National Security Brief: Top House Dem To Move On Syria Bill

Rep. Eliot Engle (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committtee, reportedly plans to introduce a bill on Monday that will authorize the Obama administration to provide Syrian rebels with arms. “It is past time to stop the madness in Syria,” he wrote to his House colleagues seeking support for the bill.

Engel announced last month that he would be introducing the measure, saying that he thinks “it’s time” to starting arming the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that in its plans to protect U.S. and allied interests in the region should the Syrian civil war spiral out of control, the CIA is “collecting intelligence on Islamic extremists for the first time for possible lethal drone strikes.”

ThinkProgress has documented some of the civil war’s more tragic statistics here.

In other news:

  • The AP reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed on Sunday a hard-line former military chief as the country’s new defense minister. Moshe Yaalon, a former army commando, has said Iran’s suspect nuclear program is Israel’s top security concern, though he has been vague about whether Israel might carry out a military strike on Iran. He also has voiced skepticism about the chances for reaching peace with the Palestinians.
  • A federal appellate court ruled on Friday that the CIA must acknowledge whether an armed drone program run by the Agency exists.
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