Iraq's political crisis intensifies; US to increase Navy presence in Australia; Indonesia to wade into South China Sea dispute; Liberia to receive experimental ebola drug; Russia sends aid convoy to Ukraine; and more

Top of the Agenda

Iraq Nominates Shia Leader to Replace Nouri al-Maliki

Iraq's political crisis heightened on Monday after the country's new president nominated Haidar al-Abadi, a member of the former premier's Shia-dominated party, to replace Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister (FT). Al-Maliki, whom Washington helped install after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, refused to concede power (Reuters) after deploying militias and special forces in the streets of Baghdad. The White House endorsed the nomination (AP), with Secretary of State John Kerry urging the prime minister-designate on Tuesday to form an inclusive government and offering U.S. aid (NYT) to fight the ISIS insurgency.

Analysis

"Now as Mr. Maliki reaches a moment of truth, either stepping down or trying to preserve power, Mr. Obama and the American government are trying to maneuver the Iraqi leader one last time in hopes of replacing him with a more reliable figure who can pull that fractious country together and work more collaboratively with Washington," writes Peter Baker for the New York Times.

"What will the president do if we no longer have Maliki to kick around? That will be the moment of truth. Will we stick to a minimalist containment strategy designed to prevent ISIS from taking Erbil and murdering the Yazidis? Or will we implement a much more ambitious strategy to enable the defeat of ISIS? I believe the U.S. must opt for the latter option," writes CFR's Max Boot for Commentary.

"Washington cannot ignore Isis, a growing global threat that could pose greater risks to America than al-Qaida did in its heyday. But if Obama really wants to pass the fight against Isis on to local forces, he will have to bolster— not just tacitly support— the Kurdish peshmerga," writes Cale Salih for the Guardian.

 

PACIFIC RIM

U.S. to Increase Navy Presence in Australia

The United States plans to bolster its air and navy presence in northern Australia (Reuters) and integrate Australian warships into its ballistic-missile defense systems in Northeast Asia (SMH), according to reports. The news comes as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry visit Sydney for defense talks.

INDONESIA: Indonesia's president-elect Joko Widodo, who won a resounding electoral victory last month, said his country was ready to serve as an intermediary and quell rising tensions over the South China Sea disputes (AFP).

CFR's Karen Brooks reflects on what Indonesia's recent election means for its democracy in this expert brief.

ELSEWHERE:

Liberia to receive experimental ebola drug

Russia sends aid convoy to Ukraine, raises suspicion

 This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org

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