Hand amputations in Iran to Neo-Nazis in Denmark

Iran police say ready to carry out hand amputations

The Times of Oman reports today from Tehran: Iranian police are ready to enforce Islamic punishment law, such as amputating hands, because a failure to carry out these punishments had led an increase of crimes, the Ebtekar newspaper reported on Monday. Under Iran’s Islamic law, repeat offenders face amputation of their fingers for theft, but sentences are seldom carried out, especially in public. In recent years, such sharia sentences have rarely been reported. “Not carrying the Islamic punishment law, particularly its most important part that is hand amputation, spreads insecurity in Iran,” said Asghar Jafari, head of Iran’s criminal police, Ebtekar reported. “Police are ready to carry out hand amputation of convicted criminals.” The United Nations and rights activists have in the past criticised Iran for such amputations. Iran dismisses the criticism, saying the sentences are part of sharia. – November 9, 2009.

Iran sends arms via Eritrea: Opposition

From the Gulf Times, Qatar: Iran is using Eritrea as a base to provide weapons to Shia insurgents in Yemen, an Eritrean opposition leader alleged yesterday. “They (rebels) are receiving their arms from Iran through Eritrea,” Bashir Eshaq, head of external relations for the opposition Eritrean Democratic Alliance, told AFP in an interview. “The weapons arrive in Eritrea’s coastal towns—mainly Assab, and from then onwards, Houthi rebels smuggle the arms to Yemen at night,” he added. Eritrea lies just across the Red Sea to the west of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The Horn of Africa nation has frosty relations with the West, but has recently fostered close economic ties with Iran. Sanaa routinely accuses Tehran’s Shia regime of backing the insurgents, a charge the insurgents deny. Yemeni authorities announced last month they had seized five Iranian nationals on a boatload of weapons destined for the rebels, but Iranian state-owned television dismissed the allegations as a “media lie.” – November 8, 2009.

Yemen submits proof of Iranian groups’ support for Houthis

Yemen seizes weaponsThe Yemen Times has reported: Yemen provided the Islamic Republic of Iran with evidence proving involvement of Iranian religious groups in supporting Houthi followers during their fight with the Yemeni army, Information Minister Hassan Al-Lawzi, who is also spokesperson for the government said. He didn’t reveal what the nature or content of this evidence is. The Yemeni authorities said they caught an Iranian ship two weeks ago on Yemen’s western shore. “The relevant authorities are currently investigating five crew members, who were aboard the ship, which crossed via ports of some Arab states through contacts with officials of these states,” Al-Lawzi said. He confirmed that the ship is still caught up in Yemen and its crew is being investigated. – November 5. 2009.

(Al-Arabiya reported last week that Yemen’s navy seized an Iranian ship [seen here on the left] loaded with anti-tank weapons off its north-west coast in the Red Sea, an Al Arabiya correspondent in Sanaa reported, citing informed government sources. The sources added that five Iranians and one Indian aboard the ship were detained and immediately taken to the capital Sanaa for investigation. The ship was reportedly heading to Yemen’s northern coast to unload its weapons’ shipment in an area where it could be temporally hidden before being transported to the Houthi rebels in the Saada province. The six-member crew aboard the ship were weapons experts who were sent to Yemen to replace other Iranians fighting alongside the Houthi rebels and who are thought to be wounded in battles with the government forces)

Thousands in West Bank urge Abbas not to quit

Abbas The Kuwait Times reports that thousands of Palestinians turned out in the West Bank yesterday to urge Mahmoud Abbas to run again for the presidency following his announcement that he did not want a second term in the job. Waving flags, Abbas supporters greeted the president as he conducted a rare tour of towns in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, part of the territories where the Palestinians aim to establish a state. Mahmoud Abbas, don’t step down! You are the foundation,” chanted the crowd. The Fatah movement, which Abbas heads, had called for participation in the show of support. “We need you,” Hebron governor Hussein al-Araj told Abbas during a reception at which supporters urged him not to quit. In a short address, Abbas did not respond to their calls. – November 9, 2009.




Turkey and the Arab world: A parting of roads?

