- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2009

IRAN

Mousavi kin under arrest

TEHRAN | The wife of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said Thursday her 62-year-old brother is among the hundreds arrested in Iran’s postelection crackdown, as Mr. Mousavi warned that the country is becoming “more militarized” amid the turmoil.

Mr. Mousavi implicitly accused the security forces of exceeding their powers under Iran’s constitution, suggesting that the “near-coup d’etat atmosphere” was a danger to Iran’s Islamic republic.

Mr. Mousavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, said her brother, Shapour Kazemi, was arrested more than a month ago. She said the communications engineer was “apolitical” and was detained only to put pressure on her and Mr. Mousavi.

ISRAEL

Missile defense system fails

JERUSALEM | A series of failed tests of a joint U.S.-Israel anti-missile system raised new questions Thursday about the U.S. goal of providing an “umbrella” to defend its allies against an Iranian nuclear attack.

The setbacks also drew renewed attention to Israel’s concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran and the possibility that it might lean further in the direction of a go-it-alone strike against the country’s atomic facilities.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s offer this week of a “defense umbrella” over Gulf Arab allies to prevent Tehran from dominating the region “once they have a nuclear weapon” was widely seen in Israel as an acceptance of a nuclear-armed Iran. She later tried to dispel that view, but her comments sparked criticism.

NETHERLANDS

African chief’s head returned to Ghana

THE HAGUE | The descendants of an African chief who was hanged and decapitated by a Dutch general 171 years ago reluctantly accepted the return of his severed head Thursday, still angry even as the Dutch tried to right a historic wrong.

The head of King Badu Bonsu II was discovered last year in a jar of formaldehyde in the anatomical collection of the Leiden University Medical Center. The Dutch government agreed to Ghanaian demands that the relic be returned.

On Thursday, members of the king’s Ahanta tribe, dressed in dark robes and wearing red sashes, took part in the hand-over ceremony, honoring the king’s spirit by toasting with Dutch gin and then sprinkling the drink over the floor at the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

“I am hurt, angry. My grandfather has been killed,” said Joseph Jones Amoah, the king’s great-great-grandson.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. death toll continues to rise

KABUL | A U.S. service member was killed Thursday in an insurgent attack in the country’s volatile south, a U.S. military official said, raising to 35 the number of U.S. troops to die in the Afghan war this month. The Web site icasualties.org reports 63 coalition military fatalities thus far in July.

PAKISTAN

Envoy urges Swat priority

ISLAMABAD | President Obama’s special envoy to Pakistan said Thursday that securing hard-fought gains in the Swat Valley and ensuring the safe return of some 2 million refugees uprooted by the government’s anti-Taliban campaign should be Islamabad’s top priority.

“The highest priority right now has to be to secure the areas in Swat and Buner as the refugees return,” Richard C. Holbrooke told reporters after a two-day visit.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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