Arguably the largest wedge between the US and Afghanistan was lodged on Sunday as a mentally-unstable US soldier, a veteran of the recently-closed Iraq mission, opened fire on several homes in the country’s southern region near Kandahar. With 16 citizens including 9 children killed, this action has the potential to cause a massive rift in the new-found diplomacy between these states. As the ISAF continues its withdrawal from the country until 2014, the US has been taking over responsibility from other nations as they end their missions; Kandahar was recently under Canada’s purview until last year.
US President Barack Obama expressed his condolences early this week, promising that a full investigation would follow. He also highlighted the positive contributions of the US forces and that this incident should not reflect on the American mission in general. This situation presents a dangerous opportunity for militant forces in the area to undermine public opinion.
The US and UK also stepped up pressure on Iran and Syria yesterday as Western countries continue to clash with the two Middle Eastern nations.
While a cease-fire between Palestine and Israel was reported to have taken place on Tuesday with Egypt agreeing to act as monitor of the situation; rocket fire continued through to last night as the Hamas-controlled Gaza struggled to control smaller rogue militant groups from deviating from the agreement. No casualties have been reported, but Hamas may face accusations from Egypt if further shots are fired.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Tuesday saw the end of the latest discussions between Sudan and the recently independent South Sudan, as the two countries continue their struggle to define their working relationship. Issues that remain to be negotiated include oil revenue sharing, disputed border areas, and the joint manufacturing and processing facilities that were not equally divided up last July. Both Presidents have agreed to meet shortly to avoid further worsening of the situation. Though an agreement wasn’t reached, it’s definitely important to appreciate the fact that negotiations are continuing without armed conflict.
Early Tuesday morning, 112 people were killed when a ferry carrying more than 200 capsized in a river in Bangladesh. The incident, which occurred after colliding with a cargo vessel, is just one of many in recent years. Locals believe the dozens who are missing may be trapped within the ship which is reportedly being re-floated.
The aftermath of the Russian elections last week has become more evident with protest leaders being jailed on a number of charges, including leading activist Sergei Udaltsov today. It’s becoming more apparent that renewed strength in the Kremlin has triggered a shortened patience with opposition leaders.
Further flooding in Australia has forced spiders to leave their subterranean lairs and take over entire villages down under. One town, Wagga Wagga found that when its citizens left due to the water, thousands of wolf spiders took their place. Check out the image video below (hint: that's not water...).