World News Brief, Friday December 4

Pakistan and Afghanistan raise doubts about Obama's war plans (+ analysis); Italy commits 1,000 more troops; Honduran congress backs new president; Philippine journalists ask for UN intervention; and more

Top of the Agenda: Pakistan and Afghanistan on Obama’s Afghan Plan

In the wake of US President Barack Obama's speech on a new strategy on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan are increasingly wary of what the plan means for them. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said the government welcomed Obama's "reaffirmation of partnership" but stressed the "need for clarity" (WashPost) about the new US policy. Washington's partnership with Pakistan remains fragile, as Pakistani officials have long been accused of fighting violent extremists who oppose the Pakistani state but ignoring or assisting those attacking targets across the border in Afghanistan. Pakistan is under pressure to eliminate al-Qaeda sanctuaries on their side of the border while also focusing on the country's own military campaign against the Pakistani Taliban, which is engaged in domestic attacks. The country is also wary of US ties with India, its rival.

Pakistan has raised further concerns that an influx of soldiers into Afghanistan could push militants over the border (Dawn), further destabilizing the region.

In Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta, the only minister to comment on Obama's speech, questioned the announcement (NYT) that American troops could begin leaving in eighteen months. "Can we do it?" he said. "This is not done in a moment. It is a process."


In the Times of London, Clare Lockhart says Obama has given a credible vision for ending the war, providing a security bridge while training Afghan forces and allowing Afghanistan to ultimately focus on educating its youth.

In the Wall Street Journal, Eliot Cohen says Obama's decision to send only thirty thousand troops leaves the president vulnerable to being "stiffed" by the allies he is counting on to send ten thousand more.

In the Los Angeles Times, Andrew J. Bacevich says Obama should show courage and know when to "cut your losses," rather than trying to salvage the Bush policy in Afghanistan.

In the Los Angeles Times, CFR's Max Boot questions whether US troops will have enough time and resources for Obama's plan to work.

In this CFR interview, five experts analyze President Obama's approach in laying out a strategy he says will turn the tides in the faltering Afghan war effort.

On the Daily Beast, CFR's Leslie Gelb says Obama's new plan "offers some promise of success" and that Americans have no choice but to support it.


A CFR Backgrounder examines the troubled Afghan-Pakistani border.


PACIFIC RIM: China Death Sentences

China sentenced five more people (GlobalTimes) to death Thursday for involvement in the Xinjiang July riots; Nine people have been executed so far for their involvement.

Philippines: Philippine journalist groups say they may ask the United Nations (Reuters) to intervene in a probe of the massacre of fifty-seven people in a suspected clan dispute due to concerns about the integrity of the current police probe.



Honduran Congress votes against reinstating ousted Zelaya.
Italy to send one thousand additional troops to Afghanistan.


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