Last week, Ukrainian opposition party leader Vitali Klitschko threw world peace down the drain by attempting to take on the Kiev PD singlehandedly. That was pretty hard to top this week, but a bunch of Mexican cartels, some Molotov cocktail-loving Northern Irish kids, and the Syrian army did their absolute best to ensure that enough blood was shed to quench Satan's thirst.
Last Wednesday in Sinaloa state, a convoy of seven police officers was attacked by cartel gunmen who ambushed their vehicles. In the ensuing gun battle, four gunmen and all seven officers were killed. According to the region's governor, Mario Lopez, the motive behind the attack was to avenge a recent spate of arrests and narcotics seizures amid the continuing crackdown on Mexico's extremely violent drugs trade.
As if this brazen attack wasn't enough, a day later gunmen attacked a Christian youth camp just outside the capital, Mexico City, raping several of the female campers and beating and robbing others in an ordeal that lasted several hours. Both these attacks come at a tough time for Mexico, as various parties are squabbling over the results of a recent election.
Whoever does end up in power is not going to have an easier time than their predecessor, Felipe Calderon, architect of the war against the cartels. He, I imagine, will be taking the first flight to the Caribbean, double-fisting pina coladas and never looking back.
It's marching season in Ireland and, as usual, everyone's getting very angry with each other. Violence broke out in the Ardoyne area of Belfast after loyalist Orangemen paraded through the republican area, prompting local republicans to hold a counter-march. The latter were then pelted with stones by the former.
Police stepped in to separate the two warring sides, but obviously in doing so, they became the target of a confluence of sectarian rage. The cops came under a hail of petrol bombs and stones and fireworks, while several cars were driven at police lines. Later, shots were fired by both loyalists and republicans, to which the police responded with baton charges, rubber bullets, and water cannons, and later with a condemnation (!) of the violence.
Sudanese protesters have been raging against the regime's tough austerity measures and fuel subsidy cuts for almost a month now. In a desperate attempt to look like they're still in control, the government in turn has cracked down hard. Since the unrest began, over 2,000 protesters have been arrested, with an additional 30 this past Friday. After the day's prayers, hundreds of protesters took to the streets only to be dispersed by police with tear gas and baton charges, but footage and photos of the demonstrations have been hard to come by, as the media face severe restrictions when reporting on "negative" events and several foreign journalists have been arrested.
The protests aren't showing any signs of dying out, though, even if that doesn't seem to exactly worry the country's leader, Omar al-Bashir. He apparently threatened Sudan's opposition with "a burning hot summer." Was that literal, or metaphorical? My guess is he's not talking about the weather.
The civil war in Syria has entered an intense and important stage, as, at the time of writing, violence has been engulfing Damascus for three full days. Starting early on Sunday morning, the Free Syrian Army staged a number of attacks in the suburbs of the capital, with residents joining them to block the roads. This has been the longest and most violent period of violence to hit Damascus, and has seemingly caught the regime unprepared. Its forces have been wrestling with the FSA for control of areas only a few miles from the presidential palace. The Syrian army has resorted to shelling FSA controlled areas of the city, and has been reported to have deployed a number of attack helicopters that the FSA say they've shot down.
The FSA on the other hand, have been moving forces into the city for ten days in preparation for the attack, which they have given the rather coy and equivocal codename "Operation Damascus Volcano." An FSA commander stated, "We have started the operation to liberate Damascus. This has been planned for some time now. We have sent at least 50 groups, each with around 50 fighters. There is no going back."
As of today (Wednesday), the battle still rages on. This morning, Syrian Defense Minister General Daoud Rajha was killed in a suspected suicide bombing at the National Security HQ. The regime claim it was one of his bodyguards, but the FSA claim it was their handiwork. This is the most high-profile assassination to date and shows clear lapses in regime security. Whether the FSA can keep the momentum up and their supply lines open remains to be seen. In the case that the battle fails to topple the regime, the FSA has still experienced a massive boost and tested their tactical acumen on a grand scale. A major civilian uprising in the city is nothing unfathomable. Could this be the beginning of the end for Assad?
Peace has been thwarted once more, but do check back next week. Worst comes to worst, we'll all be living happily together and I'll have gone back to writing about my passion for Airfix.
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