France and Britain Weigh the Price of Nuclear Deterrence
Harvey Morris, New York Times – September 27, 2012
There were reports on Thursday of stirrings within the British military about the need to scale back the country’s nuclear deterrent in order to spend the money on confronting more conventional threats. It is part of a continuing debate in Britain and France — Europe’s two nuclear weapons powers — about the cost to their overburdened budgets of maintaining nuclear independence.
UN: More Should Be Done to Prevent Bio-Terrorism
Katia Moskvitch, BBC – September 27, 2012
The United Nations says great efforts need to be taken to prevent cases of biological terrorism. A UN official delivered the warning at the BioDesign Forum on synthetic biology being held in the UK. Piers Millet from the UN’s Biological Weapons Convention said there was no global organisation to ensure biotech was not used for “nefarious” purposes.
Israelis See No Iran War This Year After Netanyahu’s Speech
Dan Williams, Reuters – September 28, 2012
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s U.N. speech about Iranian nuclear advances has dampened speculation in Israel that he could order a war this year. Analyzing Thursday’s address in which Netanyahu literally drew a “red line” on a cartoon bomb to show how close Iran was to building nuclear weaponry, commentators saw his deadline for any military action falling in early or mid-2013, well after U.S. elections in November and a possible snap Israeli poll.
World Powers Said Open to More Nuclear Talks with Iran, Even as Netanyahu Argues Time is Short
AP – September 27, 2012
World powers decided Thursday to lay the groundwork for another round of negotiations with Iran over its disputed nuclear program, a senior U.S. official said, but they want a significantly improved offer from the Islamic republic. Neither the U.S. nor any of its international partners was ready to abandon diplomacy in favor of military or other actions, as Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has advocated.
US Nuclear Inspectors in Acute Dilemma if Iran Faces Attack
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – September 27, 2012
Would Israel discreetly warn U.N. nuclear chief Yukiya Amano so that he could withdraw his inspectors before any air raid on Iran, as the United States did in a dramatic night-time phone call to his predecessor just before the 2003 war in Iraq? With persistent speculation that Israel might soon attack Iran’s nuclear sites and his own increasingly tense relations with Tehran, the potential dangers facing Amano’s staff on the ground are likely a big worry for the veteran Japanese diplomat.
North Korea Gossip: Gulag Closes, Kim’s Aunt Sick?
Evan Ramstad, Wall Street Journal – September 28, 2012
This was the week North Korea watchers thought Kim Jong Eun would show that he’s up to more than just visiting amusement parks and military bases. Instead of a groundbreaking (or even mildly interesting) meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, a flurry of intriguing reports and rumors have emerged from Pyongyang this week, including the closure of one of its hideous gulags.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION NEWS
Romney Attacks Obama on Defense Spending
Colleen McCain Nelson, Wall Street Journal – September 27, 2012
Mitt Romney on Thursday cast the president as a weak commander-in-chief who is willing to compromise the country’s military strength even though the world remains a dangerous place. At a “Veterans for Romney” event in northern Virginia, the Republican presidential nominee offered assurances that he would avert military spending cuts and protect services for veterans.
As the World Burns, Leaders Await Post-Election Decisions by the U.S.
Editorial Board, Washington Post – September 2012
The Iranian president suggested to The Post’s David Ignatius in an interview Sunday that “key issues” in the negotiations between Iran and an international coalition over its nuclear program “must be talked about again once we come out of the other end of the political election atmosphere in the United States.” The implication was that it won’t be possible to know the bottom-line U.S. terms for a deal — and that Iran would not reveal its own — until President Obama has either won reelection or been defeated by Mitt Romney.
US Resumes Joint Operations with Afghans
Craig Whitlock, Washington Post – September 27, 2012
Most U.S. and NATO combat troops have resumed joint operations with Afghan forces, the Pentagon said Thursday, although U.S. officials said they remain worried about the threat of fratricidal “insider attacks.” U.S. commanders had substantially scaled back the joint operations 10 days ago in an urgent effort to reduce the vulnerability of U.S. and NATO troops.