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Friday, August 30, 2013

U.S. Case for ‘Limited’ Intervention in Syria

This morning, U.S. administration officials and President Barack Obama laid out the case for a “limited narrow” Syrian intervention. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said his government has facts that prove the Syrian government killed 1,429 people when it launched chemical weapons into a rebel held area of Damascus last week. “This is the indiscriminate, inconceivable horror of chemical weapons. This is what Assad did to his own people,” said Kerry. He went so far as to call al-Assad, the man he once referred to as “very generous“, “a thug and a murderer” but said any response by the U.S. would be measured and would not involve a protracted campaign similar to the recent Iraqi or Afghan wars. Unlike those military efforts the U.S. may have to act alone, as Syrian ally, Russia sits on the U.N. Security Council and has been adamant in it’s opposition to any U.N. involvement in Syria.

Ethnic Cleanser Welcomed Home

Convicted war criminal Momčilo Krajišnik returned to the Republika Srpska in Bosnia after serving two thirds of his 20-year sentence, to a hero’s welcome. More than 2000 people waving Serbian flags gathered this evening in Pale, less than 10 miles from Sarajevo, to greet Krajišnik much to his bemusement. “After all, I am a war criminal,” he marveled.

Arrested in 2000 for his part in the ethnic cleansing during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, Krajišnik was convicted of persecuting and forcibly expelling non-Serbs by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and given 27 years in prison. But earlier this summer, ICTY president Theodor Meron granted Krajišnik early release, citing a report that he was a model prisoner. The report also noted that should Krajišnik be released he plans to work at his children’s gas station company.

M23 Withdraws to Proived Time for Shelling Investigation

According to M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa, the rebel group has disengaged from conflict with U.N. peacekeepers and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Army to provide time for an independent investigation into how shells from their conflict fell into neighboring Rwanda. Rwandan officials have publicly suspected the DRC’s forces are responsible, while the U.N. and Congolese claim it was M23, despite the fact that the Rwandan government has tacitly and at times even explicitly backed the Rwandaphone rebels.

Rwanda’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Olivier Nduhungirehe characterized the conflagration in the DRC as an internal problem, and said the Congolese “should not drag Rwanda” into the dispute. This caution is belied by statements made by Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, who said yesterday that her government “remained restrained for as long as we can but this provocation can no longer be tolerated.” Responding to allegations that Rwandan forces were in the DRC assisting the M23 Muchikiwabo tweeted today, “Rwandan troops are not in DRC (yet); when they are, you will know“.

ISI Bombing Claims Fourteen Lives

Fourteen people have died in the Kurdish town of Tuz Khormato as another week of Islamic State Iraq and the Levant bombings comes to it’s deadly end. The group claims its attacks, which also included coordinated car bombings and small arms fire in Baghdad on Wednesday, were in response to the execution of 16 Sunni prisoners for various terrorism charges. “We will avenge the blood of our brothers,” the group posted on a jihadist website. More than 4,000 people have died as the result of internecine violence in Iraq since last year, 570 died this month alone.

Weekend Read: Like Being in Prison with a Salary

There are roughly 60,000 cargo carrying ships in the world. In 2011, the U.S. took in nearly $2 trillion worth of good through its 360 ports. Rose George delves into this massively important sector in her book excerpted on Longreads.com.

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