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Analysis: U.S. missile strike possibly, Syria prepares

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Eli Ridder | The Avro Post

A United States missile strike on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons on the former rebel enclave in Douma could occur in the coming days after U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed Washington’s intentions on Wednesday.

Mr. Trump tweeted a warning that U.S. missiles were incoming in response to a Russian envoy saying Moscow would stop any U.S. strikes and possibly hit back at the source of the rockets.

A complication of reports say there has been abnormal U.S. and French military movements as Syrian government and allied Hezbollah forces work to clear airbases.

Mr. Trump and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron vowed a strong response after a phone call earlier a this week.

Airlines that fly over Syria have been rerouted and Israel’s defence forces are on alert for possible military action in the region, according to reports.

U.S. defence secretary James Mattis said the Pentagon is “ready” to provide military options in regards to Syria.


More details to follow. Image of U.S. Air Force in desert from the Associated Press.  ■

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Middle East

Israeli settlements in West Bank no longer illegal, says U.S.

The shift created backlash.

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The United States on Monday shifted its longtime policy stance and stated that they no longer view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as inconsistent with international law, a move welcomed by the Israeli government but condemned by Palestinian leaders.

Settlements are communities established by Israel on land occupied during a war in 1967 over the Middle East and have for many years been part of the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

“After carefully studying all sides of the legal debate … the United States has concluded that the establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not, per se, inconsistent with international law,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the U.S. decision was a risk to “global stability, security, and peace” and said it threatened to replace international law with “the law of the jungle”, according to the BBC.

U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the whole city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017 and moved the United States Embassy to the city later on.

Jerusalem’s many holy sites are significant to the major religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity with the city being claimed by both the Jew-majority Israel and the Islam-majority Palestinian territories.  ■

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Several dead in Afghan mosque bombing

Blast kills Afghan National Army soldiers.

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Eli Ridder | Report

Varying reports say between 10 and 25 people have been killed and several more injured after a blast struck inside a mosque on Friday in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province.

The explosion appeared to target soldiers belonging to the 2nd regiment of the Afghan National Army as they held afternoon prayers inside a military base.

The blast happened around 1:30 p.m. local time, Captain Abdullah, a spokesman for the 2nd Regiment of Army in Mandozai district in Khost, told Tolo News.


More details to follow. Image of Afghan National Army from Wikimedia. ■

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Diplomatic, trade tensions flare between Canada, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia reacted to a statement by Canada on human rights issues.

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Eli Ridder | Report

The Canadian envoy to Saudi Arabia has been given 24 hours to leave the country, and the Saudi ambassador has been recalled, according to a Sunday report by the Saudi Press Agency, and froze all new trade and investment deals with Canada.

It comes after Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted her support for the sister of a jailed blogger who was arrested by Saudi authorities last week.

In a statement issued by the Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry, Riyadh slams as “totally false” allegations by the Canadian authorities that recent arrests of several activists were unwarranted.

It says the arrests were made by “the competent authorities” and the detainees were provided with all the rights guaranteed during investigative and trail stages.

The ministry denounces Canada’s stance as “explicit interference in the internal affairs” of the kingdom that runs “contrary to the most basic international norms and charters that govern relations between countries, as well as “negative and surprising.”

Besides putting on hold “all new trade and investment transactions with Canada,” the ministry said that the ultra-conservative kingdom, that has drawn stark criticism from human righst group for its crackdown on dissent, “retains the right to take further action.”


 

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