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April 25, 2011

1. Documents now made public by Wikileaks have been siezed upon by media outlets to highlight that "dozens" of suspected al-Qaeda detainees at Guantánamo Bay were innocent. Considering Gitmo had over 1,000 detainees at one point, this is a good battlefield ratio, not a horror.

2. In Libya, Qaddafi's army - including mercenaries from around Africa - has retreated from the key city of Misurata, just east of Tripoli. It continues to shell the city in retreat, however. In the see-saw struggle between Qaddafi and Libyan rebels, the latest ebb for the rebels may put urgency into Qaddafi's negotiations for settlement. This, of course, was the idea of bringing in US drones.

3. A NATO airstrike (read: US Predator drones) destroyed Qaddafi's offices at a compound in Tripoli. The Libyan strongman claimed NATO tried to assassinate him. This is, of course, a claim not without merit. Western politicians have been calling for such, including US senators. UK foreign minister Hague would not rule out the use of US drones to take out Qaddafi. (See Item 2, above.)

4. Report says Pakistan's political leadership is considering approaching the UN Security Council citing territorial infringement in order to pressure the US into halting drone attacks on Taliban & al-Qaeda targets in its tribal areas.

5. Syria, using tanks on its citizens, locks them in by sealing its border with Jordan. US considers sanctions.

AL-QAEDA
Al-Qaeda core leadership in Karachi, Pakistan, on 9/11; Returned to Afghan day after - Washington Post
Gitmo files: Pakistan's ISI spy service distrusted, seen as terrorist group first by interrogators - Guardian (UK)
Intelligence Process: From the new Gitmo files: Al-Qaeda and anthrax - Long War Journal
WikiLeaks unearths case of al-Qaeda double agent who duped Canadians - Globe and Mail (Canada)

AFGHANISTAN
Taliban Help Hundreds Tunnel Out of Prison's Political Wing - New York Times

EGYPT
Egypt oil ministers to be tried over natural gas deal with Israel - AFP
Egypt prosecutor orders Mubarak to army hospital - AP
Arab leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council expresses concerns over Egypt's Iran moves - Gulf News (UAE)

IRAN
Iran Says It Has Detected Second Cyberattack - Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

ISRAEL
Australian man arrested in Israel for recruiting, spying for Hamas - JTA (Israel)

LIBYA
Rebel Gains: Qaddafi's army flees Misurata, but artillery pounds on - Los Angeles Times
Amateur video shows Misurata destruction [TW: Note tanks hidden indoors.] - Telegraph (UK)
NATO strikes cause 'most significant damage' yet - BBC
Bomb attack destroys Gaddafi's office - Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Qaddafi: NATO tried to assassinate me - CBS
We Said It First: Western leaders call for NATO to target Gaddafi - Telegraph (UK)
We Said It First: UK's FM Hague says US drones may be used to take out Qaddafi - Daily Mail (UK)

MEXICO
Mass graves in Mexico reveal new levels of savagery: Sledgehammers used - Washington Post

PAKISTAN
Pakistan may cite territorial infringement, seek UN Security Council vote to stop US drones - Express Tribune (Pak)
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan to strengthen ties - UPI
Recent: Saudis 'So Unhappy' With Obama They Sent Emissaries to China, Russia Seeking Enhanced Ties - CNS

RUSSIA
Was Always The Plan: Putin for president (again) in 2012? - Washington Times
Beat the Press: The Plight of Reporters in Putin's Russia - Weekly Standard

SYRIA
In shift, US considers sanctions against Syria's Assad regime - CS Monitor
Syria uses army to crush uprising; at least 5 dead - AP
Locking Them In: Syria seals border with Jordan: Amman - AFP
Syria has opted for military solution: activist - Khaleej Times (UAE)

April 24, 2011

1. Yemen's President Saleh has signed a negotiated deal that has him stepping down within 30 days. But top Yemen expert Jane Novak points to this as a ruse and little more than a window of time for Saleh to transfer wealth out and nothing & no one to transfer power to. As bad as Yemen is, outlook is bleaker. No mid-term upsides.

2. In Syria, protest remains a deadly endeavor with regime security forces firing on mourners at protester funerals and into crowds from rooftops in one coastal town. Bashar Assad ended the 50-year state of emergency measures as a feigned gesture, but the killing continues.

3. While US and Iraqi political leaders ponder an extension of US force deployments there beyond stated deadlines, protests against it get heavy media attention. Muqtada al-Sadr, a "guest" of Iran's regime for many months, naturally lead protests in Baghdad. All of this while the violence ratchets higher as the withdrawal date nears.

4. Libya's foreign minister is reportedly making his way to Ethiopia to meet with other leaders on a negotiated settlement for Qaddafi. With the NATO adventure looking less palatable by the day, the American administration has vested political interest in driving a negotiated settlement home and ending military commitment.

