World News Brief, Friday July 24

Iraqi PM in Washington for sectarian talks (+America's future in Iraq analysed); Indonesia re-thinks anti-terror strategy; violence in South African townships; China's stimulus wins more praise; Musharraf in court; and more

Top of the Agenda: Maliki in Washington

Talks in Washington between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki focused on curbing sectarian strife in Iraq. Obama said the United States remains on track to withdraw combat troops by the end of August 2010 (NYT).

Obama also pledged to help rid Iraq of the UN sanctions (WSJ) that were imposed in 1991 after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Eliminating the sanctions could save Iraq billions of dollars that it now pays to Kuwait in reparations for the Gulf War.

Full text of the remarks from their joint press conference is available here.

Maliki will spend four days in Washington meeting with U.S. economic, trade, and diplomatic officials (WashPost).

In a recent contingency memo, CFR's Stephen Biddle assesses four interrelated scenarios in Iraq that could derail the prospects for peace and stability in the short to medium term and posits concrete policy options to limit U.S. vulnerability to the possibility of such reversals.

In an interview with CFR, Daniel Serwer, who served as executive director of the Baker-Hamilton Commission on Iraq, says the "serious" crisis between Kurdistan and the central Iraqi government "needs to be resolved" to some degree before the U.S. troops leave.

CFR's Daniel Senor, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, discusses the escalating conflict between Iraq's Arabs and Kurds. He says President Obama must give a clear signal that he is prepared to slow down planned U.S. troop withdrawals.

Sam Parker of the U.S. Institute of Peace profiles Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki in Foreign Policy. He argues Maliki today is the dominant force in Iraqi politics, has consolidated much of the emerging Iraqi state into his own hands, and has won a measure of democratic legitimacy after January's provincial elections.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill discusses the scaled-back role of U.S. forces in Iraq, and plans to reduce the size of the massive U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Background: This CFR Backgrounder looks at U.S. security agreements with Iraq.


PACIFIC RIM: Indonesia’s Antiterror Campaign

Terrorism experts are reexamining the Indonesian government’s widely praised antiterror strategy (NYT) after last week’s bombings in Jakarta. Critics say Indonesia has been too focused on catching individual terrorists, rather than looking at the root causes of the violence.

China: A new International Monetary Fund report praised China’s economic stimulus program, and said the country can further increase stimulus spending beyond the existing $585 billion package (Bloomberg).



Pakistan Supreme Court summons Musharraf.
Violent protests in South Africa.
Obama lobbies on health care legislation.

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