Home > News > News in Brief: 13 January 2009

News in Brief: 13 January 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Abbas weakened by Israel’s Gaza war. “The big political loser in this is Abbas,” said Robert Blecher of the International Crisis Group, a research center. “He is increasingly seen by his own constituents in the West Bank and Gaza as unable to represent and protect his own people.” “The big political loser in this is Abbas,” said Robert Blecher of the International Crisis Group, a research center. “He is increasingly seen by his own constituents in the West Bank and Gaza as unable to represent and protect his own people.” (Today’s Zaman)

Livni: IDF success in Gaza will help the Palestinian people. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, meanwhile, said on Tuesday the IDF offensive was serving the interest of the Palestinian people, as well as that of Israel. Livni said the operation’s success would help all moderate forces in the region, including Palestinians who believe in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She made the comments at a meeting with a delegation from the American Jewish Committee. (Haaretz)

Bloodbath in Gaza ‘boosts Hizbullah’s case for resistance’. The fighting in Gaza has not spread to Lebanon, but the conflict could have profound effects on the country’s national defense strategy by increasing – or at least intensifying – support for Hizbullah’s powerful military wing. (The Daily Star)

Israel in No Mood to Brook Dissent. In the Israeli parliament, the Central Election Committee voted Monday to ban two of the three main Arab political parties from running in the Feb. 10 general elections. In the last elections, the two parties won seven seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Arab Israelis make up about a fifth of Israel’s population. (IPS)

Turkey rejects Israeli FM’s visit if no talks on ceasefire proposal. Turkey’s foreign minister told his Israeli counterpart that she could visit Turkey on the condition that the terms of a ceasefire be on the agenda of the meeting, diplomatic sources said on Tuesday. (Hurriyet)

Turkey: Ergenekon suspect Şahin’s testimony sparks new questions. A former special operations officer detained last week as part of the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine organization attempting to create chaos and undermine stability in order to trigger a coup against the government, has produced more questions than answers with his testimony to the prosecutor. (Today’s Zaman)

Turkey: The Mystery Man Behind Turkey’s Biggest-Ever Political Trial. As a baby-faced 28-year-old hauled in for fraud, the man sitting in Istanbul police headquarters that August day back in 2001 seemed like just another petty criminal. But then he began to talk, and eight years later, Turkey is talking about little else. (EurasiaNet)

The problem of the ‘other Gitmo’. While president-elect Barack Obama has promised to swiftly shutter the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, he still has to make a decision on the “other Gitmo” at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Conditions are said to be even worse at this facility, but the case is complicated by the US Justice Department’s security fears over releasing terror detainees into a war zone. (Asia Times)

Afghan insurgency inspiring new fighters. Afghanistan’s long years of unrest have produced a new generation of Islamic militants, many of them bent on holy war, who are reinforcing the ‘old Taliban’ in their deadly insurgency, analysts say. (Khaleej Times/AFP)

Ethiopian troops quit Mogadishu. Ethiopian troops supporting Somalia’s Western-backed government have quit their main bases in Mogadishu, witnesses said, heralding the start of an uncertain new chapter for the anarchic capital. (The Independent/Reuters)

A Chinese ‘Marshall Plan’ or business? The commitment by China last year of US$9 billion for investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has made Beijing one of the most influential players in the Congolese economy almost overnight. (Asia Times)

Japan’s Governing Party Is Plunging in Polls. Is this the beginning of the end for Japan’s long-governing Liberal Democratic Party? A lawmaker championing government reform quit the party on Tuesday, saying that the administration of Prime Minister Taro Aso was not committed to change and had lost the people’s trust. (New York Times)

Russia-Ukraine Gas Deal Appears to Founder. A deal to restore Russian gas shipments to Europe via Ukraine appeared to be unraveling amid recriminations Tuesday, just hours after it took effect. (New York Times)

Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek Denies Plan to Dump American Air Base. A Russian daily newspaper dropped a bombshell on January 12, reporting that Kyrgyzstan’s president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, was ready to break an agreement with the United States that gives coalition forces access to the air base at Manas. The report drew an immediate denial in Bishkek. (EurasiaNet)

Iran pushed to the pre-electronic age. An apparent United States covert operation aimed at “sabotaging” Iran’s nuclear program, one that targets industrial infrastructure and computer systems, goes hand-in-hand with efforts to keep “dual-purpose” technology out of the country, such as that which could be used in manufacturing improvised explosive devices. (Asia Times)

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