Monday, February 13, 2012

World news roundup

Photo caption: Syrian rebels march in a show of strength during a demonstration in Idlib, Syria, Feb. 10, 2012 (Via AP)

--> Syria: A belated celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday on the outskirts of Falluja on Saturday quickly took on the trappings of a rally for Syria’s rebels. Young boys waved the old green, black and white flag Syria adopted in the 1930s after declaring independence from the French. Others collected money to send aid and weapons to the fighters opposing President Bashar al-Assad’s government across the border.

It is increasingly clear that Syria’s sectarian war is becoming the regional conflict that analysts have long feared. Namely, that the Assad government now also faces antagonists across its borders.

Like Iraq and Afghanistan before it, analysts say, Syria is likely to become the training ground for a new era of international conflict, and jihadists are already signing up. This weekend, Al Qaeda’s ideological leadership and, more troublingly, the more mainstream Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, called for jihadists around the world to fight Mr. Assad’s government.

Nowhere is the cross-border nature of sectarian hostilities more clear than in Iraq’s western desert, where Sunni Arabs are beginning to rally to the cause of the Syrian opposition and, in the process, perhaps strengthen their hand in dealings with an antagonistic Shiite-led national government in Baghdad. More at the NYT.

--> Greece: Athens rioters burn 45 buildings:

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--> Israel: Two people were wounded when an explosive device attached to an Israeli Embassy car detonated near the Israeli mission in New Delhi, an Indian government official said Monday.

It was one of two explosives discovered on Israeli Embassy cars Monday. The other was found on an embassy car in Tblisi, Georgia, and that device was detonated in a controlled explosion with no injuries, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

One of the wounded in New Delhi is the wife of an Israeli defense wing officer and the other is the Indian driver of the car, said Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. He said both were being treated and "are OK."

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, today accused Iran of being behind the car bombings. Netanyahu said Israel has thwarted other attacks in recent months in Azerbaijan, Thailand and elsewhere.

"In all those cases, the elements behind these attacks were Iran and its protege Hezbollah," he said. Via CNN and MSNBC.

--> Italy: Underwater pumping operations began Sunday to remove some of the 500,000 gallons of fuel aboard the Costa Concordia, officials said, nearly a month after the cruise ship ran aground off Tuscany.

After nearly two weeks of delays because of rough seas and bad weather, the pumping got under way on the first of 15 tanks that are believed to hold around 84 percent of the fuel on board, Italy’s civil protection department said.

Officials say it will take 28 consecutive days of pumping to empty the tanks. More at the Washington Post.

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