Pakistan Observer

International

Cuba, US catching a glimpse of possible future

ALL Cubans, on either side of the Florida Straits, but also in places like Spain, France or Greenland – where there must be a couple of Cubans – as well felt it was a historic moment that included each and every one of us, when U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Dec. 17 the normalization of relations after half a century of hostility. The hostile policy first adopted by President Eisenhower (1953/61) was followed with only slight variations by Republican and Democratic administrations The hostile policy first adopted by President Eisenhower (1953/61) was followed with only slight variations by Republican and Democratic administrations ... Thursday, January 29, 2015 Details

Thailand warns US not to meddle in her political affairs

Bangkok—Thailand warned the United States against meddling in its political affairs on Wednesday, saying many Thais had been hurt by the remarks of a visiting U.S. envoy who took a swipe at the ruling military junta’s undemocratic practices. Thailand, a long-time U.S. ally, remains under martial law following a coup last May, and the junta says a general election is at least a year away. Relations between the two sides have deteriorated sharply since the coup, with Washington freezing aid and cancelling some security engagements. ... Thursday, January 29, 2015 Details

Hizbollah claims rocket firing on Israel

Jerusalem—The Lebanese Hezbollah group claimed responsibility for firing a missile that targeted an Israeli military convoy on Wednesday, an attack that prompted Israel to fire at least 50 artillery shells into Lebanon in a significant escalation along the volatile border. In a statement, Hezbollah said its fighters destroyed a number of Israeli vehicles that were carrying Israeli officers and soldiers and caused casualties among “enemy ranks.” It said the attack was carried out by a group calling itself the “heroic martyrs of Quneitra,” - suggesting it was retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on the Golan Heights on Jan. 18 that killed six-Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general. ... Thursday, January 29, 2015 Details

Palestinians protest Israeli suppression

Jerusalem—Israel’s large Arab minority closed shops and schools from the northern Galilee to the southern Negev desert on Tuesday as part of a day-long strike to protest against the death of two Arab men in incidents involving Israeli police. Sami al-Jaar, 20, was shot dead by officers during a drugs raid which triggered protests in the southern town of Rahat on Thursday. Police have not said why Jaar, who was unarmed, was shot, other than that he took part in “riots”. “Police were in danger and they opened fire,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. ... Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Details

The Battle for Central Europe

AFTER most Central European states joined the EU and NATO, it seemed that the last page of Cold War history had been turned. But reports of the death of conflict in the region turned out to have been greatly exaggerated. Russia is on the move again, aiming to show the world that NATO has feet of clay, that the EU is a geopolitical weak sister and the transatlantic alliance a myth. The US might be slowly waking up to the challenge of Vladimir Putin’s evermore expansionist Russia, but it still considers the issue a “regional” problem. The Kremlin’s objective is not to send tanks into Tallinn, however, but to compromise the White House. ... Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Details

IS sows seeds of despair in ‘wheat season’

Baghdad—As the season for wheat planting in Iraq wound down early last month, farmers in areas under the control of Sunni militant group Islamic State grew worried. More than two dozen farmers told Reuters they had not planted the normal amount of seed, because they could not access their land, did not have the proper fertilizers or adequate fuel, or because they had no guarantees that Islamic State would buy their crop as Baghdad normally does. ... Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Details

Will Paris attacks change France’s view on Israel, Palestinians?

NOW will come the test whether, as some said, last week’s attacks in France truly constituted that country’s 9/11 moment. The world leaders have gone, the millions of marchers have dispersed, the speeches are done, the streets have been cleaned, the victims buried. Now will come the test whether, as some said, last week’s attacks in France truly constituted that country’s 9/11 moment. ... Monday, January 19, 2015 Details

Al Qaeda downs Syrian cargo plane, army says fog caused crash

Beirut—The Syrian wing of al Qaeda, the Nusra Front, said on Twitter on Sunday it had shot down an army cargo plane carrying food and ammunition overnight in the northwest of the country, but Syrian state television blamed the loss on bad weather. Reuters could not verify either account due to security and reporting restrictions in Syria. Syrian state television quoted a military source as saying the cargo plane crashed due to “weather conditions and heavy fog” on Saturday evening. The crew had died as the plane crashed while attempting to land at the Abu al-Duhur military airport in Idlib province. “Nusra Front downed a military cargo plane overnight above the Abu al-Duhur military airport,” the tweet said. ... Monday, January 19, 2015 Details

ICC probe into Israel’s Gaza invasion welcomed

Gaza—The Palestinian group Hamas said on Saturday it welcomed a decision by the International Criminal Court to launch an inquiry into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories. ... Monday, January 19, 2015 Details

Palestinians hurl shoes, eggs at Canadian FM convoy

Ramallah (West Bank)—Dozens of Palestinian protesters hurled eggs and shoes at the convoy of the visiting Canadian foreign minister Sunday in a show of defiance toward Canada’s perceived pro-Israel stance. ... Monday, January 19, 2015 Details

Pope appeals for suffering children at Manilla Mass

Manilla—Pope Francis said a huge open-air Mass for a rain-drenched crowd of millions in the Philippine capital on Sunday, after appealing to the world to “learn how to cry” over the plight of poor, hungry, homeless and abused children. ... Monday, January 19, 2015 Details

Challenges for European foreign policy in 2015

THE existing global order has been largely underwritten by the UnitedStates’ (US) military and strategic pre-eminence. Moreover, the US is likely to remain the only global power for the foreseeable future. Its closest global peer competitors, China a ... Thursday, January 15, 2015 Details

Ukraine bus attack kills 12 amid worsening airport battle

Kiev—A passenger bus came under heavy fire in eastern Ukraine, killing 12 people, Ukrainian authorities said, and fighting intensified around the international airport in the city of Donetsk as separatists tried to oust government forces. The latest violence flared on Tuesday after Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany scrapped plans for a summit in Kazakhstan this week because of the failure to implement a four-month-old ceasefire agreement. ... Thursday, January 15, 2015 Details

US section of space station evacuated to Russian side after alarm sounds

Moscow—The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) safely evacuated to the Russian segment on Wednesday after systems detected a possible ammonia leak in the U.S. side, but NASA said it might have been a false alarm. “It’s becoming a stronger case that this is a false indication, which is great news,” astronaut Jim Kelly from Mission Control in Houston radioed the space station crew shortly before 8:30 a.m. EST. Russia’s Mission Control Centre said there had been a leak of “harmful substances”, described by Russia’s Interfax news agency as ammonia. ... Thursday, January 15, 2015 Details

Italian president quits amid chaotic conditions for his premier

Rome—Italian President Giorgio Napolitano handed in his resignation as head of state on Wednesday, leaving Prime Minister Matteo Renzi with the politically delicate task of finding a successor. The 89-year-old Napolitano, widely respected outside Italy as a guarantor of stability during the euro zone crisis, had always been expected to step down before the end of his second term in office because of his advanced age. ... Thursday, January 15, 2015 Details