FPI Overnight Brief: April 25, 2011


NATO war planes early Monday morning struck Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s compound here for the third time, destroying a complex of offices and meeting facilities in an evident escalation of the air campaign to aid the rebellion against his four decades in power. – New York Times

Troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi sent a particularly heavy barrage of shells and rockets into Misurata from its southern outskirts on Sunday, as the last of those forces were routed from the city itself, residents and rebels said. – Washington Post

U.S. Predator drones struck their first targets in Libya over the weekend, military officials said. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization said a Predator strike hit a multiple-rocket launcher near the Libyan city Misrata at 11:00 GMT on Saturday, or 7:00 a.m. Eastern time. The NATO announcement said multiple rocket-launcher systems have been used to attack civilians in Misrata. – Wall Street Journal

The first missile strike by an unmanned Predator against Moammar Kadafi's forces underscores how the drones have become the go-to weapon for an Obama White House wary of being drawn deeper into another messy conflict. But few believe the remote-controlled aircraft are likely to tip the balance in the Libyan stalemate. – Los Angeles Times

Moammar Kadafi's forces came by the thousands with tanks, armored vehicles and rocket launchers to quell an uprising in the forbidding Western Mountains region of Libya. They left Zintan last month in a rout, rebels and Western journalists say, running through the woods as residents of the rebellious city pursued them using weapons and equipment seized from troops. It was a decisive battle that exposed the far western flank of Kadafi's security forces. – Los Angeles Times

[T]he Nafusah Mountain range, which rises out of the desert at the Tunisian border as a sudden, hazy shadow and runs several hundred miles east in a narrow chain, is hardly a rebel stronghold. Rebel fighters in the region estimate their ranks at just a few hundred ill-equipped and untrained young men. It came as a shock, then, when they captured a border crossing near Wazen last week, a strategic victory for the beleaguered rebel forces that thrust the desert region under the world’s gaze. Colonel Qaddafi has also turned his attention to the region, escalating a low-grade war of attrition into what may prove an important battlefront. – New York Times

The international drive to freeze the Libyan regime's foreign assets is running into stiff resistance in many parts of the world, allowing Moammar Kadafi to dig into a vast hoard of cash that has helped him cling to power as he battles rebel forces. – Los Angeles Times

The top American military officer warned Friday that the conflict on the ground in Libya threatened to become a stalemate, but Obama administration and military officials said that neither the United States nor its allies planned to fundamentally alter the NATO-led air operations despite criticism that they were not doing enough. – New York Times

Sen. John McCain, on a visit to rebel-controlled eastern Libya on Friday, urged the United States and its allies to increase airstrikes and facilitate weapons deliveries to bolster the insurgent cause, a call for stepped-up intervention that clashes with the Obama administration's more cautious approach to the conflict. – Los Angeles Times

Fearing a stalemate in Libya, three members of the Senate Armed Services Committee want immediate military aid for the rebels fighting Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, stepped up NATO airstrikes and more direct U.S. involvement. – Associated Press


At least 115 people have died in violence between government forces and a rebel militia in Southern Sudan this week, an official said Sunday, raising concerns of southern instability ahead of the region’s independence declaration in July. – Associated Press


Jackson Diehl writes: The idea of a quick political fix is seductive. There’s just one problem: It’s an illusion. Not only is there no chance of striking a workable deal with the Taliban, but the pursuit of one is only likely to make an already difficult political situation in Afghanistan worse. – Washington Post

More than 400 inmates, many of them Islamic insurgents, escaped overnight from the main prison in the southern city of Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban movement, according to NATO officials. – Los Angeles Times

A man believed to be a senior leader of the terrorist group the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was captured in Afghanistan this week during a joint Afghan and coalition operation in Kunduz Province, NATO officials said Friday. – New York Times

The police on Saturday ratcheted up enforcement on stores and tailor shops that illegally make and sell military and police uniforms after a string of attacks by insurgents dressed as Afghan service members that have cast suspicion on the country’s security forces. – New York Times

“We are scared of both sides,” a village elder, Mutayeb Khan, told the soldiers, expressing a litany of concerns shared by many villagers in remote parts of the country. They worry that NATO and Afghan forces will confuse them for insurgents while they’re tending their fields or collecting wood in the hills; that the Taliban will attack them if they help, or even talk to coalition forces; that government forces will detain their young men, perhaps for years. – New York Times

