Germany can’t look away if Syria uses chemical weapons

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a session at the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, September 12, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 12 September 2018
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Germany can’t look away if Syria uses chemical weapons

  • The conservative leader said it could not be Germany’s answer to reject military intervention

BERLIN: Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday Germany could not simply look away if chemical attacks took place in Syria, two days after her government said it was in talks with its allies about a possible military deployment in the war-torn country.
The conservative leader said it could not be Germany’s answer to reject military intervention, a direct rebuke of her Social Democratic coalition partners, who have rejected participation in military action against Syria.
“It cannot be the German position to simply say ‘no’, no matter what happens in the world,” she told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, is under pressure from the United States to boost military spending and shoulder more responsibility within NATO. It did not participate in military strikes carried out by US, French and British forces on Syria in April after a chemical weapons attack.
But Merkel and her conservatives must win over the more pacifist Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in the ruling coalition, and overcome massive public opposition to Germany’s participation in military combat missions.
SPD leader Andrea Nahles on Wednesday told lawmakers her party would not agree to military intervention in Syria unless the United Nations authorized such action.


Manama charges 169 over terror ring

Updated 25 September 2018
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Manama charges 169 over terror ring

  • Prosecutors also accused Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard of providing arms and training for the militants

ABU DHABI: Bahrain charged 169 people on Tuesday with being part of a militant group they referred to as the “Bahraini Hezbollah.” 

Prosecutors said in a statement they already have 111 people in custody after a series of raids on the island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Charges against suspects in the case range from attempted murder to damaging property, as well as illegally possessing and hiding weapons.

It offered no names for the accused. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had legal counsel.

Prosecutors also accused Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard of providing arms and training for the militants. 

In recent years, the kingdom has revoked the citizenship of over 700 people since 2012, including 115 in a mass terrorism trial in May.

Amid the crackdown, local Shiite militant groups have carried out several attacks on security forces.

“The Public Prosecution had been informed by the Department of criminal investigation ... that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have ordered some of their members to work on unifying different Bahraini militant groups,” the statement said.

“(The groups) would get involved in one terrorist organisation which they called Bahrain’s Hezbollah,” it said, adding the group was planning to send Bahrainis to Iraq, Lebanon and Iran for military training. A trial is set for Oct. 3, Bahrain News Agency said.

The kingdom has seen occasional unrest since 2011.

Bahrain is a strategic island where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based.