Home > Uncategorized > Politics this week: 7th – 13th April 2007

Politics this week: 7th – 13th April 2007

Politics this week

Apr 12th 2007
From The Economist print edition

Sectarian bombings continued to ravage Iraq. A woman suicide-bomber killed at least 17 police recruits north-east of Baghdad. One of the capital’s biggest bridges over the Tigris river was blown up. And a bomb in a restaurant in Iraq’s parliament building killed at least two MPs and wounded dozens of people.

Though Iraq’s firebrand Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, has not been seen for months, he orchestrated a huge demonstration in the holy city of Najaf to call for American troops to leave. His supporters vilified the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, for not spelling out a timetable for them to go. See article


Two suicide-bombings, one against the prime minister’s office in Algiers, killed at least 30 people in Algeria’s capital. A group calling itself al-Qaeda‘s arm in the Maghreb claimed responsibility. See article

Raising fears that the same group may hit targets across the region, Morocco was involved in a separate spate of incidents: two suicide-bombers blew themselves up when police raided a house in Casablanca, the country’s biggest city. The police say they have been searching for a dozen would-be suicide-bombers for a month.

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Iran had stepped up uranium enrichment in defiance of a second UN Security Council resolution ordering it to stop.

Chad admitted that its troops had crossed the border with Sudan into the Darfur region and fought with Sudanese soldiers. It is the first time that troops from the two countries have clashed directly; Chad has accused Sudan of supporting rebels who want to topple its government and operate out of Darfur.

China urged Sudan in unusually strong terms to accept UN peacekeepers in Darfur. Sudan’s government, hitherto with China’s support, had been resisting the replacement of a weak African Union force by a 20,000-strong UN one.

An Ethiopian judge quashed charges of genocide and treason against 111 people arrested for protesting against the results of an election in 2005. But more than 80 remain in prison on charges of trying to overthrow the government. See article

Police in Bangladesh filed murder charges against Sheikh Hasina Wajed, leader of the Awami League, one of the two main political parties. There has been speculation that the interim administration running the country under an army-backed state of emergency since January would like both Sheikh Hasina and her rival, Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, to quit politics. See article


In a visit trailed by both sides as a landmark in Sino-Japanese relations, China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, arrived in Tokyo and made a speech in Japan’s parliament, urging the country to face up to its actions in the second world war.

In Nepal, the United Nations began overseeing the storage of weapons used by the army. Under a peace agreement with Maoist rebels reached last year the army is supposed to lock up the same number of weapons as the rebels.

The first presidential elections in Timor-Leste since independence in 2002 passed peacefully but inconclusively. Three candidates each won more than 20% of the vote, including Jos�� Ramos-Horta, the prime minister. Mr Ramos-Horta will now compete in a run-off next month with the candidate of Fretilin, the ruling political party. See article

An estimated 10,000 protesters occupied the main square of Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, and threatened to stay until the president, Kurmanbek Bakiev, resigns. See article

Leaders of seven Central American countries met Mexico’s Felipe Calder��n and Colombia’s ��lvaro Uribe and agreed to co-operate on improving infrastructure and fighting drugs. See article

Teachers in Argentina staged a one-day strike in protest at the death of a colleague in a demonstration and at the failure of many provincial governments to implement a recent 24% wage rise decreed by the government of N��stor Kirchner. The provinces say they lack the money.

France’s presidential election campaign was officially launched. There are 12 candidates, each of whom must have equal airtime until the first round on April 22nd. The centre-right candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, remains in the lead in most opinion polls. See article

A Serbian war-crimes court jailed four Serb paramilitaries who were filmed shooting six Bosnian Muslims in July 1995. It was the first trial inside Serbia that had any bearing on the Srebrenica massacres, in which almost 8,000 male Muslims were killed.

The political stand-off continued in Ukraine, where the prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, has rejected the call by the president, Viktor Yushchenko, for a new parliamentary election in May. Both sides were said to be seeking a compromise. See article

A huge row broke out over the decision by Britain’s Royal Navy to allow two of the 15 sailors and marines held captive in Iran to sell their stories to the media. The defence ministry reversed the decision; the prime minister, Tony Blair, said he was not involved but declared that in hindsight it had been a bad idea to let the servicemen sell their tales. See article

John McCain tried to get his presidential campaign back on track by making a big speech on Iraq and reiterating his belief that America would prevail. Shortly before, the senator from Arizona had been criticised for claiming the security situation in Iraq had improved after he toured a market in Baghdad on April 1st. Mr McCain was protected on his stroll by 100 troops, five military helicopters and American rooftop snipers. See article


Robert Gates, the defence secretary, acknowledged that American forces are stretched when he extended the deployments of army units serving in Iraq and Afghanistan by three months, to 15 months.

The Senate passed a contentious stem-cell research bill (by 63-34) that George Bush vetoed last year and says he will veto again.

New York added its name to the growing list of states that have brought forward their presidential primaries to February 5th 2008; others are contemplating the same.

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