Morning Brief, Monday, March 24

Middle East Joe Raedle/Getty Images The U.S. death toll in Iraq has reached 4,000. More than 60 people were killed across the country Sunday and the Green Zone was struck by mortar and rocket fire. Inflation in Saudi Arabia has reached a 27-year high. Visiting Jerusalem and the West Bank, U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney called ...

595826_080324_40002.jpg
595826_080324_40002.jpg

Middle East

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. death toll in Iraq has reached 4,000. More than 60 people were killed across the country Sunday and the Green Zone was struck by mortar and rocket fire.

Middle East

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. death toll in Iraq has reached 4,000. More than 60 people were killed across the country Sunday and the Green Zone was struck by mortar and rocket fire.

Inflation in Saudi Arabia has reached a 27-year high.

Visiting Jerusalem and the West Bank, U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney called for “painful concessions” by Israelis and Palestinians in the pursuit of peace. Cheney’s visit suggests the Annapolis process has the Bush administration’s full backing.

Al Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri has a purported new tape.

Asia

The New York Times profiles Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan’s new president. Ma has promised to boost economic ties to mainland China and work toward a peace deal. His win has already boosted Taiwan’s stock market.

We’re slowly learning more about what happened in Lhasa, Tibet, earlier this month. China analysts expect the crackdown will only get harsher.

China is experiencing massive shortages of diesel and gasoline.

In a worrisome development, 25 fuel trucks headed for U.S. forces in Afghanistan were destroyed along the Pakistan border.

Europe

The head of the European Parliament is asking the EU to consider a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

The Olympic torch was lit today in Athens despite protests from pro-Tibet groups. The torch is currently slated to traverse 20 countries and cross Mt. Everest into Tibet. More protests are in the works.

On Easter Sunday, the pope baptized a prominent Italian Muslim who converted to Christianity.

Decision ’08

Barack Obama outlines his strategy for winning Pennsylvania.

Obama and Hillary Clinton have both embellished their resumes, according to the Washington Post.

As Paul Krugman notes, none of the presidential candidates has any convincing answers on the financial crisis.

Elsewhere

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is on a “spending spree” to win votes ahead of Saturday’s elections, according to the Financial Times. The opposition accuses Mugabe of printing extra ballots in order to cheat.

JPMorgan is reportedly upping its bid for Bear Stearns.

The Economist applauds the Federal Reserve’s intervention, noting that Bear “is a counterparty to some $10 trillion of over-the-counter swaps.”

Today’s Agenda

  • Bhutanese citizens vote for the first time as their country makes a transition to a constitutional monarchy.
  • Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov visits Turkey.
  • Pakistan’s new prime minister will be Yousaf Raza Gilani, widely understood to be a placeholder for PPP chairman Asif Zardari. Zardari is currently inelegible for the job.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.