The radical Islamist cleric Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, popularly known as Abu Qatada, has won an appeal in Britain against his deportation to Jordan. Abu Qatada has been detained in Britain for seven years, and is wanted in Jordan on terrorism charges. He received asylum in Britain in 1993 after claiming he had been tortured in Jordon. On Monday, Britain's Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) ruled that he would not receive a fair trail in Jordan. British authorities reported he has been released Tuesday from a high security prison under conditions of an electronic tag, a 16-hour curfew, a ban on internet use, and heavy restrictions on who he can meet. British politicians have united against the ruling and the government has said they are "absolutely determined" to deport Abu Qatada. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said, "He should not be in this country, he is a dangerous person." British security officials described Abu Qatada as one of al Qaeda's top operatives in Europe, and a Spanish judge referred to him as Osama bin Laden's right hand man in Europe.
As a new negotiated Syrian opposition coalition garners international support, Syrian forces continued an attack on the town of Ras al-Ain on the border with Turkey. The Arab League welcomed the National coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces established on Sunday, and Qatar's prime minister called for "political and material support" of the group. Six Gulf states have recognized the coalition as the country's "legitimate representative." Yet other Arab League members such as Iraq and Lebanon have not supported the Syrian revolt and are not yet willing to delegitimize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. British and U.S. officials were optimistic about the efforts at unification and Turkey said the international community had "no excuse any more" not to support the opposition. Meanwhile, Syrian forces have bombarded the border town of Ras al-Ain for the second day. According to witness accounts Syrian warplanes destroyed at least 15 buildings and killed at least 20 people on Monday. No casualties have been reported in the adjacent Turkish town of Ceylanpinar, but it has sustained considerable destruction and the attacks are creating panic among residents. Additionally, the bombings have sparked some of the highest refugee movements into Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reportedly sent a diplomatic note to Syria protesting the bombing of Ras al-Ain. Fierce clashes broke out in other locations across Syria as well, including in Damascus and Daraa. Additionally, Syrian forces have provoked Israeli army commanders in the disputed Israeli held territory of the Golan Heights.
- Israel continued targeted strikes into Gaza on Monday as Palestinian militants decreased rocket fire and indicated they are ready for a truce.
- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said it will present a bid to the United Nations on November 29 for U.N. non-member observer state status.
- Turkey's ruling AKP submitted a bill to authorize the Kurdish language in courts, but it is not clear when it will be discussed in parliament.
Arguments and Analysis
Saudis' Proxy War Against Iran (Joseph Braude, Tablet Magazine)
"On the evening of Oct. 23, part of a gas pipeline facility in the western Iranian city of Shush exploded-one of several recent attacks on Iranian infrastructure near the country's borders. In contrast to the clandestine campaign of sabotage against Iran's nuclear facilities, whose perpetrators do not openly claim responsibility-though most suspect it is the work of the United States or Israel-the Shush hit was promptly followed by a press release put out by a group called the "Battalions of the Martyr Mohiuddin Al Nasser." The group is comprised of Ahwazi Arabs, one of several non-Persian ethnic groups inside Iran who together number at least 40 percent of the Iranian population. Some of these minority communities, which live mostly in the outlying provinces of the country, are restive and have been for years: The regime in Tehran represses their languages and cultures, chokes the local economy, and limits their movement. Increasingly, these groups have been organizing themselves politically and militarily-and some in Washington and Israel could not be more thrilled with the development."
Unified Syrian opposition only path to peace (The National)
"The survival of the coalition will hinge on its ability to achieve where the SNC failed. Securing financial and military support for fighters on the ground will help the coalition gain legitimacy. Yet such support will only come if the new body can convince outside powers it can be a viable alternative to the Assad regime. The SNC acted as a council of leaders without a mandate from the people they claimed to represent. The SNC members were also based outside Syria, complicating unity efforts.
The new coalition's leaders say several countries had pledged financial and military support if the opposition unified. This will take time. What cannot wait, however, is a better coordinated relief effort between those Syrians inside and outside the country. A failure to use its financial resources to aid Syrians displaced was one of the SNC's principle failings. Building on past mistakes without alienating others is the only way to push the Assads aside."
Mali's Looming War: Will Military Intervention Drive Out the Islamists? (Alan Boswell, Time Magazine)
"Even as Mali split apart this spring in the single largest advance for Islamist extremism in years, only briefly did the world's latest front line in the war on terrorism show signs of its newfound significance. Refugees poured into the sleepy river town of Mopti, where Mali's oversize north butts against the country's more populous south. Residents fled, hotels went dark, banks pulled out their cash reserves, and training camps spawned on the edge of town. But then, nothing happened. The Islamist rebels halted just to the north, and the waiting began. As far as locals are concerned, the world never noticed. "We are ready to go fight for our land," says Abdoulaye Diallo, a leader in Ganda Iso, or Sons of the Land, a Mopti-based community militia that claims to have over a thousand men ready to fight, albeit with no guns. "But we need help.""
--By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey