Over 100 die in Baghdad bombings; EPA threatens to cut US emissions without Congress; Japan tries another whopping stimulus package; India to buy more atomic fuel from Russia; and more
Top of the Agenda: Baghdad Bombings
Five coordinated car bombings, including at least one suicide attack, struck Baghdad Tuesday (NYT), killing at least 101 people in the worst attacks in Iraq since October. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Kamal al-Maliki blamed the attacks on al-Qaeda in Iraq and the remaining Baath Party in exile. The attacks came the day the Iraqi government was expected to announce a date for parliamentary elections, following a long-stalled agreement by Iraqi political leaders on the country's election law. The attacks echoed fears that violence would intensify ahead of the election, as insurgents and terrorists seek to destabilize Maliki's government.
The bombings indicate (WashPost) that insurgents can still easily smuggle large amounts of explosives into downtown Baghdad. They also detract from the government's positive developments this week, including the upcoming auction of oil field contracts to foreign companies.
Attacks in August and October triggered (WSJ) a revamping of security operations by the government and Iraq's military, as well as U.S. assistance to Iraqi officials. It was unclear if U.S. forces were asked to help again Tuesday. American officials have been counting on recent security gains in preparation to withdraw American troops by next August.
In Newsweek, CFR's Richard Haass says it does not seem likely that the United States will be able to extract its troops from either Afghanistan or Iraq by 2011.
A CFR Backgrounder examines Iraq's political landscape.
PACIFIC RIM: Japan Stimulus Package
The Japanese government announced (Xinhua) an $80.6 billion economic stimulus package to prevent the economy falling back into recession.
North Korea: US envoy to North Korea Stephen Bosworth arrived (Yonhap) in Pyongyang Tuesday, as the United States stressed that Bosworth will not offer new inducements to lure North Korea back into negotiations on its nuclear program.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org