January 17, 2013 Roundup

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French Adventures and Betrayed Desires...

Dear Readers,
Welcome to Al-Akhbar English’s latest newsletter, which brings you a selection of this week’s highlights from our writers, bloggers and guest contributors.

Our feature for this week looks at the recent French military intervention in Mali. Al-Mokhtar Ould Mohammad, our correspondent in neighboring Nouakchott, Mauritania, examines the reasons behind France’s involvement in Mali amid its desperate attempt to revive the francophone project in Africa.

Meanwhile, Bassam al-Kantar unveils why Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, a leader of the leftist Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions (LARF), who has been held in French prisons for over three decades, remains behind bars beyond his scheduled release date.

On the eve of the second anniversary of the Tunisian uprising, Tunisian journalist Noureddine Baltayeb asks whether the principles and hopes that sparked the revolution have been betrayed.

Our final feature piece takes us back to Lebanon in which a long list of witnesses that the prosecution for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) will call on has been leaked to Al-Akhbar.

Georges Abdallah: Justice Delayed, Again

After Two Years, the Tunisian Revolution Betrayed?
STL Leaks: The Prosecution’s Surprise Witnesses

In Other News ...

This week in Politics, Omar Nashabe takes a sneak peek at the STL defense team’s strategy, Rawan Mortada tours a Salafi emirate within the Amioun Prison in northern Lebanon, and Sabine Salameh investigates if capital punishment in Lebanon has truly ceased.

In neighboring Syria, Anas Zarzar spotlights the ballooning cost of living in Damascus as the conflict lumbers into its second year, while Marsh Mashi describes how much the Syrian capital has changed and what new methods are being used by the Syrian security services.

Beyond the Levant, Mourad Traboulsi, writing from Algiers, looks at the divide within the Algerian public over France’s intervention in Mali.

In Culture & Society, Rebecca Whiting highlights the absolute disregard for road safety displayed by the public and authorities in Lebanon.

In Opinion, Rami Zurayk, Al-Akhbar’s environment columnist, argues that the discovery of Israeli vegetables at Spinneys supermarket is but the tip of a larger iceberg. For his part, Lebanon’s former telecommunications and labor minister, Charbel Nahas, provides a small example of how big money influences elections.

Also, Tunisian journalist Sofiane Chourabi argues that the Tunisian state is crumbling because of the maneuvering of religious groups, while Hosam Matar, a Lebanese researcher in international relations, examines how the belief in Mahdism influences Iranian foreign policy.

In Portraits, Bassam al-Kantar guides us through the history and events surrounding Georges Abdallah’s arrest and his ongoing appeal.

And finally, this week’s blogs focus on the methods employed by activists, from Palestine to rural Egypt:

From Cairo, Sarah El Sirgany spotlights a group of atypical female activists from outside the capital who are organizing strikes, forming unions and occasionally swinging fists to defend their rights.

Mona Kareem tackles the radical Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN and the debates surrounding Egyptian activist Alia al-Mahdi’s use of nudity in her protests.

And finally, As’ad AbuKhalil criticizes how certain modes of Palestinian resistance resort to gimmickry for the sake of Western audiences.

Also, Eloise Bollack has compiled a beautiful photo blog of her one-day experience at Bab al-Shams, an outpost established by Palestinians in the E1 area of the Jerusalem district.

See you next week!

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