Unconventional Arabic Language Resources, Vol. 1

1950s DLI students sit riveted by another mind-blowing Arabic lesson.

In the military, within the language analyst community (government speak for ‘translator’), there is a phrase that sends shivers down the spines of most service-members. The phrase is… “language maintenance.” It makes the language retention process sound as interesting and thrilling as changing a car’s oil, which is probably why most military “language maintenance” materials are so damned boring. From my experience, most materials consisted of either a written article from Al Jazeera or BBC Arabic, or a 2-3 minute audio passage from the same sources. Bilateral trade agreements! Weather reports! The Joy! Now, these sorts of materials are certainly important – especially since the DLPT draws almost exclusively from them – but they can become stale very quickly, especially at the higher levels. It’s also understandable that since the personnel tasked with putting together materials for language maintenance are swamped with a million other tasks, they naturally reach for the same resources time and again. In that regards, I thought I’d list a few places where you can find Arabic Language materials that are both authentic and engaging.

Disclaimer: I like Arabic, but I love Iraq and Iraqi Arabic. As such, you’ll probably notice a certain bias towards materials related to Iraq. You just got to deal with it, yo. Also, most of these materials are probably in the 2+ and higher range of the ILR scale. If you aren’t there yet, you might not get as much out of these.

1. The Harmony Program Documents from West Point’s Countering Terrorism Center
These documents are probably some of the most unique documents of their kind on the internet. Documents captured from insurgents and terrorists across Iraq and Afghanistan were made available by the US Military to researchers at West Point’s CTC under the agreement that they were allowed to be publicly published. It doesn’t get more “real” than this. Want to read the letter that al-Qa’ida’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, sent to the former leader of al-Qa’ida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? What about the form that al-Qa’ida required its soldiers to fill out if they were quitting jihad in Iraq? There are tons of different documents that you can pore over; all of them interesting and historical. The best part of all, however, is that every single Arabic Language document has an English translation accessible by clicking the “View English Translation” button in the upper right corner of the page. It not only provides a word-for-word translation, but adds context and background history on the who/what/where/when/why of each document. You almost don’t need your trusty Hans Wehr!

2. Baghdad TED Talks
Yeah, you read that right. Official TED talks… in Arabic… from Baghdad. This is actually very, very recent (last week). The footage isn’t actually up on the official site just yet, but you can still watch a replay of the livestream here.

3. Iraqiyah Confessions
These are pretty wild; there isn’t really any correlation to this practice on mainstream American TV. Basically, some of the most “infamous” of Iraqi terrorists and insurgents that are rounded up by US/Iraqi Forces are brought on TV for dramatic one-on-one mea culpas where they detail their sordid jihadi ways. One of the lengthiest interviews is one done with Munaf al-Rawi, the so-called “Wali of Baghdad,” who led al-Qa’ida in Iraq’s Baghdad operations and who was captured back in 2010 and sentenced to death this March. The entire interview can be found conveniently pieced together on my youtube playlist. There’s plenty more out there. I should note, some people might find it repulsive to dedicate 30-40 minutes listening to a terrorist talk, but I think most people will see the value. Maybe I’ll post a transcript some day for the non-Arab speaking folks out there?

4. al-Jazeera Sports
I have a theory that sometimes the best thing to do on certain days is just put on some Arabic in the background and let your mind absorb and work with the Arabic passively. Don’t worry about looking up words, don’t mess with trying to understand everything, just get in that messy stream of Arabic and let it wash over you like a warm shower. That’s right. And, in my opinion, the best way to do that is to put al-Jazeera Sports on. They generally have soccer (football lol) on at some point during the day and it’s super easy to just pull it up and watch some soccer for 30 minutes. This method is even more beneficial if you follow American sports, as a lot of the chatter between broadcasters is the same so it is fairly easy to figure out what they are chatting about after a while. al-Jazeera Sports streams live from this website. Enjoy!

