World News Brief, Thursday October 8

Obama rules out large troop reduction in Afghanistan (+analysis); Tensions rise in Jerusalem over Temple Mount; one million people flood-stricken in Philippines; Somali defence minister kidnapped

Top of the Agenda: Afghanistan Force Size

U.S. President Barack Obama ruled out (NYT) a significant reduction in the size of the U.S. military force in Afghanistan in a Tuesday meeting with congressional leaders. Obama has been considering whether to bolster the current force with an additional forty thousand or more U.S. troops, per General Stanley McChrystal's recommendations in his comprehensive review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

In the meeting in Washington, Obama faced pressure (WashPost) to make a decision promptly about any strategy change for the war, from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who also said Iraq, not Vietnam, should serve as the model for how the United States should proceed in Afghanistan.

Obama will meet with his national security team on Wednesday to discuss Pakistan and on Friday to talk about Afghanistan before he decides whether to implement McChrystal's recommendations, according to the New York Times.


NPR considers the potential impact of changes to U.S. Afghanistan strategy in Pakistan. Naseem Ashraf, director of the Center for Pakistan Studies at the Middle East Institute, notes a widespread concern that the injection of tens of thousands of new U.S. troops could send a wave of Taliban fighters across the border into Pakistan.

In Foreign Policy, Harvard's Stephen Walt speculates that McChrystal believes a U.S. military attack on Iran could worsen the situation in Afghanistan.

In an interview with CFR, Afghanistan expert Clare Lockhart says more attention must be paid to rebuilding the country's civilian institutions.


The Wall Street Journal looks at the influence of two books, "Lessons in Disaster" and "A Better War," over the Afghanistan debate in Washington.

McChrystal's report can be viewed here.


PACIFIC RIM: Philippines Flood

The United Nations appealed for $74 million Tuesday to aid one million victims (Xinhua) of Tropical Storm Ketsana in the Philippines over the next six months. The flood has displaced hundreds of thousands and killed at least three hundred after hitting the country last week.



Tensions brew in Jerusalem amid protests over Temple Mount.
Somali defence minister kidnapped in Uganda.

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