U.S. troops in Afghanistan may soon find themselves squeezed in a new political power play in Kabul. Gulbadin Hekmatyar, leader of the radical Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA), is being invited by President Hamid Karzai (almost certainly under U.S. State Department pressure) to end his long insurgency and join the Afghan government.
Chinese officials announced on May 26 that owing to the massive devastation caused by the May 12 earthquake, the communist regime’s harsh family planning policy of only one child per family would allow exemptions for those parents whose only child was killed or severely injured by the quake.
The escalating violence by Mexico’s various drug cartels has taken a heavy toll on Mexico’s police forces in recent months, with the month of May proving especially brutal. At least four high-ranking police officials were gunned down in May, along with many other police and soldiers. “Drug cartels are sending a brutal message to police and soldiers in cities across Mexico: Join us or die,” reported the Associated Press on May 19.
On the last day of April, according to a CNN report, Iran’s government confirmed that it has begun selling its oil in euros and in yen, something it has long threatened to do. After a failed attempt during last year’s summit of OPEC leaders to persuade the cartel to begin selling its oil for currencies other than the dollar, at which Iranian President Ahmadinejad called the falling U.S. dollar a “worthless piece of paper,” Iran has begun unilaterally selling its oil for currencies that, of late, have been far stronger internationally than the dollar.
On April 18, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi — who is in Japan as an advance man for Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit in May — that the unrest in Tibet has become an international issue. The Beijing government maintains that the ongoing protests and suppression of freedom in Tibet are a domestic matter.