National Security Brief: August 31, 2011

— Libyan rebels issued a Saturday deadline for Qaddafi loyalists to surrender but Qaddafi’s chief spokesman was quoted on Wednesday as rejecting the deadline, stating, “no dignified honorable nation would accept an ultimatum from armed gangs.”

— In its final report to Congress, the Commission on Wartime Contracting said that the U.S. has lost nearly $60 billion in waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. The report said the government should prohibit wasteful and corrupt companies from federal contracts in warzones.

— The U.S. imposed new sanctions on two high-ranking Syrian diplomats in connection with the Syrian government’s crackdown on non-violent protests, even as Italy rejected a new set of European Union sanctions that would embargo Syrian oil in Europe.

— Syrian security forces, arriving with tanks and military vehicles, raided houses in central Syria and arrested suspected anti-government protesters a day after security forces killed seven people.

— A Washington think tank released a “report card” on implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and gave failing grades on 9 of the 41 policy prescriptions set out by the bi-partisan commission.

— Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michal Oren said all agreements governing Israeli-Palestinian and U.S.-Palestinian cooperation could become null and void if the Palestinians go forward with seeking state recognition at the U.N. next month. The Israeli finance minister called the Palestinian initiative “a more serious threat than that posed by Hamas.”

— The Israeli military stepped up training of West Bank settler security teams in anticipation of possible Palestinian protests accompanying a bid for U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood.

— In a move seen as protecting research and development of new military hardware, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) said U.S. bases abroad would be the first thing to get cut in military spending reductions.