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Al Jazeera: Muhammad al-Barad’i: “Husni Mubarak’s Regime is Teetering”

Note: As the protests in Egypt continue into their second day, I decided to post these remarks from the leading Egyptian opposition figure, Muhammad al-Barad’i. Egypt has had many opposition leaders over the years, but none have had such a highly respected and global presence as al-Barad’i, who was the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997-2009. He is most well-known for his work with Hans Blix on the WMD inspection teams that were in Iraq until the American invasion in 2003, as well as the ongoing dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. He also won the Nobel Peace prize in 2005. After leaving the IAEA in 2009, there has been much speculation as to whether or not he might run for President in 2011 as he is an Egyptian citizen by birth.

Historically Husni Mubarak has been able to squash any opponents using physical intimidation and wide-spread corruption at polling centers but al-Barad’i’s international visibility would make it much harder for Mubarak to pull off such a campaign and harder for Western governments to ignore. (Of course we did pretty good job of ignoring Afghanistan President Karzai’s ballsy act of rigging the 2010 elections in his favor, so who knows?) It remains to be seen whether or not the events of the past few days will lead to a full-scale revolution like the one in Tunisia last week, or if it will just be a short-lived outburst like the massive protests in Iran after the 2009 elections.

I also included the following links with more updates on the situation in Egypt:

The New York Times – Protesters in Egypt Defy Ban as Government Cracks Down

Foreign Policy – Will the Arab Revolutions Spread?, Day of Rage (Pictures), You’re So Vain, You Probably Think These Protests are About You

al-Jazeera (عربية) – Egyptians Break Through the Barrier of Fear, Protests Continue in Egypt as the Death Toll Rises, Internet is Blocked in Egypt and Websites are Taken Down

-David

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/1B8CD42F-3A3F-4023-8CC0-59B54EBFDA03.htm

al-Barad'i: "The Muslim Brotherhood has distanced themselves from violence for half a century and have focused on reforms and changes instead of focusing on gaining power."
The Egyptian opposition leader and former General Secretary for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Muhammad al-Barad’i stated that, “The time for change by way of the ballot box has to come an end in Egypt as Husni Mubarak has closed all the doors to reform and a peaceful transfer of authority. As such, taking to the street is the only way now to realize the aspirations of the people.”

al-Barad’i told the German weekly, Der Spiegel, that Egyptians have been protesting in greater numbers for the first time, “As a result of the collapse of the “culture of fear” that President Husni Mubarak’s regime has kept alive his entire time in power.” He expressed that the increasing protests in Egypt are an indication of a historic turning point, “As Egyptians come to realize that their fate is in their own hands and not in anyone else’s.”

He added, “The Egyptian regime has refused in the past and continues to refuse all calls for reform, they are completely disconnected from the reality their people are living in and can’t even look [around them] or hear [the pleas for reform]. I have warned Mubarak of the consequences of waiting for these issues to come to a head … the time has come for him to pay the price.”

Conditions for Success

al-Barad’i likened the recent Egyptian protests to an unstoppable snowball rolling down and gaining momentum. He added, “Husni Mubarak’s regime is teetering and is extremely fearful and tense in light of the recent events in Tunisia, while it simultaneously tries to portray indifference to the Egyptians that have recently committed self-immolation protesting their living conditions in all areas of life.

al-Barad’i indicated that, “The only way for the Egyptian regime to stay alive and rescue itself from a fate like the one that befell its counterpart in Tunis is for Mubarak to remove himself from nomination for a new term as President, to issue a new constitution, to call for new free elections, and to cancel the “State of Emergency” that has been imposed on the country for the past 29 years.
He holds the view that the revolution in Tunis represented a precursor to the possibility of a “spring of change” in the Arab world in which Egypt plays a leading role. In al-Barad’i’s opinion, Egyptians’ requests for bread and more individual rights is only natural in a country where 40% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day.

He pointed out that, “The main difference between the conditions in Tunis and the conditions in Egypt is the presence of a broad middle class in Tunis which Egypt doesn’t have. Poverty and anger will play a main role in any possibly popular uprising.”

