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March 13, 2009

1. Report says the Obama plan for Afghanistan concentrates on Pakistani aid and engagement of so-called "moderate" elements of the Taliban. Another report indicates US enlisting Saudi influence to pry Taliban from al-Qaeda.

2. Nawaz Sharif's nationwide Pakistani "Long March" protest has reportedly been effectively halted by police actions throughout the state, including arrests and physical blocking of march routes.

3. Somali terrorist group al-Shahab, expected to announce formally al-Qaeda ties soon, currently weilds only effective writ in Somalia. Some members recruited from Minneapolis. UN-backed Somali government exists wholly on paper alone.

4. Russia may balk on delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran as murmers of ebbing Russian support continue. In reaction, Iran is now pushing OPEC to bring Russia aboard the largely Persian Gulf oil cartel.

AL-QAEDA
US taking Saudi help to make Taliban part ways with al-Qaeda - SamayLive (India)

AFGHANISTAN
Obama Afghan Plan Focuses on Pakistan Aid and Appeal to Militants - New York Times
Kabul 'will only talk to Taliban who stop war': govt - AFP
US may think Taliban in Kabul Gov't OK, But it's not OK for Pakistan - Daily Times (Pak)

EGYPT
New Push in Egypt to Scrap the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty - Gulf News (UAE)

GAZA
Israeli Aircraft Strike Tunnels, Arms Stores in Gaza - VOA
PA unity negotiations between Hamas and Fatah near collapse - Jerusalem Post

IRAN
New Report: Hamas Acquires Iran's Weapons Through Sudan, Yemen - The Bulletin
Russia may scrap Iran S-300 anti-aircraft missile delivery: report - AFP
Iran wants Russia to join OPEC - MosNews (Russia)
Ayatollah Khameini: No sign of U.S. correcting regional "mistakes" - Reuters
Obama Response: U.S. may send note to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini - USA Today

ISRAEL
Israel Imposes 3-Day Closure on West Bank, Bars Palestinian Entry - VOA

NORTH KOREA
NoKor Missile Launch Expected - Radio Free Asia

PAKISTAN
New Bajaur peace deal identical to failed 2007 agreement - Long War Journal
Pakistan protest crackdown widens, Nawaz Sharif's "Long March" effectively halted - BBC
Chairman of Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen Extremely Concerned by Pakistan Crisis - Bloomberg
Taliban demand $375,000 to free captive Canadian - Globe and Mail (Canada)

SOMALIA
Somalia's rising tide of extremism: Al-Qaeda Filling Vacuum - Long War Journal
Officials fear al-Qaeda ties to some Midwest Somalis - USA Today

UNITED KINGDOM
After Wilder Banned, Britain's Contacts With Hizballah Vex U.S. - New York Times

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