CAIRO (Reuters) – As election rallies go it was spectacular. No organisation in Egypt is better at mobilising the masses than the Muslim Brotherhood – or at stirring up the frenzy that suggests to all observant Muslims it is almost a duty to vote for its candidate in the country’s first free presidential election this week.
The vote on Wednesday and Thursday will give Egyptians their first real opportunity to decide who and what should replace the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, overthrown in February last year.
CAIRO, May 20 (Reuters) – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood showed
off its ability to rally support with choreographed campaign
events throughout the nation on Sunday in a final push to clinch
victory for its candidate in this week’s presidential election.
Well-known Islamic preachers and soccer celebrities took to
the podium in Cairo to endorse Brotherhood candidate Mohamed
Mursi, a relative latecomer to the race. His main rivals include
Islamists and ex-officials of former President Hosni Mubarak.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Surrounded by aides, including one whose only task seems to be light his cigarettes, Mahmoud Abbas sits in a vast presidential office and speaks of his ambition to create a Palestinian state.
But outside his sprawling compound on the hills of the West Bank town of Ramallah reality on the ground is different – his dream is being built over by ever-expanding Jewish settlements.
GAZA (Reuters) – The Islamist movement Hamas will not let itself be dragged into a war against Israel if it attacks the nuclear facilities of Hamas ally Iran, Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Thursday.
“Hamas is a Palestinian movement that acts within the Palestinian arena and it carries out its political and field actions in a way that suits the interests of the Palestinian people,” he said at his headquarters in the enclave.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday he was ready to engage with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a Middle East peace agreement if he proposes “anything promising or positive”.
Abbas, speaking to Reuters after Netanyahu announced a grand coalition that will strengthen the Israeli leader’s hand, said Netanyahu had to realise that Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank were destroying hopes of peace and must cease.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said on Tuesday the Palestinians may have “lost the argument” on the international stage for an independent state but cautioned that continued Israeli occupation was unsustainable.
In an interview with Reuters, Fayyad struck a note of discord with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by calling for elections that have long been delayed because of deep political divisions between the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.
LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) – Far from the bloodied streets
of Syria and the dungeons of Bashar al-Assad, the largely émigré
opposition that aspires to replace him is still squabbling ahead
of what could be a make-or-break meeting of a coalition of
countries intent on regime change, but equally at a loss about
how to achieve it.
While the Assad government appears emboldened after its
offensives against outgunned rebels in Homs, Idlib and the
capital Damascus, the fragmented opposition, meeting in Istanbul
ahead of the “Friends of Syria” meeting on April 1, seems still
unable to cohere behind a unifying national project.
LONDON (Reuters) – When Libya’s former spy chief flew to Mauritania last week, he was looking for a safe haven. Instead the man known as “Muammar Gaddafi’s black box”, the last of the fallen dictator’s henchmen still at large, walked into a trap set by French and Mauritanian intelligence.
Gaddafi’s head of intelligence, right-hand man and brother-in law, Abdullah al-Senussi, was arrested in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, last week. The still murky circumstances of his capture set Libya on a collision course with France and the International Criminal Court, which both want Senussi.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Few close observers of the Syrian conflict believe the uprising that began nearly a year ago is anything like over, and nor do they believe that President Bashar al-Assad can use the siege of Homs as a springboard to regain full control of the country.
Syrian troops entered the ruins of Baba Amro, the rebel enclave in Homs that succumbed to month of artillery and tank bombardment, amid loyalist claims that Assad had broken the back of a Western-sponsored terror campaign against his government.
BKIRKI, Lebanon (Reuters) – Violence and bloodshed is turning the “Arab Spring” into winter, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite Church said, threatening Christians and Muslims alike across the Middle East.
Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, whose Maronite Church also has a strong presence in Syria, said change could not be brought to the Arab world by force and that Christians feared the turmoil was helping extremist Muslim groups.