Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.
U.S. officials condemned photos of U.S. soldiers who allegedly posed with the corpses of Afghan insurgents during a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. The actions depicted in the photos, which were revealed by the Los Angeles Times yesterday, violated U.S. military regulations and its "core values," U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said. President Barack Obama called for a full investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, the United States and its NATO allies reached an agreement (NYT) at a NATO summit in Brussels yesterday on bringing the war in Afghanistan to a close by the end of 2014, while still keeping some international troops there beyond that point.
"These pictures were apparently taken in Zabul province, in 2010. In theory, they could have come to light any time since then. In practice, they are the fourth mortifying reminder in four months of what this war has come to look like–a war that has gone on too long, with soldiers who don't seem to know why they are in Afghanistan," writes the New Yorker's Amy Davidson.
"These horrible acts are one of the outcomes of war. You have these incredibly dehumanizing and horrific events and you have essentially young boys thrown into it. From the outside, these acts appear horrific–and these are definitely despicable acts–but when you're in the situation, at the time they happen, they can seem quite normal," war photographer Danfung Dennis told the Daily Beast.
"The war in Afghanistan tragically feels like the movie Groundhog Day: reliving and retelling the same stories repeatedly but with the situation worse than it was the previous time. The United States is perpetually stuck in a repetitive series of setbacks and scandals that damage the mission. It cannot escape the shadow that ruinous events cast over the prospect of defeating the Taliban," writes Malou Innocent for the National Interest.
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EU to Suspend Myanmar Sanctions
The EU agreed to suspend most sanctions targeting Myanmar for a year (BBC), with the exception of an arms embargo–a decision that could be approved at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday. The United States and Australia have also eased some sanctions on Myanmar's military-backed civilian government.
CHINA: Officials launched an investigation into the billions of dollars of government spending (WSJ) engineered by former leader Bo Xilai in the city of Chongqing. Bo, who was removed from his post last month, and his wife are at the center of a corruption and murder scandal that has shaken the Chinese leadership.
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
India Tests Long-Range Missile
India successfully test-fired a long-range, nuclear-capable missile (IndianExpress) today, which officials say has the ability to reach far into China and Eastern Europe. The move adds India to the small list of countries that produce inter-continental ballistic missiles, including the United States, Russia, France, and China.
This CFR Global Governance Monitor interactive offers an overview of the international challenge of nuclear proliferation.
UN Chief Says Syria Failing to Implement Peace Plan
Syria has failed to implement almost all aspects of a UN-Arab League peace plan and cease-fire (NYT), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a letter to the UN Security Council. At the same time, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has hindered the movement of an advance team of UN monitors in Syria.
IRAQ: A series of coordinated bombing attacks (al-Jazeera) in Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Samarra left twenty-six people dead. The attacks largely targeted Shiite neighborhoods.
U.S. Warns on Boko Haram
The U.S. embassy in Nigeria warned yesterday that the radical Islamist separatist group Boko Haram may be planning attacks against hotels and other targets frequented by Westerners (SAPA/AFP) in the capital of Abuja.
Widening violence by Boko Haram has caused concerns about its possible links to international terrorist groups, explains this CFR Backgrounder.
SUDAN: President Omar al-Bashir vowed to retake the disputed region of Heglig (Reuters)–captured by neighboring South Sudan last week–and vowed to "liberate" the South from its rulers. Bashir's rhetoric comes amid mounting tensions between the two nations over their shared oil-rich border.
New Trial for Former Ukrainian PM
Ukraine opened a new trial against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko today for allegedly evading taxes (DeutscheWelle) while serving as the head of an energy firm in the 1990s. Tymoshenko is already serving a seven-year prison sentence after being convicted last year of abuse of office, a case the EU condemned as politically motivated.
Last year's sentencing of Tymoshenko reflects her rivalry with President Viktor Yanukovych and could affect Ukraine's eurozone bid, New York Times Moscow bureau chief Ellen Barry said in this CFR Interview.
NETHERLANDS: The Dutch coalition government is in talks over new austerity measures (WSJ) that would bring the country's budget deficit below the EU limit of 3 percent of GDP by 2013. Credit rating agency Fitch has indicated it would lower the Netherlands from its triple-A rating if it fails to tackle its debt burden.
U.S. Agents Dismissed Amid Prostitution Scandal
Three U.S. Secret Service agents implicated in a prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia (LAT)–which reportedly took place ahead of President Barack Obama's visit there for an economic summit last week–are being forced out of the agency as investigators examine potential security breaches.
HONDURAS: Thousands of farm workers are occupying disputed land (BBC) in locations throughout the country. The farmers say the areas constitute public space, while the government says the farmers are invading private property.
Weighing Foreign Policy Positions
Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic says that future foreign policy differences between President Obama and GOP front-runner Mitt Romney are largely "unknowable."
Steven Hurst of the Associated Press says the "hot partisan fight over the economy so far has overshadowed Romney's grievances with the Obama foreign policy," but Romney hopes to ultimately prove his foreign policy is tougher than Obama's.
