Morning Brief, Thursday, March 8

Pool/Getty Images News Middle East “There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq” said the U.S. military commander in Iraq, David Petraeus amid an intensifying insurgency. But he wants more military police to handle an increase in detainees. It’s a bad year to be a Shiite pilgrim in Iraq. The Islamic ...

603471_070308_petraeus_05.jpg
603471_070308_petraeus_05.jpg

Pool/Getty Images News

Middle East

"There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq" said the U.S. military commander in Iraq, David Petraeus amid an intensifying insurgency. But he wants more military police to handle an increase in detainees.

Pool/Getty Images News

Middle East

“There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq” said the U.S. military commander in Iraq, David Petraeus amid an intensifying insurgency. But he wants more military police to handle an increase in detainees.

It’s a bad year to be a Shiite pilgrim in Iraq.

The Islamic Virtue Party, whose power base is Basra and the Shiite south of Iraq, withdrew its 15 MPs from the United Iraqi Alliance, claiming a desire to see nonsectarian politics. (But most likely, they just want the oil ministry.)

The International Atomic Energy Agency will indeed suspend technical aid (on 22 programs) to Iran. I guess Iran didn’t change any minds after all.

Remember that story about the retired Iranian general defecting to the United States? It’s legit, a top U.S. official tells the Washington Post. The defector once oversaw Iran’s liaison with Hezbollah in Lebanon, so he’s a potential intelligence bonanza.

Europe

Russia is resuming regular flights between Moscow and Chechnya’s capital, the once-flattened Grozny. 

Unprecedented elections in Britain’s stodgy House of Lords? It could happen soon

François Bayrou is making headway as the third-party presidential candidate in France.

Asia

Laos sees its first death from bid flu, a 15-year-old girl.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is urging China to open its capital markets faster. 

China wants to encourage the production of eco-friendly cars

A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said that Japan should own up to its WWII crimes (Japan’s prime minister has promised to investigate the matter). He also fired back at the U.S. government’s human rights report, citing the United States’ “flagrant record” on respecting the Geneva Convention.

Elsewhere

African Union peacekeepers in Somalia? So far, not so good. After they were ambushed again yesterday, at least ten civilians died in the ensuing firefight. 

Embarking on a trip through Latin America, U.S. President George W. Bush is departing from his usual emphasis on free trade in favor of social programs in an effort to combat the influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. 

Oil prices are creeping back up as speculators look ahead to heavy summer demand. 

It’s International Women’s Day today.

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