Home > News > News in Brief: 4 March 2009

News in Brief: 4 March 2009

A brief list of news clippings for the day:

Pakistan’s militants ready for more. The attack on the convoy carrying Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore on Tuesday was carried out by Punjabi militants who had planned to take the sportsmen hostage in a bid to extract concessions from the government. Although they were thwarted this time, more such incidents can be expected, even as the Pakistan military prepares to dust off its iron fist. (Asia Times)

Pakistani political shake-up faulted in cricket team attack. Pakistani police had strong intelligence well in advance of Tuesday’s brazen terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team but failed to deploy forces along the route, opposition politicians and the Pakistani news media said Tuesday. (McClatchy)

Beijing builds on credit crisis. The major coup scored by Chinese diplomats in sealing a string of bulk volume energy deals in the past few weeks signals a new phase in Beijing’s energy diplomacy, deployed to secure long-term resources for the country’s power-hungry economy, according to analysts. (Asia Times)

“Middle East Peace and the U.S.-Saudi Relationship:,” by Lippmann. The US is still seeking to “flip” Syria away from Iran, which HIllary doubts can be pursuaded to fall in with America’s regional security designs. (More promising would be an effort to engage both, rather than trying to split them). Hillary has set out strict preconditions for US support for Israeli-Syrian dialogue. Syria must cut relations with its allies, Hizbullah and Hamas. (Syria Comment)

Afghan Panel Rejects Karzai Decree for Early Elections. Afghanistan’s elections commission on Wednesday rejected a decree by President Hamid Karzai that moved presidential elections forward to April or May, insisting that they should be held in August. (New York Times)

Afghanistan: Constitutional Crisis Developing in Kabul, as Karzai Strives to Remain Relevant. Afghanistan’s fledgling Constitution is facing a test, as President Hamid Karzai and his opponents are currently battling for control of the country’s political agenda. The dispute centers on the dates for the country’s next presidential election. The legitimacy of Afghanistan’s government is at stake. (EurasiaNet)

U.S. Says Afghan Civilians At Risk As Long As War Lasts. Afghan and foreign troops have to respond whenever insurgents launch attacks in Afghanistan, and there is a risk civilians will also be killed, a U.S. commander has said. (RFE/RL)

Iraq To Hold First Census In 22 Years. Iraq’s central statistics and IT authorities say the country will conduct its first census in 22 years later this year. (RFE/RL)

Amira Hass – The Israel donors conference. The extent of the funding pledged to the Palestinian Authority by donor countries reflects the extent of their support for Israel and its policies. The American taxpayers’ contribution to the Ramallah government’s bank account is dwarfed by the large sums the U.S. government donates to Israel every year. It’s impossible to get excited over the American pledge of $900 million (two-thirds of it for strengthening Salam Fayyad’s government and the rest for Gaza’s recovery) and forget the $30 billion the United States has promised Israel in defense aid by the end of 2017, as last week’s Amnesty International report noted. (Sabbah)

Clinton: Israeli home demolitions ‘unhelpful’. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem has been ‘unhelpful” to Mideast peace efforts. Israel has issued orders for the demolition of dozens of illegally-built Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem in recent days. (Jerusalem Post / AP)

Kyrgyzstan: To Give, It Seems the Kremlin Must First Take Away. It may become a hot parlor game at the next CIS summit: Where did the money come from? All that is known at this point is that the Kremlin intends to take away $2 billion in assistance to an unnamed CIS ally or allies in order to make good on recent promises made to Kyrgyzstan. (EurasiaNet)

NATO Would Aim For High-Level Russia Meeting Soon. NATO has stated it would aim to schedule a high-level meeting with Russia quickly, if alliance ministers agree on March 5 to move back to formal ties with Moscow, a NATO spokesman said. (RFE/RL)

Bangladeshi security forces arrest suspected mutiny leader. Bangladesh’s security forces Tuesday arrested a man accused of being the “ring leader” behind a bloody mutiny by troops that has raised fears for the survival of the new civilian government. (The Daily Star / AFP)

Armenia reschedules regional meeting to accommodate Turkey. Armenia has rescheduled a foreign ministerial meeting of Black Sea countries, apparently as a goodwill gesture to ensure Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will be among the participants, diplomatic sources have said. (Today’s Zaman)

Nasrallah Reportedly Travels To Teheran. Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has traveled to Teheran, via Damascus, to participate in a Palestinian solidarity conference, Channel 10 quoted Iranian sources as saying Wednesday. (Turkish Weekly)

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