Home > News > News in Brief: 22 October 2008

News in Brief: 22 October 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

Iraq asks for changes to US troops pact draft. Iraq demanded changes to a draft security pact with the United States on Tuesday after it failed to win the support of its political leaders despite months of painstaking negotiations with Washington. (Today’s Zaman)

Interview with Ambassador Imad Moustapha: Peace Talks, Hizbullah, Palestine. “It is important to understand that any Syrian approach to peace with Israel falls under its endorsement of the Pan Arab Peace Initiative. Therefore, any long-term relationship with Israel will ultimately fall within a broader Arab strategic plan.” (Syria Comment)

The Coming Change of Course in Afghanistan. Despite the deterioration of security in the Afghan countryside—illustrated by the recent massacre of 24 bus passengers by the Taliban on a major highway in Helmand province—a Taliban reconquest of Afghanistan is unlikely. Recall that it took years, $5-6 billion in CIA funding matched dollar for dollar by the Saudis, and a concerted national effort by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan assisting a variety of domestic and foreign fighters to expel the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. (Japan Focus)

Afghanistan: The Challenges Facing the Next US Presidential Administration. During the US presidential campaign, both candidates have endorsed the idea of deploying more troops to Afghanistan to help the embattled country surmount its present stabilization challenges. While the candidates may think they are being generous with this offer, they would do well to take a hard look at the nature and details of the deployment, as well as how it would dovetail with a larger Afghan strategy that includes humanitarian relief, reconstruction programs and civil society development. (Eurasianet)

Study Finds Dubious Information Helped Lead to Torture of 3 Canadians. The passing of inflammatory information from Canadian police and intelligence officials to the United States contributed to the jailing and torture of three Canadian citizens by Syria, according to a report of a Canadian inquiry released Tuesday. (New York Times)

Top Military Officers Talk in U.S.-Russia Conference. The United States and Russia sent their top military officers to this neutral capital, with its resonant legacy of cold-war-era talks, for a secretly arranged meeting on Tuesday to try to push their strained relations back on track, American officials said. (New York Times)

Asia-EU Summit to Address ‘Financial Tsunami’. Cast in the role of global saviour in the unfolding financial turmoil, China is playing host to a meeting of Asian and European leaders in Beijing this week that is expected to castigate the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism and press for a reshaped global economic order. (IPS)

UN Resolution 1701: A View from Lebanon. Two years after the 2006 summer war, Hizballah and Israel continue to pay lip service to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 while focusing on preparations for the inevitable second round of conflict. (Washington Institute of Near East Policy)

Elusive consensus on Iran. Neo-conservative groups in the United States are using the presidential transition period to strengthen perceptions of an Iranian nuclear threat and stymie any plans for the next administration to change policy on Tehran. (Asia Times)

India, Japan sign pact on security. India and Japan on Wednesday signed a joint declaration on security cooperation that will intensify interaction between their militaries and expand the scope of strategic dialogue between the two Asian powers. (Times of India)

New US leaders need a Japanese ‘jolt’. As the world prepares for the election and inauguration of a new American administration, policymakers in Japan are thinking about ways their country can extend and reinforce the Japan-US strategic relationship. (Asia Times)

Canada, EU seek new trade pact amid financial crisis. Montreal Canada and the European Union are committed to forging a comprehensive economic partnership, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Friday. (Khaleej Times)

EGYPT: Food For The People. Caught between low wages and rising prices, many Egyptians have had to replace meat and vegetables with cheaper food. With a kilo of meat costing a minimum of 35 Egyptian pounds — around seven dollars — and the daily earnings of millions of Egyptians being little more than one dollar a day, eating meat and vegetables becomes a luxury rather than a daily habit. (IPS)

UN: Rebuild global economy through green investment. The United Nations today called for a refocusing of the world’s economy towards investments in clean technologies and natural infrastructures such as forests in a Green New Deal that could revive the stumbling global economy, combat climate change, and cut poverty. (Guardian)

India joins Asia space race in first moon mission today. India will launch its first unmanned moon mission on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of rivals China and Japan, as it tries to show off its scientific know-how and claim a bigger chunk of the global space business. (Today’s Zaman)

Abbas replaces intelligence chief. Al-Umari said the move, which comes only days before a meeting between the factions to be held in Cairo, was probably linked to a proposed draft reconciliation plan submitted by Egypt to the Palestinian factions. It is said that Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip after routing Fatah forces in June last year, has repeatedly requested that Abbas remove al-Tirawi for his strong opposition to its growing strength in the West Bank. (Al Jazeera)

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