National Security Brief: U.S. Builds Up Persian Gulf Military Presence

— The New York Times reports: The United States has quietly moved significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter the Iranian military from any possible attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz and to increase the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates.

— Eighty-five Syrian soldiers, including one general and at least 14 lower-ranking officers, fled into southern Turkey’s Hatay Province on Monday in one of the largest mass military defections since the Syrian conflict began 16 months ago.

— The Hill reports: The Obama administration is putting another $62 million into its bet that biofuels can power the Navy, rankling many lawmakers who say the programs are wasteful.

— A new poll finds that most Israelis and Palestinians are pessimistic about the chances of establishing a Palestinian state within the next five years.


— The U.S. and Pakistan are reportedly close to a deal that will reopen land routes into Afghanistan that are critical supply lines to U.S. and NATO forces there.