TURKEY The country's unpredictable parliament is expected to vote as early as this week on a U.S. request to send up to 11,000 troops to Iraq. Given that Turkey rejected an American request to admit U.S. troops to Turkish soil before the war, officials in Ankara are not forecasting the outcome. But there are reasons to believe that the result will be different this time. Turkey's armed forces and the pro-Islamic government both realize that failing Washington again could endanger Turkey's economy, says Dogu Ergil, a political scientist at Ankara University.
They also believe that Turkish interests in Iraq especially Ankara's eagerness to prevent Kurds from establishing political autonomy there will get a boost if Turkey sends troops. "There is an urgent need to restore peace and order," says deputy Suleyman Gunduz of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK). He voted no to the U.S. request before the war, but will back the current bill and expects many of his colleagues to do the same. Diplomats tell TIME the government will first seek broad authorization, leaving the details until later.
BELGIUM Tunisian-born al-Qaeda member Nizar Trabelsi was sentenced to 10 years in prison after he admitted planning a suicide bomb attack on a NATO military base. Trabelsi was
Setback for Silvio
ITALY In a surprise sign of unrest within Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's ruling coalition, the lower house of parliament passed two opposition amendments to a bill to overhaul the media industry. The bill, which critics say will benefit Berlusconi's business empire, must now return to the upper house, delaying its final approval. Berlusconi had characterized the secret ballot as a vote of confidence in his leadership.
Secret Al-Qaeda Arrest
AZERBAIJAN The last of the al-Qaeda operatives from Georgia's Pankisi Valley still being sought by the U.S. was arrested in the Azeri capital of Baku in a secret operation in September, security officials in the Caucasus told TIME. Abu-Ayat was an alleged explosives specialist who claimed to be close to Osama bin Laden and had been on the run for over a year. He was handed over to the U.S., local officials say, and has probably been transferred to Guantánamo Bay.
ISRAEL A suicide bomb attack at a restaurant in the northern port of Haifa killed at least 19 people and injured up to 50. The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. Hours later, Israeli helicopter gunships struck two locations in the Gaza Strip. The violence came just before Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
Conflict of Interest
ALGERIA The governmental crisis deepened as the main political party, the National Liberation Front (FLN), withdrew five ministers from the coalition cabinet. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika fired FLN leader Ali Benflis as PM in May, and sacked five other FLN ministers last month.
The U.N. Moves In
LIBERIA Fighting between rebels and government forces in Monrovia marred the formal takeover by the U.N. of peacekeeping duties. The 3,500 members of the interim West African force already in Liberia formed the nucleus of the new U.N. Mission to Liberia (UNMIL). The last of 200 U.S. soldiers left the country.
RWANDA With 74% of the vote, President Paul Kagame's alliance won the first multiparty legislative elections since the country's independence from Belgium in 1962.