Monday, August 2, 2010

FP morning brief 8/2

Obama touts Iraq withdrawal

Top news: In a speech to a disabled veterans' group in Georgia today, U.S. President Barack Obama will draw attention to the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. Under the current withdrawal plan, which the president says is on track, the American force will shrink to 50,000 troops by the end of August, down from 144,000. These remaining "advise and assist" troops are scheduled to leave by the end of 2011.

"Make no mistake: Our commitment in Iraq is changing, from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats," Obama says in his prepared remarks.

Politically, the speech is likely an effort to draw attention to a largely unheralded success as criticism of the increasingly bloody war in Afghanistan mounts, particularly within his own party. The White House has pointed out that the total number of U.S. troops on the ground in both wars has declined from 177,000 when he took office to about 146,000 by the end of this month.

The U.S. military on Sunday refuted the Iraqi government's claim that July was the deadliest month in the country since 2008. According to U.S. data, 222 people were killed in Iraqi violence last month, less than half the number claimed by Iraqi authorities.

Oil: Iran politicians and environmental groups are pushing to prevent BP from dilling oil off the cost of Libya.

Middle East
  • Rockets were fired from the Sinai peninsula toward the Israeli city of Eilat but hit Jordan instead.
  • The United Arab Emirates announced that it will ban web operations on BlackBerry phones over security concerns.
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has challenged President Obama to a televised debate.
  • Pakistan's worst floods in over 80 years have stranded more than 27,000 people.
  • Dozens were wounded after Indian troops fired into a massive protest in Kashmir.
  • Afghan protesters marched in Kabul in opposition to NATO airstrikes that have killed civilians.
  • Longtime Chechen separatist leader Doku Umarov announced in a video posted to YouTube that he is stepping down.
  • Russian authorities are struggling to contain hundreds of out-of-control wildfires.
  • The Netherlands became the first NATO country to pull its troops out of Afghanistan.
  • Cuban President Raul Castro announced that his government will scale back its role in the economy.
  • Colombia denied Hugo Chavez's accusations that it is planning an attack on Venezuela.
  • Police managed to free two reporters held by drug traffickers in Northern Mexico.
  • Three Kenyan men were charged in connection with last month's terrorist bombing in Uganda.
  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe assailed western powers in a speech at this sister's funeral.
  • Somali pirates hijacked a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship with 23 crew onboard.
-By Joshua Keating

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think it symbolizes?