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A reported blog about all things Middle East and North Africa.

Egypt's Tahrir Square activists fight back against military propaganda

Armed with projectors and damning video, Egypt's activists combat state media.
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An Egyptian protester holds a sign reading 'Soldiers are liars' during a demonstration against the country's military rulers in Cairo's Abbassiya district. Activists are now using "military liars" as a name for their guerrilla media campaign to combat army propaganda. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

The projection screen is draped across the base of a statue in a busy intersection. About 100 people are gathered around, watching violent images of army and police brutality broadcast to whomever passes by. 

It's "3askar kazeboon," or "military liars," a media campaign organized by some of Egypt's most dedicated revolutionaries to combat the military propaganda aired on state television and that paints the activists as destructive thugs.

Armed with projectors and damning footage, the kazeboon organizers hold impromptu screenings of films compiling photos and video of army and police beating protestors since they assumed power in Feb. 2011, spliced with statements made by Egypt's ruling generals denying culpability. 

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IMF meets Muslim Brotherhood, mulls billions in loan to Egypt

A delegation from the International Monetary Fund concluded its visit to Egypt, where it assessed whether or not the country is ready to take on billions in international loans.
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An Egyptian woman sells clothes on the side of a road in Cairo. Some 40 percent of Egyptians live on less than $2 per day, the World Bank says. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

Egypt's ruling generals have asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global financial body, for $3.2 billion in aid to prop up the country's ailing, post-uprising economy.

The military rejected IMF assistance after assuming power last year, in a move that made the debate over loans as much about politics and military hubris as economic woes.

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Hamas: Shifting alliances in the Arab Spring?

Reports say Hamas is on its way out of Damascus. Is it angering Iran, its longtime patron?
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Hamas police officers march in formation during a ceremony in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas leadership outside Gaza may be leaving its headquarters in Damascus, Syria, in a move some say will anger Iran. (SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Hamas is on the move. Due to what they say is deteriorating security in the Syrian capital, Damascus, high-ranking Hamas officials are whisking their families away from their political headquarters to safer Arab cities. 

At least two informed sources in the Gaza Strip, where the Islamist movement rules, say their Damascus offices have been entirely emptied and only the leadership-in-exile remains. They are just waiting for the right moment to make their move, as their Syrian government hosts grow more violent in their suppression of a months-long uprising, and which will likely raise eyebrows from Tel Aviv to DC and Tehran. 

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Israeli official denies plans to attack Iran's nuclear facilities

Ehud Barak, Israel's defense minister, said Israel is "very far" from any decision to attack Iran.
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Iranian Navy boats take part in maneuvers during navy exercises in the Strait of Hormuz this month. Today, the U.S. navy rescued 13 Iranian sailors from pirates. (EBRAHIM NOROOZI/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM — Despite a lack of concrete developments since last week’s mysterious assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran, Iran and its nuclear ambitions continue to dominate diplomatic discourse here.

Ehud Barak, Israel’s defense minister, came closer Wednesday than any other Israeli figure to an official denial of any plans to overtly attack Iranian nuclear installations, saying that Israel is “very far from” any such decision.

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Israeli-American owners of Carnival Cruises lose half a billion on Italy shipwreck

The Arison family, one of Israel's richest, has had a bad year.
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Floating barriers are pulled behind a boat to prevent pollution from the stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia from reaching the coast of the Italian island of Giglio on January 18, 2012. (Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM — A little-discussed factoid of the Costa Concordia calamity off the Tuscan coast: Carnival Cruises, the cruise ship’s parent company, is owned by one of Israel’s richest families.

Carnival Cruises is owned by the Israeli-American Arison clan. The shipping company was founded by its Tel Aviv-born patriarch, the late Ted Arison, and its CEO is Micky Arison, his Miami-based son. His daughter, Shari Arison is Israel’s richest woman.

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Egypt revolution: What will happen on the first anniversary?

Cairo's streets are abuzz with talk of a revolution redux on the first anniversary of Egypt's uprising on Jan. 25.
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Egyptian protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square in Dec. 2011. What will happen on the first anniversary of Egypt's uprising next week is anybody's guess. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

What will happen on Jan. 25, the first anniversary of the beginning of Egypt's 18-day uprising? It's a question on the minds of many here in Cairo and across the country as pro- and anti-government activists, political parties and even Egypt's military gear up for protests, celebrations and potential clashes on what was recently declared a national holiday.

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Israel: Official blames lack of faith for casualties in Second Lebanon War

Israel's interior minister, Eli Yishai, forced to apologize.
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Eli Yishai, (C) head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, arrives for a meeting with President Shimon Peres to advise the veteran Israeli politician on his choice to head a new coalition government February 19, 2009 in Jerusalem. (Uriel Sinai/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Interior Minister Eli Yishai has had what can only be described as a Jerry Falwell moment.

On Tuesday, at a ceremony honoring Israel Defense Forces soldiers, Yishai declared that the Israeli army failed in the Second Lebanon War because soldiers were not sufficiently devout.

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Syria: Should the West intervene like it did in Libya?

Casualties in Syria are on the rise, as are the calls to intervene.
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A Syrian armored military convoy moves on the international road that links Beirut with Damascus. Qatar's emir recently said he supports sending troops to stop the bloodshed in Syria. (JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

The debate over foreign intervention in Syria is heating up following the airing of an interview with Qatar's emir on US television last week, when he said he supported sending Arab troops to stop the bloodshed there. 

But is intervention the answer? If so, should the U.S. take part? 

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Martians land in Morocco... sort of

Scientists say rocks from Mars landed in the North African nation last July.
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A meteor streaks across the sky against a field of stars during a meteorite shower last summer in southern Spain. Scientists today confirmed that rocks from Mars landed just south of Spain in Morocco in July. (JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)

NASA scientists confirmed to AP today that after a meterorite sighting over Morocco last summer, 15 pounds of rock collected from the area did indeed come from Mars. 

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Gas prices are on the rise in Egypt... or are they?

Rumors of an impending fuel shortage send Egypt drivers to the pumps in droves. But are they making it worse?
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An Egyptian worker fills a customer's car tank at a petrol station in Cairo amid fears of an oil shortage. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Long lines at gas stations, fights between drivers, and black market prices. Where has Egypt's fuel gone?

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