World View: U.N. Sec Council Has Emergency Meeting About Al Qaeda Takeover in Mali

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
  • Pakistan: Hundreds of casualties in multiple suicide bombings
  • Pakistan's commitment to fighting terrorism is in question
  • Syria accuses U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi of 'flagrant bias'
  • Putin postpones Russia's US-adoption ban until 2014
  • U.N. Security Council has emergency meeting over sudden deterioration in Mali
  • Greece's unemployment rate hits 26.8%, surpassing Spain
  • Tourists to Greece suffer beatings during immigrant sweeps

Pakistan: Hundreds of casualties in multiple suicide bombings

Two suicide bombing sites on Thursday
Two suicide bombing sites on Thursday

Over 100 people were killed and hundreds were injured in a series of suicide bombing attacks in two provinces in Pakistan on Thursday. In Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, a massive blast occurred in a snooker club. When rescue teams, police, and reporters were then killed by three more bombs that exploded when they arrived at the scene of the first blast. Hazari Shia Muslims were targeted by the attacks. It's believed that the perpetrators are from the United Baloch Army, a separatist terror group linked to al-Qaeda. In the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan, another 22 people were killed and 70 injured by a suicide blast attributed to the Taliban. Daily Times (Pakistan)

Pakistan's commitment to fighting terrorism is in question

More Pakistanis are questioning whether the country is serious about fighting terrorism. Shabbir Ahmad Khan, a scholar visiting the U.S., points out that:
"For many people in the country, terrorists are heroes. Despite over 40,000 casualties, there has hardly been any protest or rally against terrorism. At present, the guy who helped the Americans capture the most-wanted terrorist is behind bars and, to this date, we are not clear whether the chief target [Osama bin Laden] in that episode was our friend or foe."
Khan compares the American war on terror to Pakistan's lack of political will:
"After 9/11, the US government established a new ministry of Homeland Security to protect Americans. President George W Bush had a single agenda: the war on terror. He established a high-powered commission to know why and what had happened. The Americans have shown their resilience, determination and political will to resolve this crisis. They waged two wars against Iraq and Afghanistan as part of their pre-emptive action. On the other hand, despite having suffered far more deaths and losses in this war, we moved not a single inch forward; no special force or department was created. The Abbottabad Commission meant to probe into the operation took more than a year in deliberating it and yet, its findings and subsequent remedial action is not known to the public. This is the importance and seriousness we attach to our war against terrorism. US taxpayers allocated trillions of dollars to fight this war. How much money have we spent? What resources have we allocated for this war? Look at our annual budgets of the last 10 years and see the amount we allocated to fight terrorism. We didn’t even properly and honestly use the billions of dollars which we got from our allies. We spent more money equipping our military to fight against India rather than against terrorists, as General (retd) Pervez Musharraf once admitted in a television interview. The military forces of over 40 nations are fighting against terrorists thousands of miles away from their land. And we are reluctant to fight these elements on our own soil. This begs the question: are we serious in eradicating terrorism and do we have a strong political will to do so?"
Express Tribune (Pakistan)

Syria accuses U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi of 'flagrant bias'

As we reported, the U.N. / Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, abandoned his neutrality in the Syria conflict, and called for the end of the 40-year reign of the family of president Bashar al-Assad. Syria had been using Brahimi, and his predecessor Kofi Annan, as cover for his massacre of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, while pretending to negotiate. Brahimi's turnaround meant the ruse would no longer work. Syria's Foreign Ministry reacted harshly on Thursday:
"Syria is shocked by the statements of Lakhdar Brahimi, who has overstepped his mandate and exhibited a flagrant bias for those parties known to be conspiring against Syria and its people."
Saudi Gazette

Putin postpones Russia's US-adoption ban until 2014

A new Russian law, endorsed by President Vladimir Putin, that bans Americans from adopting Russian orphans has been postponed for a year. (See "20-Dec-12 World View -- Russia's Duma blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans") The ban on adoptions was in retaliation for American legislation called the "Magnitsky bill," passed in response to an alleged fraudulent scheme uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer, who named names of numerous corrupt Russian tax and law enforcement officials, but who was then thrown into a Russian jail and left to die. Putin supported the ban, famously saying:
"There are lots of places in the world where living standards are higher than they are here. Are we going to send all our children there? Perhaps we should all move there ourselves?"
However, Putin was widely criticized in Russia by opponents who claimed that Putin was using politics to punish innocent orphans, many of whom would suffer and die in Russian orphanages. Putin now says that the agreement between Russia and the U.S. requires giving one year notice before it can be terminated. Russia Today and BBC

U.N. Security Council has emergency meeting over sudden deterioration in Mali

Women protest government non-action in Bamako, Mali (Reuters)
Women protest government non-action in Bamako, Mali (Reuters)

The United Nations Security Council is holding emergency consultations on Thursday evening, after Islamist militants from the al-Qaeda linked terror group Ansar Dine have apparently taken control of the strategic Mali town of Konna on Thursday, after fierce fighting. Ansar Dine has already taken control of two-thirds of Mali in the north, and are extending their control southward towards the capital city Bamako. The Security Council has previously authorized military intervention by neighboring African states, but any action has been effectively postponed until fall, 2013. The sudden fall of Konna has alarmed westerners, especially France, which call for the Security Council meeting. The Security Council issued a statement condemning the capture of Konna, and demanding that the militants give Konna back to the Mali army. And if they don't, then the Security Council is threatening to hold another meeting. Reuters

Greece's unemployment rate hits 26.8%, surpassing Spain

The official unemployment rate for Greece in October was 26.8%, making it the country with the highest unemployment rate in the euro zone, surpassing the former record holder, Spain, whose unemployment rate was a mere 26.6% in November. Unemployment has been increasing in the southern "Club Med" countries of the eurozone, while it's been decreasing in Germany and other "frugal" northern countries, reinforcing the concept that there are two eurozones, one "high speed" and one "low speed." BBC

Tourists to Greece suffer beatings during immigrant sweeps

Greek police have stepped up efforts to catch illegal immigrants in Athens in recent months, launching a new operation to check the papers of people who look foreign. But tourists have also been picked up in the sweeps - and at least two have been badly beaten. The head of the Hellenic police forces says that anyone who "looks foreign" may be stopped. UN High Commissioner for Refugees is demanding that Greece's police end "racially motivated violent practices." BBC

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