National Security Brief: September 23, 2011

— Despite efforts from international mediators to persuade the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from submitting a U.N. statehood bid, Abbas says he is still moving forward with submitting the application to U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon. “We’re going without any hesitation and continuing despite all the pressures,” Abbas told members of the Palestinian diaspora at a hotel in New York on Thursday night. “We seek to achieve our right and we want our independent state.”

— Former President Bill Clinton says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to participate in the peace process and turned down a Saudi brokered deal which would have given Israel a normalization in relations with all its Arab neighbors if a peace deal was reached with the Palestinians.

— Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said yesterday that Pakistan’s spy agency played a direct role in supporting insurgents that carried out attacks on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul last week.

— The U.S. government said it has evidence that the militants were in phone contact last week with Pakistani spy agents.

— Pakistan warned the U.S. that it could “lose an ally” if it persisted in pursuing allegations that members of the Pakistani intelligence services were behind an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul last week.

— According to data released by Senate Democrats, the new Post 9/11 G.I. bill, which substantially boosted education benefits for veterans, “has been a windfall for large chains of for-profit colleges.” “Of the $4.4 billion the Department of Veterans Affairs disbursed during the 2010-2011 academic year, $1 billion went to just eight for-profit schools.”

— After spending three months in Saudi Arabia recovering from an assassination attempt, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to the country, which is currently implementing a shaky cease-fire agreement after three days of gun and artillery barrages left dozens of protesters dead.

— The United States formally reopened its embassy in Libya yesterday as “the returning ambassador said that his government was cautiously optimistic about the country’s future and already trying to help American companies exploit business opportunities here.”