– The defense industry is a top-donor to supercommitte co-chair Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). Bloomberg reports that defense companies’ PACs and employees gave nearly $200,000 toward her reelection campaign in 2010.
– Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai ended a special court set up to review the results of last year’s parliamentary election following months of pressure from Western diplomats to reaffirm the authority of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission, which finalized the election results last November, and drop his attempts to change the makeup of the new parliament through the special court.
– Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad yesterday acknowledged “that some mistakes had been made by the security forces in the initial stages of the unrest” and reassured foreign delegates that reforms were coming. Assad later sent tanks back into Hama hours after he pulled them out on grounds they had “accomplished their mission.”
– The Obama administration says it doesn’t want “an American footprint or boot on the ground” in Somalia but the U.S. increased its operations to suppress al-Shabab militants in the eastern African country over the past year through the use of military contractors, drone aircraft, and covert training and cooperation with Somali intelligence operatives.
– The U.S. Army is forming a task force to work with developers that may spend as much as $7.1 billion over the next decade to build renewable power plants at U.S. military sites.
– A group of U.S.-based Iran experts — including academics, former political prisoners and former officials — is writing to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to urge her not to remove an Iranian exile group — the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq — from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations
– Despite a rebuke from Washington earlier this week, Israel’s interior ministry gave final approval for the construction of 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem, a move which could frustrate diplomatic efforts to dissuade a Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N.