Defending the Muslim Brotherhood

al-Barad’i stated that it is possible that Egypt now stands on the precipice of a coming phase of instability, and he called on Mubarak and his security apparatus to respect the people’s universal right to protest, saying that, “Change is coming and no one will be able to stop it.”

He also responded to a question about his opinion on Israel’s fear of a collapse of the situation in Egypt and many Israeli’s concerns that the Muslim Brotherhood would gain power and launch a war on the Jewish state. [al-Barad’i] called for, “An end to the demonization of the Muslim Brotherhood and the [false] idea of a choice between either the oppression of Husni Mubarak’s regime or the chaos of a narrow-minded religious government.

He went on to clarify that the Muslim Brotherhood has distanced themselves from violence for half a century and have focused on reforms and changes instead of focusing on gaining power. He added, “If we want to establish a free, democratic system, in Egypt, then we must include the Muslim Brotherhood in the political process instead of distancing them from it.”

Al Jazeera: Demonstrations break out in Egypt on a “day of anger”

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/018633CB-3A98-453E-B33E-2C692E0568B4.htm?GoogleStatID=1

Demonstrators were out in dozens of places in Cairo and Egypt's biggest cities
Responding to calls by activists on the social networking site “Facebook”, demonstrations and marches broke out in the capital city of Cairo and a number of [Egyptian] provinces in what is being called “a day of anger” coinciding with the celebration of Police Day, a [national] holiday.

In an event that hasn’t happened for more that three decades, hundreds of protestors from various areas in Cairo began to [march] and were joined by thousands of people in protests that have rocked dozens of different cities across Egypt.

In downtown Cairo, a crowd of thousands of protestors broke through the security barriers and marched in past the Supreme Court building as they headed towards the main Tahrir square. Amongst the protestors were tens of former members of parliament who echoed chants against the Egyptian regime.

Other demonstrations broke out in Ruksi square in the neighborhood of New Cairo, as well as in front of the headquarters of the Doctors’ and Lawyers’ professional unions. At the same time, other demonstrations from other areas were moving towards Tahrir square in the heart of Cairo where it was [estimated] that more than 20,000 people were protesting by the afternoon.

The Reuters news agency said that protestors in front of the Supreme Court building in Cairo were calling for the fall of President Husni Mubarak. They echoed chants aimed at [Mubarak’s] son, Gamal, saying: “Hey Gamal, tell your dad, ‘All of the people hate you’.”

[Reuters] added that the protests today represented a test of how effective activists can be in transforming their messages on the internet into a reality in the street.

The youth of the “April 6th” [group], who played a large role in calling for the demonstration, said that security forces arrested a number of activists and journalists who were covering the demonstrations that have extended to a number of areas outside of Cairo, especially in Alexandria, Asyut, al-Mansurah, and al-Mahallah al-Kubra.

Security Presence

One of the organizers of the demonstrations stated that security forces arrested 15 members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were waiting for a signal to go and demonstrate.

Various areas [within Cairo] have been under a thick security presence while other cities such as al-Muhallah al-Kubra, an industrial city that has been the scene of a number of the most prominent protests over the past years, have seen beefed up checkpoints at the entrances and exits to the city. [These measures] seek to prevent the arrival of activists who intended to lead the protests there.

The National Assembly for Change has already issued a report for this occasion in which it says that today the Egyptian populace is knocking on the door of freedom, dignity, and justice. It [also] expressed that it was sorry that Police Day had come and that the [security] apparatus had been transformed into, “A private police force whose mission is limited to using oppression and torture to protect those in the government as well as their families and attendants.”

The report noted that the Tunisian populace rose up under similar circumstances and proved that any governing regime that uses violence, oppression, and intimidation [to maintain control], as well as one that places severe restrictions on the freedom of expression, will collapse the moment that there is an outburst of public anger.

