Factcheck: Romney to up defense spending by $2 Trillion?
Robert Farley, FactCheck.org – October 16, 2012
Romney would spend $2 trillion more than Obama over the next 10 years on the Pentagon’s base budget — which excludes war funding. But Romney won’t increase total annual defense spending as a percentage of gross domestic product compared with fiscal year 2012. Total defense spending includes money for the base budget and war funding.
Obama no longer saying al Qaeda is ‘on its heels’
Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy – October 17, 2012
“I said that I’d end the war in Iraq, and I did. I said we’d refocus attention on those who actually attacked us on 9/11, and we have gone after Al Qaeda’s leadership like never before and Osama bin Laden is dead,” Obama said during his second debate with Republican nominee Mitt Romney. That paragraph is part of Obama’s regular stump speech, and he made nearly identical remarks at two campaign stops last week. But in those previous instances, Obama said that al Qaeda was “on its heels,” a claim he didn’t repeat in front of Tuesday night’s national audience.
Paul Ryan: ‘We are at war with terrorists’
Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post – October 16, 2012
At a rally outside a conveyor company in this hotly-contested state, GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Tuesday afternoon took aim at President Obama on foreign affairs, telling a crowd of several hundred that the recent unrest in the Middle East represents “the absolute unraveling of the Obama foreign policy” and reminding them that the United States remains “at war” with terrorists.
U.S. Officials believe Iran behind recent cyber attacks
Mike Mount, CNN – October 16, 2012
The United States believes Iran is behind cyber attacks on American banks and the oil industry in the Middle East, officials said.Although they have not made such an assertion publicly, officials have characterized the attacks that occurred in recent months as initiated by a “state actor.”
Iran sanctions: playing the long game
Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor – October 16, 2012
In the decades since, one sanction after another has piled up, with a sharp impact on Iran’s economy but little to show in the way of intended results. The US Department of the Treasury currently lists 34 executive orders and US laws that limit the financial activities of Iran and those who do business with the country. The latest round of US and international sanctions, passed this year, have gummed up the country’s ability to sell crude oil, sending Iran’s currency (the rial) to record lows and freezing its banks, including its central banks, from the routine transactions that make global commerce possible.
Defense spending in Asia on the rise; China leading the way
Larry Shaughnessy, CNN – October 16, 2012
A new report shows a trend of increased defense spending among Asia’s major military powers, with China’s military budget accounting for nearly half of all spending in the region. It’s a trend that reflects one reason why the Pentagon is heavily focused on increasing its presence in the region.
China sets nuclear security, radioactive contamination targets
Xinhua – October 16, 2012
The State Council, or the Cabinet, has approved a plan on nuclear security and the prevention and treatment of radioactive contamination for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) period and a vision for 2020, according to a press released posted on the ministry’s website.
Did North Korea Really Light Up a Nuke in 2010?
Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics – October 16, 2012
North Korea shocked the world in 2006 and 2008 when it detonated nuclear warheads in underground chambers. So when Lars-Erik De Geer, a researcher with the Swedish Defense Research Agency, published a paper early this year claiming evidence of low-yield nuclear detonations in 2010, it seemed feasible.
Syria conflict deepens sectarian rifts in Lebanon
Karin Laub, AP – October 17, 2012
This Lebanese border town has become a safe haven for war-weary Syrian rebels, a way station for wounded fighters and home to hundreds of frightened Syrian refugee families. Residents of Arsal, a Sunni Muslim town of 40,000, say they have strong motives to help those trying to topple Syria’s regime: they themselves were harassed and abused by it during three decades of de facto Syrian control of Lebanon.