Kuwait to host a significant amount of U.S. troops
A soldier fires during a weapon qualification at the Udairi range, near Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
June 19th, 2012
06:21 PM ET

Kuwait to host a significant amount of U.S. troops

By Jennifer Rizzo

The United States has approximately 15,000 troops in Kuwait, according to a Senate report released Tuesday, the first time the number has been disclosed.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee report looked at how to best promote U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf region after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq last year, the ongoing Arab Spring uprisings and the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

It concluded in part that a "lily pad" model of having bases throughout the region to allow for a rapid escalation of military forces is a sound approach.

The Kuwaiti bases "offer the United States major staging hubs, training ranges, and logistical support for regional operations," the report said. "U.S. forces also operate Patriot missile batteries in Kuwait, which are vital to theater missile defense."
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Filed under: Dempsey • Kuwait • Middle East • Military
Mixed reports about whether Mubarak has died
June 19th, 2012
05:38 PM ET

Mixed reports about whether Mubarak has died

Reports conflicted Wednesday over whether the 84-year-old former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, had died.

The state-run Middle East News Agency, citing medical sources, said he was declared clinically dead shortly after arriving late Tuesday night at a military hospital in Cairo, where he was taken after suffering a stroke and cardiac arrest earlier in the day.

But Gen. Mamdouh Shaheen, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, told CNN, "He is not clinically dead as reported, but his health is deteriorating and he is in critical condition."

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Filed under: Egypt • Security Brief
Afghan insurgents strike U.S. outpost
Afghan police near joint Afghan/NATO base in Kandahar that was scene of an insurgent attack
June 19th, 2012
02:28 PM ET

Afghan insurgents strike U.S. outpost

By Barbara Starr

A band of Afghan insurgents breached a small U.S. outpost in southern Afghanistan early Tuesday, wounding nine coalition troops before all but one of the attackers were killed, two U.S. officials said.

The U.S. officials said at least eight insurgents somehow made their way into the security perimeter at Forward Operating Base Frontenac, in the Arghandab River valley. The area has been the scene of extensive insurgent activity in recent years.

Seven of the attackers were killed and the lone survivor was wounded, the officials said. Neither official could explain how the breach occurred, but initial reports indicate officials believe the insurgents might have had help from Afghan security personnel.

Tuesday's attack follows an incident Monday in which three gunmen in Afghan police uniforms fired on American troops in another location in southern Afghanistan, killing one and wounding several others.

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Court: Pakistani prime minister ineligible to serve
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
June 19th, 2012
09:26 AM ET

Court: Pakistani prime minister ineligible to serve

By Reza Sayah in Islamabad

In a move that could reignite a political crisis in Pakistan, the nation's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is ineligible to hold office.

The seven-member court declared the prime minister disqualified retroactive to April 26, the day he was convicted of contempt charges. Those stemmed from his refusal to call on Swiss authorities to reopen old corruption charges against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

"Since no appeal was filed against this judgment, the conviction has attained finality. Therefore, Syed Yousuf Gilani has become disqualified from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament)," according to the Supreme Court ruling, read in the court by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

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Filed under: Pakistan
June 19th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

The "whack-a-mole" strategy of pulling terrorist videos offline

By Suzanne Kelly and Pam Benson

From the new head of al Qaeda core, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to terror propagandist Ayman al-Awlaki, using the Internet to spread the jihadist message is a tool of the trade for terrorists.

In the last six months of 2011, Google agreed to remove some 640 terrorist videos from YouTube at the request of law enforcement officials in the United Kingdom, because the videos violated the company's guidelines. The disclosure was contained in Google's biannual Transparency Report, which provides data on government requests from throughout the world to remove content from Google's YouTube and search websites.

Aaron Zelin, who started monitoring jihadist websites in 2002 in Washington, has seen a myriad of propaganda and do-it-yourself terror tricks posted in the form of videos. 

The problem with trying to take some of the more egregious material off the Internet, said Zelin, is that it has a way of popping right back up again. 

"In a sense, [it's] a whack-a-mole type of thing where especially activists in the West create 20 or 30 YouTube accounts, and they primarily use one and then if somebody flags, it they just take it down and go to the next one. So it's sort of this cat-and-mouse game that you're playing," said Zelin, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 

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Iranian dissident group warned delisting from US terror not guaranteed
Iranian-Americans rally outside the White House to urge the administration to remove the MEK, from the State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organizations List.
June 19th, 2012
12:00 AM ET

Iranian dissident group warned delisting from US terror not guaranteed

By Jamie Crawford

The United States warned an Iranian dissident group that it may have "over-interpreted" recent events, and should not presume its removal from the U.S. terror list is guaranteed.

The Obama administration has told Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) an orderly departure from its base Camp Ashraf inside Iraq will be a central condition to any decision regarding the group's removal from the list.

From Camp Ashraf, the residents travel by convoy under United Nations and Iraqi government auspices to a former U.S. base in Iraq where they can be processed and eventually re-settled to countries in Europe and elsewhere.

Some 2,000 MEK members have left Camp Ashraf since the process began, but none have moved since May 5. Some 1,200 to 1,400 still remain at Camp Ashraf.
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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iran • Iraq • M.E.K. • Secretary of State