National Security Brief: October 25, 2011

— Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said “troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan will allow the Pentagon to shift more of its resources to Asia, signaling the administration’s resolve to check China’s rapid military buildup despite budget woes at home.”

— An unofficial tally indicates that Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, will lead a coalition government, marking a major shift in a region that once-banned Islamists.

— Libyans were stunned when National Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdel Jali made a speech endorsing some religious laws on issues of banking and marriage. Jali responded saying Libya will be a “moderate” Muslim nation.

— New evidence has emerged that fighters battling for Muammar Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte conducted numerous extrajudicial killings and other possible atrocities. Residents of Sirte and medical workers report that dozens of corpses of Qaddafi supporters and rebel fighters appear to have been shot at close range, in the back of the head.

— Russia and China are urging the IAEA to scrap or delay a U.S.-backed plan to reveal intelligence on Iraq’s alleged nuclear weapons work.

— Though the Kenyan government said its attack against Somali militants is aimed at supporting the county’s fledgling government, the Somali president said incursions into his territory were “inappropriate.”

— The embattled government of Yemen signed a ceasefire with the head of a powerful tribal faction at center of much of the country’s fighting, though how long the tenuous ceasefire can hold is in question.

— American law enforcement has built up networks of Mexican informants in Mexico’s largest and most dangerous criminal organizations but Mexico is kept largely in the dark about the U.S.’ informant network.