"National Security Brief: August 15, 2011"
— The Wall Street Journal reports: “The White House has started conditioning the award of billions of dollars in security assistance to Pakistan on whether Islamabad shows progress on a secret scorecard of U.S. objectives to combat al Qaeda and its militant allies.”
— Former OMB director Alice Rivlin said on Friday that the so-called “supercommittee” tasked with finding nearly $1.5 trillion in spending cuts will likely focus only on entitlements and taxes, meaning that the Pentagon’s budget will be a “fallback” place from which to reduce spending.
— Israel has approved the construction of 277 new apartments in the Jewish settlement of Ariel, the deepest settlement in the West Bank.
— The U.N. is pushing a plan “aimed at aimed at healing a rupture between President Hamid Karzai and the opposition-dominated parliament” by pressing the election committee to “overturn for alleged fraud the results of 17 of last year’s 249 races for parliament’s lower house.” The number is fewer than the 62 results Karzai wants reversed.
— Iran plans to start operations at its 1,000 watt Bushehr nuclear power plant in early September according to Press TV reports.
— On the third day of the Syrian government’s assault on the port city of Latakia, tanks and navy vessels shelled a residential district, killing at least 25 people.
— Sixty people were killed in Iraq after a series of attacks throughout the country. Insurgents utilized suicide bombers, car bombs and gunmen in what appeared to be part of a coordinated plan.