Friday's global agenda: Deadline day at the UN for an arms trade treaty

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Afghan plan: Later, Obama and Vice President Biden meet with outgoing Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, who is stepping down after just one year in the position, followed by another meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They're expected to talk about the security situation there and plans to withdraw the bulk of American troops by the end of 2014. 

In other news

The Obama administration's is weighing a more interventionist policy in Syria if rebels can first establish safe zones. [Associated Press]

In the Persian Gulf, meanwhile, the U.S. Navy is concerned about its vulnerability to attack as Iran expands its arsenal of fast-attack boats and submarines in the gulf. [The Washington Post]

Meanwhile in Mali, the Pentagon is considering direct action if Islamic militants who have taken over parts of the country become a threat to the United States. [The Wall Street Journal]

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sets the Financial Times on fire with her op-ed arguing that the “U.S. must recall it is not just any country.”

The breakthrough in reopening NATO supply routes through Pakistan was negotiated through an “unconventional back channel run by a low-key duo: Thomas R. Nides, a deputy to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Pakistan’s finance minister,” writes The New York Times.

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