Home > News > News in Brief: 17 February 2009

News in Brief: 17 February 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

US and Japan build a new Silk Road. By helping establish a new Eurasian transport corridor, Japan can honor commitments to its ally Washington in the “war on terror”, and revive its long-lost Central Asian initiative. This re-energized role in the region – namely, sending troops to Afghanistan – fits in well with Tokyo’s vision for an invigorated Japanese diplomatic strategy in the 21st century. (Asia Times)

The White Flags of Gaza, Part II. Reporters allowed into Gaza after Israel wrapped up its 22-day military campaign spent weeks looking into what happened… Now, Ashraf Khalil of the Los Angeles Times, brings the most detailed account of the fighting in Khozaa, a small village near the Israel border where human rights researchers found the most extensive use of white phosphorus and residents reported that an Israeli soldier shot and killed a woman waving a white flag as she tried to lead civilians to safety. (Checkpoint Jerusalem)

West Bank Land Seized As Israel Looks to Build. Plans to expand a West Bank settlement by up to 2,500 homes drew Palestinian condemnation Monday and presented an early test for President Obama, whose Middle East envoy is well known for opposing such construction. (Washington Post)

US and Russia see common cause. The United States and Russia have taken an unceremonious plunge into a marriage of convenience. Moscow is warming to US President Barack Obama. But detractors ranging from hardliners in the US to “New Europeans” and Iranians have reason to worry. They dread that if Obama pursues his “contextual intelligence” approach to its logical conclusion, he and the Kremlin leaders might enter into trade-offs at their expense. (Asia Times)

PAKISTAN/INDIA: Taliban As Common Enemy. Since being elected to office five months ago, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has often declared that Pakistan’s single biggest challenge stems from ‘religious’ militants. (IPS)

U.N. Says Afghan Civilian Deaths Increase by 40 Percent. A United Nations report said on Tuesday that civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose by 40 percent last year, more than half of them resulting from roadside bomb and suicide attacks by militants, but many ascribed to air strikes and other actions by NATO and American forces battling the resurgent Taliban. (New York Times)

Afghanistan could fail as a state. A new independent study by retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones and former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering has a dire warning for Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press which obtained an advance copy. (Afghanistan Watch)

Training and Equipping Afghan Security Forces: Unaccounted Weapons and Strategic Challenges. Strategic incoherence and inadequate coordination here in Washington and in Kabul within the U.S. military, between the military and civilian government agencies and between the U.S. and its international partners in Kabul are fatal to success in confronting the Taliban insurgency. The results of that strategic chaos have played out across Afghanistan over the past seven years. (ICG)

Russia fears spillover of insurgency from Afghanistan. There is a fear that a further deterioration in Afghanistan could spill over the border into the rest of Central Asia —and onto the doorstep of Russia, which is home to a sizable Muslim minority. (Dawn)

Iraq Funding Ponzi Scheme Bigger than Madoff’s; 8 Shiite Pilgrims Killed. The US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) has issued a report on as much as $125 billion unaccounted-for reconstruction and military equipment money in Iraq. Patrick Cockburn at the Independent quotes a US businessman active in Iraq after the US invasion who observed that Iraq was looted alright, but the big looting did not come at the hands of poor urbanites but rather at that of US officers. Although immense peculation was engaged in by Iraqi government and military figures, it seems unlikely that their US military minders were not complicit in the corruption. (Informed Comment)

US estimate muddied Iran’s nuclear intent. Conflicting statements recently issued by the White House and the Pentagon reflect the confusion left by the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s intentions regarding nuclear weapons. This disconnect can hardly be overestimated. If Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, the United States must choose between coercive diplomacy or accepting Tehran’s status as a nuclear power and seeking to deter it. (Asia Times)

Kazakhstan pays for devaluation. The people of Kazakhstan are discovering that devaluation of their currency, an emergency measure designed to correct trade and monetary imbalances, may spark inflation as traders and consumers pay more for much-needed imports. (Asia Times)

Turkey still awaiting explanation on Israeli general’s remarks. Turkey is still waiting for an explanation about a harsh statement made by a top Israeli general regarding Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said late on Monday. (Hurriyet)

Categories: News
  1. insightanalytical
    February 17, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Hi, IA was linked via a related post…News Source by Country/Region: Russia; Central Asia…

    I used to do the World Media Watch for Buzzflash and still maintain a real interest in foreign news, although lately it’s been more domestic politics on my mind and women’s issues. HOWEVER, Please do visit my International section with a great list of sources I used and still use…I compiled it over the years doing the WMW….

    I also have a short foreign policy Blogroll…

    I would like to add yours to the list….care to exchange blogroll links???


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