National Security Brief: June 6, 2011

Five U.S. solders were killed on Monday in the deadliest attack against U.S. forces this year. The soldiers were reportedly working as advisers on an Iraqi national police base when they were targeted by rocket fire.

The White House’s national security team is considering reducing troop levels in Afghanistan at a more rapid rate than previously suggested. Some officials are arguing that the rising cost of the war, a desire to press Afghan president Hamid Karzai to use more of his forces to take the lead and the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan justifies a steeper withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The International Atomic Energy Agency “received further information related to possible past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities” that “may have continued recently,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said today in remarks about Iran’s nuclear program.

Yemenis celebrated in the streets with dancing and fireworks following the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Saudi Arabia to receive medical treatment. Yemen’s main oppositional coalition announced that it will accept the transfer of power to vice-president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The White House will host Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa next week, in a bid to push for political liberalization in the tiny Persian Gulf sheikdom.

Dozens of doctors and nurses who treated injured anti-government protesters during the months of unrest in Bahrain “went on trial in a security court on Monday on allegations they participated in efforts to overthrow the Gulf kingdom’s monarchy.”

The Syrian military reportedly killed 38 people in the northern province of Idlib last weekend, “as security forces appeared to redeploy from other towns to join the latest front in the harsh” government crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

A new survey out by a Republican Party-linked polling firm found that a majority of Egyptians who supported the revolution did so mainly because of economic reasons, not because they yearned for democracy. Only 15 percent said they support the Muslim Brotherhood and less than 1 percent said they favor an Iran-style theocracy.

Follow us on Twitter: @TP_Security

(Photo credit: U.S. Army)