- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2009

BRITAIN

Defense aide quits over Afghan policy

LONDON | An aide to Britain’s defense minister quit Thursday, criticizing the government’s handling of the conflict in Afghanistan and saying Britain should demand more from its U.S. ally.

The resignation is particularly embarrassing because Eric Joyce, a former army major, is one of the few top-ranking members of the governing Labor Party with any military experience. It also came a day before Prime Minister Gordon Brown was expected to give a major speech on Britain’s role in Afghanistan.

In a resignation letter addressed to Mr. Brown and published by Channel 4 News, Mr. Joyce called on the prime minister to publicly state when Britain would begin removing its forces from Afghanistan and to do a better job of justifying the war to voters.

According to excerpts of the speech released Thursday, Mr. Brown will dismiss Mr. Joyce’s call, saying Britain’s military will stay in Afghanistan until the country can establish its own security.

MEXICO

Gunmen kill 18 at drug rehab center

CIUDAD JUAREZ | Gunmen broke into a drug rehabilitation center, lined people against a wall and fatally shot 18 in a particularly bloody day in Mexico’s relentless drug war. The brazen attack followed the killing of the No. 2 security official in President Felipe Calderon’s home state.

The attackers on Wednesday broke down the door of El Aliviane center in Ciudad Juarez, lined up their victims against a wall and opened fire, said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the regional prosecutors’ office. At least five people were injured.

PERU

Rebels down helicopter, kill 3

LIMA | Drug-funded Shining Path rebels shot down an air force helicopter in Peru’s coca-growing highlands, killing three troops and wounding five, Peru’s joint command said Thursday.

Peru’s fight against the insurgency has flared up in the past week, with guerrillas ambushing army patrols and attacking an army base. A total of five military officials have been killed and another 10 wounded.

The military says three rebels have been arrested and another four killed, though the deaths are unconfirmed.

The rebels shot down the helicopter with machine-gun fire late Wednesday in Sinaycocha, a mountain village along a drug-smuggling corridor in Junin province. The helicopter was trying to land to evacuate three soldiers wounded earlier that day in a shootout with a rebel column, the joint command said.

SYRIA

Sheltered insurgents anger Iraqi officials

BAGHDAD | Iran’s prime minister said Thursday that Syria was sheltering armed groups wanted for cross-border attacks, forcing him to appeal to the United Nations for help in stopping what he called a hostile act.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has faced criticism for security lapses that aided the bombers, met with a group of European and Arab ambassadors Thursday to press his case that those who plotted the Aug. 19 attacks are based in Syria.

VENEZUELA

Chavez visits Syria on anti-U.S. tour

DAMASCUS | Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has arrived in Syria as part of a tour aimed at countering U.S. influence around the globe.

Syrian President Bashar Assad received Mr. Chavez at the airport Thursday for his second visit to the Arab nation in three years.

Mr. Chavez is on an 11-day trip to Libya, Algeria, Syria, Iran, Belarus and Russia. On Tuesday he attended Libya’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the coup that brought Moammar Gadhafi to power. He then visited Algeria.

Before beginning his tour, Mr. Chavez said the main objective of the trip is building support for what he calls a “multipolar” world no longer dominated by the United States.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide