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9-Jun-11 World View — Gates Calls For More Countries To Joint Libya Campaign


This morning’s key headlines from

Sec’y Gates calls for more Nato allies to join Libya air campaign

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, right, and his British counterpart, Liam Fox, left, at Nato meeting in Brussels, June 8 (Reuters)
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, right, and his British counterpart, Liam Fox, left, at Nato meeting in Brussels, June 8 (Reuters)

Complaining that the humanitarian air campaign in Libya was putting a strain on just seven members, out of the 28-nation alliance, who were carrying the burden. Those seven members are France, Britain, the U.S., Canada, Italy, Denmark and Belgium. Gates called on Germany and Poland to contribute. He also asked Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands, which are participating but not in airstrikes, to step up their role. Gates called the conflict a “war of attrition” and a “psychological war.” He said that “crews are getting tired” and that “the stress on aircraft is significant.” With only a few alliance members participating, he said, “it doesn’t mean they can’t continue the operation; they will, but it’s stressful.” LA Times

German E.coli hunt focuses on cucumbers again

First it was Spanish cucumbers. Next it was German bean sprouts. And now German scientists are re-focusing on cucumbers as the source of the Germany’s E.coli epidemic that has killed 25 people and sickened thousands. Farmers in Spain are furious about how they were initially implicated, costing them a huge part of their annual income. In Madrid on Wednesday, they gave away for free 30 tonnes of fruit and vegetables in danger of spoiling, in order to prove that Spanish produce is not to blame. Irish Times

With the cause of Germany’s E.coli epidemic still undetermined, some health officials say it’s just a matter of time before a similar outbreak happens in the U.S. There have been reported cases in the United States, and most of the victims had visited Germany. VOA

Senator Kerry turns against Obama’s Afghanistan policy

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has issued a report questioning the value of the war in Afghanistan, and claiming that almost $19 billion in U.S. aid to Afghanistan may have undermined the government and promoted corruption. This is significant because Mass. Senator John Kerry has been the principal defender of President Obama’s Afghanistan policy among the Democrats. Kerry is well-known as an antiwar liberal, since he compared American servicemen indirectly to Nazis in 1971, after serving in Vietnam. Bloomberg and Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Iran announces it will triple enrichment of 20% uranium enrichment

Iran's nuclear logo
Iran’s nuclear logo

On Wednesday, Iran announced that it will speed up uranium enrichment efforts by a factor of three, to provide fuel for Tehran’s nuclear medical research reactor. The announcement quotes the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency as saying, “This year, under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, we will transfer 20 percent enrichment from the Natanz site to the Fordow site and we will increase the production capacity by three times.” Press TV

Iran’s Supreme Leader calls for unity

Seeking to end the increasingly bitter and widening conflict with president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “In the country there are different political views… Do not deprive someone of security if he does not seek regime change or betrayal, or does not want to carry out enemy orders, but does not share your view. Piety is not trampling on one’s opponents.” Khamenei has been somewhat desperately seeking a return to the national unity of the generational Recovery Era that followed the end of the Great Islamic Revolution and the Iran/Iraq war (1979-1988). However, the young post-war generation is increasingly pro-Western, and doesn’t particularly want to see Israel pushed into the ocean. This “generation gap” is widening in Iran’s generational Awakeng Era. AFP

Yemen’s tribal conflict intensifies in president Saleh’s absence

A US official has acknowledged that President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s shrapnel wounds are far more serious than previously reported, and that he has burns over 40% of his body, making it unlikely that he can return to power for weeks, if ever. Furthermore, the attack was accomplished by means of a bomb placed by someone in the palace, not by mortar fire from an opposition tribe, as previously reported. Because of the power vacuum, tribal militias have been clashing with government forces in the southern cities of Taiz and Zinjibar, causing a large refugee problem. Financial Times (Access) and Reuters

The U.S. is taking advantage of the power vacuum by intensifying a secret campaign of Yemen airstrikes against militants linked to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Gerald M. Feierstein, the U.S. Ambassador in Yemen met recently with leaders of the opposition, partly to make the case for continuing American operations. Officials in Washington said that opposition leaders have told Feierstein that operations against AQAP should continue regardless of who wins the power struggle in Yemen. NY TImes

UN says that climate talks will miss Kyoto deadline

Angry climate change official Christiana Figueres lectures delegates (Reuters)
Angry climate change official Christiana Figueres lectures delegates (Reuters)

The U.N. is saying that time has run out to put in place binding commitments on curbing greenhouse gases, following up to the Kyoto Protocol. Most people are blaming the U.S., the U.S. is refusing to make commitments unless China makes similar commitments, and China is refusing to make any commitments. Climate officials are particularly frustrated because the commitment failure is causing the international carbon exchange market is collapsing. Many bankers had hoped to create a new financial bubble by creating synthetic securities backed by carbon credits, but now their dreams of great wealth won’t be realized. Reuters

China’s first aircraft carrier is nearing launch

China has, for the first time, officially acknowledged the construction of an aircraft carrier. The 300-meter-long carrier is being built from a defunct Soviet-era carrier formerly named the Varyag, which was purchased from Ukraine in 1998. “All of the great nations in the world own aircraft carriers — they are symbols of a great nation,” says Qi Jianguo, assistant to the chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s general staff. Chosun (Seoul)

Mexico’s drug gangs building own tanks as war intensifies

Mexico’s rival drug gangs are in an arms race, and the latest sign is that they’re building their own homemade “Mad Max” type heavily armored vehicles that they deploy in clashes with each other. McClatchy


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