Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Anti-war activists say the decision to send more troops will leave many Americans disappointed.
But Al Jazeera's Sebastian Walker reports that so far there have only been limited protests.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The IAEA's 35-member Board of Governors is meeting to discuss the IAEA's work on nuclear verification, safety and security and the peaceful use of nuclear technologies. The Board, which meets five times a year at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, is the Agency's policymaking body
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
If you believe the consulate's own PR, the institution deals with pleasant issues such as business and travel visas, the Olympic Games or German-Chinese trade relations. But if German investigators are to be believed, this idyll is merely a facade behind which the Chinese intelligence service is operating a network of spies.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Despite billions of dollars spent by the U.S. and other countries to improve governance in Afghanistan and Iraq, the two countries remain among the world’s most corrupt nations, according to the latest edition of Transparency International’s (TI)Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
"We call upon Saudi Arabia to stop its military attacks and start negotiations," he said in an interview with Al-Arabiya late on Wednesday.
"Our war is not with Saudi Arabia," Yahya al-Houthi emphasized.
This is while the Saudi forces continue to pound the positions of Houthis as frequent cross-border confrontations between Shia fighters and Saudi security forces have drawn Riyadh into the ongoing Sana'a military campaign against the northern Yemeni combatants.
A Saudi government adviser told Reuters on Thursday that the world's biggest oil exporter is using air power and artillery to enforce a 10-kilometer (six mile) deep buffer zone inside Yemen to keep Shia resistance fighters away from its southwestern border.
Last week, Riyadh unleashed F-15 and Tornado jets against Houthi positions around the massive Jebel al-Dukhan mountain, which soars 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) out of the coastal plain on the border in southern Jizan province.
Saudi ground troops and heavy long-range artillery lined the sides of the main road to the frontier town of al-Khubah at the foot of the mountain, as soldiers patrolled fields and inspected vehicles for Houthi fighters. The Houthis blame Riyadh of permitting Yemeni troops to use Saudi territory to attack their flank.
The Yemeni government launched Operation 'Scorched Earth' on August 11 to uproot the Shia Houthi fighters whom Sana'a accuses of seeking a return to the Zaidi imamate rule, overthrown in a 1962 coup.
The northern combatants, however, reiterate that they suffer religious discrimination by Sunni fundamentalists who hold sway because of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's cordial relations with the staunchly Wahabi-dominated Saudi regime.
Saada and neighboring Amran province are encircled by fighters and frequently pounded by military jet fighter as helicopter gunships. The conflict zones in northern Yemen remain cut from the rest of the country and are currently grappling with a pressing shortage of food and other basic supplies.
The United Nations puts the figure of displaced people in northern Yemen at around 150,000 civilians.
Speaking at a joint news conference with the visiting Mosotho foreign minister, Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa, Mottaki said Iran is in favor of peace and stability in Yemen.
He added that Tehran is ready to work with regional states to resolve the crisis in Yemen.
The fighting in Yemen started in August when government forces attacked areas inhabited by Shia civilians and Houthi fighters.
The Houthis demand an end to social, economic and political 'discrimination' against Shias in Yemen as well as Saudi-backed attempts to spread Wahhabism — a sect that preaches controversial and violent actions — in the north. They also accuse the government of widespread corruption.
The government accuses the fighters of violating the terms of an armistice by taking foreign visitors hostage in 2009.
The fighting has displaced thousands of civilians, while tens of thousands of others remain at risk as winter approaches.
According to local Yemeni sources, the Saudi air and artillery assaults against the civilians were launched overnight.
The Saudi Army also deployed one of its main brigades from the southern province of Jizan to northern Yemen early Monday morning, the sources reported. The army's Fourth Brigade consists of at least 13,000 troops.
Saudi authorities have also blocked border roads since Saturday in order to utilize them for the movement of armored trucks and military vehicles.
Saudi Arabia launched its Yemen offensive more than two month after the Yemeni government launched its 'Operation Scotched Earth' to crush the Houhti resistance in the mountainous north.
