Middle East News – July 28th

A group of dedicated Star Wars fans have restored the ranch from Episode IV: A New Hope in a remote Tunisian desert

– President Obama has signed into law a bill that will sent $70 million to Israel in the next year to build a state of the art missile defense system – The signing was timed to overshadow Mitt Romney’s visit to Jerusalem – Al-Jazeera

– A group of hardcore Star Wars fans have restored the Tunisian ranch that was used for the Tatooine scenes in the original trilogy – CNN

– Syrian rebel and government forces are preparing for a climactic battle in the city of Aleppo in what could be the decisive battle of the civil war – BBC

– Libyan rebels who fought against Gaddafi’s regime have moved to Syria to help the rebels there in their fight against the Assad regime – CNN

– Saudi Arabian security forces opened fire on Shi’ite protesters in the western part of the country yesterday – Al-Jazeera – In the western Qatif region government forces have arrested a number of protesters who were on a short list of trouble makers the government wished to arrest – CNN

– Dubai’s police chief has warned Gulf states that there may be a vast conspiracy to overthrow the existing governments in that region, though he did not cite his source – Al-Bawaba

Middle East News – July 5th

Kuwait’s Emir Sabah who recently asked the reigning Prime Minister to form a new government and prepare for elections. Many believe this is a sign that the Sabah family will begin to relinquish power in Kuwait in the coming years.

– President Assad says that Syria’s protestors were unsuccessful in their attempts to generate the mass appeal of protests in countries like Egypt and Tunisa – CNN

– Wikileaks is releasing over two million e-mails from Syrian government officials that it says are ’embarrassing’ to the regime – BBC

– Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Sabah, emir of Kuwait, has asked his Prime Minister to form a new government and prepare for new elections in the coming months – this is a further sign that the Sabah family, which has ruled Kuwait for over 250 years, may finally be giving up its power – Al-Bawaba

– International charity Oxfam has issued a stern condemnation of Israel’s continuing settlement building in Palestinian territory.  The charity says that this is severely hampering economic development for Palestinians in the region – BBC

– Iraq’s foreign minister says that Al-Qaeda members are flooding into Syria as that country further descends into internal turmoil and is unable to fully police its borders – Al-Jazeera

– Tunisia has joined the call of Arab states for a renewed investigation into the death of form PLO leader Yasser Arafat amid reports that he may have been poisoned – Al-Jazeera

– A meeting of Syrian opposition groups to decide upon united strategic and political front in the conflict against the Assad regime ended in arguments and scuffles.  This showcases the disorganized nature of the Syrian resistance movements. – Al-Bawaba

– An 11-year old boy arrested in connection to protests in Bahrain has been released from jail today.  However, the government has declared that he must be closely watched as punishment for aiding in the ‘blocking’ of roads during a May anti-government protest – Al-Jazeera

– Archaeologists in Israel have discovered an immaculately preserved fourth century Synagogue with mosaics depicting Samon’s exploits from the Torah – This represents one of the finest mosaics ever discovered from this era – BBC

– More and more women are playing basketball in Saudi Arabia, going against the time honored taboo against females participating in sports – this comes on the heels of Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it would allow women to participate in future Olympic Games – CNN

Arab Spring Lecture – Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow: UNESCO, NWICO and the U.S. – NAIROBI 1976 and the February 2011 ‘Arab Spring’

Edris Makward
Professor Emeritus, Department of African Languages and Literature
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Time and Location: 12:00pm, 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI
Click the link below for further information on Professor Makward’s discussion of the NWICO organization and how it affected the Arab Spring of February 2011.