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May 31, 2009

1. General Petraeus says video shows protested US bombing in Afghanistan weeks ago clearly targeted Taliban, with Taliban fighters seen running into houses. US military figures and widely reported public figures accounting numbers of Taliban and civilian casualties continue to be inverted.

2. With Israel's neighboring and regional enemies emboldened and Iran racing unabated toward nuclear arms, Israel is conducting the largest civil defense drill in its history.

3. North Korea continues to test missiles following its recent nuclear tests. The UN and the international community have yet to respond substantively.

4. Pakistan is reported to have taken control of a key town in the Taliban-held Swat valley. Pakistani government says it is days away from victory in both Swat and Buner agencies. Meanwhile, Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud has ordered bombings in FATA towns.

Petraeus: Video, Body ID shows Taliban 'very clearly' target of much criticized raid last month - Washington Times

Bomb found in toilet on Iran plane - BBC
Iran president's rivals slam his foreign policy - Los Angeles Times
Iranian women campaign for greater rights - Washington Times

Israel holds biggest civil defense drill in state history - Ha'aretz
Israel Analysis: Facing the looming regional threat - Jerusalem Post
Israel: We Won't Bow to U.S. Settlement Requests - FOX News

North Korea Seen Moving Another Missile to Launchpad - Washington Post
SecDef Gates issues tough warning to North Korea - Washington Times
S. Korea Criticizes N. Korea Over Nuclear, Missile Tests - FOX News
North Korea Fires Sixth Missile in a Week - Washington Post

Petraeus Warns of Declining Public Support in Pakistan for U.S. - Bloomberg
Pakistan Says It Is 2-3 Days From Victory in Swat, Buner - VOA
Mingora cleared - Daily Times (Pakistan)
Pakistan: Army 'clears' Taliban stronghold in Swat - Adnkronos (Italy)
Pakistan Continues Its Fight in South Waziristan - New York Times
Baitullah Mehsud orders bombings in small FATA villages - Daily Times

Six die in Hamas, Fatah shootout in West Bank - UPI

Taliban target Britain on 'orders' from al-Qaeda - Telegraph

May 29, 2009

1. Recent Taliban bombing offensive throughout Pakistan may stiffen the resolve of the Pakistani government in its battle, though counter-insurgency skills and tools still woefully lacking in its military.

2. Congressional Research Service report states Pakistan has 60 nuclear warheads and is rapidly pursuing more, including nuclear cruise missiles. Nawaz Sharif, recently cleared by courts to run for office, says Pak nuke security is "best in the world." A false statement.

3. The bloody al-Qaeda linked Islamist march on Mogadishu continues in Somalia, while Islamists in port city of Kismayo have banned videography and music at weddings.

4. While North Korea continues to rattle large sabres following its recent nuclear tests, the American response remains tepid. SecDef downplays as "not a crisis" while POTUS calls for more international diplomacy.

5. South Korea, which once derided the organization as divisive and provocative, has now joined the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which is a group of concerned nations acting together to counter nuclear proliferation.

US: 35 militants killed, 13 wounded in Afghanistan - AP
Gates Says Taliban Have Momentum in Afghanistan - Wall Street Journal

Europe Objects Anew to Detainees - Washington Post
Judge: Classified Evidence Must Be Shared w/Defendants In Gitmo Cases - The Atlantic

Iran: no nuclear, missile cooperation with N.Korea - Reuters
Mosque Explosion Kills 15 in Iran - Washington Post
Debate Over Child Executions Roils Iran's Presidential Vote - Wall Street Journal

Washington slams Telegraph report on Iraq jail photos - AFP
US Rejects Newspaper Report on Iraq Prison Photos - VOA
Turkish jets strike rebel targets in northern Iraq - USA Today
Muqtada al-Sadr wants 'depraved' homosexuality eradicated - AFP

Israel Removes Illegal Settler Outpost in West Bank - New York Times
Jordanian MPs: Break ties with Israel over Knesset proposal - Haaretz

10 mayors, other Mexico officials detained for Drug Cartel corruption - Los Angeles Times
Mexico gunmen attack a senior state prosecutor - AP

Answer to North Korea? When Diplomacy Fails, More Diplomacy - CS Monitor
U.S. bases in South Korea on high alert - Washington Times
Defectors avoid criticizing North Korea - Washington Times

