Morning Brief, Tuesday, December 26

Iraq and Middle East British and Iraqi soldiers stormed a jail in Basra, Iraq, in order to rescue prisoners held in conditions described as “appalling.” Are Kurdish prisons much better? Tehran warned of “unpleasant consequences” if several Iranian prisoners being held by the U.S. military in Iraq were not released. Two prisoners who were diplomats ...

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605276_26iraq.6005.jpg

Iraq and Middle East

British and Iraqi soldiers stormed a jail in Basra, Iraq, in order to rescue prisoners held in conditions described as "appalling." Are Kurdish prisons much better?

Tehran warned of "unpleasant consequences" if several Iranian prisoners being held by the U.S. military in Iraq were not released. Two prisoners who were diplomats have been released, but the other four remain in U.S. custody.

Iraq and Middle East

British and Iraqi soldiers stormed a jail in Basra, Iraq, in order to rescue prisoners held in conditions described as “appalling.” Are Kurdish prisons much better?

Tehran warned of “unpleasant consequences” if several Iranian prisoners being held by the U.S. military in Iraq were not released. Two prisoners who were diplomats have been released, but the other four remain in U.S. custody.

Iran has vowed to speed up uranium enrichment, defying the watered-down U.N. sanctions recently enacted by the Security Council. Oil prices are on the rise.

Israel plans to ease restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank. Jordan will host peace talks between Mahmoud Abbas and… Hamas. 

Europe

Ségolène Royal is turning heads with her feminine approach to French politics—still very much an old boys’ club. She may not ultimately win, but it wouldn’t be because French voters are pining for more Jacques Chirac.

Two prominent Serbian war criminals are still at large.

Even Putin-friendly Belarus is not immune from Russia’s strong-arm gas diplomacy. If they don’t pay Gazprom’s price, Belorussians will get shut off on December 31st. 

Asia

An earthquake in Taiwan has spawned a new tsunami, but it won’t be anything like the massive tidal wave that struck southeast Asia in 2004. 

Elsewhere

More than 500 people were burned to death in a gruesome pipeline explosion in Lagos, Nigeria. 

Despite an influx of foreign jihadis, the Islamists are on the retreat in Somalia, with government and Ethiopian troops hot on their heels. Ethopian jets attacked the Mogadishu airport.

Pakistan says it will mine its border with Afghanistan. 

Castro’s doctor says he doesn’t have cancer.

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