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February 27, 2009

1. World economists say Iran headed for "economic meltdown" due to low crude prices. Threat of Iranian-instigated crisis in the Gulf to manipulate oil prices is peaking.

2. Obama appointee to head National Intelligence Council draws sharp fire over Saudi Arabian influence, anti-Israeli stances.

3. Five years after assassination of Rafik Hariri, tribunal finally set to begin. Lebanon government "confident" about security in its wake.

4. After FBI Director Mueller said Pakistan's tribal areas and Afghanistan largest terror threat, Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff Gen. Kiyani in US for visit and Mueller to visit Pakistan next week.

AL QAEDA
'New Al-Qaeda video' targets Germany - Adnkronos Security (Italy)
Muslims Oppose AQ's Civilian Attacks, Support AQ Attacks on US Forces - World Public Opinion

BANGLADESH
Bangladesh mutineers 'arrested' - BBC

GAZA
Hamas made rockets using smuggled RDX explosives, washing machine timers - World Tribune

IRAN
Iran threatened with economic meltdown under low oil prices - BBC
Why Iran Threat In Region Is Peaking: Iran's Oil Weapon: Fielded and Wielded - ThreatsWatch (2006)
Iran eyes Mexico in deepening Latin America ties - AP
Obama seeks to end Iran terror support - Jerusalem Post
Proper Context: Iran slams Obama government at U.N. - Reuters

LEBANON
Lebanon confident on eve of Hariri tribunal - AFP
Multimedia: Who Is Next? - Attacks on Anti-Syrian Lebanese Figures - ThreatsWatch

PAKISTAN
'Colonel' from Pakistan wanted in Mumbai case - CNN
India, Pakistan Hold Highest Level Meeting Since Mumbai Attack - Bloomberg
Kiyani's US visit to help understand Swat deal: Mullen - Daily Times (Pakistan)
US, Britain warn citizens against travel to Pakistan - Daily Times (Pakistan)
FBI Director to visit Pakistan next week - AFP
Earlier: FBI Chief Says Tribal Areas of Pakistan, Afghanistan Are Top Terror Threat - VOA

UNITED STATES
Obama's National Intelligence Council pick linked to Saudi Arabia - Washington Times
Chas of Arabia - Weekly Standard

VENEZUELA
Jewish Center attacked in Venezuela, 2nd time this year - Jerusalem Post

February 26, 2009

1. An uprising by Bangladesh paramilitary forces was quelled in the capital city after tanks and other army forces rolled in. 11 reported killed and telecommunications were shut by the government.

2. The fight over the $2 billion in Gaza reconstruction aid money has begun. Fatah demands that all aid money goes through the Palestinian Authority and Israel insists that no aid break the Hamas blockade. Neither condition is realistically possible as Hamas stands to gain most in the end.

3. Mexico is sending more military forces into Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas. The city is ripped by fighting between the cartels and the government and is the center of gravity for the wider violence.

4. In a clear break from past Bush administration policy, the first foreign enemy combatant is being charged in the US for trial in federal civilian courts.

AFGHANISTAN
Kissinger: A Strategy for Afghanistan - Washington Post

BANGLADESH
Army tanks roll toward Bangladeshi capital - Los Angeles Times
Bangladesh shuts mobile phone network as mutiny spreads - Telegraph (UK)
Bangladesh's paramilitary surrendered at the end of a second day of deadly protests - Los Angeles Times

GAZA
Israel urges Gaza aid efforts not break Hamas boycott - Reuters
Fayad wants Gaza aid to go through PA - UPI

IRAN
Israel: Bushehr reactor highlights world's failure - Jerusalem Post

IRAQ
Obama's Iraq Plan Has December Elections as Turning Point for Pullout - NY Times
US military weaning Iraq's army from support - AP

KOSOVO
5 Serbs Found Guilty of War Crimes in Kosovo - NY Times

LEBANON
Fatah and Hamas: Heading for a Showdown in Lebanon - TIME

MEXICO
Mexico Sending Extra Troops to Besieged Border City of Juarez - VOA
Senate plans hearings on U.S. response to Mexico drug violence - Dallas Morning News

NORTH KOREA
Missile Launch: Behind the new menace from Pyongyang - Forbes

PAKISTAN
Thousands of Nawaz Sharif supporters march chanting "Murderer of Democracy, Zardari!" - AFP
Drone Attacks Inside Pakistan Will Continue, CIA Chief Says - Washington Post

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
U.S.-Backed Camp for Palestinian Forces Seen as Progress in State-Building - NY Times

SAUDI ARABIA
Shia unhappiness is rattling regimes in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere - The Economist