The Houthis have been accused of seeking to restore a religious establishment that was overthrown in 1962. The fighters, however, stress that they only want an end to the social, economic and political 'discrimination' against them in the country, as well as the Saudi-backed attempts to spread Wahabism in the north.
Wahabism is a Saudi-based sect that preaches radical misinterpretations of Islam that encourages violence against anyone that does not share their system of beliefs.
The agreement was signed in Sana'a on Tuesday after two days of talks, the second round of such negotiations, state-run Saba news agency reported.
Under the military pact, Washington will provide the Yemeni army with intelligence and training to strengthen cooperation in the 'extermination of terrorism, smuggling and piracy', Saba quoted Yemen's Chief of Staff Ahmed Ali al-Ashwal as saying.
The deal comes amid accusations against the central government of employing al-Qaeda mercenaries and getting help from foreign forces, the Sunni-dominated Saudi military in particular.
Northern Yemen has been the scene of deadly clashes between the army and the Houthi opposition fighters, who took arms against the Sunni-dominated central government in protest at 'repression and discrimination' against the country's Shia minority.
The conflict escalated to a breaking point in August when Sana'a launched a massive military offensive, namely Operation Scorched Earth, against the Shia fighters.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabian air force launched a deadly offensive against Houthis more than a week ago, accusing the Shia fighters of killing two Saudi soldiers on the border.
While Riyadh says that its offensive targeted Houthi positions on 'Saudi territory', the Shia fighters say Yemeni villages, far from the battlefield, were being bombarded.
They also accuse the Saudi air force of repeated use of the forbidden white phosphorus bombs in their attacks in the areas of al-Malahaid and the border region of Jabal al-Dukhan.
White phosphorus (photo), banned under the Geneva Treaty of 1980, is an incendiary material that erupts into flame on contact with air, causing horrific burns, severe injuries or death when it comes in contact with human skin.
But Al Jazeera's Mohamed Adow, reports that some experts now believe the self-declared republic is at crisis point, as an election row deepens.
The current tension in Somaliland centres on the presidential election, which was due to have been held on September 27.
The polls have been postponed indefinitely due to serious differences between the political parties since 2008.
This uncertainty has led to increased concern about Somaliland in the international community, and a flare-up of political animosity within the territory.
Recent violence, particularly in the capital Hargeysa, has shown that the crisis in Somaliland has changed from being political to one of security and stability.
Fears over the crisis has even led one senior political figure to warn that it could become another failed state, like neighbouring Somalia.
Somaliland is a former British protectorate in north western Somalia.
In 1960, it gained its independence and united with what was then Italian Somaliland to form the Somalia republic.
In 1991, it declared independence after Mohamed Siad Barre, the Somali military leader, was overthrown.
Somaliland has a population of 3.5 million people, according to government estimates, and is a relatively stable democracy even though it has not been internationally recognised.
This is partly because it has developed a unique hybrid system of government.
The row over elections - largely seen as a test for this fledgeling nation - threatens to divide it.
The hope now lies with a recently appointed electoral commission, entrusted with the task of organising elections, a step seen as vital to Somaliland's quest for international recognition
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
The kidnapping of 21 international human rights workers attempting to deliver needed aid to a besieged people is an outrage, but it is hardly an isolated one.
Since its founding in 1948 the State of Israel has regularly kidnapped and tortured Palestinians, throwing them into forgotten prisons where they can languish for years. Today, over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners without benefit of due process, some never even charged - men, women, and children endure torture and isolation in Israeli jails, outdoor prison camps, and secret black sites.
They come from all walks of life: doctors, journalists, parliamentarians, workers, resistance fighters, homemakers, students and others. They are our sisters and brothers.
From the first night, the Free Gaza 21 have been busy trying to get news out of the prison about the illegality of Israel's actions in relation to themselves and the other inmates inside Ramle Prison who have no voice.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Channel 10 also reported that Abbas communicated to the White House his disappointment in the administration's "capitulation" to Tel Aviv on the issue of occupied West Bank settlement construction. The Palestinians are demanding a cessation of Israeli settlement activity as a precondition to the resumption of “peace negotiations”.
