Afternoon Roundup

Top al-Qaeda bombmaker reported killed in Pakistan. Conterterrorism Blog:
ABC News broke the story this afternoon that al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert, Midhat Mursi, a.k.a. Midhat Mursi al-Sayyid Umar, a.k.a. Abu Khabab al-Masri, a.k.a. Abu Khabab, was killed in last week's U.S. missile attack in Pakistan. A friend in the media with excellent official sources, as well as CNN's David Ensor, report that US government officials can't confirm the killing but won't dissuade the reports either. If true, this is almost as good as killing al-Zawahri; we had a $5 million reward out for Abu Khabab for his long success in training hundreds of terrorists in Afghanistan (including Richard Reid and Zacharias Moussaoui) and for his planning for chemical WMD attacks. ...

A sweeping realignment. Daniel Holt at Publius Pundit:
The US is moving a hundred diplomatic posts from staid Western locations to Africa and the booming East. Clearly the administration recognizes the importance of the sorts of stories Publius covers.

The Financial Times says:

Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, yesterday called [the move] a “sweeping and difficult” transformation of US diplomacy.

“In the 21st century, emerging nations like India and China, and Brazil and Egypt, and Indonesia and South Africa are increasingly shaping the course of history,” Ms Rice said[…]

Ms Rice said the US needed bold diplomacy to achieve the mission set out by George W. Bush, president, in his second inaugural address a year ago of supporting democratic institutions worldwide with the “ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world”.

The article also specifies that "This year, 100 diplomats would be shifted to countries such as China, India, Nigeria and Lebanon, she said, with several hundred to be moved over the next few years." Rice cited "the Bush administration's shift away from focusing on what it regards as cold war structures such as Nato and the United Nations".