National Security Brief: Israelis Say Iran Backed Down From Nukes

— Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel backed off its threats of immediate military action against Iran because Iran had converted some of its enriched uranium into fuel for medical reactors. As for Iran’s motive, Barak said the Iranians either viewed the U.S.-Israeli threat of military action credible, are sincere in their peaceful intent, or want to wait to build a nuclear weapon until after the U.S. elections.

— Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an attack on Iran would be good for Arabs.

— Syrian government fighter jets attacked positions in the capital Damascus for the first time in the 20-month long civil war as Syria’s state television said Tuesday that insurgents had assassinated an air force commander there.

— Syrian opposition leaders are reportedly meeting in Qatar next week to form a new leadership council to replace the ineffective Syrian National Council.


— The latest report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says that corruption remains one of the main obstacles to democratic progress and development in Iraq, with almost $800 million flowing out of the country illegally each week.

— The New York Times reports: Citing recent episodes of violence, the government of Bahrain on Tuesday banned all public rallies and demonstrations, a move that drew swift condemnation from human rights groups and opposition activists who said it was intended solely to stifle criticism of the ruling monarchy in the tiny Persian Gulf nation.

(Photo: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak — The Daily Telegraph)