Over a million refugee as fighting continues in Swat; South China Sea islands up for grabs; Bank of England's growth forecast; South Korea's $10b for greentech; and more
Top of the Agenda: Fighting in Swat
Heavy fighting continued in Pakistan's Swat valley today as government fighter jets pounded Taliban rebel positions. Dawn reports some 15,000 troops have now poured into the region and are fighting roughly 4,000 heavily armed militants, in response to the Taliban's forceful campaign to enforce Islamic law across the region.
Members of Pakistan's National Assembly, representing nearly all major political parties in the country, voted today (Daily Times) to unanimously back Islamabad's military campaign against the Taliban.
Fears continued to swirl, however, about the safety of displaced persons in the Swat and Malakand regions, which have seen the brunt of the fighting. The New York Times reported yesterday that some 1.3 million persons have now fled the fighting--numbers the article says reflect the severity of the conflict. Pakistan's military chief said today that he has instructed the Army to go to lengths to avoid collateral damage (The News) and civilian deaths. But CNN reports the sheer number of displaced persons has translated into a potential humanitarian crisis.
Background and Analysis:
- In a recent interview, Brookings expert Bruce Riedel says Pakistan faces an "existential threat" from within and says there is a "real possibility of a jihadist state emerging."
- A recent policy options paper from CFR's Daniel Markey argues for making Pakistan the focus of Washington's strategy in the region, over Afghanistan.
PACIFIC RIM: China Sea Border Claims
The BBC reports a UN maritime commission aiming to delineate international maritime boundaries appears set to create tensions between China and some of its neighbors.
S.KOREA: Yonhap reports Seoul will invest roughly $10 billion in green technology growth over the next three years, with the goal of creating about half a million jobs.