1. Taliban assault in Pakistan continues at frantic pace. After attacks on UN World Food Program office and Peshewar marketplace killing 49, Taliban assault Pak Army Headquarters, believed to be planned by military defector. UN attack suspected carried out by another defector. Monday morning saw another marketplace bombing, killing 41.
2. White House gives signals it is seeking middle ground between McChrystal and Biden plans. Less than the 40,000 troops recommended are expected to be supplied. Outstanding Long War Journal analysis spells out in detail why an al-Qaeda-centric approach inside Pakistan is wrong, makes little sense, and doomed to failure.
3. In Iran, a wave of executions is seen as an attempt to intimidate the still-protesting opposition movement, a movement that continues without American support from Washington.
4. US special envoy to the Middle East says Washington supports a "contiguous" Palestinian state, though what he means may not be as clear as some suggest. Meanwhile, Hamas warns Fatah's Abbas not to call new elections - elections that Hamas would likely lose much ground in.
The Steve Schippert Show on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran - October 12, 2009 - Take That Radio
French al-Qaeda suspect 'alluded to attacks', magistrate claims - Telegraph
Troop Levels Are Still Focus of Debate - New York Times
Senators Escalate Call for Obama to Send More Troops to Afghanistan - FOX News
Analysis: Al Qaeda is the tip of the jihadist spear - The Long War Journal
Iran Death Sentences Seen As Move To Intimidate Opposition - Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Diplomacy in the lead on Iran nuclear issue -- for now - Los Angeles Times
Clinton to press Russia on Iran, arms control - AP
UK enforces halt to financial trade with two Iran firms - Reuters
Iran Seeks Deal for Reactor - Washington Post
Taliban Attack Pakistan Army General Headquarters - SAAG
Militant leader who led attack on Pakistan Army base is one of many defectors - Times (UK)
Commandos free hostages in Pakistan Army HQ - Washington Times
SecState: Clinton downplays threat to Pakistan nuke arsenal - AP
Really? Security of Pak's Nuclear Establishments: A Wake-Up Call - SAAG
Taliban Offensive Continues: 41 dead as suicide blast hits northwest Pakistan - AFP
U.S. upholds "contiguous" Palestinian state - Xinhua
Hamas warns Abbas against unilaterally calling new elections - Jerusalem Post
Suspect in 1968 hijacking at JFK is captured - CNN