Ahmadinejad and ErdoganFrom the Jordan Times: Turkey’s regional profile has shifted considerably since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 2003 ascent to power in hitherto secular Turkey. His Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) won enough seats in the country’s legislature to give him sweeping powers to change the direction of his country, both domestically and externally. Erdogan’s Turkey has turned its attention from Europe – after the European Union repeatedly shunned his country’s efforts to join the union – towards the Middle East, of which the premier wanted Turkey all along to be part of, and beyond, where Islam is a dominant factor. . . .Ankara’s traditionally warm relations with Israel were also a casualty of Erdogan’s new and daring policy. Israel no longer conducts military exercises with Turkish forces and Turkey is no longer offered as a territory for Israel’s aerial exercises. Turkey’s relationship with the Palestinians grew at a fast pace; Ankara can now be counted on as a loyal supporter of the Palestinian struggle for liberation and independence. Erdogan’s rhetoric on the Palestinian conflict matches that of the Arab and Muslim worlds, and more. This is all good news for the Arab world. But the Turkish prime minister’s latest gambit, of getting closer to Iran and supporting Tehran’s nuclear stance, might be a point where Turkey parts company with some major Arab countries in the region. Ankara’s growing relations with Tehran cast an alarming shadow on Turkey’s long-term policy and objectives in the region. . . .There is much shifting of powers and alliances in the Middle East, and unless statesmanship rules in Turkey, Ankara’s new role in the area may not help it achieve Turkey’s long-term objectives in the region. – November 9, 2009 (Check out Inside Story: Iran and Turkish relations at jewishinfoNews Video)

Israel says threat of attack on Iran, no bluff

The Palestine Chronicle has reported: Following years of persistent threats by Israel to attack Iran, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister rejects speculations that the warnings are just a bluff, insisting they are very real. Nearly three weeks after three consecutive days of nuclear negotiations between officials from Iran, the United States, Russia and France, Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon accused the Tehran government of stalling tactics. Speaking to Sky News on Saturday, Ayalon accused Iran of not being sincere in its negotiation with the P5+1 over its uranium enrichment program. “If Iranian behavior and conduct continues as they have exhibited so far, it is obvious that their intentions are only to buy time and procrastinate,” Ayalon said. The Israeli official went on to repeat long-standing military threats against Iran, insisting that a military option will not be taken off the table against the country if other measures fail. Insisting that the threat is real and not a bluff, Ayalon said, “The one who’s bluffing is Iran, which is trying to play with cards they don’t have.” – November 8, 2009.

Illiteracy in Arab world growing: Report

Saudi Arabia’s Arab News states: A report on knowledge, released at the Arab Strategy Forum on Wednesday, warned of large-scale illiteracy in the Arab world.Despite the fact that the region had spent five percent of its gross domestic product and 20 percent of its national budget on education one third of its adult population, (60 million people), remain illiterate — two thirds of them women. According to the report this situation will worsen in the future because 9 million children of primary school age are out of school. The report sought urgent action to remedy the problem. The report highlighted the many obstacles to development focusing mainly on the fact that knowledge doesn’t reach all levels of society, in particular the disadvantaged groups. At the same time education at university level is not necessarily on par with advanced nations which is one of the main obstacles as it creates a critical mass of highly-skilled human capital capable of innovation, creativity and renewal, and essential to development.- October 29, 2009.

Neo-Nazi protecting Denmark’s Royal Family

Qatar’s Gulf Times reports from Denmark: The Danish army has admitted that a leading figure in Denmark’s neo-Nazi party and an admirer of Adolf Hitler was serving in the military unit responsible for protecting the royal family. Daniel Carlsen, 19, a member of the Danish National-Socialist Movement (DNSB), is part of the royal guard whose duties include protecting the royal palace, a spokesman for Denmark’s army chief told AFP, confirming a report in a regional newspaper. “We have freedom of speech in Denmark, one is free to join the army and also be a member of a movement,” said spokesman Kim Gruenberger, when asked if there was a risk in having a neo-Nazi protecting a constitutional monarch, Queen Margrethe. “He is doing his service, he is in training, and he is not directly protecting the queen, and after four months of service he is expected to return home,” Gruenberger said, adding that Carlsen was not obliged to declare that he belonged to a neo-Nazi party when he signed up for military service. Unlike other European countries, Denmark tolerates an openly Nazi party. Neo-Nazi Danes regularly hold parades, carrying swastikas, and claiming nostalgia for Hitler’s Germany. The Nazi party can also present candidates in elections. Carlsen has said in the past that Hitler was his idol, that he was an enemy of democracy and that he did not believe that the Nazis exterminated the Jews during World War II, according to the daily Aarhus Stiften, which broke the story. Carlsen is considered one of the top neo-Nazis in Denmark after the movement’s leader, Jonni Hansen, the report said. Carlsen spoke at an event to mark Adolf Hitler’s birthday at the Danish Neo-Nazi party’s headquarters last March, the newspaper added. – November 9, 2009.

(Photo credits: Yemen- Al-Arabiya; Abbas- Kuwait Times; Turkey- Armtown)

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