Home > News > News in Brief: 28 October 2008

News in Brief: 28 October 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

A third Palestinian Intifada in the making. As the likelihood rises of a third Palestinian uprising, the second and first must be scrutinized. Palestine’s revolts have historically been against the failings of their own leaders and the railroading of their cause by other Arab states, as well as the Israeli occupation. (Asia Times)

U.S. Calls Raid a Warning to Syria. Officials said the raid Sunday, apparently the first acknowledged instance of U.S. ground forces operating in Syria, was intended to send a warning to the Syrian government. The United States has offered similar justifications for recent cross-border strikes in Pakistan, where it has launched missile attacks and at least one air assault against suspected members of Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgency. (Washington Post)

Syria: More on the Raid. Experts with knowledge of the region say they suspect the raid into Syria was conducted by a U.S. special-operations unit, rather than regular military forces. They cited Task Force 88, a hunter-killer team, as the unit that most likely carried out the attack. (Syria Comment)

CIA led mystery Syria raid that killed terrorist leader. A CIA-led raid on a compound in eastern Syria killed an al Qaida in Iraq commander who oversaw the smuggling into Iraq of foreign fighters whose attacks claimed thousands of Iraqi and American lives, three U.S. officials said Monday. (McClatchy)

Syria, Hizballah on alert for Israeli action after US raid. DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report that Damascus and the Lebanese Hizballah have alerted their forces to a possible Israeli strike against Hizballah’s arms smuggling routes, supply sources, and stocks, using as a precedent the US cross-border raid which killed eight people at an al Qaeda base in northern Syria Sunday, Oct. 26. (DEBKAfile)

Oil Prices. OPEC has voted to cut oil production 1.5 million barrels a day. In spite of this, the price of oil is about 5% lower. purpose of this post is to add an update, with a little more of the story about why the price of oil is dropping more than some of us would expect. (The Oil Drum)

Fractures in Iraq City as Kurds and Baghdad Vie. A new Iraqi military offensive is under way in this still violent northern city, but the worry is not only the insurgents who remain strong here. American commanders are increasingly concerned that Mosul could degenerate into a larger battleground over the fragile Iraqi state itself. (New York Times)

U.S. lists services it’ll cut off if Iraq rejects pact on troops. Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, informed Iraqi officials last week that if their country doesn’t agree to a new agreement governing American forces in Iraq, it would lose $6.3 billion in aid for construction, security forces and economic activity and another $10 billion a year in foreign military sales. (McClatchy)

Turkish coup suspect insists that charges be read. A high-profile trial over an alleged plot to topple Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government was further delayed Monday when the judge ordered the lengthy charge sheet to be read out in court, the official Anatolia news agency reported. (The Daily Star)

Turkey willing to do more to build up Afghan forces. Turkey is willing to do more to train Afghan security forces, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said after calls from Afghan and US leaders to help build up the army and police in their fight with Taliban insurgents. (Today’s Zaman)

North Korea threatens to turn the South into ‘debris’. North Korea has threatened to turn the South into “debris” in an escalation of hostile rhetoric across the demilitarised zone that divides the two. The rhetoric would normally be ignored, but it comes at a time of uncertainty in light of the stroke Kim is believed to have suffered two months ago. Some analysts fear contradictory messages from the state propaganda service reflects a power struggle among the leadership. (The Telegraph)

Commander says Iran arms ‘liberation armies’. A top Revolutionary Guards commander has said Iran is supplying weapons to “liberation armies” in the Middle East, a state-run news agency reported — the first official confirmation the country provides weapons to armed groups in the region. (Today’s Zaman)

USA: Back From War, and Increasingly Into the Political Fray. Scores more young veterans are volunteering for the presidential campaigns, speaking at rallies or knocking on doors, while 150,000 or so have joined new groups that have no official party association but have spent millions on advertisements supporting points of view on the Iraq and Afghan wars. Drawn in by public demand and recent memories, young war veterans have become a growing, important part of the nation’s political dynamic, many engaged for the first time. (New York Times)

Arctic ice melting fast even in winter. The Arctic icecap is now shrinking at record rates in the winter as well as summer, adding to evidence of disastrous melting near the North Pole, according to research by British scientists. (Times of India)

China sets price for co-operation on climate change. China wants rich countries to commit 1 per cent of their economic worth to help poor nations fight global warming, and will press for a new international mechanism to spread “green” technology worldwide. (Globe and Mail/Reuters)

Iran slams UNSC on nuke comments. Slamming the UN Security Council’s demand that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment plans as “illegal”, Tehran has said that seeking suspension as a pre condition for negotiations will not serve any purpose. (Times of India)

Georgia: The Ignored History. Trying to understand the Ossetian, Abkhazian, and other minorities’ alienation from Georgia without reference to the extreme nationalism of Gamsakhurdia is like trying to explain Yugoslavia’s collapse and Kosovo’s secession from Serbia while ignoring the nationalist policies of Slobodan Milosevic. Yet in all the debate over the causes of the Russian–Georgian war, Gamsakhurdia is rarely even mentioned. (New York Review of Books)

Georgia: The Political Merry-Go-Round Keeps Spinning in Tbilisi. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has dismissed Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze in what appears to be the start of a post-war government shake-up. (Eurasianet)

Moscow Losing Clout in the Regions. After a long quiet spell, the Kremlin has made several personnel changes affecting both regional heads and Moscow’s relationship with the regions. These include the removal of the governor of the Amur region, the disclosure of a shortlist of candidates for the head of Khakasia and the appointment of a new regional development minister. (Moscow Times)

Nasrallah and Hariri hold talks. Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah held talks with his main political foe, Sunni majority leader Sa’ad Al Hariri, for the first time since the war with Israel in 2006, political sources said on Monday. (Gulf News/Reuters)

Mubarak renews media crackdown. An Egyptian court on Sunday fined a television agency boss LE 150,000 ($27,000) after his company broadcast images of food rioters tearing down portraits of President Hosni Mubarak in April. (Daily News/AFP)

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