As Defense Secretary Leon Panetta notes that the last of the 33,000 so-called surge troops who were added to the U.S. force in Afghanistan last year have now left the country, there's this interesting news:
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 10:45 am
(Check below for updates.)
Tens of thousands of people are protesting in all of Pakistan's major cities today, NPR's Jackie Northam reports from Islamabad, as those who oppose U.S. policy in the region continue to use outrage over an anti-Islam video to whip up anti-American sentiment.
There are also reports of new protests in other Muslim nations, including Bangladesh and Malaysia.
U.S. officials and Libyan militiamen met to discuss the deteriorating security in Benghazi just two days before the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Stevens is shown here at the consulate in June.
Two days before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on Americans in Libya, three U.S. officials met pro-government militias working to provide security in the city of Benghazi.
In that meeting, which included the American economic and political counselors, Mohammed el Gharabi, a leader of a prominent militia, says he warned the Americans that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating.
Assassinations are becoming rampant; no one is safe, including militiamen like himself, he says he told the Americans.
Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 5:46 pm
President Obama may have the overwhelming support of Latino voters in his race against Republican Mitt Romney, but that didn't get him a free pass during his appearance Thursday at Univision's presidential candidate forum.
Obama faced repeated tough questions from the hosts of the forum on the Spanish-language channel, and from some in the audience, for his failure to deliver on his promise as a candidate in 2008 to push comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in the White House.
The protests and violence aimed at U.S. interests in the Middle East have set off a domestic debate about what the U.S. could or should do to relate to new political movements in the region. The Obama administration says it will continue to engage the region. The campaign of Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, says the U.S. needs to do more to lead.
But there are others who say that both parties have it wrong, and that U.S. policies from both Republican and Democratic administrations have failed.
The Obama administration continued walking a fine line today when describing the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
"It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack," White House spokesman Jay Carney said aboard Air Force One, according to Reuters. "Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that's self-evident."
Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 1:03 pm
With less than seven weeks to go before the presidential election, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is leaving his job as co-chairman of the Mitt Romney campaign to take a top Washington lobbying job.
Pawlenty, 51, will become the next CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, whose 100 members include many of the nation's largest banks and insurance and securities companies.
Four years ago, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was greeted warmly at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's awards gala in Washington, D.C. Polls show Obama retains strong Hispanic support this year, but also that many who are eligible don't plan to vote.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 9:13 am
There appears to be no question that President Obama will win the lion's share of Hispanic support. But there are still very big questions to be answered about how many votes such support will translate into.
"What we know is that we don't know," says Ruy Teixeira, a political analyst at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.
"If you're the Obama campaign, there's cause for concern, because at least so far, [Hispanic support] is not translating into encouraging data on the turnout front," he says.
A Libyan follower of Ansar al-Sharia Brigades carries a placard reads in Arabic "our Islamic holies are red line," during a protest in front of the Tibesti Hotel, in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 14, as part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about a film ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
Ansar al-Sharia, the ultraconservative armed Islamist group accused of taking part in the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, denies it was involved. But the group's leadership stopped short of condemning the deadly attack. A top U.S. counterterrorism official says they are looking at the group in connection with the assault.
Ansar al-Sharia is one of the most powerful Islamist militias in eastern Libya. The brigade claims hundreds of men who fought, with U.S. and NATO support, to unseat strongman Moammar Gadhafi last year.
Pakistani lawyers carry posters of Khan at a rally in support of him in Lahore in 2008.
Credit Behrouz Mehri / AFP/Getty Images
Abdul Qadeer Khan, regarded as the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, shakes hands with supporters at the Rawalpindi High Court in 2010. The controversial Khan, who sold nuclear secrets to Iran and North Korea, is now entering politics.
The man known as the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Abdul Qadeer Kahn, is a national hero in Pakistan — and a villain in much of the West.
Now, the controversial scientist is trying his hand at politics at the age of 76.
In the U.S., Khan is best known for selling nuclear technology to nations such as North Korea and Iran. In 2004, at the urging of the U.S., Pakistan placed Khan under house arrest. But in 2009, he was freed.
Gov. Robert Bentley has done something neither of Alabama's last two governors could do: Get voters to turn out in a special election to pass a major initiative defining their administrations.
Bentley said the constitutional amendment withdrawing money from the Alabama Trust Fund didn't involve moral issues like Gov. Don Siegelman's lottery vote in 1999 or tax increases like Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax plan in 2003.