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July 17, 2008

1. With word of a possible US diplomatic presence inside Tehran and William Burns’ presence at EU-Iran negotiations, questions arise about a possible change in Washington’s stance towards Iran.

2. With another province handed over to Iraqi control (10 of 18 now), overall security in Iraq has improved dramatically. Still, another car bombing is carried out killing Iraqi civilians and the US rolled up an IED network leader suspected of having ties and training with Iran and Hizballah.

3. US forces are massing along the Afghan-Pakistani border in reaction to increased attacks from within Pakistan. The US has called for Pakistan to effectively police its side of the border, a call that has been made publicly and privately since 2001.

4. With the Hizballah-Israeli prisoner exchange executed, one of the most violent terrorists released - Samir Kuntar - vowed in Lebanon to continue in Imad Mugniyeh’s footsteps. The Israelis received corpses in the exchange.

AL QAEDA
Why Some Terrorists Make the Choice to Leave al Qaeda - US News and World Report
SOURCE DOC: Combating Terrorism Center: Sentinel - West Point
Judges Rejects al-Qaeda Delay Request in Guantanamo Trial - New York Sun
Hamdan Ruling: A Win for the Administration … But Maybe Very Temporary - NRO

AFGHANISTAN
Coalition troops mass at border - The Australian
More: Afghanistan: Force Consolidation Offensive or Defensive? - ThreatsWatch
Afghan Surge Could Start in Weeks - AP
Brit Special forces kill Taliban leader Bishmullah in ‘critical blow’ to insurgency - The Guardian
Taliban release photos of beheaded Afghan ‘prostitutes’ on Internet - AKI

IRAN
U.S. to establish presence in Tehran: report - Washington Post
Iran and U.S. Signaling Chance of Deal - Washington Post
Columbia University won’t invite Iran’s Ahmadinejad this time around - NY Daily News

IRAQ
US military captures suspected bomb network chief with alleged Iranian training, Hizballah ties - IHT
Iraq’s security ‘remarkably better’ - Washington Times
Canada expels an American who deserted during the war in Iraq - IHT
Car Bomb in Iraq Kills 18, Including Kids - ABC

ISRAEL
Kuntar: I’ll continue Mughniyeh’s legacy - Jerusalem Post

LEBANON
Lebanon celebrates release of five prisoners - al-Bawaba

PAKISTAN
NATO forces use gunships, artillery to attack targets inside Pakistan - Daily Times
Pakistan Must Do More to Police Tribal Zone, Defense Leaders Say - DefenseLink
US Calls on Pakistan to Control Afghan Border - VOA
Militants ready for a war without borders - Asia Times
Pakistani Investors Riot as Stocks Plunge - VOA

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