National Security Brief: April 30, 2012

— The New York Times reports that “American officials and outside analysts now believe that the chances of war [with Iran] in the near future have significantly decreased.”

— Attacks by Afghan security forces on their NATO counterparts rose last week, “underscoring the increasing tempo of the so-called green-on-blue assaults this year.”

— Meanwhile Taliban insurgents this weekend denied that they had resumed talks with the United States, while the Afghan government insisted that the peace process was “on track.”

— Documents seized at Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan show the terrorist chief’s Al Qaeda group and the Afghan Taliban insurgency’s leaders were in close contact and had what one American familiar with the documents called a “very considerable degree of ideological convergence.”


— U.S. military commanders said that they are finding it difficult to track down warlord Joseph Kony in the Central African Republic region, claiming he is “relying on Stone Age tactics to dodge his pursuers’ high-tech surveillance tools.”

— The U.N.-orchestrated ceasefire seems to have failed to accomplish any of its major goals — troops remain in cities, sometimes shelling demonstrators — but alternative plans such as foreign intervention and even arming the rebels remain elusive.  — The U.S. is delicately managing a crisis sparked by a Chinese dissident reportedly seeking asylum in a U.S. embassy, with a high-ranking American diplomat arriving in Beijing even as U.S. government spokesmen remained mum on his arrival or even the dissident’s location.  — The opposition in Myanmar, where rapid-fire reforms shocked observers, will take their seats in parliament but seek to amend the oath to say that they “respect” the military-friendly constitution rather than pledge to “safeguard” it.