Rescuing Egypt

The National Assembly for Change emphasized that, “The only way to rescue Egypt from a future fraught with great danger is to meet the desires of the people and respond immediately to their requests which are: Rescind emergency law, dissolve the rigged parliamentary councils, and hold free and fair elections according to international standards to form a transitional government until the time that the constitution can be amended.”

Likewise, [another] Egyptian movement for change, “Kafayah”, issued a report saying that it, “Senses the seriousness of what may result from Egypt’s conditions … from political gridlock, social congestion, corruption that destroys the country’s wealth, to forgery of the [legitimacy?] of the authorities, tyranny that crushes basic freedoms and brutalizes the poor, unemployed, and sick.” It went on to call for all efforts to be directed at continuing the public’s struggle and advancing towards a peaceful civil disobedience and revolution.
Kafayah enumerated its demand to shut down the current government and get rid of resident Husni Mubarak and his regime, as well as to dissolve the rigged parliamentary councils and clear the way for a transitional government with a new president and national unity coalition.

They also called for an end to the state of emergency, the dissolution of the National Security apparatus called the “Mubahath”, the immediate release of all political prisoners and detainees, the liberation of journalists and political entities as well as the unions and assemblies, the guarantee to allow society the freedom of demonstrate and protest peacefully, the guarantee of independence for all judges, the [1m] of all phases and types of elections and general referendums, and prosecution of those responsible for crimes of forgery and torture.

In that regard, Kafayah called for a halt to the privatization program, and called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, as well as for a stop to exports of oil to Israel and a cancellation of Egypt’s peace agreement with [Israel].

Note: Here are some Arabic links to the two Egyptian reform movements listed in the article as well as the Facebook page mentioned in the article. I also included a link to a a few English articles with more information regarding the events in Egypt.

National Assembly for Change (Arabic) – http://www.taghyeer.net/

Kafayah (Arabic) – http://www.harakamasria.org/

Facebook (Arabic) – Day of Revolution Against Torture, Poverty, Corruption, and Unemployment

New York Times – Broad Protests Across Egypt Focus Fury on Mubarak

Boing Boing – Protests inspired by Tunisia and fanned by social media break out all over

Andrew Sullivan – Social Networking Strikes Again, An Arab Tipping Point?, Egypt Erupting

-David

Al Jazeera: Bush confesses to torturing prisoners

http://aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/D704AE2F-30F9-47FE-AF19-8D5DCA909729.htm?

Khalid Shaykh Muhammad is accused of being the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

The Washington Post reported that former American President, George Bush, confessed in his memoir that he gave permission to members from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to use waterboarding in the interrogation of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, a Pakistani who was accused of being the mastermind of the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Human rights experts told the paper that Bush’s confessions regarding his authorization of torture, made in his upcoming memoir that will be released next week, opened up the possibility of him being prosecuted, in principle, despite the small chance of that happening.

The Washington Post added that in his memoir, Bush confessed that he personally authorized the use of different torture methods and techniques against Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, and he was prepared to take the same measures against other detainees to save American lives.

The paper claimed that an unnamed individual close to Bush mentioned that he read the book and said that Bush said “Yes” to members of the Central Intelligence Agency when they asked him if they were able to use waterboarding in the interrogation of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad.

Saving Americans

The paper explained that Bush, in his book “Decision Points”, said that Khalid Shaykh [Muhammad], who was accused of planning the attacks on 9/11, possessed a lot of critical information regarding terrorist attacks against the United States that were still in the planning stages.

America’s [current] president, Barack Obama, along with Attorney General Eric Holder, have already described the technique [of waterboarding] that Bush’s administration introduced during the “War on Terror” as a torture technique.

Feelings of drowning

The torture technique of waterboarding is done by continuously pouring water over the mouth and nose of those being tortured, while they are shackled with their head covered with a wet rag, pointed towards the floor, and they feel as if they are drowning, moment by moment.

In the same book, the former American president starts off his memoir talking about his personal problems with alcohol abuse and addiction during his younger days, before he was “born again” and began following the teachings of “the savior” as taught by the evangelist church when he was around 40 years old.

