Morning Brief, Thursday, August 17

Cease-fire in Lebanon Lebanese troops move in to secure southern Lebanon as Israeli troops withdraw gradually. Nervous officials in France are fretting over their decision to lead the UN peacekeeping mission in the region, mostly because Lebanon hasn't agreed to disarm Hezbollah, but also because they could be miring themselves in a long, impossible mission. ...

Cease-fire in Lebanon

Lebanese troops move in to secure southern Lebanon as Israeli troops withdraw gradually. Nervous officials in France are fretting over their decision to lead the UN peacekeeping mission in the region, mostly because Lebanon hasn't agreed to disarm Hezbollah, but also because they could be miring themselves in a long, impossible mission. Germany, which may also contribute troops to the multinational effort, has some unease of its own over the possibility of German troops shooting at Israelis.

Israeli Defense Minister Peretz says IDF officials didn't warn him about the Hezbollah threat when he took office. Efforts to put together a committee to examine Israel's performance in the war are met with criticism. And what about those three kidnapped soldiers? Still kidnapped.

Cease-fire in Lebanon

Lebanese troops move in to secure southern Lebanon as Israeli troops withdraw gradually. Nervous officials in France are fretting over their decision to lead the UN peacekeeping mission in the region, mostly because Lebanon hasn't agreed to disarm Hezbollah, but also because they could be miring themselves in a long, impossible mission. Germany, which may also contribute troops to the multinational effort, has some unease of its own over the possibility of German troops shooting at Israelis.

Israeli Defense Minister Peretz says IDF officials didn't warn him about the Hezbollah threat when he took office. Efforts to put together a committee to examine Israel's performance in the war are met with criticism. And what about those three kidnapped soldiers? Still kidnapped.

The current Lebanese parliamentary majority leader lashes out at Syria for trying to steal Lebanon's thunder. Lebanon gets a $3.5 billion bill for infrastructure damage. And is Syria forming its own guerilla group?

Airline terror plot

Pakistan reveals new details about the key suspect in the London bombing plot. Al Qaeda's number three is also named as a planner.  

Good thing to know that next time I'm running late and anxious about making a flight at Dulles, I'll probably get stopped by the behavior police.   

Iraq

Iraqi police and British troops battle with Shiite militias in southern Iraq. The number of roadside bombs aimed at American GIs has soared in recent months, a sign that the post-Zarqawi insurgency is only growing. Even some in the White House seem to be getting the picture:

[S]ome outside experts who have recently visited the White House said Bush administration officials were beginning to plan for the possibility that Iraq’s democratically elected government might not survive.

"Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy," said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

Elsewhere

Ikenberry tackles Japan's tricky dance: new military capabilities at the risk of upsetting the neighborhood or attempts at historical reconciliation? FP spoke recently with Michael Green, Bush's former point person on Japan at the NSC, about the country's shifting security strategy.

The UN warns Somalia's neighbors to butt out. Hundreds die after severe flooding in Ethiopia. An American tech entrepreneur tries to wire Rwanda.

A Mexican drug kingpin gets busted by the U.S. Coast Guard while deep-sea fishing off Baja.

And scientists believe they've discovered the gene that makes us human

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

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