Panetta on Pakistan: At least we're talking
June 29th, 2012
06:52 PM ET

Panetta on Pakistan: At least we're talking

By Jennifer Rizzo

In frank remarks Friday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the fact that discussions are even taking place to reopen Pakistan's supply routes into Afghanistan is a good sign, an inidcator of the rift in U.S. and Pakistan relations.

"We continue to have a line of communication with the Pakistanis to try to see if we can take steps to reopen the (Ground Lines of Communication)," Panetta said. "And the good news is that there continues to be those discussions."

Pakistan shut down the key supply routes, stretching from Afghanistan through the lawless western tribal regions of Pakistan and down to the southern port of Karachi, in November after dozens of its troops were killed in a mistaken U.S. airstrike.
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Filed under: Military • Pakistan • Panetta • Panetta • Pentagon • Secretary of Defense • Security Brief
June 29th, 2012
06:37 PM ET

Vietnamese national charged with helping Yemen-based terror group

By Carol Cratty

A Vietnamese national has been charged with aiding al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and receiving military training from the terror group, the Justice Department announced Friday.

According to an indictment, 29 year old Minh Quang Pham traveled from the United Kingdom to Yemen in December 2010. There, he allegedly swore an oath to AQAP, got military training, carried an automatic weapon and helped with the group's online propaganda work. Court documents say that while in Yemen, he worked with two American citizens who are not identified in the indictment.

Pham is not accused of involvement in any plots against the U.S. However, he faces five counts including conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism, receiving military training from a terrorist organization and possessing guns to further crimes of violence. If convicted on all charges Pham faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Pham was arrested Friday in the United Kingdom, where he'd previously been held in immigration custody.

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Filed under: AQAP • Terrorism • Yemen
June 29th, 2012
06:24 PM ET

US prepared to help Turkey with finding downed plane

By Barbara Starr

The US is prepared to offer Turkey help in locating the undersea wreckage of its jet shot down by Syria last week according to a senior US official.  “We are prepared to assist in the search and recovery of the downed wreckage,” the official said. 

Turkey still must make an official request for assistance. But the official also noted there is a security complication. Because the aircraft is believed to be in international waters but quite close to Syrian waters, the US wants some assurances from Syria it will not fire on, or attack the recovery effort. It's likely that overture to Syria for security assurances would be made by Turkey or a third party the official said.

He also strongly suggested any recovery would likely be carried out by a commercial salvage operation rather than US military assets. The official declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Syrians defiant as world powers plan for talks
Smoke rises after an explosion Thursday near the Palace of Justice in central Damascus, Syria
June 29th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

Syrians defiant as world powers plan for talks

International envoy Kofi Annan expressed optimism Friday that the latest talks on the crisis in Syria will yield "an appropriate outcome," despite a failed peace plan and relentless violence in the Middle East nation.

Diplomats prepared for a weekend emergency meeting in Switzerland as grass-roots anger against Bashar al-Assad's regime spread across Syria and protesters praised Free Syrian Army rebels with shouts of "FSA forever!"

"We're confident that God's victory is near," marchers chanted Friday in nationwide demonstrations against the government.

"We will no longer kneel to anyone but God," emboldened protesters shouted near the presidential palace in central Damascus. They lambasted al-Assad's family with cries of "We are coming after you, may God curse your soul."

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Filed under: Syria
Pakistani view of U.S. reaches new low
Pakistani protesters shout slogans beside a burning NATO flag during a demonstration against drone attacks in Multan on June 27, 2012. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
June 29th, 2012
10:03 AM ET

Pakistani view of U.S. reaches new low

By Jamie Crawford

With most of the official relationship between the United States and Pakistan currently in tatters, a new poll shows Pakistani public opinion toward the U.S. in an equally distressing state.

As much as 74% of Pakistanis consider the United States to be an enemy, according to the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitude Project. The figure is up from 69% a year ago, and 64% three years ago, according to the organization.

The survey comes at a time when the United States is working with the Pakistani government to negotiate the reopening of overland supply routes into Afghanistan after a NATO airstrike last November mistakenly killed 24 members of the Pakistani military.

U.S. President Barack Obama fared no better in Pakistani public opinion, according to Pew. Of the 15 countries surveyed in both 2008 and 2012 in the same survey, Pakistan was the only country where Obama rated no better than former President George W. Bush did during his final year in office.
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Filed under: Pakistan