According to Channel 10, Abbas told the White House that the Palestinian Authority's initial decision to defer a vote on the Goldstone Report at the United Nations Human Rights Council was politically damaging. The Palestinian Authority agreed to delay debating the report that was condemning the Zionist entity for its aggression in Gaza last winter. The decision led to street protests by Palestinians and condemnation around the Arab world.
In recent days, Abbas has sent a number of blunt, unequivocal messages to the White House, Channel 10 reported. According to information which reached Israeli officials, Abbas told the U.S. president that he will not stand for re-election as Palestinian Authority president given the diplomatic stalemate with Israel.
Abbas called on Friday for presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 24, in a bid to regain dominance of the badly divided Palestinian movement and sideline his political rivals, Hamas.
According to Channel 10, Abbas also told the Americans that he sees no possibility that his Fatah faction can reach a reconciliation agreement with Hamas. Hamas and Fatah are currently in the midst of Egyptian-mediated reconciliation talks.
In response to the report, a senior Netanyahu aide told Channel 10: "Netanyahu carried out a number of steps in order to renew the peace process, as the American administration is fully aware. The prime minister called on the Palestinians to renew negotiations immediately and without preconditions."
"In contrast to the prime minister, the Palestinians are assuming a tougher stance and are placing preconditions before negotiations that they did not demand of previous [Israeli] governments," the source told Channel 10. "It is a shame that their transparent political maneuvers are casting a pall over the peace process."
Earlier Monday, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat blamed Israel for the impasse. Erekat urged Washington to also find fault with Israel.
"The gap is still wide and Israel does not give a single sign of meeting its obligations under the road map, halting settlement activities and resuming negotiations where they left off," he told Voice of Palestine radio. "I do not see any possibility for restarting peace talks in the near future," Erekat said.
Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Abbas, on Monday night denied the Channel 10 report.
The senior State Department official in Afghanistan's Zabul province Matthew Hoh had stepped down in September, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday. "I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," Hoh wrote in his resignation letter to the State Department's personnel chief. "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end," he added.
The former Marine Corps captain was offered a senior staff-level job at the US embassy in Kabul, which he also turned down. Hoh, who had also served in uniform at the Pentagon and as a civilian in Iraq, said he decided to speak out to influence public opinion. "I'm not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love," he said after his resignation became final on Wednesday.
"I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, 'Listen, I don't think this is right.'" Since the 2001 US-led invasion of the country, Afghanistan has been suffering from the devastating war.
A high number of civilians have been killed both by indiscriminate US air strikes and by violent acts including suicide bombings and blasts carried out by militants against the occupying forces. Many other Afghans have also been forced to displace due to the conflict. According to the latest UN report, more than 1,500 civilians have been killed and many others wounded only in the first six months of this year, which shows a 24 percent increase compared to the same period in 2008.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
The crisis in relations between the Zionist entity and Turkey is also manifesting in credit and business dealings.
Israel Credit Insurance Company figures show late payments by Turkish importers of Israeli products increased dramatically in the first nine months of the year, by 90%. A total of $40 million in debt is "substantially late," which the ICIC defines as more than 30 days after the credit terms set by Israeli exporters and their customers. The increase encompasses all exports to Turkey.
Relations have taken a turn for the worse in recent years. The rift deepened with Israel's January offensive in Gaza.
ICIC chief executive David Milgrom said there have been unusual instances of Turkish companies not paying debts to Israeli exporters. Collecting debt in Turkey is relatively complicated, he added. Turkish banks that used to provide information to exporters about which potential clients had restrictions placed on their bank accounts have stopped doing so, making it even more difficult to manage customer credit in the country.
At the same time, Israeli exports to Turkey have plunged by 40%, while exports overall decreased 22%. Israel exports totaled $800 million in the first nine months of the year, compared to $1.3 billion in the same period last year. The hardest hit industries have been metals, chemicals and plastic.
ICIC, an Israeli company, issues $12 billion annually in export insurance for customers in 115 countries. The coverage assures that suppliers will receive their payment, in the event that their customers become insolvent, financially strapped, or don't pay due to political events. ICIC is owned by Harel Insurance, Bituach Haklai and international credit insurer Euler Hermes.
- ▼ December (4)