FPI Overnight Brief: June 28, 2011

Libya

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Col. Moammar Gadhafi, his son and Libya's intelligence director for crimes against humanity, triggering jubilation in rebel territory and formally marking the Libyan leader as an outlaw. – Wall Street Journal

The international arrest warrant for crimes against humanity issued against Moammar Kadafi and members of his family has further isolated the Libyan leader, but may also increase his determination to fight on rather than relinquish power or seek sanctuary outside the country. – Los Angeles Times

One hundred days of NATO air strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's regime have helped give opposition rebels a tentative upper hand in the Libya conflict, a top U.N. official said Monday. - AFP

A U.N. Security Council sanctions committee has banned Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's wife from traveling outside Libya and ordered any of her foreign assets seized, Western diplomats said on Monday. - Reuters

Germany will supply bomb components and other military ordnance to aid NATO in Libya in a concession to allies after Berlin's controversial opposition to flying air strikes, Spiegel Online reported on Monday. - Reuters

Josh Rogin reports: Following the House of Representatives' stunning rebuke of the Obama administration's intervention in Libya last Friday, the Senate will weigh in [today] with a host of new proposed restrictions on President Barack Obama's war authorities. – The Cable

Analysis: The overwhelming vote in the House on Friday against approving American participation in the NATO action in Libya raised a question in Washington: Why did President Obama not press harder for a vote authorizing the operation months ago when the intervention was more popular? – New York Times

Syria

Scores of opposition figures met publicly Monday in Damascus for the first time since Syria’s antigovernment uprising began. The officially sanctioned gathering underlined the changes the rebellion has wrought in Syria as well as the challenges ahead in breaking a cycle of protests and crackdowns that have left hundreds dead. – New York Times

Republicans are intensifying pressure on the Obama administration to recall its ambassador to Syria, arguing that the U.S. policy of engagement has done nothing to stop President Bashar al-Assad’s government from cracking down on protesters. – Checkpoint Washington

Members of Syria's opposition in exile said they would use a visit to Moscow Tuesday to urge Russia to condemn a violent crackdown on protests in the Middle Eastern nation. - Reuters

Yemen

The breakdown of public services, shortage of fuel and rising prices for food and water have made life exceedingly difficult for most Yemenis, and threaten to become a humanitarian crisis that could overshadow the political one. – New York Times

Yemen said on Monday its security forces had foiled a planned al Qaeda attack in the southern province of Aden. Separately, a ruling party leader said the first speech by President Ali Abdullah Saleh since he was taken to Saudi Arabia for treatment after a bombing, was expected to be carried by Yemeni state television on Tuesday. - Reuters

Egypt

The first Egyptian police officer sentenced to death for killing of protesters during the January revolution remained at large Monday as the country braced for a summer of trials into the police brutality that defined President Hosni Mubarak's regime. – Los Angeles Times

The construction boom that helped sustain Egypt’s economic growth amid the global downturn has stalled amid political uncertainty and state funding squeezes since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. – Financial Times

Iran

Iran unveiled underground silos on Monday that would make its missiles less vulnerable to attack, marking the country’s latest show of force in the long standoff with the West over its nuclear program. – New York Times

Two Iranian women’s activists were arrested in Tehran, as a group of 18 political prisoners ended a nine-day hunger strike, an opposition Web site reported Monday – Washington Post

Iran’s Russian-built nuclear power plant is likely to become fully operational in early August, Russian news agencies quoted a senior diplomat as saying on Monday. - Reuters

Iran will take action against "inhuman" sanctions that make it harder for its passenger planes to refuel abroad and buy spare parts, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. - Reuters

Iran's parliament summoned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for questioning, semi-official Mehr news agency said on Monday, raising tensions in a power struggle between factions in the Islamic Republic's ruling elite. - Reuters

Abbas Milani writes: The rancorous fight between the ambitious, weakened president and the embittered, isolated Khamenei is both a symptom of a structural crisis and an added ingredient for its continuation. One can be but strategically optimistic about Iran’s future and tactically benighted about its immediate fate. – The National Interest

Iraq

Iraq has committed to providing accurate figures about its oil revenues by agreeing to verify details of its oil industry with an international transparency organization, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

