Results tagged “United States”
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The US closed the Syrian Embassy and its two US consulates. Mohammad Hamdan of Dearborn, Mich. was arrested for trying to join Hezbollah in Syria. Nicholas Teausant, 20, a California student and National Guard member, was arrested in Washington near the Canadian border and charged with attempting to support a terrorist organization; he sought to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham in Syria. The US yesterday announced sanctions against seven Russian and four Ukrainian officials for their alleged roles in the Crimean crisis; the White House today declined to respond to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree recognizing Crimea as independent of Ukraine. Secretary of State Kerry said Daniel Rubinstein would replace Robert Ford, who retired in February, as the US envoy to the Syrian opposition.
The US has delivered 100 Hellfire missiles, as well as assault rifles and ammunition, to Iraq this month to support its fight against the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham; the US is promising to send more weapons in the coming weeks. The Pentagon denied reports that an American drone had been intercepted over Crimea. A US official said Iran has been "very actively" procuring banned items for its nuclear and missile programs through the use of front companies and other means.
The US military announced the repatriation of Ahmed Bin Saleh Bel Bacha, an Algerian detainee at Guantanamo who attended Abu Hamza's radical Finsbury Park mosque in the UK before fighting in Afghanistan for al Qaeda. A parole board review concluded that Yemeni detainee Abdel Malik al-Rahabi, a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and an associate of the head of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, should remain at Guantanamo indefinitely for security reasons. The Pentagon is calling for another round of base closures due to excess capacity in each of the three branches.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, told the Senate that al Qaeda is "in survival mode" in Afghanistan and argued for a residual NATO force of 8,000 to 12,000 troops in the country after 2014. He also warned that under the "zero option," the Taliban would retake Afghanistan, as Afghan security forces would quickly begin to deteriorate starting in 2015.
CIA Director John Brennan said al Qaeda has "metastasized over the years" and is found throughout Africa and Southeast Asia. He also said that concerns over the growing presence of al Qaeda-linked fighters in Syria have been the focus of many of his efforts with his foreign counterparts over the past year. The Air Force plans to eliminate nearly 500 planes due to budget cuts.
A US defense official said a small contingent of US special forces was recently sent to Jordan to train their Iraqi and Jordanian counterparts. US officials confirmed that the Navy had been told to be prepared to act to prevent a shipment of Iranian weapons from being smuggled into Gaza; the shipment was monitored by both US and Israeli officials and was intercepted by Israeli forces near Sudan on March 5.