A tough job awaits Leon Panetta at the Pentagon: three wars, budget cuts, Al Qaeda in Yemen, prospects of a nuclear Iran. But some good news awaits the new Defense secretary, too.
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.
US and Iraqi officials say DNA evidence proves they killed Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the key link between Al Qaeda internationally and its offshoot in Iraq, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the senior Iraqi member of the group. But one analyst is skeptical.
The US military steps up efforts to stop Iran from using the marshes of southern Iraq to smuggle weapons.
Hajji Hammadi, a senior member of Al Qaeda in Iraq, was believed by US military officials to have been responsible for the abduction and murder of US Army Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin in 2004.
The alleged incursions into Syria, and previously into Pakistan, could be risky.
An analysis shows that the bulk of them come from countries allied with the US.