National Security Brief: April 26, 2012

— Vice President Biden in a speech later today is expected to challenge presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on foreign policy, saying the former Massachusetts governor would return the United States to “the past we have worked so hard to move beyond.”

— Iran’s envoy to Moscow, Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi, told Bloomberg yesterday that Iran is considering a Russian proposal under which it would halt the expansion of its uranium enrichment work and may allow stricter inspections of its nuclear facilities.

— The U.S. has begun launching drone “signature” strikes against suspected al Qaeda members in Yemen, a new authority approved by President Obama that permits the CIA and the military to launch strikes even when the identity of those who will be killed is unknown.

— As Russia and Iran continued their oil shipments to Syria, the regime there shelled restive neighborhoods with U.N. monitors stationed in the city.


— A House subcommittee moved to restore funding for a second Virginia-class submarine the Navy struck from its FY2014 plans as part of Pentagon budget-cutting.

— Former Liberian President Charles Taylor has been convicted by an international war crimes tribunal of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity through his arming of rebel groups in Sierra Leon in exchange for blood diamonds.

— Purged Chinese Communist Party leaders Bo Xilai wiretapped other top officials, including China’s leader Hu Jintao, a central factor in his eventual fall from grace as his wife came under the cloud of a murder investigation.

— Former Obama administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates rejoined his old colleagues from the Bush administration — former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley — at their business consulting firm.