Home > News > News in Brief: 19 April 2009

News in Brief: 19 April 2009

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A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Somalia: “The Key to Security at Sea Is Stability on Land”. The epicentre of the problem manifested in the piracy upsurge is the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. After being a relative success story within Somalia, Puntland risks becoming another failure. The international community needs to focus on training a coastguard and security forces more widely and engage with pirate groups to draw them into a refashioned security sector. This has to go hand-in-hand with an economic rescue package that would revive Puntland and create an alternative for those drawn to piracy out of sheer survival. (International Crisis Group)

New tactic for US, NATO in Afghanistan: say sorry. After years of alienating Afghans by being slow to acknowledge killing civilians, U.S. troops are trying a new tactic: say sorry fast.Commanders acknowledge that soaring civilian death tolls from U.S. and NATO strikes over the past year have cost them the vital support of ordinary Afghans — and a perception that they were reluctant to take responsibility made the situation worse. (Reuters)

Afghan president calls on Nato general to explain deaths. President Hamid Karzai has called the top US and Nato general in Afghanistan again to explain civilian casualties caused by international forces. Karzai asked General David McKiernan to explain the reported deaths of six civilians in two incidents, Karzai’s office said late on Saturday. It was the second time in three days Karzai brought up the topic with McKiernan. On Thursday, the US general was summoned to the presidential palace to explain other deaths. (Gulf News / AP)

Afghan minister survives suicide attack. Afghanistan’s minister of refugees’ resettlement survived an attack on his residence by two suicide bombers wearing explosive vests. (Hurriyet)

Suicide Car Bomber Kills At Least 20 In Pakistan. A suicide car-bomber attacked a Pakistani military convoy, killing at least 20 people, police have said. (RFE/RL)

Egypt may seek death penalty for head of Hizbullah cell. Sami Shihab, whose interrogation is nearing its end, may be charged with joining an illegal group and attempting to orchestrate a coup against the government. (Jerusalem Post)

Egypt alleges far-ranging conspiracy involving Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Qatar and Hamas to topple the regime… Egypt alleges far-ranging conspiracy involving Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Qatar and Hamas to topple the regime. An interesting question is whether the activity of Hezbollah operatives extended beyond facilitating arms transfers into Gaza? Past Egyptian practice suggests that the charges are overblown. (From the Field)

Israel will need F-35s to deal with Iran. The Israeli leak about Israel’s reconsideration of the purchase of the American F-35 planes is an expected, almost imperative, step in the negotiations on the most expensive deal in the Israel Defense Forces’ history. The defense establishment believes that the price quoted by the Americans is too high and could be reduced with sufficient pressure. It is unlikely that difficulties in the negotiations will lead to canceling the deal. (Haaretz)

Iran jails US-Iranian reporter for 8 years. An Iranian-American journalist accused in Iran of spying for the United States has been jailed for eight years, her lawyer said on Saturday, five days after she was put on trial. (FT / Reuters)

Do You want more Gas? First the Israeli government built a separation wall right through a Palestinian village, Bilin, on the West Bank inside the Palestine Authority (i.e. beyond the Israeli border). Then young people assembled regularly to protest that their village was cut in two, with villagers on each side now unable easily to visit, and with the villagers having had land stolen from them without compensation. On Friday, Israeli troops replied to the unarmed protesters by firing tear gas at them. (Informed Comment)

Top U.S. Envoy Says Turkmen Energy Security Important. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher has said that Turkmenistan’s energy security is important for the United States and that Washington welcomes Ashgabat’s initiative to host an energy conference next week with the United Nations. (RFE/RL)

Armenia: Turkish Foreign Minister’s Visit Resolves No Questions. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan’s trip to Yerevan may have been brief, with little publicity, but it has nonetheless further fueled Armenia’s ongoing debate about mending ties with Turkey. (Eurasianet)

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