AFGHANISTAN: Karzai sees a decade's needs
Afghanistan will need the financial support of other countries for at least another decade beyond the 2014 departure of foreign troops, President Hamid Karzai said Monday at an international conference in Bonn, Germany. The session on the future of Afghanistan was overshadowed by a public display of bad blood between the United States and Pakistan, the nations with the greatest stake and say in making Afghanistan safe and solvent. Pakistan boycotted the meeting to protest an apparently errant U.S. airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. "I expect that Pakistan will be involved going forward and we expect them to play a constructive role," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Karzai, in his appeal, said: "Together we have spent blood and treasure in fighting terrorism. Your continued solidarity, your commitment and support will be crucial so that we can consolidate our gains and continue to address the challenges that remain."
ISRAEL: Netanyahu issues challenge
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a snap leadership primary in his Likud Party on Monday, raising the possibility of an early general election next year. The gambit reflected the confidence of a leader who, while at loggerheads with the Palestinians, a region in turmoil and much of the world, is riding high, for now, at home. Polls show Likud running ahead of all other parties and Netanyahu to be the public's top choice for prime minister. He seems assured of victory in the Jan. 31 primary.
EGYPT: Islamist infighting in runoffs
Both want Egypt run along Islamic lines but election campaigners for the party of the well-established Muslim Brotherhood and backers of an ultraconservative Salafi group showed Monday that their rivalry runs deep. About half the 52 seats being contested in runoffs this week for the first stage of the drawn-out parliamentary election are being contested between the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi al-Nour Party.