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January 13, 2011

1. Hizballah's withdrawal of its ministers from the Lebanese government has caused a collapse. Move is seen as directed by Iran and timed to influence/protest expected UN tribunal indictments of Hizballah terrorists in the 2005 Hariri assassination.

2. US sends top representatives, including the Vice President, to contain relations and strains in Pakistan following the assassination of a governor in Islamabad and the weakening of the Zardari government. On one had, long term support is assured while on the other hand the gov't is prodded to deal with AQ & Taliban swiftly.

3. Latest high-level visits to China signal US efforts to smooth relations there, too. China seen flexing in displays of power and influence, including test flight of its stealth fighter. The contentious topic of a free Taiwan is likely to hit center stage soon.

AFGHANISTAN
Pakistan wants Muslim states' troops in Afghanistan - Sify (India)

AL-QAEDA
Member of top al-Qaeda operative's cell denied habeas petition - Long War Journal
Morocco says soldiers let arms get to al-Qaeda - Reuters
Al-Qaeda claims kidnapping of Frenchmen found dead in Niger - Reuters
Pakistan frees leader with links to al-Qaeda and Taliban - Telegraph (UK)
Obama administration ramping up war on terror - Washington Times

CHINA
New China-US Showdown Looming Over Taiwan - Washington Times
China's Stealth-Fighter Bombshell 'Orchestrated from Above' - The Chosun Ilbo (Korea)
Chinese lawyer discloses his torture - Telegraph (UK)
Tajikistan Cedes Land to China in Border Deal - BBC

IRAQ
Iran-Backed Group Claims Attack on US Forces in Iraq Using New Types of Rocket - MEMRI

LEBANON
Hizballah withdraws from Lebanon government, causing collapse - Monsters & Critics
Iran's Role in Collapse of Lebanese Gov't May Serve as Warning for Iraqis - FOX News
Described as "Hizballah's Latest Suicide Mission" - New York Times
Lacking Leverage, U.S. Grasps for a Solution in Lebanon - New York Times
Lebanon turmoil unlikely to descend into clash - Jerusalem Post
Still: Israeli troops on alert after Lebanon govt falls - Washington Post

NORTH KOREA
Gates: N. Korea will pose direct threat to U.S. - Washington Times
N.Korean Regime Intensifies 'Reign of Terror' with Executions, Shoot to Kill Orders - Chosun Ilbo (S. Korea)
N. Korea seen as drawing bead on both Seoul, U.S. - Washington Times

PAKISTAN
In Pakistan, Biden pledges long-term American support - Washington Post
Take speedy action against AQ, Taliban: Mullen to Pak - Hindustan Times (India)
Pakistan's Weakened President Zardari heads to US - AFP
Indian soldier injured in Pakistan firing across Kashmir border - Monsters & Critics
Militants blow up gas pipeline in SW Pakistan - AFP
Bomb kills policeman, wounds five in NW Pakistan - AFP

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
Egypt to Hamas: Stop Gaza rockets or face new Israel war - Reuters
But... Hamas facing difficulties with Palestinian militants (Islamic Jihad, PFLP, PRC) - Asharq Al-Awsat

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