- Obama surprised the troops in Afghanistan with an unannounced visit. Weather problems have prevented him from visiting President Karzai in Kabul. However they will communicate through a video conference.
- Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that the security situation in Afghanistan is improving rapidly. He highlighted progress in the Southern regions of Kandahar and Helmand as proof that the US is reversing the Taliban’s momentum. Next week the US is set to finish its first major review of the situation in Afghanistan since the surge of 30,000.
- The heads of the Army, Marines, and Airforce publicly stated that a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would negatively affect combat efficiency. Most were optimistic about the integration of homosexuals in the future but argued that the repeal would further disrupt and strain mission in Afghanistan.
- South Korea revealed that their military strategy for future attacks by North Korea will be putative air-strikes. This announcement comes from their newly appointed Defense Minister, General Kim Kwan-jin, who ascended to his position after his predecessor stepped-down for a tepid response to the artillery shelling of the Yeonpyeong islands. Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, urged South Korean to show restraint and not engage in unilateral action.
- Multi-party talks will resume in Geneva to discuss the Iranian Nuclear Program. These are the first direct talks with Iran since October 2009 when Iran refused to discontinue uranium enrichment or dismantle their nuclear program.
- In addition to unveiling a new nuclear reactor, Iran celebrated the fact that they now have the capability to mine uranium within Iran. They are intentionally belittling the UN sanctions regime by claiming that they are totally self-sufficient in the production of Yellow Cake Uranium.
- A number of developments has occurred in the ongoing Wikileaks scandal. First, the polarizing founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has been arrested in London for extradition to Sweden on allegations of rape. Assange, as a contingency plan, has released all of the +2,000,000 diplomatic cables in an encrypted file that will be accessible in the event of his imprisonment or assassination. Second, Wikileaks had their Paypal account frozen which cuts them off from a critical source of their cashflow. Mastercard and Visa claim that initiated the freeze because Wikileaks was engaging in illegal behavior. In response, hackers have initiated an attack on Mastercard, Paypal, and others in protest for the treatment of Wikileaks.
Israel and Palestine:
- The US has officially discontinued the settlement freeze as part of a Mid-East peace plan. Obama has admitted that the moratorium on Israel construction had not nor would not bring the two a lasting peace. The Obama administration has tried to reinstitute a settlement freeze since it ended on September 26 but to no avail.
(Information compiled by Grant Potter, National Security Intern)