Tunisian union ends strike

Updated 03 December 2012
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Tunisian union ends strike

SILIANA, Tunisia: A Tunisian trade union yesterday called an end to a general strike that triggered five days of violence fueled by disappointment nearly two years after the country’s revolution.
“We decided to suspend the general strike,” Ahmed Chefai of the UGTT union’s executive board for the town of Siliana told a crowd of around 100 people.
He did not specify for how long the suspension would last but said they were waiting for the implementation of a deal negotiated on Saturday with the government dominated by the Islamist party Ennhada.
The agreement provides for sidelining Governor Ahmed Ezzine Mahjoubi, a speedy review by the courts of those imprisoned in April 2011, funds to care for the wounded and a development programme which must still be clarified.
“The governor is permanently gone. He belongs to the past, he will never set foot again in Siliana,” said the union leader as the crowd broke into applause.
He also that a delegation of the UGTT had asked reinforcements deployed in Siliana since Tuesday to withdraw in keeping with a key demand made by the protesters.
More than 300 people have been injured in five days of violence in Siliana after mounting clashes, strikes and attacks by hard-line Islamists known as Salafists across Tunisia that have plunged the country into a political impasse. The violence also came ahead of the second anniversary of the revolution, triggered on December 17, 2010 when a young fruit and vegetable seller set himself alight in the town of Sidi Bouzid to protest against police harassment.

The protest saw the exit of former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and ignited a wave of similar protests across the Arab world.
Protesters in Siliana have been demanding the governor’s resignation, financial aid and the withdrawal of police from the town, blaming it for the violence this week.
Meanwhile calm prevailed on Sunday in Siliana, southwest of Tunisia, and in neighboring regions where clashes on Saturday night pitted police and protesters.


Israel defense minister vows to strike any Iran ‘military foothold’ in Syria

Updated 31 min 13 sec ago
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Israel defense minister vows to strike any Iran ‘military foothold’ in Syria

  • Israel defense minister vowed to strike if Israel was attacked by Iran
  • Lieberman visited Washington to meet US National Security Adviser John Bolton about 'Iranian expansionism'

JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed in an interview Thursday to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a “military foothold” in Syria, following an attack this month attributed to his country.
Speaking with a news website run by a Saudi businessman that regularly interviews Israeli officials, Lieberman also threatened firm retaliation if Israel was attacked by Iran.
“If they attack Tel Aviv, we’ll strike Tehran,” he told the Elaph website.
The comments came as Lieberman visited Washington to meet US National Security Adviser John Bolton and other officials to discuss what his office called Iran’s “expansion” in the Middle East.
“We don’t intervene in the war, don’t fight there, but Iran is trying to establish bases there and attack us from there with advanced arms it brings to them,” Lieberman said of neighboring Syria.
“I can’t stand by when I see Iran do that close to the Golan, and when it supports Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, and tries to establish a foothold in Syria in order to attack Israel.”
He added that “any site in which we see an Iranian attempt to achieve a military foothold in Syria will be struck. We won’t let that happen, regardless of the price.”
On April 9, seven Iranian personnel were among 14 people killed in a strike on the T-4 air base in Syria, with regime allies Iran and Russia blaming Israel for the attack.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility, but has repeatedly said it cannot accept Iran establishing itself militarily in Syria.
Lieberman’s visit to Washington comes ahead of a May 12 deadline US President Donald Trump has set to decide on the fate of a nuclear deal with Iran.
Israeli leaders have repeatedly called for the deal to be scrapped or improved, though others say it is working as intended to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for the time being.