- 18:00 | In the world Islamic State fights Syrian rebels and 'moves closer to central Damascus'
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) battled Syrian rebel forces in a Damascus neighbourhood on Monday, bringing the extremists closer than ever to the centre of the capital, a monitoring group said.
Source: The Telegraph
- 17:29 | In the world Austria inspects trucks for migrants, creates 18-mile backup
Austria stepped up truck inspections Monday at its Hungarian border after 71 migrants apparently suffocated in one, creating a massive, 30-kilometer (18 1/2-mile) traffic jam on the main Budapest-Vienna highway.
- 17:16 | In the world US Open 2015: Maria Sharapova pulls out injured in New York
World number three Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the US Open on the eve of the tournament because of injury.
- 16:54 | In the world Ukraine's parliament backs draft law giving east special status
Ukraine's parliament on Monday voted for constitutional changes to give its eastern regions a special status that it hopes will blunt their separatist drive, but divisions among pro-Western lawmakers suggested they will have a rougher ride to become law.
- 16:30 | In the world Mufti Hassoun: Conspiracy against Syria targets its moral values for the benefit of its enemies
Grand Mufti of the Republic Dr. Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun affirmed on Sunday that Syria is targeted due to its national and independent decision, noting that the conspiracy against Syria is targeting its moral and human values for the benefit of its enemies.
- 16:14 | In the world Singapore lifts ban on HIV-positive visitors
The health ministry said on Monday that the ban was lifted on 1 April, “given the current context with more than 5,000 Singapore residents living with HIV and the availability of effective treatment for the disease”.
Source: The Guardian
- 15:51 | In the world ISIS reportedly destroys 'most important temple in Syria'
The 1st Century temple, which is dedicated to the ancient "god of gods," is one of the largest and best-preserved in the region and represents a meeting point between Classical and Eastern architecture, Abdulkarim said.
- 15:28 | In the world Amal Clooney's dilemma over al-Jazeera trial
In a packed Cairo courtroom, a nervous quiet reigned on Saturday as Judge Hassan Farid read his long delayed verdict in the retrial of three al-Jazeera journalists.
- 15:13 | In the world Thai police hunt two bombing suspects after weekend raids
Police probing Thailand's deadliest bombing issued arrest warrants on Monday for two suspects after a second weekend raid on a suburban apartment block uncovered possible bomb-making materials.
- 14:59 | In the world Iran supports Syria and Iraq in face of terrorism: President Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani denounced terrorist acts of armed groups in Syria, Iraq and the region, and expressed his country’s support of Syria and Iraq in facing terrorism.
- 12:17 | In the world U.S. developing sanctions against China over cyberthefts
The Obama administration is developing a package of unprecedented economic sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from their government’s cybertheft of valuable U.S. trade secrets.
- 11:15 | In the world 25 minute walk could add 7 years to life
New research shows that exercise can delay the ageing process, with experts suggesting one walk a day could halve the risk of heart attack death and add seven years to the lifespan.
Source: The Telegraph
- 11:00 | In the world Migrant crisis: EU calls emergency talks
The EU presidency said interior ministers from all 28 member states would hold an extraordinary meeting on 14 September, and the crisis had reached "unprecedented proportions".
- 10:43 | In the world Egypt announces parliamentary election will start in October
The second phase will take place on 22-23 November, the election commission told a news conference.
Source: The Guardian
- 10:30 | In the world Swift leads winners but West, Cyrus rule MTV Video Music Awards
Taylor Swift may have won the most Moonmans on Sunday but it was her reunion with rapper Kanye West on the MTV Video Music Awards stage that stole the show, as West declared he will run for the U.S. presidency in 2020.
- 16:53 | In the world European Union approves $2.6 billion funding for migration crisis
The European Commission on Monday approved 2.4 billion euros ($2.6 billion) of aid over six years for countries including Greece and Italy that have struggled to cope with a surge in numbers of immigrants.
- 16:18 | Region Turkey attacks: Deadly violence in Istanbul and Sirnak
Five members of the Turkish security forces have been killed in attacks in the country's south-east and two bombs have exploded in Istanbul.
