Top stories from DAWNS Digest.
USA Agrees to Let Yemen’s Feared and Loathed President Visit for Medical Treatment
The Obama administration has agreed “in principal” to let Yemen’s embattled President visit the United States to receive medical treatment. Is this part of President Saleh’s long promised graceful exit? And after the treatment, will the USA simply send him back to Sanaa? What about all the protesters he’s killed? There are many unanswered questions. “The decision of whether to admit Yemen’s longtime leader has stirred a vigorous debate within the administration, with some officials fearing sharp criticism for appearing to provide a safe haven for a reviled Arab figure accused of responsibility for the death of hundreds of antigovernment protesters. The complex negotiations over Mr. Saleh’s visa request attest to the high stakes for the administration, which urgently wants to secure room for political progress in Yemen but does not want to allow Mr. Saleh to use a medical visit as a way to shore up his political position. Nor do they want to play into Mr. Saleh’s penchant for keeping people off kilter.” (NYT http://nyti.ms/sUBCA9)
Arab League Monitors Finally Touch Ground in Syria, To Little Avail
At least 30 people were killed by tank fire in Homs, even as the first wave of Arab League monitors arrived in Syria and made their way to Homs. “Fifty monitors and 10 other officials from the Arab League arrived from Egypt on a private plane, the first international intervention on the ground to end nine months of violence between government troops and opponents of Assad. Some monitors are due on Tuesday to visit Homs, scene of the worst violence, where there has been no sign of Assad carrying out a plan agreed with the Arab League to halt his offensive. Amateur video posted on the Internet by activists showed tanks in the streets in the Baba Amr district. One fired its main gun and another appeared to launch bombs from a mortar. Mangled bodies lay in pools of blood on a narrow street, the video showed. Power lines had collapsed and cars were burnt and blasted, as if shelled by tank or mortar rounds.” (Reuters http://reut.rs/tIDv0Q)
Dust Still Settling from Christmas Day Bombings in Nigeria
The death toll from Boko Haram’s Christmas Day bombing attacks is reaching 40. These kinds of attacks are unfortunately becoming more and more common. In August, 21 people were killed when the UN headquarters was bombed in Abuja; in November, an assault on police barracks and other targets in Damaturu killed 100; and there have been numerous hit and run style attacks over the past several months. The people are getting fed up. “Critics said that his government had failed to act strongly enough and that he showed complacency in also saying that ‘the issue of bombing is one of the burdens we must live with. …It will not last forever…’ A small number of demonstrators from Christian groups gathered in Abuja on Monday to protest what they called the government’s inadequate response to the violence, and Nigerian news websites carried many comments from Nigerians who said they found Mr. Jonathan’s remarks and response inadequate. “This is clearly a failure of leadership at a time the government needs to assure the people of the capacity to guarantee the safety of lives and property,’ said Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s military ruler from 1983 to 1985, in remarks cited by the newspaper Punch. A spokesman for Mr. Buhari, who was also one of Mr. Jonathan’s opponents in presidential elections earlier this year, didn’t respond to a request for comment.” (WSJ http://on.wsj.com/tIHzdR)