— The U.S. is adding to its already beefed up presence in the Persian Gulf, building a missile-defense radar system in Qatar and organizing its biggest-ever minesweeping exercises. The Navy is also sending an aircraft carrier “much earlier than expected to keep two carriers in the region.”
— Dick Cheney is on the Hill today to talk military spending cuts with Republicans. Meanwhile, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said Democrats won’t deal on the sequester unless the GOP agrees to new taxes on the rich.
— The UAE inaugurated a much-anticipated overland oil pipeline that bypasses the Strait of Hormuz, giving the OPEC member insurance against Iranian threats to block the strategic waterway.
— The Pentagon sent a $75 million counterterrorism package to Yemen that includes light weapons, aerial drones and two new operating bases. The money came from State and DOD funds meant to back counterterror operations around the world.
— Russia said it would not agree to a new U.K.-sponsored U.N. resolution to enact new sanctions on Syria, while a Chinese state run newspaper said there can never be a pretext for foreign intervention in Syria no matter how good the intentions.