October 2013 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of October 2013.
Netanyahu Maintains Tough Stance against Iran (Oct. 1): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travels to Washington D.C. to meet with President Obama to discuss the situation with Iran, including Iranian President Hassan Rowhani's recent overtures toward thawing relations with the west. The meeting between Netanyahu and Obama comes less than a week after Obama had spoken with Rowhani on the phone, the first time the leaders of the United States and Iran have talked in 34 years. During their meeting, Netanyahu and Obama present a united front when it comes to Iran having nuclear weapons. Obama assures Netanyahu that the U.S. will still turn to military action to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. (Oct 2): Netanyahu gives his annual speech at the United Nations. During the speech, he refers to Iranian President Rowhani as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and warns the international community not to be fooled by Rowhani's recent overtures. "I want there to be no confusion on this point. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," Netanyahu says.
Top al-Qaeda Operative Captured in Tripoli (Oct. 5): U.S. commandoes capture Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a high-ranking al-Qaeda operative who is known as Abu Anas al-Libi, in Tripoli. U.S. authorities have been pursuing Abu Anas, who was indicted for helping plan the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, for about 15 years. While commandoes capture Abu Anas, U.S. Navy SEALs storm a villa in Somalia in pursuit of an Al Shabab leader who goes by the name Ikrimah. The commandos are met with strong resistance and engage in a gun battle with militants before retreating without capturing or killing Ikrimah. U.S. officials do not link Ikrimah to the mall attack in Nairobi last month, but do say he is one of the militants in charge of planning attacks outside Somalia and that he is connected to members of Al Qaeda who masterminded the 1998 attack on the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nuclear Talks between Iran and UN Security Council Resume (Oct. 15): Talks about Iran's nuclear program between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany resumes in Geneva after being on hold for six months. They are the most promising and specific to date. While no formal agreement is reached both sides signal a willingness to negotiate and express hope that a deal can be in place within a year.
Saudi Arabia Declines UN Security Council Seat (Oct. 18): Saudi Arabia declines a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council, a position it had been working toward for several years. The unprecedented move stuns both the UN and U.S. diplomats. "Allowing the ruling regime in Syria to kill and burn its people by the chemical weapons, while the world stands idly, without applying deterrent sanctions against the Damascus regime, is also irrefutable evidence and proof of the inability of the Security Council to carry out its duties and responsibilities," the Saudi ambassador to the UN says in a statement. Saudi Arabia has become increasingly frustrated with the U.S.'s Middle East policy. Saudi Arabia, which supports the opposition in Syria, feels betrayed by President Obama backing off his promise to aid the opposition and Obama's choice of diplomacy over a military strike on Syria for its use of chemical weapons. In addition, Saudi Arabia feels threatened by the warming of relations between the U.S. and Iran, as well as by the reopening of multi-nation talks on Iran's nuclear weapons program. It fears that closer ties between the U.S. and Iran would compromise Saudi Arabia's standing in the Middle East.
Mozambique's 1992 Peace Pact Collapses (Oct. 21): The Renamo opposition movement announces it is abandoning the 1992 Rome General Peace Accords with the governing FRELIMO party. Renamo makes the announcement after government troops attack a Renamo base where Afonso Dhlakama, Renamo's leader, is staying. Dhlakama is forced to flee. Fernando Mazanga, a Renamo spokesperson, says "Peace is over in the country. The responsibility lies with the Frelimo government because they didn't want to listen to Renamo's grievances." (Oct. 22): The day after Renamo announces that the treaty is no longer, they attack a police station in Maringue. There are no casualties or injuries reported. The government does not respond to the police station attack or Renamo's announcement. Renamo's announcement to abandon the treaty, which ended Mozambique's 1975-92 civil war, raises concerns that the conflict between the two parties will be renewed.
Relations between U.S. and France Strained by NSA Spying (Oct. 22): Documents leaked to the media by Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency's surveillance program reveal that in one 30-day period between Dec. 2012 and Jan. 2013, the NSA collected information on some 70 million digital communications in France. President Francois Hollande expresses outrage. France's government summoned the U.S. ambassador to France, Charles Rivkin, to a meeting at the foreign ministry.
Relations between U.S. and Germany Also Strained by NSA Spying (Oct. 24): NSA documents leaked to the media by Edward Snowden reveal that the agency tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone for about 10 years, beginning in 2002. Outraged, she calls U.S. president Barack Obama, who apologizes and promises that such activity will not continue. The incident sours the relationship between the U.S. and Germany who are normally close allies.
Israel Releases More Prisoners to Help with Peace Negotiations (Oct. 30): Israel frees another 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of the current U.S.-brokered peace talks. However, soon after the prisoners are released, Israel's army radio reports that the Israeli government plans to build 1,500 new homes in east Jerusalem, an area claimed by the Palestinians. The settlement announcement is seen as a way for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make up for the prisoner release. Netanyahu has been criticized in Israel for releasing the prisoners who were in jail for deadly attacks on Israelis. In a speech to his own Likud party, Netanyahu says, "the decision to release the prisoners is one of the most difficult I've had to make. It is unjust because these terrorists are being released before completing their sentence. My heart is with the families of the victims." After the prisoners are released, thousands gather in Palestine to celebrate. At the West Bank celebration, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says, "There will be no final agreement without the release of all the prisoners."