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Friday, June 11, 2010

BARBADOS

Clinton brings U.S. drug war to Caribbean

Sometimes success breeds new problems.

The U.S.-backed campaign against drug dealers in Colombia and Mexico has led gangs to look for new transit routes through the Caribbean. Drug gangs have become so brazen that Kingston, Jamaica, erupted in violence last month when the country's prime minister approved the extradition of Christopher "Dudus" Coke, one of the top targets for U.S. anti-drug officials. Caribbean states are especially vulnerable to narcotics trafficking because they are small and poor and have high unemployment rates.

Now the Obama administration, identifying the Caribbean as the "third border," wants to nearly double anti-narcotics aid for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, to $79 million for 2011. Representatives of Caribbean nations met in Washington last month to agree on a plan of action, which includes programs to reduce the flow of weapons, improve border security, promote social justice reform and combat government corruption.

On the last stop of her four-nation tour of Latin America, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Thursday with her counterparts in Caricom, an organization of Caribbean states, to iron out the details of the anti-drug strategy.

Clinton told the ministers that the United States is "applying lessons we've learned in Colombia, Mexico and Central America to our security cooperation" and is "working to curtail the flow of guns and illicit funds to the region and to reduce demand for drugs."

-- Glenn Kessler

IRAQ

U.S. to leave base near exiles' camp

The U.S. military will relinquish control of a base near a compound housing an Iranian opposition group next month, closing a chapter on one of the most intractable issues in U.S.-Iraqi relations.

The presence of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran at Camp Ashraf has long been an irritant to Iraq's Shiite-led government, and the exiles expressed fear that they would face violence without the Americans there to protect them.


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