August 11, 2007

News Round

Weekly News deemed pertinent to American Interests

Troop levels in Iraq at all time high

The number of US troops in Iraq has rose to nearly 162,000, a new high in four years old, according to the Pentagon. The previous high for U.S. forces was during January 2005, when the force level hit 161,000. At the time, U.S. generals in Baghdad had arranged for a brief increase in forces to coincide with Iraqi elections. The US buildup, which began in February and peaked in June, added five combat brigades and other support units to the US ground force in Iraq after an Iraqi-led operation failed to secure Baghdad.

Links: U.S. forces in Iraq reach new peak

Pentagon loses 190,000 thousand guns in Iraq

The Pentagon cannot account for 190,000 AK-47 rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, or about half the weapons earmarked for soldiers and police, according to a government report. The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the US Congress, said in a July 31 report to lawmakers that the Defence Department also cannot account for 135,000 items of body armour and 115,000 helmets reported to be issued to Iraqi forces as of September 22, 2005.

Links: U.S. loses track of weapons , 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols - poof

The danger that is Pakistan

U.S. military intelligence officials are urgently assessing how secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons would be in the event President Gen. Pervez Musharraf were replaced as the nation's leader.

Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was on the brink of declaring a state of emergency in his increasingly volatile country but backed away after a gathering storm of media, political and diplomatic pressure. In what highlights the concern raised by recent events in the country Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned General Musharraf about 2 a.m. Thursday according to the State Department however officials refused to discuss in public what was said. The conversation lasted about 15 minutes.

Links: U.S. assessing Pakistan nukes , Bush urges fair Pakistan election , State of emergency in Pakistan , Pakistan spells danger

U.S., Japan Sign Agreement on Intelligence After Leak

Japan and the U.S. signed an agreement to protect military intelligence and help prevent a recurrence of the leak of classified information on Aegis destroyers by the Japanese navy earlier this year. The agreement between the two allies follows the revelation of a series of Japan's embarrassing leaks of sensitive information including confidential data on the US-developed high-tech Aegis combat system. Under the agreement, both governments will restrict the personnel allowed to access secret military information provided by each other.

In a related matter Japan has also been testing opinions in Washington on the possibility of purchasing the latest stealth F-22, but Congress has repeatedly banned the sale or license of the "Raptor'' to foreign governments, largely to safeguard its advanced technology.

Links: U.S., Japan sign deal on , U.S., Japan inc defense information pact