Synopsis of National Security News: 9/17/10 – 9/24/10

U.S. Politics:

The GOP “Pledge to America” was released this week. The pledge details the agenda that Republicans will try to enact if they are able to wrest control of Congress from the Democrats. On page 19, they list their national security goals. Of note is their stance on the detention of enemy combatants, the creation of a missile defense, and their scant mention of Afghanistan or Iraq.

Obama’s annual address to the United Nations indicated a significant shift in US foreign policy. Echoing his predecessor, George W. Bush, Obama unveiled a new plan for supporting democracy and human rights abroad. However, Obama’s plan does not advocate the use of force but rather the support of grass-roots civil society groups to build up the institutional capacity for democratic rule in other countries.

Afghanistan:

The release of Bob Woodward’s “Obama Wars” has revealed that the CIA has been operating an elite paramilitary organization on the Afghan-Pakistani border. The 3,000 strong group is, among other things,  responsible for intelligence gathering, kidnapping Taliban leaders, and directing drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt.

The legislative elections in Afghanistan have been marred with allegations of voter fraud and corruption. The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, the main independent group of election observers, reported that ballot stuffing, fake registration cards, and violence were common occurrences. This election comes a year after the presidential election which was similarly tainted with corruption.

Pakistan:

Protests rage throughout Pakistan after a suspected Al-Qaeda operative, Aafia Siddiqui, was sentenced to 86 years in US jail. The Pakistani government claim’s that Siddiqui is an innocent victim of extraordinary rendition while Americans argue that she has repeatedly tried to kill American military and FBI personnel.

Iran:

Obama has proposed a $60 billion arms deal between American and Saudi Arabia. Proponents see this as an effective strategy to contain the Iranian threat while opponents see it as igniting a Middle Eastern arms race between Sunnis (Saudi Arabia) and Shiites (Iran).

Compiled by Grant Potter, CIP National Security Intern

One thought on “Synopsis of National Security News: 9/17/10 – 9/24/10

  1. Chuck Woolery September 28, 2010 / 3:10 AM

    Washington Post reported last week: Preparing for the September UN Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York President Obama said “I suspect that some wealthier countries may ask, ‘With our economies struggling, so many people out of work, and so many families barely getting by, why a summit on development? The answer is simple. In our global economy, progress in even the poorest countries can advance the prosperity and security of people far beyond their borders, including my fellow Americans.” Obama then called on rich nations to view assistance to poorer ones as a vital part of their national security strategy. His administration has been working to redefine development aid as a national security tool that requires closer coordination between nearly two dozen government agencies involved in aid policy.

    He also spoke about the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the need for human security as the foundation for national and global security. Most of those who survived the horrors of World War II understood the need and essence of preventing future war. Some didn’t learn and persisted with the notion that war is a means of achieving peace and security.

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