1) The top American military commander for the Middle East warned Iraq's prime minister that the Iraqi government needs to make tangible political progress - including passage of the controversial oil law - by next month to counter the growing tide of opposition to the war in Congress, the New York Times reports.
2) Despite the recent U.S. military buildup in Baghdad, "civilian casualties continue to mount" in Iraq, according to a report released Monday by U.N. Secretary General Ban, the Washington Post reports.
3) US officials in Baghdad and Washington are floating the idea of permanent U.S. bases in Iraq, notes Howard LaFranchi in the Christian Science Monitor. But many Iraq and Middle East experts warn that any plan for permanent bases would cement the US image in Iraq and the region as that of an occupying force.
4) Once support for a war is lost, it is gone for good; there is no example of a modern democracy having changed its mind once it turned against a war, writes Christopher Fettweis of the U.S. Naval War College in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. So we ought to start coming to grips with the meaning of losing in Iraq.
5) Adm. Mullen, the Bush administration's nominee for chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "probably would seek political solutions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," the Washington Post reports.
6) Senator Lieberman's call for cross-border raids into Iran, reigniting the let's-bomb-Iran discussions, is undercutting the recently initiated U.S.-Iran talks over Iraq, writes Trita Parsi of NIAC.
7) Male U.S. veterans are twice as likely to commit suicide as men with no military service, the Washington Post reports.
8) IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, warned Iran and the U.S. their yearlong stalemate over Iran's nuclear activities was turning into a "brewing confrontation" that he said "urgently needs to be defused," the New York Times reports.
9) NATO's top general said Iran "might be" aiding the Taliban, AP reports. [The Philadelphia Inqurier ran the AP article under the headline, "NATO General Says Iran Secretly Aiding Taliban," although, according to the article, that's not what he said. -JFP]
10) The Iraqi Parliament approved a resolution forcing the resignation of the speaker, the New York Times reports.
11) Muqtada al-Sadr is reasserting authority over his movement, McClatchy News reports. A top Sadr aide said Sadr had replaced 11 local leaders of his movement.
12) The buildup of U.S. troops in Baghdad is failing, according to a report by UN Secretary-General Ban, Bloomberg reports.
13) Egyptian security forces barred voters from entering polling centers in opposition areas during national elections, the Washington Post reports. In areas loyal to President Mubarak's National Democratic Party, voters surged into polling sites, including some who appeared to be underage.
14) An Ethiopian court found 38 prisoners guilty of charges ranging from "outrage against the constitution" to aggravated high treason in a trial international human rights groups have roundly condemned, the Washington Post reports. Relatives of the prisoners accused the U.S. of failing to pressure the Ethiopian government on behalf of the prisoners because of the Ethiopian government's support for U.S. policy in Somalia.
15) Last month Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua announced they would withdraw from the World Bank's international arbitration body, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, notes Just Foreign Policy president Mark Weisbrot in International Business Times. Bolivia's position is that ICSID can not be an impartial arbitrator so long as it is part of the World Bank.
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