TOP NEWS: Nat’l Security / Foreign Affairs: August 30th, 2012
- Syrian Émigrés Seek Aid in U.S. to Arm Rebels
- Top Iranian Scientist Back in Action
- Precise Foreign Policy Intentions can be tough to gauge
- Pakistan: US drone killed son of notorious Afghan militant
- Afghan Intelligence Chief Fired
Excerpts and more top stories
SYRIA: Syrian Émigrés Seek Aid in U.S. to Arm Rebels - NYT
A network of activists has organized a nonprofit group in Washington to help Syria’s insurgents buy weapons, and it is already affecting American policy.
SYRIA: Assad Admits Difficulties, but Projects Confidence - NYT
In a television interview, President Bashar al-Assad gave a sober assessment of the resilience of the armed insurgency and the limits of a military hobbled by a stream of defections.
SYRIA/EGYPT: Egypt’s Morsi Pushes for End of ‘Oppressive Regime’ in Syria - NYT
Speaking at a meeting of world leaders in Iran, Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohammad Morsi, likened the uprising in Syria to the revolutions that swept away longtime leaders in North Africa.
SYRIA/LEBANON:Syrian War Tests Unity of Military in Lebanon – NYT
The Lebanese military is hindered by a lack of political support to confront security issues, low morale and a struggle against volatile sectarian politics.
IRAN: Top Iranian Scientist Back in Action - WSJ
Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, considered Tehran’s atomic-weapons guru but thought to have been sidelined in 2003, is back to pursuing weapons-related research, according to U.N., U.S. and Israeli officials.
IRAN: U.N. Chief Criticizes Iran on Rights – WSJ
The U.N. chief Ban jolted his Iranian hosts for a nonaligned nations meeting by pointing out “serious concerns” in Tehran’s rights record and urging cooperation with the world body to improve freedoms.
IRAN/ CHINA: Prosecutors Link Money From China to Iran – NYT
Prosecutors say they found evidence that banks may have been flouting United States sanctions against Iran.
ELECTIONS 2012: Precise Foreign Policy Intentions can be tough to gauge – NYT
Peter Baker: In foreign policy, the relationship between what presidential candidates say on the campaign trail and what they do once elected can be tenuous.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan: US drone killed son of notorious Afghan militant - AP, VIA CFR
Intelligence officials today confirmed that a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan last week killed Badruddin Haqqani, the son of the founder of the militant Haqqani network and the group’s chief operations commander.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan Intelligence Chief Fired - WSJ
Afghanistan’s president fired the director of the National Directorate of Security just weeks after the ministers of interior and defense were ousted by parliament.
AFGHANISTAN: SEALs Battle for Hearts, Minds, Paychecks - WSJ
Abdul Samad, a Taliban fighter turned pro-government law enforcer, has a problem: The Afghan state isn’t paying his men, raising the risk they will rejoin the insurgency.
AFGHANISTAN: Taliban Kill at Least 8 Pakistani Soldiers in Ambush – NYT
Taliban fighters armed with rifles and rocket launchers launched an ambush early Wednesday in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, military officials and Taliban commanders said.
MILITARY: Trends in U.S. Military Spending – CFR
Military budgets are only one gauge of military power. A given financial commitment may be adequate or inadequate depending on the number and capability of a nation’s adversaries, how well it spends its investment, and what it seeks to accomplish, among other factors. Nevertheless, trends in military spending do reveal something about a country’s capacity for coercion. The following charts present historical trends in U.S. military spending and analyze the forces that may drive it lower.
EUROZONE/GREECE: Greece Makes Late Push on Cuts - WSJ
Greece’s political leaders appeared close to agreeing on a package of austerity measures, with a deal expected before inspectors from its international creditors arrive in Athens next week.
EUROZONE/FRANCE: Hollande Sets Plan to Create Youth Jobs – WSJFrench President François Hollande outlined a plan to create 150,000 jobs for young people that will cost the state $2.9 billion next year in an effort to deliver on his commitments as voters lose confidence and the economy weakens.
BIN LADEN BOOK: Bin Laden did not defend himself - WP
In firsthand account of raid by ex-SEAL, al-Qaeda leader appears neither to surrender nor to directly challenge the special forces troops.
UK/NEWSCORP: U.K. Hacking Probe Leads to New Arrest – WSJ
British police arrested a 28-year-old journalist on suspicion of computer hacking and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in a case involving “the identification of a previously anonymous blogger in 2009.”
