National Security Brief: February 2, 2012

— U.S. officials said that Afghan security forces have attacked American and coalition troops 45 times since May 2007. The attacks have killed 70 and wounded 110.

— U.N. inspectors, having just completed three days of meetings in Tehran, agreed to return to Iran for a second round of talks later this month.

— The Senate Banking Committee today will begin work marking up a new round of unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran, including those that specifically target President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei, possibly including travel restrictions on the leaders.

— Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon says a mysterious explosion last month struck a facility where Iran was developing a missile with a 10,000 km range, a distance that could reach the U.S.


— The American Civil Liberties Union sued the U.S. government for intelligence files relating to the drone program, specifically, as the lawsuit says, “seeking the release of records related to the U.S. government’s ‘targeted killing’ of U.S. citizens overseas.”

— A pro-government newspaper in Russia ran an article warning that Russia may face ruin if Prime Minister Vladimir Putin doesn’t win reelection, language that critics say is a throwback to the old Soviet Union, but Putin concedes he may not win the presidency in the first round of voting.

— North Korea issued a list of demands to South Korea, including the cessation of joint military exercises with the U.S., a signal that the the North’s newly elevated reclusive leadership seeks better relations with the South before improving ties with the outside world.

— Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast and Brookings’ Michael O’Hanlon write today that while the world acted decisively on behalf of freedom and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa last year, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo “have received such comparatively tepid international responses.