On the campaign trail (ClevelandPlainDealer) in northeast Ohio, Obama talked about links between education, the economy, and his policy proposals, particularly in the Rust Belt, where the economic downturn has hit hard and recovery has been slow.
Editor's Note: For more information on the presidential election and foreign policy check out CFR's campaign blog, The Candidates and the World.
Some of these soldiers just cash checks and talk sh^t. Frickin mercs. I will take 1 honorable soldier over 20 mercs any day.
These American soldiers will get whats coming.
What goes around, comes around.
They dont have the brains, to know why they are there.
They are Robots told what to do,no ? asked.
They are there to exploit,murder, and steal the oil & gas.
And most of all to Kill Muslims!
Well said, Hannan. Thank you.
One incident involving an islamist piece of ca ca upsets you so much, yet you do not seem to care about the daily terrorist attacks, all over the world, or at least those involving muslims.
For example, on April 16, 2012, Kabul: At least 48 people, including 36 terrorists, have been killed and 65 injured in what was a well-coordinated terror attack launched by heavily-armed Taliban militants in Kabul and three other cities that ended Monday following an 18-hour military operation, authorities said.
Another example, in September 2011 heavily armed insurgents took over an unfinished high-rise building and opened fire on the US embassy and NATO headquarters. That attack left 14 Afghans dead.
Tell me something Patrick, how would you like it if the Russians suddenly sent 112,000 troops to this country and set up a puppet regime here?
We are not butchering our citizens – women, children, old...
When this Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that the said photos are not the "true face of us Americans", that is not entirely true. Those soldiers knew exactly what they were doing and by displaying those photos they also showed how much pride they were taking in this needless war. I just want to reiterate here again that there is no glory in killing here nor anywhere else. We need to get out of there as soon as possible!!!
To get out of Afghanistan is the easier part. The difficult part is to repair America's tarnished image, not only in Afghanistan, but also in the international community.
In fact j.von hettlingen, America's image has been tarnished since our idiotic intervention in Vietnam back in the 1960's. That was indeed the dumbest move that we ever made and proved absolutely nothing in the end!!! We need to quit this idiotic policy once and for all!
China didn't seem to worry about India's missile test and lauded it were a historic moment for India to join the exclusive club.
The coordinated attacks right across the country bore the signature of the Al Qaeda, which aimed at bringing chaos and instability, said the Shia-led government. Well, Iraq is due to host a meeting of major international powers to discuss Iran's nuclear program next month.
How can the international community let Sudan's Omar al-Bashir get away with massacre and create trouble in the South?
Respected, Mr. Editor Garu, Above said thesis who wrote name was not mentioned. In Afghanistan issue, Exploitation is gone. Photos of soldiers is right and Edition was gone, why should bring up this issue now, I couldnot understand. Now World community seeks only how to Talibans tenure will end.
وردتنا معلومات من احد منتسبي الاستخبارات مفادها ما يلي :
قامت مجموعه من مهربي المخدرات تابعين الى منظمة " بدر" يرأسة هادي العامري بادخال ( ثمانيه ونصف ) طن من المخدرات ( حشيشه ) من ايران وعبر مدينة البصره ثم الى الناصريه لغرض تهريبها الى المملكه العربيه السعوديه وجزء من الكميه تذهب الى محافظات الوسط ( كربلاء – النجف – الديوانيه – بابل ) لبيعها في هذه المدن
تمكنت مفارز الاستخبارات في مدينة الناصريه من القاء القبض على المخدرات والمهربين وفورا تحرك المهربين للاتصال باللواء ( صباح الفتلاوي ) قائد شرطة ذي قار وتم الاتفاق معه على تسوية القضيه وعلى الشكل التالي ( بعد فحص كمية المخدرات وجدت انها حشيشه مغشوشه ) مقابل ( ٦٠ ) الف دولار تسلمها اللواء صباح من المهربين بغية اطلاق سراحهم من السجن وتسليم المخدرات ( المغشوشه ) ؟؟؟
ارسلت الاستخبارات معلومات الى وزارة الداخليه حول كمية المخدرات وتفاصيل الاتفاق الذي تم ما بين اللواء صباح الفتلاوي والمهربين تم الاتصال من قبل وزير الداخلية وكالة " عدنان الاسدي " برئيس الوزراء نوري المالكي " القائد العام للقوات المسلحه واعلمه بتفاصيل القضيه وكان جواب المالكي لوكيله عدنان الاتي : ( صباح الفتلاوي" ابنه " اكتفي بنقله الى بغداد اما المهربين وهم من ( منظمة بدر) امر المالكي باطلاق سراحهم مخاطبا وكيل وزير الداخليه ( تعرف ذوله من جماعة " هادي العامري " ( حزام ظهرنه ) ..
مع العرض ان المنظمه نشرت معلومات سابقه عن الخلاف الذي نشب بين اللواء صباح الفتلاوي شقيق ( لهلوبة المالكي ) بسبب قيام احد مرافقي " صباح " بشفط ( 80 ) الف دولار ارسلها بيده صباح الى اهله في محافظة بابل وهي مبالغ رشى المخدرات ولم يسترجعها له وهدده بكشف الاموال الطائله التي جناها شقيق حنان من تهريب المخدرات .
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