Truce mediator Egypt sees imminent end to Gaza conflict
Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller, Reuters – November 20, 2012
“President Mohamed Mursi announced that the farce of Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip will end on Tuesday,” the MENA news agency and state TV reported, quoting public remarks he made after the funeral of his sister.
Clinton to Visit Middle East in Move to Defuse Gaza Conflict
Peter Baker and Isabel Kershner, New York Times – November 20, 2012
President Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Middle East on Tuesday to try to defuse the conflict in Gaza, the White House announced. Mrs. Clinton, who accompanied Mr. Obama on his three-country Asia trip, left on her own plane immediately for the region, where she will stop first in Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, then head to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders and finally to Cairo to consult with Egyptian officials.
Administration declines to condemn Turkey calling Israel a ‘terrorist state’
Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy – November 19, 2012
The State Department’s refusal to comment on the statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan laid bare the administration’s constrained ability to publicly criticize allies like Turkey, which have been injecting themselves into the ongoing conflict between the Israeli government and Hamas in Gaza.
A Rough Road from Swords to Ploughshares
Matthew Wald, New York Times – November 19, 2012
Now the Energy Department is building a factory to turn the plutonium from bombs, which is in metal form, into fuel for reactors in a ceramic form. Simultaneously, the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is looking for ways to relax the security rules on plutonium, which were drafted for the material in bomb form, not fuel form. But opponents are gearing up to fight its use as fuel, focusing on the way it will be transported.
Rockets’ Red Glare
Yousaf Butt, Foreign Policy – November 19, 2012
Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense has been spectacularly successful at intercepting short-range Hamas rockets: officials relate that roughly 80-90 percent of attempted intercepts have succeeded. However, it is important not to learn the wrong lesson from this. Some have gone so far as to claim that Iron Dome’s success finally vindicates Reagan’s dream of a missile defense “shield” against nuclear-tipped ICBMs.
Report: Iran starts building $10 billion gas pipeline to Syria to boost energy sector
AP – November 19, 2012
Iran has started construction on a $10 billion natural gas pipeline to key ally Syria, a news agency reported Monday, in an apparent nod of support to President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime and a further attempt by Tehran to boost energy exports battered by international sanctions.
Indonesia’s terrorist groups have fractured but their grievances remain
Aymeric Janier, The Guardian – November 20, 2012
Ten years later, the shadow of terrorism still dogs the world’s largest Muslim country (90% of the population of 240 million). But terror has become less obtrusive. “It now consists of young self-taught Islamists, in particular via the internet, who are not influenced by al-Qaida,” says Andrée Feillard, a specialist on Indonesian Islam and joint author of The End of Innocence? Indonesian Islam and the Temptations of Radicalism.
California terrorist suspects talked of ‘violent jihad,’ FBI says
LA Times – November 20, 2012
California men charged with plotting to join Al Qaeda and the Taliban discussed “committing violent jihad,” according to the criminal complaint in the terrorist case released Monday. In all, four men with Southern California ties were charged in the international terrorist plot that authorities say stretched from the Inland Empire to Afghanistan.
How Asia sees Obama’s pivot to the Pacific
Eric Talmadge, AP – November 20, 2012
A lot has happened in Asia while the United States was off fighting its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of it can be summed up in one word – China. Fueled by China’s amazing growth and the promise of its huge and expanding consumer market, the Asia-Pacific region is now, as experts like to say, the global economy’s center of gravity.
Obama urges easing of Asian tensions
Ben Bland, Financial Times – November 20, 2012
President Obama’s message is there needs to be a reduction of the tensions in the East China Sea and a process going forward, more broadly, to ensure that these types of disputes don’t risk escalation,” said Ben Rhodes, a US deputy national security adviser.
HOUSE ELECTION NEWS
In Florida, Republican Concedes House Race
Lizette Alvarez, New York Times – November 20, 2012
After nearly two weeks of wrangling over vote counts, Representative Allen West, the Republican firebrand who arrived in Congress in 2010 on a wave of Tea Party support, conceded on Tuesday to his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy.