quinta-feira, 6 de novembro de 2008

Israeli troops raid West Bank and Gaza Strip

Violence erupts once more between Israeli and Hamas forces. Pakistani air strikes level militant facilities, whilst Afghan civilians are killed in a US bombing. The Congolese government rejects peace talks with rebels. What will a new US President will mean for security policy? And much more in today's update.

Israeli forces arrested thirteen Palestinians in separate raids in the occupied West Bank and in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Six of the detainees were arrested in raids that the Israeli army regularly launches in the West Bank, whilst five were arrested in Hebron and one in Jericho. Israeli sources said the six were wanted by the Israeli intelligence.

These arrests follow an Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip which killed a Hamas fighter and wounded three others. The Israeli army had entered Gaza to destroy a tunnel that it said was being dug to abduct soldiers near the border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Local residents said Hamas fighters had responded by shooting at the troops and Israeli drones then fired a missile into the area, killing six Hamas troops.

Pakistani air strike kills rebel fighters
An overnight air strike destroyed a suspected militant training facility and killed fifteen insurgents on the Pakistan side of the Afghan border between Tuesday and Wednesday. Pakistani security forces have been fighting militants in various parts of the border region since August, but attacks in Damadola are rare.
Elsewhere in the country, seven people died and six were injured when a vehicle loaded with bombs rammed a security checkpoint at Doaba in Hangu district on Tuesday morning. Amongst the dead were three security officials. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the bomb blast, voicing his wish to eradicate terrorism and extremism from the country at all costs. This attack coincided with American General Petraeus' visit to Pakistan on behalf of New US Central Command (CENTCOM), and his promise to consider Pakistan's outrage at US missile strikes in its Tribal Areas.

US bombing kills 37 Afghan civilians
An Afghan village has been the latest target of US bombing, and 23 children and 10 women were amongst the 37 Afghans killed during a US attack on the Taliban on Monday which hit a wedding party. The US military is currently investigating the events, and President Hamid Karzai has appealed to President-elect Obama to prevent civilian casualties in his country.
This strike comes as a recently declassified report revealed that local police and government leaders, along with some villagers, helped Taliban militants carry out an attack on July 13. The attack in Wanat was the deadliest against the US military in three years and resulted in the death of nine US troops, leaving 27 injured. The report, which comes from an internal review by the American military, has recommended the district's Afghan police chief and governor be replaced, if not arrested and tried for committing crimes against the government.

Congolese government rejects peace talks with rebel leader
Laurent Nkunda, the Congolese rebel leader of the National Congress for the Defence of the People, has threatened to extend his armed offensive from the eastern regions of Democratic Republic of Congo to the capital Kinshasa unless the government agrees to political negotiations with him. He announced on Tuesday that if the government were unwilling to talk, "it will mean they will be ready to only fight". However, a government spokesman said that Kabila's administration, whilst willing to open talks with rebel and militia groups, will not give the rebel leader special rights just because of the disruption that he has caused in the region.
An estimated 250,000 people have been displaced in the last two months from eastern Congo, and the total of displaced people is thought to be around one million.

Will a new US President mark the start of a new approach to security?
The election results are in and the new President of the United States is, as the polls predicted, Barack Obama. However, his pledged foreign and security policies have drawn mixed reactions. His approach on Iraq has been well-documented; unlike other Presidential hopeful McCain, he opposed the Iraq invasion of 2003 and has called for a complete withdrawal of combat troops within 16 months. Biden, Obama's running mate, However, Obama's running mate, is popular among Kurds because of his call for transforming Iraq into autonomous regions of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Indeed, support for Obama is common in the Muslim world, which has been alienated by the Bush administration. However, the Pakistani government emphasised before the election results were revealed that whoever was to take on the American presidency must halt unilateral missile strikes on their country or risk failure in the US efforts to end militancy in Pakistan. Israel is more cautious towards Obama because, whilst the latter has maintained his commitment to strong US-Israeli tires, he has also announced intentions to open up talks with Tehran over their nuclear programme, which alarms Olmert's government. George Bush's presidency has seen a US foreign policy based around warfare and the fight against terrorism, and marred by various violations of human rights. What effect will the new President, who signifies such hope not only for America but for much of the world, have on America's international approach to security?

Hannah Copper, 5 de novembro de 2008
Fonte: www.opendemocracy.net

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