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As the US prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, does it have bigger problems with Pakistan? Is the US threatening military action that could have unintended consequences? Also, Israel announces new homes in the West Bank, and a reality check on women's right in Saudi Arabia.

Banner image: Pakistani protesters torch a US flag as they shout slogans during a protest in Multan on September 26, 2011. Photo credit should read S.S. Mirza/AFP/Getty Images

Making News Israel Announces More New Homes in the West Bank 7 MIN, 33 SEC

Israel today approved construction of 1100 new homes in East Jerusalem. One United Nations official called it "the wrong signal at [a] sensitive time." The United States called it counter-productive to efforts at negotiations. The UN said the decision should be reversed. Joel Greenberg reports from Jerusalem for the Washington Post.

Joel Greenberg, freelance reporter

Main Topic The Dangerous Puzzle of Pakistan 36 MIN, 3 SEC

On the verge of retirement, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed a Senate Committee last week, with Defense Secretary and former CIA Chief Leon Panetta by his side. Mullen testified that "Haqqani operatives planned and conducted" a recent truck bomb attack as well as the assault on our Kabul embassy. Calling the network a "veritable arm of Pakistan's Internal Services Intelligence agency," his comments reflected the long-held belief of US military and intelligence agencies. Already, the US has used drones in northwestern Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden without warning Pakistani officials. Is this the start of something more? Would stepped-up cross-border action help end the war in Afghanistan? Would it destabilize Pakistan, a country with nuclear arms? Could the US just withdraw from Afghanistan and forget about Pakistan?

Scott Shane, New York Times (@ScottShaneNYT)
Robert Baer, former CIA field officer and author
Shuja Nawaz, Atlantic Council of the United States
George Perkovich, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Crossed Swords

Shuja Nawaz

Reporter's Notebook Voting, but Not Driving in Saudi Arabia 6 MIN, 46 SEC

Two days ago, King Abdulla said Saudi Arabian women have the right to vote and participate in local elections, which the BBC hailed as "potentially the most important advance for women's rights in decades," underscoring Abdulla's stature as a reformist. Today came news that a woman's been sentenced to 10 lashes for driving a car. It's not illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, but conservative religious leaders have banned it. Caryle Murphy, who just completed three years of reporting in that country, is now a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Caryle Murphy, freelance journalist and author (@CaryleM)

Passion for Islam

Caryle Murphy

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