– Iran is arming Iraqi Shiite militias with more technologically advanced weapons as part of renewed efforts to exert influence in the region, according to outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
– President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser John Brennen announced the White House’s new national counterterrorism strategy yesterday that will focus on “more targeted drone strikes and special operations raids and fewer costly land battles like Iraq and Afghanistan in the continuing war against al Qaeda.”
– U.S. officials now say Osama bin Laden was out of touch with the younger generation of al Qaeda commanders and they often didn’t follow his advice. “He was like the cranky old uncle that people weren’t listening to,” said one official.
– Southern Sudan’s vice president Riek Machar is in favor of lifting U.S. sanctions on Sudanese oil. U.S. sanctions against Sudan won’t apply to Southern Sudan after its independence on July 9th but the region has no other way of exporting the oil than through the north.
– France admitted that it airdropped weapons to Libyan rebels — without NATO involvement — as the U.K. announced it was furnishing the rebels with body armor. The rebels themselves are asking for more arms.
– As tensions mount, Pakistan shut down a U.S. drone base in its south-western Baluchistan province by blocking flights, the country’s defense minister told the Financial Times.
– The U.S. Senate passed a bill warning the Palestinian leadership that it would lose all U.S. aid unless it ceased “efforts to circumvent direct negotiations by turning to the United Nations or other international bodies.”