Catholic bishops are warning that if the Bashar al-Assad (left) regime in Syria falls to Islamists, there may well be a mass genocide of Christians, such as seen in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Though Christians cannot support the brutality of the Assad dictatorship, few believe that rule by Muslim extremists will be any better.
On the morning of January 11, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a 32-year-old chemist from Sharif University in Tehran, was riding in a Peugeot 405 along Shahid Golnabi Street in eastern Tehran. As his car inched through the morning rush-hour traffic, two men on motorcycles approached Roshan’s vehicle, attached a magnetic bomb to the side of the car, and raced off just before the Peugeot and its prominent passenger were blown to bits. Roshan — who was also deputy director for commercial affairs at Iran’s Natanz nuclear reactor — had just become the latest victim of an apparent covert campaign of assassination targeting high-profile Iranian scientists allegedly involved in the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear program.
The governments of China and Russia blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad to hand over power, sparking outrage among Western and Arab leaders supposedly concerned about a bloody conflict that has already claimed thousands of lives. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to the UN vetoes by vowing to redouble the Obama administration’s efforts to take down the regime.
Textbooks provided by the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) to Palestinian schools have been found to contain strongly anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiments. Experts testified on the content of the textbooks last Wednesday on Capitol Hill, prompting some to once again call into question the United States’ financial support of the UN.
In response to rising citizen demand for government transparency and efficiency, this year China plans to defog the secretive workings of the government and ruling Communist Party, a senior official said Wednesday. "In this new year, we will adopt an even more open attitude and even more forceful policies," asserted Wang Chen, a Chinese propaganda official.
An explosive report published late last week by the magazine Foreign Policy, citing half-a-dozen current and former U.S. intelligence officers, claimed that spies with Israel’s Mossad agency were posing as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents to recruit terrorists for a covert war against Iran. An Israeli official, however, dismissed the allegations as “nonsense.”
As Iraq flexes its muscle following the departure of U.S. troops, and as Iran continues to challenge the “international community” relative to its nuclear program, the civil unrest in yet another Middle Eastern country is reaching critical mass and threatens a call for more “Western intervention” in the region.
Iranian officials are accusing the U.S. and Israeli governments of assassinating another senior nuclear scientist in Tehran, using a car-bomb terrorist attack as part of the expanding covert war against Iran. American authorities denied the allegations and condemned the violence, but a spokesman for the Israeli military left room for speculation.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a television audience January 8 that while Iran may be laying the groundwork for nuclear weapons, it is not yet far enough in the process to build any yet. Appearing on a pre-recorded segment of the CBS program Face the Nation, “Panetta cautioned against a unilateral strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, saying the action could trigger Iranian retaliation against U.S. forces in the region,” reported the Associated Press.
China has been hit once more by a food safety crisis, as officials in that country attempt to assure its own people, as well as consumers in the United States and elsewhere, that its products are safe. The Chinese government’s official Xinhua press agency reported on December 30 that food safety inspectors in the southern city of Shenzhen had discovered carcinogenic mildew in peanuts and cooking oil at some markets and restaurants.
Hysteria over Iran’s alleged nuclear-weapons program has been steadily rising among some U.S. and Israeli officials. But Tamir Pardo (left), the chief of Israel’s intelligence service known as the Mossad, said last week that a nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranian government would not necessarily pose an “existential threat” to the Jewish state.