Anatol Lieven and Maleeha Lodhi write: A European diplomat depicted this stance rather graphically: “the U.S. military only wants to talk with their boots on the Taliban’s neck.” This approach no longer enjoys the confidence either of the international community or of a majority of Americans. Above all the Afghans want an end to the fighting and a chance at peace. – International Herald Tribune


Taiwan will hold its presidential and legislative elections early next year, a week before the Lunar New Year holiday, in a move experts said would likely boost voter turnout and potentially favor the ruling Kuomintang. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)


Days after nationwide protests against rampant corruption, two prominent activists have themselves been accused of graft. – Washington Post


Former Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, who is in custody charged with abuse of office and misappropriation of funds, has begun a hunger strike to protest his arrest, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


The U.S. is readying sanctions against senior officials in Syria who are overseeing a violent crackdown as Washington and its allies suggest the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is increasingly fragile. – Wall Street Journal

A major human rights organization took the unusual step Sunday of calling for international sanctions against Syrian officials in the killings of hundreds of peaceful protesters during weeks of antigovernment rallies. – Los Angeles Times

Syrian security forces detained dozens of opposition activists and fired from rooftops in a seaside town Sunday as authorities turned to pinpoint raids after days of bloodshed brought international condemnation and defections from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. – Washington Post

Two Syrian lawmakers and a state-appointed Muslim leader resigned Saturday in a gesture of protest a day after security forces killed more than 100 people in the bloodiest crackdown since anti-government demonstrations began in Syria in mid-March. – Washington Post

Syrian security forces opened fire Saturday on protesters mourning the scores of demonstrators killed a day earlier in a deadly repeat of violence against an increasingly bold antigovernment movement. – Los Angeles Times

Syrians who took to the streets Friday after prayers knew they were defying threats from their president. But they poured out anyway, tens of thousands of them, calling for his ouster a day after he lifted a set of despised emergency laws. And in towns and cities across the country, President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces answered with guns. – Washington Post

In the days leading up to Easter Sunday, Syria’s Christian community should have been busy preparing. This year, however, signs of festivities were hardly visible. Following anti-government protests that have been violently suppressed, leaving nearly 300 people dead, street parades and other forms of public celebration have been declared illegal by the authorities. – Washington Post

Unlike the revolts in Egypt, Tunisia and even Libya, which were televised to the world, Syria’s revolt is distinguished by the power of a self-styled vanguard abroad to ferry out images and news that are anarchic and illuminating, if incomplete. – New York Times

Syrian troops in tanks and armored vehicles poured into the southern town Deraa and opened fire on Monday, residents said, in the latest bloodshed in a crackdown on protests that has escalated sharply in recent days. - Reuters

Analysis: His country’s worsening crisis — a bloody battle between the police and protesters that is being closely watched around the world — would seem to be a chance to stave off the violence with restraint or even bold reforms, a path his father never took. But as the death toll mounts, and the ominous disappearances of dissident figures increase, his time appears to be running out. International pressure is growing, and so is the outrage his violent crackdown has inspired. – New York Times

Editorial: As a moral matter, the stance of the United States is shameful. To stand by passively while hundreds of people seeking freedom are gunned down by their government makes a mockery of the U.S. commitment to human rights. In recent months President Obama has pledged repeatedly that he would support the aspiration of Arabs for greater freedom. In Syria, he has not kept his word. – Washington Post

Fouad Ajami writes: The son learned the father's tricks. There is a litter of promises, predictions by outsiders that Bashar Assad is, at heart, a reformer. In 2000, our emissary to his father's funeral and to his own inauguration, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, praised him in such terms. He was part of the Internet generation, she said. But Bashar is both this system's jailer and its captive. The years he spent in London, the polish of his foreign education, are on the margin of things. He and the clans—and the intelligence warlords and business/extortion syndicates around him—know no other system, no other way. – Wall Street Journal

United Kingdom

The leakage of a few closely held facts about America’s silent service comes from an unlikely source: its closest ally. The secrecy gaffe can be traced to the British Parliament, which in April posted an advisory report about nuclear reactor safety in Royal Navy submarines on its website. The report, classified “Restricted,” contained about two pages that had not been properly redacted, including some details about U.S. subs. – Military Times


Can Merkel get her mojo back? She's the most powerful woman in Europe, and possibly the world. But it's been a gloomy spring for Angela Merkel, Germany's first female chancellor. – Los Angeles Times


Editorial: Raul Castro’s speeches at the congress were full of the usual attacks on slothful Cuban workers, inefficient party cadre and perfidious U.S. imperalism. But the truth is that Cuba’s problems are mostly of the Castro brothers’ own making. They may never end until the Castros’ regime does. – Washington Post

