– Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vowed to stave off Iranian and other foreign interference in his country as U.S. troops leave. “If [Iran's] excuse was that the presence of U.S. troops on Iraqi soil posed a threat to [Iranian] national security, then this danger is over now,” Maliki said ahead of an official visit to Washington.
– Emboldened by the recent protests against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and recent disputed elections, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov said he’ll run for president against Putin next year. Meanwhile, a long-time Putin ally, former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrun, called for the creation of a new liberal political party to fill the void exposed by the protests.
– The Russian Orthodox Church over the weekend added to criticism of Russia’s election process. “It is evident that the secretive nature of certain elements of the electoral system concerns people, and there must be more public control over this system,” said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the most prominent spokesman for the church.
– A team of U.S. and Libyan bomb-disposal experts have secured approximately 5,000 surface-to-air missiles in Libya, Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs told a group of reporters.
– Israel’s government announced the construction of 40 new homes in a West Bank settlement, drawing criticism from Palestinians.
– A rocket fired from Lebanon toward Israel fell short, wounding a Lebanese woman in a border town.
– The Securities and Exchange Commission told at least a dozen major companies, including Sony, American Express and others, to come clean about the business they do with Iran, Syria, and other state sponsors of terror.
– Iranian state media reported a blast at a steel factory in the city of Yazd, killing at least seven, including foreign workers, and wounding a dozen others.