March 27, 2010 |
George Ishak has been battling the political repression of the Egyptian government for years, so it seemed odd recently when he mentioned, perhaps with a bit of slyness, that he was praying for the good health of President Hosni Mubarak. Ishak hasn't gone soft. His concern is rooted in opposition strategy, not a sudden pang of empathy for Mubarak, who is in Germany recovering from gallbladder surgery. The president's absence has reminded Ishak and his countrymen of their deep unease over who will eventually replace the man who has ruled the nation since the days when short skirts were as prevalent as veils.
February 2, 2010 |
Past the wild dogs and poor boys selling charred corn and party hats, the road turns to dirt and stone and dips toward an ancient riverbed the colors of butterscotch and bone. Fossils underfoot, foxes on the ridges, this is Cairo at the edge of the Eastern Desert, where the canyon cuts the sky and the smiling man in the entrance hut writes in a ledger and listens to chants from the Koran on his radio. " Assalam alaikum ." "Peace be upon you, too." My brother. The city falls away, standing distant, a ragged sentinel in the smog.
December 19, 2009 |
A top Iranian nuclear official sought Friday to ease international worries about his nation's nuclear program days after Tehran test-fired an upgraded medium-range missile that alarmed the West. Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, said Iran won't have a new generation of more efficient centrifuges for the production of nuclear fuel until 2011 and won't have its heavy-water plant in Arak operational for "three or four years." His statement was a possible attempt at reassuring world powers that there was no hurry to place new sanctions on Iran.
March 23, 2010 |
President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday amid new signs that the two remain deeply divided over continued Israeli construction in disputed East Jerusalem. In their first face-to-face meeting after months of tension, Obama was expected to press Netanyahu for action to ensure that Israeli housing plans do not endanger peace talks. U.S. officials seeking to end the standoff are not asking Netanyahu to halt construction, a step he has refused to take.
February 7, 2010 |
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and a conservative official in Tehran found something they could agree on Saturday, as each dismissed the Iranian foreign minister's suggestion that a deal was near on Iran's nuclear program. Gates said he was disappointed in Tehran's response to a months-old proposal backed by the Obama administration in which Iran would exchange a limited quantity of low-enriched uranium for fuel plates to use in a Tehran medical reactor. "I do not have the sense we are close to an agreement," he said at a round-table meeting with journalists in Ankara, where he also suggested that Washington's patience had limits.
January 26, 2010 |
It was lucky for us that the suicide bombers struck first at two other hotels, and that the one who targeted our hotel was forced by security guards to fight his way into the compound. Alerted by the two explosions minutes earlier on Monday, and then the popping of automatic gunfire immediately outside, most staffers of the Los Angeles Times bureau had taken cover in an inside corridor when the bomber detonated his vehicle outside. The blast left a 30-foot crater in the tarmac, destroyed walls and windows around us and demolished at least two houses nearby.
December 29, 2009 |
An Israeli government plan to build nearly 700 homes for Jewish families in Palestinian-dominated East Jerusalem drew fire Monday from the Obama administration, which called the plan a hindrance to relaunching peace talks. "The United States opposes new Israeli construction in East Jerusalem," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, calling on Israelis and Palestinians to return to U.S.-brokered talks. "Neither party should engage in efforts or take actions that could unilaterally preempt, or appear to preempt, negotiations."
March 12, 2010 |
Two Israeli soldiers involved in the Gaza Strip offensive a year ago used a 9-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield to open packages they believed were booby-trapped with explosives, the Israeli army charged Thursday. The soldiers, whose names were not released, have been indicted in military court for "unauthorized conduct" and "exceeding their authority in a manner that endangered life or health," the army said. The boy, whose case was forwarded to the Israel Defense Forces by the United Nations, was unharmed.
January 11, 2010 |
President Obama says he has no intention of sending American troops to Yemen or Somalia. Obama told People magazine in an interview to be published Friday that he still believes the center of Al Qaeda activity is along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. "I never rule out any possibility in a world that is this complex," Obama said. However, he said, "in countries like Yemen, in countries like Somalia, I think working with international partners is most effective at this point."
March 25, 2010 |
Another controversial housing project in East Jerusalem has received approval to break ground despite strong U.S. objections, officials said Wednesday. The 20-unit project, funded by U.S. businessman Irving Moskowitz, cleared its chief planning hurdles in July but received the final go-ahead March 18, when the developer paid project fees to the city, officials said. Some speculated that the timing of the fee payment and the subsequent announcement -- which occurred Tuesday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared to meet President Obama at the White House -- seemed designed to exploit recent U.S.-Israeli tensions over Jewish expansion in East Jerusalem.