TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: October 18th, 2012
Top Five News and Analysis Links (Excerpts Below)
- Denial Is Slipping Away as War Arrives in Damascus
- ‘Mullah Radio’ believed to be behind attack on Pakistani schoolgirl
- At the E.U. Summit, a Focus on Cohesion
- Yemeni: Suspected US drone strikes kill 7 militants in south
- Iran Renews Cyberattacks on U.S. Banks
Excerpts and more top news and analysis
SYRIA: Denial Is Slipping Away as War Arrives in Damascus - NYT
As his troops battled insurgents all around the country, Bashar al-Assad was determined that in Damascus, at least, he would preserve an air of normalcy, but such illusions are no longer possible.
SYRIA: Hezbollah Offering Direct Help to Syrian Army, Rebels Say – NYT
As the civil war in Syria continues, evidence is accumulating that Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese Shiite party, is helping Syrian government forces on the ground across the border in their fight against the rebel Free Syrian Army.
SYRIA/IRAN/TURKEY: Iran and Turkey Join Syria Peace Envoy in Call for Truce – NYT
The new peace envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, said a temporary halt to the fighting would constitute only a tiny step toward resolving the conflict.
SYRIA/EGYPT: UN: Number of Syrian refugees in Egypt tops 150,000 after ‘saturation’ in other host countries – WP
The U.N. refugee agency said Thursday the number of Syrian refugees who have fled their country’s civil war and found shelter in Egypt has now topped 150,000
SYRIA: Strains among Alawites may test Assad – WP
There are growing signs of unease from the one segment of Syria that had stayed loyal to President Assad.
SYRIA: Syrian Rebels Get Missiles – WSJ
Some Syrian rebels have obtained portable antiaircraft weapons, a move that could change the war’s complexion and fan concerns Islamist militias could get such arms.
PAKISTAN: ‘Mullah Radio’ believed to be behind attack on Pakistani schoolgirl - WP
Taliban leader is infamous in the Swat Valley for his long campaign against female education.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan’s Reckoning – BLOOMBERG, FOUAD AJAMI
“I felt hurt on opening my wardrobe and seeing my uniform, school bag and geometry box,” Malala Yousafzai wrote in a diary she kept in the Swat Valley in 2009. “Boys’ schools are opening tomorrow. But the Taliban have banned girls’ education.”
PAKISTAN: Al-Qaida militant with links to European recruiting and training killed in raid - WP
Intelligence officials say an al-Qaida militant with links to European recruiting and training cells has been killed in Pakistan.
EUROZONE: At the E.U. Summit, a Focus on Cohesion – NYT
With market pressure on the euro zone easing for now, experts worry that a meeting of European Union leaders will bog down in bickering that delays promised reforms.
EUROZONE: EU Summit Highlights Financial Divide - WSJ
European Union leaders meet Thursday and Friday for talks that will likely shed light on divisions within the bloc over decisions due in coming months—from establishing a single banking supervisor to a central euro-zone budget.
EUROZONE/U.K.: As Crisis Widens, Fears That Britain Aims to Exit European Union – NYT
In Britain these days, even peace is controversial if associated with the Union.
EUROZONE: Why Europe Is Floundering – THE GUARDIAN via RCP, JOHN GRAY
The greatest danger facing Europe today is the inflexible determination of European elites to save the euro.
EUROZONE: Fears grow over EU banking union plan - FT
EU leaders have expressed alarm that the eurozone’s push towards a banking unionhas stalled, setting up a confrontation with a more reluctant Germany at a European summit in Brussels.
EUROPE: Europeans Urged to Fight Modern Slavery – NYT
Governments are being urged to take tougher action against modern-day slavery after new data show a rise in cases of people-trafficking in Europe, with the victims including children as young as five.
YEMEN: Yemeni: Suspected US drone strikes kill 7 militants in south – WP
Suspected U.S. drone strikes killed at least seven al-Qaida-linked militants in southern Yemen on Thursday, Yemeni security officials and witnesses said.
YEMEN: Qaeda Branch Leader Said to Be Among Dead in Yemen Drone Strike - NYT
An American-operated drone fired on a group of people preparing to attack Yemeni troops on Thursday, killing a local leader of Al Qaeda and at least eight other potential attackers, Yemeni officials said.
IRAN: Iran Renews Cyberattacks on U.S. Banks - WSJ
Iranian hackers renewed a campaign of cyberattacks against U.S. banks this week, targeting Capital One and BB&T and openly defying U.S. warnings to halt.
IRAN: IRAN? Meh. 5 Bigger Threats to American Security- FP, DANIEL BYMAN
Five other dangers that deserve our immediate attention.
IRAN: Iran Media Officials Castigate Europe Over Satellite Blackout – NYT
Outrage followed a decision by Europe’s largest satellite providers to cease transmission of Iran’s 19 state-operated channels that broadcast to Europe and parts of the Middle East.
GREECE: Tens of Thousands March Through Athens – WSJ
Tens of thousands of Greeks took to the streets of Athens, demanding the government call off more spending cuts and tax rises. Clashes broke out as youths threw petrol bombs and rocks at police.
GREECE: Greek Negotiations Hit Snags, From Inside and Out - NYT
The Greek prime minister will show up at the European summit meeting that starts Thursday with something short of an agreement on an austerity budget package.
GREECE: Greek Workers Walk Out in National Strike to Protest Austerity – NYT
Tens of thousands of Greeks moved to bring the country to a near-standstill in a bid to show European Union leaders that fresh austerity cuts would be crippling.
GERMANY: Twitter Blocks Germans’ Access to Neo-Nazi Group – NYT
The decision to block the group’s posts from being seen in Germany, but not other countries, was the first time that Twitter acted on a policy known as “country withheld content.”
