March 19th, 2012
04:45 PM ET

Bales to be tried in United States

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, being held for alleged killing of 16 Afghan villagers earlier this month, will be tried in the United States, a military official told reporters in Afghanistan.  Afghan officials had called for a public trial in Afghanistan. But after Bales was whisked out of the country last week to Kuwait, and finally to Kansas on Friday, it seemed highly improbable the the U.S. military was not going to be holding a trial in Afghanistan. FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • SSGT Robert Bales
March 19th, 2012
03:08 PM ET

U.S. was told American businessman was missing in Iraq

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad was informed an American businessman had gone missing in the same month the businessman said he was kidnapped by Iraqi militia, the State Department spokeswoman said.  The revelation is the latest twist in the case of Randy Hultz who was freed by militia loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr this weekend but nobody seemed to know he had been abducted.

On Monday, the State Department's Victoria Nuland  said there was an attempt to find Hultz when he went missing last June, but after a search the U.S. embassy assumed he had left the country and stopped the inquiry.

Here is what Victoria Nuland said at Monday's State Department briefing: FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq • Middle East • State Department
Study: Huge increase in Syria's weapons purchases in recent years
Syria bought 36 Pantsir-S1 air defense systems from Russia, a new report said
March 19th, 2012
01:34 PM ET

Study: Huge increase in Syria's weapons purchases in recent years

Syria's imports of weapons increased nearly sixfold between 2007 and 2011 compared to the previous five-year period, a new study found.

The bulk of Syria's military weapons came from Russia, according to the report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Russia's arms sales to Syria have come under fire by U.S. officials. The Pentagon has been pressured by a group of senators to end a multimillion dollar U.S. military contract with Russia for helicopter parts for use by the Afghanistan air force. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Arab Spring • Israel • Middle East • Military • Russia • Syria
Al Qaeda leader's brother to be freed in Egypt
The brother of al Qaeda's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (pictured) is to be freed after 13 years in jail
March 19th, 2012
01:08 PM ET

Al Qaeda leader's brother to be freed in Egypt

From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, reporting from Cairo

Mohamed al-Zawahiri, brother of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, will be freed from prison in Egypt after 13 years, his attorney said Monday.

He was acquitted by an Egyptian military court and will be released Tuesday, said attorney Nizar Ghorab.

Mohamed al-Zawahiri was imprisoned in 1999 after being detained and extradited from the United Arab Emirates on allegations that he was linked to the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Al-Zawahiri was acquitted on the assassination charges but later was accused of conspiring against the Egyptian government. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Al Qaeda • Al-Zawahiri • Egypt