National Security Brief: February 29, 2012

— U.S. officials said that an Israeli attack Iran would likely lead to retaliatory Iranian strikes against U.S. targets in the region. Meanwhile, military planners in the U.S. think that underground Iranian nuclear sites are not immune to American bunker-busting missiles.

— The L.A. Times reports that the White House indicated yesterday that President Obama would resist pressure for more militaristic posture toward Iran coming from Israel and some U.S. lawmakers who argue that Tehran should not be allowed to acquire even the capability to eventually develop a nuclear weapon.

— Reportedly because of pressure from the Obama administration, a bank in Dubai cut its ties to Iranian financial institutions as Japan neared a deal with the U.S. to avoid sanctions by cutting down its purchases of Iranian oil.

— Raising its total death toll for the crisis to 7,500, the U.N. called for an immediate ceasefire in Syria between the government of Bashar al Assad and anti-government protesters increasingly taking up armed resistance.

— The U.S. has drafted an outline for a new U.N. Security Council resolution demanding access for humanitarian aid workers in besieged Syrian towns and an end to the violence there. Russia and China have hinted at possible support for the measure.

— The Pentagon has drawn up “detailed plans” to carry out military action against the Syrian regime, if ordered by President Obama.

— President Obama issued waivers last night allowing U.S. law enforcement to retain custody of suspected al-Qaeda terrorists instead of handing them over to the military because of mandatory regulations imposed by Congress this winter.

— The mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware disposed of body parts of some victims of the 9/11 attacks by burning them and dumping the ashes in a landfill, an independent panel said in a new report to the Pentagon.