National Security Brief: Drone Blowback In Yemen

— U.S. drone strikes in Yemen are “stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States.”

— The New York Times reports that an Iranian cyberdefense organization said that the computers of high-ranking Iranian officials appear to have been penetrated by a data-mining virus called Flame, in what may be the most destructive cyberattack on Iran since the notorious Stuxnet virus.

— The U.N. reports that civilian casualties in Afghanistan dropped significantly in the first four months of 2012 as a smaller proportion was attributed to coalition and Afghan forces compared to a year ago.

— The Pentagon yesterday tried to walk back rhetoric of possible U.S. military action in Syria. “The focus of the United States remains on economic and diplomatic pressure” to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, a DOD spokesperson said.

— Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said today that Israel should consider unilateral moves if negations with the Palestinians do not yield results. “We are on borrowed time. We will reach a wall, and we’ll pay the price. People who are now in a coma will then ask how we didn’t see [this coming],” he said.