Winning the Defense Spending Debate
Ken Blackwell, Huffington Post – November 20, 2012
With no time to recover from a thorough election day whooping, Republicans in a lame duck Congress are facing an even worse budgetary nightmare than last year. And they only have two months to negotiate a solution with President Obama.
U.S. Can Allay Russian Worries on Missiles
UPI – November 20, 2012
There are measures apart for formal legal guarantees that Washington can take to allay Russian concerns about missile defense, a former U.S. envoy said. Russia said U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe would upset the strategic balance of power. Washington says the system is needed to defend U.S. interests against rogue states such as North Korea and Iran.
Myanmar Says it’s Ready to Sign Nuclear Agreement
Matthew Pennington, AP – November 21, 2012
Little noticed in the warm glow of President Barack Obama’s landmark visit to Myanmar was a significant concession that could shed light on whether that nation’s powerful military pursued a clandestine nuclear weapons program, possibly with North Korea’s help.
NATO: Turkey Wants Use of Patriot Missiles
Slobodan Lekic and Suzan Fraser, AP – November 21, 2012
Turkey’s government requested the deployment of NATO’s Patriot surface-to-air missiles Wednesday to bolster its defenses along its border with Syria and prevent a spillover of the civil war in that nation, officials said. NATO doesn’t want to be drawn into the Syrian conflict and said it would consider deploying the missiles purely to protect Turkey, a member country.
Syrian Warplanes Bomb Damascus Suburbs
AP – November 21, 2012
Syrian warplanes bombed Damascus suburbs and rebel-held areas in the country’s north Wednesday as the government blasted the European Union for endorsing a newly formed opposition coalition. The raids struck several eastern suburbs of the Syrian capital and the strategic northern city of Maaret al-Numan, a key supply route linking Damascus and the commercial hub of Aleppo, said two activist groups.
Syria Now Running a War Economy as Conflict Spreads
Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Reuters – November 21, 2012
At a rebel-controlled border crossing in northern Syria, camps housing thousands of refugees trying to flee the country occupy an area that less than two years ago was usually crammed with lorries queuing to pass through customs. The capture of Bab al-Hawa, previously a throughfare for exports from Turkey and the Gulf to the rest of the Middle East and Europe, highlights the loss of transhipments through Syria as conflict has spread, causing a sharp drop in income from customs duties.
Iran Nuclear Report Stirs Undue Fear
Gareth Porter, Asia Times – November 22, 2012
News stories on the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report suggested new reasons to fear that Iran is closer to a “breakout” capability than ever before, citing a nearly 50% increase in its stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium and the installation of hundreds of additional centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment installation.
World Powers to Meet in Brussels to Map Out Iran Plans
Justyna Pawlak, Reuters – November 20, 2012
Officials from six world powers meet in Brussels on Wednesday to plan for a possible new round of talks with Iran, the latest effort to resolve a decade-long stand-off over its nuclear program and avert the threat of a military conflict. The re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama this month has cleared the way for new talks and Western diplomats are eager to start soon as signs grow that Iran is still building up its nuclear capacity.
Lee Urges N. Korea to Improve Human Rights Record
Chang Jae-soon, Yonhap News – November 20, 2012
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak urged North Korea on Tuesday to end its nuclear programs, fulfill international obligations and work together with the international community to improve the lives and human rights of its people. Lee made the appeal during a meeting of the East Asia Summit, an 18-nation forum grouping the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its eight dialogue partners — South Korea, China, Japan, the United States, Russia, Australia, India and New Zealand.