God's Politics

the latest reports on Iraq and Congress, Guantanamo tribunals, Iran, Israel-Palestine, Zimbabwe, Northern Ireland, Colombia, and U.S. attorney firings

Sign up to receive our daily news summary via e-mail »

Full news summary:

Iraq-Congress. Dems Challenge Bush With Iraq Timetable – “The House voted Friday for the first time to clamp a cutoff deadline on the Iraq war, agreeing by a thin margin to pull combat troops out by next year and pushing the new Democratic-led Congress ever closer to a showdown with President Bush.” Congress puts its marker on Iraq war, but how big? – “After the House vote Friday that laid out a schedule for US troop withdrawal from Iraq, the Senate this week takes up a bill that outlines its own timetable for ending the US combat role in that conflict-riven nation. Neither bill appears to have the backing to override the presidential veto that is certain to follow. But Democrats now controlling Congress say the power of the purse – and a roused US public – may yet bring about changes in President Bush’s war policy. ”

Iraq-diplomacy. U.S. Envoy Says He Met With Iraq Rebels – “The senior American envoy in Iraq, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, held talks last year with men he believed represented major insurgent groups in a drive to bring militant Sunni Arabs into politics. … He is the first American official to publicly acknowledge holding such talks. The meetings began in early 2006 and were quite possibly the first attempts at sustained contact between senior American officials here and the Sunni Arab insurgency. ”

Guantanamo tribunal. Hicks to open Guantanamo tribunal – “Australian David Hicks is set to become the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to attend a hearing under revised US military tribunal rules.” Guantanamo hearing for Australian detainee – “Mr. Hicks is the first of some 60 to 80 Guantanamo prisoners the Pentagon plans to charge with war crimes under legislation passed by Congress last year. In a nine-page charge sheet prepared by the Pentagon, he emerges as a hapless holy warrior, a high school dropout who converted to Islam and then drifted towards the battlefields.”

Iran-sanctions. Iran Partly Suspends Nuclear Pledges – “The Iranian government announced Sunday that it was partially suspending cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, citing the “illegal” sanctions the Security Council imposed on the country Saturday for its refusal to stop enriching uranium.” Iran to Limit Cooperation With Nuclear Inspectors – “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a defiant statement that ‘Iran’s enrichment of uranium is a legal issue,’ maintaining that his nation’s nuclear program was intended solely for energy production. In contrast, he said, the Security Council’s vote on Saturday imposing new sanctions on Iranian arms exports, the state-owned Bank Sepah and the Revolutionary Guard Corps ‘is not legal.'”

Iran-British soldiers. Blair Calls Detention of British Forces ‘Unjustified and Wrong’ – “The Iranian state news agency, IRNA, reported that British Ambassador Geoffrey Adams spoke Sunday with Ibrahim Rahimpour, a top Iranian Foreign Ministry official, and was told that the team was “well and sound” and that “legal proceedings” were underway in the case. It was unclear whether that meant that Iran intended to put the sailors and marines on trial…” Blair warning to Iran as diplomatic efforts fail to trace captured patrol – “Initially, British military officials and diplomats tried to defuse the situation by stressing the complicated nature of the boundaries between Iraq and Iran on the Shatt al-Arab waterway, where the patrol had been conducting anti-smuggling operations. But Mr. Blair’s declaration left no room for ambiguity.”

Israel-Palestine. Rice Plans to Conduct ‘Parallel’ Mideast Talks – “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shuttled between Palestinian and Israeli officials Sunday, seeking to lay the groundwork for a diplomatic initiative in which she will conduct “parallel” discussions with both parties on the contours of a Palestinian state.” Rice Aims for Delicate Balance in Mideast Shuttle – “Ms. Rice, in the Bush administration’s most intensive effort so far at high-level shuttle diplomacy to broker peace between Palestinians and Israelis, traveled from the banks of the Nile in Egypt to the West Bank, and finally to Jerusalem on Sunday, to press what she says is a new approach to peace.” Arabs may offer to repackage peace plan – “Arab countries including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia may propose repackaging the 2002 Saudi peace initiative, Arab diplomats said Monday in private discussions. The leaders were seeking fresh ways to moderate their position without being seen as giving in to Israeli or American demands to change the offer …”

Zimbabwe. S. Africans Weigh Role as Zimbabwe Simmers – “Police in Zimbabwe this week attacked members of the opposition group Movement for Democratic Change. In neighboring South Africa, response has been muted to brutality attributed to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.” Mugabe will be out by next year, says opposition -“Asked whether events in Zimbabwe over recent weeks suggested that the Mugabe regime had reached a tipping point, Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, agreed that this was his “prognosis” and it was increasingly shared by others.” Zimbabwean Doctor, Rights Activist Sees His Nation in a Free Fall – “Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, addressed the Congressional Human Rights Caucus yesterday about a wave of violence in Zimbabwe that began March 11 when a political rally was violently broken up by police.”

Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Rivals Reach Agreement – “The leaders of Northern Ireland’s dominant political and religious parties, Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams and the Protestant leader Rev. Ian Paisley, held face-to-face negotiations today and agreed to work towards a resumption of the province’s power-sharing authority by May 8.” Historic N Ireland deal reached – “The two men agreed to form a joint executive on 8 May to run the province. … Mr. Paisley, leader of the Protestant DUP, and Mr. Adams of the mainly Catholic Sinn Fein, have been implacable opponents for decades.”

Colombia Rejects Paramilitary Report – “Colombia’s government disputed a published report on Sunday of leaked C.I.A. intelligence linking the chief of the army to paramilitary death squads, saying any accusations against him should be made formally through the judicial system.”

Attorney firings. Ex-Prosecutor Says He Faced Partisan Questions Before Firing – “One of the eight former U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration said yesterday that White House officials questioned his performance in highly partisan political terms at a meeting in Washington in September, three months before his dismissal.”

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus