Showing posts from 2012
Pakistan-Haqqani ties threaten to thwart U.S. Western officials and analysts say U.S. and U.N. pressure is failing to persuade Pakistan to cut its ties to a terrorist network whose attacks coalition forces fear could complicate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan .
Park breaks through ‘glass ceiling’ to win presidency of South Korea South Koreans on Wednesday elected their first female president — Park Geun-hye , leader of the conservative New Frontier Party — in a close election with results that are likely to please U.S. officials, analysts said.
Syrian vice president: No one can win civil war Syria ’s embattled regime is showing signs of a willingness to ditch President Bashar Assad and seek a political solution to the 21-month-old civil war, which has claimed 40,000 lives, officials and analysts say.
Diplomat: Palestinians to oppose Israeli settlements Palestinians will oppose Israel nonviolently if the Jewish state proceeds with plans to build settlements between Jerusalem and the West Bank, the top Palestinian official in Washington said Friday.
Russia says Assad is losing control Russia , which has provided military and political support key to the Syrian regime, acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that President Bashar Assad is losing control and the rebels may win the civil war that has dragged on for 21 months and claimed an estimated 40,000 lives.
Newly recognized Syrian coalition hits U.S. terrorist designation The leader of Syria ’s opposition coalition urged the U.S. Wednesday to reconsider its decision to designate an al Qaeda -affiliated group fighting against President Bashar Assad ’s regime as a foreign terrorist group.
Obama gives Syrian rebels recognition President Obama said on Tuesday that the United States will formally recognize a coalition of Syrian opposition groups as that country’s legitimate representative, intensifying pressure on President Bashar Assad ’s embattled regime.
Xi’s rise to top began in adversity Xi Jinping, anointed last month as China’s new leader, was an impressionable 9-year-old in 1962 when his father, a prominent revolutionary and vice premier, fell out of favor with Mao Zedong.
Israel approves expansion of controversial Jewish settlements Jerusalem: On the heels of a United Nations General Assembly vote to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state, the Israeli Government has approved the expansion of controversial Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem that would seriously undermine the viability of a future Palestinian state.  
Israel’s Sderot peaceful for now, but will ceasefire last? A two-foot wide crater in a concrete wall, a smashed flower pot and jagged streaks on a metal gate as though someone tried to vandalise it with a sharp knife are all the evidence that remains of the rocket that struck a home in Sderot last week.
Palestine hopeful of winning upgraded status bid at UN  Ramallah, West Bank: Palestinians, buoyed by the prospect of a victory at the United Nations on Thursday, have no intention of caving to US pressure to drop their bid for a “non-member observer state” or making a promise not to sue Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Iran admits giving Hamas technology for missiles Iranian officials on Wednesday acknowledged providing military assistance, including missile technology, to the Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
The world is horizontal Obama II promises continuity in ties, but a poll-wary India isn’t ambitious.
Egyptian government heading toward autocracy, an opposition leader says Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood -led government is asserting its dominance in ways that raise the specter of an autocracy similar to the regime Egyptians toppled almost two years ago, an Egyptian opposition leader warned foreign-policy specialists in Washington.
Protests against Jordan’s king rock capital Jordan , a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, was rocked Wednesday by a second day of protests that uncharacteristically targeted the king after the government raised fuel prices in a desperate act to reduce a massive budget deficit.
Haqqani Network talks peace but continues attacks in Afghanistan The Haqqani Network , a group of Pakistan -based terrorists that has killed coalition troops in Afghanistan , is willing to participate in peace talks with the U.S. as long as the Afghan Taliban ’s top leader approves, according to a senior commander in the group.
Obama to visit Myanmar this month President Obama will make history later this month by becoming the first U.S. president to visit the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar , which after nearly five decades of military rule has shaken off its pariah status by taking tentative steps toward democratic reform.  
Four more years for Obama   US President Barack Obama won re-election on Tuesday defeating his Republican rival Mitt Romney in a hard-fought and expensive battle, but he will have to contend with a gridlocked US Congress. 
The Third Party challengers They might not win, but can harm others.
Which way will the Indo-Americans go? The community is more Democrat-inclined.
Frankenswing 2012 Will Hurricane Sandy sweep President Obama into the White House and a second term?
Clinton designates Haqqani commander as a terrorist Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday listed as a specially designated global terrorist a member of a Pakistan-based terrorist network who has been linked to several deadly attacks, including one of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in September of 2011.
Rivals make last-gasp efforts in tight race US President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney are darting from one battleground state to the next in the final hours of their campaigns, seeking to draw stark contrasts from one another as polls found the two candidates in a neck-and-neck race for the White House. 
Strike on Sudan arms factory points to Iran threat to Israel   Sudan ’s longtime ties to Iran — and the two nations’ roles in arming Islamic militants — have come under scrutiny in the wake of an explosion at a Khartoum weapons factory, blamed on an Israeli airstrike, and the dockings of two Iranian warships at a Sudanese port.
The good man who ended up bad   Rajat K. Gupta scaled the highest peaks of his profession. At the top, he rubbed shoulders with Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Kofi Annan. In the November of 2009, when US President Barack Obama hosted his Administration’s first state dinner in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Gupta and his wife Anita were among those to be invited to the exclusive soiree. Gupta’s life was an inspiration. He was living the American dream . But that dream turned into a nightmare less than two years ago.
Syrian war boils over onto U.S. allies; outside jihadists rush in Syria ’s protracted civil war is spilling across its borders, creating breeding grounds for extremists, sharpening sectarian schisms and threatening to destabilize U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Lebanese lawmaker calls for government to resign A senior member of the Lebanese Parliament has accused the government of colluding with assassins and said it must resign to prevent the country from drifting into chaos.
Piracy increasing near West Africa, declining near East Africa Criminal gangs have stepped up attacks on ships off Africa’s west coast, even as similar incidents involving Somali pirates off the continent’s east coast have declined sharply, according to the International Maritime Bureau .
Asia will resist U.S. efforts to contain China, says Singapore diplomat Asian nations will resist any U.S. attempts to block the rise of China , as Washington pursues a new strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Singapore ’s former ambassador in Washington.
Chinese policies blamed in worsening U.S. deficit China has done nothing to end trade practices that favor Chinese enterprises at the expense of U.S. workers and businesses, says a report by a congressional commission.
Congressional report hits Chinese trade practices China has done nothing to end trade practices that favor Chinese enterprises at the expense of U.S. workers and businesses, a report by a congressional commission says.
Fuel riches could bring Cypriots to table NEW YORK — The discovery of vast reserves of oil and natural gas off the coast of Cyprus has ignited hope for stalled talks to reunify the Mediterranean island, which is split into an internationally recognized ethnic-Greek south and an ethnic-Turkish north.
Head of U.N. alarmed by Turkey-Syria tensions U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm Thursday over the growing tension on the Turkish-Syrian border after Turkey ’s Parliament authorized military operations against Syria .
Quarrel between Japan, S. Korea may destabilize region The Obama administration ’s strategic pivot toward Asia could be adversely affected by a territorial quarrel between two key U.S. allies, Japan and South Korea , over a rocky outcrop of islands.
Iran’s foreign minister blasts Israel’s ‘war drum beaters’ Iran ’s foreign minister on Monday accused Israel ’s leaders of being “war drum beaters” and said his country will zealously defend itself against any attack.
U.S. takes Iranian dissident group MeK off terrorist list NEW YORK — The Obama administration has taken the Mujahideen-e-Khalq off the U.S. terrorist blacklist culminating an expensive PR campaign by the Iranian dissidents.
Myanmar leader hails democratic reform UNITED NATIONS — Myanmar ’s president told the U.N. General Assembly Thursday that no one can reverse the democratic reforms that have helped his nation shed its international pariah status over the past 18 months.
