Tag Archive: Bahrain


Missionfuge part 2

Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in a few days. So, here’s whats going on. Today after church Bro.Eugene gave us some information about MissionFuge. It was pretty said what we could bring and what not to, and Bro.Eugene wants us to decide what missions we want to be in.(we have to choose three) I have chosen two already but I’m not sure about the last one. That’s about it for now. I’ll update ya’ll when I have more information about Mission Fuge or when my church is having an activity. Bye guys

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Gates: Some US troops may stay if Iraq wants

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_gates_iraq

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer Robert Burns, Ap National Security Writer Thu Apr 7, 6:33 am ET

BAGHDAD – The Obama administration would keep U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the agreed final withdrawal date of Dec. 31, 2011, if the Iraqi government wanted them, but the Iraqis need to decide “pretty quickly” in order for the Pentagon to accommodate the extension, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday during what he said probably is his final visit to this war-torn country.

Whether to negotiate an extended U.S. military presence is up to the Iraqis, he said, adding that he thought an extension might make sense.

“We are willing to have a presence beyond (2011), but we’ve got a lot of commitments,” he said, not only in Afghanistan and Libya but also in Japan, where he said 19 U.S. Navy ships and about 18,000 U.S. military personnel are assisting in earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor relief efforts.

“So if folks here are going to want us to have a presence, we’re going to need to get on with it pretty quickly in terms of our planning,” he added. “I think there is interest in having a continuing presence. The politics are such that we’ll just have to wait and see because the initiative ultimately has to come from the Iraqis.”

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top American commander in Iraq, said the country is lacking important security capabilities. Those include the defense of its air space and the wherewithal to supply and maintain its own forces, he said.

Asked in an interview whether all Iraqi government officials are aware of these gaps, he replied, “Some more than others.”

He said the government’s inability thus far to appoint a defense minister and an interior minister has hampered its ability to make informed decisions about whether to ask the Americans to stay longer.

Speaking to a group of reporters traveling with Gates, Austin gave the strong impression that he thinks Iraq needs a U.S. military presence beyond December, but he said he had not yet been asked to provide a recommendation to Washington.

He said Iraq faced the possibility of a “more violent environment” next year, given the absence of U.S. military force and the failure to resolve key political problems, like the Kurd-Arab tensions in Kirkuk and elsewhere in the north.

The U.S. now has about 47,000 troops in Iraq, and they will begin leaving in large numbers in late summer or early fall. The U.S. led an invasion in March 2003 that toppled the government of President Saddam Hussein a month later, but an insurgency soon set in and the U.S. got mired in a conflict that has lasted far longer — and cost far more American and Iraqi lives — than Washington had anticipated.

Gates also said civil unrest in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, with majority Shiite Muslims pushing for an end to rule by the minority Sunnis, has created tensions in Iraq, whose Shiite prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is concerned about Bahrain’s crackdown on Shiites.

Gates said he expected to discuss this subject with al-Maliki in private meetings later Thursday.

Meghan O’Sullivan, a top Iraq adviser to President George W. Bush from 2005-07, said in an email exchange that al-Maliki faces enormous domestic political pressures on several fronts, including a small but vocal number of Iraqis demanding better government, and a security situation that is improved but still tense.

Together, these pressures make it unlikely that al-Maliki feels he can publicly invite the U.S. military to stay beyond this year.

“Understandably, the Obama administration was hoping for this sort of invitation, and likely feels struck, given that it is not forthcoming,” O’Sullivan said. “They can’t be seen wanting to keep more troops in Iraq than the Iraqis do.” O’Sullivan is now a professor of international affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School.

Under blue skies and a bright sun at a U.S. base just outside the Iraqi capital, Gates told a group of soldiers that he worries that a potential shutdown of the U.S. federal government will delay issuance of their paychecks. He assured them that they eventually would get full pay, but there could be a delay if Democrats and Republicans in Washington are unable to reach a budget deal this week.

