World News Brief, Friday August 7

Easing traffic woes in Baghdad could pave way for terrorists; US troop withdrawl from Iraq; pressure on North Korea to re-enter Six-Party Talks; Clinton to meet Somali president; and more

Top of the Agenda: Baghdad's Barriers


In an effort to reestablish a sense of normalcy, and to show the competence of the Iraqi security forces, the Iraqi government is planning to remove most of Baghdad's concrete road barriers within forty days (NYT).

Removing the blast walls will help ease traffic, but could make terrorist attacks deadlier, and may allow insurgents to escape more easily (WashPost). Despite a drop-off in violence in recent months, sporadic attacks continue. A roadside bomb attack at midnight killed five police and injured eight others in south Baghdad (BBC).

The government says it will also work to return some 3,000 displaced families, mostly Shiite, to the city's heavily Sunni Abu Ghraib neighborhood. Civilian traffic will also soon be allowed on the July 14th Bridge, which connects the Green Zone to east Baghdad.

CFR's Stephen Biddle discusses the U.S. troop withdrawal plan on NPR.

The New Republic blog looks at Obama's Iraq strategy and says there are several possible scenarios in which the country could still collapse.

A CFR Backgrounder looks at U.S. security agreements with Iraq.

PACIFIC RIM: North Korea Talks


U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on North Korea (Yonhap) to reenter the Six-Party Talks on its nuclear weapons program. The calls came shortly after former President Bill Clinton returned to the United States with the two U.S. journalists whose release he negotiated with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. The Wall Street Journal reports that in addition to negotiations for the release of the journalists, Kim and Clinton also discussed a range of security and regional issues.

In an interview, CFR's Scott Snyder says the Obama administration "will probably need to continue to identify a resumption of the Six-Party Talks as an objective of any bilateral talks that go forward coming out of [Clinton's] trip."

This CFR Backgrounder profiles the Six-Party Talks.


-Secretary Clinton to meet Somali President.
-NATO chief in Afghanistan.


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on