TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: August 29th, 2012

Excerpts and more top stories

EGYPT/CHINA: Egypt’s Morsi Firms China Ties - WSJ
President Mohammed Morsi on his first official trip outside the Middle East took early steps to tie Egypt more tightly to Beijing, as China’s wider reach in the region is posing an increasing challenge to U.S. influence there.

EGYPT/IRAN: Morsi’s Wrong Turn - NYT OP-ED, Thomas Friedman
The new president of Egypt should understand that his visit to Tehran is helping the Iranian regime.

EGYPT: Shades of Mubarak: Egyptian Journalists Chafe Under Media Controls - TIME
ASHRAF KHALIL: Mohamed Morsy’s appointments and restrictions have led to howls of protests from Egyptian journalists. Has the Muslim Brotherhood taken a repressive turn?

SYRIA: Syria’s Assad Says ‘Time Is Needed’ in Fight Against Rebels - NYT
KAREEM FAHIM: In a television interview, President Bashar al-Assad rejected a proposal to create buffer zones in the embattled country, and framed the conflict as a “global and regional war.”

SYRIA: Syrian Group Envisions Transition From AssadNYT
MELISSA EDDY: Representatives from Syria’s political opposition presented a report Tuesday that they hope will serve as a guide on how to establish democracy after the expected fall of President Bashar al-Assad.

SYRIA/LEBANON: Can Hezbollah Survive the Fall of Assad?  - NYT OP-ED, Hanin Ghaddar
Although Hezbollah has sacrificed its credibility to help the Syrian government survive, it will not sacrifice its control over Lebanon for the sake of Bashar al-Assad.

SYRIA/IRAN: Iran’s Syria Policy, and Ours - CFR Analysis
It is true that Iran’s backing for the bloody Assad regime will increase its unpopularity in the Arab world, but Tehran’s rulers must have concluded that power in Damascus is worth whatever it costs.

EUROZONE/GERMANY/ITALY: Germany and Italy to Meet on Euro Crisis - NYT
MELISSA EDDY, RACHEL DONADIO: Prime Minister Mario Monti of Italy is hoping to persuade his European partners to let the European Central Bank buy more government debt to help keep borrowing costs lower.

EUROZONE: Draghi Shores Up Europe’s Markets - WSJ
The euro perked up against the dollar and European equity markets pared losses after ECB President Mario Draghi said maintaining price stability throughout the euro zone may require “exceptional measures.”

PAKISTAN: Pakistan’s New Generation of TerroristsCFR
Pakistan has emerged as a terrorist sanctuary for some of the world’s most violent groups, including al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and homegrown militants, that threaten the stability of Pakistan as well as the region.

PAKISTAN: Taliban Kill at Least 8 Pakistani Soldiers in Ambush - NYT
DECLAN WALSH, IHSANULLAH TIPU MEHSUD: Taliban fighters armed with rifles and rocket launchers launched an ambush early Wednesday in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, military officials and Taliban commanders said.

CHINAChina’s Three Paths to RebalancingWSJ OP-ED, Michael Pettis
Yuan revaluation isn’t the only way. A hike in interest rates actually works better.

AFGHANISTAN: Karzai Is Seen as Poised to Overhaul Afghan LeadershipNYT
RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr., GRAHAM BOWLEY: President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan appeared ready to announce a major cabinet and national-security shake-up, Western officials said on Wednesday.

AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan—The ‘Who Cares?’ WarWSJ OP-ED
MAX BOOT: Public apathy isn’t necessarily fatal for the war effort. It could even provide the opportunity to finally get it ‘right.’

RUSSIA: More Than a Dozen Die in 2 Attacks in a Russian Republic - NYT
DAVID M. HERSZENHORN: Seven people died in a suicide bombing and a border guard killed seven of his fellow soldiers in separate attacks in the Republic of Dagestan, where Russia has long battled violent Islamic separatists

MEXICO: Americans Shot in Mexico Were C.I.A. Operatives Aiding in Drug War - NYT
RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD, ERIC SCHMITT: The two Americans wounded last week when their embassy vehicle was shot up were Central Intelligence Agency employees aiding in Mexico’s efforts to fight drug traffickers, officials said.

ISRAEL: Court Rules Israel Is Not at Fault in Death of American Activist  - NYT
An Israeli judge ruled on Tuesday that the state bore no responsibility for the death of Rachel Corrie, the young American protester who was run over by a military bulldozer in 2003.

