- Israel Sends Flotilla Activists to Turkey
- Finance Chief Favored as Japanese PM
- UN Criticizes U.S. Drone Attacks
- UK, U.S. for More EU Bank Transparency
Hundreds of activists who were deported from Israel after an Israeli raid on a pro-Palestinian flotilla returned to Turkey (Guardian). The flotilla aimed to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip to transport food and other supplies to Palestinians living there. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls to lift the blockade, saying the ban prevents missile attacks on Israel and that an end to the blockade would result in hundreds of ships bringing missiles from Iran, effectively creating "an Iranian port in Gaza." The UN, Europe, and others harshly criticized Israel after its troops stormed the flotilla in international waters. Turkey's parliament called for its government to review all ties with Israel.
Obama administration officials say Israel's blockade of Gaza is untenable. The White House plans to press (NYT) for another approach to ensure Israel's security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area.
In the Christian Science Monitor, Turkey's Suat Kiniklioglu says the U.S. response to Israel's "disproportionate use of violence against innocent civilians constitutes a test case for U.S. credibility in the Middle East."
In the Weekly Standard, CFR's Elliott Abrams says whether Israel is slammed by the international community depends on whether the United States is willing to stand with it.
Israel's response to the flotilla marked another setback for U.S.-Turkish relations and could complicate the latest U.S.-brokered Mideast peace talks, says CFR's Steven Cook.
China said any UN sanctions against Iran should not hurt (AFP) ordinary Iranian citizens, after the United States said a draft sanctions resolution would come to a vote in the Security Council by June 21.
Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan emerged as the leading candidate (NYT) to replace Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama following his abrupt resignation.
The surprise collapse of Hatoyama's government raises questions about the DPJ party's ability to lead the country, its U.S. ties, and its security policy, writes CFR's Sheila Smith.
China: China warned (WSJ) that the U.S. decision to impose duties on imports of Chinese steel gratings adds to the rising number of U.S.-initiated trade disputes against Beijing, hurting economic ties between the two countries.
A UN report criticized U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, saying the targeted killings pose a growing challenge (BBC) to international law.
Despite recent successes, unmanned drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan remain a controversial tactic. CFR's Micah Zenko says the Obama administration must shed new details on the "worst kept covert secret in the history of U.S. foreign policy."
Afghanistan: Eight Afghan civilians were killed (WSJ) in separate incidents in Afghanistan's volatile southern province of Helmand.
The European Commission responded (DeutscheWelle) to drought and starvation plaguing Africa's Sahel region by stepping up its humanitarian assistance this year to $66 million.
Côte d'Ivoire: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned against (DailyNation) renewed violence in Côte d'Ivoire following a failed meeting between Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and opposition leaders over setting an election date.
The economic impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill could wipe out (WashPost) billions of dollars for the region's tourism and fishing industries.
This CFR Backgrounder examines the growth of deepwater drilling and the challenges of balancing environmental regulation with efforts to expand U.S. domestic oil production.
Mexico: Police in Texas seized weapons (BBC) allegedly being smuggled to drug gangs in Mexico, in one of the largest weapons hauls in years.
British and U.S. officials have called for eurozone governments to conduct more rigorous "stress tests" (FT) on their banks to ensure they would survive big shocks to financial markets.
Ukraine: Ukraine's parliament voted to drop membership (Bloomberg) of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from the country's foreign policy goals, another sign of the country's strengthening ties with Russia since President Viktor Yanukovych took office in February.
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