Globe Trot

Globe Trot 07.23


The Arab League will offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "a safe exit" if he steps down quickly and leaves the country, a senior Arab League official said late Sunday after the group held an emergency meeting in Qatar.

Syria's foreign ministry spokesman today tacitly admitted that the government has chemical weapons and said they will never be used "unless Syria is exposed to external aggression." Observers say that threat could be the trigger for international military intervention.

Veteran war journalist Janine di Giovanni has an incisive look at what life has been like for average Syrians. She also comments:

"Diplomacy is failing. Kofi Annan, who has a godlike demeanor, stood on the sidelines and watched as genocide unfolded in Bosnia and Rwanda while he was in charge of peacekeeping operation. Now he is pleading with the Assad regime to agree to a cease-fire. In every war I have covered, cease-fire is a synonym for buying time to kill more civilians.

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"Thirteen years ago, Mr. Annan issued a report to the General Assembly on the failure of the international community to prevent the massacre of Bosnians at Srebrenica. He called it 'a horror without parallel in the history of Europe since the Second World War.'

"Yet once again the member states lack the will or impetus to stop the slaughter of women, children, and innocents. As they bicker and squabble over reports and sit in hotel rooms unable to be the eyes and ears on the ground and report what is happening, more people die."

Gun attacks and bombings across Iraq today have killed more than 100 people and wounded more than 180. Previously al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has threatened renewed attacks in what he called "a new stage of our struggle" to battle the Shiite-led government-and the United States.

The Webster Commission delivered its final report last week on the Fort Hood shooting allegedly carried out by Major Nidal Hasan. The attack killed 13 mostly U.S. soldiers about to deploy to Afghanistan. The commission found that the FBI had ample evidence from its monitoring of Hasan's emails with al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki (who was subsequently killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year) to be suspicious of his intent. It "found shortcomings" in the FBI's policies and procedures that led agents to miss his lethal intent, despite monitoring his activities.

Residents in China may join Russians in criticizing their government for shoddy infrastructure and poor alert systems after record rainfall in Beijing has left at least 37 dead. About 80,000 passengers at Beijing's international airport were stranded after the storms forced the cancelation of 500 flights.


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