FROM Solomon Moore
Feds Lighten up on Illegal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but US Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered agents and prosecutors not to pursue suppliers and patients in 13 states where the drug has been legalized for medicinal purposes. Holder says his permissive approach is contingent on those who deal with it complying with state law. Los Angeles County's District Attorney Steve Cooley says Holder's approach won't conflict with his plans for a major crackdown because "about 100% of dispensaries…[here]…are operating illegally." Solomon Moore is criminal justice correspondent for the New York Times .
An End to the Civil War in Iraq? The "surge" of US military forces in Iraq has reduced the level of violence, as promised. However, not until this week did the "so-called "breathing room" lead to "benchmark legislation" from the Iraqi parliament. The Shiite-dominate legislature has passed a a law promoted by the United States, that's supposed to open the government to Sunnis bureaucrats, engineers, teachers, soldiers and police officers from Saddam-Hussein's Baath Party. But today's New York Times reports that it could make matters worse.
Iraqi and US Forces Kill 50 Militants in Central Baghdad As President Bush prepares to address the nation tomorrow night on his new plan for Iraq, US and Iraqi soldiers battled for hours with insurgents today in downtown Baghdad. They were backed up by US helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Solomon Moore, who is in Baghdad for the Los Angeles Times , has more.
Is It Time to Consider Dividing Iraq? The ceasefire is still holding in southern Lebanon and Israel is beginning to withdraw its troops. In Iraq, meantime, bloody sectarian violence is claiming 1,000 lives a month around Baghdad and becoming a growing challenge to the training of Iraqi police who might restore order. As US troops are being moved into Baghdad, there's increasing risk of losing control in other cities, where relative peace has been won at high cost. Is it time to consider dividing the country? Should the US continue to grit its teeth, absorb casualties and "stay the course," despite declining support in an election year? Plus, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh on whether Washington sees the war in Lebanon as a test for attacking Iran.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.