Plea deal for Gitmo detainee
February 22nd, 2012
11:45 PM ET

Plea deal for Gitmo detainee

By Carol Cratty

A high-value terror suspect held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has reached a plea agreement with military prosecutors in which he would plead guilty and agree to testify against other detainees in return for a reduced sentence, according to a source familiar with the case.

Majid Khan, 31, was charged earlier this month with conspiracy, murder and attempted murder in violation of the law of war, providing material support for terrorism and spying. He was scheduled to be arraigned on February 29. If convicted during a military commission he faced a maximum of life in prison.

The source familiar with the case said Khan would plead guilty to all charges under the terms of the agreement, but the source would not specify exactly how much time Khan would have to serve if the agreement is approved by a military judge.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Gitmo • Pakistan • Terrorism
Man charged in U.S. Capitol bomb plot to remain jailed
February 22nd, 2012
10:15 PM ET

Man charged in U.S. Capitol bomb plot to remain jailed

By Carol Cratty

A Moroccan man charged with plotting a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol will remain in jail, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Amine El Khalifi made a brief appearance in federal court and waived his right to have a preliminary hearing and to contest his detention.

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Filed under: Security Brief
Competing agendas at Somalia meeting
Somalian refugees in Kenya (file)
February 22nd, 2012
10:07 PM ET

Competing agendas at Somalia meeting

By Elise Labott

Somalia's problems are many.  Terrorism, lawlessness and piracy. A famine that led to a burgeoning refugee problem. And a weak central government whose mandate expires later this year.

Representatives from close to 50 countries and international organizations will gather Thursday in London for a conference on how to stabilize and rebuild Somalia after decades of war. The session aims to galvanize the international community to develop a more comprehensive approach to tackling these ills.

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Filed under: Africa • Al Qaeda • Al-Shabaab • Diplomacy • Piracy • Somalia • Terrorism
February 22nd, 2012
06:40 PM ET

Military: Thousands of troops needed to secure Syrian chemical sites

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. military has calculated it could take more than 75,000 ground troops to secure Syria's chemical warfare facilities if they were at risk of being looted or left unguarded, CNN has learned.

The conclusion comes from a military analysis of options for Syria that the Department of Defense is preparing for president should he request it, according to a senior U.S. official.

Securing Syria's chemical sites would be "extraordinarily difficult" given the scope of the problem, a Department of Defense official told CNN. FULL POST

February 22nd, 2012
02:37 PM ET

A shadow war from Bangkok to Baku

By Tim Lister

The video, shot by a bystander, is horrific.  A man lies on a Bangkok street, his legs severed below the knee. He is Saeid Moradi, a 28-year old Iranian, injured on February 14 as he tried to throw a device at police.

Minutes earlier, an explosion had rocked the house rented by Moradi and two other Iranians in the Sukhumvit Road area of the Thai capital. (Watch one of the suspects take Thai police to the scene of the explosion)

They left the house before being confronted by police. All three are now under arrest - one detained in neighboring Malaysia as he tried to board a plane for Tehran. FULL POST

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Filed under: Georgia • India • Iran • Israel • Middle East • Thailand
The site Iran doesn't want inspectors to see
A 2004 satellite image of the Parchin facility
February 22nd, 2012
01:57 PM ET

The site Iran doesn't want inspectors to see

By Adam Levine, with reporting from the CNN Wires team

Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency left Iran on Tuesday unable to fully investigate Iran's nuclear program.

One site in particular remains a flashpoint. Iran refused to allow a team from the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to visit its military base at Parchin, southeast of Tehran, during a just completed two-day visit, the IAEA said.

According to November's IAEA report, Parchin may have been the site of tests of high explosives that could be used to detonate a nuclear bomb - experiments the agency called "strong indicators of possible weapon development." FULL POST

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Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Nuclear • Satellite imagery
February 22nd, 2012
12:40 PM ET

Al-Shabaab and instability in Somalia

Children as young as 10 years old increasingly face horrific abuse in war-torn Somalia as the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab has targeted them to replenish its diminishing ranks of fighters, according to a new Human Rights Watch report.

The report was released ahead of a Somalia conference hosted by the British government. On Thursday, senior representatives from more than 40 governments will converge on London in a diplomatic push to find political solutions to restore stability in Somalia. CNN's Elise Labott explains why attendees are facing a tough and complicated challenge in coordinating an international approach to problems like Somali piracy and terrorism springing from the African nation's many years of lawlessness.

Great Britain is hosting the conference, in part, because Al-Shabaab has been recruiting in the U.K. CNN's Nima Elbajir describes "mini-Mogadishu's" across cities in Britain.  These seeming store fronts are actually cafes where Somalis congregate and talk, and possibly where young Somalis are recruited to become terrorists.

Al-Shabaab, which is reportedly tightening its ties to the al Qaeda terror network, is a militant Islamist group that controls much of southern Somalia and is active around the capital, Somalia. It has waged an insurgency against the weak Transitional Federal Government since 2007. More about how the group started

FULL POST


Filed under: Africa • Al-Shabaab • Piracy • Somalia
Wanted: Women in top military roles
February 22nd, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Wanted: Women in top military roles

From Paula Broadwell, Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Paula Broadwell is the author of “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus”

The Department of Defense announced last week that 14,000 combat-related positions in front-line support units and combat battalions would soon be open to women. In part, that simply recognizes what women have been doing for the last decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan .

The announcement is a small step in the right direction, but female military leaders need more opportunities – now. The Pentagon needs to expand experimental programs for women to gain leadership experience because most current openings are filled by candidates who have experience leading combat brigades and battalions, e.g., male officers. Women are qualified to serve as officers in combat units that will prepare them for senior levels of leadership, and they want to. Without that experience, however, the pathway to the top is a very narrow one. FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Justice Department • Military
February 22nd, 2012
05:27 AM ET

2 Western journalists killed in Syria, opposition activists say

Washington (CNN) - Two Western journalists were killed Wednesday in the Syrian city of Homs amidst heavy shelling from government forces, opposition activists said.

The Sunday Times of London said one of the journalists reportedly killed was staffer Marie Colvin - the only British newspaper journalist inside the besieged Syrian enclave of Baba Amr.

Colvin was on air with CNN on Tuesday night, recalling how she watched a young boy die after his house was struck by shelling.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Diplomacy • Military • Syria
Mother visits American condemned to die in Iran
The mother of Amir Hekmati visited her son last month, sources close to the family said.
February 22nd, 2012
05:23 AM ET

Mother visits American condemned to die in Iran

(CNN) – The mother of Amir Hekmati, an American sentenced to death in Iran for espionage, visited her son last month, sources close to the family said.

Behnaz Hekmati traveled to Iran alone at the end of January and was able to see her son. She has since returned back to Flint, Michigan.

Hekmati, who served in the U.S. Marines from 2001 to 2005, was arrested in August while visiting his grandmother and other relatives in Iran. His family has said he made the trip after obtaining permission from the Iranian Interests Section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.

FULL POST


Filed under: Iran • Middle East
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