June 21st, 2013
08:34 PM ET

U.S. increasing military forces in Jordan

By Tom Cohen

Due to security concerns in Jordan, which borders the Syrian civil war, a combat-equipped detachment of about 700 U.S. troops will remain in the country following training exercises that ended this week, President Barack Obama told Congress on Friday.

In a letter to comply with the War Powers Act, Obama notified Congress that the detachment staying behind at the request of the Jordanian government included "Patriot missile systems, fighter aircraft, and related support, command, control and communications personnel and systems."

"The detachment will remain in Jordan, in full coordination with the government of Jordan, until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed," Obama's letter said.

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Filed under: Jordan • Syria
Will U.S. military support in Syria make a difference?
June 21st, 2013
07:22 PM ET

Will U.S. military support in Syria make a difference?

By Barbara Starr

Even as the Obama administration refuses to openly say whether CIA deliveries of small arms and ammunition to Syrian opposition fighters has begun, there is increasing doubt in many quarters that U.S. shipments will make much of a difference in fighting on the ground, as the intelligence picture for the rebels grows more dire.

"I don't believe the rebels are doomed, but I don't think there's any doubt that on the battlefield the advantage is clearly with (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Thursday on CNN's Situation Room.

"Why wouldn't there be? Tons of Russian equipment coming in, the Iranian Revolution Guard, jihadists from all over the region, 5,000 Hezbollah fighters and he's still calling it a civil war. What it is turning into is a regional conflict and the deciding factor on the battlefield is air power," McCain said.

Intelligence assessments appear to agree with that. Several U.S. officials CNN has spoken with say simply trying to gather the latest information on the number of fighters and weapons inventories on the ground is now a major priority.

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Experts: Brooding Putin believes Russia will one day eclipse U.S.
June 21st, 2013
07:21 PM ET

Experts: Brooding Putin believes Russia will one day eclipse U.S.

By Jill Dougherty

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in the headlines a lot recently, allegedly pocketing a Super Bowl ring, valued at $25,000, that belonged to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft - then jokingly offering to make him an even more expensive replacement.

Then there was that offhand announcement that he and his wife of almost 30 years were calling it quits and hadn't lived together for quite a while, anyway.
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U.S. cutting back on hot chow for troops
June 21st, 2013
06:30 AM ET

U.S. cutting back on hot chow for troops

By Barbara Starr

Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with the battlefield adage: "An Army moves on its stomach." That, of course, means there's nothing like good chow.

For the thousands of U.S. troops who will fight in Afghanistan for another 17 months, it is not just the quality of the food they have to consider. Now there will be a bit less of it.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan for years have been fed four hot meals a day, including what is fondly known as "mid-rats" or midnight rations.
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June 21st, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Wounded soldiers help Boston Marathon bombing victim

By Greg Clary and Barbara Starr

"I'm getting there," said Boston Marathon bombing victim J.P. Norden to Sgt. Luis Remache, a U.S. Marine and a double leg amputee.

"You'll get there, it's not that bad," Remache said.

It's not always common that a grizzled military veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan can relate with a civilian, but that's exactly what happened time and again on Wednesday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center just outside Washington.
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