It’s not exactly breaking news that those opposed to Chuck Hagel’s bid to become the next Secretary of State have greatly distorted the former Republican senator’s record and even launched a series of vicious smears against him. But the AP has the latest fact check on claims from Hagel detractors — this time from GOP-linked groups running anti-Hagel television ads — and concludes: “A look at Hagel’s record suggests many of the contentions are overblown.”
In other news:
The U.S. signed an agreement with Niger that would allow an American military presence in the West African country just on the edges of the French-led campaign to root out Islamic extremists in Northern Mali. The New York Times reports that the U.S. plans to establish a drone base in Niger to boost surveillance capabilities in Mail and in the wider region, where the U.S. has a limited military presence.
Reuters reports that according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, the Kurdistan Workers Party will announce in February that it will end hostilities against the Turkish government, thereby ending a 28-year-old insurgency.
The U.N.’s peace envoy to Syria is expected to offer a bleak picture of the situation in the war ravaged country and that he has no plan to end the two-year-long civil war. The U.N. now says more than 700,000 have fled to neighboring countries throughout the conflict while France’s foreign minister said on Monday that Syria risks falling into the hands of Islamist militant groups if supporters of the Syrian opposition do not do more to help it.