Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rumors Of War: Will The U.S. Increase Involvement In Syria?

Top Republican Senators Urge Obama To Intervene In Syria

Two ranking Republican members of the US Senate Armed Services Committee urged the Obama administration on Sunday evening to take “decisive” action against the Assad regime in Syria.
Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina spoke at a news conference in Jerusalem after meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders.

Graham said while they supported US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to jump-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Syrian civil war was much more of a pressing issue, because if it is not dealt with, “the whole region is going down.”

Asked by The Jerusalem Post what he meant, McCain elaborated: “We see Hezbollah with as many as 5,000 troops in Syria, we see Russian equipment falling in on a daily basis, we see the Iranian Revolutionary Guards providing training equipment, boots and troops on the ground.
“Meanwhile, the freedom fighters have only light weapons,” he continued. “It is an unfair fight. So what we want to see is the declaration of a no-fly zone. We can take out their runways and negate their air power using Patriot missile batteries close to the no-fly zone and provide the weapons that they really need. AK-47s don’t do very well against tanks. They need anti-tank and anti-air weapons. That’s what I mean by American leadership.”

 Virologists are casting a worried eye on this year's Islamic hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia as they struggle with the enigmatic, deadly virus known as MERS which is striking hardest in the kingdom.

Little is known about the new pathogen, beyond the fact that it can be lethal by causing respiratory problems, pneumonia and kidney failure. It can be transmitted between humans, but unlike its cousin, the SARS virus, which sparked a scare a decade ago, it does not seem very contagious.

Even so, for any respiratory virus the mass gathering of the hajj provides a perfect opportunity to first spread at the two holiest Muslim shrines in the cities of Mecca and Medina, and then travel around the globe at jet speed as pilgrims return home.
The 2012 hajj drew 3.1 million people -- and this year's event likewise occurs in October, as the northern hemisphere slides into the season for coughs and sneezes.
UN World Health Organisation (WHO) head Margaret Chan sounded the alarm to ministers at the agency's annual congress in May.

"We need to get the facts clear and get the appropriate advice to all your countries where your pilgrims want to go to Mecca. It is something quite urgent," she said.

While MERS centres on Saudi Arabia, there have been laboratory-confirmed cases originating in Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Tunisia have had cases who were either sent there for care or who fell ill after returning from the Middle East. France, Italy, Tunisia and Britain have also seen limited transmission among patients who had not been to the Middle East but had close contact with people who had.

So far, MERS has essentially been found in nations with health services capable of tracing and tackling such diseases. But the hajj draws a broad spectrum of Muslims, including from poor countries which struggle to cope even with commonplace diseases.

"We don't know if the disease is there right now. They don't have surveillance," Saudi Arabia's deputy health minister, Ziad Memish, told AFP on the sidelines of the Geneva conference.

Health experts give praise to Saudi authorities for beefing up vigilance for infectious diseases over the years.

They also note that the hajj has successfully ridden out two previous viral episodes in the past decade -- SARS in 2003 and H1N1 influenza in 2009, although the difference now is that Saudi Arabia is the apparent hotbed of MERS.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Peace treaty coming for 7 years ??

who knows....??

we DO know that AC will CONFIRM
the treaty so it is possible this
could be the start.....????

Stephen !!!!

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ended a shuttle diplomacy mission on Sunday without an agreement on resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but said gaps had been narrowed and he would return to the region soon."I'm pleased to tell you that we have made real progress on this trip. And I believe that with a little more work, the start of final status negotiations could be within reach," he told a news conference before his departure from Tel Aviv's airport."We started out with very wide gaps and we have narrowed those considerably," he said, without elaborating."We are making progress. That's what's important and that's what will bring me back here."Over four busy days, Kerry met Israeli and Palestinian leaders repeatedly and separately to try to find a compromise for reviving direct talks, stalled since late 2010 in a dispute over Jewish settlements on occupied land Palestinians want for a state.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said negotiations cannot resume until Israel halts settlement-building, which most countries deem illegal, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas it captured in a 1967 Middle East war.