Pakistan floods have affected six-13 million, undermining government and boosting military and Taliban (+ analysis); Netanyahu says flotilla raid legal, blames Turkey; Bali bomber Abu Bakar Bashir detained by police; North Korea snatches South Korean fishing boat; and more
Top of the Agenda: Pakistan Flooding Disaster Continues
Flooding in Pakistan, which began almost two weeks ago amid heavy monsoon rains, has now affected more than six million people, the UN said Sunday. The government estimate is higher, at over thirteen million (Dawn). At least 1,600 people have been killed and huge swaths of crops destroyed in the worst deluge in Pakistan's sixty-three-year history. The floods have moved to the southern province of Sindh and threaten an important food barrier (BBC). More rains are forecasted, while the worst-affected districts are already seeing outbreaks of malaria and diarrhea (Bloomberg).
The government faces criticism for its poor response to the floods and public anger over President Asif Ali Zardari's ill-timed visit to Europe. Some analysts say the government's actions could damage the country's fragile democracy (McClatchy), as the powerful military establishment gains stature with its emergency relief work. The Washington Post reports Pakistani officials are concerned that the devastation caused by the floods could lead to a Taliban resurgence in the northwest, one of the worst-hit regions. Islamic charities, including ones that are known fronts for banned militant groups, have already begun distributing assistance in some areas.
In this Foreign Policy blog, Pakistan analyst Amil Khan says challenges in reforming governance are compounded by international interventions that seek to "further cement the power of Pakistan's incumbent, mostly military elites."
The Economist looks at how recent events have intensified pressure on the country's unpopular president.
This CFR Analysis Brief looks at the Pakistani government's capacity to deal with the floods and says international support for Pakistan is critical.
PACIFIC RIM: Indonesia Arrests Cleric on Terror Charges
Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been detained (BBC) for links to terrorist group Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT). Officials say he helped set up and fund an Islamic militant training camp in Aceh, uncovered by police in February. Bashir has been arrested twice before for involvement with militant group Jemaah Islamiyah--blamed for at least three deadly attacks, including 2002 Bali bombings--and spent two-and-a-half years in prison.
This report from the International Crisis Group says JAT, founded by Bashir in 2008, is an ostensibly above-ground organization which has "embraced individuals with known ties to fugitive extremists."
North Korea: North Korea seized a South Korean fishing boat (ChosunIlbo) and its seven-member crew. South Korea's coast guard said the boat was detained in the Sea of Japan after entering the North's exclusive economic zone, where foreign fishing boats are banned. Tensions have been high on the Korean peninsula since the North sank South Korean naval ship Cheonan in March. A new CFR Task Force Report warns that North Korea's continued provocations pose a serious threat to its neighbors and that its nuclear weapons program must be stopped.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org