Ryan Crocker

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We Can Negotiate With Iran—I've Done It

Ryan Crocker explains how dialogue has worked before, and how Bush ruined it

(Newser) - Many in Washington, Tehran, and elsewhere are deeply skeptical about the latest stab at Iranian-American dialogue , but Ryan Crocker thinks there's reason for optimism. "Although most Americans may be unaware of it, talks with Iran have succeeded in the past—and they can succeed again," the ex-ambassador... More »

Ex-US Ambassador Busted in Hit-and-Run

Ryan Crocker pleaded not guilty, despite blood-alcohol twice legal limit

(Newser) - The former US ambassador to Afghanistan has been busted for drunken driving and hit-and-run after crashing into a semi truck, reports AP . Ryan Crocker pleaded not guilty to the charges, despite registering a blood-alcohol level at nearly twice the legal limit, said law enforcement authorities. Crocker, who was driving a... More »

US Ambassador to Afghanistan Stepping Down

Ryan Crocker expected to leave as early as this month

(Newser) - America's special envoy to Afghanistan is preparing to step down after nearly a year in one of diplomacy's most taxing jobs, sources tell Reuters . Ryan Crocker—who came out of retirement last summer to become the US ambassador in Kabul—is expected to leave the post as early... More »

Afghans Lob Grenades at US Base, Clashes Continue

Karzai pleads for return to calm

(Newser) - Protesters angry over Korans burned by American troops tossed grenades at a US base in northern Afghanistan and clashed with police and troops in a sixth day of violence that left seven international troops wounded and two Afghans dead. "Tensions are running very high here and I think we... More »

Taliban's New Muscle Flexing: Cell Phone Outages

Awaiting US exit, they fight mind games

(Newser) - Every evening like clockwork, all the cell phones in Afghanistan's Wardrak Province stop working—and every resident knows why. The Taliban have taken to shutting off cell towers all across Afghanistan, threatening to blow them up if operators don’t cooperate, the New York Times reports. “Our main... More »

Panetta Moves to Pentagon, Petraeus to Helm CIA

According to AP sources

(Newser) - The big security shakeups are out, by way of unidentified AP sources, and as predicted , Leon Panetta is in as the new secretary of defense, succeeding Robert Gates. Gen. David Petraeus will be nominated to fill Panetta's shoes as CIA director. Five-time ambassador Ryan Crocker, who retired in 2009... More »

Crocker Cautions Against Abrupt Iraq Withdrawal

Ambassador cautions that al-Qaeda will take advantage of power vacuum

(Newser) - The US ambassador to Iraq warned today against an abrupt troop withdrawal, saying it would invite foreign fighters, CNN reports. If we “decide suddenly we’re done, they would certainly work to use space that opened up,” Ryan Crocker said of al-Qaeda. Crocker, who will step down shortly,... More »

Iran Is Now a Bigger Threat in Iraq Than al-Qaeda: US Officials

(Newser) - Recent battles in Basra prove that Iran is crippling Iraqi stability while al-Qaeda's influence there wanes, US officials say. David Petraeus pointed to Iran's influence in testimony this week, and now Shiite militias are said to have benefited from Iranian weapons, training, and guidance in Basra fighting—prompting a Washington... More »

Bush Backs Petraeus' Pause

President warns Iran against arming Iraqi militants

(Newser) - Vowing that Gen. David Petraeus will have “all the time he needs” in Iraq, President Bush today announced a pause, from August until at least mid-September, in withdrawal of troops from Iraq, CNN reports. Citing the post-surge security gains, Bush said, “we have renewed and revived the prospect... More »

Petraeus Grilling Moves to House

Dems lay into lack of progress in Iraq; he gives few details on plans

(Newser) - Gen. David Petraeus' visit to Capitol Hill continues today, with House members getting their chance to grill the top US commander in Iraq and Ambassador Ryan Crocker. Democrats on the Armed Service Committee were vocal in their frustration about the war’s progress, even as Petraeus and Crocker were unyielding... More »

Petraeus Foils Senators Seeking Exit

General, Crocker continue testimony on Capitol Hill today

(Newser) - David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker head back to Capitol Hill this morning after a grueling day of testimony that was short on substance and clear goals, writes the Washington Post. Pressed repeatedly yesterday to describe what "conditions" they would like to see before recommending a troop withdrawal, the general... More »

Candidates Seize Petraeus Moment

White House hopefuls flex rhetoric as general testifies

(Newser) - Today’s Capitol Hill appearance by Gen. David Petraeus was a golden opportunity for the White House hopefuls to flex their Iraq rhetoric, the Los Angeles Times reports. Hillary Clinton called for a troop withdrawal; though she agreed the decisions weren’t “easy,” she said the Bush administration... More »

Senate Grills Petraeus on Basra

McCain mixes up Sunnis, Shiites again

(Newser) - The campaign trail ran through a scheduled Senate Armed Service Committee appearance by David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker today, as John McCain and Hillary Clinton helped grill the general and ambassador on Iraq. McCain zeroed in on the the widespread Iraqi defections in Basra last week, saying, “It was... More »

Petraeus: Iraq Has Stepped Up; Gains Still Fragile

The surge is working, but things are still rough in places

(Newser) - Iraq's security has greatly improved since September, Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee today, thanks largely to Iraqis themselves. “Iraq has also conducted a surge,” Petraeus said, pointing to the improved Iraqi army and the contribution of Sunni Awakening groups. But he warned that those... More »

Iraqi Assault on Basra Was 'Thrown Together'

Americans taken aback by Maliki's hasty, improvised raid

(Newser) - American officials were expecting a gradual, methodical operation when Nouri al-Maliki moved Iraqi troops into Basra to restore order in the city. What they witnessed instead was a rush job: an Iraqi raid that had little forethought and began even before the last of the soldiers had arrived. "He... More »

Petraeus to Bush: Hold Troop Levels Steady

General's advice means significant drawdowns will be left to next prez

(Newser) - Troop levels should remain steady in Iraq once they return to pre-surge levels in July, Gen. David Petraeus told President Bush today. Petraeus urged a period of “consolidation and evaluation,” with monthly reviews of ground conditions—meaning Bush would likely leave major troop reductions to his successor, the... More »

Cheney Makes Surprise Visit to Baghdad

Promises 'unwavering commitment' of US as war begins 6th year

(Newser) - Leading Iraq war architect Dick Cheney made an unannounced visit to Baghdad today, beginning a nine-day Middle East tour by promising Iraq the "unwavering commitment of the United States in finishing the difficult work that lies ahead." John McCain, traveling as a member of the Senate Armed Services... More »

Iraqi Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 33

Blast occurs as US defense secretary surveys troop surge

(Newser) - A suicide bomber killed at least 33 people and injured 45 in Iraq today just hours before US Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a surprise visit to Baghdad, the BBC reports. The car blast, sparked by six barrels of explosives, toppled buildings, and officials say more bodies may be dug... More »

Iraq Embassy Costs Skyrocket

Project delayed for months due to shoddy workmanship, planning

(Newser) - Shoddy workmanship and poor planning have left construction of the new US embassy in Iraq—the biggest in the world—months behind schedule, and tacked $144 million onto what was originally a $592-million project. Scheduled to open last month, it won't be fully habitable until 2009. The State Department, already... More »

Sunnis Launch Ramadan Murder Drive

Insurgents target police, Interior Ministry officials, tribal leaders for assassination

(Newser) - Sunni insurgents have launched an assassination campaign aimed at  Iraqi police and officials of the Interior Ministry to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, reports the New York Times. Eight police officers, including a police chief, have been killed and 30 injured. A provincial governor  survived a suicide bombing... More »

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