Earlier This Week on NORTH KOREA
About Time: S. Korea Counters North's Nuclear Test by Joining PSI Arms Interdiction Initiative - VOA
Japanese Lawmaker Says Japan Should Consider Pre-emptive Strikes - Bloomberg
Huh?: UN envoy says N. Korea feels sting of global scorn - AP
N.Korea test "slightly bigger" than in 2006 - Reuters
N. Korea missile test about transition - UPI
U.S. military: No doubt of North Korea nuclear test - Los Angeles Times
North's Test Rattles South Koreans Mourning Roh - Wall Street Journal
April Flashback: Japan leader: U.S. 'weak-kneed' on North Korea - UPI
April Flashback: Japan Says Rocket Launch Shows North Korean Progress in Technology - VOA
April Flashback: North Korea Vows 'Strong Steps' If UN Censures Launch - Bloomberg

Bombs seen as stiffening Pakistani resolve on militants - Reuters
Pakistan issues dead or alive Taliban list - UPI
Taliban claim responsibility for Lahore attack - Washington Times
Why Did Taliban Attack ISI at Lahore? SAAG
Coordinated Explosions, Gunfire Kill 13 in Northwest Pakistan - Washington Post
Suicide Bomber Kills 8 At Checkpoint In Pakistan's Peshawar - Wall Street Journal
Pak moving towards more destructive N-weapons: US think tank - PTI (India)
Pakistan's nuclear security "strongest in world": Nawaz Sharif - Daily Times (Pakistan)

Fears of more clashes as war-wounded overwhelm hospitals - IRIN
Somalia Terrorists Denounce Extended UN Mandate - VOA
Somalia: Islamists in Kismayo Ban Filming In Weddings & Music - Somaliland Press
Somalia: the power brokers - The Guardian (UK)
Private armies board ships in Somalia - Radio Netherlands
Australia to send warship to combat Somali pirates - Reuters

May 07, 2009

1. As world media covers angry Afghan protests over apparent civilian casualties after a US strike on Taliban attackers, Gen. David McKiernan urges not to jump to conclusions, Taliban may in fact be responsible in an effort to gain propaganda coup.

2. In a sign of major escalation onto the American side of the border, Mexican cartel leader "El Chapo" has reportedly given the OK for narco-terrorists' offensive use of lethal force against competitors and law enforcement in the United States.

3. Protesters in Georgia continue to clash with police and Georgian government as Russia denies any role in this week's mutiny.

4. Lebanon continues to slide into the hands of Hizballah, Syria and Iran. After the recent release of suspects of Rafik Hariri's 2005 assassination, four in Hizballah-controlled south arrested for 'spying for Israel.' The Cedar Revolution is dying, enemies emboldened.

Angry Protest Against Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan - VOA
Don't Jump to Conclusions on Afghanistan Civilian Deaths, U.S. General Cautions - CNS News
Propaganda Victory! - Jules Crittenden
Gates in Afghanistan on unannounced visit - Reuters

Bold PRC vessels alarm Pentagon - Taipei Times (Taiwan)
Over 1,000 Villagers in central China clash with police - AP

Police and anti-gov't protesters clash in Georgia's capital - AP
Russia Denies Involvement In Alleged Georgian Military Coup - Radio Free Europe
Russia, NATO in battle of wills over Georgia - Reuters
NATO war games launch despite Russia's fierce objections - Los Angeles Times

Report: Foreign analysts cite Iran bomb progress - AP
US no longer wants Iranian 'regime change:' John Kerry - AFP

Peres: We won't apologize for Gaza op - Jerusalem Post
Spanish prosecutors demand to shelve Gaza 'war crimes' probe begun by judge - AFP
Qassam Rocket fire from Gaza Strip Continues - Jerusalem Post

What if Hizballah wins? (TW Editors: A Rhetorical Question) - Foreign Policy Magazine
The end of Lebanon's Cedar Revolution - U-TV News (Ireland)
After Hariri Suspects Released, 4 Accused of Spying for Israel - New York Times

To protect turf, Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' OKs lethal force against U.S. - Chicago Tribune
Sinaloa Cartel OK's Deadly Offensive Against American Competitors, Law Enforcement - Los Angeles Times

Diplo-Talk, Talk, Talk; Still Little Force Movement - New York Times
Refugees Fleeing Swat Valley Tell of Taliban Crimes, Abuses - Washington Post
Pakistan says Taliban peace deal in Swat will end - UPI
Pakistan, US in talks on security of nuclear arsenal - Boston Globe
Mumbai Terrorist Attacker Pleads Not Guilty to Waging War - Bloomberg

Russia says talks with Georgia, EU, separatists broken off - Reuters

Heavy fighting between al-Shabaab and the Islamic Courts Union - Mareeg (Somalia)
Islamist Leaders Meet With President - AllAfrica (Republic of Mauritius)
Islamists showcase violent films, destroy graves - Garowe (Somalia)

May 05, 2009

1. Just as Iran lays into the West and Israel over the nuclear crisis, SecDef Gates set out to convince Arab allies that they should not worry about the possible coming US-Iran rapprochement under Obama.

