Lebanon is once again involved in the escalating turmoil in their neighboring country, Syria. Exchanges of heavy gun and grenade fire between pro- and anti-Damascus regime supporters in Lebanon broke out on Monday and went on until Tuesday night in the city of Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city.
Frustrated with the mounting civil war in Syria and the inaction of the world powers’ to unite to stop the war in the Arab state, the former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, announced his resignation as United Nations special envoy for the conflict in Syria effective August 31, 2012.
Annan stated at a news conference in Geneva that he is bowing out because of the "finger-pointing and name-calling" in the UN Security Council and because of President Bashar al-Assad's pertinacity in not doing what is right for his country. He voiced that he took the impossible task of being a mediator hoping to end the mounting tension at Syria and secure a nonviolent transition of government, but cannot do it if the 15-nation Security Council doesn't fully back him up.
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah has issued a decree suspending Kuwaiti parliament sessions for a month in an apparent bid to defuse rising tensions between the opposition-controlled parliament, elected just over four months ago, and the government controlled by the ruling al-Sabah family.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States has gotten hold of information indicating an imminent delivery of attack helicopters on the way to Syria from their Russian allies.
The UN observer mission sent to Syria to monitor a ceasefire that never took hold has been suspended in response to increasing risk to the observers and the “lack of willingness by the parties to seek a peaceful solution”, announced Major General Robert Mood of the United Nations Security Council.
France has given a strong warning to Syria and held out the threat of seeking military action to end the year-long crackdown after French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé described the UN-backed peace plan for Syria 'seriously compromised'. "Things are not going well," Juppé told Syrian opposition members in Paris on Wednesday. "The Annan plan is seriously compromised but there is still a chance for this mediation, on the condition of the rapid deployment of the 300 monitors."
Ready to go.
The United Nations have organised an advanced team of observers ready to enter Syria, which has been plagued with violent conflict for more than a year. The team is on stand by would go on site as soon the Security Council gives the order.
A strong and united message.
The U.N. Security Council has expressed their full support for former U.N. secretary-general and current joint U.N. and Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan’s proposals for a realistic Syria peace plan.
Annan appealed to the Security Council last Friday for its support, stating that the stronger and more unified the message, the better the chances of ending the Syrian conflict without further needless bloodshed. The Security Council, in turn, overcame its divisions and agreed on a council statement giving strong backing to Annan’s efforts to shift the dynamics of what Ban Ki-moon, current U.N. Secretary-General, calls the most pressing issue facing the world today.
1600 GMT, March 17.
As the clock strikes that hour on Saturday, Iran’s financial links with the global banking system will be severed by SWIFT – Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication – which is sometimes regarded as the glue that holds the whole system together.
Analysts point out that losing SWIFT facilities is tantamount to losing a passport for a business person. The Belgium-based SWIFT, which facilitates almost all global cross-border transactions, took the unprecedented step of disconnecting blacklisted Iranian financial institutions from its messaging system as it bowed down to intense international pressure.
The bloodshed continues.
The momentum has unmistakably shifted to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s side as government forces recaptured most of of Idlib following a successful siege on the northern rebel stronghold near the Turkish border.
Idlib, a predominantly Sunni city of some 150,000 people located about 160 kilometres north of Homs, had largely been under the control of hundreds of fighters for the rebel Free Syrian Army until 3 days of heavy shelling pushed the armed opposition fighters out. The three-day operation followed a monthlong campaign that drove rebels out of another key piece of territory it had controlled, the Baba Amr district in the city of Homs.