WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq has given the United States assurances it will not release a suspected Hezbollah operative accused of killing American troops, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Reuters, saying he expected Baghdad to honor its commitment.
The fate of Ali Mussa Daqduq has been vexing U.S. officials since last December, when the United States was forced to hand him over to Baghdad after failing to secure a custody deal before the U.S. military withdrawal from the country.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta all but ruled out an apology over an air strike last year that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and badly set back efforts to improve U.S.-Pakistani ties, saying it was “time to move on.”
Pakistan banned trucks from carrying NATO supplies into neighboring Afghanistan after the air strike, a move that costs U.S. taxpayers $100 million a month given the need to use more expensive, longer routes to the north.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly one year ago, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta predicted the strategic defeat of al Qaeda was within reach if the United States could kill or capture up to 20 leaders of the core group and its affiliates.
In an interview on Thursday with Reuters, Panetta disclosed that only a “small handful” of the individuals on that original list remained on the battlefield and that Saudi Arabia – the birthplace of late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden – was reporting a drop-off in recruitment.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta defended the Obama administration’s decision not to arm the Syrian opposition, saying the country risked being pushed into an all-out civil war if efforts to secure a smooth political transition fail.
“We made a decision not to provide lethal assistance at this point. I know others have made their own decisions,” Panetta said in an interview on Thursday.
JEDDAH (Reuters) – U.S. security chiefs visited Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to convey President Barack Obama’s condolences for the death of Crown Prince Nayef, underscoring the importance of a relationship seen as key in the battle against al Qaeda.
The delegation was led by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and included Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Counter-terrorism John Brennan and former Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet.
WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – Pakistan’s closure of supply
routes to the Afghan war is costing American taxpayers $100
million a month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on
Wednesday, as he recommended possibly setting conditions on
future U.S. aid to Islamabad.
Panetta’s decision to disclose what had been a closely
guarded figure at the Pentagon appeared to be another sign of
frustration with Pakistan and will do little to generate
sympathy for that country in Congress, which is wrestling with
ways to scale back the U.S. budget deficit.
WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – The United States should
examine setting conditions for aid to Pakistan but not cutting
it off, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday, as he
disclosed that Islamabad’s closure of supply routes to the
Afghan war cost American taxpayers millions of dollars a month.
Asked during a Senate budget hearing whether he would
recommend halting aid to Pakistan, Panetta said: “I’d be very
careful about just shutting it down.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is worried Russia may be sending Syria attack helicopters and views Russian claims that its arms transfers to Syria are unrelated to the conflict there as “patently untrue,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.
The comments came as the Pentagon found itself on the defensive for doing business with Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, given concerns in Congress about the firm’s role in arming the Syrian regime.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is withdrawing its team of negotiators from Pakistan without securing a long-sought deal with Islamabad to allow trucks to again supply NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The decision is the latest sign of troubled ties with Islamabad and was announced just days after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the United States was reaching the limits of its patience because of the safe havens Pakistan offered to insurgents.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has formally asked Iraq to extradite a suspected Hezbollah operative accused of killing American troops, a U.S. official told Reuters, amid heightened concerns in Washington that he may go free.
It was not immediately clear when the request was filed and Iraqi officials approached by Reuters denied knowledge of it, casting doubt on whether an extradition was seriously being considered at this point in Baghdad.