- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 18, 2008


Lawmaker punished for visiting Israel

The Iraqi parliament has lifted the immunity of independent (Sunni) lawmaker Mithal al-Alousi for attending an anti-terrorism conference in Israel, from where he declared that the real enemy is Iran.

Parliament sources said Mr. Alousi, who was grilled by his colleagues about his second controversial visit to Israel, would be prevented from leaving the country and would be taken to court.


Khatami criticizes President Ahmadinejad

Iran’s former president, reformist Mohammad Khatami, has strongly criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, indicating that Mr. Khatami might be preparing to enter the presidential election battle either as a candidate or as a strong supporter of an opponent to the incumbent.

Mr. Khatami said Mr. Ahmadinejad’s “aggressive and sharp” slogans are giving pretexts for the “enemy” to act against Iran; he also urged reformist parties to mobilize their forces to begin a political offensive rather than remaining in the defensive position.


Greater Israel called a myth

The outgoing Israeli prime minister seems to have retracted his hawkish beliefs, as he declared Sunday that “the idea of a ‘Greater Israel’ is over, and whoever says so is just misleading himself.”

He told his government that 40 years after the Six Day War, “we continue to create pretexts to justify why we should not do something, but this will not help Israel.”


Jordan fears neighbors on water rights claims

Jordanian officials have expressed concern that understandings between the Syrians and Israelis would be at the kingdom’s expense in terms of its water rights. European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana announced that another round of indirect Syrian-Israeli talks, through Turkish mediation, will take place in the coming few days to pave the way for direct negotiations.

Jordanian officials in the water sector said Jordanian-Syrian water cooperation was at a standstill after the two sides held a series of meetings that failed to achieve any tangible results.


Financial earthquake strikes the world

A financial earthquake struck the world [Monday], extending to the international stock markets after the collapse of Lehman Bros., the fourth-largest financial institution in the United States, as well as the Bank of America’s purchase of Merrill Lynch for $50 billion.

Analysts said the crisis was similar to the Depression of the 1930s, adding there appeared to be no road map for getting out of this global financial dilemma.


Market drops on black Monday

The international and regional, especially the Gulf, markets witnessed a black day [Monday], affected by the shake that hit the American financial system.

The Saudi bourse, the largest in the Arab world, fell 6.5 percent and lost 98 billion riyals ($26 million) of its capital value in Monday’s trading, while similar slumps were registered in other Gulf and Egyptian markets.


Terrorist blast targets Iftar banquet

Nineteen martyrs were killed and more than 30 others injured by a terrorist suicide attacker who exploded in the midst of an iftar (Ramadan fast breaking) banquet in Baladruz in Diyala province.

Security sources said the feast was taking place in the house of a police officer who was released recently from U.S. custody, adding that most of the guests were officers and prominent local figures.


Three killed in camp clashes

Three people were killed and three others were wounded in armed clashes between Jund al-Sham (Islamists) and Fatah gunmen in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in southern Lebanon.

Machine guns and mortars were used during Monday’s fighting, which erupted after the assassination of a member of Jund al-Sham and stopped after camp leaders decided to hand over the gunmen to the Lebanese authorities.

Compiled by Sana Abdallah of the Middle East Times in Amman, Jordan

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