National Security Brief: July 28, 2011

— Navy SEAL Adm. Eric Olson, the top commander of U.S. special operations forces, said yesterday that al-Qaeda is “nearing its end,” but warned that the next generation of militants could keep special operations fighting for a decade to come.

— White House Budget and Treasury Department officials, not the Pentagon, will decide which Defense contractors get paid and when if the nation were to default next week.

— Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas called for massive Arab Spring-inspired rallies to support his bid for a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood.

— In a video released on the web, new al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri praised Syrian demonstrators in the months-long uprising against the secular Ba’athist dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad.

— An online activist group said that nearly 3,000 Syrian demonstrators have disappeared in the uprising there, amounting to about one missing person per hour since the protest movement started.

— North Korea repeated its calls for a peace treaty with South Korea ahead of exploratory talks this week in New York to revive the Six-Party-Talks negotiating framework.

African Union forces killed six people in an offensive to protect famine relief efforts in Somalia after al-Shabab militants killed men who tried to escape the famine with their families.

— Eritrea orchestrated a plot to attack an Africa Union Summit in Ethiopia in January and provides funding for al Qaeda-linked Somali militants according to a U.N. report.