12 Jul

Events of Interest and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

Report: 2010 worst for Afghanistan

The Taliban remains undeafeted despite more US troops being drafted into the country [Reuters]  

The current year has been the most violent in Afghanistan since the US-led forces invaded the land-locked central Asian country in 2001, an Afghan rights group has said.

According to the Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM), civilian deaths have risen amid increased insecurity and the Taliban remains far from being defeated.

“In terms of insecurity, 2010 has been the worst year since the demise of the Taliban regime in late 2001,” it said on Monday.

“Not only have the number of security incidents increased, the space and depth of the insurgency and counter-insurgency-related violence have maximised dramatically,” ARM said.

About 1,074 civilians were killed and more than 1,500 injured in war-related incidents in the first six months of 2010, compared with 1,059 killed in the same period last year, ARM said……………….


Israel: Mistakes over flotilla raid

Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara [File: AFP]

An Israeli military report has blamed bad intelligence and planning for the deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships heading for the Gaza Strip, but recommended no disciplinary action against senior officers.

The investigation, conducted by an army committee, found that the navy did not prepare for the possibility that it would face resistance aboard the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara when it raided the ship on May 31.

“The team concluded that not all possible intelligence gathering methods were fully implemented,” the Israeli army said in a statement on Monday.

“[And] the operation relied excessively on a single course of action.”

The committee found mistakes were made “at quite a senior level” but did not recommend punishments for any of the officers involved in the raid.

It also concluded that “the use of live fire was justified” and called the raid “estimable”.


Gaza farmers risk being shot

 As a Libyan backed aid ship sails for the Gaza Strip, another group of international activists has been defying the blockade, but this time on the land.Foreigners acting as human shields have been helping farmers in Gaza harvest their crops.

About 30 per cent of Gaza’s arable land is on the border with Israel and the area has been declared a buffer zone by the Israeli military.

Palestinian farmers, thus, risk being shot for working their fields.

Nicole Johnston reports from Bani Salah.


Iraq war inquiry – Monday 12 July

Live coverage as Carne Ross, a Foreign Office ‘whistleblower’ who resigned after speaking out about the war, gives evidence to the Chilcot panel

Carne Ross, a former British diplomat at the UN, who is appearing at the Iraq inquiry today 

Carne Ross, a former British diplomat at the UN, who is appearing at the Iraq inquiry today. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

1.45pm: Carne Ross is not a household name. But he could turn out to be one of the most interesting figures to give evidence to the Iraq inquiry. That’s because he’s the Foreign Office “whistleblower” who resigned after speaking out about the war. He worked as a British diplomat at the UN and, in a submission to the Butler inquiry (which was originally secret, but which was subsequently published in 2006), he said that officials did not regard Iraq’s WMD programme as a threat to the UK………………………….


Incredible tale of one mother and daughter who never gave up

By Guy Adams in Port-au-Prince

Monday, 12 July 2010

Ibola Samedi is said to be overjoyed to be reunited with Lovely
Guy Adams

Ibola Samedi is said to be overjoyed to be reunited with Lovely

The last time Ibola Samedi had hugged her 12-year-old daughter Lovely was after school on Tuesday, 12 January. A few minutes later, the earth began to shake. In seconds, Ms Samedi saw her house, in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince, collapsed.
Terrified, she grabbed her daughter Stephanie, 10, and sons Levinson and Dickensley, four and one, and ran to a patch of nearby wasteland. Half an hour later, Ms Samedi returned to the pile of concrete and twisted metal that lay on the site of her former dwelling. Digging with her bare hands, she found the body of Widler, her seven-year-old son, beneath the rubble. Lovely, the fifth of her children, was unaccounted for.

Until last week, that is. On 4 July, Ms Samedi was telephoned by Etienne Guerline, a local case-worker with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an aid agency attempting to reunite children believed to have been orphaned in the earthquake with their friends or families. “Do you know a girl called Lovely?” Ms Guerline asked……………………………………………………


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