Wednesday, June 2, 2010

FP morning brief 6/2

Israel begins deporting flotilla activists

Top Story: Israel has begun deporting the hundreds of activists it detained after last weekend's botched raid on a flotilla breaching the blockade of Gaza. More than 600 people were detained from nearly a dozen countries. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that Israeli believed it had grounds to prosecute many of the activists, but had decided to deport them instead due to the bitter diplomatic fallout from the incident. Around 126 activists crossed into Jordan by bus on Wednesday morning. More that 400 were being taken to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport to await flights to Turkey.

Israel has faced widespread international condemnation for the raid, which killed 9 pro-Palestinian activists, as well as renewed scrutiny of the three-year blockade. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, for instance, called the blockade "unjustifiable and untenable" and called for it to be lifted. The United States has been less quick to condemn its longtime ally, but Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren and National Security Advisor Uzi Arad were called to the White House to discuss the aftermath of the incident and how to allow future humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza.

President Barack Obama also spoke with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the incident. There were around 400 Turks on the flotilla including four of the fatalities.

Turkey has called for an international investigation of the incident and threatened not to restore diplomatic relations with Israel if its citizens are not released today.

Israel's Gaza policy will face a new test in the coming days as pro-Palestinian activists plan to launch a new ship, the Rachel Corrie, to challenge the blockade. Israel has vowed to bock this ship as well.

Japanese prime minister resigns: Facing widespread criticism after breaking a campaign promise to relocate the U.S. marine base in Okinawa, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama resigned today. His Democratic Party will meet on Friday to choose a successor. Finance Minister Naoto Kan is considered the most likely candidate.

  • Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva survived a no-confidence vote in parliament brought on by his handling of the recent Red Shirt protests.
  • The Pakistani government has declared victory over the Taliban in the Orakzai tribal region, near the Afghan border.
  • A "peace jirga" hosted by Afghan President Hamid Karzai was disrupted by Taliban attacks.
  • Landslides caused by Tropical Storm Agatha have killed around 180 people in Central America, mainly in Guatemala.
  • Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding pledged an all-out assault on the island's drug gangs as he narrowly survived a no-confidence vote in parliament.
  • The mayor of Cancun, Mexico has been charged with ties to drug trafficking.
Middle East
  • Iraq's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the country's Sunni/secular alliance in a legal dispute over the March 7 parliamentary elections.
  • During a visit to Brussels, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned that further international sanctions would lead to confrontation.
  • Human rights groups are condemning the execution of 18 foreigners in Libya.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Somalis living in the U.S. can sue former Prime Minister Mahamad Ali Samantar, now living in Virginia, under anti-torture laws.
  • Liberia deported seven people on cocaine smuggling charges.
  • A former Nigerian governor was convicted of money laundering in Britain.
-By Joshua Keating

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

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