Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for September 5, 2012

Newsline: Attack on US Embassy Car in Mexico Was an Accident

High-ranking Mexican security officials are portraying the shooting of two CIA agents by Mexican federal police as a well-intentioned mishap rather than a deliberate attack. A series of military and law-enforcement officials have emphasized in public statements over the last three days that the group of 12 federal police was investigating a kidnapping when they encountered the two U.S. agents and a Mexican marine captain and opened fire on their armored sport-utility vehicle. U.S. and Mexican statements released on the day of the shooting contained few details, excluding mention of the kidnapping probe. As a result, they left open the possibility that it could have been a deliberate attack on the Americans by corrupt officers or a gross error by well-intentioned but trigger-happy police conducting legitimate work in a dangerous rural area outside the city of Cuernavaca. Mexican officials declined to elaborate for more than a week after the shooting, but now appear to be trying to be making a case for the accidental scenario. The federal police officers were ordered detained under a form of house arrest for 40 days on suspicion of abusing their authority. That charge can entail both criminal wrongdoing and extreme negligence.



Newsline: Police tear gas activists attacking Syrian embassy in Cairo

Egyptian police fired tear gas to scatter about 100 activists who tried to storm the Syrian embassy in Cairo to replace the national flag there with a Syrian rebel one, a Reuters journalist said. Activists and police also threw stones at each other, inflicting minor injuries on both sides, a security source said. Security forces arrested about five of the demonstrators. The Syrian embassy in Cairo has been attacked several times in the past year, including one incident in February when activists protested about bloodshed in the Syrian city of Homs, where they said more than 200 people had been killed. The Homs incident also prompted protests outside Syria’s embassies in Britain, Germany and the United States.


Newsline: U.S. ambassador to Israel dismisses ‘silly story’

The U.S. ambassador to Israel is denying reports that he received a private tongue lashing from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over President Obama’s policy toward Iran and that he, in return, lectured the Israeli leader about the need for more diplomacy to prevent the extremist Islamic regime from building a nuclear bomb. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro called a report in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot a “silly story,” according to the European Jewish Press. Press reports of friction between Israel and the United States “don’t reflect the very close coordination and intense work we’ve done together,” the ambassador added. Yediot Ahronot, the most widely read Israeli newspaper, reported on the diplomatic dust-up between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Shapiro during a closed meeting with visiting U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Netanyahu complained to the ambassador that the White House is “pressuring” Israel against attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities “instead of pressuring Iran in an effective way,” the newspaper said, quoting sources who attended the meeting. The prime minister at one point declared that the “time has run out” for more diplomacy. Mr. Shapiro responded by repeating the Obama administration’s position that international sanctions against Iran are working.