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An independent view of the world seen from Pacific Tokelau

The Independent New York Times

Pacific, November 2012 - News Magazine's Summary of News

Picture published by opposition activists purportedly showing destroyed buildings in the Khalidiya district of Homs (8 October 2012) People hold up the flag of the al-Nusra Front at a protest in Aleppo (21 September 2012)
Ankara - The Turkish government has confirmed it is deploying more fighter jets to an airbase close to the border with Syria, amid artillery exchanges along its tense south-eastern border with Syria. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, addressed parliament on the issue on Tuesday, saying that his country does not want war, but that Turkey needs to be prepared for anything.At least 25 additional F-16 fighter jets were deployed at Turkey's Diyarbakir air base late on Monday. 

Naval forces that could be deployed in the Middle East: China's new aircraft carrier (left), Iranian warships (centre), Russian aircraft carrier and support vessels (right). Speaking after a Friends of Syria conference, held in Tunisia, Hillary Clinton said that Russia and China must join international condemnation of President Assad's regime. 'It's quite distressing to see two permanent members of the Security Council using their veto while people are being murdered women, children, brave young men houses are being destroyed,' she said. 'It is just despicable and I ask whose side are they on? They are clearly not on the side of the Syrian people.' Hillary Clinton predicted a military coup inside Syria, the kind that ended the old regimes in Egypt and Tunisia. 'We saw this happen in other settings last year, I think it is going to happen in Syria,' she announced. 'We also know from many sources that there are people around Assad who are beginning to hedge their bets they didn't sign up to slaughter people.' Assad allies Russia and China have blocked UN action on Syria want so as to avoid the kind of foreign intervention that happened in Libya. Moscow and Beijing vetoed UN Security Council resolutions backing Arab League plans aimed at ending the conflict and condemning Assad's crackdown.

Tension in the oil shipping lanes of the Gulf intensifies amid indications that Iran, Israel and the US will hold military exercises designed to test weaponry and tactics following Iran's threats to block the Strait of Hormuz, which serves as the conduit for 17 millions barrels of oil every day. Naval commanders believe the deployment of HMS Daring, a Type 45 destroyer, will send a significant message to the Iranians because of the firepower and world-beating technology carried by the warship. Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, has publicly warned Iran that any blockade of the Strait of Hormuz would be "illegal and unsuccessful". The Daily Telegraph understands that HMS Daring has been fitted with new technology that will give it the ability to shoot down any missile in Iran's armoury. The 1 billion destroyer, which will leave Portsmouth next Wednesday, also carries the world's most sophisticated naval radar, capable of tracking multiple incoming threats from missiles to fighter jets. Daring, with its crew of 190, will transit through the Suez Canal and enter the Gulf later this month to replace the Type 23 frigate currently on station. Iran completed a 10-day naval exercise in the sensitive waters near the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, staging manoeuvres which included firing three anti-ship missiles understood to be the Chinese-made C-802. Yesterday, Tehran said that another exercise would be held in the same area next month. Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the naval branch of the Revolutionary Guard, warned that this would be different from the most recent one. Speaking earlier, Mr Hammond said that our joint naval presence in the Arabian Gulf was key to keeping the Strait of Hormuz open for international trade. A Navy source has indicated that more British ships could be sent to the Gulf if required. The second Type 45, HMS Dauntless, will also be available to sail at short notice.

EDITORIAL - As the City of London leads the battle against the euro it is time to look more closely at Britain's situation, which is far from glorious.