Tuesday, September 30, 2008

World News Round Up

Iraq PM Comments on US deal

In an interview with the Associated Press, PM Nuri al-Maliki warned that the future is dark if Iraq and the US do not agree on a security pact. And without a pact, he said, all the security progress made in the last year would be at risk. He points out that the alternative is to go back to the UN security council for an extension of Chapter 7 authorization of foreign troops in Iraq, and that UNSC approval is no longer assured because Russia may be in a bad mood. PM al-Maliki still insists that US troops who are off base and not on a military mission, who commit crimes in Iraq, must be tried in Iraqi courts. Al-Maliki also wants a timetable for US withdrawal by the end of 2010.

Jews and Muslims Share Holy Season in Jerusalem

Once again, Iraq's Ramadan Ends In Violence

Sunday's bombings in Baghdad, and the killing of nearly 100 civilians in Baghdad during Ramadan, raise questions for Iraqis. Is this increase in violence a secular trend, a sign of deterioration, or is it just that guerrillas have more spare time during the month of fasting (when typically people do not work full work days, and lots of people circulate for dinner (i.e. breaking-the-fast) parties. Although this Ramadan was 40% less deadly than last year, it was also more deadly than July and August.

EU Georgia monitors fully deployed; Meet with Russians

EU mission to monitor the ceasefire in Georgia is fully deployed and has met
Russian forces to discuss their pullback from positions deep inside the Caucasus
country. Under a deal brokered by France after last month's Russia-Georgia war,
Russian forces are due to withdraw from two "security zones" adjacent to
breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Oct. 10.

Flawed Victory for 'Last Dictator' Lukashenko as Belarus Elections Denounced

Western monitors denounced the Belarussian parliamentary elections — in which all the President's men swept to victory — as flawed. “Voting was generally well conducted but the process deteriorated considerably during the vote count,” said the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in a statement.

Mikhail Gorbachev Returns to Russian Politics

Mikhail Gorbachev has announced he is making an unlikely political comeback almost 17 years after stepping down as the Soviet Union's last leader. Mikhail Gorbachev, now 77, revealed that he and business partner Alexander Lebedev, a maverick ex-KGB officer turned billionaire banker, would form a political party to contest parliamentary elections in 2011. He and Mr Lebedev described the Independent Democratic Party of Russia, the working title of the new movement, as an opposition group.

US Navy Watches Seized Ship With Sudan-Bound Tanks

U.S. helicopters on Monday buzzed a hijacked Ukrainian cargo ship carrying 33
Soviet-designed tanks and other weapons that officials fear could end up in the
hands of al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia if the pirates are allowed to
escape. The pirates aboard the blue-and-white Ukrainian-operated freighter are
demanding $20 million to release the ship, its 21 crew members, one of whom has
died of an apparent heart attack, and its cargo of T-72 tanks, rifles and
ammunition. The ship, now anchored off Somalia's coast near the central town of
Hobyo, apparently was destined for Sudan when armed pirates overtook it, likely
from a speedboat, and climbed up the side of the ship.

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