Home > News > News in Brief: 17 November 2008

News in Brief: 17 November 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

US wins first round over Iraq. The Iraqi cabinet’s approval on Sunday of a draft agreement with Washington on the United States presence in Iraq is a key landmark in the struggle for influence in the country between Iran and the US. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his allies lost this battle, but they have not lost the war – this showdown takes place in the Iraqi parliament in a week’s time. (Asia Times)

A pact with the devil. Influential Shi’ite leader Muqtada al-Sadr is already threatening fire and brimstone over the Iraqi cabinet’s approval of a draft security agreement with the United States. But Muqtada, currently studying in Iran, is in a difficult position: he has to confront the problem that in strategic terms, Tehran subscribes to not attacking US troops as the best way for the Americans to eventually leave. (Asia Times)

Israel opens Gaza border crossing, allowing in humanitarian aid. Israel opened a border crossing with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Monday for the first time in two weeks, allowing in a limited amount of humanitarian aid, UN and Palestinian officials said.Israel opened a border crossing with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Monday for the first time in two weeks, allowing in a limited amount of humanitarian aid, UN and Palestinian officials said. (Gulf News)

Palestinian Authority asks EU to limit import of settlement goods. The Palestinian government has made contact with European Union countries to ask them to restrict imports of goods made in Israeli West Bank settlements. (Haaretz/AP)

Why hasn’t the U.S. gone after Mullah Omar in Pakistan? For seven years, the Bush administration has pursued al Qaida but done almost nothing to hunt down the Afghan Taliban leadership in its sanctuaries in Pakistan, and that’s left Mullah Mohammad Omar and his deputies free to direct an escalating war against the U.S.-backed Afghan government. (McClatchy)

ICG Report – Turkey and Iraqi Kurds: Conflict or Cooperation? At a time when rising Arab-Kurdish tensions again threaten Iraq’s stability, neighbouring Turkey has begun to cast a large shadow over Iraqi Kurdistan. (ICG)

A Southward Thrust for China’s Energy Diplomacy in the South China Sea. The most contentious and difficult territorial issues in the relationship between China and Vietnam are beyond the mouth of Beibu Bay. Beijing wants to defuse widespread concern in Asia over its growing military power and the fear that military muscle will be used to enforce territorial and maritime boundary claims that China has with many of its neighbors, stretching from Japan through Southeast Asia to India. In this context, the South China Sea is a sensitive touchstone. (Japan Focus)

Iran says won’t hinder Turkish mediation with US. Iran said on Monday it would not hinder any Turkish bid to mediate between the Islamic Republic and the new U.S. administration but cautioned that its differences with Washington were deep-rooted. (Today’s Zaman)

Unusual rush of voters in Kashmir. In Indian-administered Kashmir, there has been an unusually strong turnout in the first phase of elections for a new state government. In recent months there have been huge pro-independence demonstrations in Kashmir which were met with force by the security forces, leaving many dead. (BBC)

Pirates take over oil tanker with British crew on board. Pirates have taken control of a large Saudi-owned oil tanker in the Indian Ocean with British crew on board, according to the US Navy. (Guardian)

Pakistan Reopens Khyber Pass to Supply Western Forces. Pakistani security forces escorted a truck convoy carrying supplies for Western forces in Afghanistan on Monday when Pakistan reopened the Khyber Pass a week after 13 trucks were hijacked. (New York Times)

Socialist Party in France Fails to Pick Leader. France’s squabbling Socialist Party failed to agree on a leader or a platform over the weekend at a closely watched party congress that was supposed to revive the country’s main opposition force as a serious challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration. (New York Times)

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