Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Short List - June 16, 2011

International
  • Ayman al-Zawahiri is the new leader of Al Qaeda (or at least the so-called "general command").  It is the first public declaration of a leadership change since Osama bin Laden's death.  Foreign Policy had a piece discussing how succession works in Al Qaeda in early May.

  • Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the head of the army, is under increasing pressure(NYT) from fellow officers over his cooperation with the United States.  Over at Abu Muqawama, Andew Exum asks if Pakistani cooperation was part of the strategic assumptions that drove our course of action in Afghanistan, what happens when the assumption is abandoned or is proven false (and many could argue it's already been proven false/never was true).

  • Gaddifi's son, Saif al-Islam, has said his father would be amenable to holding elections(NYT) and would step down if he lost.  This concession is likely to fall on deaf ears and be lumped in with the other ploys of the regime.

  • In Indonesia, cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been jailed for 15 years on charges he helped fund fighters in the Aceh province.  The government stepped up security in case Bashir's followers launch reprisal attacks.  Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world.

  • Jordan's King Abdullah II is not optimistic that the Middle East peace process will go anywhere this year, and fears the opportunity of the Arab Spring will be lost given the conservative tide in Israel.
Domestic
  • Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is home five months after an attack at a constituent event in Arizona.  This news comes on the heels of the release of the first photos of her since the attack.  We wish Rep. Giffords a continued speedy recovery.

  • The CIA website got hacked yesterday and the group LulzSec is claiming responsibility.  While the grew appears to have had no malicious intent, the hack has raised alarms again about cyber security.

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