World News Brief, Wednesday September 2

Gen. McChrystal announces new strategy in Afghanistan (+analysis); New Islamic leader in Iraq; cholera outbreak in Papua New Guinea; Burmese refugees return home; and more

Top of the Agenda: Afghanistan Strategy Review

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, illustrated a "serious" situation in his assessment of U.S. Afghanistan strategy. McChrystal said the Taliban insurgency is stronger than previously believed (LAT), and called for an increase in the number of Afghan security forces, and in the speed with which they are being trained.

Although McChrystal did not ask for an infusion of additional U.S. troops, U.S. officials said he may request as many as forty thousand new troops (WSJ) in the coming weeks.

In the review, which remains classified, reports say McChrystal calls for a shift in strategy (WashPost) toward protecting civilians, encouraging good governance, and building the country's economy.

In Foreign Policy, political risk consultant Hillary Mann Leverett looks at Afghan military commander Mohammed Qasim Fahim's consolidation of power, and says the United States cannot count on an Afghan military led by Fahim as a bulwark against an al-Qaeda resurgence in the country.

Washington Post columnist George Will calls for a major reduction in ground troops in Afghanistan, and says U.S. forces should "do only what can be done from offshore" with missile strikes and Special Forces units along the Pakistan border.

In an interview with CFR, journalist Elizabeth Rubin says U.S. officials must become more closely involved in improving Afghan governance.

A CFR interactive timeline tracks the course of the war in Afghanistan since its beginning in 2001.

Reuters has a Q&A on McChrystal's strategy review.


PACIFIC RIM: North Korea Lifts Border Curbs

North Korea lifted restrictions on traffic (Yonhap) at the border with South Korea, allowing a normal flow of goods and personnel to and from the Kaesong joint industrial park. Kaesong houses over a hundred South Korean-run factories that employ about forty thousand North Koreans.

Burma: The Obama administration called for an end to violence between ethnic militants and Burma's military, and said the Burmese government should launch a "genuine dialogue" (Xinhua) with ethnic minority groups. Refugees in China's Yunnan province who fled the clashes in Kokang in recent weeks are beginning to return to Burma.

Papua New Guinea: A cholera outbreak (BBC) has reportedly killed more than forty people in Papua New Guinea. As many as eight hundred people have been reported ill. The country's health minister said the rapidly spreading infection would strain the "fragile health system."



Reports of prisoner abuse in Iran.
New leader for Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council.

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