Results tagged “United States”
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In the first of the Obama administration's accelerated review hearings for Guantanamo detainees, former Osama bin Laden bodyguard Mahmoud Abd Al Aziz al-Mujahid, who was previously deemed a high security risk, has been cleared for release. The FBI is conducting round-the-clock surveillance on jihadist fighters who have returned to the US from Syria, as al Qaeda in Syria is seeking to use jihadists for future attacks, possibly in the US; at least 70 Americans have either gone to Syria to fight, or tried to, in the past three years. The US may resume the shipment of nonlethal aid to the Syrian opposition, even if some of it ends up in the hands of the Islamic Front. The US military has offered to help train Iraqi commandos. The State Department designated Ansar al Sharia branches in Tunisia and Libya as terrorist organizations, and also designated Ansar al Sharia leaders Sufian Ben Qumu, Ahmed Abu Khattalah, and Seifallah Ben Hassine (a.k.a. Abu Iyad al Tunisi) as global terrorists. US Africa Command said a small unit of US military advisers was deployed to Somalia late last year.
US officials said the State Department is expected to designate Ansar al Sharia branches in Tunisia and in Derna and Benghazi in Libya as foreign terrorist organizations; Derna branch leader Abu Sufian bin Qumu is expected to be designated as a global terrorist, along with militia leaders Ahmed Abu Khattala and Seif Allah bin Hassine. Qumu and associates are suspected in the attack on the US mission in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. The US is also reportedly seeking extremist Faraj al Chalabi, who may have fled Libya. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claimed that President Obama lacked faith in his own Afghan war strategy. The US is sending 800 soldiers and 40 tanks to South Korea next month. US officials said they are in talks with Iraq about training elite Iraqi forces in a third country.
The US is accelerating sales and delivery of military equipment, including Hellfire missiles and drones, to Iraq to help in the fight against al Qaeda. A US gunmaker turned down a deal to sell precision rifles to Pakistan, out of concern they could be used against US troops. Iran rejected Secretary of State Kerry's suggestion that it could be involved on the sidelines of Geneva II talks on Syria. The Commerce Department issued an order aimed at preventing the export of two Boeing aircraft engines to Iran. Colleen LaRose, a.k.a. Jihad Jane, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, less four years' time already served, for her role in an al Qaeda plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist.
Secretary of State Kerry said the US is not contemplating sending troops to Iraq to fight al Qaeda, and added that although the US could help Iraq, the fight was Iraq's. Kerry also suggested that Iran might play a role in the Geneva II peace talks on Syria.
The State Department ordered a further drawdown of US Embassy personnel in Juba, South Sudan due to deteriorating security. Three US Senators warned Kabul against releasing Bagram detainees and urged Afghanistan's president to sign the bilateral security agreement. A recent study raises questions about the Obama administration's claim that only the Assad regime could have fired the sarin rockets involved in the Aug. 21 attacks in Damascus.