National Security Brief: September 9, 2011

— Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno yesterday warned against leaving too large a force in Iraq after 2011, saying it could feed the perception of “occupation.” “I always felt we had to be careful about leaving too many people in Iraq,” said Odierno

— The Obama administration is considering stationing U.S. troops in Kuwait next year as a backup or rotational training force for Iraq, after the Pentagon completes the scheduled withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq by 2012.

— Syrian protesters that took to the streets today after Friday prayers demanded international protection against the government’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations. “People want international protection,” read a large banner carried by protesters in the southern town of Jiza.

— Vice President Biden says a terror threat on U.S. targets, received from a source in Pakistan, is the first “credible” threat intercepted since the May raid that killed Osama bin Laden.


— The Palestinian people are “long overdue” for an independent state, said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, adding that he still supports the two-state solution for Middle East peace. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said U.S. efforts to prevent the Palestinians from proceeding at the U.N. were “too late.”

— Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) warned that he would quit the “super committee” deficit-reduction panel if defense spending cuts are considered.

— A surge of civilian advisers in Afghanistan has cost nearly $2 billion, $410,000 to $570,000 for each civilian U.S. government employee in Afghanistan, according to data from an audit by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

— U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said peace negotiations with the Taliban are unlikely to bear results until additional military pressure is brought on the insurgents. “The Taliban needs to feel more pain before you get to a real readiness to reconcile,” he said.