KYRGYZSTAN: Deposed leader wants family safe
The deposed president has refused to go quietly until the safety of his family is guaranteed. Kurmanbek Bakiyev's family of two sons, five brothers and his brothers' many sons are a clan that has grown wealthy and powerful under his rule, and the new government says it will offer them no guarantees. The stalemate prolongs the uncertainty in the Central Asian nation and poses a dilemma for the new interim leaders. One of Bakiyev's brothers, who headed the state security guard service, is accused of ordering his men to open fire on the protesters who stormed the main government building on April 7. At least 83 people were killed. Bakiyev fled Bishkek and is holed up in Teyit, his home village in the south.
IRAQ: Al-Qaida plot reported foiled
Security forces disrupted a 9/11-style plot by al-Qaida in Iraq to fly hijacked planes into Shia religious shrines, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday. Iraqi security officials said they temporarily shut down two airports and arrested two men, one of the intended pilots and an airport worker suspected in the plot, which appeared aimed at undermining the country's stability. Airports in Baghdad and Najaf were shuttered last week as intelligence officials said they learned of the plot. The airport in Najaf remains closed because of its proximity to the gold-domed Imam Ali shrine, one of the most revered Shia religious mosques in the world.
ISRAEL: Scud missile warning
Defense officials said Wednesday they believe Hezbollah has Scud missiles that could hit all of Israel, a day after Israel's president accused Syria of supplying the Lebanese guerrillas with the weapons. The introduction of Scuds could alter the strategic balance with Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that battled Israel to a stalemate during a monthlong war in 2006. President Shimon Peres, in Paris, charged that Syria is playing a double game, talking about peace, while "delivering Scuds . . . to threaten Israel."