National Security Brief: Syrian Opposition Calls For Libya-Style Intervention

— Syria’s main opposition group has called for a Libya-style international intervention in Syria. “We call on the Arabs to undertake a clear and serious initiative, like the position they took towards the Libyan revolution,” Syrian National Council head Abdulbaset Sieda after talks in Doha with Qatari officials.

— Russian authorities have told USAID to “stop operating in Russia,” because of the the American aid group’s purported “attempts to influence political processes in the country via its provision of grants.” Among the groups to lose U.S. funding is Russia’s only independent election monitoring group.

— The French government said it will close 20 embassies after a French newspaper published images of the Prophet Mohammed naked in cartoons.

— Reuters reports that Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have confiscated a number of items Iran may have sought for its nuclear program, a development that diplomats said showed how enforcement of UN sanctions against Tehran is steadily improving.

— The World Bank warned that the Palestinian economy’s fiscal crisis will worsen unless foreign funding increases and Israel eases its restrictions in the occupied West Bank.

— The State Department’s top lawyer said Tuesday that cyberattacks can amount to armed attacks triggering the right of self-defense and are subject to international laws of war.

— Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “concluded a three-day visit in Beijing with a high-profile session with China’s presumptive next leader, Vice President Xi Jinping, an encounter which required the defense secretary to stay for an extra day, and a dialogue with future commanders at a People’s Liberation Army academy.”