National Security Brief: U.S. Considering Action In Mali

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration has moved “toward approving a limited show of support for France’s military campaign in Mali, readying surveillance drones and other air-intelligence assets for possible deployment within days.” The U.S. is not considering ground troops and any American aircraft involved in the conflict would not conduct airstrikes. The French warplanes launched an offensive on extremists there over the weekend, “going after training camps, depots and other militant positions far inside Islamist-held territory in an effort to uproot the militants, who have formed one of the largest havens for jihadists in the world.”

In other news:

  • Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) in a Washington Post op-ed today argues for more transparency on the Obama administration’s drone program: “As the frequency of drone strikes spikes again, some questions must be asked: How many of those targeted were terrorists? Were any children harmed? And what is the standard of evidence to carry out these attacks? The United States has to provide answers, and Congress has a critical role to play.”
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday that a decision on immunity for U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan after the 2014 planned withdrawal will be made by the end of the year.
  • The New York Times reports that researchers have found that the origin of many armaments used in recent African conflicts is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Meanwhile, the U.S. envoy to Yemen said on Sunday that that Iran is working with southern secessionists in Yemen to expand its influence and destabilize the strategic region around the Straits of Hormuz, Reuters reports.
  • Foreign Policy’s E-Ring reported on Friday that Chuck Hagel and the Pentagon will soon launch a campaign to fight back against attacks on his character and record in the run-up to his confirmation hearings in the coming weeks.

(Photo: French warplanes over Mali/AP)