October 18, 2012 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that Afghan security forces were ready to protect the country if the U.S.-led NATO force speeds up its withdrawal before a scheduled 2014 departure date. Karzai also warned that no foreign advisors should be appointed to Afghanistan's Election Complaints Commission, a stance likely to antagonize the international community, which is concerned about potential vote tampering in the presidential election scheduled for 2014. Karzai's comments came at a news conference with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
September 15, 2012 |
DARIYA, Syria - As he hid from soldiers in a field next to his neighborhood, a young man watched as a cat wandered down a street. Suddenly, it was shot dead. That's when Zuhair noticed the sniper on a nearby roof. But a father and son walking along the street didn't see the gunman, Zuhair said. The sniper lowered his head and peered through his scope. He shot the boy first. As the man tried to grab his son, who looked to be about 10, he was shot as well. The two are among a reported 700 victims of snipers, shelling and summary executions, most of them men, since forces loyal to President Bashar Assad stormed the Damascus suburb of Dariya in late August, one in a growing list of Syrian towns and villages that briefly enter the world's spotlight, only to be replaced by another one when a new mass killing is committed.
September 14, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - As the war of words heats up regarding a possible Israeli military strike on Iran, now is the time to look at one of the key arguments used by those opposed to such an act of self-defense. Time and again we have heard the question "Why now?" asked whenever an Israeli prime minister must make a decision that placed our nation's very existence in jeopardy. Each time, our leaders knew to focus on the real question - "What is the alternative?" - and then go forward on the lonely path toward a more secure and free Israel.
May 21, 2012 |
As the World Health Assembly convenes in Geneva this week, one item on the agenda will be polio, or more specifically, how to finally deliver on an epic promise made a quarter-century ago: to liberate humankind from one of the world's most deadly and debilitating diseases. The world's war on polio has been as ambitious an undertaking as the successful campaign to eradicate another great public health menace, smallpox. Slowly but surely we have advanced on that goal. Polio, a highly preventable disease, today survives in only three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
May 4, 2012 |
Syria yearns for freedom from the brutality of the Assad regime. For four decades, thousands upon thousands paid the price for their opposition to Bashar Assad and his father, Hafez Assad. We have been intimidated, arrested, tortured and killed. Since the uprising began in 2011, opposition forces put the death toll at more than 10,000, with many more imprisoned. And all because we want a free, fair Syria. I am 81; I have dedicated my life to advancing democracy, constitutional principles and an independent judiciary in my country.
April 11, 2012 |
To the surprise of hardly anyone, the peace plan for Syria brokered by U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan is collapsing in a hail of bullets and artillery. The question is whether anyone has the stomach for tougher action. Despite low expectations that Annan's plan for averting all-out civil war would have much influence with Syrian President Bashar Assad, it was the only one on offer - a necessary first step, according to veteran diplomats and security experts. Its failure will force the international community to reconsider more aggressive options, such as imposing a no-fly zone or authorizing pinpoint airstrikes on Syrian artillery to end the year-old conflict, which has left an estimated 9,000 people dead.