National Security Brief: November 15, 2011

— A group of Iranian dissidents openly called on their government to suspend uranium enrichment. “The current deadlock over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and empty power play will set the stage for war and the people of Iran will have to pay the price,” said an open letter published yesterday.

— EU foreign ministers said they favored tougher sanctions against Iran but have decided to wait until their next meeting in December before taking further action.

— Despite President Obama’s order to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, the U.S. military said an American soldier was killed this week conducting military operations in central Iraq.

— British Prime Minster David Cameron said yesterday that Libya’s government has discovered an arsenal of chemical weapons whose existence Col. Muammar Qaddafi had not declared to the outside world.

— Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said he no longer has confidence in Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime, warning Assad that his crackdown on opponents threatens to place him on a list of leaders who “feed on blood.”

— The Arab League chief and Arab civil society groups agreed on a plan yesterday to create a 500-strong fact-finding team to send to Syria as part of efforts to end the violent crackdown.

— North Korea has made rapid progress on the construction of a new nuclear reactor, with work nearly complete on the outside walls of the reactor building, according to an analysis of recent satellite images. However the plant may not be operational for another two or three years.

— The U.S. has deployed predator drones to Turkey from Iraq for surveillance flights in support of Ankara’s fight against Turkish rebels.