North Korea Launches Rocket, Raising Nuclear Arms Stakes
Jack Kim and Mayum Negishi, Reuters – December 12, 2012
North Korea successfully launched a rocket on Wednesday, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents. The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.
US May Push for Sanctions After North Korea Rocket Launch
Elise Labott and Jethro Mullen, CNN – December 12, 2012
The United States will push for a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea for launching a rocket Wednesday, senior administration officials told CNN. “We will go to New York with a full head of steam and work hard with our partners on the council to get a tough, swift reaction,” one official said.
North Korea’s Rocket Victory has Deep Consequences
Sam Kim and Peter Enav, AP – December 12, 2012
After several failures, including one this spring, North Korea successfully launched a satellite into space Wednesday, an achievement met with cheers in Pyongyang and trepidation almost everywhere else. North Korea says it wanted a satellite to help track the weather and send back data. But the United States, South Korea and their allies see the Unha-3 rocket that launched it as a potential weapon, theoretically capable of delivering high-impact munitions as far as California.
How Syria’s rebels Build Homemade Explosives
Max Fisher, Washington Post – December 12, 2012
CNN’s Arwa Damon and Ashley Fantz recorded this interview with a Syrian rebel bomb-maker they refer to as Sheik Omar. In his home in the outskirts of Aleppo, Omar demonstrates how he uses everyday chemicals and old munitions to build new, military-use bombs, mortars, and other explosives. It’s an interesting look into the day-to-day of some of Syria’s many rebels.
Obama: Syria Rebels Now Recognized by U.S. Government
Matt Spetalnick, Reuters – December 11, 2012
President Barack Obama granted U.S. recognition on Tuesday to a Syrian opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, a move aimed at ratcheting up pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power. Obama announced his decision in an interview with ABC News on the eve of a meeting of Syrian opposition leaders and their international allies in Morocco, but he stopped short of authorizing U.S. arming of rebels fighting to overthrow Assad.
US Designates Syria Rebel Group a Terrorist Organization
Paul Richter, LA Times – December 11, 2012
The Obama administration has formally designated a rebel group fighting in Syria as a terrorist organization in an effort to marginalize the Al Qaeda affiliate and reduce its chances of gaining power should the Syrian government fall. Blacklisting Al Nusra Front is one of several diplomatic moves planned by the administration to try to maneuver moderate opposition groups into position to shape a pro-Western government if President Bashar Assad is ousted.
Some Republicans OK with Defense Cuts
Kate Nocera, Politico – December 11, 2012
It’s been an article of faith for the GOP: Thou shalt not cut defense spending. But with the sequester threatening to slash hundreds of billions from the Pentagon budget, a surprising number of Republicans are ready to violate that commandment.
UN Nuclear Agency Ready to go to Iran’s Parchin Site
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – December 12, 2012
U.N. nuclear inspectors would be ready to go to Iran’s disputed Parchin military complex if the Islamic state were to allow it during talks in Tehran later this week, a senior official said on Wednesday. The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) believes Iran has conducted explosives tests with nuclear applications at Parchin, a sprawling facility southeast of Tehran, and has repeatedly asked for access.
Iran Insists on Nuclear “Right” Ahead of IAEA Talks
Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters – December 11, 2012
Iran voiced readiness on Tuesday to address concerns of U.N. nuclear inspectors about its atomic activities in talks this week but said its “right” to refine uranium should be part of any agreement. The Islamic state’s insistence that its uranium enrichment – work which can have both military and civilian purposes – should be recognized may further dampen expectations among Western diplomats of any major progress in Thursday’s talks.
South Carolina Representatives Join Forces to Stop Nuclear Weapons
Julie Roy, WBTW News – December 11, 2012
Through the South Carolina-Iran Divestment Act of 2013, State Representatives Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach) and Bakari Sellers (D-Bamburg) seek to join the U.S. in sending their own South Carolina message to Iran that Iran’s efforts to destabilize the Middle East and, in particular, our closest ally Israel, by the development of nuclear weapons will not be tolerated.