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.
January 30, 2010 |
A high-ranking Iranian cleric close to both supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sharpened the rhetoric against opposition supporters by giving religious justification for their killings in a fiery Friday sermon. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the hard-line Guardian Council of jurists and clerics that ratified Ahmadinejad's disputed reelection in June, likened the opposition to Jewish tribes which he said long ago defied the founder of Islam.
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.
January 22, 2010 |
Iraq's president has asked the country's Supreme Court to rule on the legality of a ban on hundreds of candidates in the upcoming elections, offering the first official challenge to a decision that could undermine the legitimacy of the poll. President Jalal Talabani said Thursday that he was "personally not happy" with the ban on mostly secular candidates, and questioned the authority of the committee that ordered it because its composition had not been approved by the parliament.
January 20, 2010 |
The barring of hundreds of mostly Sunni candidates from participating in Iraq's upcoming elections is testing the limits of U.S. influence in Iraq even as American troops prepare to draw down later in the year. U.S. diplomacy has shifted into high gear in recent days in an attempt to pressure Iraqi government officials into finding a way out of a crisis that many fear could seriously destabilize the country both before and after the election. The 515 barred candidates -- the number keeps growing -- belong mostly to Sunni Arab and secularist parties that oppose the dominance of Shiite religious parties in the current government.
January 16, 2010 |
One of Al Qaeda's top military strategists in Yemen was reportedly killed Friday along with five other militants in airstrikes targeting two vehicles in the country's northeastern mountains, according to officials and news agencies. The operation by the Yemeni air force was the latest in a string of attacks on Al Qaeda strongholds and the terrorist network's key operatives. The government, which has been guided by U.S. intelligence in the past, has yet to capture or kill the group's two leaders, but Friday's strikes were an indication that Al Qaeda faces increasing pressure.
January 14, 2010 |
Yemeni special forces killed a suspected Al Qaeda leader and captured four fighters as the country increased pressure on the militant network operating in several key tribal provinces, officials said Wednesday. Yemen's government, juggling a civil war in the north and a secessionist movement in the south, had been slow to react to a widening Al Qaeda threat. Its stepped-up raids come amid international concern over the country's ability to defeat a branch of Yemeni and Saudi fighters that has claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day attack on a Northwest airliner.
January 13, 2010 |
Britain's role in the war in Iraq is one to be proud of, a defiant Alastair Campbell told the ongoing Iraq Inquiry on Tuesday. During five hours of questioning on the decision to invade Iraq along with the U.S., Campbell, who was Tony Blair's communications director in 2003, put on a robust defense of his boss at the time, insisting that the British prime minister was not President George W. Bush's "poodle." Campbell told the independent panel that Blair had been convinced by intelligence sources that Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons could be unleashed within a 45-minute time frame.
January 12, 2010 |
Reflecting a quickening tempo of combat in Afghanistan as a U.S. troop buildup gets underway in earnest, five Western troops died Monday in or following clashes in the south and east. At least three of the dead were Americans. It was the worst daily toll in months for the Western coalition, which had originally given a total of six troop deaths. Foreign forces will increase this year by 30,000 American troops and an additional 7,000 from allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
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."