Obama Administration

When President Barack Obama announced last month that he was sending the U.S. military into action over Libya, the intervention held out the promise of being both quick and decisive. But with Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi apparently dug in for the long haul and the NATO coalition unwilling to commit ground troops to oust him, the Obama administration faces a stalemate that could last for months — and rising criticism that the goals and possible consequences of U.S. action were not thought through. - Politico


President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Saturday agreed to step down in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution for himself and his family, the strongest indication yet that the embattled leader was willing to give up his 32-year grip on power if the opposition accepted his terms of exit. – Washington Post

Yemen's opposition is deadlocked about whether to join embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh in accepting a deal brokered by neighboring Arab countries in which the longtime leader would cede power after a 30-day period and receive immunity for himself and his close relatives. – Wall Street Journal

A political deal for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to relinquish power within 30 days failed to persuade thousands of antigovernment protesters spread across the nation Sunday to reel in their banners, fold up their camps and go home. – Los Angeles Times

The United States has welcomed the announcement that Yemen's President Ali Abduallah Saleh is willing to transfer power. The White House said it supported "a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen that is responsive to the aspirations of the Yemeni people." – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


Few Egyptians expected a day when Hosni Mubarak would be under arrest. Now they get to see at least 15 more days of it, the prosecutor general said Friday, and investigators are questioning an ever-widening slice of the former president’s inner circle. But as the inquiry broadens, Mubarak, who is being confined to a pyramid-shaped hospital in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, is winning broader sympathy, too. – Washington Post

A Google Inc. executive whose digital activism played a central role in the revolution that overthrew Egypt's government in February has said he will leave the search-engine giant for a time to start a nongovernmental organization. Wael Ghonim posted a message Saturday on the social-networking site Twitter announcing he would take a "long-term sabbatical" to form "a technology-focused NGO to help fight poverty & foster education" in Egypt. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Middle East

A month after a brutal crackdown on Shiite protesters there, Bahrain is exacerbating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, dragging relations between the Persian Gulf rivals to their lowest level in at least a decade and setting the stage for confrontations elsewhere in the region. – Washington Post

Bahrain has accused the Iranian-backed militia Hezbollah with seeking to overthrow the island-state's ruling family, in a report to the United Nations, escalating the growing cold war between Sunni Arab states and Shiite-dominated Iran. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

More than 30 medical workers are missing in Bahrain, an American rights group said Friday, in the latest indication that the country’s health care system is being drawn into Bahrain’s confrontation with pro-democracy campaigners. – New York Times

Weeks after UAE authorities reportedly detained three human-rights activists who called for greater political reforms, the nation's government has dissolved the board of directors of a prominent legal group and replaced it with state appointees, according to a statement by the U.S.-based rights watchdog Human Rights Watch. – Babylon and Beyond

Abdulaziz Sager writes: It should also be noted that now that the genie is out of the bottle, the United States will, in the end, support the aspirations of the people. U.S. principles and interests require recognition of political reform as necessary and unavoidable. Although Washington may have adopted a wait-and-see approach, the Gulf’s ruling families can no longer trust that they have a permanent American insurance policy should their populations become restive. Gulf monarchies must heed the clear message: Real reform can no longer be postponed. – Washington Post

John Hannah writes: Saudi Arabia's legendary former ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, is once again a major presence on the world stage. The Obama administration would be wise to take note. Working in tandem with the United States, Bandar's over-sized talents could prove a huge asset in efforts to shape the Middle East Revolts of 2011 in a direction that serves U.S. interests. Put to other uses, however, those same skills could lead to results that Washington may find, well, much less agreeable. – Shadow Government


Iraqi leaders must decide “within weeks” whether they want American troops to stay beyond a year-end deadline for their withdrawal, the top U.S. military official said Friday during a visit to Baghdad. – Washington Post

An improvised explosive device detonated near a church and a firefight broke out in front of another here Easter Sunday, further raising safety concerns for Iraq’s besieged Christian community, even as it remained unclear if worshipers or police were the primary targets of the attacks. – Washington Post

With oil prices well above $100, an export bottleneck in Iraq is preventing some of its newly increased production from reaching thirsty global markets. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Iraqi politicians are coming out in favor of the recent decision to postpone the Arab League summit that was to be held in Baghdad next month, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has pledged that Baghdad would not ask U.S. troops to stay in the country beyond a year-end pullout, his office said on April 23. - AFP