- 15:56 | In the world The Russian patriotic groups teaching children how to defend their country
This is St Spyridon the Triumphant Orthodox, a patriotic club aiming to “bring children to the church” through sport and military-style training, says their coach, Michael Lysovskiy.
Source: The Guardian
- 15:37 | In the world South Korea: Propaganda broadcasts at North to resume after landmines
South Korea says it plans to resume broadcasting propaganda messages over its de facto border with North Korea in retaliation for landmine blasts that wounded two of its soldiers.
- 15:19 | In the world Two shot in Ferguson amid standoff between police, protesters
Two people were struck by gunfire during a standoff between riot police and protesters on Sunday night in Ferguson, Missouri, after a day of otherwise peaceful rallies commemorating the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white officer one year ago.
- 15:00 | In the world Pakistan child sex abuse: Seven arrested in Punjab
Seven people have been arrested in eastern Pakistan on suspicion of involvement in a child sexual abuse and extortion scandal.
- 14:34 | In the world Greece hopes to conclude negotiations with creditors on bailout within days
Greece hopes to conclude negotiations with international creditors by early on Tuesday at the latest, a Greek official said, as talks continued in Athens on a new multibillion-euro bailout.
Source: The Guardian
- 14:13 | In the world Mikdad: Syria supports the Palestinian people and their just rights
Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad on Sunday met Director of the Political Bureau at the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Damascus, Ambassador Anwar Abdul-Hadi, discussing with him the latest developments and political activities in the region.
- 13:45 | In the world Kiwi Kim Chambers finishes record 17-hour, shark-infested Golden Gate swim
New Zealander Kim Chambers has become the first woman to finish a record 30-mile marathon swim from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
- 13:18 | In the world Car bomb near Kabul airport causes casualties: officials
A car bomb exploded near the entrance to Kabul airport on Monday causing casualties among both civilians and security forces, officials said, days after series of suicide attacks in the Afghan capital killed dozens and wounded hundreds.
- 13:00 | In the world Istanbul violence: Gunfire and blast in Turkish city
Violence has flared in Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, with two assailants opening fire outside the US consulate, just hours after a car bomb attack on a police station.
- 21:00 | In the world Syria’s envoy to UN: Israel obstructs mission of un Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices in occupied lands
Syria’s permanent Envoy to the UN in Geneva Hussam al-Din Ala said that Israel still obstructs mission of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights in occupied lands and prevents it from reaching the occupied territories, and goes ahead in its endeavors to consolidate its occupation and apply its systemized settlement plans.
- 20:43 | In the world Taliban resignation points to extent of internal divisions in leadership crisis
The high-profile resignation of Tayeb Agha underscores bitter internal divisions in the movement following a recent power transition.
Source: The Guardian
- 20:30 | In the world Italian police arrest 11 suspected of carrying messages for Mafia boss
Using coded messages and meeting in isolated rural spots, a network of supporters has helped alleged Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro -- on the lam for over two decades -- run his criminal empire.
- 20:19 | In the world Obama issues challenge on climate change with power plant rule
President Barack Obama challenged America and the world to step up efforts to fight global warming on Monday at the formal unveiling of his administration's controversial, ramped-up plan to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.
- 20:10 | In the world German MP Patzelt opens home to two Eritrean migrants
A German conservative MP, Martin Patzelt, has taken two Eritrean refugees into his home and is helping the young men find jobs locally.
- 19:58 | In the world Chinese Winter Olympics anthem is rip-off of Frozen song, say online critics
Songwriter accused of ‘shaming China’ with The Ice and Snow Dance, a song that is claimed to bear a strong resemblance to Disney blockbuster Let it Go.
Source: The Guardian
- 19:44 | In the world Canadian pastor detained in North Korea confesses to crimes
North Korea has released video footage of a Canadian pastor purportedly confessing before a Pyongyang church to committing crimes against the state.
- 19:36 | In the world Greece expects bailout deal with lenders in two weeks
A bailout worth up to 86 billion euros ($94.5 billion), needs to be settled by Aug. 20 if Greece is to pay off debt of 3.5 billion euros to the European Central Bank that matures on that day.