SOMALIA
Two navies 'thwart pirate raids' - BBC
Al-Shabaab and AU peacekeepers clash in Somalia - Wikinews
European Meeting on Somalia Opens - VOA

UNITED STATES
Justice: Bush Policy Departure: 'Enemy Combatant' to be Charged in U.S. - ABC
Intelligence: CIA Signals Continuity With Bush Era - Wall Street Journal
Ohio Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Joining al-Qaeda, Plotting Terror Bombings - FOX News
Operation Xcellerator: Nationwide Takedown of Mexican Drug Traffickers, Cartels - Dept. of Justice

February 25, 2009

1. In reaction to crescendo of violence in Mexico along the US border, Dept. of Homeland Security has crafted a contingency plan if the violence spills over. Mexican AG says country does not need US troops to fight drug war, which is now a narco-insurgency.

2. Under protest, California judge granted bail to Afghan immigrant whose brother in law is said to be Usama bin Laden's security coordinator.

3. Somalia fighting in Mogadishu has reportedly claimed nearly 70 lives this past week, the most violent since Ethiopia's withdrawal.

4. FBI fears terror attacks on US soil as a result of al-Qaeda recruiting and training of young Somali men from American cities. They may return to US with terror training and attack instructions.

AL QAEDA
California Judge Grants Bail to Brother-in-law of Bin Laden's Security Coordinator - Los Angeles Times

EGYPT
Washing machine timer used in Cairo bazaar bomb - AP
Egypt Bombing Investigation Points To Terrorist Mini-Cell - AGI (Italy)
Fatah and Hamas delegates in Egypt for reconciliation talks - Canadian Press
U.S. Intelligence Report: Saudis replacing Egypt as regional leader - Ha'aretz

GAZA
IAF bombs Gaza tunnels after rockets hit Negev - Ha'aretz
Al-Qaeda deputy urges Hamas to fight on - Channel 4 (UK)

IRAN
Russian Nuclear Boss Visits 'Completed' Reactor In Iran - Radio Free Europe
Israel calls Iran nuclear plant test 'bad news' for whole world - Ha'aretz
Iran sought Turkey's help to mend links with US, says Erdogan - Guardian (UK)
Turkey ready to play role in US-Iran dialogue - Hurriyet (Turkey)
Iran minister plans fence-mending visit to Bahrain - Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

IRAQ
Obama Expected to Announce Iraq Troop Withdrawal Deadline - Washington Post
Next Up: President's Major Speech on Iraq Withdrawal - ABC

LEBANON
Lebanon frees three suspects in 2005 Hariri assassination - AFP

MEXICO
Mexico drug war prompts DHS federal contingency plan - Washington Times
Mexico AG: We don't need U.S. troops to intervene in drug war - Dallas Morning News
Governor of Mexico's Chihuahua state (Juarez) downplays cartel attack on his motorcade - Los Angeles Times

PAKISTAN
Pakistan court bans ex-PM Nawaz Sharif from holding office - Los Angeles Times
Pakistan's Sharif Vows Protest After Court Bars Him From Office - Bloomberg
Protest History: Nawaz Sharif Organizes 20,000 Chanting "Hang Musharraf!" - ThreatsWatch (2008)
Pakistan, Under Fire, Vows to Defeat Terrorism With U.S. - FOX News
Commentary: Salman Ahmad: Rescuing Pakistan from the Taliban - WaPo Blog: "On Faith"

SOMALIA
Somalia death toll hits 69 in worst fighting for week - Reuters
FBI fears 'homegrown' terror after U.S. citizen's Somalia strike in October - Philadelpia Enquirer
Context: Latest 'al Qaeda Message' Focuses on Somalia - CNNi
Context: Zawahiri praises Shabaab's takeover of southern Somalia - Long War Journal
Nigeria Delays Troop Deployment in Somalia - VOA

UNITED STATES
Lobbyists win classified leaks ruling; Government bar set higher - Washington Times
Senator Boxer Seeks to Ratify U.N. Treaty That May Erode U.S. Rights - FOX News

February 20, 2009

1. Mexican president Filipe Calderon admits in speech that Mexican government does not control the most violent parts of the country - which are along the US border. Vows fight with Mexican Army forces. Often out-gunned and/or corrupted by cartels they are fighting.

2. Peace deal between Pakistan and Taliban in Swat, including implementation of Taliban-interpreted Sharia Law, indication of Pakistan's losing tide against terrorists. Difficult and bloody impact within year for both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

3. Kyrgyzstan government has officially issued the eviction notice for US forces there, giving CENTCOM 6 months to remove troops, equipment. Will further complicate already strained supply and logistics ahead of increased US troop deployments to Afghanistan and expected sharp rise in Taliban attacks and operations.