Despite Bush’s insistence that he had recovered from his addictions, rumors continued to hound him even after he took the helm of the presidency, indicating that the man in the White House might have truly broke with his old addiction. What is certainly true though is that Bush never lost the “language” of addiction, such as when he described the United States, in one of his famous speeches as president, as “a nation addicted to oil.”

Al Jazeera: Special Report on the al-Huthi group in Yemen

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/29DFC95B-1B57-4533-840C-EBEB265E98B1.htm

Badr al-Din al-Huthi, spiritual father of the group.

A Shia’ insurgent group in the province of Sa’da in northern Yemen, it traces it’s origins to Badr al-Din al-Huthi, and is known as al-Huthis, the Huthi group, or al-Shabab al-Mu’amin (The Faithful Youth).

The founding: Despite the actual appearance of the group in 2004 due to the breakout of its first battles with the Yemeni government, some sources trace its actual roots back to the ’80’s of last century.

In 1986, Itihad al-Shabab (Union of the Youth) was formed in order to educate youth of the al-Zaydiyya sect under control of Salah Ahmad Falita, and Majid al-Din al-Mu’idi and Badr al-Din al-Huthi were amongst its teachers.

As a result of the Yemeni unification that occurred in May of 1990, and the opening of the public square to numerous parties, the Union (of the Youth) transformed from educational activities to political planning via the Hazb al-Haq (Law Party) that represented the al-Zaydiyya sect.

al-Shabab al-Mu’amin Assembly: The (al-Shabab al-Mu’amin Assembly) was founded during 1992 by Muhammad Badr al-Din al-Huthi and some of his comrades as a forum for cultural activities, before undergoing dissension and discord (amongst the members).

In 1997, under the leadership of Husayn Badr al-Din al-Huthi, the assembly transformed from cultural publications to a political movement carrying the name Tundhim al-Shabab al-Mu’amin (The Organization of the Faithful Youth). By this point, Falita and al-Mu’idi had left the the organization and accused it of violating the al-Zaydiyya discipline.

By 2002, the organization had taken the slogan, “God is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curses on the Zionists, Victory for Islam,” that they recited after every prayer.

Some sources indicate that the authorities’ ban on reciting the slogan was one of the most important reasons for the initial breakout of clashes between the group and the Yemeni government.

Leadership of the Group: During the first clashes with the Yemeni forces in 2004, Husayn al-Huthi, who had served as a representative in the Yemeni parliament after (wins) in the 1993 and 1997 elections, took charge of the leadership of the movement before being killed in the same year. Afterwards, his son, Shaykh Badr al-Din al-Huthi, took over command of the movement.

Soon thereafter, leadership of the movement was taken over by ‘Abd-al-Malik al-Huthi, son of Badr al-Din al-Huthi, while (‘Abd-al-Malik)’s other brother sought political asylum in Germany.

Ideological Leaning: Some sources describe the movement as of the Shi’a Ithna al-‘Ashariyya (Twelvers) branch, however, the al-Huthis deny this and assure that they haven’t turned away from al-Zaydiyya branch (of Shi’a Islam) despite their decision to join with the Ithna al-‘Ashariyya branch in some of their methods of celebrating Eid al-Ghadeer and the remembrance of ‘Ashura.

The Movement’s Goals: The al-Huthi group sees the current situation they live in as poisoned by restricted freedoms, the threat to religious doctrine, and the marginalization of the al-Zaydiyya branch’s scholars.

It seeks official approval for the party to issue civil and political publications, as well as founding a school accredited in all the various fields of knowledge, that includes the right of followers of the al-Zaydiyya branch to study the branch in (Islamic) law colleges.

However, Yemeni authorities emphasize that the al-Huthis seek to form a religious court and return (the country) to an al-Zaydiyya emirate.

Clashes with the Government: The al-Huthi group has rushed into a number of clashes with the Yemeni government since the crisis broke out in 2004.

