National Security Brief: Egyptian President Tries To Contain Backlash From Power Grab

— The Wall Street Journal reports that Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi “tried to contain the fallout from his decision last week to neutralize the judiciary and bestow nearly absolute powers upon himself, meeting with the country’s top judges Monday and emphasizing that his edict was a temporary measure with limited scope.”

— The Palestinian Authority submitted a draft resolution to the U.N. General Assembly that would recognize the Palestinians as a U.N. nonmember state. The British are reportedly considering backing the Palestinian bid in an attempt to give a boost to the PA’s embattled President Mahmoud Abbas.

— A confidential forensic audit found that “[f]rom it’s very beginning,” Kabul Bank, the country’s largest financial institution, “was a well-concealed Ponzi scheme.” The New York Times reports that “the audit asserts that Kabul Bank had little reason to exist other than to allow a narrow clique tied to President Hamid Karzai’s government to siphon riches from depositors, who were the bank’s only substantial source of revenue.”

— Syrian rebels are shifting tactics. “[A]fter seizing neighborhoods only to draw devastating airstrikes that killed civilians and alienated supporters. Now, they focus less on conquering territory than on turning a war of attrition to their advantage, forcing the state to bleed.”

— Meanwhile, senior Syrian security officials within the Assad regime “say partial demolitions of pro-rebel neighborhoods in and around Damascus are a key element of an ambitious counterinsurgency plan now unfolding. The plan also involves the expansion of regime-funded militias known as “Popular Committees” within the capital.”

— The New York Times reports: After years of watching its international influence eroded by a slow-motion economic decline, the pacifist nation of Japan is trying to raise its profile in a new way, offering military aid for the first time in decades and displaying its own armed forces in an effort to build regional alliances and shore up other countries’ defenses to counter a rising China.

(Photo: AP)