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12-Jan-12 World View — French Journalist Killed in Syria During Visit to Homs

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

  • Pakistan in governmental crisis as ‘Memogate’ scandal continues
  • American drone strikes resume in Pakistan
  • French journalist killed in Syria during visit to Homs
  • Arab League observer calls Syria mission a ‘farce’
  • Hillary Clinton condemns Assad’s ‘chillingly cynical’ speech in Syria
  • U.S. denies any role in the assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientist
  • Mosque attacked in Nigeria’s south in Benin City

Pakistan in governmental crisis as ‘Memogate’ scandal continues


Left: Fired defense secretary Lodhi; Right: New defense secretary Nargis Sethi (Tribune)
Left: Fired defense secretary Lodhi; Right: New defense secretary Nargis Sethi (Tribune)

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday fired defense secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi “for gross misconduct,” for saying that the army makes its own decisions, and that the government did not have “operational control” over the army and the intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). This is the latest move in a power struggle between Pakistan’s army and its civilian government that has grown since the U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistan’s soil, and many government officials expressed suspicions that the army knew all along that bin Laden was there. The “Memogate” scandal exploded in November when Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington at that time, was accused of having written a memo asking for Washington’s help in preventing a military takeover of the government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari. Zardari, a Shia Muslim figure, has had tense relations with the largely Sunni Muslim army, and he’s suspected of having approved the memo. The latest sacking has ratcheted up the tensions, and raised fears of a possible coup. Al-Jazeera and Express Tribune (Pakistan)

American drone strikes resume in Pakistan

In the first attack a target in Pakistan’s tribal region since November 17 by an unmanned American drone, at least four militants were killed by missiles fired from the drone on Wednesday. It’s believed to be extremely unlikely that the U.S. gave Pakistani authorities advance notice of the attack, since experience has shown that notifying the Pakistanis means that the militants flee the target location before the drones hit. Reuters

French journalist killed in Syria during visit to Homs

France’s well known journalist, Gilles Jacquier, was killed on Wednesday in the city of Homs during an official visit sponsored by Syria’s ministry of information. Jacquier was killed, along with eight Syrians, when mortar bombs or grenades exploded near them. Homs, with a population of 1 million, is more a warzone than a city, with the majority Sunni population increasingly separate from the Alawite minority. It has suffered badly during the unrest. Parts of the city are without electricity or phones and shortages are rife. Snipers on rooftops are a regular hazard. It is not known which side is responsible for the Jacquier’s death. Guardian

Arab League observer calls Syria mission a ‘farce’

Anwar Malek, an Algerian national, resigned on Wednesday as as one of the observers in the Arab League mission to Syria, saying that the mission was a “farce,” and was falling apart:

“What I saw was a humanitarian disaster. The regime is not just committing one war crime, but a series of crimes against its people.

The snipers are everywhere shooting at civilians. People are being kidnapped. Prisoners are being tortured and none were released.”

Malek said that security forces did not withdraw their tanks from the streets, but just hid them and then redeployed them after the observers left. A second observer, asking not to be named, is planning to resign on Friday:

“The Syrian authorities have exploited the weakness in the performance of the delegation to not respond. There is no real response on the ground.

The military gear is still present even in the mosques. We asked that military equipment be withdrawn from the Abu Bakr al-Siddiq mosque in Deraa and until today they have not withdrawn.”

Al-Jazeera and Reuters

Hillary Clinton condemns Assad’s ‘chillingly cynical’ speech in Syria


Hillary Clinton on Wednesday
Hillary Clinton on Wednesday

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday:

“But instead of taking responsibility, what we hear from President Assad in his chillingly cynical speech yesterday was only making excuses, blaming foreign countries, conspiracies so vast that now it includes the Syrian opposition, the international community, all international media outlets, the Arab League itself. And I want to commend the Arab League for showing real leadership. I think that it’s clear to both the prime minister and myself that the monitoring mission should not continue indefinitely. We cannot permit President Assad and his regime to have impunity. Syrians deserve a peaceful transition. We are looking to work with the Arab League when the current monitoring mission expires on January 19th. And we look again to the prime minister for his leadership.”

It appears that January 19 will be another decision day on Syria. State.gov

U.S. denies any role in the assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientist

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday, “I want to categorically deny any United States involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran,” following Iran’s announcement that a terrorist bomb had killed Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, an Iranian nuclear scientist. It’s thought that Clinton felt it was necessary to make this denial, because tensions have risen so high between Iran and the West, especially last week when Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. However, Iranian authorities are saying that the attack is similar to earlier killings of Iran’s nuclear scientists, and the current attack bears the hallmarks of an Israeli hit. AP

Mosque attacked in Nigeria’s south in Benin City


Nigeria, showing major historic tribes.  Northern tribes (Fulani, Hausa) are generally Muslim, southern tribes (Yoruba, Igbo, Berom) are generally Christian.
Nigeria, showing major historic tribes. Northern tribes (Fulani, Hausa) are generally Muslim, southern tribes (Yoruba, Igbo, Berom) are generally Christian.

A mosque and Islamic school were attacked on Tuesday in the southern Nigerian city of Benin, killing five people. It follows a separate attack on a separate mosque in the city on Monday. It’s suspected that these are attacks against Muslims by Christians seeking revenge for attacks by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram against Christians in the north. The attacks are causing Christians in the north and Muslims in the south to flee their homes in fear of violence. Some people are saying that what’s going on reminds them of the prelude to the bloody civil war of the late 1960s. “We see the nation heading towards civil war. We know that the civil war was preceded by problems – serious killings on both sides of the regional divide,” said Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka. However, from the point of view of Generation Dynamics, a new civil war is impossible at this time, since only two generations have passed since the crisis civil war of the the late 1960s. BBC

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