FRANCE/PALESTINE: France Opens Homicide Inquiry in Arafat’s Death - NYT
SCOTT SAYARE: A French court will open a homicide investigation into the 2004 death of the former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, French news media reported Tuesday.

ASIA/ECONOMY: Asia’s Tide of Cash Hems In LeadersWSJ
Foreign investors are pumping money into several Asian economies, pushing up currencies, stocks and property prices, but threatening to complicate efforts by policy makers to soften an economic slowdown.

JAPAN/NORTH KOREA: Japan and North Korea to hold first talks in four yearsCFR via the BBC
Government officials from Japan and North Korea are to meet for their first direct talks in four years. 

DENMARK: Danish GDP StumblesWSJ
Denmark’s economic output dropped more sharply than expected in the second quarter, as solid exports failed to offset poor private consumption and declining investments, the Danish statistics office said.

IRAN: Tehran, a Surprise Session with Iran’s Foreign Minister - TIME
JAY NEWTON-SMALL: At Iran’s big diplomatic Non-Aligned Movement extravaganza, Ali Akbar Salehi takes questions about sanctions, nuclear development, Syria, Hamas and himself.

HORN OF AFRICA/PIRACY: U.S. Reports That Piracy Off Africa Has Plunged  - NYT
THOM SHANKER: The United States Navy credited aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the shipping industry for a decrease in piracy in the waters around the Horn of Africa.


SYRIA: A Refugee Disaster in the Making - NYT EDITORIAL
President Bashar al-Assad’s relentless war is forcing more and more Syrians to flee to camps in Turkey and elsewhere.

SYRIA: In Syria, a Small, but Powerful ForceWSJ
The country’s Alawite minority group appears to hold the key as a last line of defense to the Assad regime.

SYRIA: Many Hands Patch Together Syrian Rebels’ Arsenal - NYT
C. J. CHIVERS: A network of tradesmen and businesses have helped to piece together an arsenal to counter the Assad government’s army.

SYRIA: Syrian Refugees Flood Into Jordan and Turkey in a Sharp Rise - NYT
KAREEM FAHIM: The United Nations refugee agency said that 10,200 Syrians had crossed into Jordan last week, and Syrian activists reported deadly government airstrikes in Idlib, near Turkey.

SYRIA: A once-hunted activist emerges from hiding to rebuild his Syrian homeland - WP
Rami Nakhla is taking advantage of Washington’s resources to offer a blueprint for a new Syria.

SYRIA: Syria’s rebels: More than they can chewTHE ECONOMIST
Following an audacious offensive, the rebels are struggling to survive the regime’s counterattack

SYRIA/LIBYA: Libya’s Fighters Export Their Revolution to Syria TIME
STEVEN SOTLOFF: Buoyed by their defeat of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s militiamen — perhaps with Qatari funds — bring their zeal and experience to the war against Assad

SYRIA/TURKEY: Turkey urges UN to set up Syria safe zone - FT
Country’s strongest statement yet on need for buffer zone.

SYRIA: Amnesty International Web site hacked  - WP
Supporters of the Syrian government hack site, posting items that falsely accused rebels of atrocities.


E.C.B/DRAGHI: Stiff Test Facing E.C.B. Chief  - NYT
LANDON THOMAS Jr.: In the coming month, Mario Draghi will be under pressure to provide details of his plan to shore up the euro zone’s weaker member nations by buying their bonds.

EURO: The euro convergence that never was - WP
The common currency’s architects thought it would smooth out the differences among national economies in Europe. Globalization proved them wrong.

SPAIN: Shut Out of the Debt Markets, Catalonia Asks Madrid for Emergency Aid - NYT
RAPHAEL MINDER: The request from the most economically important region of Spain underscores a growing regional debt burden as the country struggles to pull out of its economic tailspin.

SPAIN: For the good of Spain, not the party  - FT EDITORIAL
National not factional interests should guide Rajoy.

PORTUGAL: Portugal at Crossroads Amid VisitWSJ
Officials from the EU and the IMF arrived in Lisbon to assess the country’s progress in implementing a bailout program, amid signs austerity may be hurting the government’s ability to meet budget deficit targets.

FRANCE/GREECE: Crédit Agricole Nears Exit From Greece - WSJ
Crédit Agricole said it is near a deal to sell its troubled Greek bank, a move that would end a disastrous foray into Greece for one of France’s biggest banks.

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