Bombings seen tied to Syria
Turkey’s prime minister vowed Sunday his country won’t be drawn into Syria’s civil war, despite twin car bombings the government believes were carried out by a group of Turks with close ties to pro-government groups in Syria.
The bombings left 46 people dead and marked the biggest incident of violence across the border since the start of Syria’s bloody civil war, raising fears of Turkey being pulled deeper into a conflict that threatens to destabilize the region.
Syria has rejected allegations it was behind the attacks. But Turkish authorities said Sunday they had detained nine Turkish citizens with links to the Syrian intelligence agency in connection with the bombings in the border town of Reyhanli, a hub for Syrian refugees and rebels just across from Syria’s Idlib province.
Obama hails nation’s police
President Barack Obama on Saturday praised the nation’s police officers for everyday acts of courage, saying they often rush into danger to do “some really tough stuff.”
In a White House ceremony honoring some of the bravest, he said America need look no further than the Boston Marathon bombings to know what police are made of: “Police officers … running towards explosions not knowing if there was something more on the way. Law enforcement from different agencies in different parts of the country working together as one united team to identify suspects and bring them to justice.”
He said few will ever forget the end of the marathon manhunt in Watertown, Mass. Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a gunbattle with police, and residents cheered and gave police high fives after his brother Dzhokhar was apprehended.
Gates: Syria move a mistake
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he thinks direct U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war — particularly direct military involvement — would be a mistake.
Gates, who served both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, says he oversaw wars that began with quick regime change “and we all know what happened after that.”
He asks on CBS’ “Face that Nation, “Haven’t we learned that when you go to war, the outcomes are unpredictable?”
To those who think intervention might be ‘clean” and “neat,” Gates says “most wars aren’t that way.”
He says that if the U.S. were to do anything in Syria, it might be picking opposition groups that the U.S. believes would have some degree of moderation, and providing them with intelligence and basic military equipment.
Former PM looks like winner
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looked poised Sunday to return to office with a resounding election victory — a mandate that could make it easier to tackle the country’s daunting problems, including growing power outages, weak economic growth and shaky government finances.
Questions remain, however, about Sharif’s stance on another key issue: violent Islamic extremism. Critics have accused his party of being soft on radicals because it hasn’t cracked down on militant groups in its stronghold of Punjab province.
That could be a concern for the United States, which has pushed Pakistan for years to take stronger action against a variety of Islamic militant groups, especially fighters staging cross-border attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.