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Russia plane entered Israel control zone from Syria

Russia began strikes in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30, over a year after a US-led coalition began strikes in the country against the Islamic State group (AFP Photo/Sergey Venyavsky)

Jerusalem (AFP) – A Russian warplane recently entered Israeli-controlled airspace from Syria but the intrusion was resolved without incident, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Sunday.

Yaalon's comments come amid deep concern over the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, which claims it strayed over the Syrian border into its airspace and ignored repeated warnings to change course. Moscow denies the allegations.

"There was a slight intrusion a mile (1.6 kilometres) deep by a Russian plane from Syria into our airspace, but it was immediately resolved and the Russian plane returned towards Syria," Yaalon told public radio.

"It was apparently an error by the pilot who was flying near the Golan."

Israel seized most of the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and later annexed the territory in a move never recognised by the international community.

Yaalon recalled that Israel and Russia had made arrangements to avoid clashes over Syria, with the agreement said to include a "hotline" and information sharing.

He said "Russian planes do not intend to attack us, which is why we must not automatically react and shoot them down when an error occurs."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Moscow in September to discuss ways of avoiding accidental clashes.

Russia launched a bombing campaign in Syria on September 30 at the request of its longstanding ally Bashar al-Assad that Moscow says is targeting Islamic State jihadists and other "terrorist" groups.

Israel has reportedly launched more than a dozen air strikes in Syria since 2013, mainly targeting alleged arms transfers to Hezbollah, and Israeli officials were believed to have feared that Russia's intervention could limit their room for manoeuvre.

Israel opposes Assad, but has sought to avoid being dragged into the war.

It also fears that Iran could increase its support for Hezbollah and other militant groups as international sanctions are gradually lifted under a July nuclear deal that Moscow helped negotiate between Tehran and world powers.

In September 2014, Israel downed a Russian-made Syrian warplane over the Golan Heights in the first such incident in three decades and warned it would respond "forcefully" if its security was threatened.

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Free at last: Ian Kirby Speaks Out

6th December 2021
Justice Ian Kirby

The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.

WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?

Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.

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Civil society could rescue Botswana’s flawed democracy’ 

6th December 2021
Parliament

Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed.  This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.

In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’  The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.

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Bangwato at loggerheads over Moshupa trip

6th December 2021

Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama). 

Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.

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