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Israel ‘increasingly isolated’ in Middle East: U.S.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Arab spring has left Israel “increasingly isolated” in the Middle East and that its military might could not make up for a weakened diplomatic position. Speaking to reporters aboard his plane bound for Israel as part of a Middle East tour, Panetta said…

U.S., Israeli military chiefs meet

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his US counterpart Leon Panetta met Monday at the Pentagon to discuss political changes in the region ahead of the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations. At the second Pentagon meeting for the two defense leaders since Panetta became Defense Secretary in…

U.S.-Pakistan military leaders meet to salvage relations

The top US and Pakistani military leaders met in Spain to discuss ways to shore up strained ties after a US raid that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to a Pentagon spokesman. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and his Pakistani counterpart General Ashfaq Kayani sat down…

GOP seeks to delay end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives are calling for a delay in lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the US military, saying new rules have not yet been made available. A letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta from House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon…

Pakistan says U.S. warning on militants hurts ties

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The U.S. warning on militants based in Pakistan, blamed by Washington for this week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, works against counter-terrorism cooperation between the two allies, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. It was referring to comments by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta…

Egypt on alert as protestors attack Israel embassy

Egypt declared a state of high alert Saturday as police clashed with protesters who raided a building housing the Israeli embassy in Cairo, prompting Washington to call for protection of the mission. Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers backed by armoured cars were rushed to the embassy district after US President President…

Panetta approves plan to keep only 4,000 U.S troops in Iraq after 2012

WASHINGTON — As the White House debates keeping a much smaller force in Iraq after 2011, it will have to decide whether to give up a peacekeeping role in the country’s volatile north, officials and analysts said Wednesday. Amid negotiations with Iraqi leaders on the scope of a future US…

New CIA chief Petraeus pledges to defend America

David Petraeus pledged to confront the many threats facing America as he took the reins of the CIA, a decade after the 9/11 attacks that led to two wars where the former general made his name. Petraeus was sworn in to lead the civilian covert war against Al-Qaeda having hung…

Afghan government ‘question mark’ in war effort: U.S.

US-led troops have undercut the Taliban but the Afghan government’s performance remains a cause for concern, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in an interview. “We have, in fact, seriously weakened the Taliban,” said Panetta, according to a transcript of his interview Tuesday on the “Charlie Rose Show” on PBS.…

Pentagon plays down comments on US role in Iraq

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta suggested that Iraq had agreed to keep American troops in the country beyond a 2011 deadline, but Baghdad insisted the issue was still under negotiation. In an interview with two US newspapers published Friday, Panetta said the Iraqis appeared to have made up their mind…

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