– Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, who oversees Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy at the National Security Council, said the U.S. is “doubling down” on covert drone strikes in Pakistan. “I think there are three to five senior leaders that, if they’re removed from the battlefield, would jeopardize Al Qaeda’s capacity to regenerate,” he said.
– The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said that U.S. and Iraqi military operations against Iranian-backed Shia militias in Southern Iraq had curtailed the attacks against U.S. troops there.
– A new report out from Stuart Bowen at the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says that security has deteriorated over the last year in Iraq, while electricity shortages and corruption have continued unabated. “Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work,” Bowen said.
– Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki said he is reviving a deal with the United States to purchase 36 F-16s.
– The bomb-making ingredients discovered in the motel room of Naser Abdo, a U.S. soldier accused of planning at attack on Fort Hood in Texas, reportedly match up with the recipe spelled out in the Yemen-published Al Qaeda magazine “Inspire.” A copy of the article with the recipe was also reportedly found in Abdo’s backpack.
– North Korea announced today that it is ready to implement a 2005 agreement calling for it to abandon it nuclear program and called for a resumption of the Six-Party Talks negotiating framework.
– Fierce fighting continued for a second day in the Syrian city of Hama — a center of the revolt against the government — as President Bashar Assad’s security forces killed at least 70 people in the past 24 hours.
– A senior U.S. official reports that U.S.-Saudi nuclear cooperation talks will resume, a move aimed at deterring and containing Iran and potentially keeping a closer eye on Riyadh’s regional ambitions.