National Security Brief: July 29, 2011

— According to the U.S.-led forces, this fighting season in Afghanistan distinguished itself as the first in five years where the insurgency there did not ramp up its number of attacks.

— Michael Leiter, former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, warned yesterday that assessments that al Qaeda was on the verge of collapse lacked “accuracy and precision.”

— Former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair strongly criticized the White House’s reliance on drone strikes and for backing away from efforts to integrate the intelligence community.

— An aid to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told reporters that a meeting of Iraqi political leaders to discuss if U.S. troops should stay past the year-end deadline had been cancelled.


— Syrian activists are hoping to use the nightly festivities centered on Mosques during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to step up protesting activities.  — The U.N. Experts Group on Somalia and Eritrea released its report, which highlighted militant groups as the “single greatest obstacle to humanitarian assistance in Somalia,” where the U.N. recently declared a famine.

— African Union Forces say they’ve surrounded most of a large marketplace in Mogadishu where al-Shabab militants are blocking aid from reaching refugees.

— The death of Libyan rebel leader Abdel-Fattah Younis brings uncertainty for Benghazi, the defacto rebel capital, as residents worry that the a weakened rebel military might be left vulnerable to Muammar Qaddafi’s army.