Second Jerusalem Attack in 24 Hours
Vol: 4 Issue: 28 Monday, January 28, 2002
Second Jerusalem Attack in 24 Hours
A second Arab suicide attacker used a stolen car instead of a bomb or a gun to run down two Israelis in Jerusalem before being shot to death by police. The man was not armed. The attack comes one day after a suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem that killed two and wounded more than one hundred. The Jerusalem bombing marked the first time the Palestinians have used a woman in a suicide attack. Hezbollah claimed the bomber was Shinaz Amuri, a female student at Al-Najah University in the West Bank town of Nablus. In a twist on irony, one of the victims, American Mark Sokoloff, was a survivor who was in the South Tower of the WTC on September 11. Sokoloff suffered only minor injuries.
Congress Says Egypt Lying
Congress is demanding that Egypt explain U.S. intelligence reports that North Korea has supplied Cairo with medium-range ballistic missiles. The issue was raised by several congressional delegations that have toured the Middle East over the last week. Egypt has denied missile cooperation with Pyongyang. The report was said to have asserted that the regime of President Hosni Mubarak was lying. Mubarak is expected to visit Washington in April to discuss bilateral relations with President Bush.
Prison Term Given Bible Smuggler
A Hong Kong businessman accused of smuggling thousands of bibles into China has been sentenced to two years in prison. Li Guangqiang had been accused of spreading “an evil cult” – a crime that can carry the death penalty. Earlier this month, China downgraded the charge to ‘illegal trading’ after President Bush expressed concerns over the charges. President Bush is due to visit Beijing next month. China wants to draw attention away from the fact it still engages in religious repression, particularly against China’s Christian minority. The US State Department demanded that Beijing meet the standards on freedom of religious expression laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Li was arrested last May as he delivered 16,000 bibles to a banned evangelical group in south-eastern China.
US Says Detainees Not POWS
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the US would NOT extend POW status to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. US authorities insist the detainees are being treated humanely in spite of international criticism of the camp. If POW status were to be extended to the al-Qaeda captives, they would have to be charged or repatriated at the end of a conflict, and they are expected to give only their name, rank and serial number when questioned. Since they have no rank or serial number, serve no nation and have no legal status, the US says they are simply ‘illegal combatants’.
Iran, Iraq To Bury The Hatchet
Iran and Iraq fought an eight year war in the 1980’s that has been over now for thirteen years. But the bitterness between the two nations is so deep that both sides still hold each others prisoners of war, all these years later. The two countries are beginning to work out their differences as both find themselves on the short list of US targets in the war on terror. The Arab states are all beginning to set aside their differences as the probability of a regional war in the Middle East increases.
After talks in Tehran, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri and his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, spoke of their willingness to leave behind the legacy of the conflict. “Iran is seriously seeking to close this chapter which has lasted long years,” Iran’s official news agency IRNA quoted Foreign Minister Kharrazi as telling Mr Sabri. Sabri “reiterated that his country would do its utmost to do away with the bitter record of the past relations between the two countries,” IRNA said. The war between the two countries left almost one million dead.
Saudis Want Their Nationals
Saudi Arabia is quietly attempting to negotiate the release of its nationals being held at Guantanamo Bay by the US. The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef as saying the kingdom hoped “there would be cooperation between the Saudi and American authorities” over the prisoners.
Almost all the hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi nationals. Osama bin-Laden is a Saudi. Saudi Arabia is both birthplace and spiritual headquarters of the Wahabi form of Islam practiced by al-Qaeda.
Should the US hand over the Saudi prisoners to Riyadh or would that be like turning Palestinian suspects over to Arafat? Well, when asked what would happen to the prisoners if the United States were to hand them over to the kingdom, Nayef said: “We will not be satisfied with the [US] investigation conducted [against] them. We will question them ourselves to find the facts and then we will act accordingly.”
China Opposes Widening War
Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen met with his Iraqi counterpart this week to pledge solidarity, saying China does not support the expansion of military action in the war on terrorism, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Aziz, who arrived in China on Sunday after a trip to Russia where he sought support in Iraq’s confrontation with the United States, called on China for help in resolving Iraq’s problems. Aziz said he hoped China would “play a more active role in settling the Iraqi issue in a just and rational way,” Xinhua said. Qian said China “sympathized deeply with the Iraqi suffering caused by the long standing sanctions.”
Arabs Threaten US Interests
The Saudis are behind an Arab plan to send a strongly worded message to the United States that its interests in the Arab world are at risk if it does not stop Israeli attacks on Palestinians. The Arabic-language al-Watan quoted what it described as a high-ranking Jordanian source as saying that King Abdullah of Jordan will deliver the message to President Bush when he visits Washington this week.
“It will be an Arab message, particularly a Saudi one, that U.S. interests and relations with the Arab states will be in danger if Washington did not try to end Israel’s terrorist policy in the region,” the paper quoted the Jordanian source as saying. It said that in their talks in Riyadh, the Jordanian and Saudi leaders agreed on the need to exert joint efforts to “end the suffering of the Palestinian people and lift a siege imposed by Israel on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.”