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Use the menu below to find specific articles with various combinations (i.e. Area: Middle East and Topic: Economy will provide all articles related to Economy for Middle East)

Report criticizes Afghanistan reconstruction efforts


By Jennifer Rowland

Monday, July 30, 2012


Dropping the ball

A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to be released on Monday criticizes the Pentagon's and State Department's management of projects planned under the $400 million Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund (NYT). The seven projects were to be completed by mid-2013, but now look unlikely to be completed until well after the withdrawal of NATO troops in 2014, putting at risk the already shaky support of the Afghan populace for the U.S. and Afghan governments.


High Stakes in the South China Sea

Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrand,

July 30, 2012

Coverage of the South China Sea territorial dispute has tended to paint the story as that of a giant China flexing its muscle over a handful of smaller Southeast Asian states. But while China’s increasingly assertive behavior shows its willingness to exploit the weaknesses of other claimants, the picture is not as simple as is it is often portrayed. Vietnam and the Philippines are pushing back against China, and many countries are stoking tensions in the sea. Together, their actions leave plenty of room for open conflict to break out.

As Syrian government gains ground in Aleppo, it loses its people

By Ariel Zirulnick

July 30, 2012

Reports out of Aleppo indicate that Syrian government troops launching an assault on the city have so far been unable to retake rebel-held neighborhoods there, despite the use of heavy weapons such as tanks and helicopter gunships.

Yesterday Syrian state media reported government victories in two Aleppo neighborhoods, but activists denied the reports, telling the Associated Press that there has been only "fierce shelling" and some fighting on the ground.

Al Qaeda’s Arab Comeback: Capitalizing on Chaos in Syria, Mali

July 30, 2012

Al Qaeda has exploited the Arab Spring to create its largest safe havens and operational bases in more than a decade across the Arab world. In the 18 months since the Arab revolutions first began, al Qaeda has grown stronger, despite founder Osama bin Laden’s death and a lack of mass appeal.

Israel’s former minister for military affairs Shaul Mofaz has warned of the “catastrophic” consequences of a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“We need to ask ourselves… two questions," he Mofaz said in an interveiw with Israel's Channel 2 on Saturday.

"Will an early attack by Israel change Iran's strategic situation regarding the nuclear program. My answer is no. And the second question is, will an early strike by Israel, in the current circumstances, in the existing situation in the Middle East…will an early attack lead to war?" Mofaz questioned.

"My answer is that the probability for this is very high," he stated.

The Kadima leader further criticized his hawkish rival, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his "manipulative" posing of a nuclear Iran as an "existential threat" to Israel.


Economy, Middle East

By Rob Taylor and Hamid Shalizi

KHOSH GOMBAT, Afghanistan

(Reuters) - In the cabins of their "jingle" trucks flamboyant with tinsel baubles and painted tiger patterns as they move NATO's war supplies, Habibullah thinks he and other drivers are becoming a forgotten front in an Afghan war growing more vicious.

From a dusty truck park midway between Kabul and the Pakistan border, and under the constant thump of helicopters from Jalalabad airbase over the road, Habibullah moves food and military materiel across the Taliban's eastern heartland, from Nuristan to the former al Qaeda cave stronghold of Tora Bora.

"We worry about our fate when NATO leaves, because the Taliban also call us the infidels. For them, we are not just the enemy, but also traitors," said the soft spoken 23-year-old, who contributes seven trucks to a cooperative with five owners.

Turkey, The Global MusliM broTherhood, and The Gaza Flotilla

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Steven G. Merley

Abstract: This report presents the results of an investigation into the role played by the
Global Muslim Brotherhood and its Turkish allies in the May 2010 Gaza flotilla which involved
a violent altercation between passengers on one of the ships and Israeli naval forces................

U.S., Pakistan Formalize NATO Transit Deal


The United States and Pakistan signed on Tuesday a deal formalizing an agreement on NATO supplies to Afghanistan through Pakistani territory, U.S. media reported.

In line with the deal, signed in a ceremony at Rawalpindi, Pakistan will allow Afghanistan-bound NATO convoys to cross its territory until the end of 2015, one year beyond the deadline for allied troops pullout from Afghanistan, the New York Times said.