2. International leaders begin to court Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif as the Obama administration sets about elevating him to Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the Taliban are back on the offensive in Swat, looking to make gains and counter any stability Washington has in mind.

3. Son of assassinated former PM Rafik Hariri charged publicly that Syria is plotting a return to Lebanon to reassert dominance. Fears grow that Lebanese and Israeli concerns may be expendable as US delegation heads to Damascus for new relations.

Egypt: Israeli nukes 'greatest threat' - Jerusalem Post

UN Investigators To Set Agenda For Gaza Fact-Finding Mission - VOA
Israel urges Spain to halt 'cynical' Gaza war crimes probe - Ha'aretz (Israel)

Iran assails West, Israel at talks on nuclear treaty - Washington Post
Gates: Arab Allies Should Not Worry About Possible US-Iran Rapprochement - VOA
Iran's Khamenei Rejects Ahmadinejad Move on Agencies - Bloomberg
Iran's Ahmadinejad suddenly cancels trip to three Latin American countries - Monsters and Critics

Iraq security at risk in crackdown on militias who fought al-Qaeda - Times Online (UK)
An Agenda for the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq - Nagl/Burton

Hamas Says It Has Halted Rocket Strikes on Israel - For Now - New York Times
U.S., Israel Diverge on Palestinian Plan - Wall Street Journal
U.N. to press Israel to vacate Lebanon border village - Reuters
Hizballah cell in Egypt scouted Israeli targets 'deep in Israel' - Jerusalem Post

Sa'ad Hariri accuses Syria of plotting return in Lebanon - Daily Star (Lebanon)
Syria looks to Lebanon War for tips on arming Hizballah - Ha'aretz (Israel)

Taliban on the offensive in Swat - Long War Journal
Tribal Areas and Terrorists: The Battle for Control of Pakistan - Der Spiegel (Germany)
Militants besiege 46 security men in Mingora - DAWN (Pakistan)
Nawaz Sharif would consider Pakistan unity coalition pushed by US - Financial Times (UK)
Nawaz & Friends: Usama bin Laden offered to buy votes for Nawaz: Qazi - DAWN (2006, Pakistan)
In New Nawaz-fest, China "Against Aid with Strings" - DAWN (Pakistan)
US seeks Saudi help in Pakistan (Read: Nawaz Sharif) - Daily Times (Pakistan)

Fight against pirates also needed ashore: U.S. Navy - Reuters

U.S. Delegation Headed Back To Syria - CBS
US rejects Syria's call for dialogue with Hamas, Hizballah - AFP
Hamas 'not seeking exit strategy' from Syria - Adnkronos (Italy)

40 killed in attack on wedding in Turkey, PKK suspected - Telegraph (UK)

Obama Rebuffed on Funds to Close Guantanamo - Wall Street Journal
Lawyer's letter counters torture report in Senate hearing - Washington Times

May 04, 2009

1. As US concerns over Pakistani stability and nuke security rise, Obama administration is reaching out to Nawaz Sharif, potentially tapping for support in power-sharing strategy. Sharif spokesman was forced to deny that he had said that "Taliban justice is very fair."

2. Eritrea, which hosted al-Qaeda-trained Somali Sheikh Aweys during his exile, has denied charges it assisted arms smuggling for Islamists in Somalia.

3. US overtures to Syria continue to cause concern among Israeli government, beginning to question nature of Obama administration's support and its aims.

4. As Taliban violence begins to spike while Obama administration seeks 'moderate' Taliban to engage, UN is urging Taliban participate in coming summer Afghan elections.

Wave of attacks in south Afghanistan kill 29 - AFP
Afghanistan UN chief urges Taliban to contest presidential poll - Guardian (UK)

'Moderate' presidential candidate wanted by Interpol for 1994 Jewish center bombing in Argentina - AP
Iran shells Kurdish rebel positions in north Iraq - Washington Post

Iraq Amputee First Person Fitted With Revolutionary 'Bionic' Legs - New York Post
Iraq rules out extension of U.S. withdrawal dates - Washington Post
Iraq issues warrants for trade chiefs over corruption - Reuters
Gunfight Breaks Out as Iraqi Soldiers Try to Arrest Trade Officials - New York Times
Iraq police arrest high-ranking member of U.S.-allied movement - Los Angeles Times

Israel Will Accept Palestinian State, Rejects Syria Peace Talks - Bloomberg
UN troops to deploy in Lebanon border village if IDF withdraws - Ha'aretz (Israel)
Another American Overture to Syria - Arutz Sheva (Israel)
Historian Michael Oren named new Israeli ambassador to U.S. - Los Angeles Times

