Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Ritika Singh
Monday, July 15, 2013, 12:50 PM

Let’s begin the week with some good news: 25 Guantanamo Bay detainees ended their hunger strike during Ramadan. Although 45 are still being force-fed, the number of hunger strikers is at 81, reports Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald. Charlie Savage of the Times also has the story.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board came out again against the force-feeding of detainees at the prison, arguing that “Obama should be true to his own words and stop the force-feeding at Guantanamo, even as he belatedly strives to remedy the conditions that caused the hunger strike in the first place.”

Glenn Greenwald, in an interview with the Associated Press, said that Edward Snowden has thousands of documents that reveal how the NSA operates, but that Snowden has refused to make them public. How very kind of him.

Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick of the Washington Post tell us  that Gen. Keith B. Alexander, head of the NSA, wanted to “collect it all.” He “has pushed hard for everything he can get: tools, resources and the legal authority to collect and store vast quantities of raw information on American and foreign communications.”

Jack noted the Wall Street Journal and Times stories on lawyering and Syria this morning.  The Hill and Reuters report that Kamal Hamami, a commander of the Free Syrian Army, was killed by militants of an Al Qaeda-linked group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.  This marked the latest bout of rivalry between secular and Islamic opposition groups battling for control of Syria.

According to the AP, attacks in Iraq have killed at least 38 people this weekend; violence has spiked since Ramadan began last week, and over 2,800 people have been killed since April.

Carlo Munoz of the Hill describes a combat mission against the Afghan Taliban led by the Afghan National Police. He also discusses the U.S. and Afghan effort to secure insurgent supply lines, known as “rat lines,” between Western Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution has an op-ed in India Today about the Abbottabad Commission investigation into the circumstances leading to the Osama bin Laden raid. The leaked report, says Riedel, is

at once predictable and startling. No individual is signaled out for blame. No names of those guilty are mentioned. After interviewing over 200 individuals, including bin Laden family members and senior ISI intelligence officers, however, the commission concludes the events of May 2011 were not a “stand-alone failure” of the ISI, the army or even the government. Rather, they are indicative of a society and especially an elite that is both incompetent and penetrated by extremist jihadis.

Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud of the Times reports that at least two people were killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan on Saturday night.

The Pakistani air force, meanwhile, carried out its own operation in militant strongholds, killing seven insurgents. Jibran Ahmad of Reuters has the story.

From the Department of Just What We Need: A group of jihadists from Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan have formed a “brigade” to fight the Burmese government, according to a statement and photos released on militant websites. Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal has more.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, continues to call for attacks on schools, announces the AP. CNN’s Jake Tapper tells us that the Obama administration has yet to officially label the group a terrorist organization.

And, here’s something Edward Snowden didn’t leak---the Miss NSA Pageant line up. It’s Today’s Moment of Zen.

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