Mubarak Hospitalized, Faces Inquiry; Missile Strike Kills 6 in Pakistan
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak speaks to the media following talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery on March 4, 2010. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has been hospitalized with heart problems in Sharm el-Sheikh, will face a 15-day detention as Egypt’s prosecutor general conducts an inquiry into charges of corruption and abuse. His sons, Gamal and Alaa, are also being investigated. The family’s assets have been frozen, and they had previously been banned from leaving the country.
Mubarak, 82, stepped down in February after three decades in office in response to mass protests in Cairo and elsewhere demanding his ouster. He has since been at a Red Sea resort, but protesters in Tahrir Square have continued their demands that he stand trial.
Despite being hospitalized, Mubarak has reportedly been well enough to answer questions, though there has been speculation about the state of his overall health. A little over a year ago, Mubarak had undergone gall bladder surgery in Germany.
Strike Near Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Kills 6, Suicide Bomber Kills 10
Days after friction over covert activity in Pakistan made headlines, two U.S. missile strikes near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan killed six alleged Taliban fighters in South Waziristan. The U.S. has relied on drone strikes to target Taliban in remote, mountainous areas near the border, a tactic that Pakistan has showed increasing resistance to.
The detention of an American CIA contractor, Raymond Davis, in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis had heightened tensions. Davis, who claimed it was an attempted robbery and that he acted in self-defense, was acquitted.
The rising tensions were examined on Tuesday’s NewsHour:
In Afghanistan, a suicide bomber targeting an influential tribal leader killed 10 people, including five schoolboys, in Asmar district. Malik Zareen, a former military commander, was reportedly at a local council meeting when the attack took place. Seven others were wounded in the blast.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, saying in a statement that “The strong pillars of Afghanistan are the tribal elders. They are trying to solve the problems of the local people.”
Syrian Women Block Highway in Fresh Protests
Women from the town of Bayda are protesting to demand the release of men held by security forces, witnesses say, and have marched on a highway near Damascus chanting, “Where are the men of Bayda?” The men were reportedly detained after a fresh round of protests in the town on Tuesday was met with a crackdown by government forces.
Despite promises of reform from President Bashar Assad, the protests — and crackdowns — have grown in recent weeks. By some estimates, 200 people have died in recent clashes. Assad, who has largely blamed the violence on armed thugs, had promised to lift a longstanding state of emergency and shuffled some government officials, but the moves have failed to quell the unrest.
Foreign journalists have been largely banned from Bayda and Beit Jnad, where witnesses claim the men have been rounded up.
Libyan Rebels Call for More U.S. Involvement
Despite a public handover of leadership to NATO, Libyan rebels are calling on the U.S. to step up their involvement in strikes against forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. NATO, Arab and African leaders are meeting in Doha to asses the situation.
“When the Americans were involved, the mission was very active and it was more leaning toward protecting the civilians,” said opposition spokesman Mahmoud Shamman. France has in recent days criticized NATO for not doing enough to prevent Gadhafi’s forces from inflicting civilian casualties in places like Misrata, which has been under siege for weeks.
The diplomatic sparring reflects a complex situation on the ground, where Gadhafi’s forces have been able to adapt to the air-only campaign. The growing debate over whether further action, such as arming or funding the rebels, would be needed to end an apparent military stalemate.
The opposition refused a deal proposed by the African Union to end fighting, saying it will only accept Gadhafi’s departure.
Qatar said it is helping with the sale and transport of oil from rebel-held areas and has delivered supplies to Benghazi, the de facto rebel headquarters. Qatar was an early proponent in the region of strikes and has publicly backed the rebels’ agenda.