- 19:24 | In the world California fires: Evacuation orders given to 13,000
Evacuation orders have been given to 13,000 people in California as firefighters struggle to contain some 20 wildfires.
- 19:15 | In the world How Google quietly revved up its very own car company
Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal the tech giant created Google Auto LLC to help develop its self-driving cars even as it courted big car makers.
Source: The Guardian
- 19:00 | In the world At Least 25 Dead, Dozens Injured After Military Plane Crashes in Syria
According to a military source, military aircraft has crashed into a residential area near the northwestern Syrian city of Jericho in the Idlib Governorate killing at least 25 people.
- 18:37 | In the world Special Report: State Department watered down human trafficking report
In the weeks leading up to a critical annual U.S. report on human trafficking that publicly shames the world’s worst offenders, human rights experts at the State Department concluded that trafficking conditions hadn’t improved in Malaysia and Cuba.
- 18:21 | In the world Kosovo votes for new war crimes court
Kosovo's parliament voted to change the constitution on Monday and create a war crimes court, which the West wants to try ethnic Albanian former guerrillas for alleged war crimes including organ harvesting.
- 12:59 | In the world Iran uses fabricated WikiLeaks cable to smear UN rights rapporteur
Iran has launched a sophisticated smear campaign against the UN special rapporteur investigating its human rights violations by widely spreading a fabricated WikiLeaks cable purporting to show he received bribes from Saudi Arabia.
Source: The Guardian
- 12:30 | In the world Putin promises protection for ancient Crimea ruins
Historians fear Sevastopol authorities will damage Unesco world heritage site Chersonesus, an ancient Greek city, to attract orthodox believers.
Source: The Telegraph
- 12:15 | In the world Kerry says United States, Egypt return to 'stronger base' in ties
The United States and Egypt are returning to a "stronger base" in bilateral ties despite tensions and human rights concerns, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday after talks with his Egyptian counterpart.
- 11:53 | Region Turkish troops killed in 'Kurdish PKK suicide blast'
Two Turkish soldiers have been killed and 31 wounded in a suicide attack by Kurdish PKK militants, the Turkish military says.
- 11:26 | In the world New Taliban leader purportedly rejects peace process 'propaganda'
The reported new leader of the Taliban denies that the Sunni Islamist group is attempting to work toward a peace process with the Afghan government.
- 11:12 | In the world Australia Speaker Bronwyn Bishop quits over expenses scandal
Bronwyn Bishop, the Speaker of Australia’s parliament and political mentor of Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, resigned on Sunday in disgrace following weeks of accusations that she used taxpayer money to pay for extravagant travel arrangements.
Source: The Telegraph
- 10:47 | In the world Another lion was illegally killed by an American in April, Zimbabwe says
Amid an international outcry over a US hunter accused of illegally killing a well-known lion named Cecil in early July, authorities in Zimbabwe alleged that a second American killed a lion in an illegal hunt with a bow and arrow several months ago.
Source: The Guardian
- 10:29 | In the world U.S. Democrats see 'fire wall' holding to preserve Iran deal
U.S. backers of the Iran nuclear deal are increasingly confident of enough Democratic support to ensure it survives review by Congress, despite fierce opposition by majority Republicans and a massive lobbying drive.
- 10:15 | In the world Jerusalem Gay Pride: Israel teenage stabbing victim dies
Shira Banki, 16, was one of six people attacked at the event on Thursday.
- 21:00 | In the world Music to a patient's ears: Surgeons 'perform better when listening to their favourite songs'
While previous studies have shown that listening to music during operations can lower the stress levels of surgeons, there is limited information on the effects of music on technical performance while completing a surgical task, such as closing incisions.
Source: The Daily Mail
- 20:46 | In the world Syrian Kurdish forces say 'provocative' Turkey targeting them
A Kurdish militia fighting Islamic State in Syria accused Turkey on Saturday of targeting it at least four times in the past week and called on U.S-led forces to "clarify" their approach toward Ankara in light of this.
