Results tagged “United States”
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Defense Secretary Hagel responded to France's request for "limited" US military assistance in the Central African Republic by offering to help transport Burundian soldiers to the CAR to participate in the UN peacekeeping force. Hagel told Pakistani officials that keeping supply lines open may be key to the continuance of military aid to Pakistan.
President Obama said Iran was not likely to give up its nuclear program, and put the odds for successful international negotiations on the program at 50/50 at best. James Dobbins, the special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, warned the Afghan government that failing to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement could lead to civil war in Afghanistan, and that in the absence of such an agreement, US troops had no reason to stay.
The top American commander in the Middle East said the US is willing to help Yemen apply needed pressure on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to deny the group ungoverned territory and thereby reduce its capability to export terror elsewhere. Intelligence officials and lawmakers expressed frustration that US efforts to bring about a dozen suspects to trial for the 2012 attack on the US Mission in Benghazi and the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens have stalled. Some national security analysts asserted that stricter rules of engagement over the past few years are partly responsible for a spike in US troop fatalities in Afghanistan. Extradited British terror suspects Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan, who face US charges of running an international jihadist network, decided to plead guilty to providing material support to terrorists.
The US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction said the Pentagon's Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan has not been able to track the flow of US funding for Afghan forces, which is handled by the Afghan finance ministry. The Pentagon announced that Noor Uthman Mohammed, a Sudanese detainee at Guantanamo, will soon be repatriated. Noor had served as a trainer and administrator at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Djamel Ameziane and Bensayah Belkecem, two Algerian detainees who had asked not to be repatriated, were returned to Algeria.
The US continued to reject China's claim to disputed territory over the East China Sea, but urged US commercial airlines to comply with China's demands for notification of any flights through its newly declared air defense zone. The US offered to destroy Syria's chemical weapons aboard a ship at sea; a US naval vessel is being readied for the purpose. The White House said President Obama will issue a new national security strategy in early 2014. The Obama administration renewed exemptions from Iran sanctions for China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Guantanamo detainees Belkacem Bensayah and Djamel Ameziane protested US plans to repatriate them to Algeria.
The US military flew two warplanes over an area of the East China Sea that is claimed by both Japan and China, in a routine exercise, defying a recent Chinese edict. A federal judge rejected claims by Osama bin Laden son-in-law Abu Ghaith that he was treated inhumanely by US officials after his arrest in Jordan earlier this year, and refused to dismiss charges. President Karzai continued to haggle over the terms of the BSA.
The US and Afghanistan reached a deal on the text of the Bilateral Security Agreement; the agreement is contingent on approval by Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, which convenes tomorrow. Secretary of State Kerry said the draft agreement provides that US forces would "train, equip, and assist" Afghan forces, but have no combat role. The draft agreement covers a 10-year training and counterterrorism mission likely involving up to 12,000 troops. It also specifies that US military personnel would be subject only to US law, but contractors would be subject to Afghan law.
President Obama pushed for an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, despite criticism that the deal is too lenient. The US said it will extend its deployment of two Patriot missile batteries on the Turkish border for another year; about 400 US soldiers have been manning the batteries in Gazientep. US and Afghan officials claimed that an agreement on the issue of US troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014 is within reach.
A senior US military official said the US is planning on training 5,000 to 7,000 Libyan soldiers and a smaller number of Libyan special forces. An aerial target drone crashed on a naval ship off the California coast, slightly injuring two sailors.
The FBI warned that the hackers' group Anonymous has been accessing confidential data on government computers in the US Army, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, and possibly other agencies, since December 2012. Authorities believe the cyberattacks are ongoing. General David M. Rodriguez, head of the US military's Africa Command, said it is reducing the size of training missions in Africa due to cuts in the Pentagon budget.
The State Department confirmed that since January it has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of those behind the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. FBI Director James Comey said cyberthreats are more likely than al Qaeda to pose problems for US security over the next few years. The director of the National Counterterrorism Center warned, however, that the risk posed by al Qaeda "has become more significant from a geographic perspective and more complicated from an intelligence perspective." The acting secretary of Homeland Security said his agency is working with European allies to track Western jihadists in Syria.
The State Department designated the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram and its splinter group Ansaru as global terrorist organizations. The White House is trying to thwart Congress' plans to impose new Iran sanctions, in the hopes of securing a deal on the Iranian nuclear program. An appellate court upheld the terrorism convictions of Tarek Mehanna, who conspired to support al Qaeda and kill US soldiers.
Basit Javed Sheikh a.k.a. Abdul Basit, a Pakistani man from Cary, North Carolina, was arrested at Raleigh-Durham airport as he tried to fly to Lebanon via Canada. He was charged with aiding a terrorist group, as he allegedly has been attempting to provide foreign fighters for the Al Nusrah Front in Syria. The US military sent a contingent of Marines and two C-130 transport planes with humanitarian aid to typhoon-ravaged areas of the central Philippines.
The Pentagon's semiannual report on Afghan operations noted that during the April-September period, US and Coalition deaths dropped by almost 60% compared to the same period last year, but that Afghan troop deaths went up by 80%. It said Afghan forces are now conducting 95% of conventional operations and 98% of special operations. The report claimed that counterterrorism operations "eliminated dozens of al Qaeda operatives and facilitators" and restricted the terror group's movements to "isolated areas inside northeastern Afghanistan." It also said that although the number of al Qaeda fighters in the country "remains very low," al Qaeda's AQ "relationship with local Afghan Taliban formations remains intact."
Prosecutors charged Dino Bouterse, the son of the president of Suriname, with attempting to support Hezbollah by providing members of the terrorist group with weapons and facilitating their entry into the US to attack American targets. Secretary of State Kerry said no agreement has yet been reached in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, as key issues are still unresolved.
Meeting in Riyadh with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah yesterday, Secretary of State Kerry said the US would defend Saudi Arabia in the event of external attack, and offered to share information on negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. In Poland today, Kerry promised the US would work with its friends to strike the right balance in its surveillance program. Defense Secretary Hagel said budgetary constraints and global security challenges mean the US military will shift to a "smaller, modern" force that is "globally active and engaged" from a larger, garrison force with older equipment.
After his first meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in nearly two years, President Obama said al Qaeda has recently become more active in Iraq. Al-Maliki asked Washington for military equipment and counterterrorism support. Obama said al Qaeda threatens not just Iraq and the region but also the US, but he did not specify the US response to Iraq's requests.
Lauri Love, 28, of Stradishall, England, was arrested on Oct. 25 at his home and charged with disrupting the operations and infrastructure of the US government by hacking into US government systems, including those of the Army, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, NASA, and the EPA. Love was accused along with two or three co-conspirators believed to be in Sweden and Australia who have not been charged. He is currently free on bail in England.
A news report found that the staff of the US' inspector general for Afghanistan will be unable to visit sites in 80% of the country in 2014, so that monitoring of billions of dollars' worth of US-funded reconstruction projects will be delegated to private contractors. A US Marine reservist facing a military inquiry into his use of an unclassified email account to send an urgent warning about an Afghan security risk has received bipartisan support. His email warned about an Afghan officer whose subordinate shot and killed three Marines just days later.
Reza Olangian, of Los Gatos, Calif., was charged in federal court in New York with trying to buy surface-to-air missiles for Iran. The dual US-Iranian citizen was arrested in Estonia a year ago and extradited to the US in March. The White House is urging Congress to refrain from imposing new sanctions on Iran. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said operatives behind the September 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi had ties to core al Qaeda leadership. The NSA website went down; NSA denied that the outage was due to a cyberattack.