A senior Iraqi Central Bank adviser says the government has adopted a two-pronged plan to restructure the national currency in order to facilitate large transactions and make government accounts more efficient, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Lebanon

Lebanese officials said on Monday they expected a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the assassination of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri to issue indictments soon. - Reuters

Sudan

Sudan's President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir showed up 24 hours late Tuesday for a meeting with his most important ally, an embarrassing example of what might happen when you host a head of state who is also an alleged war criminal. – Los Angeles Times

The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the deployment of 4,200 Ethiopian troops to Sudan’s disputed Abyei region, a move diplomats said was aimed at defusing tensions in the run-up to the southern third of the country declaring independence on July 9. – New York Times

Turkey

One day after the leader of the outlawed Kurdish PKK guerrilla movement warned that Turkey could soon return to "war" with its Kurdish minority, the group killed a soldier and seriously wounded three others. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Israel

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday rescinded a warning by the Israeli Government Press Office that foreign journalists who board a flotilla challenging Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza could be barred from the country for a decade. – Washington Post

With much of the Middle East in turmoil, new realities are emerging for Israel and her neighbors, reshaping the strategic environment that has remained nearly constant for more than 30 years, since the 1979 peace accord with Egypt. Israel is responding to this uncertainty, and to other regional challenges, through its new multiyear defense plan. – Aviation Week

Afghanistan

Citing fear of reprisals and political interference in his investigation of the largest financial scandal in the country, the governor of Afghanistan’s Central Bank announced his resignation Monday while in the United States, saying that he no longer felt safe in Afghanistan. – New York Times

As Obama administration officials look beyond the planned drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, one path dominates their thinking about how to finally exit the war — a negotiated deal with the Taliban. After months of quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy, officials last week began claiming progress in the effort to begin talks. – Los Angeles Times

President Obama’s announcement last week of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan made clear that, more than ever, the onus is on Afghans to take responsibility for their own security. But the story of how Akmal went from jihadist to Afghan soldier and back again demonstrates the many problems that still plague the Afghan army and police force. – New York Times

The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan will gradually shift in the direction of counterterrorism, which is limited primarily to targeting militant leaders, as force levels are reduced, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview. – USA Today

Lost in the fireworks is that the first waves of battlefield changes will generally involve shifting troops around within Afghanistan, not taking them out of the country entirely. – National Journal

Judged by the factors that led to the success or failure of earlier counterinsurgencies, the U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan has a chance to succeed, but not a very good one, according to a new study by the Rand Corporation. – Checkpoint Washington

As the US steps up its diplomatic push following the decision last week from Barack Obama, president, to draw down the 33,000-strong troop surge, Washington officials say defusing Indian-Pakistan rivalries within Afghanistan remains a main challenge. – Financial Times

The Afghan government warned the international community on Monday not to interfere in a deepening political crisis after lawmakers appealed for help over a specially formed court that overturned results for a quarter of the seats in parliament. - Reuters

Pakistan

The government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari took a political blow when a key ally said it would quit the ruling coalition for the second time this year. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Gunmen killed a senior Pakistani Taliban commander Monday who helped train and deploy the group’s suicide bombers, while suspected U.S. drone missile strikes killed 20 alleged militants elsewhere in the northwest, Pakistani intelligence officials said. – Associated Press

Washington’s special envoy to Afghanistan said Monday that Pakistan must prove it wants an end to the Afghan war by preventing militants from hiding out on its soil and enabling those who launch attacks on the Afghan side of the border. – Associated Press

Pakistan has told Britain to pull out some of its military trainers, in what appears to be the latest sign of strained relations with the West after last month's killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. troops. - Reuters

A senior militant commander has for the first time quit the Pakistani Taliban, a defection that could weaken a movement that poses the biggest security threat to the U.S.-backed government. - Reuters

Pakistan's Taliban, a close ally of al Qaeda, has threatened to carry out a series of attacks against American, British and French targets to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden. - Reuters

China

With the approach of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China on July 1, the country is being swept up in a wave of orchestrated revolutionary nostalgia. Nowhere is that more so than in Chongqing, this southwestern Chinese mega-city of 32 million people that has become the capital of the “red culture” revival. – Washington Post