“When I start to think of the inconvenience that it’s going to cause these kids (soldiers) and a lot of their families, even a half paycheck delayed can be a problem for them,” Gates told reporters after fielding several questions from the assembled soldiers. The first question posed to him was by a soldier asking about the ramifications for military members and their families of the budget crisis back home.

Gates assured them, “You will be paid,” then added that it might take a while, depending on the length of the political impasse in Washington.

In a brief exchange with reporters during a photo session with Gates earlier Thursday, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, James Jeffrey, said U.S. ground forces are “the glue” that is holding the country together. He said this leaves a mixed picture of the situation in Iraq because making arrangements to keep U.S. troops here beyond December is going to be difficult.

In his troop talk, Gates raised the matter of his impending retirement, recalling for soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, that his first visit to Iraq was in September 2006, three months before he replaced Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary. He recalled that on a visit to Baghdad in December 2006 he conducted a press conference while a gun battle was echoing in the distance.

In all, he estimated he has made 14 visits to Iraq.

“`This will probably be my last one,” he said.

Gates previously has said he intends to retire this year, but he has not been more specific about the timing. It is widely anticipated that he is planning to quit this summer.

http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/112284/subway-passes-mcdonalds

by Julie Jargon
Monday, March 7, 2011

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    It’s official: the Subway sandwich chain has surpassed McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCDNews) as the world’s largest restaurant chain, in terms of units.

    At the end of last year, Subway had 33,749 restaurants worldwide, compared to McDonald’s 32,737. The burger giant disclosed its year-end store count in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late last month.

    The race for global dominance is an important one for an industry that’s mostly saturated in the U.S. High unemployment and economic uncertainty have battered the restaurant industry in the U.S., and chains are increasingly looking overseas for growth, particularly in Asia.

    [More from WSJ.com: Where to Put Your Cash Now.]

    Starbucks Corp. Honda (Nasdaq: SBUXNews) recently said it plans to triple its number of outlets in China, for example. Dunkin’ Brands Inc., parent of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, plans to open thousands of new outlets in China in coming years as well as its first stores in Vietnam in the next 18 months. Subway just opened its 1,000th location in Asia, including its first in Vietnam.

    Subway, which opened its first international restaurant in 1984, in Bahrain, expects its number of international restaurants to exceed its domestic ones by 2020, says Don Fertman, Subway’s Chief Development Officer. The chain currently has just over 24,000 restaurants in the U.S., where it generated $10.5 billion of its $15.2 billion in revenue last year.

    [More from WSJ.com: The Most Expensive Town in America.]

    The closely held company, owned by Doctor’s Associates Inc., does not disclose its profits.

    McDonald’s is still the leader when it comes to sales. The burger chain reported $24 billion in revenue last year. “We remain focused on listening to and serving our customers, and are committed to being better, not just bigger,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman says.

    Subway, which surpassed the number of McDonald’s in the U.S. about nine years ago, expects China to eventually become one of its largest markets. The sandwich shop only has 199 restaurants in China now, but expects to have more than 500 by 2015.

    [More from WSJ.com: TV’s Next Wave: Tuning In to You.]

    Subway has achieved its rapid growth, in part, by opening outlets in non-traditional locations such as an automobile showroom in California, an appliance store in Brazil, a ferry terminal in Seattle, a riverboat in Germany, a zoo in Taiwan, a Goodwill store in South Carolina, a high school in Detroit and a church in Buffalo, New York.

    “We’re continually looking at just about any opportunity for someone to buy a sandwich, wherever that might be. The closer we can get to the customer, the better,” Mr. Fertman says, explaining that it now has almost 8,000 Subways in unusual locations. “The non-traditional is becoming traditional.”

    // The company has some concerns about the economies of certain international markets, such as Germany and the United Kingdom. The company is trying to develop more affordable offerings in those countries, similar to the $5 foot-long sandwiches that have been successful in the U.S.

    “Finding that kind of value proposition in those countries is essential,” Mr. Fertman says.

