–The reopening of critical U.S. supply routes through Pakistan sets the stage for a mammoth logistical challenge as the U.S. military prepares to bring home 100,000 shipping containers and 50,000 wheeled vehicles from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
–The Palestinian Authority signaled on Wednesday that it is prepared to exhume the body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in response to pleas from his widow to investigate claims that he may have died from polonium poisoning.
–One day after Russia and China joined the U.S. and other major powers in calling for a transitional government in Syria, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper that holding onto his office “doesn’t mean anything to me” and “you should never stay in office one day if the people do not want you; and the elections are the means through which the people show whether they want you or not.”
–Spinoff groups from al Qaeda are increasingly involved in insurgencies in Africa and the Middle East, making “al Qaeda [...] a useful label for any group that essentially pursues local aims but wishes to exaggerate its reach and sophistication,” Richard Barrett, Coordinator of the al-Qaeda-Taliban Monitoring Team at the United Nations tells Reuters.
–Iran’s export of oil in July may fall below half the average shipped in 2011 before new Western sanctions — driven in large part by Japan and South Korea’s decision to halt all Iranian imports this month — took effect.