Could Russia help push out al-Assad?
June 4th, 2012
09:21 PM ET

Could Russia help push out al-Assad?

By Jill Dougherty

Last December, media reports surfaced in the Middle East that Russia had a plan to solve the Syrian conflict: have President Bashar al-Assad step aside for a transitional period and let his vice president, Farouk al-Shara, take over until elections could be held. Moscow would give al-Assad political asylum or find him a refuge.

Russian officials refused to confirm those reports but the plan got a spy-novel name - the Yemensky Variant - because of its similarity to the transition plan that led to the ouster of former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh who handed over power to his vice president, clearing the way to elections.
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U.S. and NATO secure exit route from Afghanistan
June 4th, 2012
06:09 PM ET

U.S. and NATO secure exit route from Afghanistan

By Mike Mount

U.S. and NATO equipment will have a guaranteed route out of Afghanistan after an agreement with Central Asian countries allowing the alliance to completely cut out the shorter Pakistani access routes NATO has used for years.

In a Monday press conference in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that a deal had been struck between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to allow the alliance's equipment to be moved through their territories.  A deal already set with Russia will allow the equipment to be moved directly though land into Europe, and to air bases to fly the U.S. equipment home.

Pentagon officials said talks with the Pakistanis on opening the ground routes through Pakistan to the southern port of Karachi are still ongoing, but have yet to produce an agreement to re-open the routes, known as Ground Lines of Communication or (GLOC). FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Military • NATO • Pakistan • Rasmussen
June 4th, 2012
05:55 PM ET

Tensions and the war on terrorism

A new book tells of tensions in the Obama White House during the campaign against al Qaeda. Daniel Klaidman, the author of " Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency," talks to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Obama • Terrorism
June 4th, 2012
02:22 PM ET

Live round in leg, bravery saves the day

The inside story of how troops risked their own life to transport and save Lance Cpl. Winder Perez who had an unexploded rocket propelled grenade embedded in his leg.  Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr talks to the troops involved.

June 4th, 2012
11:00 AM ET

Convictions in Scandinavian 'Mumbai-style' terror plot

By Paul Cruickshank

Four men behind what officials describe as the most serious Islamist terrorist plot ever hatched in Scandinavia were convicted of the plot Monday in a courthouse in Glostrup, just outside of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Three Swedish nationals and a Tunisian resident of Sweden were found guilty of targeting Jyllands Posten, the Copenhagen-based newspaper responsible for publishing controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The court ruled there was no doubt about their plan to attack and sentenced each of the men to 12 years in prison.

Counterterrorism officials in the United States and Scandinavia believe the plot was directed by al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan.

Authorities contend the four suspects planned a gun attack on the newspaper, to be followed by "the execution" of hostages.

Read the whole story here

Decades after war, US and Vietnam swap slain troops' papers
June 4th, 2012
04:45 AM ET

Decades after war, US and Vietnam swap slain troops' papers

By the CNN Wire Staff

Nearly four decades after the end of the Vietnam War, the United States and Vietnam exchanged personal papers taken from the dead bodies of each others' troops for the first time, the Pentagon announced Monday.

On a historic visit to Hanoi, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta handed over a diary taken by a U.S. Marine from the body of Vietnamese soldier Vu Dinh Doan in 1966.

In exchange, Vietnamese Defense Minister Phuong Quang Thanh gave Panetta letters taken from the body of U.S. Army Sgt. Steve Flaherty in 1969 and later used in Vietnamese propaganda broadcasts.

Read the full CNN.com story here.

Pentagon spokesman George Little provided more details: FULL POST

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Filed under: Panetta • Pentagon • Vietnam
Is not planning for more defense cuts the right plan?
June 4th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Is not planning for more defense cuts the right plan?

By Mike Mount

It is said that the "P" in Pentagon stands for planning. Military personnel and civilians alike plan for everything inside that building - wars, peace, exercises, humanitarian operations, even how to get the almost 25,000 employees out of the building for a fire drill.

So why is it, from the secretary of defense on down, there is nobody planning for a massive half-a-trillion dollars in potential cuts coming in about six months?

Well, according to the secretary other senior DoD leaders, publicly they are not planning because they have not been given direction to do so.

First of all, let's start with what this is all about.

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Filed under: Congress • Defense Spending • Military • Panetta • Sequestration