Home > News > News in Brief: 11 February 2009

News in Brief: 11 February 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Petraeus Leaked Misleading Story on Pullout Plans. The political maneuvering between President Barack Obama and his top field commanders over withdrawal from Iraq has taken a sudden new turn with the leak by CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus – and a firm denial by a White House official – of an account of the Jan. 21 White House meeting suggesting that Obama had requested three different combat troop withdrawal plans with their respective associated risks, including one of 23 months. (IPS)

“State Secrets” Privilege Not Gone with Bush. President Barack Obama has cast doubt on his promise to put an end to secret government by allowing his Justice Department to follow a path frequently taken by his predecessor. (IPS)

Right Wing Sweeps Israel. The outcome of the Israeli election has sounded the death knell for the two-state solution. There are not 61 votes for it in the new Knesset of 120 seats. A good 64 of the just-elected and/or re-elected Members of Parliament favor accelerated Israeli colonization of the West Bank and oppose Palestinian statehood. Most militant of all is Avigdor Lieberman, a former bouncer from Moldova who has risen in Israeli politics on a platform of racial hatred for Israeli-Palestinians (20% of the population), whom he has urged be “executed” or made to take loyalty oaths, stripped of their citizenship and possibly transferred to the Palestine Authority. (Informed Comment)

US still has its Kyrgyzstan base covered. It’s easy to believe that the reason for Kyrgyzstan wanting to shut down the United States Manas military base near the capital is Russia’s US$300 million sweetener to Bishkek. But other factors are in play, and it could be some time before – if ever – the 1,000 US personnel pack up and leave. (Asia Times)

The United States and Afghanistan’s Critical Moment. A relentless Taliban insurgency, reluctant allies, political doubts, competing priorities – the pressure to change United States policy in a key region may prove irresistible. The difficult global inheritance of the United States administration of Barack Obama is exemplified in the possible loss of the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan. (Japan Focus)

In Surprise Trip to Iraq, Sarkozy Urges Stronger Ties With Europe. President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday became the first French head of state to visit Iraq, hoping to renew France’s long-standing business ties with Iraq and erase resentment over France’s opposition to the Iraq war. (Washington Post)

Afghan presidential contender won’t hide. A powerful Afghan provincial governor and potential presidential candidate said on Tuesday he would not “sweet talk” Afghans or stay “in the bunker,” a sideways swipe at President Hamid Karzai. (Today’s Zaman)

A defence partnership for the future. France and India need to be able to count on dependable and self-sufficient military supplies, taking advantage of technological advances. (The Hindu)

Can Khatami make a comeback? Iran’s former president, the soft-spoken Mohammad Khatami, ended months of speculations and revealed his bid to challenge the current Iranian President – the not-so-soft-spoken Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – in the upcoming presidential elections in June. (The Daily Star)

19 Killed in Suicide Attacks on Government Sites in Kabul. Attackers firing automatic rifles and wearing explosive vests stormed the Justice Ministry in central Kabul on Wednesday while others burst into another government building in the north of the city, triggering chaos as ministry workers fled, witnesses said. (New York Times)

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