    I heard about this last night. I’m sad because I love McDonald’s. But, theres nothing I can do about it. So please comment and tell me what you think.

    Bahrain king orders release of political prisoners

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110222/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_bahrain_protests

    By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI and BARBARA SURK, Associated Press Hadeel Al-shalchi And Barbara Surk, Associated Press 28 mins ago

    MANAMA, Bahrain – Bahrain’s king ordered the release of some political prisoners Tuesday, conceding to another opposition demand as the embattled monarchy tries to engage protesters in talks aimed at ending an uprising that has entered its second week.

    The king’s decree — which covers several Shiite activists accused of plotting against the state — adds to the brinksmanship on both sides that has included a massive pro-government rally Monday, an opposition march in response and the planned return of a prominent opposition figure from exile.

    It’s unclear how many prisoners will be freed, government spokeswoman Maysoon Sabkar said.

    But they include some of the 25 Shiite activists on trial for allegedly plotting against the Sunni rulers of the strategic island kingdom, a leading member of Bahrain’s Shiite opposition, Abdul Jalili Khalil, told The Associated Press.

    He called the prisoner release “a good step” and a “positive gesture.”

    Two of those in the case are being tried in absentia, including opposition leader Hassan Meshaima, who has been in self-exile in London since last year. He was expected to return to Bahrain later Tuesday.

    Mesheima’s presence could bolster opposition forces seeking a harder line against the monarchy, including some who have called for the complete ouster of the king and the royal dynasty that has ruled for more than 200 years.

    Meshaima’s group, known as Haq, is considered more radical than the main Shiite political bloc that has taken a central role in the revolt, which began last week with marches but quickly met with violent resistance from security forces.

    The primary Shiite group includes 18 members of the 40-member parliament, who resigned Thursday to protest the killing of demonstrators by security forces.

    Tens of thousands of opposition supporters marched Tuesday through the capital of Manama, carrying Bahrain’s red-and-white flag and circling the Bahrain Mall and Manama’s financial district — symbols of the country’s prosperity in recent decades. Security forces did not move to confront the procession, but helicopters circled overhead.

    “Egypt, Tunisia, are we any different?” they chanted, calling for the Sunni rulers they accuse of discriminating against the island’s Shiite majority to fall.

    “I don’t care if it is this government or another, but whichever it is, I want my rights,” said Wassam Zabar, a 22-year-old student. “I want a chance to have a job, a career and a future.”

    The government said Tuesday that the overall death toll was seven from last week’s clashes, which included the army opening fire on protesters. Previous reports from opposition groups and hospital officials in the past week set the death toll at eight, but the government tally now appears accurate.

    The government said 25 people were hospitalized, but it’s unclear what degree of injury authorities used to arrive at that figure. Opposition group place the figure at more that 200. Associated Press journalists at the main state hospital witnessed many dozens of people being treated.

    The attacks on protesters have brought stinging denunciations from Bahrain’s Western allies, including the United States. The U.S. maintains very close ties with Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

    Bahrain authorities withdrew the military Saturday and allowed protesters to reclaim the landmark Pearl Square, which has been the center of the Shiite-led uprising.

    Bahrain’s Shiite majority has complained of discrimination and political persecution in the kingdom. They have staged protests in the past, but the current unrest — inspired by the toppling of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt — is the most serious against the Sunni rulers.

    In a brief statement to Bahrain’s official news agency, the king ordered the release of “a number of prisoners” and a halt to “several trials” of Shiite activists.

    On Monday, Bahrain’s crown prince called off Formula One’s season-opening race scheduled for March 13, handing another victory to protesters. Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa owns the rights to grand prix and serves as commander of the armed forces. Protesters said it would have been disrespectful the hold the race.

    Sabkar told reporters the “immediate priority is to keep the peace and maintain calm.” She said the government, led by the same prime minister — the king’s uncle — for 40 years, was “deeply saddened by the tragic events of the past few days and its condolences go out to those families who have lost loved ones.”

    Opposition leaders have called for the government to resign after last week’s bloodshed to pave the way for a dialogue with the crown prince.