Netanyahu to U.N.: It’s 11th hour on Iran nukes UNITED NATIONS — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned world leaders Thursday that Iran could make a nuclear weapon by spring, and called on them to draw a “red line” to stop the Islamic regime.
Iranian president hurls insults with less fury UNITED NATIONS — Iran ’s president complained Wednesday about threats of military action from “uncivilized Zionists” and intimidation by nuclear-armed “hegemonic powers” in his address to the U.N. General Assembly .
Obama’s camp calls Libya hit ‘terrorism’ UNITED NATIONS — The Obama administration said Wednesday it now thinks the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya was linked to an affiliate of al Qaeda — an evaluation that comes two weeks after the strike and as the White House has struggled to defend its initial read on the situation.
U.N. chief alarmed by ‘war talk,’ Syrian crisis UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday expressed alarm at the “shrill war talk” between Iran and Israel , and urged leaders to cool their rhetoric.
World leaders clash over Syria UNITED NATIONS — Sharp differences on how to end Syria ’s civil war surfaced at the United Nations on Tuesday, as an Arab ruler urged total support for Syrian rebels soon after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admonished nations not to arm either side in the conflict.
Pakistani president fires back at critics over terror fight UNITED NATIONS — Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday slammed critics who say his country has not done enough in the fight against terrorists and blamed U.S. drone attacks against suspected terrorists for complicating efforts to win hearts and minds.
Afghan president Karzai blasts anti-Islam film UNITED NATIONS — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday said the production of an anti-Islam film and publication of cartoons perceived as insulting to Muslims cannot be justified as freedom of speech or expression, but that they also must not be used as an excuse for violence.
A Faux Wood Plank   U.S. election year. Indian remedies to a fever-pitch outsourcing debate.
U.S. to take Iranian dissident group off terrorist list   The Obama administration intends to take off its list of foreign terrorist groups an Iranian opposition group that was given shelter by Saddam Hussein in Iraq and has renounced violence.
Clinton denounces violent anti-film protests in Pakistan   Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday denounced deadly protests in Pakistan against an anti-Islam film and said “responsible leaders” must condemn the violence.
Suu Kyi calls for release of Russian punk rock band Myanmar ’s pro-democracy opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Thursday called for the release of three female members of a Russian punk rock band jailed for interrupting a ceremony inside a Moscow cathedral to protest President Vladimir Putin .
Myanmar reform leader Suu Kyi praised on Hill   President Obama on Wednesday met with Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who earlier was awarded Congress ‘ highest honor at a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda that brought together Senate and House leaders from both sides of the political aisle as well as two former first ladies.
Suu Kyi calls for easing US sanctions against Myanmar Burmese pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi wants the US to ease remaining sanctions on her country. “I do support the easing of sanctions because I think that our people should start taking responsibility for their own destiny,” Suu Kyi said at the US Institute of Peace on Tuesday.
Suu Kyi backs lifting of U.S. sanctions on Myanmar   Myanmar ’s pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday that she supported the easing of U.S. sanctions on the Southeast Asian nation even though democratic reforms in her country had only cleared the first hurdle.
Nobel activist to warn U.S. of too much faith in Myanmar   One of Asia’s most prominent democracy advocates will warn the Obama administration and members of Congress on a visit to Washington this week against “reckless optimism” over the chance for real political reform in her native Myanmar .
Nobel activist to warn U.S. of too much faith in Myanmar   One of Asia’s most prominent democracy advocates will warn the Obama administration and members of Congress on a visit to Washington this week against “reckless optimism” over the chance for real political reform in her native Myanmar .
Stevens ‘was one of us’ to his friends in Libya To most Libyans, J. Christopher Stevens was one of them. The U.S. ambassador had stood by them, as they rose up and toppled Moammar Gadhafi’s regime last year. What they cherished most was his unwavering optimism about their future.