Swine flu scare doesn't stop Mexico's drug war - Kansas City Star
Key Midterm Campaigns Start in Mexico - Wall Street Journal

In Pakistan, U.S. has little faith, few options - Pioneer Press
U.S. Fears Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons at Risk - FOX News
US to offer dual control of drones? - Washington Post
In Pakistan, U.S. Courts Leader of Opposition Nawaz Sharif - New York Times
Zardari summoned to Washington to meet Obama - Reuters
US wants rival Nawaz Sharif to be Zardari's PM: Mushahid - The News International (Pakistan)
U.S. fully backing Pakistan government: Holbrooke - The Hindu (India)
Pakistan Says It Is Meeting Terms of Peace Deal - New York Times
Militants Dispute Pakistan Government Creating Islamic Courts - VOA
Pakistan Fissures I: Hating the Manor-Born - Aaron Mannes

Eritrea, Which Hosted Sheikh Aweys, Says It Does Not Recognize Somali Government - AllAfrica
Eritrea govt rejects allegations of importing weapons to Somalia - Garowe
French navy captures 11 suspected pirates - UPI
South Korean warship rescues North Korean vessel off Somalia - AP
Cruise lines begin dropping Middle East calls as pirate worries grow - USA Today

Britain Pays $900K to Keep al-Qaeda Suspects From U.S. Hands - Washington Post

11 arrested near Fort Lewis trying to block Strykers headed for Afghanistan - Seattle Times
Detainee Compromises Likely: Marri Case Suggests That Interrogations Will Hinder Trials - Washington Post

The Politics of Intimidation in Venezuela - Wall Street Journal

May 1, 2009

1. General David Petraeus sounds the alert that the next two weeks are critical for the Pakistani government's survival. Level of commitment by military to face and defeat Taliban/al-Qaeda alliance in current fight will be key indicator.

2. If Pakistani government collapses, few realistic alternatives. Current president would be unseated and political rival Nawaz Sharif has no loyalty to or from the military. General Kiyani is left, either potential coup or military acceptance of Taliban-led government.

3. While North Korea demands apology, US SecState says no aid for North Korea. Less bold than appears: If NoKor returns to talks, aid will resume flow.

4. Captain of Maersk Alabama testifies before Senate that ships need trained armed crews to prevent hijackings, urges change in shippers' policies. Fellow crew member filed legal suit for endangerment yesterday.

Taliban announce 'countersurge' in Afghanistan - Christian Science Monitor
Official: Ospreys Heading to Afghanistan, New Trucks Not Heading Anywhere - Danger Room

China re-opens border with North Korea - UPI

Tipping Hand: Gates: Persuasion better tack against Iran's nuclear pursuits - CNN
Disrupting Tehran's Export of Technology and Weapons - Washington Institute
Venezuela, Iran Agree to Strengthen Military Ties - FOX News

Turkish air attacks target Kurdish militants in Iraq - AKI (Italy)
Britain Out: Combat Mission Formally Ends A Month Early - Washington Post

Israeli warplanes bomb Gaza smuggling tunnels - AFP

Italy frees hijacker of Achille Lauro ship - AP

It's Over: Lebanon tribunal fuels doubt by freeing suspected generals - Reuters
Subversion: Hizballah's Struggle to Change the Lebanese Regime - JCPA (Israel)

An edgy quiet descends over Mexico City - Los Angeles Times

Brandishing Nukes, North Korea Demands 'Apology' - Danger Room
US: No Economic Aid for North Korea - Unless More Talks - VOA

Petraeus: Next Two Weeks Critical to Pakistan's Survival - FOX News
Petraeus Gives Stark Warning of Potentially Imminent Pakistani Collapse - ThreatsWatch
Pakistan, Taliban battle for control of Buner - Long War Journal
Another 60 militants killed as Buner operation continues - DAWN (Pakistan)
U.S. Sees Promising Shift in Pakistan's Fight With Taliban - Wall Street Journal
Parliament: Zia, Musharraf can be tried for High Treason - DAWN (Pakistan)

Poor Headline: "Radical Islamist leader [Sheikh Aweys] condemns fighting in Somalia" - Xinhua (China)
Self-Contradicting Story: "Opposition leader calls for insurgents to stop killing" - Mareeg (Somalia)

Marri Admits Conspiring With Al-Qaeda Operatives; Faces Up to 15 Years - Washington Post
The Legal Left Comes to Somali Pirate's Defense - FrontPage
US Ship Captain Testifies to Congress on Piracy - VOA
Captain Phillips, once held by pirates, urges military protection and armed crews - Los Angeles Times

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