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Would al Qaeda attack Iran?

AFP

A leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (who the U.S. military had claimed was dead) is now threatening Iran with terrorist attacks. Omar al-Baghdadi, the apparently non-dead leader of this al Qaeda affiliate, said the following in a recent audio recording:

We are giving the Persians, and especially the rulers of Iran, a two-month period to end all kinds of support for the Iraqi Shia government and to stop direct and indirect intervention ... otherwise a severe war is waiting for you."

And he also issued a threat aimed at his fellow Sunnis:

We advise and warn every Sunni businessman inside Iran or in Arab countries especially in the Gulf not to take partnership with any Shia Iranian businessman, this is part of the two-month period."

This certainly complicates things, doesn't it? I suspect that al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and the Islamic State of Iraq, which have been trying to patch up a frayed relationship of late, are focusing on a pair of enemies both groups can agree upon: Iran and the Shiites.

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Morning Brief, Monday, July 9

Middle East

STR/AFP

Republican support for the war in Iraq is crumbling, White House officials fear, in advance of a September 15 progress report by U.S. Gen. David Petraeus. Yet the editors of the New York Times have already made up their minds: They say it's time to go.

A suicide truck bomb killed some 150 Iraqis in a mostly Turkmen village in northern Iraq.

Why is the Iranian government building tunnels near its uranium enrichment facility?

Asia

With an eye toward competitor South Korea, Japan is considering a free-trade agreement with the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The United States is seeking ways to negotiate a formal end to the Korean War by the end of 2007. (Summary here.)

Can you go a whole year without using any Chinese products

Europe

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pushing for a Frenchman (and a prominent Socialist, to the party's chagrin) to succeed Rodrigo de Rato as managing director of the International Monetary Fund. He also wants EU finance ministers to OK a tax-reduction package that would violate the EU's deficit-spending rules.

Alastair Campbell, former press secretary for Tony Blair, reveals in his new book, "All of us [...] had had pretty severe moments of doubt" about the Iraq War, but Blair did not.

The "Seven New Wonders of the World" were announced Saturday in Portugal, and they include a giant statue of Jesus that was erected in 1931.

Elsewhere 

Boeing unveiled its much-touted 787 Dreamliner, a fuel-efficient jet made of composite materials.

Demand for windmills is outstripping supply

A quarter of the top jobs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security remain vacant

Today's Agenda