World News Brief, Wednesday August 18

Suicide bomber kills at least 60 outside Baghdad army base (+ analysis); US wary of potential "for miscalculation" as Chinese military grows; Japan looks at new stimulus plans; World Bank redirects Pakistan loans as food prices rise; and more

Top of the Agenda: Suicide Bomb Hits Iraqi Army Recruits

At least sixty Iraqi army recruits and soldiers (Guardian) were killed in a suicide bombing outside an army base in Baghdad. The site, a former headquarters of the ministry of defense, receives about 250 new recruits each week. Military spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi said as many as one thousand army recruits were at the site on the last day for soldiers to sign up at the unit. Iraqi security forces are preparing for a US troop drawdown later this month, shifting the military's focus from combat operations to training Iraqi security forces. Al-Moussawi said the blast was caused by a single suicide bomber who detonated his vest among the crowd, and he blamed al-Qaeda for recruiting the bomber.

The attack is the first major bombing in Baghdad (NYT) during this year's Muslim month of Ramadan. The incident also came one day after one of the two main contenders in Iraq's March election suspended talks on forming a coalition (BBC). No one claimed immediate responsibility.


On the Daily Beast, Kenneth Pollack says in order to leave behind an effective Iraqi government, the United States should avoid creating new bureaucracies, be wary of including too many Iraqi groups in the government, and fix problems in the constitution.

A National editorial says Iraqi politicians need to move forward on forming a government and naming a new prime minister to avoid further destabilizing the country's "fragile calm."

This CFR Analysis Brief examines the growing debate in the United States and Iraq about whether U.S. soldiers should stay beyond the 2011 deadline for complete troop withdrawal.

President Obama's August 2 speech announcing that the drawdown date will be met can be read here.
The US-Iraq Status of Forces agreement can be found here.


PACIFIC RIM: US Says China's Military Secretly Expanding

A US Defense Department report raised concern about the rapid growth of China's military (BBC), which, due to China's secrecy about its military affairs, threatens to increase "the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation."

Japan: In response to a report yesterday that showed GDP barely grew last quarter, Prime Minister Naoto Kan asked his economic ministers to contemplate fresh stimulus measures (Bloomberg).



- World Bank Loans $900 Million for Pakistan Flood
- Loss of Inspections Absent from START Debate


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on