- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood wants military immunity for generals, activists cry foul
- Russia Says West Planning No-Fly Zone in Syria to Protect Rebels
- China says war over Iran will bring disaster
- Afghanistan: American crusaders violate the sanctity of dead bodies
- Drone strikes resume amid US-Pakistan strains
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood wants military immunity for generals, activists cry foul:
In a move that has left many of the country's activists angered, Egypt's top political force the Muslim Brotherhood has said it was looking into a deal that would grant the ruling military junta immunity for alleged crimes committed against protesters since they took charge of the country in February last year. The move would ensure the military relinquish power and enable the transition to a newly elected legislative body, but activists who have faced the end of the military's guns, are not convinced and have called it a means for the Brotherhood to assert more power. The goal of the Brotherhood is to create compromise within the country as their political arm, The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) leads all voting with nearly 40 percent, ahead of a final vote count for the third and final round of parliamentary elections, which ended on Wednesday. Despite the idea being floated this week by top Brotherhood officials, activists say it will not stop their campaign to have the top generals tried for what they have regularly dubbed "crimes against humanity." The military has been directly responsible for the killing of scores of citizens, attacking a peaceful Coptic Christian march on October 9, which killed at least 27 people.
Russia Says West Planning No-Fly Zone in Syria to Protect Rebels:
Russia received information that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and some Persian Gulf countries are preparing military intervention in Syria, the head of the Russian Security Council said. Turkey, a NATO member, may play a key role, Nikolai Patrushev, who is also a former director of the Federal Security Service, told Interfax in comments confirmed by his office. The U.S. and Turkey are working on the possibility of creating a no- fly zone to protect Syrian rebels, Patrushev said. "We are receiving information that NATO members and some Persian Gulf states, working under the ‘Libyan scenario', intend to move from indirect intervention in Syria to direct military intervention," the Russian security chief said. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday that the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria should end after failing to deter the government's 10-month campaign of violence against dissidents. She spoke after meeting Qatari Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al Thani, a day after President Barack Obama held talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal at the White House. "This time, it won't be France, the U.K. and Italy that will provide the main strike forces, but perhaps neighboring Turkey, which was until recently on good terms with Syria and is a rival of Iran with immense ambitions," Patrushev said.
China says war over Iran will bring disaster:
A top Chinese diplomat said Tuesday war over the Iranian nuclear issue would bring disaster to the world economy and urged all nations involved to exercise restraint and prevent hostilities. The remarks by Chen Xiaodong, a top Chinese diplomat on Middle Eastern affairs, came as Iran's showdown with the West slid closer to confrontation as alarm over its new uranium enrichment plant and Tehran's death sentence for a "CIA spy" raised the stakes."We urge all relevant nations to remain calm, exercise restraint, refrain from taking actions that will intensify the situation and make common efforts to prevent war," Chen said in an online interview with state media. "Everyone knows that 40 percent of the oil shipped daily to every part of the world goes through the Strait of Hormuz, so once war starts in this region not only will the relevant nations be affected and attacked, it would also ... bring disaster to a world economy deep in crisis." The International Atomic Energy Agency's confirmation on Monday that Iran had begun enriching uranium in a new, underground bunker southwest of Tehran was seized upon by the United States, Britain, France and Germany as an unacceptable "violation" of UN Security Council resolutions.
Afghanistan: American crusaders violate the sanctity of dead bodies:
The US military is investigating an online video purportedly showing Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, a spokesman said Wednesday, calling the behaviour "disgusting". The video shows what appears to be four servicemen, dressed in US military uniform, relieving themselves onto three bloodied bodies on the ground, apparently aware that they are being filmed. "Have a great day, buddy," one of them says. The Pentagon has not yet verified the video, but spokesman John Kirby told AFP: "Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is... egregious, disgusting behaviour, unacceptable for anyone in uniform." "It turned my stomach," he added of the video, which was posted on the Live Leak website. If authenticated, the images - which conjure up memories of the detainee abuse inflicted by American soldiers at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison - are sure to spark deep anger and resentment in the Muslim world. A military official who asked not to be named said the helmet and weapon carried by one of the men seems to indicate the four could be members of an elite sniper team.
Drone strikes resume amid US-Pakistan strains:
In the first such attack since November 17, at least four militants were killed by missiles fired from an unmanned US drone at a house on the outskirts of Miranshah in the Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan, Pakistani security and intelligence officials said. Tense US and Pakistani relations worsened after a November 26 incident in which 24 Pakistani troops manning remote border posts were accidentally killed in a misdirected air strike by coalition forces based in Afghanistan. Current and former US government officials familiar with the drone program said the apparent lull in attacks since the November incident represented no major change in US policy governing drone use. US officials insisted there was no formal decision to suspend drone attacks after the wayward November 26 attack. Officials said that while the operating practices of the drone program had evolved over time, the timing of attacks was based on the availability of adequate targeting intelligence and the suitability of flying conditions and did not depend on the ups and downs of the US-Pakistan relationship.
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