- 20:29 | In the world Palestinian toddler's death sparks protests
A Palestinian teen died Saturday after he was shot by Israeli troops during clashes sparked by the killing of a toddler in an arson attack, Palestinian medical officials said.
- 18:15 | In the world Myanmar floods: President declares state of emergency
Myanmar's president has declared a state of emergency in four regions after heavy floods left 27 people dead.
- 18:00 | In the world Eat carrots, stop multi-tasking and go for a walk three times a week
Interestingly, the researchers looked at participants' brains after death looking for evidence of the physical signs of dementia, including brain lesions and plaques.
Details: The Daily Mail
- 17:30 | In the world Syrian army advances on plain after rebel offensive: monitor
The Syrian army and allied militia have regained control over several northwestern villages from insurgents on a plain crucial for defending costal areas that Damascus holds, a group monitoring the war said on Saturday.
- 17:21 | In the world Palestinian youth killed after arson attack sparks violence in West Bank
A Palestinian youth has been killed by Israeli forces in Ramallah in the wake of violent West Bank clashes that erupted after an 18-month-old toddler was killed in an arson attack in Duma yesterday morning.
Source: The Guardian
09:18 18/10/2013 » Analysis
Karzai’s last-minute game with the Americans
Iranian Diplomacy’s interview with Pirmohammad Mollazehi, an expert on Afghan affairs
- The security agreement between Afghanistan and the US is still in a coma state. Why is there a delay in signing this part of the strategic pact?
- A part of the strategic pact which was adopted between the US and Afghanistan was the issue of the security agreement. At that time, due to the serious protests of the Afghan intellectuals and among the people and even the countries of the region, there were discussions about not signing this agreement. Therefore, Afghanistan and the US decided to postpone it to a later time when the conditions were more suitable and then the security agreement which is part of this strategic pact could be signed. Right now the issue is that Hamed Karzai has set certain conditions for this agreement and on the other hand, the Americans attempt to sign this agreement before the presidential elections and prefer to impose this agreement on Karzai whose position is weaker now.
- What is the main objective of the US with this agreement? What have the major obstacles been until now?
- The main objective of the US is for the US and member countries of NATO to take out a major part of their forces from Afghanistan in 2014 and based on Obama’s plan. But the problem is that the Americans do not intend to completely leave this country and they have rather proposed to build 9 military bases in different regions of Afghanistan and maintain a part of their forces in these safe bases. This is the main issue with regard to these two countries and their relations. Also, Afghanistan seeks to be able to try any American soldier who might commit a crime in Afghanistan in Afghanistan’s tribunals, but the Americans believe that this would be impossible because it is against the constitution of this country. The US experience in different parts of the world shows that they have not accepted such a demand in any country that they have had military agreement with and they have somehow imposed to the host country that they do not recognize the competency of the local courts with regard to crimes committed by Americans. This is the main problem and public opinion in Afghanistan believes that this measure violates the national pride of Afghanistan legally which is based on capitulation which since long has been abolished.
- To what extent would the Americans have open hands with regard to political and military interference in Afghanistan?
- The experience of other countries wherein US military forces are stationed, such as Japan, South Korea and in the past the Philippines and the former Germany shows that the extent of the interference and influence of the Americans depends on the resistance of these countries against the demands of the Americans. With regard to Afghanistan, it must be said that this country is not in a position to show its national power and the presence and influence of the Americans will be more than other countries. For example, a comparison with Japan shows that Japan is an economic power and is able to limit the influence of the Americans. But this cannot be expected of Afghanistan because this country is in a weak position and, with the establishment of US military bases, the US will have a certain power inside that country and can even violate the national integrity of Afghanistan without fearing the reaction of the government. This is a fact and completely depends on the extent of the establishment of national power in this country and whether it would be able to safeguard the interests of the people. But if the same weak position continues, the American will have the power to influence.
- Based on Karzai’s remarks, how possible is the signing of this agreement during his presidency, in your opinion?
