As violence has mounted in Syria, US. officials say there is growing evidence that Iran, which has long considered Syria almost a satellite state, is stepping up its efforts to influence what is happening inside the country. One U.S. official tells CNN there are continuing electronic intercepts that clearly show Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps involvement in Syria during the recent violence that point to the increased cooperation. The U.S. believes an increased number Iranian personnel are moving in and out of Damascus, the official said, and potentially assisting in training Syrian forces and facilitating weapons flows which the official says “continue unchecked.” Another U.S. official confirms that Iran has supplied Syria with riot control gear.
At the same time– the first official tells CNN the IRGC is now hedging its bets, supporting other regime “players’ so if President Assad were to fall from power, Iran would still considerable influence in the country.
It looked like a classic case of discrimination against women, the perfect cause to elicit comment, and perhaps criticism, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But Friday, as some Saudi women, prevented by custom and religious edict from driving, turned the key in protest and hit the roads, Secretary Clinton said nothing publicly.
“Where are you when we need you most?” asked Saudi Women for Driving, the coalition of Saudi women’s rights activists, bloggers and academics campaigning for the right to drive, in a letter sent to Clinton and to her European Union counterpart Catherine Ashton.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered vague promises of reform and clear threats against protesters Monday as he addressed his nation and the rest of the world, whose leaders called for swift changes, some saying he had passed the point of no return.
Months of protests have left more than 1,100 dead, according to human rights activists. But the extent of the carnage is not clear. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that nearly 1,300 Syrians had been killed since protests began and thousands more jailed.
The Syrian leader said he was "working on getting the military back to their barracks as soon as possible," but also warned that the government would "work on tracking down everyone who shed blood or plotted in shedding the blood of the Syrian people, and we will hold them accountable."
Pakistan's security forces are not tipping off militants about upcoming raids, the country's top military spokesman said Monday, adding that tribal elders are sometimes notified before the military moves into their regions.
Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas called allegations of leaks "part of a malicious campaign against us."
He was responding to a Sunday report in The New York Times that militants were fleeing bomb-making factories after American intelligence officials told Pakistan about them, heightening U.S. concerns that tips were leaking from Pakistani security to insurgents.
Abbas suggested Pakistan had no interest in letting information get to the targets of the raids, saying: "These are the same bomb-making facilities that are used to kill our soldiers."
Eight years after troops in Afghanistan were outfitted with new uniforms, the Army is shopping for a different camouflage for its fatigues and equipment.
The move to a different uniform comes after soldiers, many of them redeploying to Afghanistan, began voicing their criticism in the summer of 2009 of the "universal" camouflage pattern, introduced in 2004 and meant to be used in all types of battle environments.
"They were saying that they didn't think the color selection was very effective for the terrain in Afghanistan," says Col. Bill Cole, the project manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment. "Afghanistan's a really diverse country in geographical terms. There are lots of sandy desert areas, but it also has mountainous areas that you would see up in the Alps. It has green irrigated fields that look like Iowa in the summer. It's a very diverse environment and soldiers would often traverse these different areas in one patrol."
Compiled by Tim Lister
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