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12-Jun-11 World View — Military Assault On North Syrian Town Begins


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Military assault on north Syrian town begins

Syrian army approaches Jish al-Shughour (AP)
Syrian army approaches Jish al-Shughour (AP)

The anticipated Syrian military assault on the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, near Turkey’s border, began on Saturday. Although much of Jish al-Shughour is now deserted, with over 4,000 refugees having fled across the border into Turkey, there are still tens of thousands of people left. Witnesses report that government attack helicopters were being used to strafe targets, using large-caliber ammunition. Other reports say that the army is shooting at anything that moves, including animals. VOA

Russia and China snub UN Security Council talks on Syria

United Nations Security Council deliverations on a resolution condemning Syria’s massacre of pro-democracy protesters was snubbed by Russia and China on Saturday. “The Syrians are firing into the crowds and they (Russia and China) don’t care,” an unnamed Western diplomat said. Reuters

China threatens Vietnam with ‘firmer actions’

The confrontation between China and Vietnam over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea is threatening to boil over. ( “10-Jun-11 News — Vietnam protests Chinese attack on Vietnamese survey ships”) On Saturday, a Beijing newspaper called Vietnam’s attempt at oil exploration to be the “lowest form of nationalism to create new enmity between the people of the two countries.” It said that Vietnam’s stance was destroying goodwill among the Chinese public, and will cause China’s leadership to respond with firmer actions. The article concluded with the threat, “If Vietnam insists on making trouble, thinking that the more trouble it makes, the more benefits it gains, then we truly wish to remind those in Vietnam who determine policy to please read your history.” AP

Yemen without President Saleh may not change much

Yemen’s president Ali Abdullah Saleh is still convalescing in a hospital in Saudi Arabia, and still claims that he’ll be returning to Yemen soon to take power again. But even if he doesn’t return right away, Yemen’s key military and security positions are filled by Saleh’s relatives and loyal tribesmen. Yemen’s Vice President Abed Rabbu Mansur al-Hadi has become acting president and supreme commander of the armed forces, but he’s without a power base, and will be little more than a figurehead. Jamestown

Angry young people across Europe take to the streets

Tent city in Puerta del Sol square in central Madrid (AFP)
Tent city in Puerta del Sol square in central Madrid (AFP)

In Madrid, Lisbon, Paris, Athens, and other cities, hundreds of thousands of young people have been gathering and protesting joblessness and austerity programs. These are angry young people who are now demonstrating mostly peacefully. As the crisis worsens, expect the crowds to get much larger and much more violent, as happened in 1932. Spiegel

Sunni Muslims in Syria now turning against the Alawis

The Alawi religous sect is followed by only 10% of Syria’s population, and yet it has successfully maintained total control over Syria’s large Sunni and Shia Muslim populations for over four decades. Alawism is a belief system that has merged Christianity with many Muslim beliefs, as well as traditional pre-Islamic beliefs. However, the violence of Syria’s crackdown on protesters is allowing Sunni Salafists to turn against the Alawis in Syria, and Syria’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is leading the armed resistance against the Alawi-dominated military. Jamestown

Lashkar-e-Toiba becomes an international jihadist network

Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) started in the 1980s as a Pakistani sponsored militia to fight the Indians in the disputed regions of Kashmir and Jammu. But it has long outgrown it’s narrow initial focus, and now aspires to become a global terrorist threat, matching al-Qaeda in spiration, resources and reach. LeT is believed responsible for the horrific three day terrorist attack on multiple targets in Mumbai, killing 166 and injuring hundreds. South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP)

IMU-Taliban alliance is destabilizing northern Afghanistan

Another Sunni terrorist group with international aspirations is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). The group has linked with the ethnic Pashtun Taliban in Pakistan, and they’ve infiltrated the government forces in northern Afghanistan, which helps them in pulling off sophisticated attacks, such as the May 28 attack on the officies of the governor of a northern province. RFE/RL

Pope welcomes 2,000 European Roma Gypsies to the Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI welcomed over 2,000 gypsies to the Vatican on Saturday. The Pope listened to stories of Nazi persecution and other persecution throughout the 20th century, and said, “The European consciousness cannot forget all the pain! Never again will your people be subjected to harassment, rejection and contempt! For your part, always seek justice, the rule of law, reconciliation and try to never be the cause of another’s suffering!” Catholic News Agency


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