Morning Brief, Thursday, May 18

“Biggest strike by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan since they were driven from power in 2001” certainly isn’t the best news to start off the day, but here it is: Taliban attack Afghan town, Kill 53. Here’s the BBC on the surge of violence and the drug trade in the region. Hamas tests Abbas’s authority by deploying its own security ...

607916_Putin6.jpg
607916_Putin6.jpg

"Biggest strike by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan since they were driven from power in 2001" certainly isn't the best news to start off the day, but here it is: Taliban attack Afghan town, Kill 53. Here's the BBC on the surge of violence and the drug trade in the region.

Hamas tests Abbas's authority by deploying its own security force in Gaza. Scroll down and note that Amir Peretz, the new defense minister, has reopened the main terminal crossing to Gaza. It's been closed most of this year for security and is the main entry point for people, food, and medicine. Gershom Gorenberg in WaPo thinks Bush should only half-endorse the Israeli plan to pull out of the West Bank and finalize the border. Negotiations with Ramallah, which aren't currently part of Israeli PM Olmert's plans, shouldn't be discounted:

Remember: Only a quirky electoral system gave Hamas a majority in the Palestinian legislature; in the popular vote, the hard-line movement didn't come close to winning. Polls among Palestinians continue to show strong majority support for a two-state solution and recognition of Israel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, of the more moderate Fatah, continues to call for talks with Israel.

“Biggest strike by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan since they were driven from power in 2001” certainly isn’t the best news to start off the day, but here it is: Taliban attack Afghan town, Kill 53. Here’s the BBC on the surge of violence and the drug trade in the region.

Hamas tests Abbas’s authority by deploying its own security force in Gaza. Scroll down and note that Amir Peretz, the new defense minister, has reopened the main terminal crossing to Gaza. It’s been closed most of this year for security and is the main entry point for people, food, and medicine. Gershom Gorenberg in WaPo thinks Bush should only half-endorse the Israeli plan to pull out of the West Bank and finalize the border. Negotiations with Ramallah, which aren’t currently part of Israeli PM Olmert’s plans, shouldn’t be discounted:

Remember: Only a quirky electoral system gave Hamas a majority in the Palestinian legislature; in the popular vote, the hard-line movement didn’t come close to winning. Polls among Palestinians continue to show strong majority support for a two-state solution and recognition of Israel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, of the more moderate Fatah, continues to call for talks with Israel.

The FT reports (subscription required) that Bush is going to give Putin the cold shoulder at this summer’s G8 meeting in St. Petersburg. “No chumminess” and “bare minimum” are used to describe the president’s planned attitude. It doesn’t sound like Putin is looking forward to the meeting either.

Iraq hopes to announce a new cabinet this weekend. A dozen dead and 15 martial artists kidnapped in Baghdad. Rumsfeld tells a Senate panel that he hopes for troop cuts in Iraq this year, but “can’t promise it.”

Australian Wheat Board admits to Saddam bribes. Protests in Ankara after a prominent judge is murdered in court. A judge in Cairo is reprimanded for calling the presidential elections there fraudulent and police attack demonstrators. Syria arrests the country’s most prominent human rights lawyer in the biggest crackdown in years.

The Three Gorges Dam is almost complete. Bolivia, a few weeks after nationalizing oil and gas interests in the country, is planning a land redistribution project. And the FBI is apparently still looking for Jimmy Hoffa. Be sure to check out the North Korea story Jai mentions below.

 

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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