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Car hits people at Jerusalem station

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

A car hits a group of pedestrians at a Jerusalem railway station, injuring at least nine, in what Israeli police say is a suspected terrorist attack.
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Syria air force ‘steps up strikes’

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

The Syrian military has stepped up its air strikes on rebel-held areas dramatically, carrying out more than 200 in recent days, activists say.
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British American Tobacco sales slump

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

British American Tobacco -- the maker of Dunhill cigarettes -- said that sales sank in the first nine months of the year and blamed adverse currency moves and Western Europe's slow recoveryLondon (AFP) – British American Tobacco said Wednesday that sales sank in the first nine months of the year and blamed adverse currency moves and Western Europe's slow recovery.

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1914: As War Between Britain and Turkey Loomed, the Anomalous Position of Egypt

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

By late October 1914, it was increasingly clear that the Ottoman Empire was going to join the Great War on the side of the Central Powers, Germany and Austria. Since the closing of the Straits to the Triple Entente Powers on September 26, the Ottoman Government was already in violation of treaties, but throughout October the Allies tread lightly in hopes that Turkey might not come in formally.

I will be dealing in coming days with the war plans and key strategic interests and objectives of each side. But I want to begin with a particularly quirky situation: the highly anomalous legal position of Egypt.

De facto, Egypt had been a British protectorate in all but name since 1882; British troops controlled the country, and defended the Suez Canal, while a British official with the innocuous title of “Consul-General” ran the country with the powers of a virtual viceroy.

Said Halim Pasha

De jure, Egypt was still a province of the Ottoman Empire, was run by a hereditary Khedive who paid annual tribute to Constantinople and who, as war was breaking out, was physically present there; what’s more, the then Ottoman Grand Vizier, Said Halim Pasha, was a collateral kinsman of the Khedive and from the Egyptian Royal Family. Egypt still flew the Ottoman red flag.

And now the British and Turks were about to go to war. But they weren’t at war yet.

The Last Khedive: ‘Abbas Hilmi II

Adding to the legal complications was the fact that the current Khedive, ‘Abbas Hilmi II, was anti-British. Though he had gotten along moderately well with the liberal-minded Consul-General Sir Eldon Gorst, but relations soured when Lord Kitchener replaced Gorst. He had supported the nascent Egyptian nationalist movement, and the British considered him pro-German and a supporter of the emerging Turkish-German alliance; it appears to have been a fairly accurate assessment, and when Kitchener went on summer leave in Britain he was already determined to depose the Khedive, though the outbreak of war and Kitchener’s move to the War Office would intrude.

‘Abbas Hilmi was visiting Constantinople when, on June 25, 1914 (just days before the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo), he was meeting with the Grand Vizier (his cousin) when an Egyptian student fired five shots at ‘Abbas Hilmi and severely wounded him in the hands. The Khedive is said to have suspected the Turkish government was involved, but remained in Constantinople during his convalescence. He would be deposed before he could return to Egypt; he was the last Egyptian ruler to bear the title Khedive.

PM Hussein Rushdi Pasha

With the Khedive abroad and Kitchener back in Britain, the British authorities in Egypt were dealing with the much more pliant Prime Minister, Hussein Rushdi Pasha. When Britain went to war with Germany in August 1914, Rushdi issued a decree that appears to encapsulate perfectly the anomalous and apparently illogical legal status of Egypt: Britain announced it did not propose to chnge Egypt’s status as long as Turkey stayed neutral, but Rushdi declared that since Britain’s war with Germany left Egypt open to attack by Britain’s enemies, Egyptian companies could not conclude deals with or issue loans to nationals of countries at war with Britain; Egyptian vessels must avoid visiting ports of Britain’s enemies, and British forces could exercise full wartime belligerent rights in Egyptian territory.

Like Egypt’s entire “veiled protectorate” status since 1882, this made little sense in international law. It asserts neutrality but goes far beyond “armed neutrality,” and the late Peter Mansfield noted that “Egypt was de facto, if not de jure, a belligerent.” Neutral belligerency may be no more anomalous than a British colonial administration in an Ottoman province, but it also confounds logic.

This Gordian Knot would soon be cut. Once Turkey and Britain went to war in early November, Britain moved quickly; by December the Khedive would be deposed and his uncle, Hussein Kamel, made ruler with the new title of Sultan, and Britain would declare a formal Protectorate over Egypt. But until that time, Egypt remained in its anomalous status, a sort of limbo of sovereignty or at least suzerainty.
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Sweden raises estimate of foreign fighters

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden’s security service says up to 150 people have left the country to join IS militants in the Middle East.
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Japan’s exports up in September, deficit persists

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

FILE - In this Tuesday, July 8, 2014 file photo, port workers adjust the rope from a freight vessel which is moored at the pier of a container terminal in Tokyo. Japan's trade deficit edged higher in September though exports rose more than expected as the yen weakened to a near six-year low, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit edged higher in September though exports rose more than expected as the yen weakened to a near six-year low, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

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FBI: US girls may have tried to join jihadis

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

An image made available by the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 11, 2014 allegedly shows militants of the jihadist group Islamic StateDENVER (AP) — Three teenage girls from suburban Denver may have been trying to join Islamic State militants in Syria after stealing their parents' money and flying to Germany, authorities said Tuesday.

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Canada police talked to militant suspect, couldn’t stop attack

October 22nd, 2014 No comments

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, a member of the Joint Personnel Support Unit, Integrated Personnel Support Centre St-Jean, is pictured in this undated handout photoBy Allison Lampert SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU Quebec (Reuters) – Canadian police said on Tuesday they had arrested a suspected militant as he was leaving the country, took away his passport and talked to him several times but had no chance of preventing him from killing a soldier. Martin Rouleau, a 25-year-old who converted to Islam last year, rammed his car into two soldiers in the Quebec town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on Monday and was shot dead by police. A 53-year-old adjutant died in the attack. …

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US probes ‘stray Syria air drop’

October 21st, 2014 No comments

The US Pentagon says it is examining an Islamic State video appearing to show militants with a weapons bundle intended for Kurdish fighters.
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Purely military action in Syria could fuel extremism: U.N.

October 21st, 2014 No comments

By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Tuesday that using only military means to fight the threat of Islamic State in Syria could radicalize more Sunni armed groups and spark greater violence. “Our long-term strategic objective in Syria remains a political solution,” Ban told the U.N. Security Council. The United Nations is spearheading efforts to end a civil war sparked by President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests more than three years ago. …
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