Home > News > News in Brief: 26 November 2008

News in Brief: 26 November 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

U.S. staying silent on its view of Iraq pact until after vote. The Bush administration has adopted a much looser interpretation than the Iraqi government of several key provisions of the pending U.S.-Iraq security agreement, U.S. officials said Tuesday — just hours before the Iraqi parliament was to hold its historic vote. (McClatchy)

Iraq legislators delay US pact vote. Iraq’s parliamentary vote on a wide-ranging accord that would allow US troops to stay in the country for another three years has been postponed. MPs will now vote on the pact on Thursday, after reservations by Sunnis and fierce opposition by Shia groups threatened to derail the agreement altogether. (Al Jazeera)

Simon Tisdall: A US surge in Aghanistan could destabilise Pakistan. Proposals by Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, to create an economic union with India and a South Asian nuclear weapons-free zone have received scant attention in the west. But this week’s confidence-building initiative represents another element in accelerating efforts to find region-wide solutions to the linked problems of terrorism and instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir. (Guardian)

Euro-Caspian energy plans inch forward. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have agreed on the main principles that will allow Kazakh oil to be pumped via Baku to southern Turkey to supply European and other markets, bypassing Russia. Georgia is also to benefit from Caspian energy suppliers striking out from Moscow’s embrace. (Asia Times)

Settlers Stay, Or It’s Civil War. The resolution of the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict and future stability in the Middle East could hinge on Hebron, a little town in the southern Palestinian West Bank, 30 km south of Jerusalem. (IPS)

Palestinian Forces Dilute Hebron’s Volatile Brew. Hebron, the West Bank’s most explosive city, with a combustible mix of hard-line Jewish settlers and Palestinian militants from Hamas and other groups, is undergoing a shake-up through the introduction of hundreds of Palestinian security officers. (New York Times)

Official: Israel allows cooking gas into Gaza for first time in weeks. Palestinian fuel official Mahmoud Khazundar said shipments began Wednesday morning and that 70 tons were expected to enter the territory. He went on to say that the shipment was only a fraction of what Gaza’s residents require. (Haaretz)

Official: Sunken ‘pirate’ ship was Thai boat. The pirate “mother ship” sunk last week by the Indian navy was actually a Thai fishing trawler seized hours earlier by pirates, a maritime agency said today. The Indian navy defended its actions, saying it fired in self-defence. (The Independent/AP)

China Looks Beyond India-Japan Space Alliance to the US Connection. India and Japan’s October agreement to expand cooperation in disaster management between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has raised the ire of a China fearful that the US is masterminding a powerful space alliance between its allies in the region. (Japan Focus)

On Clinton as SecState. Assuming for the sake of argument that Obama and Clinton are not as far apart on substantive policy issues, such as Iraq and Iran, as both candidates suggested during the primary campaign, I still believe Hillary’s appointment will prove a serious strategic error on Obama’s part, particularly if, as reported, she is given the authority to pick top officials at State, presumably from deputy secretary all the way down to deputy assistant secretary level. (Jim Lobe)

Uzbekistan: Evaluating Tashkent’s Reason for Leaving the Eurasian Economic Community. Uzbekistan’s recent decision to suspend participation in the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) came as both a surprise and a shock. Uzbek withdrawal came as a surprise because the EAEC has appeared in recent years to be an organization on the rise. (EurasiaNet)

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