July 31st, 2012
08:15 PM ET

Al Qaeda affiliates gaining strength in Syria: "This is prime territory for al Qaeda"

Although al Qaeda’s core has weakened, the terrorist group remains a top threat to U.S. security, according to the State Department’s annual terrorism report.

While the deaths of Osama bin Laden and other leaders assisted in aiding al Qaeda’s decline, the Arab Awakening helped the group exploit these newly unstable countries. The report said al Qaeda’s affiliates “have shown resilience [and] retain the capability to conduct regional and transnational attacks.”

Al Qaeda’s influence is spreading to affiliated groups around the world. “Among these al-Qaida affiliates, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) represents a particularly serious threat,” the survey of terrorism worldwide warned. Terrorist presence in North and East Africa is also a growing concern.

Seth Jones recently wrote in the Washington Post, “The United States and its allies should consider opening a second front in the Syrian war. In addition to helping end Bashar Assad's rule, there is a growing need to conduct a covert campaign against al Qaeda and other extremist groups gaining a presence in the country.”

OutFront tonight: Seth Jones, RAND political scientist and author of Hunting in the Shadows: The pursuit of al Qa'ida after 9/11.


Filed under: al Qaeda • National Security • Syria
July 31st, 2012
06:22 PM ET

U.S. announces new Iran sanctions

There are new sanctions on Iran. The president signing an executive order that imposes sanctions against Iran's oil and energy sectors. Those will help keep Iran from getting around existing sanctions.

The Treasury Department, meanwhile, has imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank and Iraqi bank for helping iranian banks with transactions that are subject to sanctions.

CLICK HERE Iran sanctions to learn more about how Iran evades sanctions, we broke down how companies like Samsung legally do business in Iran.


Filed under: Frontlines • Iran
July 31st, 2012
02:15 PM ET

Romney's overseas trip: Success or Failure?

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is wrapping up an overseas trip meant to boost his foreign policy credentials.

Romney has made a series of gaffes, first questioning London’s readiness to host the Olympics, and then making remarks in Israel that many Palestinians found offensive and some even called racist.

Today, he responded by criticizing the media for focusing too much on those incidents.

We asked our OutFront Political Strike team about whether Romney would have been better off staying home?

Tune to Erin Burnett OutFront at 7p ET for the results from our political strike team.

Here is tonight's OutFront poll:


Filed under: 2012 Election • Political Strike Team • Politics
July 31st, 2012
01:06 PM ET

Russian punk rock band on trial: Is it religion or politics?

A Russian rock band held in jail for almost 5 months with no end in sight. Is the government's cozy relationship with the church behind it. CNN's Erin Burnett tackles the story in Monday's E-Block.  FULL POST

Filed under: E-Block
July 31st, 2012
12:55 PM ET

Patent battle between two titans: Apple v. Samsung

CNN's Erin Burnett takes on the court battle between two of the biggest phone makers in the world, Apple and Samsung in Monday's The Number.


Filed under: News • The Number
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