National Security Brief: April 10, 2012

— While a Free Syrian Army commander said air strikes on Bashar al-Assad’s forces would be the only way to avoid a protracted civil war, a Syrian opposition official expressed doubts that the Obama administration would offer any substantial assistance. “There just isn’t an appetite to get involved right now. And I don’t think that’s going to be changing,” said opposition figure Muna Joda.

— Syrian activists deny claims by the Syrian foreign minister that government forces have began a pullback in accordance with a cease-fire brokered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

— Turkey is considering forming a buffer zone on its Syrian border for refugees as Ankara prepares for a possible influx of Syrians fleeing ongoing violence, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters.

— Yesterday a senior Iranian official hinted that the Islamic Republic would compromise on its nuclear program ahead of talks with the P5+1, but Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran would not accept preconditions.


— AOL Defense reports that a study by the Institute for Science and International Security concludes that Iran could have tested a nuclear trigger in a device at the disputed Iranian site of Parchin.

— Several U.S. news organizations — including McClatchy and Reuters — have asked a judge in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to keep the court open to the media this week if an alleged al Qaeda chieftain is allowed to testify about his mistreatment in secret CIA prisons.

— The Pentagon is speeding up the development of new cyberweapons in response to “urgent, mission-critical” needs highlighted in a 16-page reported obtained by The Washington Post.  — Latin American leaders will discuss alternatives to the U.S. orchestrated war on drugs — from decriminalizing possession of drugs to legalizing marijuana use to regulating markets — at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia this weekend.