Iran and Iraq have signed an extradition agreement that Iranian media speculated could lead to members of an Iranian militant group that used to enjoy refuge in Iraq being sent home for trial. - Reuters


Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Saturday that he remained ready to intervene in the country’s political affairs if the nation’s interests were being “neglected,” continuing a rare public flexing of his power days after a disagreement with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flared into the open. – New York Times

The legal representative of a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, believed missing for two weeks, now says he has been found detained at an Intelligence Ministry facility in northwestern Iran, RFE/RL’s Radio Farda reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

When Syria’s president visited Iran late last year, he received a heroes’ medal and spoke about unbreakable bonds in a ceremony broadcast on national television. Now, a nervous leadership in Iran has imposed a media blackout on Bashar Assad’s struggle against a swelling Syrian uprising and Tehran faces the unsettling prospect of losing its most stalwart ally in the region. – Associated Press

Interview: But Ms. Ebadi says the Iranian opposition has actually "become stronger." She claims that "dissatisfaction is increasing every day" and points specifically to the economy…What's more, she says, the Ahmadinejad government has hurt itself by cutting food and fuel subsidies. Others have interpreted the subsidy cuts—which were bound to be unpopular—as a sign of government confidence. But, says Ms. Ebadi, they sent the price of natural gas up 20 times and caused angry protests in front of parliament. – Wall Street Journal


The vague response belied the close attention Israel is paying to the unrest across Syria and the concerns raised by officials and experts here about what the possible outcomes could mean for relations between the two countries. – Washington Post

An Israeli man was killed and three others wounded Sunday when a Palestinian security officer opened fire on a convoy of ultra-Orthodox Jewish worshippers who had entered a religious site in a Palestinian-administered area without permission and then ignored orders to stop, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. – Los Angeles Times

Shelved since late 2010 and eclipsed by the pro-democracy Arab uprisings, the faltering Middle East peace process may soon be back in focus as Palestinians push for U.N. recognition of their state. - AFP

Amb. Michael Oren writes: These benefits of the U.S.-Israel relationship are of incalculable value to the United States, far outweighing any price. Americans know that Israelis have always stood by them, ready to share technology, intelligence, and innovation -- ready to aid them in conflict and to make the painful sacrifices for peace. Israel may be one of a handful of countries that fully fits the definition of ally, but its willingness to support the United States unwaveringly makes it the partner par excellence, America's ultimate ally. – Foreign Policy


The daughter of murdered Punjab governor Salman Taseer says she is determined to continue his campaign for changes to Pakistan's blasphemy law, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

A suicide bomber killed five people, including an anti-Taliban tribal leader and security personnel, in an attack [Saturday] in the northwestern tribal agency of Bajaur. – Long War Journal

Pakistan suspended delivery of supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan via its land border on April 23 for three days as campaigners began a sit-in on the supply route over U.S. drone attacks. - AFP

Pakistan’s army has broken the “backbone” of Islamist militants in the country, the army chief said Saturday in an apparent rebuttal to rising American criticism over the country’s campaign against extremism. – Associated Press

The United States will provide Pakistan with 85 small “Raven” unmanned aerial vehicles, a U.S. military official told Reuters, a key step to addressing Islamabad’s calls for access to U.S. drone technology - Reuters


The United States and China will have their annual meeting on human rights [this] week, but there are signs that the session may be more tense than usual. – New York Times

The authorities stepped up a three-week campaign against an underground Christian church on Sunday, detaining hundreds of congregants in their homes and taking at least 36 others into custody after they tried to hold Easter services in a public square, church members and officials said. – New York Times

A Tibet advocacy group based outside China said in a report released Friday that two Tibetans were killed Thursday night by Chinese paramilitary officers who were raiding a monastery in Sichuan Province to detain rebellious monks. – New York Times

Concessions by Shanghai authorities failed to end wildcat work stoppages by truck drivers who have disrupted the city's container ports, the world's busiest, in protests over rising fees. – Wall Street Journal

A fire at a clothing factory in southern Beijing killed at least 17 persons and injured 24 more before more than 200 firefighters extinguished the blaze early Monday, a state news service reported. – New York Times

China may have test-flown the J-18 Red Eagle vertical short takeoff and landing (VSTOL) fighter earlier this month, if chatter on Chinese-language military blogs is accurate. – Defense News


Japan needs to strengthen military ties with the U.S. and South Korea to keep China's military expansion in check, its defense minister said Friday, signaling that the nation's heavy post-earthquake reconstruction burden won't change its national-security priorities. – Wall Street Journal

