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November 16, 2008

1. Iraqi cabinet votes 36-1 in favor of Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which allows US forces immunity in combat and forces a full withdrawal time table of December 31, 2011. Final hurdle is Iraqi parliament approval.

2. On the SOFA passage, Iranian-backed Muqtada al-Sadr has called for armed resistance if passed by parliament. However, the more powerful Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani supports the agreement and said, “The people who reject this agreement did not give us a logical alternative. We respect their position, but we support the majority decision.”

3. A crucial US supply line through Pakistan into Afghanistan has been once again shut down by Pakistan due to increased Taliban and al-Qaeda roadside attacks. Fuel tankers and cargo trucks are again banned form the route until better security can be established.

4. Hamas continues rocket and mortar attacks into Israel as the IAF strikes back against the terrorists. British FM David Milband arrived in Israel and was urged to support Israel's defense against Gaza attacks. He instead criticized Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

AFGHANISTAN
Afghan president offers Taliban chief safe passage for talks - International Herald Tribune
How Should the U.S. Execute a Surge in Afghanistan? - Small Wars Journal

CONGO
New fighting erupts in Congo - Washington Times

GEORGIA
EU monitors say they were fired on in Georgia - Boston Globe

IRAN
Iran detains 10 'spies' near Pakistan's Baluchestan Province border - Daily Times

IRAQ
Iraqi Cabinet Approves Security Pact With U.S. - NY Times
As pact is debated, Sadr repeats call to arms - International Herald Tribune
'Mother of all suicide bombers' warns of rise in attacks - Telegraph

ISRAEL
4 Gaza militants firing mortars killed in Israeli airstrike - Breitbart
British FM Miliband arrives in Israel 'to advance peace talks' - Haaretz
Miliband urged to support Israel's stand on Gaza - AFP
Miliband instead challenges Israel on West Bank settlements - International Herald Tribune
Israel Threatens Gaza Offensive - NDTV Arabia

PAKISTAN
US supply line threatened by Pakistan truck halt - Washington Post
Every major terror threat involves Pakistan: CIA - DAWN
Suspected US missile strike kills at least 12 in Waziristan - Adnkronos international
Pakistan accepts $12bn IMF rescue package, braces for austerity measures - The Australian

RUSSIA
Medvedev backpedals on missile threats - Washington Times

UNITED STATES
Mexico drug wars spill across the border - Los Angeles Times

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