National Security Brief: October 14, 2011

— President Obama said the U.S. has strong evidence that Iranian officials were complicit in the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., vowing to push for what he called the “toughest sanctions” against the regime.

— U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay yesterday called on the international community “to take protective action in a collective manner” to protect Syrian civilians from the government’s “ruthless repression.”

— U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan said yesterday that legal immunity is a requirement for any American troops serving in Iraq past the year end total withdrawal deadline.

— The State Department reprimanded Israel for its effort to legalize settlement outposts in the West Bank. “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” the Department said. “We oppose any effort to legalize settlement outposts, which is unhelpful to our peace efforts and would contradict Israeli commitments and obligations.”

— U.S. and NATO officials boast of successful raids to kill or capture insurgent leaders but a new study says that a lack of data and transparency makes it impossible to evaluate the success of the strategy.

— The U.S. plans to dispatch dozens of former military personnel to Libya to assist in tracking down surface-to-air missile stockpiles that could be used by terrorists.