Morning Brief: U.S. and Iraq nearing troop agreement
Top Story Khalid Mohammed – Pool/Getty Images U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Iraq Thursday to consult with PM Nuri al-Maliki on allowing U.S. troops to stay beyond 2008. Rice downplayed expectations that she would close the deal today, but acknowledged that “negotiators have taken this very, very far toward ...
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Iraq Thursday to consult with PM Nuri al-Maliki on allowing U.S. troops to stay beyond 2008. Rice downplayed expectations that she would close the deal today, but acknowledged that “negotiators have taken this very, very far toward an end agreement.”
The draft text requires U.S. troops to leave Iraqi cities by summer 2009, according to the BBC. It would set a “goal date” of 2011 for U.S. combat troops to leave Iraq, Iraqi officials say. The most contentious issue is reportedly whether U.S. troops will remain immune from prosecution in Iraqi courts.
But Iraq’s security is not yet “self-sustaining,” a visibly fatigued Gen. David Petraeus told Dexter Filkins of the New York Times. Underscoring his remarks, McClatchy reports that the Iraqi government is considering giving Sunni militias affiliated with the United States until Nov. 1 to lay down their weapons.
The Iraqi government, moreover, has spent just 18 percent of its reconstruction budget.
David Leonhardt analyzes Obama’s economic philosophy at length for the New York Times Magazine.
Obama advisors Richard Clarke and Susan Rice slammed “quick-draw McCain” for what the latter termed his “tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.”
“Independent Democrat” Joseph Lieberman will speak at the Republican convention.
Just a handful of speculators appear to rule the oil markets. According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 81 percent of the oil contracts on the New York Mercantile exchange are held by speculators.
Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones has died of an aneurysm. She was 58.
Benazir Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, is seen as the frontrunner to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan.
Martin Fackler profiles Kaesong, the North Korean industrial complex that South Korea sees as a “capitalist foothold” in its Stalinist neighbor.
Middle East and Africa
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a “germ of corruption.”
Pirates off the Somali coast seized a Japanese and an Iranian ship.
An angry Russia warns Poland: Our reponse to your missile-shield deal will go beyond diplomatic measures. Rice: Russia’s threats “border on the bizarre.” Russia’s bluster is liable to reinforce Poles’ growing wariness of their eastern neighbor.
Russia offered its own U.N. Security Council resolution on Georgia, and made clear that it intends to occupy a “buffer zone” around Abkhazia and South Ossetia, NATO be damned. But Russian forces are also digging in at the southern port of Poti, miles from either of the two breakaway regions.
Abkhazia has asked Russia to recognize its independence.
A tragic plane crash in Madrid has left more than 150 people dead.
British PM Gordon Brown is visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The United Nations holds climate-change talks in Accra, Ghana.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group considers whether to lift export restrictions on Indian nuclear technology.
More from Foreign Policy
A New Multilateralism
How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.
America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want
Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.
The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy
Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.
The End of America’s Middle East
The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.