Oil protests in Iraq show no signs of abating. After he returned from a meeting in Brussels, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi went straight to Basra, the site of the unrest, to assess the situation and then held an emergency security meeting. The list of protesters’ grievances has grown to include water shortages, power cuts, unemployment and housing. They have now stormed the airport in Najaf – it was out of service for several hours – and offices belonging to the Shiite Dawa and Fadila parties in southern Babil province. Border crossings with Iran and Kuwait have also been shut down. Kuwait declared a state of alert and deployed at least 400 troops to the Iraqi border.
Japan took another (small) step toward security self-reliance after signing a defense agreement with France whereby the two countries would share supplies such as equipment, food, fuel and ammunition. This is the fourth agreement of its kind for Japan. Tokyo’s national interests haven’t changed all that m