Zhuanghuan’s tattered clothing — and the human suffering it represents — are now part of a collection of artifacts, photos, videos, books and government documents on display at the recently expanded Laogai Museum in Northwest Washington. The Dupont Circle museum is intended to showcase human rights abuses in China, particularly the Communist regime’s use of prisons to punish dissenters. It was created by Harry Wu, 74, a human rights activist who spent 19 years in forced labor camps. – Washington Post

It was another big reveal in a long history of them. Six months after the Chinese air force let the first photos of its new stealth fighter leak online, Beijing’s military has “accidentally” showed off another secretive weapon system: a small drone, apparently used to scout ahead of China’s fast-growing fleet of warships. – Danger Room

Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, has sharply rebuked the UK government of David Cameron over its criticisms of China’s lack of human rights, warning that the London should stop its “finger-pointing” at Beijing. – Financial Times

In the wake of China's crackdown on dissent, Premier Wen Jiabao has again promised China's citizens democracy and human rights. The response from seasoned observers in Beijing on Thursday ranged from catcalls to applause. None, however, saw any prospect of the ruling Communist Party reining in its own vast powers before a big political shake-up next year. - Reuters

Aaron Friedberg writes: In the long run, the United States can learn to live with a democratic China as the dominant power in East Asia, much as Great Britain came to accept America as the preponderant power in the Western Hemisphere. Until that day, Washington and Beijing are going to remain locked in an increasingly intense struggle for mastery in Asia. – The National Interest

Taiwan

Taiwan's June 24 petition to submit a letter of request (LoR) for new F-16 fighter jets was blocked by the U.S. State Department under orders from the U.S. National Security Council, sources in Taipei and Washington said. - AFP

Korean Peninsula

Russian authorities are preparing for a possible visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, a local official in Russia's Far East said on condition of anonymity on Monday. - Reuters

Josh Rogin reports: President Barack Obama announced on late Friday afternoon his intention to nominate Sung Kim, the administration's special envoy to the Six Party Talks, as the next U.S. ambassador to South Korea. However, Kim wasn't the administration's first choice. – The Cable

Japan

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant in Japan started and then halted an operation to use filtered contaminated water to cool reactor cores. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Tons of radioactive water was discovered to have leaked into the ground from the Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan's nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday. - Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Monday spelled out conditions for keeping his promise to resign, including the passage of a bill to allow deficit bond issuance and another to promote renewable energy sources. - Reuters

Kyrgyzstan

Russia is in talks with Kyrgyzstan to expand its military presence in the volatile central Asian nation by setting up a training center in the south, the Kyrgyz foreign minister told AFP. - AFP

Analysis: Otunbaeva -- a former Kyrgyz foreign minister, diplomat, and longtime opposition figure -- is a very different leader compared to her predecessors in Kyrgyzstan and counterparts in other Central Asian countries, and one whose achievements have been constantly questioned during her short presidential reign. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Southeast Asia

Many in Cambodia hope that the public trial will clarify for history the actions of the Khmer Rouge, who caused the deaths of 1.7 million people — nearly a fourth of the population — from 1975 to 1979. But Mr. Nuon Chea’s objection, as explained by his lawyers, pointed toward a separate version of history in which the Khmer Rouge were national liberators, guarding against Vietnamese incursions and motivated by heavy American bombing in a secret campaign during the Vietnam War. – New York Times

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said there were "notable similarities" between December's revolution in Tunisia and the 1988 uprising in her own country that led to her original detention by military authorities. - Reuters

The Philippines and the United States will launch naval exercises on Tuesday as the long-time allies seek to deepen defense ties amid tensions with China over a maritime dispute. - AFP

Risks are growing that incidents at sea involving China could lead to war in Asia, potentially drawing in the United States and other powers, an Australian think tank warned on Tuesday. - Reuters

Russia

Several times in recent months, Mr. Kudrin — a longtime ally of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin — has called for deep domestic changes, arguing that Russia will slip out of the ranks of the world’s leading nations unless it allows for fair competition in politics and business. In a period of political uncertainty, Mr. Kudrin’s complaints are impossible to ignore. – New York Times

