Clinton tries to rally partners on Iran, Syria
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz sit during a meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, on March 30, 2012.
March 30th, 2012
08:30 PM ET

Clinton tries to rally partners on Iran, Syria

By Jill Dougherty

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (CNN) - Kicking off a short but intense trip to the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is looking for help from America's friends in the region to address complex security challenges in Iran and Syria.

At her first stop Friday in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, Clinton briefed King Abdullah on plans for a meeting two weeks from now, at which Iran says its officials will discuss its nuclear program.

Clinton also discussed Saudi pledges to keep global oil supplies strong, at a time more nations are signing on to U.S.-led sanctions that require them to bar imports of Iranian oil.
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March 30th, 2012
03:33 PM ET

Internal debate preceded sending of 9/11 remains to landfill

By Jennifer Rizzo

U.S. Defense Department officials debated how to dispose of more than 1,000 unidentified human remains from victims of the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon that ultimately ended up in a Delaware landfill, according to newly released documents.  The internal discussion about what to do with the remains were released as part of an investigation into the workings of the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base.

Read more about the investigation here.

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Filed under: Dover • Military • Terrorism
U.S. targets Syrian defense minister
Syrian Defense Minister General Dawood Rajiha (L) is greeted on board during a visit to the Russian aircraft carrier Kuznetsov, in the port of Tartous in January.
March 30th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

U.S. targets Syrian defense minister

By Jamie Crawford

The United States sanctioned three senior Syrian officials in President Bashar al-Assad's regime Friday as the yearlong violence in the country showed no signs of letting up.

Dawood Rajiha, Syria's defense minister; Munir Adanov, a senior Syrian Army official; and Zuhayr Shalish, the head of presidential security, were targeted in the action announced by the Treasury Department.

"The U.S. and the international community will hold to account those who stand with the Assad regime as it trains the instruments of war against Syrian civilians," David S. Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a written statement. "The time has long since passed for Syrian officials at all levels to turn their backs on this bloody regime."
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Filed under: Assad • Sanctions • Syria • Treasury
Pakistan police detail Osama bin Laden's life on the run
March 30th, 2012
02:28 PM ET

Pakistan police detail Osama bin Laden's life on the run

Osama bin Laden spent years on the run in various parts of Pakistan after the 2001 terrorist attacks, moving from one safe house to another and fathering four children, and at least one was born in a government hospital, his youngest widow has told Pakistani investigators.

The deposition of the widow, identified by police as Amal Ahmed Abdul Fateh, gives the clearest picture yet of bin Laden's life while international forces hunted him.

The Yemeni woman's statement confirms beliefs about the al Qaeda leader's evasion of authorities and raises questions about the Pakistanis who helped him keep a low profile. FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism
Obama decides oil supply sufficient to further sanction Iran
March 30th, 2012
02:20 PM ET

Obama decides oil supply sufficient to further sanction Iran

By Steve Hargreaves from CNNMoney

President Obama ratcheted up the pressure on Iran Friday, deciding to implement previously announced sanctions that will be the toughest to date.

The decision declares that world oil markets can be adequately supplied even if a significant portion of Iran's 2.2 million barrels a day in oil exports is taken off the table.

Previously, the Obama administration determined 11 countries, 10  in the European Union and Japan, had significantly reduced their Iran oil purchases and should not be subject to new U.S. sanctions.  But 12 others did not meet those requirements, including China, India and South Korea.

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Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Obama • Sanctions • State Department
Analysis: The Afghan balance sheet – a transition to ‘good enough’
U.S. soldiers keep watch at the entrance of a military base near Alkozai following the shooting of Afghan civilians this month.
March 30th, 2012
10:46 AM ET

Analysis: The Afghan balance sheet – a transition to ‘good enough’

By Tim Lister, CNN

The balance sheet for the first quarter of 2012 in Afghanistan does not make for cheerful reading. In fact, it is steeped in red.

In the debit column: a spike in attacks on NATO troops by Afghan soldiers, the Kandahar massacre allegedly carried out by a U.S. soldier and deadly protests prompted by the burning of Qurans.

Add to that slow progress in subduing the Taliban (especially in east Afghanistan), the glacial revival of the U.S. relationship with Pakistan and the growing impatience of NATO members, from Ottawa to Paris, to head for the exit and the outlook doesn’t seem bright.

On the credit side, some of the goals laid out by President Barack Obama in his 2009 speech at West Point, when he announced an increase of 30,000 in U.S. troop numbers, are within sight. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Karzai • Military • Petraeus • Taliban
CNN poll: Afghan war support hits new low
March 30th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

CNN poll: Afghan war support hits new low

Support for the war in Afghanistan has fallen to an all-time low with the majority of Americans saying the U.S. should withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan before the 2014 deadline set by the Obama administration, according to CNN's latest poll.

The CNN/ORC International survey released Friday indicated only 25% of Americans favored the war in the Asian country. A majority of Republicans voiced opposition to it, for the first time since the war began in 2001.

Just 37% of the general public said things are going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan, while only 34% said America is winning the war. The approval likely contributed to the 55% of those surveyed who said the U.S. should remove all of its troops from the country before 2014.

Read more about the poll on CNN's Political Ticker 


Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • Obama • Politics
U.S., Pakistan talking about changes in drone ops, official says
Predator drone armed with missiles on tarmac in Kandahar, Afghanistan
March 30th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

U.S., Pakistan talking about changes in drone ops, official says

By Pam Benson

The Obama administration is talking with the Pakistanis about possible changes in the way the U.S. conducts air strikes against terrorists in Pakistan, including providing Pakistan advance notice of attacks, modifying the targets and changing how targets are determined, according to a senior U.S. official who is involved in intelligence matters.

The official, who would not speak for attribution because of the sensitivity of the issues, said the White House is making a serious mistake by putting the options on the table for the Pakistanis to seize.

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Syrian opposition leader: We're going to ask for arms, more help
President Bashar al-Assad addresses soldiers during his visit to the Baba Amr neighbourhood in the restive city of Homs on March 27, 2012.
March 30th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Syrian opposition leader: We're going to ask for arms, more help

By Jill Dougherty

A leading member of the Syrian opposition says their leaders, who hope to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later this week, will request more assistance as the siege by Bashar al-Assad's government continues.

Leaders of the Syrian National Council, the largest opposition group, will attend the "Friends of Syria" meeting in Istanbul this weekend. The meeting, a follow-up to an earlier gathering in Tunisia, will focus on ways to put a stop to the carnage in Syria and support a transition to democracy.

Representatives from 60 countries are invited.
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