Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Short List - June 23, 2011

  • President Obama outlined a plan to withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer.  He decision would appear to be a compromise between generals who wanted more time and some in his own party that wanted a precipitous withdrawal.  The decision could also change the tactics America uses in this fight, potentially drawing us into less COIN in the south and more of a shooting war in the east of Afghanistan.  In Afghanistan, the Taliban have dismissed the the drawdown as merely a "symbolic step," while Afghan President Hamid Karzai welcomes the move claiming the Afghan people "trust in the Afghan army," but Al Jazeera reporters on the ground in Kabul say many Afghans feel America is abandoning them and that it is only a matter of time before the Taliban return.  Meanwhile the U.S.'s Western European allies have welcomed the decision.

  • Syrian military forces amassed outside refugee camps along the Syria-Turkey border prompting thousands to flee into Turkey.

  • Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident artist was released on bail Wednesday after being held by the government since early April.

  • Indonesia has banned workers there from going to Saudi Arabia to work after an Indonesian maid was beheaded by Saudi authorities for allegedly murdering her employer.  There are currently approximately 1.2 million Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia right now and Indonesia says the ban won't be lifted until they and Saudi Arabia can work out an agreement to give migrant workers proper rights.

  • The U.S. continues to push for a speedy transition of government in Yemen.

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