IRAQ: Powell More Skeptical About Iraq Than Previously Thought, Annan Says – NYT
Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was more skeptical about the evidence he used to justify the American-led invasion than previously known, according to a new memoir by Kofi Annan.
EGYPT: Egypt President Slams Syria in Iran - WSJ
Egypt’s new president described the Syrian regime as “oppressive” and called for it to transfer power to a democratic system during a visit to Syria’s key regional ally Iran.
JAPAN: Japan Strives to Go Nuclear-Free - NYT
As the country moves to cut back on nuclear power after the disaster in Fukushima, it is finding that the cost of abandoning its reactors may be too high for some big utilities to shoulder.
JAPAN/N. KOREA: Japanese, N.Korean Officials Meet for First Talks in 4 Years - NYT
The discussions come amid hopes that North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong-un, could be trying to reduce tensions with Japan and, by extension, the United States.
JAPAN/S. KOREA: Japan Raises Pressure on South Korea – WSJ
Japan’s foreign minister ratcheted up pressure on South Korea with tough rhetoric and hints of further countermeasures, as their island dispute that has stoked bilateral territorial tensions to the highest level in decades continues.
JAPAN: Japan’s Budget Spending Mired in Politics – WSJ
The Japanese government is set to suspend some budgeted spending as intensified political wrangling starves it of funds, a development that may impede efforts to support the nation’s fragile economic recovery.
JAPAN: Japan Political Standoff Intensifies - WSJ
Japan’s upper house approved a censure motion against the prime Minister, solidifying the nation’s legislative gridlock as opposition parties intensify their offensive against the premier to force an early election.
INDIA: Politician Among 32 Convicted in Riot Case in India – NYT
A former state education minister was among those found to have played a role in the deaths of 94 people during a savage attack in Gujarat in 2002.
INDIA: After Mumbai Terrorist, Should India Abolish Death Penalty? - TIME
The Indian Supreme Court upheld a death sentence for the sole surviving assailant implicated in the deadly 2008 Mumbai terror attack. But there are many who hope he is the last to be executed.
COLOMBIA: FARC Talks Would Begin in Norway - MECROPRESS,, VIA CFR
Tentative peace negotiations (MercoPress) between the Colombian government and leftist FARC rebels would be launched in Oslo, Norway, before moving to Havana, Cuba, while the Venezuelan and Chilean governments would play a supporting role in the talks, according to a government document released to a Colombian broadcaster.
GEORGIA: Georgia Frees Hostages Along Border With Russia – NYT
The Georgian authorities said they had engaged in a fierce gun battle to free five Georgian villagers being held by a band of militants who had crossed over the border from the Russian republic of Dagestan.
GEORGIA: Georgian Troops Battle Militants – WSJ
At least three Georgian commandos and 11 militants were killed during an operation to free hostages held along Georgia’s border with Russia, authorities said Wednesday.
AUSTRALIA: Scores Missing After Australia-Bound Refugee Boat Reports Distress - NYT
About 100 people remained missing in what could be the largest loss of life this year for asylum seekers from the Middle East and Asia trying to reach Australia by sea.
CHINA: 19 Killed in China Coal Mine Blast - WSJ
Rescuers searched Thursday for 28 miners trapped for more than a day in a coal mine after an explosion that killed at least 19 people in southwest China.
MEXICO: Pemex Makes Its First Big Oil Find in Deep Gulf - WSJ
Mexican state-owned oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has made its first big crude-oil discovery in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, near the Mexico-U.S. maritime boundary.
SWEDEN/ ASSANGE: The Allegations Against Assange: Views from Sweden - TIME
Most Swedes want the Wikileaks founder to respond to their country’s legal inquiries but a vocal few feel Sweden’s definitions of rape have gotten too stringent.
MALI: UN Issues Warning Over Crisis in Mali - BBC, VIA CFR
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said the international community had failed to adequately respond to the conflict situation in Mali. Close to 500,000 people have been displaced (BBC) by Islamist and Tuareg rebels in the north of the country in the wake of a political crisis set off by a military coup in March.
ANGOLA: Youth Protests Shake Politics Across Africa - WSJ
José Eduardo dos Santos, after 33 years as Angola’s president, is set to coast to victory in elections, but youth-led protests are spreading to Angolan cities and towns.
ANGOLA/CHINA: Growing Wealth, Shrinking Democracy - NYT, OP-ED
With China’s help, Angola has become more corrupt and less free.
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