CHINA: China Slows Down Further - WSJ
China reported that its economy continued to slow in the third quarter, just weeks before it embarks on a once-a-decade change in leadership.
CHINA: China’s solar industry ‘on life support’ – FT
Senior energy official warns consolidation is needed
CHINA: China sees lowest growth in three years – AJE
GDP for third quarter slumps to 7.4 per cent down from 7.6, making it the worst economic performance since 2009.
CHINA: Getting tough on China – WP, EDITORIAL
COMPETITIVE CHINA-BASHING has become a quadrennial ritual in U.S. politics.
CHINA: RED STATE: Why China Wants Mitt Romney to Win – FP, SHEN DINGLI
Which U.S. presidential candidate would be better for U.S.-China relations?
CHINA: On China Currency, Hot Topic in Debate, Truth Is Nuanced - NYT
Mitt Romney accused China of being a “currency manipulator,” but the renminbi has strengthened during President Obama’s time in office.
TIBET/CHINA: U.S. Ambassador Confirms Meeting With Tibetans in Western China – NYT
The United States ambassador to China made a recent visit to a mountainous region of western China, where dozens of Tibetans disaffected with Chinese rule have set themselves on fire.
CHINA/NOBEL: China’s Nobels – NYT, LARRY SIEMS & JEFFREY YANG
The Nobel honoree for literature is a Chinese novelist who has learned to keep his voice low.
MALI: Will the World Go to War to Save Mali? – TIME, ISHAAN THAROOR
The French say an intervention is a “matter of weeks” away but what could it look like and how may it backfire?
LIBYA: Libya Singles Out Islamist as a Commander in Consulate Attack, Libyans Say - NYT
The man, Ahmed Abu Khattala, is a leader of the Benghazi-based Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia and is still at large.
LIBYA: State-linked Libyan militias shell Bani Walid – AJE
Ex-rebels allied to Libya’s government launch deadly attack on former stronghold of deceased dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
LIBYA: Ten Killed as Former Gaddafi Stronghold Town is Shelled – NYT
The hilltop town was one of the last to surrender last year to the rebels who overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
AFGHANISTAN: Questions Raised in Deaths of Afghan Children in Coalition Strike – NYT
The NATO-led coalition raised the possibility that the Taliban had been using the children to place roadside bombs for them.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan’s Fiscal Cliff - FP, MATTHIEU AIKINS
Kabul-watchers are rightly worried about what the withdrawal of Western aid money will mean for one of the most impoverished countries on the planet. But everyone’s asking the wrong questions.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan: The Taliban’s Dangerous New Munitions – The Daily Beast
The insurgents’ truck bombs are using military-grade explosives now, not just homemade stuff. Some suggest Pakistan is the source—and some say Iran.
ISRAEL: American Troops Arrive in Israel for Defense Drill - NYT
Austere Challenge 2012 will be the sixth in a series of joint exercises and had been planned for more than two years.
ISRAEL: US and Israel to launch major military drill - AJE
“Austere Challenge 2012″, involving nearly 5,000 troops, will unfold later this month in show of unity aimed at Iran.
GUANTANAMO: Alleged 9/11 mastermind blasts U.S. - WP
At hearing, Khalid Sheik Mohammed said officials used national security as a pretext to murder and torture.
U.K.: Britain to recruit apprentice spies in bid to deepen intelligence talent pool - WP
How’s this for a job title — secret agent’s apprentice?
U.K.: Sexual Abuse Scandal Turns the Tables on BBC – NYT
The decision by the BBC program “Newsnight” to cancel a segment looking into sexual abuse accusations against Jimmy Savile has led to a series of independent investigations.
ITALY: Corruption Rattles Italians’ Already Shaky Trust in Politicians - NYT
Twenty years after Italy’s postwar political order collapsed in a scandal, accusations are again flying in new scandals that are eroding Italians’ trust in their politicians.
RUSSIA: Russia Arrests Opposition Leader, Threatening Terror Charges - NYT
Russian authorities on Wednesday arrested one of the country’s most prominent political opposition leaders, accused him of plotting to organize mass riots and said he could face terrorism charges.
RUSSIA: Mr. Putin’s Gift to Terrorists – NYT, EDITORIAL
Russia is putting the world at risk by refusing American aid to clean up its nuclear weapon sites.
IRELAND: Gay and unmarried couples can adopt children in Northern Ireland, Belfast judge rules - WP
Gay rights activists praised the ruling in favor of a lawsuit pursued by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
SPAIN: Spanish Borrowing Costs Ease – WSJ
Spain’s debt costs retreated further from their dangerous summer highs Thursday, helped by favorable ratings news and growing hopes that the government will request a bailout.
JAPAN: U.S. Tries to Soothe Okinawa Nerves – WSJ
U.S. and Japanese officials moved swiftly to limit potential damage to their bilateral defense relations after two U.S. Navy sailors were arrested on suspicion of raping of a local woman.
JAPAN: Japanese Politician’s Visit To Shrine Raises Worries – NYT
In the past, such visits have angered China and South Korea, two victims of Japan’s early 20th-century militarism, who view the large Shinto shrine in central Tokyo as a symbol of Japan’s refusal to atone.
JAPAN: Japanese officials visit controversial shrine - AJE
Chinese media criticises visit by head of Japan’s opposition and others, saying it will “further poison bilateral ties”.
COLUMBIA: Colombia Tries Again to End Drug-Fed War - NYT
For the first time in a decade, rebels and the government of Colombia came together with the goal of ending the longest-running war in the Western Hemisphere.
S. AFRICA: South African Mine Strife Returns to Origin – WSJ
Strike breaks out at mine where long-running dispute began, with 4,000 workers dropping tools Wednesday.
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