Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Short List - May 3, 2011

Going to take some liberties this morning given the scope of the events the last few days.
  • You may have heard this somewhere already, but Osama bin Laden is dead.  After a national victory lap yesterday morning though, attention turns to what happens next.  Pakistani President Zadari has an op-ed in the Washington Post this morning defending his country's resolve to battle terrorism and noting the sacrifice his country has made.  That Pakistan has suffered greatly, there is no doubt, but when arguably the most wanted man in the world lives for months just 30 miles from your capitol city in a million dollar mansion it's hard not to reach just one of two conclusion.  Either the country's forces were supporting him or were grossly incompetent.  President Zadari's op-ed is tilting toward the incompetence argument.

  • Afghanistan's leaders, meanwhile, got nervous yesterday that the death of OBL will decrease America's resolve to continue the fight in Afghanistan.  It's a fair concern to have, as evidenced here(NYT).  While nation-building has been part of the mission in Afghanistan for quite some time, that tedious effort been able to count on enduring support in no small part because OBL was still out there.  With the boogie man now dead, one has to wonder why we should stay.  On twitter, @abumuqawama doesn't think making the Afghans nervous about U.S. withdrawal is a bad idea.  I'd tend to agree.

  • It is incredibly important, from a threat assessment perspective to remember that Al Qaeda is now more a franchise(NYT), then a singular force.  OBL's death is expected to have little impact(NYT) on Al Qaeda in Iraq.

  • In Libya, a funeral was held for one of Qaddafi's sons after he was killed in a NATO strike on Saturday.  Mourners vowed revenge.  Meanwhile, Turkey's prime minister has made his most forceful call yet for Qaddafi to step down, worsening the regional diplomatic calculus for the dictator.

  • There are reports out a Syria that thousands have been detained(NYT) in the government's continuing attempts to end protests there.

  • And just north of the border in Canada, the Conservative Party made gains(NYT), while the Liberal party fell to third in elections there.  It's worth noting the healthcare debate in Canada, and the Conservative Party's support of publicly funded healthcare.

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