CAMBODIA
Thai-Cambodian border fighting over Hindu holy site enters 3rd day - Washington Times

IRAN
Iran, Iraq sign agreement to swap prisoners, possibly repatriate Iranian opposition group - AP
Iran's Ahmadinejad in new showdown with [other] conservatives - AFP
More: Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei Asserts Power Over President - New York Times

IRAQ
Terrorists bomb Catholic church in Baghdad after Easter services - BBC
2 Fort Hood soldiers killed by IED in Iraqi action - AP
Insurgents step up assassinations in Iraq - AFP
Adm. Mullen: Iraq must decide in "weeks" on U.S. troops extension - Reuters
Iraqi cleric [& Iran's stooge] Muqtada al-Sadr's followers demand U.S. troops leave - Reuters
Iranian Grand Ayatollah Haeri Issues Fatwa Against Extended US Mission in Iraq - Fars News (Iran)

ISRAEL
One Israeli killed, 4 wounded from PA police gunfire in West Bank - Jerusalem post
Probe: Israelis shot in West Bank tried to break through Palestinian roadblock - Ha'aretz
Hamas planning to kidnap more Israeli soldiers - Jerusalem Post
Cpl. Shalit Capture: Anatomy of An Attack: The Palestinian Tunnel Raid - ThreatsWatch 2006

LIBYA
Libya's foreign minister heads to Ethiopia to talk peace - Ha'aretz (Israel)

PAKISTAN
Al-Qaeda To Target UK-Bound Flights With Liquid Explosive - Rantburg
NATO supplies resume as drone strike protesters lift blockade on routes - Daily Times (Pakistan)

SYRIA
Syrian security detains activists in raids; Soldiers, police open fire from rooftops - Washington Times
Regime rounds up opponents after killing more protesters - Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Syria protests: Security forces shoot at mourners during protester funerals - BBC
On-Point OpEd: NY Post: Syrians struggle on; Assad still set on slaughter - New York Post
Yes We Do: U.S. Seeks to Raise Heat on Syria - Wall Street Journal
No We Don't: US Denies Trying to Undermine Syrian Government - VOA

YEMEN
President Saleh agrees to step down in 30 days; Fails to end protests - Washington Times
Jane Nails It: Saleh devises nifty stall tactic, world swallows - Jane Novak

April 22, 2011

1. Syrian regime executes what is being called the "Good Friday Massacre," as it reportedly kills over 50 citizens protesting despite dictator Bashar al-Assad's 'concessions.' The week was already a bloody one for Syrians demanding regime change.

2. Libyan rebels see some success in Misurata and credit NATO air support - primarily the addition of unmanned drone support. That air support overall, according to Admiral Mullen, has degraded Qaddafi's state forces by 30-40%. This is just enough, however, for a stalemate and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs testified as much before Congress. UK's Prime Minister Howard, meanwhile, assured that NATO is not creeping toward a ground war.

3. As the tension between the US and Pakistan - at least publicly - seems to reach new crescendos weekly, a new drone attack on the Taliban in the tribal areas of Pakistan has reportedly killed 25. This while Admiral Mullen visits Islamabad to defuse tensions between the US and Pakistani military leadership.

4. In Indonesia, a large bomb was discovered planted underground outside a church in what was to have been a massive Good Friday attack to kill scores of worshiping Christians. The bomb was defused and removed without injury.

AFGHANISTAN
Gates: Increasing Violence in Afghanistan Expected in Weeks Ahead - ABC
Gates foresees turning point in Afghanistan war - AP
U.S. Ramps Up Airdrops to Forces in Afghanistan - Wall Street Journal

AL-QAEDA
Saudi charged as mastermind of 2000 bombing on USS Cole - Seattle Times
Al Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri's Brother-in-Law "Martyred in Afghanistan" - ABC
Al-Qaeda, tribesmen 'kill 13 Yemen soldiers' - AFP

INDONESIA
Good Friday Plot: Big bomb found near Indonesia church; 19 arrested - AP
Indonesia arrests six over 'book bombs' - Daily Star
As Elsewhere: Low-key Easter preparations for Pakistan's fearful Christians - Reuters

IRAN
Ahmadinejad grooms chief-of-staff to take over as Iran's president - Guardian (UK)
In Tehran, "serious concern our standing in OPEC damaged" by Iraqi Oil - TIME
Gulf Arabs oppose cut in Iran ties: Kuwait FM - AFP
In DC, Three indicted in Iran computer export scheme - Washington Times

LIBYA
Libyan rebels reclaim Misurata city center, credit NATO airstrikes - Washington Post
Libyan rebels welcome U.S. drones; McCain visits Benghazi - Washington Post
UK's Cameron: NATO not creeping toward ground war - AP
Adm. Mullen: Qaddafi Ground Forces Degraded 30-40%, "certainly moving toward a stalemate." - Tripoli Post
US Begins Armed Drone Missions Over Libya - Sky News (UK)
Libya FM: If NATO Bombing Stops, Elections in 6 Months with Qaddafi Role Negotiable - Washington Post

MEXICO
Authorities Find Another Mass Grave In Mexico Near US Border - Business Insider
Alleged Zeta Cartel Lawyer Arrested in Cancun - FOX News

PAKISTAN
Drone Strikes Militants in Northwest Pakistan - New York Times
Admiral Mullen Visit Aimed at Repairing Ties With Islamabad - VOA

SOMALIA
South Somalia Clashes Over Control of Towns Leave 24 Dead - Rantburg
Somalia's al-Shabaab Threatens Attacks in Kenya Over Easter - Bloomberg
S. Korean container ship presumed hijacked in Somali waters: official - Yonhap (South Korea)

SYRIA
UPDATE: 'Good Friday Massacre' in Syria as Assad's Regime Kills 50+ Protesters - Telegraph (UK)
The Massacre In Latikya - Pajamas Media
Witness Video: The Massacre In Latikya: Shooting peaceful demonstrators - YouTube
Syrian security forces open fire on demonstrators in multiple cities - Washington Post
At Least 11 Killed in Syrian Protests - Sydney Morning Herald

YEMEN
Yemen President Saleh 'offered departure with immunity' - AFP
UAE Foreign Minister: NATO's Libya Ops Successful, To Announce Yemen Plan - WSJ
Gulf states pledge action on Yemen - Gulf News

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