"Little movement" on Syria
March 12th, 2012
06:23 PM ET

"Little movement" on Syria

By Jill Dougherty and Jamie Crawford

Even before their meeting at the United Nations began Monday, it was downgraded from a talk over breakfast to a quick discussion of what can be done immediately to end the descent into seemingly unstoppable violence in Syria.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov "constructive."

A senior administration official told CNN it was "pretty straightforward. ... No drama but little movement."

Another senior administration official described the meeting as "workmanlike." FULL POST

March 12th, 2012
04:57 PM ET

Shooting suspect was trained sniper

The soldier detained for the shootings in Afghanistan was a qualified infantry sniper, a senior Department of Defense official told CNN. (See also: heightened security in Afghanistan)

The soldier was injured in a vehicle rollover while in Iraq in 2010, according to the official. The official described it as a non-combat rollover. He was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) but was found fit for duty. FULL POST

March 12th, 2012
03:44 PM ET

Some security heightened in Afghanistan

From Chris Lawrence

Some U.S. commanders in Afghanistan are instituting heightened security in the wake of recent events to protect against potential retaliation. Some of the precautions were put in place in the wake of the Quran burning incident, a senior defense official tells CNN.

The measures include adding a second U.S. soldier to watch towers, where before there was one American and one Afghan on watch. American and Afghan forces live together on many of the smaller bases and outposts, and on some of these the U.S. has instituted a 24-hour guard of their barracks.

FULL POST

Pentagon: War strategy not changing
March 12th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

Pentagon: War strategy not changing

By Chris Lawrence

The Pentagon continued to call the mass shooting in Afghanistan "an isolated incident," and that the overall mission has not changed. "Despite what some are saying, we not changing our fundamental strategy," says Pentagon spokesman George Little.

Little's comments echoed that of administration officials assertion to White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar that the massacre will not derail discussions on the role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Obama • Pentagon
Final deployment for the USS Enterprise
March 12th, 2012
11:53 AM ET

Final deployment for the USS Enterprise

The legendary aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, America's oldest active-duty warship, was steaming in the Atlantic on Monday on the last deployment of its 50-year career.

The carrier and its crew of 3,100 left Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia on Sunday in the ship's 22nd deployment. The ship's air wing and other naval staff aboard add another 1,500 personnel.

Read the story on This Just In.


Filed under: Navy
March 12th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Afghanistan shooting suspect moved

The soldier at the center of the Afghanistan shootings has been moved from the outpost where he served to detention in a larger U.S. base in Afghanistan, a military official tells Barbara Starr.

More details are emerging about the soldier, an Army staff sergeant, who acted alone and turned himself in after opening fire on civilians, according to officials from NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF.  He is in U.S. custody as investigators try to establish what motivated him. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Army • Gen. Allen • ISAF • Military
Analysis: Stopping Syria, via Russia
March 12th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Analysis: Stopping Syria, via Russia

By Elise Labott, CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter

The Obama administration has gone to great lengths to explain why all options for stopping the violence in Syria are fraught with difficulty. But there is one route that the administration believes would go a long way to changing thinking in Damascus, and the path goes right through Moscow.

As administration officials - from the White House to the State Department, from the Pentagon to the intelligence community - explain, the opposition is comprised of many small groups, and the parts so far do not add up to a united whole. That opposition, which Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, numbered at around 100 different groups, has not united and has failed to rally the entire country against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Arming the opposition would be futile against Syria's strong defenses and could lead to a chaotic civil war that could turn Syria into a safe haven for al Qaeda, administration officials argue. Military intervention, well, is out of the question, at least for now.

Which is why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been focused like a laser on turning Moscow into a member of the "Friends of the Syrian people," rather than what the United States considers a friend of the al-Assad regime.

FULL POST

Bigger threat – Iran or North Korea?
March 12th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Bigger threat – Iran or North Korea?

By Adam Levine

There's no question, the U.S. is approaching the two most pressing nuclear threats differently.

One country, for the time being, seems ready to engage with the U.S. and others on changing its nuclear course. That's North Korea. That's at least for time being.

The other country, Iran, has suggested it would be willing to engage with the international community on its nuclear program to a degree but questions remain about how serious the offer is.

Which leads us to this little noticed question to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Friday. Speaking to reporters in Hawaii, Panetta was asked, basically, why is everyone so much crazier about Iran than North Korea. FULL POST

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Filed under: Diplomacy • IAEA • Iran • Kim Jong-un • Middle East • North Korea • Nuclear • Six-Party Talks