Obama Expected to Name Kerry as Secretary of State
David Sanger, New York Times – December 16, 2012
President Obama is leaning strongly toward naming John Kerry, the Massachusetts senator and unsuccessful Democratic nominee for president eight years ago, to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, according to administration officials and friends of Mr. Kerry.
Iran Says It, World Powers Must End Nuclear Stalemate
Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters – December 17, 2012
Iran’s foreign minister said on Monday a way must be found to end the deadlock with major powers over its nuclear program, an Iranian news agency reported, but he offered no new initiative on how to achieve this. Ali Akbar Salehi’s comments came ahead of an expected resumption of diplomacy, perhaps next month, aimed at preventing the decade-old nuclear dispute from degenerating into a Middle East war that could damage an already fragile world economy.
New Round of Iran Nuclear Talks ‘Imminent’
Julian Borger, Guardian – December 14, 2012
The Washington Post is reporting that nuclear negotiations between six major powers and Iran could resume soon, probably in Istanbul. These new round of talks was originally expected to take place at the end of November, soon after the US presidential election, but were delayed while the six-nation negotiating group (US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China), considered what they were going to put on the table.
Syria VP Says Neither Side Can Win War
Al Jazeera – December 17, 2012
Syria’s vice president has said a “historic settlement”, involving the formation of a national unity government, was needed to end the 21-month conflict in the country. Farouq al-Sharaa told a Lebanese newspaper that neither the forces of President Bashar al-Assad nor opposition fighters were in a position to win the war in Syria.
Syria’s VP Calls for Peaceful Resolution to Crisis-Possibly without Assad
Arthur Bright, Christian Science Monitor – December 17, 2012
In an interview with a pro-Assad Lebanese newspaper, Syria’s vice president called for a peaceful political resolution to the ongoing conflict in his country, and suggested that President Bashar al-Assad may not play a role in Syria’s future – marking the highest-level acknowledgment yet from the Syrian government that a victory for the Assad regime looks increasingly unlikely.
Rocket is Still the Centerpiece as North Koreans Mourn Former Leader Kim Jong-il
Jean H. Lee, AP – December 16, 2012
North Korea parlayed the success of last week’s rocket launch to glorify leader Kim Jong-un and his late father on Sunday, the eve of the first anniversary of his death. The successful firing the rocket on Wednesday — ostensibly to place a satellite in space — was a clear sign that Mr. Kim will continue his father, Kim Jong Il’s militaristic hard-line policies despite international condemnation.
Defense Bill Likely to Mention East Coast Missile Site
Frank Oliveri, Roll Call – December 16, 2012
Conferees working toward agreement on the fiscal 2013 defense policy bill are locked in negotiations that most likely will lead to the inclusion of language requiring the Defense Department to conduct a study outlining a plan for building an East Coast missile defense site.
Car Bomb Kills 17 in Crowded Market in Pakistan
Zulfiqar Ali, LA Times – December 17, 2012
Militants detonated a car bomb at a bustling market in Pakistan’s volatile tribal belt Monday, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 70 others just two days after Pakistani Taliban fighters launched a coordinated assault on an airport in the nearby city of Peshawar.