TERRORISM:In his State of the Union speech last night, President Barack Obama acknowledged, “While we have put al-Qaeda’s core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved,” and cited Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali as terror hotspots where the United States has to work “to disrupt and disable these networks.” Not Afghanistan. In Syria, he said, “we’ll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks.” That’s not actually how it’s working out on the ground, say Syrian church leaders, as al-Qaeda-linked militants are outgunning other rebel factions.
One leading national security analyst, Peter Bergin, says, “Al-Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.”
IRAQ: In Anbar Province, Iraqi forces appear to be readying for an all-out assault on Fallujah, as al-Qaeda affiliates have also moved within 70 miles of Baghdad, the capital.
SOUTH SUDAN: Church leaders, including former “Lost Boys,” want to be peacemakers in South Sudan’s internal conflict.
UKRAINE:President Viktor Yanukovych has agreed to scrap the anti-protest legislation that sparked the most recent, violent protests—but former President Leonid Kravchuk warned parliament that the country is on the “brink of civil war.”
IN THE WORLD ACCORDING TO ALCOHOL … whiskey wins. No surprise that North Korea, Papua New Guinea, and the Middle East don’t tick the meter, but in Saudi Arabia, where liquor is banned, whiskey rules.