Morning Brief, Tuesday, January 16

Middle East Israel and Syria may have cut a secret, informal deal over the Golan Heights, reports Haaretz. Israel would withdraw to the 1967 borders, while retaining water rights. The Syrians would keep the border demilitarized and withdraw support from Hezbollah and Hamas, while moving away from Tehran. My hunch? This deal was linked in ...

604814_golan_heights_05.jpg
604814_golan_heights_05.jpg

Middle East

Middle East

Israel and Syria may have cut a secret, informal deal over the Golan Heights, reports Haaretz. Israel would withdraw to the 1967 borders, while retaining water rights. The Syrians would keep the border demilitarized and withdraw support from Hezbollah and Hamas, while moving away from Tehran. My hunch? This deal was linked in order to strangle it in its cradle.

Nearly 35,000 civilians were killed in Iraq in 2006, according to the United Nations.

Iran’s leaders reacted sharply to the Bush administration’s more aggressive Iran policy, but they also sent an envoy to Saudi Arabia ahead of Condoleezza Rice’s visit there. No dice: The Saudis back the U.S. approach (indeed, they probably played a major role in formulating it). Condi heads to Kuwait later today. 

Michael Slackman of The New York Times accuses Condi of going soft on Mubarak. The Bush administration doesn’t talk about democracy in the Middle East like it once did—the price of relying on Sunni autocracies to shore up a failing Iraq policy.

Washington

Obama’s running

Europe

Did Tony Blair stop MI6 from investigating a corrupt arms deal with Saudi Arabia? 

Asia

South Korea’s new rules on Korean investment abroad were made public today, but analysts don’t think it’ll do much to halt the won’s rise against the dollar. 

Elsewhere 

Castro is in “very grave” condition, reports El Pais, a Spanish newspaper. For those of you who speak Spanish, here’s the original story.

Pakistan struck a camp affiliated with the Taliban and al Qaeda in South Waziristan.

OPEC doesn’t know what to do about falling oil prices, as the cartel’s members are proving game theorists right by cheating on their export quotas.

Police captured one of Colombia’s top drug kingpins, Eugenio Montoya. 

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