World View: U.N. Promises 'Response' to North Korea Firing Midrange Missiles

This morning's key headlines from

  • New car bombing in Lebanon continues sectarian strife
  • U.N. promises 'response' to North Korea firing midrange missiles
  • Crimean Tatars vote to push for self-rule

New car bombing in Lebanon continues sectarian strife

A suicide bomber on Saturday evening drove his black Kia automobile, laden with explosives, to an army checkpoint in Arsal, a Lebanon town on the border with Syria, and detonated the explosives, killing three soldiers and four others. A Sunni jihadist terrorist group, Free Sunnis of Baalbek Battalion, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The group first became known in December when it took responsibility for the assassination of a senior commander of the Iran-funded Hezbollah militant group outside his home.

The string of terrorist attacks in Lebanon was triggered by a televised announcement, last April 30 by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, saying that Hezbollah would militarily enter the fight in Syria on the side of the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Al-Assad is conducting "industrial strength" torture and extermination on his own civilians, particularly targeting innocent Sunni women and children, which has enraged Sunnis throughout the Mideast. Hezbollah's support for al-Assad has caused the sectarian war in Syria to spill over into Lebanon. Daily Star (Lebanon) and LA Times

U.N. promises 'response' to North Korea firing midrange missiles

The United Nations Security Council has threatened a quick "appropriate response" to North Korea, for having launched two medium-range Rodong ballistic missiles into the sea earlier this week. According to the Security Council president:

"Members of the Security Council condemned this launch as a violation of Security Council resolution(s). Council members agreed to consult on an appropriate response.

There was unanimous condemnation of the launches. ... We also all agreed that this response should be given quickly."

The firings raised concerns, because these are the first missiles that North Korea would use to launch an attack on either South Korea or Japan.

No clue was provided for what an "appropriate response" might be. However, it's thought that the only country in a position to provide any response at all is China, and China has been consistently unwilling in the past to consider any response at all to the North Koreans.

The North Koreans fired the missiles on March 26. It was on March 26, 2010, just four years ago, that the North Koreans launched a torpedo at a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, sinking it and killing 46 people. (See "27-Mar-11 News -- South Korea commemorates Cheonan warship attack, while North starves".) After this incident, China refused to condemn or even criticize the North Koreans. Reuters

Crimean Tatars vote to push for self-rule

A congress of Crimea's 300,000 strong Tatar community met on Saturday and voted to push for autonomy from Russia, but remained divided on how best to achieve that goal.

Crimea is the historic homeland of the Tatars. In 1944, Russia's dictator Josef Stalin deported 200,000 Tatars from Crimea to central Asia, accusing them of collaborating with the Nazis. It was only in the 1980s and 1990s that the Tatars returned in large numbers to Crimea, particularly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine's independence. The Tatars are scared to death of being under the control of the Russians again, and they're particularly concerned about Moscow's frequent reference to "Nazis" in Kiev, which they see as a possible signal that they're going to be accused of rom new collaboration again.

On Saturday, the congress adopted a resolution entitled "On the Crimean Tatar people's right to self-determination on their historical territory in Crimea." According to the chairman,

"By adopting this document, we inform all parties of the beginning of political and legal procedures for setting up a national autonomous territory of the Crimean Tatar people on their historical territory in Crimea."

This was adopted after hours of sometimes angry debate, with no conclusions reached whether to seek an autonomous entity in Ukraine or in Crimea, which is now part of Russia. AFP and Interfax-Ukraine

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