LIBYA: A top al-Qaeda leader wanted for his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa—and central to building al-Qaeda in Libya and North Africa—was captured in a raid in Tripoli by U.S. Navy SEALs, working with the CIA and FBI. Abu Anas al Libi is being held aboard a U.S. Navy ship.
SOMALIA: Navy SEALs were less successful in a weekend raid in Somalia on an al-Shabaab branch of al-Qaeda believed responsible for carrying out last month’s raid at a Nairobi shopping mall. The raids show the Obama administration continuing to rely on unilateral action to battle terrorism, but as The Wall Street Journal points out in an editorial, the administration should get credit for undertaking high-risk missions to thwart further attacks.
The failed raid nearly coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Black Hawk Down incidents in Mogadishu, and Mark Bowden’s original series of reporting is still some of the best long reading around, plus helpful context for the ongoing strife.
PAKISTAN: Pakistanis formed a human chain outside a church in Lahore on Sunday, in a show of solidarity with Christians after the church attack two weeks ago in Peshawar. The death toll now exceeds 100.
SYRIA:In an interview with the German publication Der Spiegel Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he “cannot decide” whether he will run in next year’s presidential elections (scheduled for August): “This depends on what the Syrian people want.” Assad also lashed out at U.S. President Barack Obama, saying he “has no right to tell the Syrian people whom to choose as their president.”
A UN team together with Syrian government forces began the destruction of chemical weapons at select sites in Syria on Sunday.
RUSSIA: The Olympic torch arrived in Moscow to make its way to the site of February’s Winter Games in Sochi, but the flame briefly went out as it made its way through the Kremlin.
IN WORLD: British commentator Melanie Phillips has made the arduous trek from left to right, a fighter all the way.
“By asserting that it embodied the center ground, what the left actually did was to hijack the center ground and substitute its own extreme values—thus shifting Britain’s center of political and moral gravity to the left, and besmirching as extremists those on the true center ground.”