RealNews

U.S. relief efforts stymied by political instability

Down in the hull, everything is ready: There are tractors, trucks and three huge landing craft. There’s water purifying equipment and plastic tarps and wood beams for building temporary shelters. And there are more than 1,300 Marines ready to take it all ashore and get to work helping tsunami survivors. But in the political minefield of southern Asia, getting American boots on the ground is a delicate concept – even for a strictly humanitarian mission. While U.S. military helicopters have been flying supplies to stricken villages in Indonesia for a few days, plans to land a Marine expeditionary unit on Sri Lanka were put on hold after that nation’s government scaled back its request for help, possibly to avoid further strains on a shaky cease-fire with insurgents. The island’s Tamil Tiger rebels objected to the presence of troops from the United States or neighboring India. Full Story

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