The operator of Japan's stricken nuclear plant let pressure in one reactor climb far beyond the level the facility was designed to withstand, a decision that may have worsened the world's most serious nuclear accident in a quarter century. – Wall Street Journal

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Monday there are no data indicating that highly radioactive water is leaking from the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, a sign that efforts to contain the radiation are working. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The immediate danger of explosions or major radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant has receded, a top Japanese administration official said, even as the government and the plant's operator battle to keep it stabilized. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Sunday that there would be no need to expand the current evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant, even in the event of another hydrogen explosion at the stricken facility. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

The Japanese government earmarked almost $50 billion in emergency spending on Friday for the first step in the country’s largest reconstruction effort since World War II. – New York Times

Japanese troops could be allowed to train in Australian defense units, 66 years after the end of World War II, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was quoted as saying April 23. - AFP

Unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces fresh pressure to quit after his ruling party's losses in local elections on Sunday, weakening his clout as he struggles to contain a nuclear crisis and find ways to finance post-quake rebuilding. - Reuters

Korean Peninsula

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard pledged on April 24 to urge China to help tame North Korea and ease tension on the Korean Peninsula as part of efforts to ensure regional security. - AFP

North Korea has again threatened to destroy the United States and South Korea. The communist North issued its latest war rhetoric on the eve of its army’s anniversary. – Associated Press

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and three other former leaders arrived in Beijing on Sunday en route to North Korea to discuss the revival of nuclear disarmament talks. – Associated Press

Former President Jimmy Carter said on Monday he hopes to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his son and presumed heir during a visit this week that will concentrate on Pyongyang's nuclear program and food aid needs. - Reuters


Andrew Shearer writes: Ms. Gillard's tour is also an opportunity to consider what Australia and other countries in the region should not do: They should not rest on their laurels, or bask complacently in the shade of America's security umbrella in the region. Australia, Japan, Korea and other allies should develop networks of cooperation to ensure they can work together seamlessly to keep the seas open and trade flowing. Ms. Gillard's visit has helped bolster important intra-regional ties. That way perhaps Asia can enjoy another 60 years of stability and growth. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Central Asia

With mountain passes leading through both countries into Afghanistan starting to open in the spring thaw, concerns are high that militant violence could soar. The political situation in both [Kyrgyzstan and Tajikstan], according to analysts, could play into the hands of Islamic militant groups trying to gain wider influence in the region. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Tajikistan's Islamic Renaissance Party has withdrawn its candidate for a by-election because its representatives have not been included in constituency election commissions, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Southeast Asia

Tensions are rising in Thailand's capital city as army leaders accuse opposition politicians of being disloyal to the country's revered king and some residents worry that planned elections will be blocked, by a coup or some other means. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Guns were silent along the Thai-Cambodia border Monday after three days of jungle clashes between rival troops, but hopes for a diplomatic solution faded after the abrupt cancellation of talks with a top regional envoy. - Reuters


But by portraying himself as the defender of a strong Russia and making a string of campaign like promises to improve the lives of ordinary people, Mr. Putin sent an unmistakable signal that he intends to reclaim the presidency. – Associated Press

Reuben Johnson writes: Despite having unlimited manpower and resources to tail journalists who are poking around on the “wrong” stories, tap their phones, intercept their emails, and generally keep them under round-the-clock surveillance, the Russian police and security services suddenly become deaf, dumb, blind, and incompetent when these same journalists are attacked or murdered. – The Weekly Standard Blog


Because of recent crackdowns in Belarus, the news media have been under increasing pressure. Indeed, since last December, when tens of thousands demonstrated against the outcome of the elections in which Mr. Lukashenko was swept into power for the fourth time, journalists have faced new hurdles. Belsat’s operation here has sought to help overcome that, using 120 freelances inside Belarus who each day send news to Warsaw by phone or Internet. – New York Times

A Belarusian opposition activist has been sent back to jail to serve the remainder of a 15-day sentence after losing an appeal, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


A renegade warlord here said Saturday that he was ready to lay down his arms as ordered by the new president, but that it would take time. The warlord, Ibrahim Coulibaly, commands a heavily armed stronghold within Abobo, a poor neighborhood in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest city. – Associated Press

The death toll and destruction from a wave of election-related violence in Nigeria last week may exceed similar outbursts of the past, though the underlying causes remain the same, experts said. – New York Times

United States of America

A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., on Friday indicted three persons and two companies on charges of illegally exporting millions of dollars worth of computer-related equipment from the United States to Iran via the United Arab Emirates (UAE). – Washington Times

