National Security Brief: Netanyahu Weakened In Surprising Election Results

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies “were sharply weakened” in national elections on Tuesday, forcing him to try to form a coalition government with his opponents. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports: In the past decades, the general understanding on the political scene was that Israeli elections are determined, above all, by voters’ sense of personal security. Apparently, however, the 2013 elections are different. Four years of relative calm did not help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Neither did his implied threats that the Iranian bomb is approaching, and the Arab Spring is out there raging. Many voters took advantage of the calm to vote according to what really bothered them: their economic situation, the social gaps, the fact that some Israelis bear the burden of the military and taxation while others do not, or a sense of just being plain fed up with the existing regime.

In other news:

  • The Pentagon said that it will not demand payment to transport French troops to Mali in American planes, however the U.S. has not agreed to a French request to provide refueling tankers for its warplanes. Meanwhile, British special forces have arrived in Mali helping to co-ordinate and advise the French military effort against the jihadi groups in the north.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports: Afghan rural areas will be at greater risk of falling to the Taliban if the U.S. accedes to Kabul’s demands to speed up the withdrawal of special-operations teams working with Afghan village self-defense units, an internal report prepared for the U.S. military warned.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will appear before both House of Congress today to answer questions about the attack that killed American diplomats and other personnel in Benghazi, Libya last September. It will be one of her last duties as America’s top diplomat.