Home > News > News in Brief: 4 December 2008

News in Brief: 4 December 2008

A brief list of news for the day:

Mumbai aftershocks rattle Pakistan. All 10 young men of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba were expected to be “sacrificed” in their attack on Mumbai last week. That one was captured and revealed his story has dramatically changed the dynamics of the region. The United States is coming down hard on Islamabad to root out the militant group, but if this happens, the militants could turn their guns on Pakistan, and even escalate tensions with India. (Asia Times)

Rice tells Islamabad US expects ‘robust’ response to Mumbai attacks. Her main task is to somehow prevent growing anger in India and reciprocal resentment in Pakistan spilling over into border tensions, or worse, between the nuclear-armed neighbours, who have already fought three wars since independence. (Guardian)

China navy ‘should fight piracy’. Strategist says China should consider sending warships to combat pirates off Somalia. On Tuesday, the UN Security Council renewed its authorisation for countries to use military force against the pirates operating out of Somalia. (Al Jazeera)

China and India to hold joint anti-terror exercise. China and India will hold an anti-terrorism exercise, state media reported on Thursday, in what appears to be a display of cooperation between the two rivals soon after the deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (Gulf News/Agencies)

How India officials fumbled the response to Mumbai attack. It took 10 minutes for word of the Nov. 26, Mumbai terror assaults to reach the top of the government of Maharashtra state, but nearly 10 hours for India’s best commando team to reach the scene. (McClatchy)

Cluster bomb ban signed, big powers absent. Nearly 100 nations began signing a treaty on Wednesday to ban cluster bombs responsible for killing and maiming thousands, but powerful arms producers including the United States, Russia and China remain outside the pact. (Today’s Zaman)

Robert Dreyfuss, Is Iran Policy Still Up for Grabs? A familiar coalition of hawks, hardliners, and neoconservatives expects Barack Obama’s proposed talks with Iran to fail — and they’re already proposing an escalating set of measures instead. (TomDispatch)

Iran Confronts an ‘Economic Evolution’. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched a sweeping economic restructuring plan that would end many… subsidies within a couple of months. To blunt the blow of gasoline prices quadrupling and similar increases for other goods, he also proposes to give as much as $70 a month to poor Iranians. (Washington Post)

Kazakhstan Gives US, NATO Airport Rights. Kazakhstan will allow US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces to use a section of the Almaty airport as “a reserve aerodrome for emergency landings” during military operations in Afghanistan. (EurasiaNet)

Georgia: Moving on Toward NATO, Without a MAP. Georgian aspirations to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization remain in a holding pattern after the military alliance offered Georgia closer cooperation, but stopped short of agreeing to a full-fledged Membership Action Plan. (EurasiaNet)

Lebanon’s Auon in a Syrian gambit. Former prime minister Michel Aoun’s return to Lebanon in 2005 shook its political landscape, now a landmark visit to old foe Syria has again put his opponents on the back foot. The wily maneuver could position him as the supreme leader of Lebanon’s Christians ahead of next year’s pivotal elections, or backfire, with voters long skeptical of Syrian interests in their nation. (Asia Times)

Hamas orders Israeli journo out of Gaza. Last month, Israeli journalist Amira Hass defied the ban by catching a ride on a Free Gaza boat from Cypress to Gaza, where she has been reporting on life there for the past two weeks. Today, Amira wrote to friends to say that she is being kicked out of Gaza – by Hamas. (Checkpoint Jerusalem)

Extend the Umbrella to Israel? A new CFR/Brookings study, Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President, recommends that the United States “enhance Israel’s deterrent and defensive capabilities by offering it a nuclear guarantee”. The sloppy logic underlying this recommendation is breathtaking. (Arms Control Wonk)

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