– Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said yesterday that Democrats would not allow Republicans to save the Pentagon from cuts if the supercommittee fails to reach a deal. “Democrats aren’t going to take an unfair, unrealistic load directed toward domestic discretionary spending and take it away from the military,” Reid told reporters yesterday.
– Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told a Senate committee that some U.S. troops would remain on as trainers in Iraq, helping with counter-terror and using large military equipment. Another official said fewer than 200 would remain.
– Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai endorsed a strategic partnership with the U.S. after 2014 but demanded an end to night raids and house searches by foreign troops, the dismantling of foreign-run detention facilities and full respect for national sovereignty.
– Traveling down under, President Obama officially announced a 2,500-Marine permanent presence at a base in Australia, reassuring the Chinese that the arrival of the troops did not signal a threat to the People’s Republic.
– A group of Palestinian activists, dubbing themselves “Freedom Riders” after the U.S. civil rights movement, boarded West Bank buses that normally shuffle Jewish Israeli settlers to Israel proper only to be arrested at a checkpoint for traveling without papers.
– Syrian army defectors launched a major attack using, among other weapons, shoulder-fired missiles against an intelligence facility housed at an air force base, according to opposition activists.
– State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. has “concerns” about a North Korean light-water nuclear reactor the communist state says it will soon start operating.
– The Senate Foreign Relations Committee “has delayed consideration of Michael McFaul to become the next U.S. ambassador to Russia due to objections by U.S. senators that aren’t related to his personal qualifications for the position.”