. Skepticism is warranted though. Plenty of differences certainly exist with respect to the aforementioned precedents, and history never exactly repeats itself. It should also be said that social media and its repercussions for the nature of social mobilizations complicates matters considerably. 
Many of the slogans chanted in this latest round of protests were surely political and relate to frustrations with the status quo. Others, however, demonstrate well how socioeconomic grievances coalesce with expressions of racism and xenophobia. Not exactly news to those following the rise of right-wing populism across Europe and the United States. Such instances do not merely give voice to anger over state support for Hizballah in Lebanon and the Asad regime in Syria, but also anti-Arab discourse and bizarre nostalgia for the days of Reza Shah (i.e., this generation never lived through or experienced the first Pahlavi monarch’s rule); views which have sometimes found themselves cultivated by Western media, but also popular diaspora Persian language TV channels such as Manoto, whose sources have been the subject of much speculation.
A Note on the US Factor
It would be remiss not to mention that the Trump administration has continued to try and thwart foreign investment and Iran’s integration into the global economy. Its aggressive anti-Iran stance and constant demonization of the country has to some extent dovetailed with Rouhani’s preoccupation with reducing inflation and subsidy cuts in view of the collapse of global oil prices, a kind of neoliberalism-lite, only exacerbating matters further. The Obama administration’s drive to sanction Iran’s oil exports and Central Bank between 2011 and 2015, similarly sparked a crisis in the value of the rial in 2012-2013 as the Ahmadinejad government and later that of Rouhani scrambled to acquire foreign currency. In addition, Europe’s inability to resolve Iran’s being locked out of the international banking system has made conduct of even the most rudimentary financial transactions for state and private sector alike a convoluted chore. Such obstacles thrown up by Washington, along with European inertia, show little regard to the diplomatic accord struck between Iran and the P5+1. Given such dynamics, there is little wonder that the Rouhani government is struggling to square the circle.
Conclusion
These protests will surely be something of a wakeup call for the Rouhani government. There is little doubt that expectations have been poorly managed and that people need to see the tangible and material benefits of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and experience its dividends in the course of their daily lives. Thus far, this has not happened. As great an achievement as the nuclear deal was, it is yet to engender the transformative momentum many had set their hearts on. This is, of course, something, the Trump administration does not want to see happen. In fact, Trump, the Israeli government, and many other malign forces are banking on failure. However, the Iranian government has no choice but to rethink its current economic strategy; which is in large part a hang-over of the Rafsanjani era: namely, the transformation of the Islamic Republic into a technocratic, free market and business friendly exemplar for other Muslim nations. Foreign tourists as well as symbolic deals with Boeing (which Trump is aiming to destroy), Total, and Italian coffeeshop chains might be all well and good. However, for many struggling Iranians, it is not going to provide the country with the more just, equitable, and sustainable political economy they desire and deserve.