Home > News > News in Brief: 15 December 2008

News in Brief: 15 December 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

American troops may be in Iraqi cities beyond next June. The top US commander in Iraq has said that some US troops may remain in Iraqi cities after next June, even though a US-Iraq security pact calls for the withdrawal of US combat forces from urban areas by then. (Today’s Zaman)

Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border. As a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited on Saturday night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on. (Today’s Zaman)

Taliban Raids on NATO Convoys Crippling – Analysts. While NATO and United States forces have downplayed raids in Peshawar by pro-Taliban militants, destroying hundreds of their military vehicles and supply containers destined for Afghanistan, analysts here believe that the damage is significant. (IPS)

Iran boycotts Paris conference on Afghanistan. Iran boycotted a major conference in Paris on Sunday aimed at persuading Afghanistan’s neighbors to play a greater role in restoring stability in the war-torn state apparently in response to a recent row between France and Tehran, a diplomatic source said. (The Daily Star/AFP)

Afghanistan faces ‘long struggle’. George Bush, the US president, has said that restoring stability to Afghanistan will be a long-term challenge, during a farewell visit to the country. (Al Jazeera)

Iran trying to dominate Mideast: Egypt. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit lashed out at the Iranian government on Sunday, accusing the regime of trying to dominate the Middle East. (Khaleej Times/AFP)

Greek police teargas youths in 2nd week of protests. Greek police fired teargas at small groups of protesters who threw stones and firebombs in central Athens on Monday in a second-week of anti-government demonstrations since a policeman shot dead a teenager. (Hurriyet)

Egyptian officials: Hamas willing to continue truce beyond Friday. Egyptian officials believe that Hamas and the other Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip would agree to continue their truce with Israel in accordance with an agreement reached six months ago, the Al-Hayyat daily reported on Monday. (Haaretz)

Ali Khan – The Golan and Quneitra. Ever since I had met the UN peacekeepers at the Indian Embassy, I wanted to go and visit their base and the Golan Heights. The officers at the Embassy were very helpful in getting me the required permissions… (Syria Comment)

Shoe-Thrower had been Traumatized by US Aerial Bombings. Iraqi journalist Muntazir al-Zaidi, who threw the shoes at Bush in Baghdad, shouted “Killer of Iraqis, killer of children.” while security guards piled on him. (Informed Comment – Juan Cole)

U.N. Seeks Collective Action Against Somali Piracy. The rise in modern-day piracy, mostly off the coasts of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, is triggering a strong collective response from the United Nations. (IPS)

Prime Minister Of Somalia Fired By President. Somalia’s president fired his prime minister Sunday and accused him of paralyzing the government with “corruption, inefficiency and treason.” Hours later, as the government veered toward collapse, Islamist insurgents held a brazen news conference in the capital and vowed never to negotiate with the leadership. (Washington Post)

Top US diplomat on the Middle East David Welch Urges Effective Diplomacy on Iran and Continuity on the Peace Process. (Turkish Weekly)

Palestinian prisoner release underway. The release of 224 Palestinian security prisoners from various Israeli prisons to the Palestinian Authority began Monday at noon. The prisoner release was intended to be an Israeli gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in honor of Muslim holiday Id al-Adha. (Turkish Weekly)

Arundhati Roy, The Monster in the Mirror. Arundhati Roy, the Indian activist and author of the prize-winning novel The God of Small Things, was one of the earliest, strongest, sanest voices on this planet of ours to take on George W. Bush and his Global War on Terror. “The freshest voice on Earth,” I called her back in 2003. She was an inspiration. Now, she turns to the events in her own country, in Mumbai, and explains just why using 9/11 as the analogy of choice there, as we once used “Pearl Harbor” here, will lead in no less terrible directions. (TomDispatch)

Afghan bombing claims three police officers, wounds seven civilians. Three police officers died and five others were wounded when a bomb exploded near their vehicle in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, an official said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast in southern Kandahar, which also wounded seven civilians who were passing by. (The Daily Star/AFP)

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