National Security Brief: November 9, 2011

— U.S. and European countries will push for harsher sanctions against Iran after IAEA inspectors found “credible” information that Iran conducted nuclear weapons-related work as recently as last year.

— It’s unlikely the U.N. Security Council will even discuss the IAEA report on Iran until next month and, because of stated opposition by veto-wielding Russia and China, a new round of strong sanctions on the Islamic Republic could face serious diplomatic hurdles.

— Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey laid out his vision of the Pentagon’s strategy for the next few years, emphasizing that the military will maintain the ability to fight two wars; shift its focus to the Pacific while maintaining its focus on Central Asia and the Middle East; improve relationships between active forces and the National Guard and Reserves; more closely integrate special forces with general purpose forces; and develop an integrated approach to cyber warfare.

— The Dover Air Force Base mortuary displayed “gross mismanagement” in the handling of the U.S. military’s war-dead according to federal investigators following up on whisteleblowers’ accounts of lost body parts, poor inventory control and lax supervision.


— The membership committee that’s been working on the Palestinian Security Council recognition bid failed to make a recommendation, setting up a vote that the Palestinians look unlikely to win.

— Forty-four House Democrats signed a letter to resume full U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) after its ill-fated statehood recognition bid, writing that “legitimate concerns must be weighed against the essential role that U.S. assistance to the PA plays in providing security and stability for Palestinians and Israelis.”

— Syrian activists across the country marched in solidarity yesterday with the besieged city of Homs, which the opposition had declared “humanitarian disaster area” this week.

— Russia is on the verge of membership to the World Trade Organization, with negotiators expected to sign off on the final terms at a meeting in Geneva beginning Thursday.