– The White House is discussing whether to withdraw an additional 20,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2013, a move that would face stiff opposition from military commanders who want to keep the bulk of the remaining U.S. forces in Afghanistan until the end of 2014.
– British Prime Minister David Cameron in a visit to the White House this week will stress to President Obama that “he does not think military action against Iran would be helpful,” according to a British diplomat. Cameron will also reportedly order more British troops out of Afghanistan after Obama “confirmed plans for a significant US withdrawal.”
– The Syrian National Council — the group representing the Syrian opposition — called on Monday for “urgent” international military intervention to protect civilians and prevent civil war following the distribution of videos showing the mutilated corpses of at least 45 victims in Homs.
– Russia’s refusal to stop arming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has led 17 U.S. senators to call on the Pentagon to sever a $900 million contact with Russian-government controlled arms broker Rosoboronexport.
– Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S. reportedly told Vice President Biden’s office on March 9 that U.S. drone flights in Pakistani airspace must be halted.
– Facing the worst barrage of rockets from Palestinian militants since 2009, Israel is getting a boost from a the “Iron Dome” missile defense system that destroys missiles in midair before they fall on population centers.
– Hinting at a wider investigation, former Democratic National Committee chair and Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell received a subpoena from the U.S. Treasury Department investigating payments totaling between $150,000 and $160,000 he received in speeches supporting a controversial exiled Iranian opposition group considered terrorists by the U.S. government.
– Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) drafted a letter to the House Armed Services Committee urging stepped up funding — to the tune of billions of dollars over the coming years — for the military beyond that requested by the Pentagon in accordance with cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which has bipartisan support in the committee’s Senate counterpart.