The first wave of clashes broke out on 19 June 2004, and ended with the killing of the insurgency’s leader, Husayn Badr al-Din al-Huthi on 8 September 2004, according to an announcement by the Yemeni government.

Likewise, the second wave of clashes erupted on 19 March 2005 under the leadership of Badr al-Din al-Huthi (Husayn al-Huthi’s son), and lasted for around three weeks after Yemeni forces intervened.

At the end of 2005, renewed clashes broke out again between the al-Huthi group and the Yemeni government.

Note: For some basic information regarding the two Shi’a branches mentioned in this article, the Ithna al-‘Ashariyya and al-Zaydiyya, follow these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelvers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zaidiyyah

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Dar al-Hayat: Najaf Provincial Council brings a case against (Dar) al-Hayat after its reporter’s refusal to reveal his sources.

http://international.daralhayat.com/internationalarticle/101870

Najaf – al-Hayat

The Najaf Provincial Council decided to bring a case against a reporter from al-Hayat that (works) in the city, Fadil Rishad, after his refusal of the request by the council to give up information on the full names and addresses of those formerly in the Ba’ath party that had made statements to al-Hayat previously.

al-Hayat had published a report from Najaf in a number of its news outlets on the 23rd of this month titled, “Najaf’s Ba’athists fear the security apparatus and political militias.” It quoted unnamed former Ba’athists in regards to (their) security concerns, “Fear and panic have gripped Ba’athist families,” after threats that circulated from the local city government. Some of them mentioned that, “They have decided to flee the city after taking pledges from the security elements not to cooperate with armed elements.”

The Najaf (Provincial) Council issued had issued a report previously granting the Ba’athists a single day to vacate the province, following bombings that struck the city and left tens of people dead and injured.

After the report was distributed, the al-Hayat reporter was summoned to the headquarters of the (Najaf) Provincial Council where they requested that he divulge the complete information about the sources of his information and threatened to bring a case against him if he refused to disclose the sources.

The Press Freedoms Observer and the Association for the Defense of Press Freedoms announced their condemnation of the Najaf Provincial Council’s actions. The Press Freedoms Observer said in a report that, “(We) emphatically condemn what our colleague, Fadil Rishad, is having to deal with from the Najaf Provincial Council as well as its requests for (Fadil) to divulge his sources.” They added, “This is not a regional issue, and it goes against the freedom of expression that the constitution guarantees, as well as the democratic process in the country.”

Likewise, the Association for the Defense of Press Freedoms condemned the pressure that had been placed on the al-Hayat journalist in Najaf in order to compel him to divulge the names and addresses of his sources, and it believes that is a violation of the most basic necessities of a journalist’s work. The Association requested that, “The Najaf Provincial Council and it’s president, Shaykh Fayid al-Shamari, stop terrorizing journalists and raising cases against them using condemned criminal laws inherited from the previous regime that flies in the face of the constitution and international obligations to build a democracy and respect and strengthen freedom of the press.”

The organization mentioned that the Najaf Provincial Council had raised tens of cases in the past against international (media) organizations because of their use of quotes from members of the (Najaf) Provincial Council.

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Al Jazeera: 18 killed in new explosion in Baghdad

http://aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/B32F96E6-B23F-4E39-B4F4-EB317271F673.htm

Smoke rises from the Investigations and Criminal Justice building.

This morning 18 people were killed and another 80 injured in a car bomb attack targeting the Iraqi Ministry of Interior’s Directorate of Investigations and Criminal Justice in Hayy al-Karada in downtown Baghdad.

Sources within the Iraqi Police said that a number of the victims were from their ranks, and they indicated that the Directorate’s building collapsed due to the explosion.

The sources added that the body count is expected to rise, especially since the targeted building normally has a large amount of people (in it) at that time.

A rescue team has already been successful at extracting a number of injured from the rubble of the building that had tens of employees in it before it collapsed.