Al Qaeda decline hard to reverse after Bin Laden killing: U.S

Tue Jul 31, 2012

(Reuters) - Osama bin Laden's death sent al Qaeda into a decline that will be hard to reverse, the United States said on Tuesday in a report that found terrorist attacks last year fell to their lowest level since 2005.

Describing 2011 as a "landmark year," the United States said other top al Qaeda members killed last year included Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, reportedly the militant organization's No. 2 figure after bin Laden's death, and Anwar al-Awlaki, who led its lethal affiliate in Yemen.

Turkey's New Ballistic Missile Program Raises Eyebrows and Concerns

Jorge Benitez

July 31, 2012

From Aaron Stein, World Politics Review: Ankara remains far too dependent on Washington for its intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities. The conflict in Syria, in particular the shooting down of a Turkish RF-4E reconnaissance jet last month, has exacerbated Ankara’s discomfort with the status quo. Turkey’s Syria policy has been hampered by its lack of intelligence capabilities and over-reliance on the United States for satellite imagery. However, Washington has repeatedly rebuffed Turkish requests for increased drone and satellite surveillance.

State Dept: As core weakens, al Qaeda affiliates are top terror threat

By Elise Labott

July 31st, 2012

While the killings of Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda operatives have weakened the terror network, the rise of groups affiliated al Qaeda in the Middle East and Africa presents a serious threat to U.S. security, the State Department's annual terrorism report warns.

Bulgaria releases image of suicide bomber

By Associated Press

Aug. 1, 2012

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgarian police on Wednesday released a computer-generated image of the suicide attacker involved in the bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver two weeks ago.

Turkish military stages tank exercises near Syria border

Aug 1, 2012

(Reuters) - Turkey's army staged tank exercises near the Syrian border on Wednesday, Turkish officials said, in a move highlighting Ankara's unease about security on the frontier.

The exercises were held after a series of Turkish military deployments to the area prompted by the spiraling violence in the 17-month uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. There is no indication Turkish forces will cross the border.

Syria by the Numbers II

by Robert M. Danin

August 1, 2012

Length of Conflict

17 months


Total opposition deaths: 17,778 - 22,601
Civilians: 16,032 – 20,958
Children: 1662 - 1754
Opposition military: 1643 – 1746

The Case for Expanding Assistance to the Syrian Opposition

James Dobbins

August 1, 2012

What is important for the U.S. government to do at this stage is forge relationships with those likely to next govern Syria. These relationships should be developed at many levels, diplomatic, covert, military, economic and political, to include democracy building work by our Republican and Democratic Institutes, contacts with individual members of Congress, as well as with all the relevant arms of our Executive Branch.

Military Mental Health Crisis Exposed With Camp Liberty Killings

By Elliot Blair Smith - Aug 1, 2012

Sergeant John Russell lay awake, wondering what his wife would do if he killed himself.

He was so messed up that his first lieutenant removed the firing pin from his M16 assault rifle. Six weeks from the end of his fifth combat-zone tour, and five years from retiring on a 20-year Army pension, he suspected he wouldn’t see any of it.

Why Syria's Rebels Can't Have It All


AUGUST 1, 2012

Here we go again.
That strange coalition of neocons and liberal interventionists is clamoring once more for a more muscular U.S. approach to Syria. And unsurprisingly, they're searching for culprits in the endless debate of "who lost Syria?"

Don't believe any of it. The time for guilting the United States into expensive and ill-thought-out military interventions has passed. Indeed, the reasons to intervene in Syria -- the hope of defusing a bloody religious and political conflict and dealing the Iranian mullahs a mortal blow -- are just not compelling enough to offset the risks and the unknowns.

Pakistani, US intelligence chiefs discuss US drone attacks

By Eric London

2 August 2012

Tensions between the Obama Administration and the Pakistani government remain high amid the first visit to the United States by a high-ranking Pakistani military officer since the US assassination of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in May 2011.

Draghi can't offer a quick solution

Deutsche Welle

2 August 2012

The expectations were enormous ahead of the European Central Bank's monthly meeting. People were talking about "unlimited firepower" and "whatever it takes." But the announcements at the end were disappointing.