- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2007

SYRIA

U.S. official sees N. Korea nuke link

ROME — A senior U.S. nuclear official said yesterday that North Koreans were in Syria and Damascus may have had contacts with “secret suppliers” to obtain nuclear equipment.

Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not identify the suppliers, but said North Koreans were in the country and he could not exclude that the network run by the disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan may have been involved.

Mr. Semmel was responding to questions about an Israeli air strike in northern Syria last week. Neither side has explained what exactly happened, but a U.S. government official confirmed Israeli warplanes were targeting weapons from Iran and destined for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

IRAN

Khamenei predicts Bush trial on Iraq

TEHRAN — President Bush and other American officials will one day face trial just like deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for “the catastrophes they caused in Iraq,” Iran’s supreme leader said yesterday.

Speaking to thousands of worshippers during the first Friday prayer of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Mr. Bush will be called to account for the U.S.-led invasion.

INDONESIA

Strong aftershocks scare thousands

PADANG — Powerful earthquakes struck Indonesia for a third day yesterday, terrorizing thousands of people who slept outside in fear of a tsunami and falling debris. Seismologists warned the worst may be yet to come.

The massive 8.4-magnitude quake that shook Southeast Asia on Wednesday was followed by dozens of strong aftershocks that have killed at least 13 persons, damaged hundreds of homes and churned up a 10-foot-high tsunami.

JAPAN

Aso, Fukuda in race for prime minister

TOKYO — The race to replace outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared to narrow to two candidates yesterday as the ruling party’s conservative No. 2 leader, and a dovish party stalwart who favors warmer ties with Asia, announced they will run.

Declaring their intention to run in the Sept. 23 party leadership election were ruling party Secretary-General Taro Aso, a former foreign minister whose acerbic comments about China have drawn protests from Beijing, and Yasuo Fukuda, a former chief Cabinet secretary who opposes visits by prime ministers to a controversial war shrine.

Both candidates are longtime officials of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and are likely to follow Mr. Abe’s pro-U.S., pro-reform platform.

AFGHANISTAN

Commander says he’s alive and well

SPIN BOLDAK — Taliban commander Mullah Brother told Reuters yesterday he is “alive and well,” more than two weeks after the Afghan government announced he had been killed.

Mullah Brother served as a top military commander for the Taliban government until it was driven from power in 2001, and is a member of the movement’s leadership council led by fugitive leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said late last month Mullah Brother was killed in ground fighting in Helmand during a U.S.-led raid.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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