Morning Brief, Wednesday, July 26
Crisis in the Middle East Officials at a high-level meeting in Rome yesterday failed to reach an agreement on an international force for southern Lebanon, and Kofi Annan continued to criticize Israel for what he called the "deliberate" attack on a UN post that killed four UN observers. Israeli PM Olmert insists the attack on ...
Crisis in the Middle East
Crisis in the Middle East
Officials at a high-level meeting in Rome yesterday failed to reach an agreement on an international force for southern Lebanon, and Kofi Annan continued to criticize Israel for what he called the "deliberate" attack on a UN post that killed four UN observers. Israeli PM Olmert insists the attack on the post was a mistake. Israel says its troops will occupy southern Lebanon until an international force can be put in place, despite losing as many as 12 soldiers in fighting with Hezbollah yesterday. Last week's talk of incapacitating Hezbollah has largely stopped. The first relief plane lands at Beirut airport and Sharon's condition worsens.
When the rockets stop falling and the dust settles, it may emerge that Syria has lost much of the influence with Hezbollah that it once had. Ignatius argues that the only way out of this mess is to build a strong Lebanese state that won't tolerate Hezbollah. Bernard Haykel insists that al Qaeda's Sunni ideology considers the Shia Hezbollah a heretical rival and is likely uneasy on the sidelines:
For Al Qaeda, it is a time of panic. The group’s Web sites are abuzz with messages and questions about how to respond to Hezbollah’s success. One sympathizer asks whether, even knowing that the Shiites are traitors and the accomplices of the infidel Americans in Iraq, it is permissible to say a prayer for Hezbollah. He is told to curse Hezbollah along with Islam’s other enemies.
During a somber visit with Iraqi PM Maliki at the White House yesterday, Bush announces that more US troops will be shifted to Baghdad to help quell the "terrible" violence in the capital. That means moving some troops from Anbar Province, a key battlefield in the insurgency.
US officials say 600 Taliban fighters have been killed in Afghanistan in the last month, the bloodiest since 2001. Mexican politics remain paralyzed over the contested presidential vote. India warns the US that it will not accept any congressional conditions on the US-India nuclear deal, set for a vote in the House this week. (All the House members should read this before voting.) Liberia's capital gets its street lights switched on for the first time in 15 years. Is there an oil bubble? And GM takes a beating.
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