National Security Brief: June 7, 2011

The U.S. military plans to pay 10 Iraqi tribal leaders $10,000 per month to help secure American troops as they begin to withdraw at the end of the year. “Given the amount of money we have spent in this country, $100,000 to secure our highway a month is a small price to pay,” said Col. Douglas Crissman.

As the White House nears its decision on Afghanistan, military leaders will reportedly oppose a substantial withdrawal, while in Congress, opposition to the war “appears to be hardening.”

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said that President Obama was planning a “real drawdown” of U.S. troops in Afghanistan starting this July, but that the decisions were based on local conditions and not a re-opening of the debate on war strategy.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said “it is very likely” that a facility destroyed by Israel in Syria was a nuclear reactor. Amano says the reactor should have been reported to the IAEA and that “it is deeply regrettable the faciliity was destroyed-allegedly by Israel-without the agency having been given an opportunity to perform its verification role.”

In an attempt to jump-start stalled peace talks, the State Department quietly played host Monday to Israeli and Palestinian officials for the first time in months, though little progress was made.

Expressing concern after a visit to Libya, British foreign secretary William Hague said he pressed rebels to further develop detailed plans for Libya’s post-Qaddafi future.

The Yemeni government has rejected an offer from opposition parties to discuss a political transition with the vice president. A government source says that no dialogue can occur until president Ali Abdullah Saleh returns from Saudi Arabia where he is receiving medical treatment.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe announced today that France is prepared to vote on a draft UN resolution denouncing the Syrian government’s violent crackdown on protesters. Russia has threatened to veto the measure.