Mark's Feed
Jun 25, 2014

Militants positioned to hold captured Iraq territory, U.S. official says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sunni militants are “well positioned” to hold a broad swathe of territory captured in northern and western Iraq if the Baghdad government fails to produce a robust counter-offensive, a senior U.S. intelligence official said on Tuesday.

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which seized the main northern city Mosul on June 10 and has since marched virtually unopposed towards Baghdad, is at its strongest “in years,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing sensitive information.

Jun 23, 2014

Court releases memo of U.S. justifying drone attacks on citizens

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Monday released a redacted version of the U.S. Justice Department’s memorandum of justification for a 2011 drone attack that killed Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born Islamist preacher suspected of having ties to al Qaeda.

The memo says that because the U.S. government considered al Awlaki to be an “operational leader” of an “enemy force,” it was legal for the Central Intelligence Agency to attack him with a drone even though he was a U.S. citizen.

Jun 20, 2014

Benghazi suspect faces U.S. criminal, not military, court

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A suspected leader of the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, captured by U.S. forces and spirited out of the country, can expect to move quickly through the initial steps of the criminal justice system within hours of arriving on American soil.

Seized in a raid last Sunday, Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah is the suspected leader of a group implicated in the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA base in Benghazi.

Jun 20, 2014

U.S. spy agencies warned Maliki was ‘alienating’ Iraq’s Sunnis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence agencies have repeatedly warned top government officials that Iraq’s Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki and his policies were gravely antagonizing his country’s Sunni population, two U.S. security officials said on Friday.

The officials said the warnings were contained in secret intelligence reports and analyses presented in the last two years to policymaking officials, including President Barack Obama.

Jun 14, 2014

Insight – Obama faces limited options in Iraq crisis, doubts over air strikes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two and a half years after President Barack Obama disentangled America from a long, unpopular war in Iraq, his options for helping the Iraqi government stave off a militant onslaught are slim as doubts simmer over whether even punishing air strikes would be effective.

He will announce in coming days how far he is willing to go in responding to the crisis in Iraq, where militants are sweeping south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to recreate a large mediaeval Islamic caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria.

Jun 14, 2014

Obama faces limited options in Iraq crisis, doubts over air strikes

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – Two and a half years after
President Barack Obama disentangled America from a long,
unpopular war in Iraq, his options for helping the Iraqi
government stave off a militant onslaught are slim as doubts
simmer over whether even punishing air strikes would be
effective.

He will announce in coming days how far he is willing to go
in responding to the crisis in Iraq, where militants are
sweeping south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to
recreate a large mediaeval Islamic caliphate spanning Iraq and
Syria.

Jun 12, 2014

Minneapolis FBI probes Somali-Americans fighting Assad in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI is investigating men of Somali background who have traveled from the Minneapolis-St Paul area to Syria to fight with Islamist groups against President Bashar al-Assad, an FBI spokesman said on Thursday.

Kyle Loven, a spokesman for the FBI’s Minneapolis office, said in the last few months the Bureau had received information indicating that 10 to 15 men from the region’s large Somali community had traveled to Syria.

Jun 9, 2014

U.S. preacher who inspires Syrian rebels faces Internet monitoring

WASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) – A judge has ordered monitoring of computer and Internet use of a U.S. Islamic preacher regarded by some federal officials and a group that studies radicals as an inspirational figure for foreign fighters in Syria.

The close supervision was ordered on Ahmad Musa Jebril, 43, after a court hearing last Thursday at which he was deemed to have violated conditions of his early release from a lengthy prison sentence imposed for fraud and jury tampering.

Jun 2, 2014

After Taliban prisoner swap, concerns surface in U.S. over Qatar’s role

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After playing a critical role in the prisoner swap that freed the last American soldier held captive in Afghanistan, Qatar faces new scrutiny by the United States over whether it will enforce restrictions on five released Taliban fighters.

Concerns have been expressed by U.S. intelligence officials and Congressional advisers over the role of the Gulf emirate as a bridge between Washington and the world of radical Islam. But the White House says it received “very specific” assurances from Qatar on the terms under which it agreed to accept and keep tabs on the five Afghans.

May 28, 2014

U.S. investigates reports of American suicide bomber in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. government agencies were examining social media postings purporting to show how an American who was fighting with an Al Qaeda affiliate blew himself up recently in a suicide attack in northern Syria, U.S. officials said.

The officials, who declined to be identified, said U.S. agencies assessed that the postings were likely authentic. One said some investigators believed they knew the “U.S. person’s” true identity, but declined to give further details.