March 22, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A panel of White House advisers warned President Obama in a secret report that U.S. spy agencies were paying inadequate attention to China, the Middle East and other national security flash points because they had become too focused on military operations and drone strikes, U.S. officials said. Led by influential figures including new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and former Sen. David Boren (D., Okla.), the panel concluded in a report last year that the roles of the CIA, the National Security Agency, and other spy services had been distorted by more than a decade of conflict.
March 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Seeking to reassure anxious Israelis and their American supporters, Vice President Biden vowed Monday that the United States would not back down from its pledge to use military action to thwart Iran's nuclear program should all other options fail. "President Barack Obama is not bluffing," he said. In a prelude to Obama's forthcoming trip to Israel - his first as president - Biden told a powerful pro-Israel lobby that the United States doesn't want a war with Iran, but that the window for diplomacy is closing.
December 21, 2012
U.N. authorizes action in Mali UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council on Thursday authorized military action to wrest northern Mali from the control of al-Qaeda-linked extremists but demanded progress first on political reconciliation, elections, and training of African troops and police. A resolution adopted unanimously by the United Nations' most powerful body stressed that there must be a two-track plan, political and military, to reunify the country, which has been in turmoil since a coup in March.
October 5, 2012 |
AKCAKALE, Turkey - Turkey sanctioned further military action against Syria on Thursday and bombarded targets across the border with artillery for a second day, raising the stakes in a conflict that increasingly is bleeding outside Syrian territory. Although both sides moved to calm tensions, Turkey's parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill allowing the military to conduct cross-border operations into Syria - making clear that Ankara has options that do not involve its Western or Arab allies.
September 5, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - Israeli officials said Tuesday they are in close discussions with the United States over how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, seeking to ease tensions that have emerged between the two allies over a possible Israeli military strike against Iran. The dialogue, in which Israel is looking for President Obama to take a tough public position against Iran, suggests the odds of an Israeli attack in the near term have been reduced. Israel, convinced that Iran isn't taking seriously U.S. vows to block it from acquiring nuclear weapons, believes that time to stop the Iranians is quickly running out. A series of warnings by Israeli officials in recent weeks has raised concerns that Israel could soon stage a unilateral military strike.
August 27, 2012
Either Israel is engaged in the most elaborate ruse since the Trojan Horse, or it's on the cusp of a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. What's alarming is not just Iran's increasing store of uranium or the growing sophistication of its rocketry. It's also the increasingly menacing, annihilationist threats emanating from its leaders. Israel's existence is "an insult to all humanity," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. "Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime.
July 1, 2012 |
This year marks the bicentennial of a war that is largely forgotten but almost tore the United States apart. Most of us remember incidents from the war — the burning of Washington; Dolley Madison saving the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington; and the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner. " But ask Americans in which conflict those incidents took place, and you can bet many will say the Revolutionary War. In reality, it was the War of 1812, which to many is as obscure as the Gadsden Purchase.
June 28, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Syrian government's shootdown of a Turkish fighter jet has served as a stark warning that its military is capable of mounting a sophisticated defense against potential enemies, complicating a Libyan-style intervention. Turkey has said that it has no immediate plans to respond to the incident with military action. But the Turkish prime minister warned Tuesday that he had ordered commanders along the country's southern border to treat any Syrian military approach as a threat, escalating concerns that Turkey - along with the United States and its allies - could be drawn into a regional war. Details of the downing along the Syrian coast are still emerging, but officials said that Syria's air defenses have been beefed up by purchases from Russia since Israeli fighter jets destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction in the Syrian desert nearly five years ago. As a result, U.S. military officials said that, at least on paper, the Syrian air defenses appear to be far more robust than those encountered by NATO in Libya and stronger than even Iran.
June 13, 2012 |
From one point of view, the connection between our troubles with Syria and Iran is straightforward. Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime is Iran's closest ally and link to the Arab Middle East. Syria has provided the land bridge for transport of Iranian support to Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Without Syria, Iran's pretensions to regional hegemony and ability to challenge Israel would be crippled. It follows that, as U.S. Central Command chief Gen. James N. Mattis testified to Congress in March, the downfall of Assad would be "the biggest strategic setback for Iran in 25 years.
March 8, 2012 |
BEIRUT, Lebanon - The U.N. humanitarian chief toured the shattered Syrian district of Baba Amr on Wednesday but found most residents had fled after a bloody military siege, while activists accused the government of trying to cover up evidence of atrocities there. The monthlong crackdown on the rebellious Homs neighborhood brought international condemnation, and the top U.S. military leader said Wednesday that President Obama had asked the Pentagon for a preliminary review of military options in Syria.