27-Dec-11 World View — Iran's Naval Units Begin Main Stage of Ten-Day War Games

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Syria’s violence enters new phase as Arab League intervenes
  • Arab League monitor is reportedly wounded in Syria
  • Syria releases Iranian prisoners to make room for more Syrians
  • Ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel clash with police over gender issues
  • Israel politicians call for recognition of Armenian genocide
  • Iran’s naval units begin main stage of ten-day war games
  • Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr escalates Iraq’s political crisis
  • Yemen’s president Saleh to come to U.S. for medical care

Syria’s violence enters new phase as Arab League intervenes


Anti-government protesters burn an image of President Bashar al-Assad during a demonstration in Homs. (Reuters)
Anti-government protesters burn an image of President Bashar al-Assad during a demonstration in Homs. (Reuters)

Violence appears to be intensifying as Arab League monitors arrive to enforce a peace agreement that exists only on paper. Syria agreed to allow up to 200 Arab League monitors into Syria when the Arab League threatened to turn the issue over to the U.N. Security Council, with the possibility that the UNSC will take some action, as they did in Libya. The first 50 monitors arrived on Monday, as there are reports that the Bashar al-Assad regime is planning a huge massacre in Homs, the city at the heart of the anti-Assad protests. “What’s happening in Syria is genocide,” according to Mustashar Mahgoub, an Arab League observer, who said, “This is a regime that is taking revenge on its people.” DPA

Arab League monitor is reportedly wounded in Syria

Mustashar Mahgoub, the Arab League monitor quoted above, was injured in an attack in Homs, according to a Syrian activist:

“Our people managed to take four observers from their Damascus Hotel (Sham Hotel) without the notification of the Syrian government on Sunday night to show them the reality of what is happening inside the neighbourhoods of Baba Amr and Khailidyeh. While we were touring the area the shelling started and he was wounded by the fire of the Syrian security forces.”

The Arab League is denying that any of their monitors have been wounded, but whether true or not, this situation shows how the violence in Syria is entering a much more dangerous phase. No one seriously believes that allowing the monitors to enter Syria is anything but a stalling ploy by al-Assad’s regime, and that al-Assad intends to control the monitors by using “minders” to restrict their movements. Some reports indicate that monitors are being prevented from using satellite phones to talk to activists. These actions are going to infuriate the Arab League monitors, and motivate them to make unauthorized trips, risking monitor casualties that could cause an Arab League country to intervene militarily. Deutsche-Presse Agentur (DPA)

Syria releases Iranian prisoners to make room for more Syrians

A source from Iran is saying that Syrian authorities have released thousands of Iranian prisoners in Syrian jails, mainly on drugs and riot charges. “A convict who was handed a life sentence for drug dealing has recently returned to Iran and confirmed that all other Iranian prisoners were released and are all now back in Iran,” according to the Iranian source. According to the source, this unexpected step aims at emptying Syrian prisons that are now ready to receive as many revolutionaries and political activists as possible. Syria’s opposition confirms that the number of political detainees has so far reached 100,000, the majority of which are kept in deplorable conditions. Al-Arabiya

Ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel clash with police over gender issues


An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man argues with a secular man during the protests (Reuters)
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man argues with a secular man during the protests (Reuters)

Approximately 300 ultra-Orthodox Jews began chasing police officers, hurled rocks at them, and burned trashcans on Monday after police were called to remove a sign on a main street that orders the separation of men and women in a neighborhood in Beit Shemesh, a town near Jerusalem. On Sunday, a Channel 2 news team was attacked and beaten by 200 ultra-Orthodox men at the same location on the street where the sign that was removed had been hanging. Other recent incidents including spitting at an 8-year-old girl for “dressing immodestly” and attacking a woman who refused to move to the back of the bus. The ultra-Orthodox Jews appear to want to impose gender restrictions similar to those imposed by hardline Muslim Sharia law. Telegraph and Haaretz

Israel politicians call for recognition of Armenian genocide

Politicians from the left and right in Israel’s Knesset (parliament) are calling on the government to officially recognize the 1915 war in Turkey as a Turkish genocide of Armenians. This occurs just after France’s National Assembly passed a bill making denial of Armenian genocide a crime punishable by a year in jail, causing a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and France. Relations between Israel and Turkey have been on a downhill ride since May 31, 2010, when a confrontation between Israel’s armed forces and a Gaza “Freedom Flotilla” resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens. The Knesset’s current motion is not new, having been placed on the agenda in 1989. However, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said that it would be irresponsible to make any official declarations on the genocide matter. Jerusalem Post

Iran’s naval units begin main stage of ten-day war games

Iran’s navy has completed on Monday the preliminary stage of ten-day naval war games to exercise control of the Strait of Hormuz. Submarines, warships, missile-firing destroyers, coast-to-sea missile systems, drones, and electronic warfare equipment will be tested during the exercises with live fire. The war games would be staged in a large area from the east side of the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman to the northern Indian Ocean. In terms of intelligence, the maneuvers would cover a vast area stretching from the northern Indian Ocean to the Gulf of Aden. Tehran Times

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr escalates Iraq’s political crisis

The political party loyal to radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called Monday for the dissolution of Iraq’s parliament and new elections. Iraq plunged into a new sectarian political crisis last week when Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki called for the arrest of the country’s top Sunni political figure, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi. Al-Hashemi is currently hiding out in Iraq’s Kurdish north, out of reach of al-Maliki. The political crisis has been escalating just days after the last American troops withdrew, and was worsened by a huge terrorist attack in central Baghdad. AP

Yemen’s president Saleh to come to U.S. for medical care

The administration has decided to allow Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment of medical problems stemming from a near-fatal bomb blast in June at the mosque in his presidential complex. The decision is considered controversial because Yemen’s protesters would like to see him remain in Yemen for prosecution. UPDATE: The White House later denied this report, saying that no decision had been made. Politico

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