- By Mary Casey-Baker<p> Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p>
Heavy clashes have continued across Bahrain between anti-government protesters and security forces ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix set for Sunday. Bahrain’s main opposition society al-Wefaq has called for major protests to be held Friday. Pro-democracy groups have demanded the race be canceled over the kingdom’s poor human rights record and slow pace of reform. Bahrain’s crown prince, Prince Salman bin Hamad Isa Al Khalifa, has admitted his country is "not perfect" but insists progress is being made, and that "we are in a much better position than last year." He urged Bahrainis not to politicize the race. F1A President Jean Todt, said in an email, it is "our firm belief that sports, and the F1 Grand Prix, can have a positive and healing effect in situations where conflict, social unrest and tensions are causing distress." On Friday in a joint statement, F1’s chief executive and commercial-rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone maintained that Bahrain is a safe place to race and said the event will go on as scheduled.
The United Nations Security Council has reached agreement on a non-binding statement on the Syrian conflict, after the prodding of U.N. humanitarian officials who have said the war has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe. In a U.N. Security Council briefing, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, and Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, said 25 percent of Syria’s population of 22 million people is internally displaced, and 1.3 million people have fled the country. Amos appealed to the U.N. Security Council to approve cross-border relief operations to address humanitarian needs inside Syria. The security council has been deadlocked since the beginning of Syria’s uprising in March 2011, but reached a rare consensus issuing the statement saying, "The escalating violence is completely unacceptable and must end immediately," continuing that it "urged all parties to ensure safe and unimpeded access for aid organizations to those in need in all areas of Syria." Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating what some U.S. officials believe to be the first credible indications that chemical weapons have been used in fighting in Syria. According to four senior U.S. officials, witness accounts and preliminary testing of samples from Syria have increased suspicions that Syrian forces have used chemical agents. However, other U.S. officials are skeptical, concerned that Syrian opposition forces could have tainted the samples.
- An estimated 32 people were killed and 65 others wounded in a suicide bombing inside a busy café in Iraq’s capital Baghdad Thursday night ahead of the April 20 provincial elections.
- The U.S. Defense Department is expected to announce next week a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, as a means to counter Iranian threats.
— By Mary Casey
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.| The Cable |