Pakistan commits to Islamic law in Swat valley as Taliban grows in Punjab; Thai protests subside; North Korea threatens to quit Six-Party talks; US changes Iran policy; and more
Top of the Agenda: Pakistan Swat Accord
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari today formalized a controversial deal to enforce Islamic law in Pakistan's Malakand region, which includes the violence-ridden Swat valley. Dawn reports Zardari's decision follows a unanimous vote by Pakistan's National Assembly for concessions to Taliban militants in the region in order to solidify a peace deal they recently made with the provincial government. The Daily Times reports that one major political party which had expressed reservations about the deal abstained from the vote to allow the measure to pass.
Al-Jazeera looks at potential fallout from the decision and says some experts fear it could lead to the "Talibanization" of larger swaths of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports this morning that the Pakistani Taliban is forging alliances with local militant groups in the country's Punjab province.
- A new op-ed from CFR's Sundaa A. Bridgett Jones argues that President Obama's Af-Pak strategy may not be enough to save Pakistan from itself.
-This Backgrounder outlines the different terrorist groups in Pakistan.
- A recent Daily Analysis questions how U.S. aid donations to Pakistan could be structured more effectively.
PACIFIC RIM: Thai Protests Subside
Protests in Bangkok waned today, and were eventually called off (Bangkok Post), following an intense military crackdown.
N.KOREA: Pyongyang announced it will quit the Six-Party Talks (Korea Times) on denuclearization and will restart its reactor at Yongbyon following anger at a UN Security Council statement chastising North Korea's recent rocket launch.
- This Backgrounder explains the Six-Party Talks negotiating framework.
US changes tack on Iran preconditions.
Somali pirates attack three more ships.