Middle East Update

By: Kolton Meditz, Bryce Cowan, and Courtney Wohletz

Afganistan

Recently in Afghanistan there have been very tragic events. As winter hits Qambar refugee camp(12 miles from kalub) the citizens are struggling to stay alive. These citizens are short on clothing, food, shelter, and everything in between. Many Families have already lost many family members. While I was talking to mr.Mohammad he said "We are relying on God and good luck to survive this winter."

Now 12 miles away we have Kalub who has been struggling with suicide bombers. On one crazy afternoon in Kabul there was a van packed with explosives and was driven into the front of the National Security Directorate (NSD). There was 33 civilians injured and 1 guard killed. Six suicide bombers were killed in less than 10 minutes. As we interviewed civilians down the street, and most of them said it was huge explosion.

Its hardly a surprise that Obama wants to pull the troops out of Afghanistan. Obama could be taking a huge risk if he pulls out the troops. Since our troops have been in Afghanistan for 12 years. Mr.Obama would be leaving a big part of the Middle East vulnerable to other rivals.

Iran

Big news for Iran, they are getting a good deal from the U.S. Iran has insisted on two benefits from a deal; sanctions relief and nuclear enrichments. An agreement is more likely to happen if these issues are addressed with a generous offer. Surprisingly this sanction relief may be harder to do than the nuclear enrichment.

Iran space officials announced they will make another attempt to launch a live monkey into space. Hamid Fazeli, head of the Iranian space agency was quoted as saying the countries Mehr News space agency on January 15. '' These monkeys will be sent into space according to a time table on Fajr ceremonies.''Fezeil said referring to a ten day period in the beginning of February when the Iranian revolution is commemorated.

Nearly 50 Iranians headed home after being freed by Syrians rebels in a prisoner swap and were stranded on Thursday at the Damascus airport by bad weather that had swept the middle east. A syrian official said the Iranians left the Damascus Sheraton early Thursday. But the plane to take them home after months of captivity could not take off because of strong winds from a fierce winter storm that has hit the region in recent days.

Iraq

Iraq and the United States are joining forces once again. The U.S. delivered three Bell 407 Scout helicopters to Iraq Army Aviation. This is the sixth time they have delivered through Foreign Military Sales that began in 2010. "We are building partner capacity, which means the Iraqis are building their own capability that allows them to perform operations that the U.S. is no longer there to provide." said Kevin Richardson. Today's delivery included spares parts, ground support equipment and tools, and logistical aircraft maintenance support.

In northern Iraq and Baghdad more than 30 people died in a suicide attack and other bombings. At least 21 people died and more than 170 were wounded. Three more people died and 37 wounded in a seperate bombing outside a rival Kurdish political party. Roadside bombs and gun attacks in Baghdad and Baiji killed seven policemen and soldiers. Violence in Iraq is down since the height of sectarian bloodletting in 2006-2007 when thousands were killed. Last year saw a rise in deaths for the first time in three years with more than 4,400 people killed in attacks.

An unusually heavy snowstorm blanketed Sulaimaniya city, in northern Iraq on January 12. The snow in northern Iraq comes as wintry storms have swept through the Middle East, in the most severe weather to hit the region in decades. At least 17 people died due to the storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. Schools have shut down for days. The weather has definetly affected Iraq and the people living in it.