Tens of thousands of celebrating Iraqis welcomed Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, the leader of Iraq’s main Islamic movement, as he journeyed through the south of the country to Najaf after his return from exile in Islamic Iran on May 10.
The Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, was rocked by four massive explosions late on May 12, as Crescent was going to press. They were apparently aimed at Western targets in the city, including residential compounds where Western expatriates live, and the headquarters of an American-owned company, the Saudi Maintenance Company.
The announcement on April 29 by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld that American troops and aircraft would be moved out of Saudi Arabia by the end of the summer does not mean the end of trouble for the ruling al-Saud family.
Only days after the parliamentary elections in Yemen on April 27, the US agency for international aid (USAID) announced the return of its mission to the country after seven years, saying that its activities would be restricted to the areas of public health, primary education and the provision of security, and the sources of income and food in certain rural areas.
Barely four months after the second ceasefire was signed between the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), the deal has crumbled yet again, though no one is surprised.
The telephone conversation between Pakistani prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Indian prime minister, on April 28, is believed to have renewed hopes for restored diplomatic relations between the two nuclear neighbours.
As evidence emerges of manipulation of intelligence on Iraq’s weapons of mass-destruction (WMDs) by the governments of the US and Britain, demands for proof that Baghdad did indeed possess such weapons are being replaced by calls for the abandonment of an unsustainable stand.