World News Brief, Thursday August 9

Egypt launches attacks in Sinai, killing 20; aid is rushed to victims of Philippines floods, which have displaced 850,000 and killed 64; crowds turn out in Burma to celebrate 24th anniversary of pro-democracy protests; three NATO troops killed in Afghanistan; UK's double-dip recession deepens; and more

Top of the Agenda: Egypt Launches Sinai Air Strikes

Egypt launched air strikes in the northern Sinai region, close to the border with Gaza, killing more than 20 people. Egyptian security forces engaged in battles with militants (Ahram) shortly after assailants opened fire on three joint military-police checkpoints. The actions came in response to the killing of sixteen border guards in an attack Sunday that exposed security problems on the Sinai Peninsula. No one has yet claimed responsibility, but the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Egypt President Mohamed Morsi hails, accused Israel's intelligence agency Mossad of carrying out the attack.


"Apart from the political damage, the terror attack has also dealt a severe economic blow to Hamas. Immediately after the attack, the Egyptians forced the Hamas government to close down all underground tunnels that are vital to preventing the total collapse of Gaza's economy. The tunnels are used to smuggle not only weapons, but also various goods and fuel," writes Khaled Abu Toameh in the Jerusalem Post.

"The attack will test Mr. Morsi's ability to establish control over the lawless Sinai, and it is also a test of his approach toward Israel. Whatever divides the two countries — and there is plenty — they are tightly bound at the Sinai border. There will never be true stability if Egypt cannot find ways to work with Israel on security issues and to continue honoring their 1979 peace treaty," says an editorial for the New York Times.

"Too often the [Muslim Brotherhood's] complexities are overlooked, leaving observers with erroneous notions about the way the Brotherhood works, its perspective on violence, and the Brothers' ultimate goals," writes CFR's Steven A. Cook in this guide to the Brotherhood's leadership.



Philippines Rushes Aid to Flood Victims

Emergency workers and troops rushed food, water and clothes to nearly 850,000 people displaced and marooned from floods spawned by eleven days of monsoon rains (Reuters)that have killed 64 people.

BURMA: Crowds including former political prisoners turned out in cities across the country to commemorate the 24th anniversary of massive pro-democracy protests (AP), with the government giving its approval -and even financial support - for the first time.

Many are hopeful that new reforms in Burma have marked a new era of democracy and possibilities for the beleaguered state, says this CFR backgrounder.



Three NATO troops killed in Afghanistan

UK's double-dip recession deepens


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