04 August 2010

Power and Policy Team update (English)

Iraq’s neighbors
This Los Angeles Times article describes the struggle between some of Iraq’s neighbors to fill the void that the United States might leave. “Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey are all pursuing their agendas and taking sides along a Sunni-Shiite divide. That could become dangerous as U.S. troops withdraw.”

Raza Haider, the leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), was assassinated on Monday. His death set off a wave of violence that has left at least 47 people dead the southern port of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city. (See NYT report.)

BP Oil Spill
According to the White House 75% percent of the oil spill has been “captured, burned off, evaporated or broken down”. (Source: The Guardian.)

U.S. Supreme Court
Debate on Elena Kagan’s nomination started in the Senate. She has the support of all Democrats and some Republicans, and is expected to be confirmed by the end of the week. (More in NYT.)

Health care reform setback
Voters in Missouri approved a measure “intended to invalidate a crucial element of President Obama's health care law — namely, that most people be required to get health insurance or pay a tax penalty.” The effect of the vote remains uncertain, since the insurance requirement does not take effect until 2014 and since by then the courts “are likely to weigh in on the provision”. (See NYT report.)

Israel and Lebanon
Israeli and Lebanese forces exchanged fire among the border. At least four people were killed, the deadliest incident in the border since 2006. Lebanon and Israel traded accusations, but neither seemed interested in escalating the conflict. (Seen in FT$.)

Patrick Signoret and Isabel Gil

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