Gen. Lloyd Austin warned the Iraqi government about dangers from Al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as Iran-backed Shiite insurgent groups – the same players that have perennially dogged US forces.
The series of bombings that hit Iraq Monday bear the markings of Al Qaeda, but in the long term, Iran-backed militias are a greater problem, says a top US military official.
The US appears desperate to keep troops in Iraq beyond this year's deadline. The Iraqis? Not so much.
Intelligence analysts say Ayman al-Zawahiri, the successor to Osama bin Laden, is disliked in Al Qaeda as an irritable micromanager, but he's also a skilled military tactician and should not be discounted.
Leon Panetta, at a confirmation hearing for the post of Defense secretary, says the US will need to take 'both defensive ... as well as aggressive measures' to deal with the threat of cyberattack.
Two Iraqi refugees who came to the US in 2009 have been charged with plotting to send Stinger missiles to Al Qaeda in Iraq.
While most experts say Qaddafi is grossly exaggerating the influence of Al Qaeda, new questions are being raised about its true scope as Washington debates arming the opposition.