– A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that some of the more controversial counterterrorism policies under the Obama administration — specifically the use of drone aircrafts to kill suspected terrorists and keeping the Guantanamo Bay military prison open — have broad public support, including from the left wing of the Democratic Party.
– Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter of complaint to the Justice Department calling the administration’s stonewalling Congress on information about the program of targeting U.S. citizens abroad for assassination, calling it “an indefensible assertion of executive prerogative” while not challenging the authority to carry out the killings.
– At least 50 people died in mortar and rocket attacks in the Syrian city of Homs after the Syrian military launched a new assault today. Homs is Syria’s third largest city and the focus of unrest in the 11-month uprising against President Bashar Al Assad.
– The U.S. and Israel have different timelines for when the Iranian nuclear program will enter, as the Israeli defense minister put it, a “zone of immunity” because components of the program are being moved to underground bunkers.
– U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Marc Grossman met Taliban leaders in Qatar as part of U.S. efforts to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table.
– The deputy commander of U.S. forces and head of the NATO forces in Afghanistan Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti pushed back against reports that Afghan forces will not be ready to take the fighting load from the U.S. in the next two years, saying, “[T]hey’re going to be good enough, as we build them, to secure their country and to counter the insurgency.”
– The State Department is pushing back on “funky” reports on cutting its diplomatic presence in Baghdad. “Contrary to some of the news reports, we are not reducing our operations by 50 percent,” a State official said.
– The United Nations plans to cut $1 billion from its peacekeeping budget this year as major powers press for spending cuts and a reduction of the $8 billion peacekeeping budget.