Monday, September 3, 2007

Nahr al-Bared battle comes to end

Army source: Battles in northern camp over

02/09/2007 Clashes in northern Lebanon are over and Lebanese army soldiers are currently searching for possible remaining militants in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, a military source told Al-Manar TV stattion. Lebanese troops were engaged in heavy fighting with Fatah al-Islam militants on Sunday after crushing their attempt to break the siege on their refugee camp redoubt. Two Lebanese army soldiers fell martyrs in the confrontations.

Fatah al-Islam fighters had launched a failed attempt to escape from the camp but many were killed, captured or wounded, an army spokesman said. The Lebanese army ambushed a group of militants trying to flee the camp and killed some 26 of them and arrested others, according to Reuters. Other media sources said that the Lebanese army had captured the leader of Fatah al-Islam Shaker al-Abssy while trying to sneak out of the camp. However the report could not be independently verified.

"The fighters attempted to escape from Nahr al-Bared but a large number of them were taken prisoner, killed or wounded," the spokesman, who did not want to be identified, said. "None of them managed to exit the camp and escape, as far as I know," he added. An army source said at around 4:00 am several militants from outside the camp attacked an army checkpoint on the eastern edge of Nahr al-Bared, aided by fighters from within the camp. The source said five of the Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam militants were killed and a major search operation was underway in nearby villages. He said the search by early morning was concentrated in the village of Ain al-Samak, located some five kilometers east of the camp. Dozens of armored personnel carriers, jeeps and car could be seen pouring into the area around the camp as military helicopters hovered overhead. Police strafed the entire area around the camp with machine guns.

Several ambulances were seen leaving the area, sirens blaring, with body bags inside. The army issued a statement appealing to residents of nearby villages to assist in the search for any militants who may have escaped from the camp. "We hope we can finish with this today," one officer at Nahr al-Bared said, referring to the deadly standoff between the army and the militants that began on May 20.

At least 200 people have died in the fighting, including 153 soldiers. On Saturday, troops seized the homes of the militant group's top leaders, Shaker al-Absi and Abu Hureira, who was killed in July by security forces. Abu Hureira was buried on Saturday in a "strangers'" cemetery in Tripoli. Residents of Abu Hureira's native village of Mishmish in northern Lebanon had refused to allow the family to inter him in the village cemetery. Several Lebanese soldiers killed by Fatah al-Islam are from Mishmish.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Taliban take 156 Pak soldiers hostage

Sun, 02 Sep 2007 09:12:11
Source: Agencies
Taliban captured over 156 Pak soldiers.

In the latest attack on Pakistani forces, 20 Taliban militants captured over 156 soldiers who surrendered tamely without even firing a shot.

A much graver crisis threatens Pakistan than the decision on Musharraf's uniform with 156 Pakistani soldiers being taken hostage by Taliban militants
in the Wana area in northwestern Pakistan.

The troops were captured when a convoy going from Wana was intercepted in the Momi Karam area. However, the troops could have been trapped by the Taliban because they didn't want to engage in a firefight in a region which is already bristling against the Pakistani army.

They have been disarmed and split into small groups. A meeting, jirga in local parlance, between parliamentarians and tribal leaders is on to secure the release of the soldiers.

This is only the latest in a series of attacks on the Pakistani security forces, which started after the storming of the Lal Masjid in July. It's a huge embarrassment for the Pakistan army, which prides itself as the guarantor of security for the state, particularly against India.

The Pakistan army is the best ally of the US, which has funded and depends upon it to capture Taliban, al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.

This incident comes even as many soldiers are reportedly facing court-martial for not wanting to fight the Taliban. As Musharraf battles to save his uniform and presidency, this is an evolving crisis that will have international dimensions.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

What will Bush do to Chavez

Venezuela sacks US oil companies
Thu, 30 Aug 2007 20:38:44

Venezuelan Energy Minister, Rafael Ramirez
A Venezuelan minister says two American oil companies have been asked to leave the country after refusing to comply with the state laws.

Exxon Mobil and Conoco Phillips have defied the law, which calls on multinational companies to hand over at least 60 percent of their capital to the state-owned petroleum company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA).

According to Energy Minister, Rafael Ramirez, immense benefit would accrue from cooperating with PDVSA, adding that his country was not interested in cooperating with companies that disobey Venezuelan laws.

Ramirez emphasized that US companies would be awarded no compensation and that the era of 'oil openness' was over.

Venezuela is the only Latin-American member of OPEC.

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