Jassem and the Loyalists

The Libya Contact Group will be convening again on Thursday, this time in Paris. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be at the meeting, the fifth she’s attended, to discuss “financial and political support” for Libya’s opposition Transition National Council, according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. White House spokesman Jay Carney meanwhile said that the administration thinks Colonel Qaddafi is still in Libya.

Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford’s unauthorized travels around the country haven’t gotten him kicked out yet, as some had predicted, but they are certainly getting him into hot water, right in Damascus A video has emerged that shows Ford being accosted by Bashar al-Assad loyalists in the capital last week, before he took his latest trip out of Damascus. In a show of support for anti-regime protesters, Ford traveled last week to Jassem, a key site for demonstrations, without obtaining the permission of the government in Damascus. He also visited the restive city of Hama in July.

American officials have been sitting down with Afghan officials to try to come to a strategic-partnership agreement about the U.S.-Afghan security relationship and Washington’s commitments to Kabul after foreign combat troops withdraw in 2014. Afghanistan is interested in specific guarantees of support while the United States is trying to keep things a bit vague. The goal is to have the agreement worked out by December, when a conference on the future of Afghanistan will take place in Germany, but both sides remain wary of each other.