National Security Brief: November 21, 2011

— With the debt reduction super committee likely to fail, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are writing legislation that would prevent the so-called automatic “trigger” cuts, mainly to block nearly $600 billion in defense cuts. President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said they would allow the trigger to take effect.

— As Syrian forces attacked two buses of Turkish pilgrims traveling through the country, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan sent a warning to his neighboring leader Bashar Al-Assad that tanks cannot forever keep a population down: “Sooner or later,” he said, “the oppressed will win.”

— An Arab League initiative to end violence in Syria reached an impasse on Sunday after Syrian and Arab foreign minsters failed to reach an agreement allowing monitors into the country.

— The CIA has ended its spying in Lebanon after arrests of several CIA informants in Beirut this year. “Beirut station is out of business,” a source told Los Angeles Times.

— Egypt faces a third day of unrest as protesters calling for an accelerated end to military rule before the drafting of a constitution clash with security forces around Cairo’s Tahrir square.

— A U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal that, while not formal sanctions, plans in place to name Iran’s central bank as a “money laundering concern” serve as a warning to Europeans and others to prepare for halting all business with Iran while avoiding fallout in energy markets.

— The Pakistani Taliban insurgent force held preliminary peace talks with the government even as attacks by militants continued.

— An “al-Qaeda sympathizer” plotted to bomb police and and post offices in New York City as well as U.S. troops returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq according to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.