    “The government has taken a decision to shoot at its people,” said Khalil, a Shiite opposition leader. “Our objective remains for this government to resign after failing to protect its people.”

    Army locks down Bahrain, police storm protest

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ml_bahrain_protests

    By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, Associated Press Hadeel Al-shalchi, Associated Press 2 hrs 22 mins ago

    MANAMA, Bahrain – Army patrols and tanks locked down the capital of this tiny Gulf kingdom after riot police swinging clubs and firing tear gas smashed into demonstrators, many of them sleeping, in a pre-dawn assault Thursday that uprooted their protest camp demanding political change. Medical officials said four people were killed.

    Hours after the attack on Manama’s main Pearl Square, the military announced on state TV that it had “key parts” of the capital under its control and that gatherings were banned.

    The developments marked a major crackdown by the island nation’s rulers to put an end to days of protests inspired by Egypt’s revolt against Hosni Mubarak. Tiny Bahrain is a pillar of Washington’s military framework in the region. It hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is a critical counterbalance to Iran’s efforts to expand its clout in the region.

    The capital Manama was effectively shut down Thursday. For the first time, tanks and military checkpoints were deployed in the streets and army patrols circulated. The Interior Ministry warned Bahrainis to stay off the streets. Banks and other key institutions did not open, and workers stayed home, unable or to afraid to pass through checkpoints to get to their jobs.

    Barbed wire and police cars with flashing blue lights encircled Pearl Square, the site of anti-government rallies since Monday. Police cleaned up flattened protest tents and trampled banners inside the square, littered with broken glass, tear gas canisters and debris. A body covered in a white sheet lay in a pool of blood on the side of a road about 20 yards (meters) from the landmark square.

    Demonstrators had been camping out for days around the square’s 300-foot (90-meter) monument featuring a giant pearl, making it the nerve center of the first anti-government protests to reach the Arab Gulf since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

    The protesters’ demands have two main objectives: force the ruling Sunni monarchy to give up its control over top government posts and all critical decisions, and address deep grievances held by the country’s majority Shiites who claim they face systematic discrimination and are effectively blocked from key roles in public service and the military.

    But among Bahrain’s rulers, the prospect of a prolonged crisis raised fears of a potential flashpoint between Iran and its Arab rivals in the Gulf. Bahrain’s ruling Sunni dynasty is closely allied to Saudi Arabia and the other Arab regimes in the Gulf. Shiite hard-liners in Iran have often expressed kinship and support for Bahrain’s Shiite majority, which accounts for 70 percent of the island’s 500,000 citizens.

    The police assault came early Thursday with little warning. Mahmoud Mansouri, a protester, said police surrounded the camp and then quickly moved in.

    “We yelled, ‘We are peaceful! Peaceful!’ The women and children were attacked just like the rest of us,” he said. “They moved in as soon as the media left us. They knew what they’re doing.”

    Dr. Sadek Al-Ikri, 44, said he was tending to sick protesters at a makeshift medical tent in the square when the police stormed in. He said he was tied up and severely beaten, then thrown on a bus with others.

    “They were beating me so hard I could no longer see. There was so much blood running from my head,” he said. “I was yelling, ‘I’m a doctor. I’m a doctor.’ But they didn’t stop.”

    He said the police beating him spoke Urdu, the main language of Pakistan. A pillar of the protest demands is to end the Sunni regime’s practice of giving citizenship to other Sunnis from around the region to try to offset the demographic strength of Shiites. Many of the new Bahrainis are given security posts.

    Al-Ikri said he and others on the bus were left on a highway overpass, but the beatings didn’t stop. Eventually, the doctor said he fainted but could hear another police official say in Arabic: “Stop beating him. He’s dead. We should just leave him here.”

    Bahrain’s parliament — minus opposition lawmakers who are staging a boycott — met in emergency session. One pro-government member, Jamila Salman, broke into tears.

    A leader of the Shiite opposition Abdul Jalil Khalil said 18 parliament members also have resigned to protest the killings.

