National Security Brief: January 23, 2012

— The European Union approved an embargo on Iranian oil, canceling new or proposed contracts between any EU countries and Iran.

— The U.S.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln sailed through the Straight of Hormuz yesterday “without incident.” It’s the first American transit since Iran warned against using the waterway.

— Peace talks with the Taliban are a long way off said Marc Grossman, the American envoy in charge of starting negotiations with the Taliban, rejecting reports that he planned to initiate talks this week.

— Syria rejected an Arab League call for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, raising questions about whether Syria will allow Arab observers to remain in the country.


— The Daily Beast reports that the Obama administration is planning to publicly release the legal reasoning behind its decision to kill American-born Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki.

— Egyptian authorities confirmed on Saturday that the Muslim Brotherhood won nearly 47 percent of the seats in Parliament. The New York Times reports today that the Muslim Brotherhood and the military council “appear to have settled on the broad outlines of Egypt’s next charter.

— The deputy head of Libya’s National Transitional Council (TNC) stepped down after thousands of university students demonstrated against him and protesters stormed the TNC’s offices in Benghazi.

— Boko Haram, a Nigerian Islamic militia, claimed responsibility for attacks over the weekend in Nigeria that killed more than 150 people.