Since the September 11, 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists on the United States, and the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, vague invocations of “the Crusades” have gained a new relevance. Both sides of the conflict have sought to link the current series of wars to those of the Crusades — either by way of justifying or denouncing of their current course of action. History is one of the victims of the current conflict, as the much-maligned and ill-remembered Crusades have been recast time and again to serve various agendas.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) says it is “shameful” that NATO hasn’t acted to suppress the unrest in Syria. At an event sponsored by the Atlantic Council, McCain continued beating the war drum for American military intervention in yet another Middle Eastern civil conflict.
Billionaire Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer accused the CIA of funding environmental extremists seeking to cripple the island nation’s industry, saying during a press conference that the money was being routed through conduits such as the infamous Rockefeller Foundation. And the Australians involved in the alleged plot are essentially committing “treason,” Palmer declared.
The conflict in Nigeria between the government and Islamic terrorists has claimed its latest victims, with at least 10 people dead and five wounded. The growing problem of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria drew brief, worldwide attention when dozens were killed and at least 100 were injured in a series of Christmas Day attacks last year. The two most recent assaults once again targeted Christians, and raise questions about the ability of the government to successfully combat Islamist terrorism.
Between 15 and 20 American soldiers were involved in the March 11 massacre of civilians in Kandahar Province, according to a parliamentary probe of the killings, not merely one sergeant as has been widely reported for the past week. An investigative team of parliament members spent two days in the province, interviewing members of the victims' families and tribal elders and gathering evidence related to last Sunday's murders in which 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, were killed and their bodies set on fire. The attacks lasted one hour Sunday morning and were carried out by two groups of U.S. soldiers, the leader of the investigative team told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Many China watchers were stunned by the announcement of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on March 15 that prominent Party leader Bo Xilai had been removed from his post. For the past several years, Bo Xilai was a rising star in Communist China’s firmament. Many western observers have speculated that he would one day be China’s “paramount leader.”
The President of Afghanistan has called for U.S. troop presence his country to be limited to American military bases by 2013, insisting that the transition of control of the country to the Afghan military be moved up a year from the previously agreed to date. The announcement by President Hamid Karzai came only hours after President Obama had pledged to stick to the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. combat troops by 2014, the New York Times reported.
While the presidential candidates of both major American political parties are spending far less time on the troubled relationship between the United States and Mexico in this year’s election cycle than they did in 2008, a report from Proceso magazine indicates that the descent of America’s southern neighbor into utter chaos cannot be ignored forever. The Proceso exposé details the success of the “Los Zetas” cartel in infiltrating various levels of Mexico’s military, law enforcement, and other elements of the nation’s government, and it casts the future of that nation as a struggle between various cartels.
A journalist is arrested, convicted by a kangaroo court, and imprisoned because he reports stories embarrassing to the government under which he lives. After a great public outcry, the President of the country is preparing to pardon him when he receives a telephone call from the leader of a foreign country. That leader, also shamed by the journalist’s reporting, asks him to keep the man behind bars. The President complies; and an innocent man remains incarcerated for the crime of telling the truth.
Rather than merely calling Vladimir Putin on the telephone to congratulate him on his March 4 election victory for a new term as president of Russia, Silvio Berlusconi hopped in his jet and headed for Sochi, the Russian resort town that will be the site for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Italian billionaire and media mogul, who resigned his position as Italy’s prime minister last November, is embroiled in legal battles over charges of bribery, corruption, illegal wiretapping, and sex with an underage prostitute, but those concerns took back burner to his party time with Putin.