World News Brief, Wednesday April 21

Iraqi troops kill top Al Qaeda leaders; Thai 'red shirts' backdown as troops deployed; Iran to build new nuclear site but wants talks; British regulators launch Goldman Sachs inquiry; and more

Top of the Agenda: Top al-Qaeda in Iraq Leaders Killed

Iraqi forces killed the top two leaders (WashPost) of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a setback to the militants and a victory for US and Iraqi forces. The deaths of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian who was the leader of AQI, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the group's umbrella organization, the Islamic State of Iraq, are "potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency," said General Ray Odierno, the top commander of US troops in Iraq. Officials emphasized that Iraqi troops led the operation. AQI reemerged as a serious threat last year, launching a series of major attacks after being weakened by the U.S. troop surge in 2007. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who initially announced the deaths, falsely reported the death and capture of Baghdadi in the past, but US officials said DNA evidence was used to confirm their identities this time.

Some counterterrorism analysts say it is still unclear (CSMonitor) whether Baghdadi was actually killed or if such a person even exists.


The United States should consider postponing its planned August pullout from Iraq for several months to help maintain stability as post-election political jockeying and opportunistic violence by al-Qaeda in Iraq play out, writes CFR expert Brett McGurk.


This CFR Backgrounder examines the terrorist network al-Qaeda.


PACIFIC RIM: US House Stiffens on China Currency Stance

US House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin said the United States "will act" (Bloomberg) on Chinese currency if multilateral pressure fails to work.

In this CFR Expert Roundup, six experts debate whether the Obama administration's approach to China's currency policy is the right one, and why.

Thailand: Thailand's "red shirt" protesters canceled a march (CSMonitor) Monday after combat troops were deployed to block them, but they vowed to continue demonstrating.

Thailand, the once-prosperous democratic ally of the United States, faces continuing upheaval unless the elite and opposition agree to political reforms and a frank debate about the future of its monarchy, writes CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick.

Read CFR's Asia Unbound blog, featuring timely analysis from CFR's Asia experts.



Iran Picks New Nuclear Enrichment Site
Somali Pirates Hijack Thai Vessels
British Regulators to Investigate Goldman


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