Home > News > News in Brief: 26 February 2009

News in Brief: 26 February 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Trapped Between the Wall and the Green Line. “They started smashing down doors at 2am last Wednesday before moving through homes and destroying property,” says the mayor of Jayyus, Muhammed Taher Shamasni. Jayyus, an agricultural community of 3,500 inhabitants, located in the Qalqiliya district of the northern Palestinian West Bank, was invaded by Israeli soldiers using police dogs and backed by military helicopters. (IPS)

U.S. envoy, Netanyahu meet on peace efforts. The special U.S. envoy tasked with jump-starting flagging peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians huddled Thursday with designated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a vocal opponent of the negotiations. (Haaretz)

Pakistan needs ‘urgent’ help. An influential United States’ think-tank has called for at least US$4 billion in urgent aid for Pakistan, saying “time is running out” to pull it back from the brink. Without immediate action, the task force warns, economic meltdown and spiraling radicalism will ignite the precarious security situation in the nuclear-armed nation. (Asia Times)

Pakistan’s turmoil echoes in Afghanistan. The court decision on Wednesday to ban the leader of Pakistan’s main opposition party and his brother, the head of influential Punjab province, has thrown the country into turmoil. The central government in Islamabad is under threat and the army’s non-interference in the political arena will be fully tested. For the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, the news is most welcome. (Asia Times)

In Afghanistan, U.S. mounts offensive in Taliban haven. Hundreds of U.S. troops pushed into a key Taliban stronghold Wednesday in a major operation to stop the insurgents from infiltrating the Afghan capital from the south and clear the way for the first sustained international aid effort in this remote valley. The reactions [of locals] to the arrival of the U.S.-led force Wednesday, however, ranged from skepticism to hostility. (McClatchy)

Uzbekistan: Afghan Supply Train Makes Way Through Uzbek Territory. Uzbekistan is allowing the transit of non-military goods bound for US troops in Afghanistan. President Islam Karimov confirmed February 25 that a train full of cargo was rattling its way across the domestic rail network. (EurasiaNet)

Turkmenistan Opens Airspace to US and NATO Supply Flights to Afghanistan. Citing a desire to help Afghanistan in “matters of humanitarian concern,” Turkmenistan’s leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, announced February 25 that Turkmenistan will permit US and NATO planes to ferry non-military goods to troops in Afghanistan across the Central Asian country’s airspace. (EurasiaNet)

Iraq: Everyone Wants a Piece of Kirkuk, the Golden Prize. Iraq’s provincial elections show that the ground is shifting underneath the country’s fledgling post-Saddam order. The grip on power exercised by pro-federalist groups – the Kurdish parties and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) – over the past six years is being loosened by an ad hoc coalition of forces that favour a strengthening of the central state. Their standard bearer is Nouri al Maliki, the prime minister, whose appointment in 2006 resulted from a compromise when neither ISCI nor its Sadrist rivals were able to impose their own as head of government and whose convincing showing in the provincial polls has given the anti-federalists new momentum. (ICG)

Iran: Are the Reformists Using Rope-a-Dope Tactics on Hardliners During Presidential Campaign? As Iran’s presidential election campaign gears up, the intentions of some of the highest-profile contenders are growing more mysterious. This is especially true for Mohamad Khatami, the chief standard bearer of reform. Some experts believe that, using a track & field analogy for a long-distance race, Khatami is acting like a rabbit — setting a fast pace at the outset only to drop out before the end. His chief purpose under this scenario would be to rev up his reformist base, which, since his election defeat in 2005, has remained apathetic and has stayed on the sidelines of Iran’s political process. He could also use his candidacy as a platform to discredit the incumbent administration and expose its venality. (EurasiaNet)

East Asian Regionalism and its Enemies in Three Epochs: Political Economy and Geopolitics, 16th to 21st Centuries. This paper examines the dominant forces at play in East Asia in an effort to chart regional dynamics within a global non-Eurocentric framework in the course of three epochs. (Japan Focus)

Somali Piracy, International Customary Law, and the Dispatch of Japan’s MSDF. The high occurrence of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia has prompted an increase in the number of nations planning to send naval units to fight them. In the Asian continent, India has become the first to sink a pirate vessel, South Korea has announced the deployment early in spring of the 5,000 ton-class KDX-II destroyer Gang Gam-chan, and China is sending two destroyers and a supply vessel. (Japan Focus)

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