National Security Brief: September 22, 2011

— Thousands of Palestinians rallied across the West Bank yesterday in support of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ U.N. bid for statehood recognition.

— U.S. intelligence reports allege that Pakistan’s intelligence service directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to attack the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul last week. Meanwhile, a Senate committee voted to make $1 billion worth of aid to Pakistan to conditional on action being taken against militant groups like the Haqqani network.

— Afghan President Hamid Karzai “is facing a fraught search for allies after the murder of one of the giants of the country’s political scene robbed him of a key supporter and threw his strategy for tackling the Taliban into disarray.”

— Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zabari ruled out a renewal or extension of a 2008 agreement under which 43,000 U.S. troops are scheduled to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011 but said Iraq will need U.S. military trainers even after combat troops leave.


— Iraq’s budget shortfall is delaying a decision on whether to ask the United States to continue its military presence past 2011. Deputy Prime Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said lawmakers won’t address the issue until parliament passes its $110 billion spending plan.

— Office of Management and Budget director Jacob Lew and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta wrote a joint letter to four Republican Members of Congress saying that if spending cut limits were not met, weapons programs and the civilian jobs that go along with them would need to be cut dramatically.

— NATO announced a three-month extension of its air war in Libya in order to battle the remnants of deposed dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s loyalists.

— The U.S. deployment of unmanned drone attack aircraft to the Seychelles islands in the Indian ocean afforded local businesses there more than $3 million in revenue.