The Aircraft That Can't Fly; Congress' $63 Million Boondoggle

With most of the U.S. military's surge troops already in place, the numbers are starting to come in on how well it has succeeded in its goal of reducing sectarian violence in Iraq. And they aren't encouraging. Sectarian violence is nearly back to its pre-surge levels in Iraq — and rising. Recent weeks have seen greater murder rates. And the numbers seem unlikely to go down with so much of Baghdad still uncontrolled; U.S. commanders recently acknowledged that two-thirds of the capital remain unsecured. (Reuters)

After the Bomb

By William J. Perry, Ashton B. Carter and Michael M. May

The probability of a nuclear weapon one day going off in an American city cannot be calculated, but it is larger than it was five years ago. Potential sources of bombs or the fissile materials to make them have proliferated in North Korea and Iran. Russia's arsenal remains incompletely secured 15 years after the end of the Soviet Union. And Pakistan's nuclear technology, already put on the market once by Abdul Qadeer Khan, could go to terrorists if the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, cannot control radicals in that country. (NY Times)

Gambit to Link Iran to the Taliban Backfires

A media campaign portraying Iran as supplying arms to the Taliban fighting US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Afghanistan, orchestrated by advocates in the US administration of a more confrontational stance toward Iran, appears to have backfired. Last week, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Dan McNeil, issued unusually strong denials. (Asia Times)

Iyad Allawi talks to Asharq Al-Awsat

Q: What is your view on the current situation in Iraq? A: The security situation is tied to the political situation, and the former is in a state of absolute chaos. The country is slipping into the abyss - not just towards it but rather into ... more (Asharq Alawsat)

China's Food Safety

When pet cats and dogs in the US started dying in April, few would have thought that the deaths would have much relevance for the Chinese export juggernaut. But the issue looks like spiralling into a major problem for international traders, and in an effort to cool the controversy China was forced to release on June 6th its first five-year plan to improve food-and-drug safety standards. The plan has a political as well as practical motive, as the government is keen to undo the reputational damage from scandals ranging from food contamination to the sale of fake antibiotics. However, implementation of the plan is likely to be difficult. (The Economist)

An 'Oil-for-Food' Program for Darfur

By Richard Goldstone

More than four years ago, the government of Sudan and its proxy military force, the janjaweed, began targeting civilians in Darfur. The death toll has climbed past 200,000. Despite much hand-wringing on the part of world leaders, the violence continues. (International Herald Tribune)

Probe This Explosion with All Due Haste

Tragedy hit Nairobi yesterday when an explosion occurred in a busy street, killing one person and leaving more than 30 others badly injured. (Daily Nation)

Iraq: The Sunnis' Struggle to Get Their House in Order

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