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« U.S., Iraqi Police partnership comes to an end with final graduation from Criminal Justice Center in Baghdad | Main | RIP SGT Mycal L. Prince »
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Middle East News 16 September 2011
In Libya, anti-Gadhafi forces stormed the desert town of Bani Walid early Friday.
Palestine still pursuing full statehood within the UN.
In Hama,  at least 15 more Syrian civilians are murdered and the UN calls for a coherent global response.Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Friday, saying the era of oppressive dictators is over.
In a Baghdad  meeting, Iraq's officials say they are making intense efforts to facilitate the release of two American hikers.
Details after the break.
Forces of Libya's interim government are fighting their way through former leader Moammar Gadhafi's remaining strongholds as more world leaders express support for the country's interim government.
Transitional government forces stormed the desert town of Bani Walid early Friday, engaging in heavy fire with Gadhafi loyalists. Reports say interim government forces were retreating from the city center due to intense sniper fire.
The National Transitional Council fighters also faced fierce resistance from Gadhafi loyalists in the former leader's hometown, Sirte. Witnesses said NATO planes flew over Sirte as rapid gunfire and the explosion of heavy rockets filled the coastal Mediterranean town with smoke.
Friday's battles marked an expansion of the National Transitional Council's offensive against the few remaining pro-Gadhafi strongholds.
As revolutionary forces made advances on Gadhafi loyalists, the United Nations voted to turn over Libya's seat in the General Assembly to the country's National Transitional Council. The resolution was approved by a vote of 114 in favor, 17 against, with 15 abstentions and gives the NTC the opportunity to choose an ambassador before next week's UNGA meeting.
Palestinians vowed Thursday to seek full membership at the United Nations next week, despite Israeli and U.S. objections, but left open the possibility of a resumption of Mideast peace talks.

Palestinians say their president, Mahmoud Abbas, will address the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, and also will ask the Security Council to recognize Palestine as an independent state - a necessary condition for full U.N. membership. The Obama administration has promised to veto such a resolution.

In announcing their position Thursday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki said he was not closing the door on the possible resumption of peace talks.

“We have decided to submit our application for full [U.N.] membership," said al-Maliki. "At the same time, we have said that, until then, we are open to any kind [of] suggestions, ideas that could really come from any side for the renewal of negotiations.”
Syrian security forces have shot and killed at least 15 people as they conducted raids and fired on protesters who flooded streets after Friday prayers.
Syrian activists say most of the killings took place in the northwestern region of Jabal al-Zawiya, in the southern province of Deraa and the central province of Hama, where at least five people were killed.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says security forces also killed two people in the central city of Homs as crowds of protesters clashed with Syrian forces.
The violence follows United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call for a “coherent” international response to Syria's violent crackdown against dissent, as the uprisings entered their seventh month.
Mr. Ban Thursday accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of “escalating violence and repression” and ignoring appeals to stop state-sponsored violence. The U.N. chief said “enough is enough” regarding Mr. Assad's broken promises of reform.
Also Thursday, Syrian opposition activists announced in Istanbul, Turkey, the formation of a council to present a united front against Mr. Assad. They said the council includes 140 members with half of them living in Syria.
The United States expressed its support, but noted the need for coordination as the group faces many challenges.
U.S. officials urged Americans to immediately leave Syria on Thursday, repeating their warning issued last month. Since then, Washington has imposed additional sanctions on the Syrian government.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Friday, saying the era of oppressive dictators is over.
Mr. Erdogan is in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, Friday as he completes a tour of North African countries. He told a crowd of cheering Libyans that they have set an example by ending the four-decade-long rule of Moammar Gadhafi.
The Turkish prime minister has repeatedly criticized Mr. Assad for his bloody crackdown on protesters across the country that have left more than 2,00 people dead. On Tuesday in Cairo, Mr. Erdogan said he no longer believes in Assad, and neither do the Syrian people.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has stepped in to help secure the release of two American hikers jailed in Iran.

At a meeting of U.S. and Iraqi officials in Baghdad on Thursday, Iraq's foreign minister said his government is making intensive efforts to help free Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.  The two Americans were arrested on the Iran-Iraq border area in mid-2009 and convicted of spying in Iran.

The Thursday edition of the Iranian Sharq daily newspaper quoted Kurdish Iraqi envoy Nazem Dabbagh as saying Mr. Talabani intervened after a request from the hikers' family.  He added the men will be turned over to the Swiss embassy in Tehran next week.

Oman has also sent an official to Iran to help secure the hikers' release.  Oman negotiated the release of the third American hiker, Sarah Shourd, who was released a year ago in Tehran.

The Associated Press reported that an Omani plane is in Tehran ready to ferry the men out if they are released.
All content based on VOA News reports.
Posted by tankerbrosbrat on Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 03:27 in Iran, Iraq News - Daily Report , Libya, Syria, Turkey | Permalink
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