Ft. Hood shooter trial delayed
August 17th, 2012
05:10 PM ET

Ft. Hood shooter trial delayed

By Mike Mount

A military appeals court halted the murder case against Maj. Nidal Hasan indefinitely on Friday to sort out issues surrounding a judge's threat to shave the beard the Army psychiatrist grew while awaiting trial in the 2009 Fort Hood killings.

The court martial was originally stopped on Wednesday and Hassan was fined $1,000 for remaining bearded, which violates Army regulations. The military judge in the case, U.S. Army Col. Gregory Gross, had previously held that Hassan's beard disrupts the court proceedings and held him in contempt of court five times, the Army said in a news release.

Hasan's court-martial had been scheduled to start Monday at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he is accused of killing 13 people and wounding another 32. Gross, had threatened to have him forcibly shaved unless he got rid of the beard on his own.
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Filed under: Nidal Hasan
Survey: Syrian opposition want 'no-fly' zone
August 17th, 2012
03:33 PM ET

Survey: Syrian opposition want 'no-fly' zone

By Jill Dougherty

Members of the Syrian opposition support international armed intervention in their country, including establishing a "no-fly" zone, humanitarian corridors and training Free Syrian Army fighters, but they do not support an international presence on the ground, a survey showed.

The survey of the Syrian opposition was conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports democracy around the world.

It is funded by the U.S. Congress, the State Department and private donations. A quarter of the respondents gave the umbrella opposition organization, the Syrian National Council (SNC), high ratings for legitimacy. But the survey also showed that the council is struggling to consolidate its appeal to a broad section of Syrians who support the opposition movement.
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U.S. out of Middle East: an Egyptian general's candid paper
August 17th, 2012
01:20 PM ET

U.S. out of Middle East: an Egyptian general's candid paper

By Jennifer Rizzo

The new second in command of the Egyptian military called for a withdrawal of American forces from the Middle East in a research paper he wrote while attending the U.S. Army War College in 2005.

The paper offers a glimpse into the thinking of Lt. Gen. Sedky Sobhy, who is the newly appointed chief of staff of the armed forces as part of shakeup of the military's top echelon.

"I recommend that the permanent withdrawal of the United States military forces from the Middle East and the (Persian) Gulf should be a goal of the U.S. strategy in this region," he wrote in the paper reviewed by CNN.

Sobhy criticized the United States for playing favorites by taking Israel's side on issues. He wrote that the U.S. alliance with Israel did not sit well in the region.

"Nothing defines better the ideological struggle that the United States has to overcome in the Middle East than the hostility and negative perceptions that exist in the region because of the U.S. unique and one-sided strategic relationship with Israel," Sobhy wrote.

Sobhy said that security challenges for the United States in the region would be alleviated if it were to "truly work" for a permanent solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

While the comments seem bold, Middle East analysts told CNN's Security Clearance that these views are rather common in the region.
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Filed under: Egypt • Mohamed Morsey
August 17th, 2012
12:43 PM ET

First on CNN: All troops now armed at NATO HQ in Kabul

By Barbara Starr Masoud Popalzai and Chelsea Carter

The uptick in attacks by Afghan security forces against coalition troops has hit home, with all troops at NATO headquarters and all bases across Afghanistan now ordered to carry loaded weapons around the clock, CNN learned Friday.

Gen. John Allen, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, ordered the move, according to a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the orders. The order, made in recent days, was divulged amid two more so-called green-on-blue or insider attacks Friday.

An Afghan police officer opened fire on U.S. troops in Farah province in southwestern Afghanistan, killing two service members, the NATO-led command said. Two International Security Assistance Force troops and an Afghan service member was wounded by another Afghan service member in Kandahar province, in the south.

The order comes as coalition forces adopt and study measures aimed at thwarting such attacks.
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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF
Putin song lands punk band in jail
Members of the all-girl punk band "Pussy Riot" Yekaterina Samutsevich (L), Maria Alyokhina (C) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) sit in a glass-walled cage during a court hearing in Moscow on Agust 17, 2012.
August 17th, 2012
11:02 AM ET

Putin song lands punk band in jail

Three members of Russian female punk rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison Friday after they were found guilty of hooliganism for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in a church.

The five months they have spent in detention since their arrests in March count toward the sentence, Judge Marina Sirovaya said.

The judge said the charges against the three women - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - had been proved by witnesses and the facts.

The Pussy Riot members were charged after screaming, "Mother Mary, please drive Putin away," in a protest act in February inside Christ Savior Cathedral, one of Moscow's grandest houses of worship.

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Filed under: Putin • Russia
August 17th, 2012
05:48 AM ET

2 more US soldier deaths after Taliban claims it has infiltrated Afghan forces

By: Chelsea J. Carter

A uniformed Afghan police officer turned his weapon on U.S. forces in Farah province Friday, killing two of them before being shot and killed himself, a U.S. military statement said.

The killings are the latest in a series of assaults this year carried out by Afghans clad in security force uniforms.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • NATO • Taliban
Russians 'stubbornly dug in' on Syria, U.S. official says
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin
August 17th, 2012
02:21 AM ET

Russians 'stubbornly dug in' on Syria, U.S. official says

By Jill Dougherty

Wringing its hands over the escalating violence in Syria, Russia on Thursday said the international community should set a deadline for the Syrian government and opposition fighters to stop fighting.

Moscow's envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, said countries that have failed to bring the killing to an end should make "a joint or parallel appeal to all the parties of the Syrian conflict that they end violence as soon as possible by a certain point in time."

In spite of the fact that almost 200 Syrians now are dying every day in the civil war, the Russian diplomat insisted a political solution is still possible and said other countries should urge the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition to appoint negotiators who could establish a transitional governing body for Syria.

If that sounds familiar, it should; the proposal is part of a six-point plan put forward by former U.N. special envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan, who quit this month after failing to stop the bloodshed.

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Filed under: Russia • Syria