Wednesday, March 10, 2010

FP Morning Brief 3/10

Gates and Ahmadinejad trade barbs in Afghanistan

Top story: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Saudi Arabia where he will discuss plans to confront Iran's nuclear program. Gates' Saudi visit follows three days in Afghanistan, where he accused Iran of playing a "double game" by trying to undermine the progress made by U.S. forces.

As Gates was leaving Afghanistan on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Amhadinejad arrived for meetings with many of the same officials that met with the secretary, and directly responded to his remarks: "Why is it that those who say they want to fight terrorism are never successful? I think it is because they are the ones who are playing a double game," Ahmadinejad said. They are the ones who set the terrorists on their course and now they say: 'Now we want to fight them'. Well they cannot, it is impossible."

Speaking at a news conference in President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan Gates said that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan could begin before the July 2011 deadline set by President Obama if conditions were right, though aides said this was unlikely. In Riyadh, Gates will meet with King Abdullah and Crown Prince bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud to discuss cooperation on air and missile defense.

Science: Scientists say the technically-plagued Large Hadron Collider will have to be shut down for a year at the end of 2011.

Middle East
  • The U.S. condemned Israel's decision to build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, which was announced during Vice President Joe Biden's visit.
  • Iraq has delayed the release of the first election results until Thursday.
  • Egypt's most prominent Muslim cleric, Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, died at the age of 81.
  • India's parliament passed a law to reserve one third of seats in national and state legislatures for women.
  • The Dalai Lama voiced support for China's Uighur minority.
  • Burma has barred democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from participating in upcoming elections.
  • Nationwide strikes will shut down all public services in Greece on Thursday.
  • Exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky won a libel case against a broadcaster that alleged he was behind the killing of Alexander Litvinenko.
  • British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will release a budget on March 24, likely paving the way for elections in may.
  • More than half of international food aid to Somalia is diverted to other purposes, according to a new U.N. report.
  • Nigerian soldiers opened fire on a group of youths in Jos, killing two.
  • The two European aid workers kidnapped in Mauritania last year have been set free.
  • Venezuela's government took control of two sugar mills.
  • Authorities say a U.S.-born hitman is fighting for control of Mexico's Beltran -Leyva drug cartel.
  • Haitian President Rene Preval will meet with President Obama at the White House today.
-By Joshua Keating
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