Archive for January 2009
THE shocking level of the last wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence, which ended with this weekend’s cease-fire, reminds us why a final resolution to the so-called Middle East crisis is so important. It is vital not just to break this cycle of destruction and injustice, but also to deny the religious extremists in the region who feed on the conflict an excuse to advance their own causes. Read the rest of this entry »
Two missile attacks from suspected US drones have killed 14 people in north-western Pakistan, officials say.
At least one missile hit a house in a village near the town of Mirali in North Waziristan, a stronghold of al-Qaeda and Taleban militants.
A second suspected drone attack has been reported in South Waziristan, killing five people.
Pakistan has long argued that such strikes are counter-productive and are a violation of its sovereignty.
These are the first drone attacks since Barack Obama was inaugurated as US president on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »
Report, The Electronic Intifada, 23 January 2009
|One of the more than 700 Palestinian refugees from Iraq in the al-Tanf camp. (Lachlyn Soper/IRIN)|
DAMASCUS (IRIN) – The start of 2009 offers little hope to the residents of al-Tanf, a refugee camp on the Syrian-Iraqi border housing more than 700 Palestinians who had fled persecution in Iraq. No country has given any concrete pledge to take any of the refugees for resettlement in 2009, leaving them to battle the cold desert weather this winter with more despair than ever.
The refugees say that despite visits from foreign delegations, resettlements have been few and far between since the camp opened in May 2006.
Jamal, 53, said residents are giving up hope. Originally from Haifa, he moved to Baghdad with the establishment of the State of Israel, during which 750,000 Palestinians were forced from their homeland. He said that he and his family fled to Syria in February 2007 after being targeted by militia groups. “We just want to be resettled,” he said. “I don’t mind where. I just want to live the rest of my days in peace.”
Resettlement is the pressing need for the people of al-Tanf. Stuck in tents in no man’s land between the border crossings, the refugees are legally unable to go forward into Syria and fear going back to Iraq where they face persecution from Kurd and Shia groups who accuse them of being too close to the Sunni-dominated insurgency or resent the privileges they received under Saddam Hussein’s regime. Read the rest of this entry »
Barack Obama’s arrival in the White House and the wind of change sweeping through Washington could lead to the ousting from power of Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, The Independent has learnt.
International support for Mr Karzai, who was once the darling of the West, has waned spectacularly, amid worsening violence, endemic corruption and weak leadership. But until very recently, diplomats insisted there were no viable alternatives even as fighting has intensified and the Taliban insurgency in the south has grown. But four key figures believed to be challenging Mr Karzai have arrived in Washington for meetings with Obama administration officials this week. There is now talk of a “dream ticket” that would see the main challengers run together to unite the country’s various ethnic groups and wrest control away from Mr Karzai. Read the rest of this entry »