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August 16, 2010

1. North Korea has threatened the "severest punishment" if the United States and South Korea go ahead with a joint military exercise to test allied defenses. Undeterred, the exercises go on.

2. General David Petraeus gave a round of interviews over the past few days, and the take-away should be that he has no intent on merely presiding over a withdrawal and that success in Afghanistan will take a great deal of time. While praising the president's general strategy, this could be a point of conflict between the Commander in Chief and Afghanistan's theater commander.

3. In a new audio propaganda release, al-Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri chastised Turkey for not breaking relations with Israel completely. Meanwhile, President Obama has reportedly also given Turkey an ultimatum of sorts, signaling that without a shift in our NATO ally's relationship with Iran and mending of its relationship with Israel, future arms agreements could be in question.

4. Violence in Mexico continues unabated as 14 were killed in Juarez, across the border from El Paso, TX. A plastic surgeon was also kidnapped as doctors with the ability to alter appearance are in high demand by drug cartel fugitives.

5. FOX News reports that Defense Secretary Gates will be leaving the Pentagon by the end of 2011.

PENTAGON
Gates to Leave Pentagon by End of 2011 - FOX News

AFGHANISTAN
Petraeus calls strategy in Afghanistan sound - Boston Globe
Petraeus Opposes a Rapid Pullout in Afghanistan - New York Times
Afghanistan Discovers New Oil Deposit - Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
WikiLeaks to Publish More Secrets With Some Data Removed - VOA
ThreatsWatch Rebuke: Wikileaks Hath Spoken - ThreatsWatch (July 2010)

AL QAEDA
Al-Qaeda No. 2 rebukes Turkey, urges break with Israel in audio message - Reuters
Low al-Qaeda count stirs new debate on Afghan war - Washington Times

CHINA
Annual Pentagon China Military Power Report Re-named to Downplay.... Military - Washington Times
China Tops Japan as World's No. 2 Economy - Bloomberg

IRAN
Russian fuel to help start Iran's Bushehr nuclear site - Financial Times
Iran will build more uranium enrichment centers, nuclear chief says - CNN
Iran government 'being strengthened by sanctions' - Telegraph (UK)
Poll cites a shift in Arab views more favorable of Iran - Los Angeles Times
Iran offers $3 billion bonds to develop gas fields - BusinessWeek

IRAQ
US Navy says 4 cargo ships robbed by pirates off Iraq's Basra coast - Washington Times

LEBANON
Lebanon seeks donations to build up its army - Calgary Herald (Canada)
Lebanon PM: UN must probe claims of Israeli complicity in Hariri murder - Ha'aretz (Israel)
Hizballah's next target may be Lebanon - Jerusalem Post (Israel)

MEXICO
14 killed in Mexico murder capital Juarez - AFP
And Kidnappings: Gunmen grab Mexico plastic surgeon, later release him - Los Angeles Times
Tea Party activists rally on Arizona-Mexico border - AP

NORTH KOREA
South Korea, US launch war games despite North Korean threat - AP
Even Still: South Korea president calls for reunification tax - Reuters

PAKISTAN
Gunmen Kill 16 in Southwest Pakistan - New York Times
Petraeus defends Pakistan's efforts - Politico
Bin Laden probably hiding in mountainous regions of Pak: Petraeus - The Hindu (India)
U.N. Chief: Pakistan Floods the Worst I've Seen - CBS News

TURKEY
Future Arms Agreements in Balance: 'Obama Gives Erdogan Ultimatum' - Turkish Weekly (Turkey)

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