Top Stories from the Development and Aid Workers News Service–DAWNS Digest.
An Actual Deal To End the Bloodshed in Syria?
For weeks, the Arab League has been working in a plan to stop the violence and bloodshed in Syria. It sounded good, the only problem being that Bashar al-Assad had so far refused to agree to it. Well, it would appear that the Syrian leader has had a change of heart. On Wednesday night the Syrian government accepted the proposal–at least on paper.Only 24 hours later, tanks were still on the streets, killing at least 6 protesters in Homs. “The plan, brokered by the Arab League, requires Syria’s embattled president Bashar al-Assad to immediately withdraw his security forces from the nation’s cities, allow foreign and domestic media unfettered access to the country and free political prisoners, said Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar. The deal represents the first significant signal that President Assad’s regime is prepared to compromise to end a standoff between his government and protesters that has left more than 3,000 Syrians dead. Members of Syria’s opposition, who have been cynical of Mr. Assad’s commitment to any negotiated resolution, cautiously greeted the deal, which calls for the Syrian regime to begin talks with the opposition within two weeks.” (WSJ on the Arab League Plan: http://on.wsj.com/vZdd0T Bloomberg on the most recent violence: http://buswk.co/ucXptd)
What’s With All This Chatter About A Possible Israeli Air Strike Against Iran?
Reports in Israeli, American and British press indicate that top Israeli officials are seriously considering launching an air strike against nuclear targets in Iran. “Citing a senior Israeli official, Haaretz writes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are ‘trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action.’ They recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to back such action, a reversal of his position. Following up, the Associated Press has a similar report, noting it comes as Israel announced it had tested a long-range missile that would be capable of reaching Iran. But AP adds that it ‘remained unclear whether Israel was genuinely poised to strike or if it was saber-rattling to prod the international community into taking a tougher line on Iran.’ In London, the Guardian, citing military and political officials, reports that British forces ‘are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program.’” (USA Today http://usat.ly/sOhVcx)
ICC Prosecutor Says the Late Gaddafi and his Spy Chief Ordered Sexual Violence Against Rebel Supporters
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court briefed the Security Council on his investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Libya. It would seem that the war crime rape will be added to the list of sins for which wanted Libyan war criminals will charged. ”’The prosecution has collected some evidence showing that commanders gave orders to commit rape in the western mountains area, and is screening possible witnesses that indicated that Moammar Gadhafi, al-Senussi and other high officials were discussing the use of rape to persecute those considered dissidents or rebels,’” he said. Gadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam, and al-Senussi were named along with Gadhafi in arrest warrants the court issued in June for attacks against unarmed civilians Benghazi, Tripoli, and other parts of Libya in February. The court at the time concluded that there were ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe that Gadhafi and his son were “indirect co-perpetrators of the crimes against humanity and persecution,” and that al-Senussi was ‘responsible as a direct perpetrator.’” (AP http://bit.ly/sa3jgN)