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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Assad Confirms Syrian Receipt of Russian Missiles

According to an interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian government has received the first part of a shipment of S-300 air defense missiles from Russia. He expects that the shipment will be completed today. While the Syrian rebellion does not have an air force, an air defense system could pose problems for any nations that might want to interdict in the Syrian civil war. Israeli officials have previously suggested that such an advanced anti-aircraft missile system could not be allowed to become operational in Syria, as it would mean Israel’s ‘entire airspace will become a no-fly zone’ and therefore it ‘cannot stand idly by.’ Israeli officials are reportedly investigating the ramifications of the shipment, with one official saying, “I have no information beyond what has been reported, which we are looking into.”

Iran Established A Terrorist Network In South America

An Argentine prosecutor has accused Iran of fomenting terrorism in Latin America since the 1980s. During the investigation of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center, in which 85 people were killed, State prosecutor Alverto Nisman discovered what he says is evidence of an Iranian-backed “intelligence and terrorist network” in every South American country. Nisman unequivocally fingers Mohsen Rabbani, a former Iranian cultural attache in Argentina, as architect of the AMIA bombing and “coordinator of the Iranian infiltration of South America, especially in Guyana.” Argentina has issued eight Interpol warrants for the arrest of Iranians implicated in the AMIA bombing, including Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi and Mohsen Rezaie, a former head of the Revolutionary Guards who is running for president.

Shuttered Ugandan Newspaper Reopened

The Ugandan Daily Monitor has reopened after being forcibly closed by the Urganda government for publishing a letter suggesting that President Yoweri Museveni was grooming his son to succeed him. Museveni has been in power since 1986, and elections are due in 2016. The government has repeatedly denied any plans for installing Muhoozi Kainerugaba as his father’s successor, but Kainerugaba’s rapid promotion through the military has long fueled speculation to the contrary. Police have been occupying the Daily Monitor’s office for 11 days, during which protesting journalists have repeatedly been repelled with teargas and baton charges. News of the Daily Monitor’s reopening has brought suggestions that the newspaper, under economic pressure, has caved to the government’s attempt at censorship. Daily Monitor’s Managing Director, Alex Asiimwe, disagrees, saying that “reason had prevailed.” On Sunday, management of Nation Media Group, which owns the Monitor, met with the President and announced that it would “only publish or air stories which are properly sourced, verified and factual.”

Canada Expels Eritrean Consul General

The Canadian government has expelled the Eritrean envoy for soliciting money from expatiates to fund its armed forces. This morning, the Eritrean government objected to the accusations, saying the services given at its consulate in Toronto were “fully consistent” with its diplomatic obligations and “do not violate international or Canadian laws”. When the allegations first arose last September, the Eritrean consulate promised Ottawa that it would cease its fundraising. But last week, evidence came out that suggested Semere Ghebremariam O Micael had resumed demanding money from expatriates to fund Eritrean national defense against neighboring Ethiopia, from which Eritrea separated in 1993. This morning, Eritrea’s foreign ministry released a statement saying its expulsion was “the act of a bully against a small and proud nation and its people, aimed at denying the Eritrean community the services they need from their government.”

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