By Nick Winnie
*Primary Update*: In another twist in the Democratic primary, Sen. Barack Obama appears poised to sweep the rest of this month’s election calendar, recapturing momentum from Sen. Hillary Clinton. Obama’s string of victories last weekend in Washington, Nebraska, Louisiana and Maine brought him closer to Clinton in the race for delegates and fueled the Clinton campaign’s fear that she will have to wait until early March to win another primary. As Obama recently won this Tuesday in Maryland, VA and D.C. and is the likely favorite in Hawaii and Wisconsin, Clinton’s hopes for the Democratic nomination may ultimately hinge upon the highly anticipated primary contests March 4 in Texas and Ohio.
*Germany*: Speaking last Sunday in Munich, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a provocative case to the European public for increasing NATO involvement in Afghanistan. He argued that Europe faces the distinct possibility of experiencing its own 9/11 in the near future and that the best way to battle terror at the moment is to build a stronger western alliance in Afghanistan to fight a resurgent Taliban movement. The speech was seemingly aimed directly at a largely anti-war European public and came after weeks of Gates’ attempts to persuade NATO to send more troops to aid the mission in Afghanistan.
*Kenya*: Violence continues to plague Kenya’s Rift Valley, where allegations of election fraud in the nation’s December elections have unleashed a wave of ethnic killings that have taken over 1,000 lives. In the past week, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has been brokering peace talks between the recently elected government and opposition leaders and many Kenyans are hopeful that a political solution including a power-sharing deal between the two main parties and tribes will be reached in the upcoming weeks. These hopes have been buoyed by opposition leaders’ apparent willingness to drop their demand for President Kibaki to step down, along with Kibaki’s said openness to a possible power-sharing option.