National Security Brief: Tensions Escalate After Turkey Grounds Airliner

— Turkish warplanes forced a Syrian airliner to land in Ankara yesterday on suspicion it was carrying military cargo from Russia. Turkish media reported that investigators found parts of a missile and later allowed the plane to continue to Damascus.

— The Russians are not pleased. “Russia insists that Turkey explains the reasons behind its actions regarding Russian nationals and precludes their repetition,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted. The Russians complained in another tweet that Turkey “did not allow Russian diplomats to meet with the 17 Russian passengers.”

— The U.S. military is ending its hearts and minds campaign in Afghanistan, shutting down the Provincial Reconstruction Teams — the “massive nation-building experiment” that has “poured hundreds of millions of dollars into roads, schools and administrative buildings in the country’s hinterlands.”

— President Obama has nominated Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford to replace Gen. John Allen to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Allen has been selected as the next supreme allied commander in Europe.


— A State Department official told a House panel yesterday that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security had denied a request to extend the deployment of an American military team to help sure the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya that was attacked last month.

— The New York Times reports: The Russian government said Wednesday that it would not renew a hugely successful 20-year partnership with the United States to safeguard and dismantle nuclear and chemical weapons in the former Soviet Union when the program expires next spring, a potentially grave setback in the already fraying relationship between the former cold war enemies.