- It seems that Karzai’s statements are not very serious. Karzai plays with public opinion and seeks another objective, otherwise he would sign the agreement. The fact that he has stated that the Loya jirga will meet in the next month and he does not intend to send this agreement to the parliament is because he is worried that they might not adopt this agreement. But since he has selected certain people in the Loya jirga who agree with the signing of this agreement, it seems that Karzai will sign this agreement before the presidential election and until March. But his intention behind such statements and pretending to show his opposition to the signing of this agreement or setting conditions for it is to impact public opinion for the election. He attempts to attract public opinion towards his team or those of whom he approves, but the agreement will be signed during this period and it can even be said that it might be signed within the next month.
- Another issue is peace with the Taliban, one of the conditions of which is the political and military absence of foreign forces in this country. If this agreement is signed, is it possible that this issue would be transformed into one of the major challenges between the government and the Taliban?
- Of course, there is this possibility because the Taliban knows that if the American and NATO forces gain bases in this country and remain there, their expectation to return to power and revive the Islamic rulership will be severely weakened. Furthermore, if the Americans reach an agreement with the Afghans, the policy of the Pakistanis might change and become hopeless about helping the Taliban to gain power. Therefore, from the Taliban’s point of view, the continuation of the Americans’ presence is very dangerous because they will create obstacles for them. But it can have other consequences as well. When the Taliban becomes hopeless about gaining power through the usage of forces, they might be encouraged to compromise with the government through which they could gain part of the power and since they have strong social bases among the Pashtun tribes, they can even participate in the democratic process and reach power. But under the present circumstances, my analysis is that until the signing of the agreement, the Taliban will exert maximum pressure both politically and militarily to prevent it but when it is signed they would be forced to review their policies.
- Have any of the candidates taken positions in this regard? How is the atmosphere of public opinion?
- The fact is that the candidates have so far attempted to bypass this issue so that it would not have negative effects on their votes.
The other issue is that the main groups which seek the signing of this agreement are, contrary to assumptions, the northern groups whose candidate is Abdullah Abdullah. They are concerned that if the Americans completely leave Afghanistan, the Taliban might gain power by force and make them return to Saidabad and it would be similar to the time prior to the entrance of the Americans when these groups cooperated with the US. Thus, this concern has caused them to be the main proponents of this agreement. This is while these groups are considered the closest group to Iran because they are Persian-speakers, Uzbeks and people who are culturally closer to Iran. But on the other hand, the Pashtuns and the Taliban are against this agreement because they believe that the government which now administers the country (despite the fact that Karzai’s ancestors are Pashtun) and the US’ interference have destroyed the historical power of the Pashtuns who have had it for the last 250-300 years. That is why they are strongly against the continuation of the presence of the Americans, but the military presence of the US is to the benefit of the Shiite Hazara, Tajik, and Uzbek minorities.
- Russia is also among the countries which is very concerned about the continuation of US presence in Afghanistan. What is the reason behind the Russians’ opposition and do their views impact the decision-making process of the Afghans?
- The Russians’ concerns are similar to those of the Iranians. Russia, China, Iran and to some extent India are concerned about US military bases in Afghanistan and its long presence in the region. The Russians, in particular, are afraid that if the Americans are present in Afghanistan, they will gradually attempt to take Central Asia out of the hands of the Russians and the same big game which has existed since the 19th century would end to the benefit of the Americans. Therefore, the Russians are very concerned. Of course, they have another concern as well and that is that if the Americans are permanently present in Afghanistan and compromise with the Taliban, then the radical groups which live in Chechnya and Uzbekistan and the Uyghurs who are in China will find the power to maneuver and intensify their opposition and continue their war against Russia. It is possible that these groups might gain the support of the West and an international competition between China and Russia would form. The Russians are concerned about this issue as well and believe that the events that happen in Afghanistan, particularly the influence of the Taliban in the Badakhshan region, will engage China, Russia and the Central Asian countries. The Americans might compromise with those groups who are fighting against them like al-Qaeda and its subgroups like the Hizb ut-Tahrir in Uzbekistan or the Chechen Liberation Front or the East Turkestan Movement and use radical groups against Russia and China. Thus, they attempt to prevent this event and discourage Afghanistan from signing this agreement but it seems that their power to maneuver is very limited.
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