4. Israel ties the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit to easing of Gaza blockade. Hamas rejects and Egypt criticizes the demand.

5. Iran said to have enough material for first nuclear bomb while inspectors find uranium and graphite traces at destroyed Syrian nuclear site formerly operated with Iran and North Korea.

TERRORIST INFORMATION WARFARE
Jihad TV in Europe: Shut Down Hamas & Hizballah Television Feeds - Wall Street Journal

AFGHANISTAN
Kyrgyzstan issues eviction notice to U.S., complicating Afghanistan logistics - Washington Times
Petraeus knocks on Uzbekistan's door as Kyrgyz base gets the boot - CS Monitor

GAZA
Europe opens covert talks with 'blacklisted' Hamas - The Independent (UK)
US Sen. Kerry goes to Gaza Strip, avoids Hamas - AP
Israel Bombs Smuggling Tunnels along Philidelphi Corridor - JTA

IRAN
Iran holds enough uranium for bomb - Financial Times
Iran still obstructing UN nuclear inspectors - Sydney Morning Herald
Iran Will Consider Talks After Obama Changes Policy, French Press Says - Bloomberg
Report: Israel waging covert war against Iranian nuke program, Assassinating nuke scientists - Ha'aretz
Iran, France firm to sign much-delayed gas deal - Agencie France Presse
Balochis intensify rebellion in southern Iran - Asia Times

ISRAEL
Hamas refuses to free Israeli soldier in return for lifting Gaza blockade - The Guardian (UK)
Egypt: Israel wrong to tie soldier to Gaza truce - IHT

MEXICO
Mexican President Says Gov't Doesn't Control 'Most Violent Parts of Country,' Along US Border - Washington Post

PAKISTAN
Mumbai terrorists (Lashkar-e-Taiba) 'had 320 targets around world' - Telegraph
Bomb kills 25 at Pakistan Shi'a funeral - Washington Times
The Taliban get their first wish with Sharia in Swat district - Asia Times
Also See: Taliban Win in Swat - The Captain's Journal
Pakistani Ministers visit Swat after peace accord with Taliban - Adnkronos Security
Official Confirms U.S. Using Pakistan Base to Launch Attacks - FOX News
'Pakistan had no choice but make a deal in Swat' - Rediff

SYRIA
Graphite and uranium found at Syrian site struck by Israel - Reuters

UNITED NATIONS
Analysis: IAEA candidates to replace ElBaradei a study in contrasts - AP

February 16, 2009

1. Pakistani government has accepted Taliban/al-Qaeda demands for implementation of sharia law in Swat agency in exchange for cease-fire in the small area once one of Pakistan's greatest natural tourist attractions.

2. Senator Diane Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, recklessly said last week that CIA drones used to strike Taliban/al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan's tribal areas are launched from Pakistani bases. No official, Pakistani or American, has said or hinted at such in eight years.

3. Cyprus begins unloading docked Iranian ship's cargo, said to contain munitions, breeching UN mandate. The US and Cyprus said the ship contained munitions, both after boarding and inspecting. Cargo to be held in Cyprus.

4. Clashes in Lebanon as March 14 group recognizes anniversary of Hariri assassination. Hizballah attacks marchers, man killed shielding his son from knife attack.

King Abdullah executes rare shake-up of Saudi government, including first-ever appointment of a female minister.

IRAN
US to slow Europe missile plan if Russia reviews Iran policy - Thaindian News
Iran Minister Stirs Pot, Says Iran, Russia to boost military cooperation - Xinhua

IRAQ
An Open Letter to a Craven Reporter in Iraq - Huffington Post

ISRAEL
'World duped by Hamas death count' - Jerusalem Post
Olmert reiterates: No Gaza truce deal until Shalit is released - Ha'aretz
IDF used Gaza op to perfect Iron Dome rocket defense system - Jerusalem Post

KUWAIT
Muslim comics superheroes battle radical Islam - Ha'aretz

LEBANON
Lebanon marks anniversary of Hariri's assassination - CBC
Lebanon Druze leader urges calm after deadly clashes - AFP
Hizballah Gets Away with Murder, Again - Family Security Matters

PAKISTAN
Pakistan in Deal on Shariah in Region - NY Times
Govt, TNSM agree on Nizam-e-Adl in Malakand - Daily Times (Pak)
Boys' school blown up by Taliban in Swat - Daily Times (Pak)
Suspected US Drone Strikes Taliban Target on Pak-Afghan Border - VOA

RUSSIA
Moscow Middle East peace talks will not involve Hamas, Hezbollah - RIA Novosti
Russia's Coming War with Georgia - The Jamestown Foundation

SAUDI ARABIA
Major and rare reshuffle in Saudi Arabia includes first female minister - BBC

February 11, 2009

1. Afghan justice and education ministries, as well as prison directorate, attacked in coordinated Taliban strikes in Kabul. Eight attackers killed - Taliban reports 16 attackers in Kabul for attacks. Latest reports include 26 killed and 55 wounded.