President Obama’s foreign policy is facing increased pressure from Republicans amid an ongoing military stalemate in Libya and a poll showing a drop in support for his actions. – The Hill


The sadistic murders of hundreds of civilians at isolated ranches 90 minutes south of the Texas border mark a new level of barbarity in Mexico’s four-year U.S.-backed drug war. – Washington Post

At least 177 corpses have been recovered in the last few weeks, most of them, officials now say, passengers snatched from interstate buses, tortured and slaughtered. Women were raped before being killed, and some victims were burned alive, according to accounts from survivors who eventually overcame their fears and came forward. – Los Angeles Times


More than half of the Haitians driven into tent cities and makeshift camps by the January 2010 earthquake have moved out of them, officially bringing down the displaced population to 680,000 from a peak of 1.5 million, according to the International Organization for Migration. But what may seem like a clear sign of progress, officials warn, is also a cause of concern. – New York Times

After the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake that destroyed most of this capital and killed more than 300,000 people, the Obama administration suspended deportations. The practice resumed three months ago, to the outcry of human rights activists and the protest of the Haitian government. – Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Mr. Martelly remains a political novice; so are most of his advisers. Washington and other key donors are right to give them the benefit of the doubt and to provide any reasonable assistance for the new government to succeed. The people of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, badly governed for decades, deserve a break — both from their own new leaders and from donor nations. – Washington Post

The War

A cache of classified military documents obtained by the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks presents new details of [the] whereabouts [of al-Qaeda’s leadership] on Sept. 11, 2001, and their movements afterward. The documents also offer some tantalizing glimpses into the whereabouts and operations of Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. – Washington Post

A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there. – New York Times

The Guantánamo analysts’ complete misreading of Abdullah Mehsud was included among hundreds of classified assessments of detainees at the prison in Cuba that were obtained by The New York Times. The unredacted assessments give the fullest public picture to date of the prisoners held at Guantánamo over the past nine years. They show that the United States has imprisoned hundreds of men for years without trial based on a difficult and strikingly subjective evaluation of who they were, what they had done in the past and what they might do in the future. – New York Times

When that Guantánamo assessment was written, the United States was working closely with Colonel Qaddafi’s intelligence service against terrorism. Now, the United States is a leader of the international coalition trying to oust Colonel Qaddafi — and is backing with air power the rebels, including Mr. Qumu. – New York Times

[A] collection of secret detainee assessment files obtained by The New York Times reveal that the threat of suicide has created a chronic tension at the prison — a tactic frequently discussed by the captives and a constant fear for their captors. – New York Times


Pentagon officials provided few details this week about a comprehensive national security review that will help officials identify ways to begin cutting $400 billion by 2023. – The Hill

At the end of a turbulent 2010 for the F-35 program, Lockheed Martin earned $7 million out of an available $35 million in award fees for milestones reached last year in the $379.4 billion single-engine stealthy fighter project. – Aviation Week

The Pentagon’s next challenge in the $382 billion Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter program will be cutting longer-term operating and maintenance costs and keeping unit production costs low. - Reuters

Washington should overhaul how it provides assistance to other nations, after a decade at war has seen the Defense Department assume an unprecedented role in that task, according to a new report by the Stimson Center, a think tank concerned with issues of national and international security. – The Hill

As competition heats up for the U.S. Navy’s Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) program, the focus will be on developing the S-band digital beamforming technology on a shipboard platform in time for the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Flight III upgrades planned for later this decade. – Aviation Week

Democracy and Human Rights

All across the region, the exuberant "Arab Spring" has morphed into a season of deadly crackdowns, sectarian strife and dimming prospects for democracy—at least in the form many original protesters envisioned. That's partly because protesters took to the streets with a variety of motivations and wildly different goals. And, like their forerunners in Eastern Europe after the Soviet Union collapsed, the protesters often have been unprepared to battle the entrenched forces that have long supported the dictators they seek to oust. – Wall Street Journal

FPI Director William Kristol discussed the conflict in Libya, as well as the protests in Syria and Yemen on yesterday’s Fox News Sunday

Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung write: The gains achieved by Egyptian and Tunisian protesters in reshaping their state-controlled news media in the weeks since their revolutions should not be taken for granted. Transforming politically dominated television and radio networks into more transparent and democratic institutions is a long and difficult process, and the vast majority of citizens in authoritarian states across the world — from Libya and Syria to Russia and China — continue to consume a twisted version of reality through the looking glass of state television. – New York Times

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
Read More