As I’m sure you’re all aware, Chuck Hagel was confirmed by the Senate yesterday, 58 to 41, to be Secretary of Defense. He was sworn in today, and has to immediately turn to the $46 billion in spending cuts that will hit the Pentagon on Friday. Godspeed, sir. Here is the Washington Post on the news.
More on Clapper v. Amnesty International: Here is the Los Angeles Times on the Supreme Court’s decision, and the New York Times editorial board argues that the Court “severely damaged the rule of law in its decision.” Be sure to check out Alan’s excellent post summarizing the ruling, and Peter Margulies’s comments from yesterday.
Elise Labott of CNN reports that the Obama administration is considering providing the Syrian opposition with “nonlethal military equipment and possibly strategic military training.” The Post has more on that.
Bruce Riedel of Brookings writes in the Daily Beast about the threat posed by Jabhat al Nusra, Al Qaeda’s offshoot in Syria.
From the Department of Oops: Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor tells us that, thanks to a clerical error, the ISAF-reported seven percent decrease in Taliban violence in Afghanistan is untrue. Turns out there was no decline in Taliban attacks in 2012. The BBC has more details on the unfortunate mistake, as does the Associated Press.
Speaking of the Taliban, the Times reports that the group drugged seventeen Afghan policemen and then shot them in their sleep at a police outpost in Ghazni.
In case you were planning on providing material support to any of these entities or people, don’t say Lawfare didn’t warn you: The State Department has designated the Pakistani organization Commander Nazir Group and its leader, Malang Wazir, as Specially Designated Global terrorists. It also placed Iyad ag Ghali, the leader of Malian terrorist group Ansar al-Dine, in the same category. Samuel Rubenfeld of the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Journal discusses the challenges of cooperation between U.S. and Nigerian officials on terrorism issues.
Jeffrey Stern writes in the Atlantic about Lashkar e Jhangvi, the Sunni group behind the recent bombings in Pakistan that killed scores of Shia Muslims. He argues that “If the Taliban is the schoolyard bully who keeps some semblance of order among the other children but then begins to abuse his power, LEJ is the hyperactive kid running around kicking shins, and who has free reign because the teachers are terrified of him, too.”
And, in the spirit of the impending sequestrocalypse, the satirical and hysterical Duffel Blog has this story about the effect across-the-board cuts will have on the Taliban: its today’s Moment of Zen.
Facing Mass Layoffs, Taliban Protest US Sequester
QUETTA, PAKISTAN – As the United States rapidly approaches the deadline for sequestration, President Obama is getting support from an unlikely quarter: Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Muhammad Omar.
. . .
“Peace be upon you, American infidels. As you are aware, because of your inability to pass a simple budget, you are facing up to $40 billion in defense cuts for your fiscal year 2013,” Zabibullah read. “While we are totally fine with these cuts devastating your military and economy, there will also be some catastrophic consequences for us as well.”
“Half our budget comes from skimming off your operations in Afghanistan. Without hard American dollars, hundreds of Taliban fighters will be laid off over the coming year and forced onto the streets to beg like common women.”
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