ISW News Roundup - October 22, 2008

Status of Forces Agreement

As the SOFA negotiations near their deadline, the Iraqi Cabinet is seeking further amendments to the SOFA draft regarding the duration of U.S. troop presence.  Responding to this request, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated his reluctance to make any changes to the draft given the time constraints. For the latest on these complex negotiations, read:

New York Times - Mullen Says Iraq Running Out of Time On Forces Accord, by Thom Shanker

New York Times -Iraqi Cabinet Wants Security Agreement Altered, by Alissa J. Rubin and Katherine Zeopf

LA Times - Iraq Cabinet seeks changes in security pact with U.S., by Ned Parker and Saif Hameed

Associated Press - Cleric in Iran issues fatwa against US - Iraqi pact, by Ali Akbar Dareini

Adnkronos - Iraq: Sadrist cleric issues edict against security pact with US

Reuters - Iraq cabinet seeks changes to U.S. troops pact

Reuters  - Gates says US reluctant to alter Iraq troop draft, by David Morgan



Although many Iraqis are returning safely to their homes as overall violence continues to drop, the Iraqi Christian community in Ninewah province has witnessed a series of brutal murders and assassinations over the past week.  This occurs amidst increasing security gains against AQI and Special Groups, and movement on the U.S. - Iraqi SOFA agreement.

Associated Press - Iraq al-Qaida leader eulogizes top commander

Associated Press - Iraq: Few Christians returning to Mosul, by Hamid Ahmed

Reuters - Vatican demands more protection for Iraq Christians, by Phillip Pullella

Reuters - Khazakhstan withdraws soldiers from Iraq




Wall Street Journal - U.S. - Led Airstrike Kills Nine Afghan Soldiers

Agence France Presse - Saudi confirms it sponsored Afghan-Taliban talks

Oil Countries

Wall Street Journal - Iran, Qatar, Russia Form Gas Alliance


LA Times - Columbian cocaine ring linked to Hezbollah, by Chris Kaul and Sebastian Rotella

Washington Post - Lebanese City's Strife Reflects 2 Conflicts, by Alia Ibrahim

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