National Security Brief: February 10, 2012

— Syrian officials suspected of ordering crimes against humanity should be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court (ICC), said a spokesman for the ICC on Friday.

— Syrian opposition figures claim that security forces are stockpiling chemical weapons and distributing gas masks to soldiers near Homs.

— Congress approved a Pentagon request to shift $81.6 million in funds to improve the military’s largest bomb, a 30,000 pound bunker buster, a move that may have been triggered by Iran’s January 9 announcement that it would being enrichment at an underground facility near Qom.

— A new poll from the London-based YouGov organization found that nearly half of Americans support an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to halt advances toward the ability to build nuclear weapons.

— The Muslim Brotherhood demanded that Egypt’s military rulers cede control of the government, a move toward a long-anticipated confrontation between the military leadership and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Parliament.

— The United States’ top human rights envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, said yesterday that Bahrain should stop prosecuting “all persons accused of offenses involving political expression” and expressed concerns about police using excessive force, including “widespread and sometimes indiscriminate use of tear gas.”

— The Somali terror group Al-Shabaab’s leader pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, telling Zawahiri in an audio message that his followers “will march with you as loyal soldiers.”

— The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch filed papers this week in its suit against the Defense Department and the CIA for the release of “all photographs and/or video recordings” taken on the night Osama bin Laden was killed.