World News Brief, Friday August 17

Pakistan says it has reclaimed control of air base after militant attack; Japan-China dispute escalates after 14 Hong Kong citizens try to plant flag on disputed islands; Gulf state countries tell citizens to leave Lebanon; Assam workers flee Bangalore as ethnic tensions rise; and more

Top of the Agenda: Attack on Pakistan Base Shows Militants' Resolve

Pakistan says it has reclaimed control of one of its largest air bases, located northwest of Islamabad, after heavily armed Islamist militants stormed the facility and killed five soldiers in a prolonged attack (al-Jazeera). Pakistan's Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault, in which nine of their attackers were also killed. Analysts say the strike indicates the strong determination of militants to target Pakistan's most sensitive facilities, in this case one suspected of housing dozens of nuclear weapons (NYT). The incident comes amid speculation that Pakistan is prepping operations against militant bastions in country's tribal belt — a long held demand of the United States.


"Regardless of what the news agencies in Pakistan claim about the negative effects of drone strikes, the weapon is proving to be a game changer for the U.S. war on terrorism. And surprisingly, the Pakistani Army quietly admits to this fact. Just the way Stinger missiles shifted the balance of power in favor of the United States in the 1980s, drones are producing the same results," writes Hussain Nadim in the National Interest.

"In Washington, much of the recent debate on Pakistan has focused on security issues, such as the role of Pakistan's military-intelligence complex in aiding insurgent violence. Diplomatic disputes over NATO supply lines and the future of Afghanistan following America's departure in 2014 are also hot topics. Much less attention is paid to the state of the development and economic partnership between the United States and Pakistan," writes Milan Vaishnav for the Diplomat.



Japan-China Dispute Escalates Over Islands

The Japanese coast guard arrested fourteen Hong Kong citizens (Reuters) after they tried to plant a Chinese flag on disputed islands in the East China Sea (known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyo in Chinese).

Of the rise of Northeast Asian nationalisms, CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith writes in the Asia Unbound blog, "Territorial disputes today can be adjudicated under international law, and scientific evidence and legal argument should be the armaments in that battle."

ASIA: Emerging economies in Asis (BBC) face the greatest financial risk from natural disasters, says a new report by the British risk analysis firm Maplecroft.



Gulf state countries tell citizens to leave Lebanon

Assam workers flee Bangalore as ethnic tensions rise


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