September 17th, 2011
08:26 PM ET

Gadhafi's "mystery" daughter

By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty on assignment in Tripoli, Libya

Where is Hanna Gadhafi, adopted daughter of Col. Moammar Gadhafi?

Did she really die 25 years ago? Or did a "second" adopted Hanna grow up to become a doctor? Could she, right now, be hiding out with her father as his regime crumbles around him?

The Libyan capital is filled with rumors. "They said she might be alive, or he sent her abroad," a young woman in Tripoli tells us, "or maybe she's here."

If that sounds confusing - it is.

The mystery of Hanna Gadhafi begins in 1986 in the rubble of Moammar Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli, Bab al-Aziziya.

The massive headquarters had been hit by U.S. bombs on the order of President Ronald Reagan. Two of Gadhafi's sons were injured and, the Libyan leader claimed, his 1-year-old adopted daughter, Hanna, was killed.

After the raid a doctor said there was no question: Little Hanna was dead. She had severe fractures, she was in shock, he claimed, and she expired before a surgeon could reach her.

Gadhafi later said he adopted another little girl and also called her Hanna in honor of his daughter who had died. Over the years, as this "second" Hanna grew up, the colonel appeared in public with her. There are pictures on the Internet, including one of her at her sister Aisha's wedding. FULL POST

Mullen presses Pakistan to crack down on Haqqani network
September 17th, 2011
07:22 PM ET

Mullen presses Pakistan to crack down on Haqqani network

By CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

In their final official meeting, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told his Pakistani counterpart he was deeply concerned about the attacks being staged by operatives loyal to the Haqqani network of insurgents that operates on both the Pakistan and Afghan side of the border.

READ about the Haqqani network

In a lengthy one-on-one meeting Friday night in Seville, Spain, Admiral Michael Mullen conveyed to Pakistan's Gen. Ashfaq Kayani "his deep concerns about the increasing - and increasingly brazen - activities of the Haqqani network and restated his strong desire to see the Pakistani military take action against them and their safe havens in North Waziristan," Mullen spokesman Captain John Kirby told CNN.

READ about the close relationship between Mullen and Kayani

Mulllen believes that "elements" of the Pakistani intelligence services known as the ISI "directly support" the Haqqani network Kirby said. US officials believe the Haqqanis are behind some of the most high profile attacks in Afghanistan, including the attacks earlier this week against the US embassy and NATO military headquarters in Kabul.

Pakistan's intelligence service has long supported the Haqqanis – first against the Soviets and more recently to counter growing Indian influence in Afghanistan. The Haqqani network has frequently targeted Indian interests in Afghanistan. It also acts as an intermediary when Pakistan wants to influence the behavior of other militant groups.

Mullen who is retiring at the end of this month, met with Kayani, for more than two hours. "They agreed that the relationship between our two countries remained vital to the region and that both sides had taken positive steps to improve that relationship over the past few months. They also discussed the state of military-to-military cooperation and pledged to continue to find ways to make it better," Kirby said.

Both men were in Spain to attend a high level NATO military meeting.

Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Haqqani • NATO • Pakistan • Taliban
September 17th, 2011
09:22 AM ET

Exclusive: Defiant ambassador says change is coming to Syria

By CNN National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

While the United Nations says more than 2,500 people who have died in Syria at the hands of the regime, President Bashar al-Assad's point man in the United States says the figure is false, and the result of a conspiracy aimed at Damascus.

"These are blatant lies," Imad Mustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the United States, told CNN's Hala Gorani in an exclusive interview Friday. "This is the problem we are facing today in Syria - a massive campaign of disinformation and lies."

Since the uprising against the Assad regime began in March, few Western media outlets have been granted permission to report from inside Syria. Those that receive visas find independent reporting difficult as they operate under tight restrictions and are allowed little freedom of movement.

Post by:
Filed under: Assad • Diplomacy • FIRST ON CNN/EXCLUSIVE • Syria