From his point of view, a photographer belonging to the Reuters news agency said that ambulances and civil defense vehicles rushed to the scene of the incident, adding that the building had suffered vast damage.

It’s worth mentioning that Baghdad had witnessed a new string of car bombings yesterday despite intensified security measures. (The attacks) targeted three hotels and resulted in 36 dead and 71 wounded.

The two attacks came on the same day that the Iraqi Government announced the execution of ‘Ali Husayn al-Majid, the previous Iraqi Minister of Defense and cousin of the late Iraqi President, Saddam Husayn.

Likewise, these attacks also came just a few weeks before the Iraqi elections set for this coming March 7th and could represent a blow for Nuri al-Maliki’s government, according to observers.

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Al Jazeera: al-Huthi announces an initiative to end fighting

http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/F058CFDD-1850-49CC-BBFE-0FF840FFE911.htm

al-Huthis accuse Saudi Arabia's army of advancing into Yemen.

The leader of the al-Huthi group, ‘Abd-al-Malik Badr al-Din al-Huthi, announced a “withdrawal from all Saudi locations,” in a new initiative that he said was the third (try) to put out the crisis’ fuse as well as the clashes on the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

al-Huthi said in a voice recording released on one of the websites, “We announce our carrying out of a full withdrawal from all Saudi positions and from all land that is under control of the Saudi regime, and emphasize that our seizure of those locations was completely necessary in order to combat the enemies coming from there.”

Likewise, al-Huthi threatened to open what he called multiple new battlefields, and all out war, in the event that Saudi Arabia continues its operations and refuses the initiative.

On this point he said, “If after this initiative the Saudi regime continues its aggression it will find that it has commenced an invasion into our lands, and this will give us the right to open multiple new battlefields and launch an all out war. This is what will happen if it’s aggressions continue after this initiative.”

al-Huthi (also noted) that he believes that the civilians have suffered the most in this war, and he accused the Saudi Forces of what he calls indiscriminate bombing of the cities and villages, and all aspects of civilized life.

He also said that the initiative comes about to spare the blood of Saudis and Yemenis, and indicated that the al-Huthi’s operations didn’t target Saudi soil, and in that context he (described) what he called attempts to distance Yemenis from the border and form a buffer area.

Likewise, he believes that there is no justification for Saudi Arabia in this war, and described his initiative as a valuable opportunity, “That should be appreciated by all reasonable people in the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia),” as he put it.

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Al Jazeera: Tens dead in explosions in Baghdad

http://aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/4B22413C-5847-4034-BF58-96967DA48275.htm

A huge noise and a heavy cloud of smoke in the aftermath of the explosion.
Reuters news agency quoted police sources who confirmed that 36 people were killed, and at least 71 injured in three simultaneous explosions that rocked the center of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in an area that includes a number of big hotels near the heavily fortified Green Zone.

The three explosions, which security sources said were carried out by car bombs, came minutes apart with the first occurring around 15:30 in the afternoon (12:30 GMT). An extremely massive reverberation was heard and clouds of dust and smoke were able to be seen in the sky.

The explosions were carried out at the peak of rush hour when employees are leaving their offices and when the streets are packed with cars and people.

The first explosion was located in Hayy Abu Nawwas near the Palestine and Sheraton hotels, and the other explosions were located at the Babil and Hamra’ hotels that are frequented by foreign journalists.

Cement blast walls collapsed on the ground.
Massive Damage

The images broadcast live from the scene by local television stations of the location of the explosion showed the cement blast walls collapsed on the ground and many cars completely destroyed.

These explosions come two months before the parliamentary elections despite the strengthening of security procedures in Baghdad after the explosions last August that were named “Black Wednesday” or “Bloody Wednesday”.

106 were killed and 600 wounded in a massive explosion aimed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance last August 19th.

Another 153 were killed and 500 wounded on October 25th in two explosions targeting the Ministry of Justice and the Baghdad Governor’s Office.

Most recently, on December 8th, 127 were killed and 448 were wounded in five successive explosions.

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