Monthly Archives: July 2012

Why war veterans find going to war as risky as coming home

On a warm summer afternoon in Champion, Ohio, Michael Ecker, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, called out to his father from a leafy spot in their backyard. Then, as the two stood steps apart, Michael saluted, raised a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. “His eyes rolled back,” his father, Matt, said softly as he recounted the 2009 suicide. “There was just nothing I could do.” Weeks before he killed himself, Michael received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs accusing him of “over-reporting” the extent of his psychiatric problems. It was the culmination of a long struggle that Ecker, diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic … Continue reading

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Syrian rebels capture border towns and parts of Damascus

Rebel fighters in Syria, building on the momentum gained by their brazen assassination of three top security officials a day earlier, seized all four border crossings with Iraq and one into Turkey while also claiming for the first time to have captured a pocket of Damascus after intense street fighting. The government fought back hard, with no indication that its far superior military machine had lost its edge against an opposition still working predominately with small-calibre weapons. Helicopters blasted the northern Damascus suburb of Qaboun with rockets, while the armed forces warned residents of a wide area of the southern part of the capital to evacuate ahead of an assault. … Continue reading

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West ‘blackmailing’ Russia on sanctions – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Western attempts to get Moscow to discuss sanctions against Syria contain “elements of blackmail”. Mr Lavrov said the West had threatened to end a UN observer mission if Russia opposed its draft resolution. Peace envoy Kofi Annan arrived in Moscow Monday and was expected to urge Russia to put more pressure on Syria’s leaders to begin a political transition. Russia has strong ties with Syria and has vetoed foreign intervention calls. It has circulated its own draft resolution calling for the extension of the observer mission’s mandate, which runs out on Friday. It does not contain any threat of sanctions against Damascus. Mr … Continue reading

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