A New Day for Somalia — At a Mogadishu meeting, Somali leaders voted to support a new U.N.-backed constitution, potentially paving the way for the country’s first stable government in over two decades. As the BBC reports, the constitution will include a bill of rights espousing universally equality and an official state acknowledgement that Islam is the nation’s official religion. Although 621 of the 645-member constituent assembly voted in favor of the constitution, the U.N. envoy to Somalia warned that the nascent government is already being undermined by corruption and violence.
Revenge Killings — After video surfaced of the Syrian opposition forces allegedly comitting revenge killings against prominent pro-Assad Aleppo citizens, activists publicly decried the apparent war crimes, according to the New York Times. Aside from the obvious horror of an impromptu gun-squad killing, activists have also lamented that this incident hurts one of the rebels’ biggest international selling points: that the Syrian regime had been accused of countless war crimes, while the rebels had thus far maintained a positive reputation in the West. “Intentionally killing anyone, even a shabiha, once he is outside of combat is a war crime, regardless of how horrible the person may have been,” a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch told the Times.
Auschwitz Trip Angers Hamas — Reuters reports that Hamas spoke out against Ziad al-Bandak — an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — after he visited the site of the Auschwitz death camp late last month. “It was an unjustified and unhelpful visit that served only the Zionist occupation,” a Hamas spokesperson said, adding that the Palestinian official’s trip was “a marketing of a false Zionist alleged tragedy.”
Clashing Over Iran — The Wall Street Journal writes that Israeli leaders have “dismissed the chances that a U.S.-led sanctions campaign would convince Iran to give up its nuclear program,” while U.S. officials had said that they were” hopeful that Israel wasn’t planning a unilateral strike for now after receiving assurances the U.S. would be prepared to act militarily in the future.”As the U.S. presidential election draws closer, the Obama administration wants to retain close ties with Israel, avoid conflict with Iran, whereas the Republican hopeful Mitt Romney has signalled that would support Israel should it decide to strike Iran.
Ecuador Against Assange Extradition — Reuters reports that “Ecuador wants to prevent Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden because it is disappointed that the Scandinavian country has turned down an offer to question the WikiLeaks founder in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.” WikiLeaks founder Assange has spent the past six weeks in the Embassy as he waits to see whether Rafael Correa’s government will offer him asylum. He is wanted in Sweden over allegations of sex crimes.