US under attack in Pakistan (+ analysis); Red Shirts swarm into Bangkok; Suicide bombings rock Baghdad; New political party in Japan; and more
Top of the Agenda: Militants Attack US Consulate in Peshawar
Militants launched a multi-pronged attack on the US consulate (NYT) in Peshawar, Pakistan, despite the Pakistani military's push to reduce violence in the Taliban-controlled north. There were no casualties inside but several guards outside were killed and eight others injured. Earlier, a bomb exploded in Dir Province, killing at least forty people. The slew of attacks--the first in several months--seemed to signal that militants are still capable of attack, but no one has claimed responsibility yet.
The blast at the political rally in Dir (WSJ) apparently targeted the region's secular ruling party, Awami National Party, an avid supporter of Pakistan's offensives against militants.
The Atlantic Council's Arnaud de Borchgrave says now is the time to give priority to military and economic aid to Pakistan, since both "AfPak" Taliban factions and their extremist supporters in Pakistan are now on a "common 'enemies list.'"
In this media conference call, CFR expert Daniel Markey discusses current American policy toward the region following his return from a trip to the region.
In the Financial Times, James Lamont and Farhan Bokhari say Pakistan is in its strongest position in two decades, but to become a credible and stable US ally, the country needs to reform its economy, scale back the army's influence, and improve its relationship with India.
Read the joint statement on the March 2010 US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.
PACIFIC RIM: Thai "Red Shirts" Storm Bangkok
Thai anti-government protesters--who are calling for the government to step down and hold fresh elections--blocked Bangkok's commercial hub (BangkokPost) and briefly stormed the Election Commission.
Japan: Former Japanese finance minister Kaoru Yosano said he plans to establish a new political party (FT) this week, given a weakened opposition Liberal Democratic party.
Read CFR's Asia Unbound blog, featuring timely analysis from CFR Asia experts.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.