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Newest Line of fire Not sure how this runs out eventually

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Dahi Khalfan, Dubai’s police chief has once again praised the Egyptian army’s crackdown on high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood figures. His latest remarks come as senior officials and even the supreme guide of the Brotherhood have been taken into custody. Khalfan taunted the Brotherhood’s supreme guide by stating on Twitter “After today, there is no more guide.” Khalfan was referring to Mohamed Badie, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.


On August 31, Al-Ahram reported that Badie had suffered a cardiac arrest while in prison, but that he has since recovered. State news agency MENA denied a report that Badie had died, while Brotherhood spokesmen did not respond to immediate requests about his health. Badie, whose condition is said to be stable, was among many Muslim Brotherhood leaders arrested in recent crackdown.


After Morsi’s overthrow, the Emirates, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia and various other families in the Persian Gulf emerged as the primary financiers of the Egyptian army, offering the institution large sums of money in order to subdue ‘terrorists’ operating in Egypt, a term primarily used in reference to pro-Morsi supporters.


In response, Egypt’s Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah el-Sisi responded by thanking the kingdoms of Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia for their sustained support in restoring peace to Egypt. Khalfan has long deemed the Muslim Brotherhood a danger to the emirate. In an effort to counter pro-Morsi online activists, he recently devised an ‘alternative’ logo to the hand with four fingers utilized by pro-Morsi supporters decrying the ‘coup’ as illegitimate.


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On Anniversary of July War, Deadly Bomb Blast Rocks Beirut

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An explosion rocked the Southern Suburbs of Beirut on the Anniversary of the July War 2006 at 6:18 PM Lebanese time. This is the second bomb penetrating Dahieh, Beirut’s Southern Suburbs in recent months. The explosion took place in the Ruwais area of Dahieh covering the main road of Ruwais and Bir al-Abed. Immediately after the blast, ambulances and fire brigades were seen rushing to the scene. Residents of the Southern Suburbs stated that they were paying the price for their victory over Israel in 2006.


Dozens of cars were damaged by the explosion. Fire fighters and civil defense workers shuffled to evacuate a number of citizens trapped inside of the buildings surrounding the area. Al-Mayadeen initially maintained that 10 civilians were reportedly deceased and 80 were injured. However, casualties have now risen to 21 deceased and 336 injured. Dahieh is one of the more densely populated areas of Beirut. Salafist groups and/or Israel are believed to be behind the attack on the residential area.


Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper reported that on Friday night, the Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau carried out three raids in Beirut to arrest suspects linked to Thursday’s Dahieh blast. A Lebanese national, Syrians, and Palestinians were arrested in a raid in the Tariq al-Jadideh neighborhood.



Although Dahieh is predominantly Shia, Sunni and Christian communities also reside in the area. The Shia are a persecuted group throughout the Middle East, despite their political or apolitical affiliation. The building near which the explosion went off had been destroyed once before during the July War of 2006 and was apparently rebuilt. Al-Akhbar reported on a video was posted online less than half and hour after the explosion. In the video, a hooded man flanked by two other weapon-toting men wearing hoods claims the Aisha Brigades for External Mission were responsible for the Ruwais blast.


Immediately after the blast, the Washington Post, the Daily Star, CNN, Fox News, the New York Times and the BBC controversially referred to Beirut’s southern suburb as a “Hezbollah stronghold”. The effort to name and frame a civilian area became contested with netizens openly expressing their anger over the reporting. Reducing the area to a “Hezbollah stronghold” was flagged by these critics as a deliberate attempt to frame the terror attacks against civilians in an area as justified and acceptable.


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Jordan’s Defensive Democracy Strategy

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The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been following a precise branding strategy. The country became one of the most attractive business and touristic destinations in the Middle East. One slogan dominates the center stage and is the core of the official ideology: Jordan is a haven in the war-torn Middle East. This is a great leap for a country with little historical importance (except archeological), without a coherent national identity and deprived of natural resources. Amman, Jordan’s capital, is trying to be Beirut and Dubai at once – a liberal cosmopolitan city like Beirut and a business hub like Dubai. What is the cost of such a transformation?


Defensive democratization characterizes regimes which respond to threats by cyclic political liberalization are usually aborted when stability is restored. In addition, Jordan’s economic liberalization is taking place not only at the expense of the deprived, but also at that of political liberalization, thus leading to growth without development. In fact, political activity is nearly non-existent in the traditional monarchy. Today, frustration is the key word in many Jordanian cities and among a number of Jordanian groups.


Zarqa, a mostly poor city a couple of minutes outside Amman, is also home to the very infamous Zarqawi (who holds the city’s name) – an Al-Qaeda militant killed in 2006. Many young Jordanians are recruited to join organizations linked to Al-Qaeda fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even Amman’s luxurious hotels were not spared by violence in the 2006 bombings. Every summer, a number of tourists are subject to violent acts (stabbing, shooting) in the more popular areas of Eastern Amman. At the same time, the king of Jordan seems to believe that the most prominent threat comes from Tehran and its Shia crescent – putting an end to the construction of the first Shia mosque in the country in 2006.


Observers, scholars and diplomats in the West are rarely concerned with Jordan’s political development process (unlike that of its neighbors). On the contrary, many praise the Hashemite’s unique management of the country failing to perceive Jordan’s “defensive democratization” as such. When King Abdullah II arrived to the throne, his focus was on fostering Jordan’s modern identity. He launched national campaigns such as “Jordan First” and the “National Agenda” promoting social cohesion. His business plans however slightly shook the traditional support base. He concentrated on pleasing the business elite (majorly Palestinian) at the expense of the tribal leaders.


The Hashemite Kingdom, alien to the region where it established its reign since 1946, sought legitimacy through a support base among tribal chiefs and minorities. These groups were integrated in the state machine through governmental, administrative and military jobs. Facing regional and internal threats, specifically those created by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict knowing that an estimated 70% of the Jordanian population is Palestinian, the government has constantly responded with authoritarian measures (martial law, banning of political activities and parties, suffocating civil society, growing role of intelligence, etc.). During the 1980’s, the government was not capable of financing his support base anymore. The IMF recommended the restriction of governmental expenditures. At that point, King Hussein launched a liberalization process that was enhanced by the signature of the peace treaty with Israel in 1994. Once economic prosperity was re-established, political liberalization came to a halt, specifically to paralyze the Muslim Brotherhood which was radically opposed to the peace process with Israel.


Western media, diplomats and scholars seldom have anything to say about Jordan’s democratic development and political liberalization. This is principally explained by the fact that Jordan is a vassal state serving the interest of mainly the USA in the Middle East. It comes as no surprise that according to the Jordan-US free trade agreement, products exported to the USA from Jordan should have a minimum requirement of value added in Israel.


By our contributor: M. Marji

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