The Envoy
  • In this picture taken on June 24, 2011, students of Pakistani Government Girls Comprehensive Higher school study outside their school while waiting for a transport in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A group of British schools cut off a partnership with teachers and students in the Pakistani town where Bin Laden was killed for fear of negative publicity, upsetting Pakistani participants who note that a key purpose of the program was eradicating stereotypes. (Aqeel Ahmed/AP)Pakistan continues to detain one person in the wake of the May U.S. raid against Osama bin Laden: Shakil Afridi. The Pakistani doctor and regional health official was, according to an intriguing report from McClatchy's Saeed Shah, enlisted by the CIA to conduct a vaccination program in a failed attempt to collect a sample of bin Laden's DNA.

    Here's a snippet from McClatchy's report, dateline Abbottabad:

    According to local residents, the doctor visited Abbottabad in March and April, saying he'd procured funds to give free vaccinations for hepatitis B.

    Bypassing the management of the Abbottabad health services, he generously paid low-ranking local government nurses who provide door-to-door health services for women and children to visit the bin Laden compound. [...]

    In April, he returned, and instead of giving those same recipients the required second dose, he moved the nurses to Bilal Town, the upscale suburb where bin Laden lived. [...]

    One of the nurses, Mukhtar Bibi, who

    Read More »from Report: Pakistan holds doctor enlisted by CIA to get bin Laden DNA
  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta delivers remarks to the troops during his visit to Camp Victory in Baghdad, in this photo taken Monday, July 11, 2011. (Paul J. Richards, Pool/AP)On his first visit to Iraq since becoming Defense secretary this month, Leon Panetta warned the United States will not sit back as Iran provides increasingly lethal weapons that Iraqi militias are using to kill U.S. troops.

    "We're very concerned about Iran and the weapons they're providing to extremists in Iraq," Panetta said, on a visit to U.S. troops in Baghdad Monday, the AP's Robert Burns reports.

    "We cannot simply stand back and allow this to continue to happen," he said. "This is not something we're going to walk away from. It's something we're going to take on head-on."

    The United States will act unilaterally "to go after those threats," Panetta, the former CIA chief and lawmaker, said.

    Read More »from Panetta: U.S. won’t “walk away” from Iran arming Iraq militants
  • A smashed glass is seen at the U.S. embassy after pro-government protesters attacked the embassy compound in Damascus, Syria, on Monday, July 11, 2011. (AP Photo)Pro-Assad loyalists stormed the U.S. and French embassies in the Syrian capital Damascus today, and later the U.S. Chief of Mission's residence. The mob breached the U.S. embassy compound wall before Marine Corps guards dispersed them. French embassy guards reportedly fired live ammunition into the air to disperse the crowds threatening their compound.

    The attack came three days after Washington's envoy to Syria Robert Ford made a high-profile visit to the Syrian city of Hama, where he was enthusiastically greeted by anti-government protesters.

    "It was a bad attack encouraged by a TV station close to the Syrian regime," Andrew Tabler, a Syria expert with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told the Envoy. "This clearly comes in response to Robert Ford's visit to Hama last Thursday and Friday."

    Washington said it would file a formal protest over the incident and demand compensation to pay for physical damage sustained at the embassy.

    "We strongly condemn the Syrian

    Read More »from Pro-Assad mobs storm U.S. and French embassies in Damascus


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