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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 4:10 PM

North Korea’s at it again: it’s launched a rocket, says the New York Times. So uncreative.

President Obama said yesterday that the United States will recognize Syrian opposition groups. Here are the New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post on the story.

Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy reports that Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., called the French plan to intervene in Mali “crap.” There’s diplomacy for ya.

The State Department just keeps adding to its FTO list: The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa is the latest organization you can’t provide material support to, according to Carlo Munoz of the Hill. So you’d better cancel that bake sale you were organizing for the MUJWA.

Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times tells us that a report released by the Pentagon on Monday, as Bumiller writes, “has found that only one of the Afghan National Army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently without air or other military support from the United States and NATO partners. . .[and] that violence in Afghanistan is higher than it was before the surge of American forces into the country two years ago.”

However, SecDef Leon Panetta—who is in Kabul as we speak—doesn’t agree that that the skies look quite so bleak. Ernesto Londono of the Washington Post informs us that Panetta and other officials are more optimistic about progress in Afghanistan in advance of the 2014 withdrawal deadline.

Here’s some fantastic news: Mike Mount of CNN’s Security Clearance blog reports that Pakistan is putting pressure on terrorist safe havens! But you know the old saw about Pakistan: If things are looking good in U.S.-Pakistani relations, just wait 45 minutes.

Lots of domestic terror news today: Shaker Masri, a Chicagoan who pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to Al Shabab, was sentenced to almost 9 years and 10 months in prison. Ellen Jean Hirst of the Chicago Tribune has the story. And Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair and Randy Wilson, two 25-year old Alabamans from Mobile, were arrested yesterday, also for attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Kaija Wilkinson of Reuters reports.

Here’s more Zero Dark Thirty links for you movie nerds: Maureen Dowd and Frank Bruni of the Times both have stuff to say, as does the Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern. Stay tuned—we are planning a Lawfare field trip to see it, and will have reviews when it comes out next week.

And, the Onion does it again: Santa wrote an op-ed telling us a big, dirty secret about 9/11: it’s today’s Moment of Zen.

For more interesting law and security-related articles, follow us on Twitter, visit the Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law’s Security Law Brief, Syracuse’s Institute for National Security & Counterterrorism’s newsroll, and Fordham Law’s Center on National Security’s Morning Brief and Cyber Brief. Email Raffaela Wakeman and Ritika Singh noteworthy articles to include, visit the Lawfare Events Calendar for upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings at the Lawfare Job Board.

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