Interview: Following are excerpts from an interview conducted last week by The Times’s Moscow bureau chief, Ellen Barry, with Aleksei L. Kudrin, the finance minister of Russia. Mr. Kudrin is considered the third most powerful figure in the Kremlin, after Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin and President Dmitri A. Medvedev, and is a close ally of Mr. Putin. – New York Times

A Moscow court convicted a former top intelligence official in absentia of betraying the 10 deep-cover spies arrested and deported from the U.S. last year in a case the court said had done serious harm to Russian espionage efforts. – Wall Street Journal

Acting Federation Council Speaker Aleksandr Torshin has introduced legislation that would allow Russia's Constitutional Court to override rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). If passed into law, it would effectively abrogate one of Moscow's key obligations to a major European rights and democracy institution. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Vladimir Kara-Murza writes: Having learned from the "color revolutions" in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine, where the theft of votes from opposition candidates led to mass protests and the peaceful toppling of authoritarian regimes, Mr. Putin ensured that his opponents are denied even token access to elections. By doing this, he may well have avoided the scenario of Ukraine. But he also very likely paved the way for another Tunisia. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

United Kingdom

Service chiefs are going to be given control of their own budgets and a new Joint Forces Command is to be formed as part of a series of radical changes to the way the British Ministry of Defence is managed and run, if proposals in a report presented June 27 in Parliament are adopted. – Defense News

Bosnia

More than 15 years after the Dayton peace agreement silenced guns in Bosnia, the Balkan state — still fractured, still febrile — is facing its worst crisis since the war. – New York Times

Belarus

Russia has threatened to cut power supplies to Belarus after its neighbor failed to make a late debt payment because of its economic crisis. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Georgia

Ceremonies have been held in the capital of the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia recently to name streets after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Southern Africa

South Africa's powerful union movement fired a warning shot at President Jacob Zuma on Monday, telling him not to take its support for granted in next year's elections for leader of the ruling ANC. - Reuters

United States of America

The top Democrat on a key House trade panel whipped up a new furor over three stalled trade deals Monday when he said he wouldn't support a pact with Colombia if the White House and Republicans refuse to include references to pro-labor provisions negotiated by the Obama administration. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

President Obama and key lawmakers plan to announce this week an agreement to revive trade-adjustment assistance for unemployed workers who have lost their jobs because of overseas trade, according to several sources. That deal could lead to a breakthrough on long-stalled U.S. trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama - Politico

GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty will push back on isolationist elements within the Republican Party during a major foreign policy address Tuesday, according to one of his senior aides. – The Hill

Josh Rogin reports: GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty will deliver a major address on foreign policy on Tuesday in what his top aides are billing as a rebuttal to what they see as President Barack Obama's flawed May 19 speech on the Middle East. – The Cable

Mexico

A Roman Catholic priest who has long championed the cause of migrant workers on Monday denounced what he said was another mass kidnapping of undocumented Central Americans purportedly yanked from a train by masked gunmen in southern Mexico. – Los Angeles Times

Venezuela

Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, holed up in secrecy in a Cuban hospital, reportedly telephoned a meeting of his ruling party's leadership on Monday, a move that did little to quell growing speculation that the leader is sicker than his government has said. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

Defense

In his four years in the Pentagon, Gates has become an indispensable force in the debate over two deeply unpopular wars. He’s been a savvy manager of the Pentagon bureaucracy and earned a reputation as the most ruthlessly efficient defense secretary in decades. – Washington Post

Lockheed Martin is shifting some of its executives in order strengthen its most important programs, the company said June 27 in a news release. In perhaps the most significant move, Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed's Mission Systems & Sensors chief, will become the deputy to F-35 general manager Larry Lawson. – Defense News

The U.S. Army is participating in a U.S. Navy analysis of alternatives (AOA) to determine whether both services’ requirements for vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft can be met by a joint program. – Aviation Week

Obama Administration

In the first two years of Obama's presidency, his top aides had grown accustomed to a process in which Obama drew out and explored the views of his full team and searched for a consensus — decision by ballot, some called it. Increasingly, however,…the president has been relying more heavily on his own instincts and feeling less impelled to seek accord among advisors. – Los Angeles Times

Josh Rogin reports: Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has lifted his hold on the nomination of David Cohen to be the top sanctions official at the Treasury Department following the administration's announcement of several targeted sanctions against Iran. – The Cable

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