Weekly News Roundup

The Arab League decided in an emergency session to suspend Syria’s membership in response to the government’s refusal to stop violent crackdowns on civilian protesters. Syria agreed to an earlier peace plan outlined by the Arab League on November 2nd, but has since failed to end the violence. In the 8 months since the protests started, Human Rights Watch has estimated that over 3,500 civilians and 1,500 security force members have been killed.

The Free Syria Army, a group of defectors from Syrian security forces, attacked multiple military installations around Damascus. The largest assault occurred when the group fired rocket-propelled grenades on a compound of the Air Force Intelligence directorate, a security branch that dissidents claim is responsible for the suppression of anti-government protesters. Although the Free Syria Army is thought to consist of only a few thousand defectors, the high-profile attack suggests that the group is gaining momentum.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai addressed the Loya Jirga, the traditional Afghan advisory council, outlining the details of a strategic partnership with the United States.

The International Monetary Fund has pledged a three year $133.6 million loan for Afghanistan after previously suspending credit to the country over one year ago in the wake of the Kabul Bank scandal.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, is offering his resignation in the face of a controversial memo reportedly asking the United States to help control Pakistan’s military and intelligence in the period following the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. The Pakistani government is still deliberating whether to accept Ambassardor Haqqani’s resignation.

Tunisia’s moderate Islamic party Ennhada and the Congress for the Republic party – or CPR – elected Moncef Marzouki, a veteran human rights activist, as the country’s interim president in historic Constituent Assembly elections this week.

Three French aid workers
have been released in Yemen after being held hostage for almost six months. The workers from the French charity Triangle Generation Humanitaire were captured in May by al-Qaeda-linked militants demanding $12 million in ransom.

Iran has dismissed a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear proliferation watchdog of the United Nations. Iranian officials including the Supremer leader attacked the report that detailed extensive research alleging Iran has advanced its nuclear weapons program for being politically motivated and based on false information.

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