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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The CIA Sent Intelligence to Hezbollah

According to Lebanese officials, last week the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency warned its Lebanese counterpart of an impending attack by al-Qaeda-linked forces on the Hezbollah-controlled portions of southern Beirut. While the U.S. intelligence community routinely shares information with the intelligence apparatuses of other allied countries, federal organs are prohibited from directly contacting Hezbollah, as the group has been designated a foreign terrorist organization. To skirt this requirement, CIA’s Beirut station chief called a meeting with security and military intelligence officials in the Lebanese capital with the tacit understanding that it would be passed to Hezbollah.

Lebanese intelligence officers, which are not authorized to speak on record to reporters, were shocked. “They had transcripts of calls made from known al-Qaeda people in Lebanon to people in the Gulf that included detailed information about the attacks, including the amounts of explosives that had been smuggled into Lebanon.”

Evidence suggests that the tip-off was sent, despite the Obama administration’s erstwhile support of the Syrian rebels, as a means to check al-Qaeda linked factions of the Syrian rebellion, which seek to create sectarian violence throughout the Middle East. Residents of Dahiya, where the attacks were supposed to take place, question the motives of the U.S.; Abu Ibrahim, a laborer from the area noted, “We all think that the [Syrian rebels] are al-Qaeda and backed by the CIA and Israel. So why would they help us? Maybe they’re realizing how crazy their friends in Syria are.”

Indian Police Arrest Eight Suspected Rapists

Police in Jharkhand, India have arrested eight men who they suspect of raiding a hostel earlier this week. The accused are said to have kidnapped four young women, aged 12 to 14, and raped them in a nearby forest. Police superintendent Y S Ramesh stressed that the men have not yet been charged, but are being interrogated. He hopes to press for a speedy trial and added, “These girls are shocked and frightened after the incident.”

The Indian Parliament recently passed a series of laws aimed at curbing violence against women in the subcontinent, after massive protests following the gang-rape and death of a 23-year-old woman. The minimum prison sentence for those convicted of gang-rape in India doubled, under these new laws, has been extended to 20 years. The new laws also allow for the death penalty to be applied, should the victim become comatose or die.

Comandante Cuarenta Captured

Late last night, the Mexican Navy announced that it captured Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, the leader of the Zeta drug cartel, in a raid near the border town of Nuevo Laredo. Government spokesperson, Eduardo Sanchez, noted that “not a single shot was fired.”

Los Zetas are perhaps the most violent of the myriad extant cartels, having recently been linked to an arson which killed 42, and multiple cases of mass decapitation. The group was founded in 1997 by Arturo Guzmán Decena as a small, heavily armed, and well-trained cadre of former Mexican Armed Forces mercenaries in the employ of the Gulf cartel. But by 2010, under the leadership of the recently slain Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, Los Zetas broke away from the Gulf cartel and rapidly became the co-dominant drug cartel in Mexico.

The capture of Treviño, also known as Z-40, is the third high level Zeta captured or killed in 10 months. Óscar Omar Treviño Morales is the only high-ranking Zeta still at large.

Egyptian Cabinet Includes No Muslim Brotherhood

Interim Egyptian President Adli Mansour swore in a diverse cabinet today. Featuring liberal economist Hazem el-Beblawi as Prime Minister, three women, and a representatives from much of the political spectrum, the cabinet is notable for a single exclusion: there are no members of either the Muslim Brotherhood or the conservative Nour party. Mohamed El-Beltagi of the Muslim Brotherhood said the government had not offered his party “any position in the government, and if they do, we will refuse.” MB spokesperson Gehad el-Haddad noted that “the whole thing is illegitimate.”

Supreme Council of the Armed Forces leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was asked to become first deputy to the prime minister, though what specific responsibilities he will have remain undiscussed. Al-Sisi is already the Egyptian Minister of Defense.

Despite being excluded from the cabinet, the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi were heard early this morning, as thousands took the streets of Cairo. At least 400 people were arrested for provoking unrest. Twenty-two people are believed to have been injured as police fired on the protestors with tear gas.

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