International Concern Mounts Over Syria’s Chemical Weapons
Michael Lipin, VOA – December 5, 2012
As U.S. officials raise the alarm about perceived Syrian government preparations to use chemical weapons in the country’s civil war, some analysts see those weapons playing other roles in the conflict.
They say the United States and its allies also are weighing several options and risks in planning their response to the threat of chemical warfare in Syria.
A Brief History of Chemical Weapons
AP – December 4, 2012
Several international agreements have sought to limit the use of chemical weapons in warfare, beginning with the 1675 Strasbourg Agreement that banned the use of poison bullets in conflict. More recently, a United Nations initiative led to the signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993.
North Korea Rocket Launch Plans: Little to Gain, Nothing to Lose
Carol J. Williams, LA Times – December 4, 2012
Since North Korea announced plans to launch a rocket this month, the threats of retaliation have been swift and global. South Korea has called the mission, ostensibly to put a satellite into orbit, “a full-frontal challenge” to regional peace and stability. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that the United States is “deeply concerned” and urged NATO allies to press the government in Pyongyang to abandon its provocative plans.
What Does North Korea’s Rocket Launch Mean?
David Wright, CNN – December 4, 2012
North Korea has announced that it will attempt another satellite launch in mid-December, only eight months after its failed effort last April. That rocket failed shortly after launch and dropped debris in the waters off South Korea’s west coast.
Iranian Nuclear Bomb Would Trigger Arms Race: Iran Ex-official
Reuters – December 5, 2012
A nuclear-armed Iran would cause a regional arms race and make Tehran more isolated and vulnerable, according to a former Iranian negotiator who argues that the Islamic state is not seeking to build nuclear bombs. Israel and the United States suspect Iran is developing a nuclear arms capability and have not ruled out military action to prevent it from obtaining such weapons of mass destruction.
How Obama’s Iran Policy Can Reach Success
Payam Ghalehdar, Al Jazeera – December 5, 2012
While Democrats are celebrating Obama’s victory after a tight electoral contest, President Obama knows that the United States’ foreign policy challenges remain unchanged. Among those, Iran’s nuclear programme will continue to figure prominently as one of the most vexing issues.
Clinton Says Urgent Need for Dialogue in Egypt
Claire Davenport, Reuters – December 5, 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Egyptians on Wednesday to discuss their differences over a new constitution, saying there was an urgent need for dialogue. “The upheaval we are seeing now once again in the streets of Cairo and other cities indicates that dialogue is urgently needed,” Clinton told a news conference after a NATO meeting in Brussels.
Lugar’s Global Legacy
Journal Gazette – December 5, 2012
Sen. Richard Lugar will probably be the subject of more praise and honors as his distinguished 36-year career in the U.S. Senate winds down over the coming days. But Monday’s feting by President Obama had all the marks of Lugar’s valedictory Washington appearance.
Senate Unanimously Passes Defense Spending Bill
Reuters – December 4, 2012
The Senate voted 98-0 on Tuesday to approve a wide-ranging defense bill that authorizes $631.4 billion in funding for the military, the war in Afghanistan and nuclear weapons.
The bill, passed after five days of debate and consideration of hundreds of amendments, must be reconciled with the version passed by the House of Representatives before it can go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.