Related Content: Yochi Dreazen

Is Belarus Assad's Newest Ally?

Essential Reads

U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad is receiving new military assistance from Belarus, a tiny nation which appears willing to flout the international effort to isolate the dictator and force him from power. Western officials and outside analysts say that Belarus is providing Damascus with technology that would improve the capabilities of Assad's surface-to-surface missiles, one of the Syrian military's primary weapons during its brutal ongoing crackdown on rebels throughout the country.

Foiled Bomb Plot Highlights Growing CIA-Saudi Arabian Ties

Essential Reads

The U.S. intelligence community has won plaudits for helping derail a series of recent terror plots, including this week’s disclosure of an al-Qaida affiliate’s attempt to use a sophisticated underwear bomb to destroy a Western jetliner. But the U.S. has a quiet ally who has been instrumental in stopping both the new plot and an earlier militant attempt to destroy U.S. cargo planes by secretly shipping explosives in conventional mail packages: Saudi Arabia, a country once derided as a financial supporter of Islamic militants around the globe.

Bin Laden Documents Offer Different Picture of Terrorist Leader

Essential Reads

U.S. officials have long argued that Osama bin Laden was actively plotting new attacks inside the United States right up to the end, including ambitious plans for strikes timed to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or designed to derail passenger trains and cause large numbers of civilian deaths. But that’s not the picture of the leader which emerges from Thursday’s release of nearly 200 pages of materials recovered from the bin Laden compound after his killing at the hands of American commandos one year ago.

New Photos Raise New Questions About Whether the Military Can Police Itself

On The Radar

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has apologized for grisly new photos showing American soldiers posing with the body parts of Taliban suicide bombers and promised that “anyone found responsible for this inhuman conduct will be held accountable.” If similar recent events are any indication, those punishments will be a long time coming.
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Details Emerge on Coming U.S. Offensive in Eastern Afghanistan

On The Radar

A campaign that will likely be the last major U.S. offensive of the Afghan War is set to begin later this year in eastern Afghanistan, the region where the conflict began and where senior NATO officials hope their involvement will effectively come to an end. U.S. officials in Kabul and Washington have provided National Journal an array of details about the coming push, which represents a high-stakes -- and politically complicated -- attempt to better secure Kabul as well as Afghanistan’s porous border with Pakistan before the American exit from the country accelerates.

Afghan War Hearing Passes Fireworks-Free

On The Radar

A U.S. soldier stands accused of massacring 16 Afghan civilians, the worst such attack in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently responded by describing the U.S. as a "demon" and demanding a faster U.S. withdrawal. Here at home, domestic support for the war has plunged to new lows, with Republicans as well as Democrats telling pollsters that the conflict is not worth its cost and that American troops should come home sooner than is currently planned.

Netanyahu and Obama Still Divided Over Iran

On The Radar

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been working hard to present a united front on Iran, the nation at the heart of a simmering dispute between the two close allies. But there is no disguising the fact that the two leaders remain sharply divided on the way forward.
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February 24, 2012: Rick Santorum; Super Tuesday; Republican Primary; Unrest in Afghanistan post Quran burnings

Weekly Show

Rick Santorum is the main target in the GOP race as 13 states prepare to vote between now and Super Tuesday. Plus, international leaders meet in Tunisia to prevent more bloodshed in Syria. And unrest continues in Afghanistan after the burning of Qurans. Joining Gwen: Michael Duffy, TIME Magazine; Jeanne Cummings, Bloomberg News; Nancy Youssef, McClatchy; Yochi Dreazen, National Journal.

Koran Burning in Afghanistan Fuels Bloody New Attacks on U.S. Forces

On The Radar

The deaths of a pair of American soldiers in Afghanistan Thursday highlights the bloody intersection of two dangerous aspects of the long war there: the growing Afghan fury over the burning of Korans and the continued killings of Western troops by their Afghan counterparts. An Afghan soldier shot and killed the U.S. soldiers at an outpost in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province and then, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter, fled into the large crowd of demonstrators outside the base.

Panetta Surprises Afghans, NATO With Earlier Date for End of Combat Mission

On The Radar

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s comment while en route to a NATO conference in Brussels -- that the U.S. would end its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2013, a year earlier than thought -- surprised key U.S. allies, alarmed many Afghans, and forced the White House to spend more than a day trying to walk it back.
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