Today's Headlines and Commentary

Jane Chong
Monday, November 25, 2013, 11:33 AM
It's all about Iran this news cycle.

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It's all about Iran this news cycle. Yesterday morning, Iran signed off on a historic interim deal to temporarily halt---or slow---its nuclear development program.
See the New York Times on the diplomatic doors that the deal opens in the region, and the challenges of pushing through a more permanent pact; the Washington Post on the high drama on the road to agreement and some of the fine print; the Wall Street Journal on the stiff opposition from Israel and some U.S. lawmakers. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calling the deal a "historic mistake," notes Politico, while the New York Times editorial board applauds President Obama and Irani President Hassan Rouhani for "mak[ing] the world safer"---for now. The agreement commits Iran to a six-month freeze on nuclear activities "at a maximum five percent level" in exchange for limited sanctions relief, including access to $4.2 billion in oil sales. See the Associated Press for a simple summary, and Reuters for the full text. Oil prices have fallen with the signing of the accord, notes the BBC. National Security Adviser Susan Rice is in Kabul for the Thanksgiving holiday. Her trip comes on the heels of Karzai's rejection of the Afghan assembly's recommendation that he quickly sign a security pact with the U.S. The AP reports.
Reuters reports that the United Nations will convene Syrian peace talks in Geneva on January 22. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made a surprise plea for resuming peace ties and discarding restrictive visa requirements between Pakistan and India at a Sunday literary and cultural conference. Here is the Times of India. Bloomberg reports that Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. track down Osama Bin Laden, was charged with murder on Friday for the death of a patient. Afridi is already in prison after being convicted last year of providing assistance to the militants of Lashkar-e-Islami and being sentenced to 33 years, despite pressure from the Obama administration for his release. Lashkar-e Islam is in the news again in connection with the Saturday kidnapping of 11 teachers involved in a polio vaccination campaign along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Radio Free Europe has the story. On Saturday thousands of people protesting U.S. drone strikes blocked a road in Pakistan used to move NATO troop supplies in and out of Afghanistan, writes Al Jazeera America. Al Jazeera also reports that the Libyan army has declared a "state of alert" in Benghazi after clashes broke out between troops and an armed group, killing at least nine and wounding at least 47. Egypt has expelled the Turkish ambassador for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's "provactive criticisms" of Cairo, reports the New York Times. Sunday elections in Mali were marred by low turnout and vote abuses, with only a fraction of the country's 6.7 million eligible voters casting ballots and armed men carrying off ballot boxes in the Timbuktu region. Reuters has more. The territorial dispute between China and Japan continues. The Post reports that on Saturday, China announced a so-called air defense identification zone over the East China Sea. As the term suggests, any noncommercial aircraft entering the zone must first identify themselves to Beijing or risk reprisal by Chinese armed forces. Unsurprisingly, Japan has declared the zone invalid, reports the Guardian. And the U.S. is rebuking China for escalating tensions, writes the WSJ. Bahraini police have arrested two suspected terrorists who may be former Guantanamo detainees, says the Miami Herald. Michael F. Matthews, the creator of “Justice Denied,” a documentary on male military sexual assault, has a difficult op-ed in the Times on his experience being raped and beaten by fellow servicemen at age 19 and urging Congress to pass the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act, sponsored by Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) At a Friday event at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, John Inglis, the deputy director of the NSA, denied that the agency provides the FBI domestic intelligence. Writes the Guardian:
[I]n the six months since the Guardian, the Washington Post and others began publishing material derived from provided by a former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, Inglis' statement is the clearest yet that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies cannot search through the NSA's data troves directly.
On Friday Lavabit filed its reply brief in a case that will determine whether the company must turn over its SSL keys to the government. After a government win, the case is up on appeal in the Fourth Circuit. See the full brief over at Wired. Bitcoin is flawed but set to take over the world. So says this story from Wired. On the other hand, over at the Times a software engineer claims the currency cannot compete with its more perfect communal counterpart: hello, PeerCoin. Welcome to the brave new world of dronalism. The Times notes the news media's budding romance with unmanned machines and the perspective they provide. Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Jane Chong is former deputy managing editor of Lawfare. She served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and is a graduate of Yale Law School and Duke University.

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