The world at a glance . . . International
Ingushetia, RussiaProvincial leader attacked: A suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives into the motorcade of the president of the Russian province of Ingushetia this week, wounding him and killing two bodyguards. Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, the Kremlin-appointed Ingush leader, was taken to a Moscow hospital with serious injuries. The Russian government blamed the bombing on Chechen terrorists; Ingushetia is next to Chechnya, scene of two separatist wars since the 1990s. Some Russian analysts believe the assassination attempt was more likely related to local corruption. “Yevkurov has stepped on the toes of many local crime bosses since he came to power,” said political science professor Mikhail Alexandrov.
Bishkek, KyrgyzstanU.S. base to stay: Kyrgyzstan has reversed its plan to eject the U.S. Air Force from a crucial base in Manas. In February, just after getting a massive aid package from Russia, the former Soviet republic gave the U.S. six months to vacate the base, which has served as a vital hub for supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But in a deal reached this week, Kyrgyzstan agreed to allow the U.S. to continue using the base to supply nonmilitary goods—such as construction materials, fuel, and medicine—in exchange for paying higher rent on the base.
Swat Valley, PakistanAl Qaida seeks nukes: Al Qaida will use Pakistan’s nuclear weapons against the U.S. if it can get hold of them, the terror group’s military commander said this week. Mustafa Abu al-Yazid told Al Jazeera television that al Qaida and its Taliban allies expect to defeat the Pakistani army in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where fighting has raged for the past month. “God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans, and the mujahedin will take them and use them against the Americans,” Yazid said. The U.S. military had thought Yazid was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan last year, but he surfaced in a video that aired in February, in which he referred to current events. He is thought to be al Qaida’s No. 3 leader, after Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.
Ramallah, Palestinian TerritoriesCall for unity: Palestinians could have their own state within two years if they work together, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said this week. Fayyad said rival Palestinian factions should put aside their differences to capitalize on U.S. and international support for statehood. “I call upon you all to line up on the project of state building, good government, and proper management so the Palestinian state can be a reality,” he said. The remarks seemed to be aimed at Hamas, the armed Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip and fought a civil war with Fayyad’s Palestinian Authority government. Hamas dismissed the appeal. “Basically Fayyad is an illegal premier and he doesn’t have the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinians,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.
Mogadishu, SomaliaGovernment’s desperate plea: Somalia’s government has called for aid from international troops to help it fight insurgents who are besieging the capital. Over the past week, six government officials, including the minister for national security and the Mogadishu police chief, have been killed. The government said the insurgents are bolstered by foreign fighters from al Qaida, who are better trained and better equipped than government troops. U.S. officials said they have evidence that al Qaida militants in Pakistan have been relocating to Somalia over the past few months. The government’s appeal for troops is seen as another sign of desperation in Somalia, where a history of weak governments, foreign occupation, and relentless warfare has produced a chaotic state.
Dar es Salaam, TanzaniaGenocide sentence: A U.N. court has sentenced Rwanda’s former interior minister to 30 years in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide in that country. Callixte Kalimanzira, a close ally of the president and prime minister during the killings, lured thousands of families to their deaths. He told villagers to go to a hillside where they would be given protection. Instead, they were massacred on his orders. Kalimanzira is the 32nd Rwandan official to be convicted of genocide by the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The tribunal was established to try the organizers of the Rwandan genocide, in which some 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were systematically slaughtered over three months.