US to boost numbers in Iraq; South Korean President postpones visit to US due to MERS; China rejects calls to release Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo; suicide bomber attacks Luxor in Egypt; African countries set up free trade zone; and more

TOP OF THE AGENDA

United States to Increase Personnel in Iraq

The United States is expected to announce on Wednesday plans to establish a new military base (Reuters) in Iraq's Anbar province and deploy around four hundred additional U.S. military trainers to bolster Iraqi forces in their fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (WSJ). An official said that the additional personnel would arrive as early as this summer. The new plan would expand the presence of 3,100 U.S. trainers and advisers already in Iraq, and would mark a shift in strategy (NYT) for President Barack Obama, who has faced mounting criticism for the absence of a plan in combatting the militant group.

ANALYSIS

"The grand strategy should be to help the [Sunni and Shiite] sides separate as much as possible while containing the radicals on each side. The tactic should be devolution. Give as much local control to different groups in different nations. Let them run their own affairs as much as possible. Encourage them to create space between the sectarian populations so that hatreds can cool," writes David Brooks for the New York Times.

"But the most important reason the Americans are opposing the use of Shiite militias to help regain control of Anbar Province is that they don't want the campaign against ISIS to become an entirely sectarian war. And that's the central conundrum of the campaign against ISIS," writes Dexter Filkins for the New Yorker.

"Obama has been slower to reach that determination and it is getting very late for him to figure it out now. The evidence that the strategy is failing would seem overwhelming to almost everyone but the most blinkered administration spinner. Yet it is just possible that insiders know something that we outsiders are missing," writers Peter Feaver for Foreign Policy.

PACIFIC RIM

South Korea Cancels U.S. Trip Amid MERS Outbreak

South Korean President Park Geun-hye postponed this weekend's visit (Yonhap) to Washington to focus on combatting the country's outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. South Korea has confirmed 108 cases and nine deaths (NYT) in the outbreak.

CHINA: China's central government rejected calls (Reuters) to release jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo ahead of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's arrival for her first visit to China. Liu was imprisoned in 2009 on subversion charges after organizing a petition calling for the end of one-party rule.

ELSEWHERE:

Suicide bomber attacks Luxor in Egypt

African countries to set up free trade zone

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

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