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News in Brief: Karzai Aide Linked to Corruption Is Paid by CIA, and More

Karzai Aide Linked to Corruption Is Paid by CIA

Karzai Aide Linked to Corruption Is Paid by CIA

An aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai that has landed in the middle of a corruption probe on the Central Intelligence Agency’s payroll, according to a New York Times report. Afghan national security official Mohammed Zia Salehi was arrested in July by Afghan police and then released after Karzai intervened. The US has called on the Karzai government to root out corruption, and Salehi’s secret connection to the CIA reveals contradictions in US policy toward Afghanistan’s fragile government. It is unclear what the CIA is paying Salehi to do.

Yemen to US: Back Off

A Yemeni official said Thursday that the country does not need US and other foreign parties to take the lead in a crackdown on al-Qaeda. The official spoke in response to reports that the US may step up anti-terrorism operation there, according to a Reuters report. The official said that Yemeni forces are capable of rooting out al-Qaeda operations without US assistance. The US has been involved in Yemen’s battle against militant Islamists for years, but recently came under international scrutiny after human rights group Amnesty International released a report stating that the US may have violated international law by carrying out extrajudicial killings. The US has used drones and other methods to strike and kill suspected militants in past months.

Bush Campaign Manager Is Gay

Kevin Mehlman is gay, and he plans to advocate for gay marriage. Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee chairman and campaign manager for George W. Bush, came out publicly yesterday, according to a report in The Hill. Mehlman worked for the GOP at a time when the party used gay marriage as a wedge issue to muster support and votes from anti-gay Christian conservatives.

“It’s taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life,” said Mehlman. “Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I’ve told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they’ve been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that’s made me a happier and better person. It’s something I wish I had done years ago.”

Palestinian Youth Clash With Israeli Police

Palestinian youth threw rocks and set fires in a clash with Israeli border police on Thursday, according to a Voice of America report. It’s unclear what sparked the clash, but some Palestinians said Israeli settlers crossed the border and approached a mosque. The area in East Jerusalem where the young Palestinians took action is near several Palestinian homes that Israelis plan to demolish. Hard-line Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday that Israeli settlers should begin rebuilding homes in the West Bank after a ten-month freeze despite recent peace talks.

Democrats Fear Losing Control of the House

Party insiders told Politico that the Democrats fear they may lose control of the House of Representatives to Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections. Signs of economic recovery promised by the Obama administration have not materialized for many average Americans, and Republican challengers have outspent Democratic incumbents in several key races. Republicans must gain 39 seats to take back the House.