Home > News > News in Brief: 26 July 2007

News in Brief: 26 July 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

Sunnis Suspend Government Membership. Iraq’s largest Sunni Arab bloc said Wednesday it had suspended membership in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s coalition government, a fresh setback to the Shiite leader’s faltering efforts at national reconciliation. (AP)

In cold blood: Sunnis feel the heat. Few took any notice of the first killing, but the second one set alarm bells ringing. Both victims were close aides of Iraq’s leading Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Suspicions that Shi’ite warlord Muqtada al-Sadr was involved in the murders, which were clearly aimed at silencing Sistani himself, are fanciful. A far more likely culprit is al-Qaeda, for whom the voice of moderation in Iraq is anathema. Still, Iraq’s Sunnis will be the scapegoats. (Asia Times)

Iraqi Parliament Passes Law to Privatize Refineries. Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani told United Press International Wednesday from his mobile phone in Baghdad that the government will provide incentives to both domestic and foreign private oil companies whose refinery plans the ministry approves. (IraqSlogger)

Kosovo bides time on independence. Kosovo has reassured the US and EU that it does not plan to unilaterally declare independence from Serbia soon. In turn, Rice gave assurances that the US was committed to achieving international recognition of Kosovo’s independence within months – even without a UN Security Council resolution. (Al Jazeera)

Mohammed Dahlan resigns following Fatah’s Gaza defeat. Former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan resigned as Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ national security adviser Thursday, a month and a half after his men were routed in the Gaza Strip by their rivals from Hamas. (Haaretz)

Israel ships rifles to West Bank. Israel has reportedly authorised 1,000 rifles to be shipped to security forces in the West Bank loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. (Al Jazeera)

Sarkozy signs deals with Gaddafi. France and Libya have signed agreements on issues including security, health care and immigration during talks between the two countries’ leaders. (BBC)

North American energy ministers take further action on energy security and the environment. Energy ministers for Canada, Mexico and the United States took another step toward enhancing North American energy security and environmental protection, announcing concrete actions on energy science and technology, energy efficiency, deployment of clean energy technologies and other cooperative projects. (EurekAlert!)

One in three Lebanese wants to leave. Researchers warn that economic instability and persistent security threats are driving ever more young, educated Lebanese abroad, creating a brain drain that threatens the country’s economic and social future. (IRIN)

Egypt’s Chief of General Intelligence Omar Suleiman visited America this week to discuss a range of strategic issues with US administration officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and CIA Director Michael Hayden. (Al-Ahram)

U.K. to Boost Defense Spending, Proceed Building Aircraft Carriers. The British government has announced it will increase defense spending by 7.7 billion pounds ($15.9 billion) over the next three years. In a series of announcements 24 hours before Parliament starts its summer break, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) also gave the go-ahead to build two aircraft carriers and revealed that, following a review, it will retain the country’s three major naval bases. (Defense News)

200 defiant Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades terrorists threaten fresh wave of anti-Israel violence unless they are included in amnesty deal with Israel. They are up in arms against the deal struck by prime minister Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas a week ago to waive Israeli military pursuit of 179 wanted al Aqsa Brigades gunmen for three months, against a pledge to renounce terrorism and surrender their side arms. The 200 mutineers have informed Palestinian Authority chairman Abbas and their commanders that as long as they are subjected to IDF pursuit and detentions, they have no reason to hold back on terrorist activity against Israeli forces and civilians on the West Bank. (DEBKA)

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