2. Iran denies ship detained by Cyprus contains weapons destined for Gaza. The U.S. reportedly had found artillery shells and other arms on board the vessel during an inspection in the Red Sea in January.

3. North Korea said to be moving equipment into place for a future test firing of a long-range missile. The test firing is not seen as a threat (note prior failures), though it may further strain relations with South Korea.

4. Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan visits Pakistan's tribal regions after discussions in Islamabad. Also slated to visit Kabul and India.

5. Morgan Tsvangirai sworn in as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in power sharing deal with Robert Mugabe. Cabinet to be sworn in Friday consists of 16 members of Tsvangirai's MDC party. Mugabe has pledged cooperation to resolve political and economic crisis.

AFGHANISTAN
Taliban Attacks in Kabul Kill 20 - Washington Post
Taliban kill 26 in attacks on Afghan govt buildings - AFP
Taliban assault ministries in Kabul - Long War Journal

IRAN
Cyprus: Detained ship broke Iran arms export ban - IHT
No Gaza arms on ship, says Iran - BBC
Iran: No weapons for Hamas on Cyprus-docked ship - Jerusalem Post
Iran to America: Make your intentions clear - CSM

IRAQ
Car and Roadside Bombings Kill 18 in Baghdad - VOA
At least 26 dead as bombs, shootings shatter Iraq lull - AFP
Iran's foreign minister in Iraq for economic talks - AP

NORTH KOREA
Report: NKorea moving missile equipment to site - AP
Clinton Says North Korea Shouldn't Spark Instability - Bloomberg

PAKISTAN
U.S. envoy Holbrooke visits northwest Pakistan - Washington Post

ZIMBABWE
Zimbabwe PM pledges 'new chapter' - BBC

February 5, 2009

1. Rocket and mortar fire into Israel from Gaza continues as Hamas leaves Cairo without a peace deal. Egypt said to have prevented millions from entering Gaza through tunnels.

2. Israeli navy intercepted and impounded a Lebanese ship bound for Gaza said to be carrying relief supplies.

3. Somali pirates reportedly paid $3.2 million to release Ukrainian ship carrying 33 tanks and other heavy armaments. The fight between the two Islamist offshoots of the Islamic Courts Union for primacy and control of Somalia continues apace.

4. Saudi Arabia releases a list of its 85 'most wanted' terrorists, and at least 11 of those on the list had been previously released to Saudi Arabia from US-run Guantanamo Bay facilities for rehabilitation. One operates an al-Qaeda cell from Iranian soil.

AL QAEDA
Saudi Arabia's 85 Most-Wanted Includes 11 Released Guantanamo Bay Detainees - Long War Journal
'Indians among Al Qaeda suspects arrested in Spain' - Sify

CHINA
Report: China Doubled Attack Sub Patrols in 2008 - Defense News

DENMARK
Denmark hosts Gaza arms smuggling conference - Monsters & Critics

GAZA
Mortar fire from Gaza continues to pound Israeli territory - Ha'aretz
Egypt prevents Hamas taking millions into Gaza - AFP
Israel and Hamas Prepare for the Next Gaza War - TIME
U.N. Says Hamas Seized Aid Meant for Needy Civilians - FOX News
Al-Qaeda No. 2 criticizes Obama over Gaza - AP

INDIA
India Refutes Submarine Encounter With Chinese Warships off Somali coast - RTT News

IRAN
Obama Era on Iran Relations Begins: Last Chance for Diplomacy? - Middle East Times
Editorial: Tehran's satellite launch shows America its nuclear intent - Telegraph (UK)

ISRAEL
Experts Dampen Expectations of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Deal - VOA
IDF intercepts and impounds Lebanese Gaza aid ship - Jerusalem Post

LEBANON
Israel warns Lebanon over memorial for Hizballah terrorist Mugniyeh - Reuters

TURKEY
Gaza war creates rift between Israel and Turkey - IHT

UNITED STATES
U.S. Oil Dependency on the Middle East Exaggerated - MEMRI

SOMALIA
Somali pirates paid $3.2M to free hijacked Ukrainian arms ship - CS Monitor
Somalia clash death toll put at 13 after IED kills civilians - Daily Nation (Kenya)
Thousands of Somalis fleeing to Ethiopia - IRIN (UN)
Hopes high for Somalia's new Islamist president, former ICU leader - CNN

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