By Jill Dougherty
The U.S. has released de-classifed aerial reconnaissance photos of Syria, showing the level of compliance by government forces with an international plan to establish a cease fire which calls upon the Syrian government to remove its tropps and heavy weapons from their locations around cities no later than April 10, 2012.
The Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, currently in the United States after he was withdrawn from Damascus, writes in a commentary, that "there are some locales where the Syrian government did remove some forces, such as Da’el in Daraa province and Taftanaz in Idlib, following several days of assaults against the towns."
In some other places, he says, such as Homs and Zabadani the Syrian government kept artillery units near residential areas where they could again fire upon them.
In the absence of journalists, Ford says, "U.S. and other governments have other means, including the satellites that took these images, of verifying the regime's compliance or lack thereof. The regime and the Syrian people should know that we are watching. The regime cannot hide the truth."
By Jamie Crawford
North Korea may have begun to stack the rocket for an upcoming missile launch, according to an academic group's analysis of a recent satellite image.
The blog 38 North, run by the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, had access to an April 4 image from a commercial satellite firm that showed what is consistent with operations to erect a rocket in anticipation of launch.
The image revealed some sort of enclosure around the work platform of the mobile launch pad that had not been seen in previous satellite images.
By Jill Dougherty
Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers are supposed to begin in one week in Istanbul, but there's a hitch: Iranian officials at the last minute have been tossing out proposals for alternate locations, such as Beijing, Damascus or Baghdad.
U.S. officials are drumming their fingers, eyes on the clock. "We are ready to get down to business and get this process moving forward," one senior official told CNN.
Hitches and glitches with Iran are nothing new. Last month President Barack Obama accused Iranian officials of "hemming and hawing and stalling and avoiding the issues."
But now, squeezed by biting economic sanctions from the international community, Tehran says it's ready to talk.
By Mohammed Jamjoon
A number of relatives of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh were replaced Friday in a major shakeup of the military, though two prominent members of his family remained in powerful military posts.
Friday's moves were announced in a statement by a spokesman for the Yemen Embassy in Washington and attributed to the current president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.
"President Hadi promised major change in the military, and tonight that promise was delivered," said Mohammed Albasha, the embassy spokesman. "This is the biggest military shakeup in modern Yemen history."
By Carol Cratty
A Maryland man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday for plotting to blow up a military recruiting station.
Antonio Martinez, a Muslim convert also known as Muhammad Hussain, pleaded guilty in January to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
Martinez was arrested on December 8, 2010, after he tried to set off a bomb at the armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland. The FBI became aware of Martinez's intentions and started an undercover operation. Investigators made sure the materials in what appeared to be a bomb were inert.
By Michael Pearson and Moni Basu
A Marine Corps board has recommended that a politically active Marine sergeant who questioned President Barack Obama's authority be dismissed from service with an "other than honorable" discharge.
Sgt. Gary Stein, who posted anti-Obama comments on his Facebook page, stands accused of violating a catch-all military justice provision against conduct endangering "good order and discipline."
He is also accused of violating a Department of Defense policy limiting the political activities of service members.
By Jamie Crawford
As an agreement for the United States to resume food aid to North Korea lies in tatters over the North's upcoming launch of a long-range rocket, there is a palpable sense of apprehension and anger over the launch in the reclusive regime's own backyard.
From South Korea to Japan and China, the Philippines, Russia and Australia, a varying chorus of anger and disappointment is being directed toward the Stalinist state in advance of the launch, expected later this month. The question now is what happens after the rocket leaves the launching pad.