U.S., Libya to probe violence after slaying of ambassador U.S. and Libyan officials launched investigations Wednesday into a deadly nighttime attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, trying to determine whether it was a premeditated assault by Muslim militants or a mob enraged by a U.S.-produced film that derides Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Libyan officials condemn, apologize for attack on U.S. Consulate Libyan officials on Wednesday condemned Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
U.S. ambassador to Libya killed in attack The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed after armed men stormed the U.S. diplomatic mission in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday.
Libyans burn U.S. Consulate in Benghazi; U.S. official killed A U.S. official was killed and others injured when an armed mob attacked the U.S. Consulate in Libya ’s eastern port city of Benghazi on Tuesday.
Performer says South Sudanese police beat, robbed him An internationally acclaimed South Sudanese hip-hop artist and peace activist says he was beaten and robbed by police while visiting his homeland to promote peace.
Gingrich urges U.S. to seek regime change in Iran through dissidents A preemptive military strike is unlikely to destroy Iran ’s suspected nuclear weapons sites, so the United States must embrace a policy of regime change in Tehran that involves aiding opposition groups, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Monday.
Taliban accuse U.S. of ‘unjust’ war in Afghanistan The U.S. used the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as an “illegal pretext” for an “unjust” war on Afghanistan , the Taliban said in a statement on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the attacks.
Prez Obama unites hope with realism in pitch for re-election   US President Barack Obama on Thursday accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for a second term in office telling Americans that when they pick up the ballot to vote in November they will "face the clearest choice of any time in a generation."
Clinton backs Obama for second term   Wednesday night belonged to Bill Clinton.   The two-term former US President, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, brought the house to its feet as he passionately laid out the case for re-electing Barack Obama as the President of the United States of America and meticulously punched holes in the Republican nominee’s agenda.  
Michelle urges Americans to give ‘man we can trust’ another term  Democrats on Tuesday kicked off their party's national convention with a passionate appeal from First Lady Michelle Obama to Americans to give her husband another four years in the White House, while other speakers made the case why Republican challenger Mitt Romney "doesn't get it."
Former Gadhafi spy chief extradited to Libya Mauritania extradited Moammar Gadhafi ’s former spy chief back to Libya on Wednesday, prompting calls from an international human rights group that he be tried before the International Criminal Court .
Sudanese activist says uprising is imminent A Sudanese man who traveled to South Sudan in May to help rebuild a church and ended up being arrested, tortured and charged with terrorism while on a trip north to Sudan , says his countrymen are mobilizing to topple the regime in Khartoum and desperately need U.S. support.
Romney clinches Republican Party’s nomination   The Republican Party on Tuesday formally anointed Mitt Romney as its nominee to wrest the presidency from Barack Obama in November elections.
Maldives panel: President was not forced to resign A Maldives inquiry commission has determined that the Indian Ocean archipelago’s first democratically elected president was not forced to resign, as he has claimed.
Romney clinches Republican Party’s nomination   The Republican Party on Tuesday formally anointed Mitt Romney as its nominee to wrest the presidency from Barack Obama in November elections.
Sudan, South Sudan prepare for talks as they support rebels Sudan and South Sudan are still supporting rebels in each other’s country as they prepare for a fresh round of talks this week over disputes that brought the two neighbors to the brink of war earlier this year.
U.S. urges Iraq to address concerns of Iranian dissidents The State Department on Wednesday urged Iraq to continue its efforts to address humanitarian concerns raised by Iranian dissidents at a camp near Baghdad.
Top U.N. official in Iraq ‘misled’ world on camp for Iranians The top U.N. official in Iraq directed his staff to cover up the prisonlike conditions of a relocation camp for Iranian dissidents in reports to the world body, said a former U.N. official who has resigned in protest.
Afghan attacks on allies alarm departing nations Western nations preparing to withdraw from combat in Afghanistan increasingly are alarmed by Afghan security forces turning their weapons on allied troops, attacks that the Taliban claim as proof of their sway over local troops.
