World View: Israel Warplanes Strike Target in Syria

This morning's key headlines from
  • North Koreans fight starvation by turning to cannibalism
  • Israel's warplanes strike target in Syria
  • Syria's refugee crisis overwhelms Jordan
  • Egypt's Port Said's curfew is reduced as anger increases
  • Port Said residents increasingly contemptuous of Cairo and Morsi

North Koreans fight starvation by turning to cannibalism

Reports are surfacing that North Koreans are turning to cannibalism for survival. In one horrendous story, a father was put to death by firing squad after it was discovered that the had killed and eaten two of his children last year. (This story reminds me that decades ago I read a book on the three-year Nazi siege of Leningrad, with numerous deaths by cannibalism.) Global Post and Daily Mail (London)

Israel's warplanes strike target in Syria

Israel's warplanes crossed Lebanon's air space and struck targets in Syria on Wednesday. However, there is a dispute over what the targets were. Unnamed U.S. intelligence officials say that Israel was targeting a convoy of trucks carrying advanced Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft to Lebanon, where Hizbollah would use them to target Israeli planes. However, Syria's media disputed this account, saying that the Israeli warplanes had struck a "military research center" building near Damascus. It's possible that both were targeted, and if a military research center was targeted, it may be that it was storing or producing chemical weapons. Bloomberg and BBC

Syria's refugee crisis overwhelms Jordan

Since January 1 of this year, between 40,000 to 50,000 Syrians have fled into Jordan, in the fastest influx since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. At this rate, there will be over one million Syrian refugees in Jordan alone, and several million more in other countries. Iraq has closed its borders to refugees, but Syria has kept its borders open, with the result that the flow of refugees is overwhelming Jordan. The winter has been particularly cold, and people are living in makeshift tents with little clothing, rarely getting more than one meal a day. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) is calling for $1.5 billion in donations from other countries to provide aid to the refugees. Al-Jazeera and Reuters

Egypt's Port Said's curfew is reduced as anger increases

The Governor of Port Said, on the Suez Canal in Egypt, has reduced the 9-hour per night curfew imposed by president Mohamed Morsi to 4 hours, from 1-5 am each night. A similar curfew reduction also went into effect for the other two Suez Canal cities. It's just as well that the curfews were reduced, since citizens of the three cities were ignoring them anyway. Al-Ahram (Cairo)

Port Said residents increasingly contemptuous of Cairo and Morsi

President Mohamed Morsi's highly selective "state of emergency" curfews for cities along the Suez Canal not only did not restore order, but it highlighted how out of the control the situation is becoming. Port Said residents have been particularly contemptuous of the fact that Morsi did not impose a curfew on Cairo, where the riots and demonstrations have been much bigger than in the canal cities. Furthermore, the canal cities make a lot of money for Cairo, but it all goes into the pockets of the wealthy élite in Cairo, with little returning to Port Said. There is increasingly the feeling in Port Said that the Cairo is losing control of the country, and that they're on their own. According to one Port Said protester, "[The authorities] are sitting in their houses, waiting to cash their salaries at the end of the month, without taking any action toward the disintegration of the town, leaving people to the chaos." Foreign Policy

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