National Security Brief: May 24, 2012

Ali Al-Saadi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

— Nuclear talks in Baghdad between the P5+1 and Iran have been extended for a second day while Iran seeks relief from economic sanctions before committing to another round of negotiations after Baghdad.

— Egyptians voted for the second day of their presidential elections after millions voted yesterday, an unprecedented event in the Arab world with heightened drama because of the absence of a clear favorite.

— The rights group Amnesty International accused the United Nations of “failed leadership” for its inability to assert itself in order to stem violence in Syria, where 14 months of crackdowns on anti-government protests have taken thousands of lives.

— A Syrian government minister said international oil sanctions against Syria are taking a toll on the restive country’s economy, draining $4 billion and created fuel shortages.

— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton disclosed that an interagency team called the Center for Strategic Counterterrorrism Communications, housed at the State Department, is part of the department’s efforts to “do a better job contesting the online space, media websites and forums where al-Qaida and its affiliates spread propaganda and recruit followers.”

— “We disagree with those who argue that preserving American military pre-eminence requires maintaining or increasing current levels of defense spending,” the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) authors wrote in a new report urging significant reductions in the Joint Strike Fighter, the littoral combat ship and the Ground Combat Vehicle.