Tuesday, June 22, 2010

FP morning brief 6/22

McChrystal issues mea culpa for critical magazine profile

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, apologized for an upcoming profile in Rolling Stone magazine that portrays him and senior officials on his team as dismissive of top Obama administration officials. In the article, one aide refers to National Security Advisor Jim Jones as a "clown." Another official says that McChrystal considers Obama's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke "a wounded animal," due to persistent rumors that he would be fired. Other aides were similarly critical of Vice President Joe Biden, who opposed plans to add 30,000 troops to the war effort in the country.

President Obama himself also did not escape criticism -- one advisor said that McChrystal was "disappointed" after his first Oval Office meeting, believing that the president had been unprepared.

Some of the harshest criticism was reserved for Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, whose leaked memos cast doubt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai's trustworthiness as an ally. McChrystal said that he felt "betrayed" by the ambassador, and that the leaked memos "covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say 'I told you so.'"

The White House summoned McChrystal to Washington to explain his remarks. In a statement released Tuesday morning, McChrystal apologized for the article, saying that "[i]t was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and it should have never happened." He also reaffirmed his "enormous respect and admiration" for Obama, and his top national security officials.

American taxpayers fund "Warlord Inc.": A Congressional investigation released Monday claims that funds spent to protect U.S. convoys in Afghanistan were being funneled to the Taliban and other warlords. Private security subcontractors paid to transport U.S. supplies across the country are buying off local strongmen along the main highway to avoid being attacked, the report argues, strengthening warlords who are inimical to a strong Afghan government.

China raised the target exchange rate of the yuan against the dollar, fulfilling promises to let its currency appreciate in value.
Pakistani authorities arrested a German militant who had been disguised in a burka.
The Pakistani prime minister vowed to continue to import natural gas from Iran even if the United States implements new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

A roadside bomb exploded next to a bus in an Istanbul suburb, killing four.
Belarus will suspend the transfer of Russian gas exports to the rest of Europe.
Polish interim president Bronislaw Komorowski said he will end his country's military involvement in Afghanistan in 2012 if he should win the upcoming runoff election.

Floods in northeast Brazil have forced at least 100,000 to flee, and left around one thousand people missing.
Wikileaks lawyers have been in touch with the U.S. government over allegation that a U.S. soldier was the source of information passed to the whistleblower site.
A report from the U.S. Senate claimed that Haiti's reconstruction effort is stalled.

The discovery of a new diamond deposit has provoked fears that the find will be used to strengthen Robert Mugabe's grip on power.
Three Rwandan peacekeepers have been killed in Darfur.
The wreckage of a plane carrying Australian mining executives, including one of the country's richest men, was found.

Middle East
The Obama administration criticized Israeli plans to demolish 22 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.
Iraq's minister of electricity resigned after protests over power shortages.
The head of Libya's National Oil Corp. said that his nation was happy to continue to work with BP, and that the spill in the Gulf of Mexico had been "exaggerated."
-David Kenner
Alex Wong/Getty Images

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