After military victories, last week the Syrian Kurdish Party announced the formation of a transitional government with the aim “to establish the self-rule of the region’s people and serve the region’s multi-ethnic communities.” Meanwhile, Iraq’s recent violence troubles members of the Yazidi religious minority in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The entry of hardened foreign jihadists into the Syrian war has intensified opposition infighting and sidelined activists; “in Aleppo now if you want to fight for the revolution you have three options: you can join Al Qaeda, you can be killed or imprisoned, or you can flee to Turkey,” says one. Meanwhile Human Rights Watch alleges widespread use of incendiary weapons by the Assad regime.
Following Tuesday’s suicide attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Alison Tahmizian Meuse writes that Hezbollah’s resolve will be strengthened in Syria. “We are fighting them over there so that these people won’t come here,” says one commander. Iran has placed blame for the attack on Israel, a claim Juan Cole calls silly but allows Iran “to avoid slamming Sunnis, the community from which the actual culprits hail.” Some analysts see the attack as an attempt to derail the possible US-Iran rapprochement hoped for in ongoing talks (via SWJ).
Reporters in Syria are being kidnapped at an unprecedented rate, imperiling immediate reporting on the war. Worried about the safety of freelancers, one paper is now declining to accept unsolicited work from photographers inside the country.
Jean-Philippe Remy reflects on the deaths of two French journalists killed in Mali by AQIM early this month.
The Central African Republic has reportedly urged the Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony to surrender. Envoy Francisco Madeira recently told the UN Security Council that military pressure on the group has “forced the LRA to try his time-tested tricks of buying time by duping the CAR authorities into ‘negotiations’ to purportedly allow Kony and his LRA to ‘surrender’ and re-settle in Nzako, CAR.” Warning of genocide fears France will expects UN permission to intervene in CAR along with the African Union; Mahir Zeynalov pithily terms the move as France seeking “its fourth war in just two years.” Fearing violence the majority of doctors and nurses have fled rural areas for the capital, threatening the availability of medical aid in most of the country.
The United States and Afghanistan agreed yesterday to a security pact, which still must be debated by a grand council. Afghan President Hamid Karzai apparently wishes to delay signing the troop deal until his successor is elected in April. The United States has additionally clarified that contrary to a remark made by Karzai’s spokesman it does not intend to apologize to Afghans for mistakes made during the war.
In Michoacan, Mexico, the bodies of 18 victims of cartel violence are dug up after the confessions of local police involved with the cartels.
Iran might find Israel a useful scapegoat (especially since Israel has at least been involved in assassinating Iranian scientists) but I wonder if some in the upper ranks actually believe that Israel was responsible for this.
True, but given the Iranian enmity for the Gulf states (the other obvious scapegoat, given their funding for Islamist anti-Assad forces operating in Syria) I suspect that many otherwise virulently anti-Israel Iranians see the allegation as a convenient fiction.