An Egyptian court has sentenced ousted President Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison on corruption charges. Mubarak's sons, Alaa and Gamal, were additionally convicted and issued four-year jail terms. They were found guilty of embezzling $17.6 million in public funds that were designated for the maintenance of presidential palaces and using the money to renovate their private residences. They were additionally ordered to reimburse the funds they were accused of stealing. Mubarak faces a separate corruption case as well as a trial for involvement in the killing of protesters during the 2011 uprising. Activists are criticizing the imbalance in prison terms with the harsh sentences recently handed to Islamist and secular protesters.
Amnesty International released a report Wednesday saying that Syrian refugees in Lebanon lack adequate access to medical care. Over one million Syrians have fled to Lebanon since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011. Amnesty International claimed there is a massive shortage of international funding for medical care for Syrian refugees. According to the report, hospital treatment and specialized care in Lebanon is "woefully insufficient." Some refugees have been turned away from hospitals and in some cases resorted to returning to Syria for treatment. Meanwhile, Russia has vowed to veto a draft U.N. resolution to refer the Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court. The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote on the resolution on Thursday. In a statement on Tuesday, a Pentagon official said Syria is beginning to transport the remainder of its chemical weapons stockpile. Syria has delayed transferring the final 7.2 percent of its reported chemical arsenal citing security concerns.
- The United States and a U.N. official have called for an investigation into the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers shot by Israeli forces after a video was released indicating they posed no threat.
- Explosions and heavy fighting were reported near two military camps in the capital of Tripoli Wednesday morning after Libyan lawmakers met secretly and the election commission called for parliamentary elections on June 25.
- Iran has arrested three men and three women suspected of posting a video online of a version of the song "Happy" which police called "vulgar" and "obnoxious."
- Clashes between Houthi rebels, Sunni tribesmen, and military troops killed an estimated 27 people in Yemen's northwestern Amran province.
Arguments and Analysis
'Is this the end of Sykes-Picot?' (F. Gregory Gause, III, The Washington Post)
"The intensity of the civil war in Syria, combined with the continued upheavals in Iraq and the endemic instability of Lebanese politics, has naturally led to speculation that the famously 'artificial' borders in the eastern Arab world, drawn by Britain and France in the aftermath of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, are on their last legs. Are the state entities created by European colonialism in the 1920s about to collapse? Are we about to see a grand redrawing of the borders in the Middle East? The short answer to this question is no. While none of these three states will be able to claim effective governance within their borders anytime soon, the borders themselves are not going to change. They are devolving into what the political scientist Robert Jackson perceptively referred to as 'quasi-states,' internationally recognized de jure as sovereign even though they cannot implement de facto the functional requisites that sovereignty assumes - control of territory and borders. Real governance in the eastern Arab world is certainly up for grabs, but the borders themselves will be the last things to change, because almost none of the actors, either regionally or internationally, really want them to change."
'Unruly Erdogan will preside over a divided Turkey' (David Gardner, Financial Times)
"There would appear to be a paradox here: Mr Erdogan has a preternatural rapport with Turkish voters and a political tin ear. From where he stands, however, there is no contradiction. He addresses himself not to Turkey but what he calls 'my nation': the piously conservative Anatolian heartland to which his neo-Islamist party has given identity and a stake in the country's wealth. His instinct is to polarise and, after eight victories at the polls since 2002, no one can prove to him it does not work."
-- Mary Casey