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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Trouble continues in Mali. French-led forces have seized the Timbuktu airport from militants, and although it is really cool that there actually is a Timbuktu, it is decidedly not cool that fighting continues there. According to CNN.com’s Andrea de Georgio, the United States has also increased its cooperation with the French mission, “by conducting aerial refueling missions on top of the intelligence and airlift support it was already providing.” Lydia Polgreen and Scott Sayare of the New York Times speculate on whether this spells the beginning of the end for the French military intervention in the country. And Con Coughlin of the Telegraph argues that the military campaign is the easiest part.

In other Africa news, Adam Entous and Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street Journal report that the U.S. is planning to open a new drone base in Niger. Check out Jack’s handy timeline of recent events for a fuller picture of “the end of the conflict.”

As Matt noted yesterday, the White House has shut down its Guantanamo-shutting down office. Here is Josh Gerstein of the Politico on the news. Alina Zaychikova of Penza News describes the reactions of members of the human rights community.

If Wells’s live coverage of the 9/11 motions hearing isn’t enough to satiate your appetite for military commissions news, let me feed you more: Peter Finn of the Washington Post describes the technical problems at the hearing, Carlo Munoz of the Hill reports on Judge Pohl’s decision to exclude public discussion of the defense’s motion to preserve details about the CIA’s black sites, and Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald provides two recaps of yesterday’s events.

Alissa J. Rubin of the Times says that military women already serving overseas are less than blown away by the Pentagon’s decision to open combat positions to women.

Egypt Implosion Watch: BBC News reports that Egypt’s army chief, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, has warned that the current political unrest in the country “could lead to a collapse of the state.”

An Al-Shabab suicide bomber blew himself up outside a compound housing both the president and prime minister in Mogadishu, Somalia. The Associated Press has the story.

Iran, of course, launched a monkey into space.

Meanwhile, John Bolton, ex-American ambassador to the United Nations, argues in this op-ed in the Journal that the Senate must find out where Chuck Hagel stands on Iran at his confirmation hearing this Thursday.

And that, for no particular reason, reminded me of this John Bolton clip from a number of years ago on the Daily Show—which has nothing whatsoever to do with today’s news, but is nonetheless today’s Moment of Zen.

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