Synopsis of National Security News: 10/1/10 – 10/8/10

New START Treaty:

President Obama remains confident that he can push the Senate to ratify the New START Treaty. The treaty requires 67 votes so the Democrats will need to peel off 8 Republicans to succeed.

U.S. Politics:

Obama announced that National Security Advisor James “Jim” Jones will resign. Experts speculate that his negative remarks in Bob Woodward’s book have drawn the ire of the administration, similar to General McChrystal’s remarks in Rolling Stone. Jones will be replaced by his deputy, Tom Donilon.

Afghanistan:

Hamad Karzai is engaged in “secret” talks with the Quetta Shura branch of the Taliban. Quetta Shura is the component of the Taliban led by Mullah Omar. Despite their battlefield resilience and momentum, the Taliban leaders are in the midst of an internal struggle to prevent hardliners from coopting their authority. A negotiated settlement would likely allow the current leadership to maintain their clout.

Recent events revealed that many local security subcontractors in Afghanistan, responsible for protecting bases and convoys, have deep ties to the Taliban (if they are not in fact members of the Taliban themselves). Hiring security in Afghanistan is the responsibility of contractors and has little military oversight.

Pakistan:

Interpol issued warrants for 3 high-ranking members of the Pakistani ISI for their connection to the Mumbai massacre in 2008. This information was derived from the confessions of captured American terrorist David Headley, who provided reconnaissance for the perpetrators of the attack, Lashkar e Taiba (LeT). Interpol claims to have had independent corroboration beyond these confessions, which are naturally suspect.

Iraq:

Iraq appears close to forming a coalition government after former militant Moqtada al-Sadr endorsed Maliki’s Shiite coalition. All that is left is for Maliki to incorporate the Kurdish group and more importantly the secular Iraqiya group, led by his rival Allawi, into the coalition government.

Iran:

Russia abides by the UN sanctions on Iran by canceling a proposed missile deal and refunding Iran’s down payment. The Iranian’s are interested in defensive missiles to protect their nuclear production from Israeli bombardment. Rumors indicate that China might be interested in filling the vacuum created by Russia’s cancellation.

Compiled by Grant Potter, CIP National Security Intern

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