– The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John Allen, indicated at a congressional hearing yesterday that he believes there should be no drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2013, leaving a total of 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan following planned withdrawals this year.
– Army Sgt. Robert Bales is expected to be formally charged with 17 counts of murder as well as other offenses for his alleged role in the killing of 17 Afghan civilians earlier this month.
– Though Western officials said no final agreement was in place, Afghan president Hamid Karzai told graduates at a military academy that for ten years after withdrawing in 2014, “the international community, with the U.S. in the lead and followed by Europe and other countries, will pay Afghanistan security forces $4.1 billion annually.”
– A U.N. Security Council panel said this week that an alleged Iranian weapons shipment to Syra could violate international penalties aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear activities.
– Mikhail Margelov, the chairman of the foreign policy committee for Russia’s upper house of parliament, said that the conflict in Syria needs to be stopped and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should take the first step.
– Syrian rebels are running out of ammunition as black market supplies dry up and neighboring countries tighten their borders say rebel commanders and defected soldiers who have crossed into the Turkish border town of Antakya.
– As the Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali — the struggle coup leaders said the government was unresponsive to — pressed south into abandoned army posts, the European Union acted against the coup government and suspended development operations.
– The United Nations Human Rights Council drew the ire of the Israeli government by opening an investigation into Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by a 36 to one vote — the U.S. voting against — with ten abstentions.