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Entries from February 2009

Lena Chamamyan performing in Syria

February 24th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

The incredible Lena Chamamyan is playing three concerts in Syria this week. She will be in Damascus on Wednesday (25 Feb) at the Zahra Cinema at 8pm (tickets from Koko CD shop in the Old City, near Albal cafe in Qaimariyeh – 300/500 SP). Then she will be in Latakia on Friday (27 Feb) at […]

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Human Rights Watch says Syria has only 30 political prisoners

February 24th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Human Rights Watch has been incredibly active on its Syria programme recently. And now it has put out a piece claiming Syria has 30 political prisoners. I’ve had a long-running distaste for HRW. The vast majority of their funding comes from within the US (because almost all of their members are American). That means most […]

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The Guardian gets rare Bashar interview

February 17th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

The Guardian has this splashed all over its front page tonight: The wonderful Ian Black, the Guardian’s Middle East editor is the man with the coup. He knows Damascus well, and has travelled to Syria several times over the past couple of years. Some quotes: “There is no substitute for the United States,” Bashar said – […]

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Kadima ahead of Likud in Israeli election

February 10th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Israel’s Kadima party – led by Tzipi Livni – looks like it has pulled off a dramatic win in the election. Netenyahu’s Likud party seems to have 26 seats, with Kadima on 28. All through the campaign, far-right ex-Prime Minister Netenyahu was ahead in the polls. He has promised to “kick Hamas out of Gaza” […]

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Obama ends Syrianair embargo

February 10th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Syrianair is being allowed to buy parts for two of its Jumbo Jets which have been grounded for years. And it seems this is just the start of the new era between Syria and America, with a whole range of sanctions being lifted. The Boeing 747s were unsafe to fly – even by Syrian standards. […]

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US appoints Ambassador to Syria for the first time since 2005

February 9th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Frederic Hof is going to be Barack Obama’s man in Damascus. He fills a role that’s been left empty since 2005. George Bush withdrew his ambassador two days after Rafiq Al-Hariri was killed, blaming Syria for the attack. Barack Obama, and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have both emphasised their committment to put Syria […]

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The One State Solution – coming to mainstream American TV

February 8th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized

We’ve been talking a lot about the One State Solution for Palestine and Israel. Now it has become an acceptable talking point. After a lot of buzz across the world, the idea made it into the New York Times a few weeks ago. Now, it is the turn of CBS’s Sixty Minutes. And it is […]

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Beirut tops America’s travel list

February 7th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

The New York Times has picked its forty-four top places to go in 2009. Beirut makes it on to the list. But it’s not scrabbling around near the bottom – Beirut is number 1. It says now is the time to go, with violence taking a break, and two luxury hotels set to open this year […]

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Syrians arrested by Israel

February 6th, 2009 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

A group of Syrian and Lebanese aid workers have been arrested and deported from Israel. They had been on a ship carrying essential medical aid sailing from Lebanon to Gaza. Israel – which claims to have ended its occupation of Gaza – attacked the ship in international water. (Attacking a ship outside a country’s territorial […]

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