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What if al Qaeda Gets Syrian Chemical Weapons?

A bus used as barricade from sniper fire is seen beside a mosque at Sheikh Maksoud front line in Aleppo, May 3, 2013 (photo)

Aleppo war torn city

May 7.─ Even in light of recent evidence that Syria's embattled ruler, Bashar al-Assad, might have used nerve gas against his own people, Barack Obama seems reluctant to escalate American involvement in Syria's brutal civil war. But another scenario involving chemical weapons could force Obama into the deeper engagement he has long resisted: the alarming prospect that radical Islamists could acquire Syrian chemical weapons and try to use them beyond Syria's borders, perhaps even within the United States.

"I think we should be worried," says Jeffrey White an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and former military intelligence officer. "As the war progresses and the rebels gain territory, assuming they do, inevitably they're going to close in on some of the regime's chemical facilities." In fact, that has already happened. Earlier this year, rebel fighters with the powerful Jabat al Nusra faction–a group the State Department calls an extension of al Qaeda in Iraq–battled close enough to a major Syrian chemical stockpile near Aleppo that the regime is believed to have relocated its weapons to another location.

In theory, this is a nightmare scenario. Read more ...

Guatemala Imposes State of Siege in Eastern Towns

  • Gerardo E. Martínez-Solanas
  • Category: Headlines
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President Otto Pérez Molina Guatemala City, May 5.─ President Otto Perez Molina (photo) imposed a state of siege on four municipalities in the eastern part of the country following the abduction of 23 police officers and the killing of another cop, the Guatemalan government said Thursday.

The measure allows authorities to restrict mobility and public gatherings for the next 30 days in San Rafael Las Flores and Castillas, Santa Rosa province; and Xelajpan and Maraquescuintla, Jalapa.

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Ecuador's Correa: A continued assault on freedom

  • Otto J. Reich & Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger
  • Category: Headlines
  • Hits: 870

May 5.─ International media and human-rights organizations have condemned the fiery leftwing leader of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, for conducting a comprehensive and ruthless assault on the news media.

After his reelection in February, and following the death in March of his ally Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Correa has deepened his efforts to eliminate Ecuador's remaining legal rights. He has manipulated the nation's court system to bully, silence and persecute opponents. His victims include journalists, civic and labor leaders, opposition politicians and businessmen who dare to criticize his abuses or to investigate corruption scandals.

To undermine constitutional separation of powers, Correa called a referendum in 2011 to "restructure" the Supreme Court, after which he appointed 21 new justices, most of whom had direct ties to him or his cabinet.

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Barack Obama warns Syria chemical arms a 'game changer'

  • The US, Britain, Israel and others have been collecting evidence proving that chemical weapons have been used in Syria
  • US President Barack Obama has vowed a "vigorous investigation" into reports Syria has used chemical weapons, warning they will be a "game changer" for US policy if proven true  Syrian flees from chemical weapons bomb

Apr.26 (BBC).─ Both the US and UK have pointed to emerging evidence that Syria has used weapons such as the nerve gas sarin.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron earlier told the BBC it appeared a war crime was being committed by Syria.

Syrian officials have denounced the allegations as "lies".

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Rebel Kurds to pull out of Turkey

  • PKK militants wind down decades-long insurgency
  • Kurds comprise about 20% of the population in Turkey
  • Treaty of Sèvres recognized Kurdistan autonomy in the aftermath of World War I, but Turkey suppressed them in 1925  


Kurdistán according to the Treaty of Sèvres

Ankara, Apr.25.─ Kurdish rebels will start withdrawing thousands of guerrilla fighters from Turkey on May 8 and retreat across the border to northern Iraq, a rebel commander said Thursday, in an important milestone toward ending a near three-decade insurgency that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

In a news conference held in northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) commander Murat Karayilan said the extraction would be gradual, and warned it would come to an immediate stop should the rebels be attacked as they leave Turkey.

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