    As the crackdown began, demonstrators in the square described police swarming in through a cloud of eye-stinging tear gas.

    “They attacked our tents, beating us with batons,” said Jafar Jafar, 17. “The police were lined up at the bridge overhead. They were shooting tear gas from the bridge.”

    Many families were separated in the chaos. An Associated Press photographer saw police rounding up lost children and taking them into vehicles.

    Hussein Abbas, 22, was awakened by a missed call on his cell phone from his wife, presumably trying to warn him about reports that police were preparing to move in.

    “Then all of a sudden the square was filled with tear gas clouds. Our women were screaming. … What kind of ruler does this to his people? There were women and children with us!”

    ABC News said its correspondent, Miguel Marquez, was caught in the crowd and beaten by men with billy clubs, although he was not badly injured.

    Hospital officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said four people were killed early Thursday. Wounded streamed by the dozens into Salmaniya medical center, the main state-run hospital in Manama, with serious gaping wounds, broken bones and respiratory problems from the tear gas.

    Outside the medical complex, dozens of protesters chanted: “The regime must go.”

    Tanks and armored personnel carriers were seen on some streets — the first sign of military involvement in the crisis — and authorities send a text message to cell phones that said: “The Ministry of the Interior warns all citizens and residents not to leave the house due to potential conflict in all areas of Bahrain.”

    Hours before police moved in, the mood in the makeshift tent city was festive and confident.

    People sipped tea, ate donated food and smoked apple- and grape-flavored tobacco from water pipes. The men and women mainly sat separately — the women a sea of black in their traditional dress. Some youths wore the red-and-white Bahraini flag as a cape.

    While the protests began as a cry for the country’s Sunni monarchy to loosen its grip, the uprising’s demands have steadily grown bolder. Many protesters called for the government to provide more jobs and better housing, free all political detainees and abolish the system that offers Bahraini citizenship to Sunnis from around the Middle East.

    Increasingly, protesters also chanted slogans to wipe away the entire ruling dynasty that has led Bahrain for more than 200 years and is firmly backed by the Sunni sheiks and monarchs across the Gulf.

    Although Bahrain is sandwiched between OPEC heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Qatar, it has limited oil resources and depends heavily on its role as a regional financial hub and playground for Saudis, who can drive over a causeway to enjoy Bahrain’s Western-style bars, hotels and beaches.

    Social networking websites had been abuzz Wednesday with calls to press ahead with the protests. They were matched by insults from presumed government backers who called the demonstrators traitors and agents of Iran.

    The protest movement’s next move is unclear, but the island nation has been rocked by street battles as recently as last summer. A wave of arrests of perceived Shiite dissidents touched off weeks of rioting and demonstrations.

    Before the attack on the square, protesters had called for major rallies after Friday prayers. The reported deaths, however, could become a fresh rallying point. Thousands of mourners had turned out for the funeral processions of two other people killed in the protests earlier in the week.

    After prayers Wednesday evening, a Shiite imam in the square had urged Bahrain’s youth not to back down.

    “This square is a trust in your hands and so will you whittle away this trust or keep fast?” the imam said. “So be careful and be concerned for your country and remember that the regime will try to rip this country from your hand but if we must leave it in coffins then so be it!”

    Across the city, government supporters in a caravan of cars waved national flags and displayed portraits of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

    “Come join us!” they yelled into markets and along busy streets. “Show your loyalty.”

    Thousands of mourners turned out Wednesday for the funeral procession of 31-year-old Fadhel al-Matrook, one of two people killed Monday in the protests. Later, in Pearl Square, his father Salman pleaded with protesters not to give up.

    “He is not only my son. He is the son of Bahrain, the son of this nation,” he yelled. “His blood shouldn’t be wasted.”

    Monday’s bloodshed brought embarrassing rebukes from allies such as Britain and the United States. A statement from Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said suspects have been “placed in custody” in connection with the two deaths but gave no further details.

    ___

    Brian Murphy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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