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August 18, 2009

1. Pre-election bombings by Taliban in Afghanistan continue amid hightened security. Taliban targeting NATO forces, threatening to kill Afghans in their areas (outside Kabul) who vote.

2. After murmers of gasoline import sanctions, the Iranian Achilles Heel, Iran says once again ready for talks ("without pre-conditions") with West on nukes.

3. Pakistan captures Taliban's top spokesman near Afghan border. Another leadership blow following likely killing of Baitullah Mehsud in a US Predator drone strike weeks ago.

4. As President Obama lauds Israeli settlement permit halts, New York Times laments that "makeshift" post-incursion Gaza repairs are not enough. Also in Gaza, al-Qaeda-inspired (if not linked) Islamist conflict with Hamas getting bloody.

AFGHANISTAN
Second deadly pre-poll car bomb attack hits Kabul, NATO Forces among casualties - BBC
Taliban Escalate Attacks on Kabul Two Days Before Presidential Election - VOA
Security ramps up for Afghan election - Washington Times
Audio Analysis: Steve Schippert Show, #11 (Afghan/Pak Analysis in 2nd Half Hour) - Take That! Radio

COLOMBIA
Iran In South America: Diplomat: Iran opposes US military base deal for Colombia - AP
Background: From inside South America's Tri-border area, Iran-linked militia targets U.S. - MSNBC (2007)
Background: The Enemy Next Door: Hizballah in South America - Roguely Stated Blog

EGYPT
Obama-Mubarak Talks to Highlight US- Egyptian Ties - VOA

IRAN
Iran Official: Iran Ready for Nuclear Talks With West - FOX News
Germany, EU Increasingly Ready to Impose Tough New Sanctions on Iran - Der Spiegel
Mousavi says government agents raped detainees - Reuters

ISRAEL
Israeli officials: New West Bank projects frozen - AP
News Headline - ThreatsWatch

LEBANON
Fatah al-Islam Islamist Militant Escapes From Prison In Lebanon - New York Times

MEXICO
Mexico shootouts with cartels leave 4 dead, 3 wounded - CNNi
33 die in wave of drug violence in Mexico border state across from El Paso - AFP

NIGERIA
Editorial: SecState Clinton equates U.S. democracy with Nigerian corruption - Washington Times

NORTH KOREA
Op-Ed: Kissenger: North Korea's Nuclear Blackmail - New York Times
South Korea to launch 1st rocket; eyes on NoKor response - AP
Seoul Won't Endorse North Korea Travel - Wall Street Journal

PAKISTAN
Pakistan Arrests Top Taliban Spokesman, Maulvi Omar - VOA
Pakistan needs 'months' for Waziristan push - Reuters

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
Cost of Aggression: Makeshift Repairs Not Enough For Battered Gaza - New York Times
Germany negotiating with Hamas, says Egypt - EU Observer
Al-Qaeda Inroads: Growing threat to Hamas: Gazans who think it has sold out - CS Monitor
Background: 6 Die at Gaza Mosque as non-Hamas Islamists and Hamas Clash - New York Times
Background: Hamas' Own Islamacization Process Ongoing in Gaza - ITIC

RUSSIA
Russia Arrests 8 Suspected Cargo Ship Hijackers - VOA

SOMALIA
Are Somali Pirates Serving as al-Qaeda's Navy? - Washington Times
'Rogue'? UN WFP Compound in Somalia Attacked by 'Rogue al-Shabaab' - VOA

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    What on Earth can Usama bin Laden, the mystical calculus of climate change and US Homeland Security have in common? Does bin Laden really agree with the President of the United States on matters weather? How is it that the...

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