US admits losing billions of Iraqi dollars as it frets about lack of government (+ analysis); France "at war with al Qaeda" after engineer killing; Japan reaches out to skilled migrants; New BP boss reckons no more oil will flow into Gulf; and more
Top of the Agenda: DoD Can't Account for Iraq $2.6 Billion
As the United States voiced concerns about Iraq's failure to form a government (NYT) following the March parliamentary elections, the Department of Defense said it cannot account for how it spent $2.6 billion that belonged to the Iraqi government (WashPost), according to an audit of a $9.1 billion fund of Iraqi oil proceeds. The report, by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, accused the Defense Department of lax oversight and weak controls (AP), though not fraud.
In separate news, Hans Blix, former UN chief weapons inspector, told Britain's official inquiry into the Iraq war that Britain and the US should have realized "their sources were poor" when his inspectors found nothing in Iraq (Guardian). However, Blix also said he told then-prime minister Tony Blair that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein might still have illegal weapons (FT), despite his growing doubts.
In this CFR interview, expert Reidar Visser says that Iraq's two leading parties will probably not form a coalition government until September, and Washington has failed to push along the political process.
In this article, CFR's Rachel Schneller argues that US withdrawal from Iraq is overdue.
Five experts analyze the political implications of the March 2010 Iraqi elections in this transcript of a CFR meeting.
This CFR interactive timeline details events since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
PACIFIC RIM: Twenty-One Missing in China Landslide
A landslide in southwestern China (AFP) caused by floods and torrential rains left twenty-one people missing, the latest casualties in deadly flooding that has killed at least 823 people, left 437 missing, and caused at least $22 billion in damage. China's Three Gorges Dam (BBC) has faced its second test in two weeks as floods pushed water in its reservoir to near capacity.
Japan: With Japan's population expected to fall, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has outlined a goal to double the number of skilled foreign workers within a decade, loosening Japan's longstanding grip on immigration (WashPost).
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org