Collateral Errors T he letters started arriving nine years ago; each one more menacing in tone than its predecessor. “You Taliban, go back home,” read one message mailed to Joginder Singh Sodhi’s home outside Washington. As Sodhi’s young family grew, it moved into a new home. Twice. And each time the type-written letters followed.
Gurdwara shooter Michael Page had committed suicide   Wade Michael Page, the 40-year-old White supremacist who went on a shooting spree at a gurdwara in Wisconsin on Sunday, committed suicide after sustaining a bullet injury to the stomach, law enforcement authorities said on Wednesday. Page was first struck by a blast from a police officer. He then shot himself in the head.
Libya’s interim rulers cede power to elected leaders Libya ’s first democratically elected leaders now govern the North African nation, after interim rulers handed over power in a ceremony late Wednesday in the capital, Tripoli.
FBI probes motive of ‘white’ shooter US President Barack Obama said Americans would “recoil” if the shootings at a gurdwara in Wisconsin on Sunday were “motivated in some way by the ethnicity of those who were attending the temple.” Obama said he was “heartbroken” by the deadly shooting.
Gurdwara shooter identified, was ex-soldier of US army The lone White gunman who shot dead six Sikhs in cold-blood at a Milwaukee suburban gurdwara on Sunday has been identified as a 40-year-old US Army veteran with a 9/11 tattoo on his arm. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched a probe into the incident that law enforcement authorities have termed as "domestic terrorism". No motive has been identified behind the shooting spree. 
Iraq’s threat to close MeK camp worries White House The Obama administration is worried about a threat from the Iraqi government to forcibly shut down a camp for Iranian dissidents north of Baghdad.
Congress extends sanctions on Myanmar The Senate on Thursday approved legislation to extend some sanctions on Myanmar by another year.
U.S. wants to mend ties with Sudan The United States wants to improve ties with Sudan after more than a decade of strained relations, if the African nation ruled by an autocratic president under indictment for war crimes adopts democracy and respects human rights, a senior Obama administration official said on Wednesday.
Report: Anti-Americanism handicaps U.S. aid in Pakistan High levels of anti-Americanism in Pakistan have “handicapped” U.S. efforts to support development in the South Asian nation, according to a new study.
Castro open to talks ‘any day’ U.S. wants Cuban President Raul Castro on Thursday said he is ready for talks with the United States, a day after the Obama administration slammed the communist government for detaining mourners at the funeral of a prominent Cuban dissident.
Primary Colours Could the US have an Indian vice-prez?
Occupational Hazards How the Obama brand paled, the American prez as victim of his own popularity, unrealistic expectations
Terrified Syrians pack up to flee capital Fighting between rebels and Syrian forces intensified and spread across the capital of Damascus on Tuesday as diplomats scrambled to shore up a tough international response to the “civil war” ahead of a U.N. deadline for withdrawing observers.
Former president of the Maldives charged with illegally arresting judge The former president of the Maldives was charged Monday with illegally ordering the arrest of a senior judge, escalating tensions on the Indian ocean island nation.
Power at core of dispute in Egypt The power struggle that has pitted Egypt ’s first democratically elected president against his country’s courts and military has drifted into murky legal waters, leaving analysts, officials and ordinary Egyptians scratching their heads over the question: who has the law on their side?
From bullets to ballot box: Libyans freely cast votes When the uprising erupted in Libya last year, Adam Sbati closed his schoolbooks and left the secure campus of George Mason University in Fairfax County to rush to his parents' homeland and join ragtag rebels fighting Moammar Gadhafi.
Cyprus to pursue growth and austerity during its EU presidency The government of Cyprus will rely on a combination of austerity measures and growth programs to dig its way out of a financial crisis that has forced it to turn to its European Union partners for aid, the Cypriot ambassador in Washington said Tuesday.
Egypt’s Islamist president presents challenge for U.S. The election of Egypt ’s first Islamist president poses a challenge for the Obama administration , which is grappling with the reality of embracing a leader whose worldview often has been at odds with Washington.
