Jordan's ambassador to Libya, Fawaz al-Itan, was abducted after gunmen attacked his car in the capital of Tripoli Tuesday morning. His driver and one of his guards were reportedly shot and wounded in the attack. A source from the Jordanian foreign ministry said they believed their envoy was kidnapped as he was leaving his home. Jordan's prime minister reportedly said that parties are negotiating the ambassador's release. Kidnappings have become common in Libya since the ouster of Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2011, specifically targeting foreign officials. Five Egyptian diplomats, a Tunisian official, and a South Korean official have been abducted since the beginning of 2014.
The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on Monday which found the routine use of torture in government detention facilities, as well as the use of torture by some armed opposition groups. U.N. human rights chief, Navi Pillay, condemned the use of torture saying it constitutes a war crime. On Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council is scheduled to meet in France to view photos from a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians tortured and killed in the country's civil war. According to France, most of the photos were taken by a Syrian military police photographer who defected. The move is part of a process to document war crimes in Syria for a possible future bid to refer perpetrators to the International Criminal Court.
- Iran has complained to the United Nations accusing the United States of violating international law by refusing to grant a visa for its newly selected U.N. envoy, Hamid Aboutalebi.
- Suspected al Qaeda linked gunmen killed Hussein Dayyan, deputy governor of Yemen's central al-Bayda province, on Tuesday as he was leaving his home.
- At least one armed man opened fire on cars traveling near the West Bank city of Hebron Monday evening killing an Israeli police officer and wounding his wife and son.
- A Libyan court has ruled that Saif al-Islam and other ex-Qaddafi officials that are being held outside of Tripoli can be tried via video.
Arguments and Analysis
'Syria: ‘Unbelievably Small' Confirmed' (Fred C. Hof, Atlantic Council)
The application of military
force is, quite literally, deadly serious. No civilized country would
employ it as a first resort; non-violent diplomacy must run its course before
lethality is even considered. But when military force is considered it
should aim for an end-state worth achieving. That the commander-in-chief
thought about doing something "unbelievably small" that would
"degrade and send a message" at least pushed back on Pentagon demands
that the ultimate end-state for all of Syria be unveiled before a shot is fired.
Yet the question is whether a minor degrading of capabilities and the sending
of a message-perhaps the opposite of the one intended given the puny nature of
the endeavor-would have been worth the application of lethal force.
Clearly something aimed at real civilian protection-destroy or significantly
degrade the ability of the Assad regime to bring massed fires to bear on
civilian populations-would have been worth it.
President Obama, as commander-in-chief, has framed the military option for Syria as either something unbelievably small or the full Monty: invasion and occupation. It is a false choice. Yet it is the choice to which he has deliberately limited himself. And given that false choice he was correct to grasp onto the chemical weapons agreement. Had he paid more attention to civilian protection he would have sought a better agreement. Syrians and their neighbors are paying heavily for a diplomatic shortfall that was and is unbelievably huge."
'Death From Above: How American Drone Strikes Are Devastating Yemen' (Vivian Salama, Rolling Stone)
For the people here who have no ties to Al Qaeda or any militant groups, the constant stress of the drone threat has warped long-standing cultural norms. Mothers are increasingly keeping their children home from school or forbidding them from going to mosque for fear that they might be handed a DVD or SIM card containing propaganda or information linking to Al Qaeda. Just the mere possession of Al Qaeda propaganda or an accidental run-in with a suspected militant is enough, locals believe, to be deemed a legitimate target for the drones. 'We don't know who is with Al Qaeda,' says Oum Saeed, a middle-aged mother of ten, 'but the drones know.'"
'Bob Carr was right to start a debate on the influence of the Zionist lobby' (Antony Loewenstein, The Guardian)
"Carr explains, in compelling detail, how Melbourne's Zionist lobby pressures, romances, bullies and cajoles politicians to tow the most fundamentalist position over illegal Israeli colonies, Palestinian recognition at the UN, and even the language used to describe Israeli actions. He also claims that Israel lobby financing impacted the positions of elected politicians on foreign policy. Carr reports former Kevin Rudd telling him that about one-fifth of the money he had raised in the 2007 election campaign had come from the Jewish community, and criticises Julia Gillard's unfailing pro-Israel stance (see, for example, her effusive praise of the Jewish state after she received the Jerusalem Prize), pointing out that she would not even let him criticise Israeli West Bank settlements.
'It's an appalling situation if Australia allows a group of [Jewish] businessmen [in Melbourne] to veto policy on the Middle East', Carr summarises in frustration (unsurprisingly, local Zionist groups have responded with fury and defensiveness to the attack)."
-- Mary Casey
MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images