Europe, Middle East, News Watch, Side Feature

International News Headlines: 16/02/2022

• Rare Bombing in Damascus
• Iran Unveils New Missile
• Balkans Separatism

Rare Bombing in Damascus

In a rare event, a Syrian army soldier was killed and 11 others wounded when an explosive device planted in a military transport bus went off in Damascus. The bombing near the customs roundabout in al-Barakma area in the Syrian capital happened at 7:25 am local time, state news agency Sana reported. Despite a decade of conflict, such bombings in Damascus have been rare since President Bashar al-Assad regained control of the capital in 2018 with the military backing of Russia and Iran. North-east Syria is controlled by US-backed Kurdish forces, while Idlib is controlled by a number of rebel groups. The northwestern province, home to three million internally displaced people, facings regular Russian-backed government shelling. The war in Syria has killed around half a million people and displaced millions more, according to SOHR. Today Syria is in ruins as regional and global powers interfered in an uprising to topple the Ba’athist regime. Despite accusing the regime of not being democratic, the regional and global powers didn’t want real change to come to Syria.

Iran Unveils New Missile

As the Vienna talks concerning Iran’s nuclear program cautiously resume, Iran unveiled a new solid fuel Intermediate range ballistic missile. Although Iran often exaggerates its industrial achievements, this missile seems to represent a genuine advance in Iran’s manufacturing capabilities. With a large weight reduction and response times reduced by 80%, this generation of missiles will probably form the basis of further developments in Iran’s capabilities. Named after the Battle of Khaybar, a battle between the nascent Islamic State and a collection of Jewish tribes in the Arabian Peninsula, the missile is intended to send a message of defiance to Israel and its allies. Without a nuclear warhead the missile is of limited military significance beyond nuisance; it is of little strategic or tactical value. The timing of the announcement betrays Iran’s true intentions, with the expansion of talks beyond Iran’s nuclear program Iran’s needs all the bargaining chips it can muster.

Balkans Separatism

Lawmakers in Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic (RS) voted on Thursday the 10th February to form a separate body to choose judges and prosecutors, effectively pulling the region out of the state’s top judicial institution as part of their leaders’ separatist agenda. Western diplomats based with the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), a forum overseeing the restoration of peace in Bosnia after its war in the 1990s, said the move violated the country’s constitution and legal order. Bosnia has been going through its worst political crisis since the end of the war, with Bosnian Serbs challenging state institutions as part of their longtime bid to secede and eventually join neighbouring Serbia. The Serb Republic parliament, dominated by the SNSD party of Bosnian Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik, has already passed a non-binding motion to withdraw the region from Bosnia’s armed forces, judiciary and tax system. These three institutions represent key pillars of joint security, rule of law and the economic system in the Balkan country. Bosnia was divided into two autonomous regions – the Serb Republic and the Federation dominated by Croats and Bosniaks – after its 1992-1995 war in which 100,000 people died.