S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Europe: radical extremists update

The United States and Europe have been targeted by terrorists. In many ways the fates of our peoples are tied together. And until very recently diplomatic relations have not been nurtured in the most meaningful ways. This post is one of my regular efforts to bring the latest European perspectives to the readers of South by Southwest.

Tit for Tat? Tensions between Iran and the West continue to escalate. Iran's president is not coming to the UN, as that body considers further sanctions. And UK and Iranian soldiers went head to head in the Persian Gulf. The Financial Times published this (3/23/07) story with the headline, "Diplomatic crisis over UK marines held by Iran." To quote,
Britain on Friday demanded that Iran immediately release 15 British sailors and marines who were seized while searching a merchant ship in the approaches to the Shatt al-Arab waterway that divides Iraq and Iran.
. . . The sailors were seized as the United Nations’ Security Council was preparing to vote on a resolution to tighten sanctions against Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons programme.
. . . Diplomats were concerned that Iran had seized the British patrol in retaliation for the detention of five Iranian officials by US forces in northern Iraq in January. . . The UK defence ministry insisted the sailors were on a routine patrol inside Iraqi waters.

Great Britain joined by Germany - which, as President of the EU, also demanded the prisoners' release, according to Deutche Welle.

UK train bombing cell may have been wider - The 2005 London subway bombing cell may not have been confined to those suicide bombers who died that awful day. The BBC News carried a story(3/23/07) headlined, "More time to quiz 7 July suspects." To quote,
Detectives have been given a further six days to question three men arrested over the 7 July London bombings.
All three are being held at Paddington Green police station in London. Suicide attackers killed 52 people on three London trains and a bus in 2005.

The bombing story back then - My 2005 post at S/SW - about the bombing - was titled, "Holding on to hope for the Brits and for US."
Journalist's kidnapping in Palestine - As my recent post on Richard Engel made clear, it is still very dangerous to be a journalist in many parts of the Middle East. A British journalist was abducted in Palestine March 12. A BBC News (3/23/07) headline read, "'All efforts' in hunt for BBC man." Quoting from the story,
Every possible effort is being made to secure the release of BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston, a Palestinian presidential aide has said. Mr Johnston disappeared on 12 March and is thought to have been abducted. Palestinian journalists, legislators and Gaza residents held more protests on Thursday to call for his release.
Mr Johnston disappeared on 12 March and is thought to have been abducted.
Palestinian journalists, legislators and Gaza residents held more protests on Thursday to call for his release.

What can we do about the troubles in Palestine? Peter Philippe writes a related opinion piece for (3/22/07) Deutche Welle headlined, "US, EU Helpless in Face of Hamas-Fatah Government."

Is it ever OK to negotiate with terrorists? The Financial Times (3/21/07) carried this follow-up story headlined, "Afghan prisoner exchange damages Prodi." To quote from the piece,
Romano Prodi, Italian prime minister, came under attack again on Wednesday over his government's stance on the Afghan conflict, four weeks after his centre-left coalition nearly collapsed when it lost a parliamentary vote on foreign policy.
Opposition deputies criticised the government for arranging with the Afghan government to free five Taliban prisoners in exchange for an Italian journalist who was kidnapped in southern Afghanistan on March 5.

Possible fall-out: An excellent (3/24/07) story in the Dubai Khaleej Times carried the headline, "Afghan journalists under threat in the south." This is a follow-up about the possible consequences of the Italian deal.

Muslims will protest this verdict - This news will not improve the strained relations between Muslim and French citizens. From the BBC News (3/22/07) comes this headline, "French cartoons editor acquitted." Quoting from the story's intro,
The editor of a satirical French magazine accused of insulting Muslims by reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad has been acquitted.
A French court has ruled in favour of weekly Charlie Hebdo, rejecting accusations by Islamic groups who said it incited hatred against Muslims.
. . . The cartoons, including one of the Prophet Muhammad with a headdress in the form of a bomb, triggered riots in some Muslim countries.

A heavy price for protest - In the BBC News there is an earlier report that in the United Kingdom "A man protesting against cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad has been found guilty of soliciting murder." It is unfortunate that the "struggle" (the arabic word is "jihad") has become known as GWOT, to use the parlance of the administration. But it is also understandable that these news stories could be subsumed under the name Global War on Terror. The EU and US are arm and arm in the struggle around this smaller and smaller planet. Technorati tags:

Read my "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger.


betmo said...

i don't condone terrorism of any kind- western or eastern. did the iranian government take responsibility? haven't looked at the news yet- i would want confirmation because i don't trust our own governments not to push the envelope towards war with iran. i am tired of the whole mess. we need to find alternative fuels so that we don't have to depend on their oil. without their oil money- there would be less funding for terrorism.

Vigilante said...

Well said, Betmo. This incident is just one more 'tick' in the ticking time bomb the world has had to endure since Bush and Blair illegally invaded and occupied Iraq.