National Security Brief: April 25, 2012

— Syria’s Bashar al Assad is running out of cash reserves as sanctions hollow-out Syria’s economy but violence in Syria’s capital continued — three members of the Syrian security services were were killed in and around Damascus on Tuesday and government forces launched attacks on civilian areas where U.N. monitors had just visited.

— Even as U.N. Security Council members balked at sending more observers to an apparent warzone, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said there was still a “possibility for the parties to implement a cessation of violence” and carry out his plan for a political solution. Meanwhile, Syria said it would refuse any U.N. monitors from so-called “Friends of Syria” countries.

— A new report from the Kabul-based think tank Afghan Analysts Network accused ISAF in Afghanistan of misleading the public by calling military operations “Afghan-led,” even in cases where NATO or U.S. forces are the only troops on the ground.

— The General Accountability Organization reports that cyberattacks on federal agences have risen 680 percent in six years.  — Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator, Hossein Mousavian, now at Princeton University, said that talks between Iran and western powers showed a “positive trend” and opened the door to a “historic” deal to end the nuclear standoff.


— As South Sudan accused its northern counterpart of a continued bombing campaign, the African Union and China encouraged an end to the fighting and the U.N. Security Council considered a resolution on the issue.

— China has ramped up its campaign to clamp down on the Internet, “which has emerged as a virtual town square for exchanging information about the Bo Xilai scandal and the nation’s biggest political upheaval in years.”

— Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey on Tuesday ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training materials for anti-Islamic content after the Pentagon suspended a course for senior officers which was reported to contain derogatory material about Islam.