World News Brief, Tuesday August 20

Egyptian military to release Mubarak; South Korea and US begin annual military drills; Japanese and Russian foreign ministers meet to discuss territorial dispute; Hamid Karzai sacks attorney general; UN arrives in Syria; and more 


Top of the Agenda: Egypt to Release Mubarak as Violence Continues

Days after Egypt erupted in internal violence, the country's military announced it will release former president Hosni Mubarak from prison (Reuters) after prosecutors cleared him in a corruption case. Mubarak was arrested after a popular uprising overthrew him in February 2011, replacing him with now deposed president Mohammed Morsi in a national election. The development comes as at least twenty-four Egyptian policemen were killed in an ambush (BBC) in the Sinai peninsula. The U.S. Congress remains split over the possibility of cutting off military aid to its long-time strategic ally while the European Commission and the European Council issued a rare joint foreign policy statement saying it will "urgently review" its relations with Egypt (AP), urging the interim government to end the violence and seek a political dialogue to restore democracy.


"Egypt is as far away from the revolutionary promise of Tahrir Square as it was in November 2010 when Mubarak staged perhaps the most fraudulent parliamentary election since they began in the late 1970s," writes CFR's Steven Cook for Foreign Policy.

"The United States and the EU have misread the ground. They underestimated the visceral Gulf and Egyptian 'deep-state' hatred for the Muslim Brotherhood, and their fervor to cripple the Muslim Brotherhood movement once and for all," writes Alastair Crooke for al-Monitor.

"Americans rightly can't stand the military street slaughters. For sure, bloody casualties will mount. But the United States has some modest chance to influence the military in right directions. It has little or no chance of saving Egypt for democracy if the Islamists return to power," writes Leslie Gelb for The Daily Beast.



South Korea, U.S. Begin Drills

The South Korean and U.S. militaries began their annual drills (AP) Monday amid signs of easing tensions on the peninsula. Pyongyang has eased its rhetoric from earlier this year, and pursued dialogues with Seoul and Washington.

Marcus Noland addresses the easing of tensions on the peninsula in this interview.

JAPAN: Japanese and Russian foreign ministers met in Moscow on Monday to resume talks on resolving a long-standing territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands (JDP).

CFR's James Lindsay discusses the Kuril Islands, among other topics, on this podcast.


Hamid Karzai sacks attorney general

UN arrives in Syria


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