The Christian Science Monitor : 2019-02-11

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overheard AP ‘Mr. President, we’ve seen the costs of a precipitous withdrawal before.’ – Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell in a Jan. 29 speech on the Senate floor in which he advocated for a bill that would amend President Trump’s plans to withdraw US troops from Syria and Afghanistan as quickly as possible. Mr. McConnell cited problems that arose during earlier US attempts to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. In his view, the current political landscapes of Syria and Afghanistan are too unstable, still. McConnell’s amendment has drawn widespread congressional support, including from fellow Republicans, many of whom have broken with Mr. Trump on this issue. ‘ We’re going to be removing our troops. I never said we’re doing it that quickly, but we are decimating ISIS.’ – President Trump in a Jan. 6 impromptu meeting with press following his December announcement that he would withdraw US troops from Syria and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, progress made in talks between US officials and the Taliban hinges on the removal of US troops from the country – but many US lawmakers fear the Afghan government would fail, making the 17-year-long US intervention there futile. In Syria, coalition withdrawal has begun. Military officials say the Islamic State, or ISIS, holds little ground there, though concern about the safety of Kurdish allies remains. AP ‘Maduro’s legitimacy is being challenged now like never before.’ – Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, on the events unfolding in Venezuela. Opposition leader Juan Guaidó declared himself the legitimate president of the country on Jan. 23 though the election in May – plagued with reports of vote-rigging – was declared in favor of incumbent Nicolás Maduro. Mr. Guaidó appears to enjoy the support of Venezuela’s people, while Mr. Maduro has the backing of the country’s military, which may be the deciding factor, experts tell the Monitor. The international community has split over the conflict: China, Iran, and Russia, among others, support Maduro, while the United States has enacted sanctions against Venezuela in support of Guaidó. Read more at REUTERS Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó protest against the Maduro government in Caracas, Venezuela, on Jan. 30. ‘It is crucial that this shocking violence be promptly, thoroughly investigated....’ – United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the discovery of dozens of graves in the Mai-Ndombe province of Congo. At least 890 people are thought to have been killed between Dec. 16 and Dec. 18 in ethnic conflict. Investigators say the strife was not directly related to the country’s Dec. 30 presidential election, which was widely hailed as that nation’s first peaceful power transition. But the country experienced considerable political tension before and after the vote. In fact, parts of Mai-Ndombe were excluded from participation because of the violence there. ‘ We have to protect our minorities.’ – Asif Saeed Khosa, chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, who led the panel of judges that dismissed a petition to review the acquittal of Asia Bibi (pictured), a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. Ms. Bibi’s acquittal in October was met with widespread protests by radical Islamists; some killed public figures who spoke in support of her. The Supreme Court’s dismissal is seen as a watershed moment in the way Pakistan’s judicial system handles accusations of blasphemy, which are reportedly often used to target minorities. Bibi is expected to seek asylum abroad. AP/FILE – Anna Tarnow / Staff 4 THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY FEBRUARY 11, 2019 | PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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