Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The World News In Brief

Turkey : The impending conflict between Turkish military and PKK (Kurdish) militants in Northern Iraq has been boiling away for months. News report today state that Turkey has begun bombarding Northern Iraq, launching attacks with warplanes on PKK held positions in the mountains of Northern Iraq, and blasting more than 250 shells into the region. A new front in Iraq War, this time pitting 'terrorists' against the military of Turkey, appears ready to break open. The Iraqi government, and the United States, would be expected to force Turkish forces back over the border if they tried to root out the PKK militants they believe are responsible for terror attacks inside Turkey. The United States has been forced to repeatedly deny that it is funding and arming Kurdish militants in the north, who dream of a breakaway nation, taking in chunks of Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Another report claims the Kurdish militant leader wants more power in political circles, rather than greater independence.

Mexico :
So who is claiming responsibility for the bomb attacks that have crippled key gas pipeline in Central Mexico? No group most people have heard of. The attacks are being written off as a bit of a mystery. But energy industry experts are warning that American and Mexican officials should take the threat posed by one revolutionary group in particular very seriously. Mexico exports more than 1.4 million barrels of oil across the border into the United States every day, making its America's second largest oil supplier. Mexico has been described as "a dangerously soft target since it has more than 17,000 miles of oil pipelines and 8,235 miles of natural gas pipelines to protect."

Pakistan :
As chaos reigns across Pakistan's north west border regions, with anti-Musharraf militants launching new attacks and ambushes on soldiers, the most recent killing more than 16 troops, the United States has threatened to intervene militarily. It's just an unofficial threat at this stage. A rally supporting an opposition alternative leader to Musharraf has been hit by bombings, killing at least twelve people. Another report says the attack on Pakistani soldiers happened in Northern Waziristan, close to the border with Afghanistan, and the ambush involved bombings and militants raking the military vehicles with gunfire, leaving 17 soldiers dead.

The Philippines
: Trouble brewing. The Philippines is said to moving closer and closer to all out war between Islamist forces, Abu Sayyaf, and the government marines, dozens of whom have been killed in recent weeks in a series of spectacular, and shocking, attacks. 10 Filipino marines were beheaded by Islamists during an ambush last week in the south of the country. The Philippines government is believed to be preparing to launch an all-out military offensive against Aby Sayyaf and its supporters. More than 100,000 people have been killed during years of clashes between Muslims and Christians, with tit-for-tat revenge and retribution killings continuing a cycle of violence that rarely hits the headlines, or is mentioned by the coalition of the willing leaders when they discuss the 'War on Terror'.

Sri Lanka : Battles continue to rage between government forces and Tamil Tigers in the country's north. Government forces are trying to take back more guerrilla-controlled territory, forcing separatist Tamils into more isolated and less resourced country. Four government special forces soldiers were killed in the most recent fighting, along with one Tamil Tiger guerrilla. The most recent clashes assassinations of government officials in the north east.
The Tamils recently lost key territory in the east and have vowed to take it back from government forces. Government forces regard the seizure of previously Tamil-held territory as a great victory, worth celebrating. But the threats of Tamils to take revenge on the army and return to guerrilla warfare in the east has caused great concern in the capital Colombo, as people believe it will see a return of the car bombs and suicide attacks that made the Tamil Tigers infamous as more prolific suicide bombers than even Al Qaeda, or elements of the Iraqi resistance. More than 5000 people have been killed in the past 19 months of fighting in the north and east.

Russia :
The UK Independent has a good story on The Plot To Kill Boris Berezovsky. Russia has now booted out four British diplomats in retaliation over the UK's expelling of four Russian diplomats from London in response to Russia's refusal to cooperate in the British investigation into the murder of a former KGB, and possible double, agent by radioactive poisoning. In other news, Russia has rejected the final version of the Kosovo resolution. The resolution now faces a veto. Russia doesn't want Kosovo to be independent, and become a bastion of Islamic extremism. So does the UK and the US want that reality?

We'll have a round-up of recent Iraq-related news in the coming days.