Big news from Afghanistan over the weekend---at least until the next time things fall apart: Just like that, after months of back and forth, Bagram is now in Afghan custody. Afghan officials have promised not to release the people the United States considers the most dangerous of the lot. Here is Ben’s earlier post on the matter, linking to the relevant stories from the New York Times and the Washington Post, and here are the Associated Press and Reuters. Bobby has some thoughts on what this new deal may mean. And John Kerry met with President Karzai after the handover, says CNN.com.
General John Allen spoke at Brookings this morning about all things Afghanistan; Michael O’Hanlon moderated the event. Here is the Hill’s story on his remarks. O’Hanlon and Michele Flournoy have this op-ed in Politico about the progress made in Kandahar, the heart of the Afghanistan war effort.
In news from the Indian subcontinent, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has returned to “save” Pakistan, despite death threats from the Taliban and arrest threats from Pakistani authorities. Here are CNN.com, the Times, and BBC.com. I’ll be scouring the Frenemy Press for interesting coverage and will keep you posted.
Meanwhile, the CIA has ramped up its consultative role in the conflict in Syria in recent months, reports the Times, “help[ing] Arab governments shop for weapons . . . [and vetting] rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”
Ernesto Londono of the Post gives us the latest on the U.S. role---or lack of one---in postwar Iraq. And CNN’s Kevin Liptak tells us about John Kerry’s pleas to Iraqi officials for Baghdad to intercept Iranian planes delivering weapons to Syria’s government forces.
Tsk, tsk. The Wall Street Journal reports that a second Canadian citizen has been identified as one of the hostage takers at the gas plant in Algeria in January.
Speaking of Algeria, the country now has a dubious honor: One of its citizens, Djamel Okach, has become the new head of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, according to Reuters. (Cue the triumphant playing of the Algerian national anthem.)
On the home front, the excellently-named alleged terrorist suspect, Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, did not show up in court this weekend because of a medical condition, say his lawyers. He is accused of plotting attacks against Americans in Nigeria, according to the AP.
Kevin Robillard of the Politico reports that “[a] majority of Americans oppose the use of drone strikes on U.S. soil and against American citizens wherever they may be.” Here is the Gallup poll on which the story is based.
Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald has a lengthy and fascinating account of the hunger strike currently taking place at Guantanamo Bay after a visit there last week.
Andrew Cohen of the Atlantic reviews The Terror Courts: Rough Justice At Guantanamo Bay by Jess Bravin, a book Cohen describes as about “the epic and continuing failure of America's military tribunals to process suspects following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”
Speaking of Guantanamo books, Sketching Guantanamo by Janet Hamlin should be at the top of your Christmas lists. Spencer Ackerman has this piece on the upcoming book, which features a series of sketch-artist drawings of the proceedings in the courtroom at the detention facility.
Republican Senator Bob Corker is preparing a bill to update the AUMF, reports Congressional Quarterly. Yes, you read that right. Someone’s been reading Lawfare, and last week’s hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee seemed to have spurred some action on the issue. Here’s hoping it doesn’t crash and burn the way a lot of good things do in the hallowed halls of Congress.
Four House Republicans have harshly criticized the Obama administration’s speediness in prosecuting Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, saying that it missed the opportunity to gather vital intelligence information from Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law. The Hill has the story.
Shaun Waterman of the Washington Times reports that, according to the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, the Stuxnet attack “constituted ‘an act of force’ and was likely illegal under international law.”
And, from The Onion, comes this story about everyone’s favorite aggressive member of the Axis O’ Evil, North Korea, and how it is preparing for war: it’s Today’s Moment of Zen.
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