National Security Brief: November 10, 2011

— On the eve of Veterans Day, USA Today reports that, contrary to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs assertions, about one third of veterans’ hospitals do not meet targets for the prompt care of mental health issues among former service members.

Russia and China dismissed calls for new U.N. sanctions against Iran and the Russian foreign ministry characterized the IAEA report as “a compilation of well-known facts that have intentionally been given a politicized intonation.”

— An Israeli official said European leaders are taking an “approach of appeasement” on Iran’s nuclear program, referring to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s diplomacy with Adolf Hitler in the 1930s. “I do see this approach of appeasement by the Europeans,” Israel’s minister of national infrastructure Uzi Landau said, “Yes, I do.”

— The Syrian opposition, amid fractures over whether to engage in dialogue with the government or even the Arab League, said it supported sending international observers to document the brutal crackdown in Syria while opposing foreign military intervention.

— U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said yesterday that an increasing number of Syrian soldiers are defecting to the opposition, raising the risk of a Libyan-style civil war in Syria.

— As part of a strategy to re-focus on Asia-Pacific security, the U.S. announced a deal that allows a permanent U.S. military presence in Australia.

— Air Force officials acknowledge that, from 2003 to 2008, the Dover Air Force Base mortuary disposed of portions of troops’ remains by cremating them and dumping the ashes in a landfill.

— Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said it acquired weapons from Muammar Qaddafi’s arsenal and experts speaking to AFP say AQIM has obtained surface-to-air missiles.