Connect with us


Phuket Gazette World News: Middle East news round-up




– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Egyptian draft law said to dash hopes of free civil society
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: A law drafted by the Egyptian presidency for regulating non-governmental organisations dashes hopes for a free civil society after the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

President Mohamed Mursi has said the bill submitted to the Muslim Brotherhood-led parliament on Wednesday would liberate a civil society that was stifled by Mubarak, who was toppled by an uprising ignited by democracy activists.

Human Rights Watch said the new draft was “hostile to the very notion of independent civil society.”

“This draft law dashes all hopes that independent groups could operate freely and independently after the revolution,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“Egypt’s proposed NGO law would allow the government free rein to cut off funding and halt activities of groups that it finds inconvenient,” she said in a statement.

The presidency presented the law this week to try to ease concerns about earlier drafts criticised by the United States and the European Union for the restrictions they would have placed on civic activism.

Human Rights Watch identified some improvements in the law, specifically a change that will no longer consider NGO finances as public funds. But the latest draft fell far short of Egypt’s international human rights obligations, it said.

It cited flaws including provisions that would allow the government and its security agencies to arbitrarily restrict civil society groups and empower the government to deny access to domestic and international funding

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States is reviewing the latest draft to see whether it is in keeping with Egypt’s international obligations.

“We would like to see Egypt and the NGOs there operate in a transparent and accountable manner,” she said. “And legislative restrictions, which we feel are still a part of this latest draft on the activities of NGOs, would damage not only Egypt’s international image, but also the ability of NGOs to provide the necessary assistance to the people in the country.”

Since Mubarak was deposed, restrictions on civil society have remained a source of friction with Western states that help to finance non-governmental organisations working on human rights and economic, social and political development.

Last year, under the temporary rule of the army generals who assumed power from Mubarak, an investigation into the work of international NGOs, some of them U.S.-based, sparked a crisis in ties between the United States and Egypt.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Michael Georgy, Mark Heinrich and Christopher Wilson)

Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism sees ‘marked resurgence’ – U.S.
Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism overseas underwent “a marked resurgence” in 2012, reaching levels not seen in 20 years, the U.S. State Department charged in its annual report on trends in political violence.

The report cited a series of actual and planned attacks in Europe and Asia linked to Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanon-based ally, including a July 2012 bombing in Bulgaria where five Israeli citizens and a Bulgarian died, and wounded 32 others.

“The year 2012 was … notable in demonstrating a marked resurgence of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism,” via Tehran’s elite al Quds force, its intelligence ministry, and Hezbollah, the report said. “Iran and Hezbollah’s terrorist activity has reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s.”

There was no immediate reply to a request for comment from Iran’s mission to the United Nations.

Last July, Iran’s U.N. ambassador denied his country’s involvement in the Bulgaria bombing, which he accused Israel of carrying out. “We have never, and will not, engage in such a despicable attempt on … innocent people,” Ambassador Mohammed Khazaee said.

The report’s release comes as U.S. and European officials and intelligence agencies say Iran and Hezbollah have stepped up their military backing for the besieged government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday publicly committed the group to an Assad victory over Syrian rebels who, like the Damascus government, have been accused of abuses in the two-year-old civil war.

“Both Iran and Hezbollah are providing a broad range of critical support to the Assad regime, as it continues its brutal crackdown against the Syrian people,” the State Department report said.

The report covers events in 2012 and does not include such incidents as the Boston Marathon bombings in the United States or last week’s brutal murder of a British soldier on a London street.


President Barack Obama last week announced he was shifting the United States away from a “boundless global war on terror” begun by his predecessor as a response to the September 11, 2001, attacks. While continuing to target militants, he said he would restrict deadly drone strikes abroad and seek once again to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Overall, the State Department’s “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012” paints a mixed picture of efforts to counter violent extremism.

It said that al Qaeda’s Pakistan-based core group “continued to weaken” and that losses in leadership have driven the group’s affiliates to become more independent, “setting their own goals and specifying their own targets.”

Al Qaeda’s two most dangerous franchises, Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Shabaab in Somalia, “have suffered significant setbacks,” it said.

But at the same time, the tumultuous events set in motion by the “Arab Spring” revolutions have complicated the picture, the report said. The dispersal of weapons stocks following the fall of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as well as the coup in Mali “presented terrorists with new opportunities,” it said.

Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the report said, is seeking to establish a long-term presence in Syria “under the pseudonym of al-Nusrah Front,” an anti-Assad rebel group that the U.S. government has designated a terrorist organisation.

Iraq was the site of three of the 10 most lethal attacks worldwide in 2012, it said, and 97 percent of the strikes whose perpetrator could be identified were attributed to AQI.

While terrorist attacks occurred in 85 countries last year, 55 percent of the attacks and 62 percent of the fatalities took place in just three countries: Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, the State Department said.

The report said there were 6,771 terrorist attacks in 2012, with 11,098 people dying as a result. More than 1,280 people were kidnapped or taken hostage.

Because of changes in methodology, the figures are not directly comparable to previous years, it said.

(The full report is available at ).

Moscow suggests missiles have yet to reach Assad

— Phuket Gazette Editors


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand11 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Storm Noru causing floods, death in northeast Thailand

Thailand11 hours ago

Airspace over Bangkok airport closed for airforce parade

Phuket11 hours ago

Four alleged investment scammers arrested in Phuket

Sponsored2 days ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

Thailand11 hours ago

1 year old child allegedly snatched while parents slept

Air Pollution12 hours ago

For health reasons – Bangkok’s proposed congestion charge

Bangkok12 hours ago

As rain pours down on northern Thailand, Bangkok ups its canal drainage

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Cannabis12 hours ago

Traditional Thai medicine clinics offering cannabis treatments in Thailand

Health13 hours ago

Fizz buzz – Will kratom drinks ever hit the spot?

Patong13 hours ago

Four suspects admit they assaulted US tourist in Patong

Hot News13 hours ago

Doctor’s “sorry, not sorry” attitude after alleged hit-and-run of students lands him in hot water

Thailand13 hours ago

Police ignore cheating antics of drunk Bangkok cabbie

Pattaya13 hours ago

Third baby elephant of the year born at Pattaya garden

Thailand14 hours ago

Thai doctor warns against eating bats after ‘bat hunter’ sells for 100 baht per kilo

World14 hours ago

Kamala Harris visits South Korea a day after North Korea fires missiles

Events14 hours ago

Spartan Race to hit Phuket in November

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11