Syrian regime allies, the downing of Israeli F-16 is a strategic shift

Israeli soldiers block a road near the Israeli border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Feb. 10, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 11 February 2018

Syrian regime allies, the downing of Israeli F-16 is a strategic shift

LONDON: Once again, events in Syria risk to spill beyond its border. The downing of the Israeli F-16 over Syria is a first in the Syrian war. 
The Russian president Vladimir Putin held telephone talks with PM Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to avoid escalation. Washington on the other hand announced that it strongly supports Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself. A statement published by the state department accused Iran of “a calculated escalation of threat and Tehran’s ambition to project its power and dominance places all the people of the region from Yemen to Lebanon at risk”
Iran denounced Israeli “lies” on Saturday and said Syria had the right to “legitimate self-defense” in response to air strikes launched by Israel after an alleged Iranian drone incursion into its territory. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said.
Iranian spokespersons went on to claim that the downed Iranian drone By Tel Aviv was on a surveillance operation monitoring Daesh.
Ghashmi also re-iterated Tehran’s position that it “does not have a military presence in Syria, and has only sent military advisers at the request of the Syrian government.”
Lebanon also criticized the Israeli strikes, and said it would write a letter of protest to the United Nations over the use of its airspace for the raids, according to a statement from its foreign ministry.
Lebanese pro Iranian Militia Hezbollah indicated in a statement today that the shooting down of an Israeli F-16 jet fighter is “the start of a new strategic phase” which would limit Israeli exploitation of Syrian airspaces. 


Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

Updated 25 November 2020

Egyptian festival celebrates Aragouz traditions

  • The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz

CAIRO: The second Egyptian Aragouz Festival has opened on Nov. 24, at the ancient Bayt Al-Sinnari, in Cairo. The aragouz is a traditional puppet figure dressed in red invented by Egyptians to ridicule situations comically.

Khaled Bahgat, a professor of theater at Helwan University and the founder of the festival and the Wamda Troupe for Aragouz and Shadow Puppets, said the festival is part of the initiative to preserve the Egyptian aragouz, after it was recognized by UNESCO in 2018 as one of the most important Egyptian artistic elements. He said that he wants the Egyptian art of aragouz to reach the world because it is an ancient Egyptian art.

The festival this year sheds light on the creative icons that inspired the aragouz.

The festival opened with a tribute to the great Egyptian creator Abu Al-Saud Al-Abyari in a reading of his story “Aragouz, Author and Idea,” which he published in 1953. Al-Aragouz was an important source of creativity for Al-Abyari.

The reading was followed by entries exploring how the art of aragouz shaped Egyptian comedy in the twentieth century.

The day closed with puppet performances of “The social media aragouz,” which reflected the impact of social media, directed by Ali Abu Zeid, and “The aragouz in the city,” directed by Nabil Bahgat.

On the second day, Reem Heggab will honor her father the late Egyptian poet Said Heggab, reciting one of his poems on the aragouz. This will be followed by two aragouz shows, “The Take Away,” directed by Mahmoud Sayed Hanafi, and “Aragouz, the Land of Myths.”

On Thursday, the theater department of the University of Alexandria will celebrate the aragouz with a lecture by Hany Abou El-Hassan, the head of the department, a workshop and a performance titled “Lorca and the aragouz,” directed by Nabil Bahgat and presented by the Wamda Troupe.

The performance honors the creativity of the Spanish poet and innovator Federico García Lorca, and will be held in the presence of the Spanish cultural attache.

The fourth day of the festival will honor the poet Fouad Haddad, whose son Amin Haddad will recite several poems from his father’s book of poetry entitiled Al-Aragouz. The poetry reading will be followed by a discussion.

Then there will be performances of “Aragouz Al Sima,” directed by Mustafa Al-Sabbagh, and “Al-Aragouz in Danger,” which deals with the greatest challenges facing the art of aragouz.

On the last day, the Faculty of Arts at Helwan University and the Department of Theater Sciences’ troupe will hold an open seminar with the department’s students to discuss ways to preserve the Egyptian aragouz.