Only one of the Afghan National Army's 23 brigades is capable of operating without U.S. or NATO military assistance, the New York Times reported, following the release Monday of a Pentagon report to Congress.

The Obama administration is expected to announce Wednesday the recognition of the new Syrian opposition group Syrian National Coalition in the hope that it will expedite the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The announcement is expected to come when American, European, and Arab diplomats meet in Morocco.

JBS CEO Art Thompson's weekly news video update for December 10 - 16, 2012.

In a Middle East triangle more dangerous than the romantic affairs of Generals Petraeus and Allen, the United States is leaning on Iraq to stop the shipment of arms from Iran to Syria, while the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is battling to hold power against rebel forces that have the diplomatic backing of the United States and other western nations.

Despite conventional wisdom of a benign China, the recent landing of a J-15 fighter jet on the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning CV-16, plus the recent ascension of Xi Jinping as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, demonstrate the continuation of the Cold War by the People's Republic of China.

On Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly voted to increase the Palestinian Authority's status to that of "nonmember observer state."

Veteran U.S. diplomat Robert A. Wood, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Mission to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in Vienna, Austria, issued a statement to the IAEA Board of Governors on November 29, asking IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano to note in his next quarterly report whether Iran has taken "any substantive steps" to address the international agency's warnings. 

Former Russian Foreign Minister Igor S. Ivanov, now president of the Russian International Affairs Council, has joined his American counterparts at the Council on Foreign Relations in calling for political and economic "convergence" between Russia and the EU.

Texas Republican Ron Paul, Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich, and New Jersey Democrat Rush Holt are continuing the fight in the House of Representatives against the use of drones for targeted killing by the Obama administration. They have once again called upon the Obama administration to release documents to justify the use of the overseas drone strikes.

Despite pledging on numerous occasions that the U.S. government’s occupation of Afghanistan would end in 2014 with the withdrawal of American forces, the Obama administration is now finalizing a controversial scheme to potentially keep tens of thousands of soldiers and an undisclosed number of mercenaries there for a decade or more. Critics, even among supporters of the president, are expressing outrage about the revelations.

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