TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: July 6, 2012
- Draghi running out of wriggle room
- General’s Defection Confirmed as Syria Opposition Meets
- Clinton presses Russia, China on Syria
- Russian lawmakers to vote on bill targeting NGOs
- Mexico’s president-elect wants closer security ties with U.S.
Excerpts and more top stories
EUROZONE: Draghi running out of wriggle room
James Wilson, Financial Times – Mario Draghi is almost out of wriggle room. By cutting its main policy interest rate a quarter of a percentage point on Thursday and bringing the rate it pays on overnight deposits to zero, the European Central Bank moved close to the end of the road in terms of what normal monetary policy can do to revive the stalling EU economy.
Dan Bilefsky, Alan Cowell, Neil MacFarquhaur, NY Times – Opponents of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria met with their international sponsors in Paris on Friday to intensify pressure for his removal, buoyed by word that Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, a commander in the elite Republican Guard, close friend of the president and a member of the Damascus aristocracy, had defected and fled the country.
Stephanie McCrummen and Liz Sly, Washington Post – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton slammed Russia and China Friday for “blockading” international efforts to bring an end to the Syrian crisis, as confirmation reached a Friends of Syria meeting here that a powerful Syrian military officer had defected from the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
RUSSIA: Russian lawmakers to vote on bill targeting NGOs
Laura Mills, AP – The law would impose harsh regulations on all foreign-funded non-governmental organizations that are involved in political activity, part of a broad crackdown on civil liberties and dissent that has accompanied Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in May.
William Booth and Nick Miroff, Washington Post – The president-elect of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, said in an interview Thursday that he wants to expand his country’s drug-war partnership with the United States but that he would not support the presence of armed American agents in Mexico.
More top stories
Kaith Bradsher, NY Times — The Chinese government issued an uncommonly mild response Friday to U.S. trade complaint challenging China’s imposition last December of steep tariffs on American-made sport utility vehicles and midsize and large cars.
The Economist – JUST as South-East Asian countries were heaving a sigh of relief that China and the Philippines appeared to be drawing back from confrontation in the South China Sea, new tension has arisen between China and Vietnam in the same stretch of ocean.
Wall Street Journal – Finland would rather leave the euro zone than pay down the debt of other countries in the currency bloc, Finnish Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen said in a newspaper interview Friday.
AFGHANISTAN: US confronts challenge of Afghan exit
Craig Whitlock and Karen DeYoung, Financial Times – Even with the reopening of critical supply routes through Pakistan, the US military confronts a mammoth logistical challenge to wind down the war in Afghanistan, where it must withdraw nearly 90,000 troops and enormous depots of military equipment accumulated over the past decade.
C. Christine Fair, Huff Post – This week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally uttered the magical words to persuade Pakistan to reopen the ground supply routes to Afghanistan: “I’m sorry.” With these words, the clock has been reset to the morning of November 25, 2011. Washington is celebrating this move for now. However, sooner or later, this breakthrough will lead to the next break down.
S.KOREA/JAPAN: South Korea Fires Top Presidential Aide Over Pact With Japan
Choe Sang-Hun, NY Times – A top national security aide resigned under pressure on Thursday, as the government of President Lee Myung-bak struggled to extricate itself from the political debacle it created by trying to enhance military cooperation with Japan.
Deborah Sontag, NY Times – Two and a half years after the earthquake, Haiti remains mired in a humanitarian crisis, with 390,000 people languishing in tents. Yet the showcase project of the reconstruction effort is this: an industrial park that will create jobs and housing in an area undamaged by the temblor and in a venture that risks benefiting foreign companies more than Haiti itself.
CHINA: Child Trafficking Arrests: China Police Detain Over 800, Rescue 181 Children In Nationwide Sting
AP via Huff Post – Chinese police arrested 802 people on suspicion of child trafficking and rescued 181 children in a major operation spanning 15 provinces, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said Friday. The recent operation broke up two trafficking rings and led to the arrests of the ring leaders, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.
LIBYA: Unrest in east puts Libya on edge before first post-Gadhafi election
Associated Press via Washington Post – Calls for a boycott and other unrest on the eve of Libya’s first vote since the overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi raised fears of election violence, even as campaigning came to an end Friday for a contest seen as a milestone on the country’s rocky path toward democracy.
MIDDLE EAST: Iraq warns over al-Qaeda flux to Syria
Michael Peel and Abigail Fielding-Smith, Financial Times – Al-Qaeda fighters are crossing from Iraq to Syria to carry out attacks there, Iraq’s foreign minister said on Thursday, as Syrian activists accused regime loyalists of committing atrocities in an opposition stronghold just outside Damascus.
Peter Spiegel, Financial Times – A week after becoming the fifth eurozone country to seek a bailout from Brussels, Demetris Christofias said his government would continue to seek rescue loans from the Kremlin – in essence, playing one potential creditor off the other.
Joby Warrick and Julie Tate, Washington Post – Supporters of the Iranian opposition group Mujaheddin-e Khalq, or MEK, have met with senior Obama administration officials to push for the organization’s removal from the State Department’s terrorist list and better treatment of its members at a camp in Iraq.
UZBEKISTAN: US cozies up to outcast Uzbekistan as it seeks regional support for Afghanistan withdrawal
AP via Washington Post – The bloodiest massacre of protesters since Tianamen Square turned Uzbekistan into a pariah state. Now, the United States needs its help over Afghanistan — and has launched a flurry of overtures while putting aside concerns over human rights.
Thomas Fuller, NY Times – Southeast Asia has long been divided by language, religion, historical rivalries and the geography of sprawling archipelagos. But the opening of Myanmar; the construction of bridges, railways and roads on the Indochinese peninsula; and the rise of inexpensive air travel are bringing the region’s nations closer to the goal of standing up to the two giants of the neighborhood, India and China. Those changes, in turn, give more credence to plans to establish a common market by 2015.
Alan Cowell and John F. Burns, NY Times – A day after a security scare closed a major highway for hours but turned out to be a false alarm, British police officials reported on Friday that they had seized seven men under counterterrorism laws, bringing the total number of arrests announced in the past 24 hours to 13.