Saturday, August 16, 2003

No, it's not peace talks. Israel likes to send jets over the residences of international leaders.

Israeli warplanes flew at low altitudes this week over the holiday residence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a message to Syria to rein in the Hizbollah guerrilla group, Israeli television said on Friday. Channel One said Assad was staying at the holiday residence in the northern Syrian city of Latakia when the planes flew overhead on Sunday.

Israeli warplanes have not overflown Syria since Israel ended a 22-year occupation of South Lebanon in 2000. Syria has long been the dominating outside power in Lebanon and has had forces there since its civil war in the 1970s. Syria made no comment on the Israeli report.

Israeli planes also broke the sound barrier over Beirut earlier this week, shaking buildings and setting off car alarms in retaliation for Hizbollah shelling that killed an Israeli teenager on Sunday
I really have no sympathy for Assad or any other Arab leader for that matter, but sending jets over a country's leader isn't going to help. It sounds more like incitement than a good intended message. It's not like the Syrians are shitting in their pants, ready to agree to any peace agreement and become a friendly nation.

Afghanistan's former Taliban on Friday denied involvement in a bomb blast this week that killed at least 15 people on a passenger bus in the southern province of Helmand. The attack on Wednesday, in which six children and a woman were among the dead, came on one of the bloodiest days since the hardline regime was ousted from power late in 2001, raising fears of a resurgence of the Islamic militia. More than 60 people died in the 24 hours from late Tuesday, 25 of them in a factional clash and 21 in fighting between Afghan forces and suspected Taliban and al Qaeda rebels near the border with Pakistan.

"The Taliban are busy ousting infidels from Afghanistan and the Taliban are carrying out activities against their agents," Mullah Abdul Rauf, a Taliban official, told Reuters by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location. The Taliban are not linked to the deaths of innocent people and the Taliban feel sorry for those deaths," he said, referring to the Helmand bus attack which local officials have blamed on the ousted militia.
The Taliban has never had great media relations, but this sounds more like a bad impression of Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi Information Minister, than an honest testimony.

"We're busy killing infidels. We don't have time to kill children and women like we did in the old days."


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