- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

KUWAIT

Americans urged to be vigilant

KUWAIT CITY | The U.S. Embassy is warning Americans in Kuwait to be vigilant against possible terrorist attacks after the arrest of people suspected of planning to attack a U.S. military camp there.

In a message on the embassy’s Web site Tuesday, the State Department says there are indications that terrorist groups seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East, including Kuwait.

Kuwaiti authorities announced Aug. 11 they have arrested six Muslim fundamentalists linked to al Qaeda who were planning to attack a major U.S. military camp and other targets.

ISRAEL

New West Bank projects frozen

JERUSALEM | Israel has quietly stopped approving new building projects in the West Bank while publicly still refusing U.S. demands for a formal settlement freeze, officials, peace activists and settlers said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office denied there was any agreement among senior ministers to freeze new construction. But settlement watchdog Peace Now said no new building had been approved since Mr. Netanyahu took office in March.

The move falls short of the U.S. demand because it doesn’t amount to a full freeze - projects approved in the past are still being built, and groups tracking settlements say the pace of construction in the settlements has not slowed.

ISRAEL

Huckabee opposes two-state plan

JERUSALEM | Former U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Tuesday there should be no Palestinian state in the West Bank and endorsed Israeli settlements there, sharply disagreeing with Washington and much of the world.

A three-day tour of Israel, hosted by a far-right group of religious nationalists, is taking Mr. Huckabee to some of the most contentious hot spots in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His opposition to a Palestinian state puts him at odds with the accepted wisdom of both Democrats and Republicans - and to some degree even with conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has come out in favor of some form of Palestinian independence.

Speaking to a small group of foreign reporters in Jerusalem, Mr. Huckabee said the international community should consider establishing a Palestinian state someplace else.

“The question is should the Palestinians have a place to call their own? Yes, I have no problem with that. Should it be in the middle of the Jewish homeland? That’s what I think has to be honestly assessed as virtually unrealistic.”

SYRIA

Al-Maliki, Assad discuss security

DAMASCUS | Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met Syrian President Bashar Assad for security talks in Damascus on Tuesday, after the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Damascus’ role in allowing fighters across the border remained a concern.

Mr. al-Maliki, who first met Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri, traveled to Syria just days after a senior U.S. military delegation was in Damascus to discuss regional security issues, reportedly including Iraq.

Mr. al-Maliki is asking Syrian officials to hand over people suspected of links to insurgent attacks in his country and to stop fighters from crossing its border into northern Iraq, one of his advisers said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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