National Security Brief: November 2, 2011

— On Syrian state television, the government of Bashar al-Assad says it accepted a plan laid out by the Arab League to end the brutal crackdown on largely non-violent protests that has wracked the country for seven months, though the Arab League says it has not received a formal response.

— Turkey will back sanctions against Syria and may support further steps, including a buffer zone to protect Syrian civilians or a no fly-zone in Syrian airspace, if Syrian president Bashar Al Assad continues his crackdown on anti-government protesters.

— Syrian army defector Col. Riad Assad — no relation to the current president — said from a heavily guarded enclave in Turkey that he will lead an armed rebellion against the Syrian regime. “We are the future army of a new Syria,” he said, “We are striking Assad’s regime and his army in many spots.”

— An assessment conducted by NATO and the Afghan Interior Ministry found that President Hamid Karzai’s “plan to disband private security companies that protect billions of dollars worth of aid projects and replace them with government forces is fraught with problems and unlikely to meet the president’s March deadline to complete the transition.”


— Militia leaders who fought against Qaddafi forces in the Libyan revolution are abandoning a pledge to give up their weapons, saying they intend to influence political decisions as “guardians of the revolution.”

— The European Union envoy to Yemen said the government had accepted a U.N. plan to transfer power there, asking that opposition leaders return from Gulf countries for talks.

— Egypt’s interim military leadership “will soon unveil a law barring corrupt former regime members from taking part in upcoming parliamentary elections.”

— Washington-based Guantanamo lawyers said that the military changed its policy and is now reading legally-privileged mail between the lawyers and the detainees they are representing.