Maldives’ former president says he resigned in coup, urges elections Maldives ‘ first democratically elected president says the United States must acknowledge that he was ousted in a coup and press the current government of the Indian Ocean island nation to hold presidential elections this year.
D.C. peace group disinvites Syrian cleric for dialogue A Washington-based foundation has canceled a meeting with Syria ’s top Islamic cleric, a close ally of embattled President Bashar Assad who has vowed to unleash suicide bombers against the U.S. and Europe if the West attacks his country.
Extradition of Gadhafi crony reveals divide in Tunisian government The extradition of Libya ’s former prime minister from Tunis on Sunday has raised concern about his safety and created a rift between Tunisia ’s Islamist prime minister and its liberal president.
Islamist’s win in Egypt leaves U.S. uncertain Egyptians celebrated Sunday the election of their country’s first freely elected president - Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood , who becomes the first Islamist head of state of the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Pakistani court dismisses prime minister Pakistan ’s supreme court dismissed Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday, two months after it had convicted him of contempt for failing to reopen a corruption investigation against President Asif Ali Zardari . The court’s action has created uncertainty over the stability of the government in Islamabad.
McCain hits Russia’s support for Syria Russia has dispatched two warships and a unit of marines to secure its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, and it is delivering anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles to help Syrian President Bashar Assad defend his regime, Sen. John McCain said Monday.
It doesn't pay to work at home The NRI’s India Dream fades. ‘Jobs don’t match up, life just don’t match up.’
Obama, Putin tiptoe on ‘Syrian affair’ In their first meeting following renewed tensions between the U.S. and Russia, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin called Monday for an end to the violence in Syria and said there’s still time for diplomacy to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
‘Anyone With A Laptop Or Tablet Can Take Our Course. We Are Democratising Education.’  Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have recently teamed up to form edX, a not-for-profit online education initiative that aims to teach millions worldwide and reinvent campus-based learning. Anant Agarwal , edX president, told Washington correspondent Ashish Kumar Sen in a freewheeling phone interview that he is confident this partnership will transform education.
India, US resolve to take ties to next level The Obama administration’s decision to exempt India from sanctions for its oil imports from Iran and the signing of a memorandum of understanding that paves the way for a US firm to construct nuclear power plants in Gujarat helped lift the mood at the third US-India strategic dialogue in Washington.
Mubarak cronies try to take back Egypt power Egypt ’s top court plunged the country into turmoil Thursday when it ruled that the Islamist-dominated parliament must be dissolved and the last prime minister to serve under ousted President Hosni Mubarak can run as a candidate in this weekend’s presidential runoff election.
U.S., India discuss ways to enhance economic relationship The U.S. and India agreed Wednesday that there is room for growth in their economic relationship, which has been hampered by the slow pace of reform in New Delhi.
Both sides deny there’s civil war in Syria Syrian troops stormed a rebel-held area on the Mediterranean coast Wednesday, driving out opposition fighters and retaking the Haffa region as world leaders debated the mounting violence there and mulled how to quell it.
India-US ties on right track: Krishna US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna sought to dispel claims that the US-India relationship had run adrift as they chaired the third strategic dialogue in Washington on Wednesday.
Iranian oil, Afghanistan top agenda for U.S.-India talks The third U.S.- India strategic dialogue gets under way in Washington this week as the Obama administration considers imposing sanctions on the South Asian nation for importing oil from Iran .
U.S. pulls negotiators out of stalled talks with Pakistan The United States has pulled its negotiators from Pakistan after failing to reach a deal on reopening ground supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan .
U.S. seeks to iron out issues with India The U.S. wants India to end its dependence on Iranian oil and train Afghan security forces as it seeks to deepen its relationship with a nation it considers a linchpin of its new defense strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.
Ease of militia takeover of Tripoli airport raises questions A senior Libyan official says a “miscommunication” was responsible for militia shutting down Tripoli's international airport on Monday, the latest challenge to the interim government’s authority.