National Security Brief: September 15, 2011

— The Aeorospace Industry Association, a coalition of defense industry companies, launched a public relations campaign called “Second to None” aimed at curbing any further cuts to the defense budget.

— Republicans in Congress want to cap additional defense spending cuts at $150 billion over ten years, according to a defense industry source who said it was “about as far as Republicans will go before they walk.”

— American and Afghan officials said yesterday that the “complexity and execution” of the attack on the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul bore the hallmarks of the Haqqani network based in Pakistan. U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker said yesterday however called the attacks “minor league stuff.”

— The European Union, which buys 90 percent of Syria’s oil exports, has imposed sanctions on the nation’s oil and gas industry, “but loopholes allow European energy companies to pull back only gradually from buying heavy crude or doing lucrative work in Syrian oil fields.”


— Syrian opposition members are set set to announce a 130-member national council, made up of 60 exiled opponents to Syrian President Bashar Assad and 70 dissidents inside Syria.

— The top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, said after a visit to Libya that while the U.S. was monitoring Islamist groups, he did not consider them a grave threat.

— British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking alongside French President Nicolas Sarkozy, urged Muammar Qaddafi and his supporters to give up, adding: “Anyone who think Qaddafi has any role (in ruling Libya) should forget it.”

— Palestinian officials announced they will ask the UN Security Council for statehood recognition on September 23.