This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- U.S. and Afghanistan agree on post-2014 security pact
- China relents and sends ‘Peace Ark’ hospital ship to Philippines
- Was Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Beirut Lebanon self-inflicted?
U.S. and Afghanistan agree on post-2014 security pact
Almost 100 people were killed in and around Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday, from ten coordinated car bomb attacks across the city and the country (CNN)
Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. and Afghangovernments have agreed on terms for a security arrangement to allowU.S. military presence to continue in Afghanistan after the main forcewithdrawal in 2014. There are currently 60,000 U.S. troops inAfghanistan, down from a peak of about 100,000. The agreement doesnot specify the size of the force that will remain after 2014.
The main area of contention in negotiating the agreement is aprovision that gives the U.S. military legal jurisdiction over itsforces. This means that if an American soldier commits a crime, thenhe’ll be prosecuted in American courts, rather than in Afghan courts.Iraq had refused a similar provision in its joint security agreementwith the U.S., and so American forces were withdrawn completely inDecember 2011. Since then, al-Qaeda linked terrorist violence in Iraqhas surged.
However, the Afghan agreement still must be reviewed by a “loyajirga,” or tribal council, that Afghan President Hamid Karzai hasconvened this week in Kabul. The council could raise objections thatmight delay or even prevent a signing. In particular, Karzai hasdemanded an apology for behavior of the U.S. troops, which the Obamaadministration has already refused to provide. USA Today
China relents and sends ‘Peace Ark’ hospital ship to Philippines
International pressure is forcing China again to reluctantly relent onits stingy aid response to the Philippines after the devastation ofTyphoon Haiyan. (See “19-Nov-13 World View — Philippine typhoon disaster draws clear lines between US and China”)
China’s initial offer of $100,000 aid was minuscule compared to whatwas offered by other countries, especially the United States thatprovided $20 million dollars and an entire carrier task force to aidtyphoon victims. An embarrassed China increased its aid donation to$1.6 million, but that amount was still criticized as being smallerthan the $2.7 million that furniture maker Ikea is providing in aid tothe Philippines.
Now China was forced to back down again. China has one of the largestand most modern hospital ships in the world, the “Peace Ark,” butthey’ve refused to allow it to help the Philippine people. But onWednesday, China announced that the Peace Ark will travel to thePhilippines after all. According to a government spokesman:
“We hope its mission will help ease the lack ofmedical services in the disaster areas in the Philippines, as atoken of Chinese people’s friendship to the Philippinepeople.”
We hope that he didn’t choke on the word “friendship”. Xinhua
Was Tuesday’s suicide bombing in Beirut Lebanon self-inflicted?
As we reported yesterday, theMideast sectarian conflict sharply escalated on Tuesday because of amajor double-suicide bombing targeting Iran’s embassy in the mostsuper-secure area of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. 25 people werekilled, including a senior Iranian diplomat. The self-proclaimedperpetrators were the al-Qaeda linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades,presumably supported by Saudi Arabia, presumably taking revenge forIran’s and Hezbollah’s support for the bloody actions of Syria’sgenocidal monster president, Bashar al-Assad.
But a report by Debka, which sometimes gets things wrong, is quotingits intelligence sources as saying that there’s no such group as theAbdullah Azzam Brigades, and that the whole attack was perpetrated byHezbollah itself, targeting the assets of its puppetmasters in Iran.According to the report, Hezbollah wanted to withdraw all its forcesfrom Syria, having suffered hundreds of casualties in Syria so far.Thus, it continues, Hezbollah staged the terrorist attack to justifykeeping its fighters home in Lebanon – to defend against furtherterrorist attacks. It’s possible that the staged terrorist attack wasmore successful than planned, killing and injuring more people thanintended.
This story sounds so fantastical that it’s hard to know what tobelieve, and it comes from Israel-linked Debka, which never hesitatesto show Iran and Hezbollah in as negative a light as possible. On theother hand, what are we dealing with is a terrorist group (Hezbollah),for whom slaughtering innocent civilians is an almost daily way oflife. If they’re willing to blow up an innocent crowd of shoppersjust to create terror, why wouldn’t be willing to blow up a bunch ofpeople walking by the Iranian embassy? Blowing up innocent people isjust a way of life. When you put it that way, the self-inflictedattack is really not so fantastical, after all.
If this story is true, Iran is certain to seek retribution againstHezbollah, probably by forcing Hezbollah to do its bidding and sendmany more thousands of Hezbollah fighters into Syria, furtherinflaming the Sunni jihadists. Either way, this massive attack on theIranian embassy is going to escalate the sectarian fighting in theMideast. Debka