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2012 race begins in earnest this month BY DAN BALZ Washington Post Service

WASHINGTON — For U.S. President Barack Obama and the Republicans seeking to defeat him, the month of September will be when the 2012 campaign takes shape, with the coming weeks offering a series of tests that will sharply define the choices in next year’s election and reveal more about the characters of those who seek to lead the country. No one has more at stake than Obama, whose leadership is under challenge and whose reelection is now in doubt because of persistent unemployment and questions about his leadership. But nearly as much may be at stake for the Republicans, a party whose political brand remains troubled and whose presidential field is only now coming into focus. Beginning this week, two consequential debates will begin to unfold. The first will pit the president against the Republican Party as the two sides lay out competing plans and visions for rescuing an economy still in distress. In some ways, that debate will be an extension of the one that took place over the debt ceiling earlier this summer, but with the focus likely to be much more a president whose policies so far have not turned around the economy. The second will take place within the family of Republicans, highlighted by a series of candidate forums that will not only define more clearly where a GOP president might take the country but also should highlight potentially significant differences in style and philosophy between the two leading contenders for the nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. All this will play out against a backdrop of deep public dissatisfaction, which has intensified in the aftermath of the polarized fight over raising the debt ceiling, which is now seen by some analysts as a pivotal moment in the country’s political history. That fiscal battle, which took the country to the brink of default and brought a downgrading of the nation’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, produced further erosion in



A cluster of women who said they administer a Facebook page in support of Strauss-Kahn were the only supporters on hand. One woman, who identified herself only as Helene and appeared to be in her late 30s, insisted that Strauss-Kahn was innocent of all the charges against him. Indeed, the charges were dismissed at the request of the Manhattan district attorney’s office on Aug. 23 after doubts arose about the credibility of Strauss-Kahn’s accuser Nafissatou Diallo, a housekeeper at the Sofitel in midtown Manhattan. But Strauss-Kahn, who was once seen as a contender in the 2012 French presidential elections

PARIS — Dominique StraussKahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund and onetime hopeful for the French presidency, returned to his native land early on Sunday morning, in a low-key coda to the international furor that erupted when he was arrested in mid-May and charged with sexually assaulting a New York hotel housekeeper. Strauss-Kahn and his wife, Anne Sinclair, landed at Charles de Gaulle airport shortly after 7 a.m. and emerged about 40 minutes later, breezing past a crowd of reporters without speaking before getting into a car and • TURN TO STRAUSS-KAHN, 2A leaving.

TRIPOLI, Libya — Documents found at the abandoned office of Libya’s former spymaster appear to provide new details of the close relations the Central Intelligence Agency shared with Libyan intelligence — most notably suggesting that the U.S. agency sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite that country’s reputation for torture. Although it has been known that Western intelligence services began cooperating with Libya after it abandoned its program to build unconventional weapons in 2004, the files left behind as Tripoli fell to rebels show that the cooperation was much more extensive than generally known with both the CIA and its British equivalent, MI-6. Some documents indicate that the British agency was willing to trace phone numbers for the Libyans, and another appears to be a proposed speech written by the United States for Moammar Gadhafi about renouncing unconventional weapons.

CIA agent dogged in pursuit of al Qaeda


WASHINGTON — Every day, Michael G. Vickers gets an update on how many in al Qaeda’s senior leadership the United States has removed from the battlefield, and lately there has been much to report. Al Qaeda’s No. 2 died in a CIA drone strike late last month, another senior commander was taken out in June, and the Navy SEALs made history when they dispatched Osama bin Laden in May. “I just want to kill those guys,” Vickers likes to say in meetings at the Pentagon, with a grin. Vickers’ preoccupation — “my life,” he says — is dismantling al Qaeda. Underneath an owlish exterior, he is an ex-Green Beret and former CIA operative with an exotic past. His title is under secretary of defense for intelligence, and he has risen to become one of the top counterterrorism officials in Washington. As covert U.S. wars — in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — escalate in the second decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, so will the questions of legality, morality and risk that go along with them. Vickers, a top advisor to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who has helped shape U.S. military and intelligence policy for three decades, knows the perils well. He

bears some responsibility for the unintended consequences of helping arm the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviets in the 1980s, only to have them turn their weapons against U.S. troops years later. In recent months, it was Vickers, an administration official said, who helped persuade a cautious Robert Gates, then the defense secretary, to go along with the bin Laden raid. It was Vickers who was a driver behind two other covert U.S. military operations, in Syria and Pakistan, which killed more than two dozen militants in late 2008. It was Vickers who made sure that Gen. Stanley McChrystal had enough drones at his disposal when he ran the military’s Special Operations Command, which staged secret raids in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the Reagan administration, Vickers funneled weapons to, among others, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, both now morphed into Afghan insurgent leaders who are fighting the United States. “Yes, most of my colleagues from those days are now on the dark side,” Vickers acknowledged in a recent interview in his antiseptic office. “We were well aware that they weren’t the ideal allies.” • TURN TO VICKERS, 2A


Top U.S. counterterrorism official Michael Vickers’ preoccupation — ‘my life,’ he says — is dismantling al Qaeda’s network.

The documents were discovered Friday by journalists and Human Rights Watch. There were at least three binders of English language documents, one marked CIA and the other two marked MI-6, among a larger stash of documents in Arabic. It was impossible to verify their authenticity. But the binders included some documents that made specific reference to the CIA, and their details seem consistent with what is known about the transfer of terror suspects abroad for interrogation and with other agency practices. The scope of prisoner transfers to Libya has not been made public, but news media reports have sometimes mentioned it as one country the United States used as part of its much criticized rendition program for terrorism suspects. A CIA spokeswoman, Jennifer Youngblood, declined to comment on the documents Friday, but she said: “It can’t come as a surprise that the Central Intelligence Agency works with foreign governments to help protect our country from terrorism and other deadly threats.”


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Dominique Strauss-Kahn exits Roissy airport in Paris with his wife, Anne Sinclair, on Sunday.


Files note close relations between Libya spies and CIA New York Times Service


Strauss-Kahn makes low-key return to France




Tribal clout remains critical in Yemen BY SUDARSAN RAGHAVAN Washington Post service

SANA’A, Yemen — Hamid al Ahmar is not a member of Yemen’s ruling party or its military. He holds no formal position in its opposition movement. Nor can he claim the authority of a religious leader.

Yet Ahmar is anything but a mere observer in the sevenmonth-old populist uprising to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh. He is a billionaire, a scion of the country’s most powerful tribal family, and he is using his money and power to assert a role in a new Yemen.


Fighters loyal to the Ahmar clan guard the area around the family home in Sana’a, Yemen.



He has bankrolled protest marches in 10 provinces, providing everything from microphones to transportation. He commands tens of thousands of tribesmen, including a heavily armed contingent that guards him day and night. His tribe’s clout has bought him access and influence; now it is providing Ahmar with a power base, one that has brought fresh energy to the revolution but has also spawned more violence and chaos. “I am living with this revolution, day by day, hour by hour,” the 43-year-old said in an interview inside his opulent mansion. Perhaps more than in any other country in the Middle East, the bonds of the vast extended families known as tribes occupy a central role in Yemen, a country ruled by two rival groupings, the Bakeel and the more powerful Hashid. But Yemen is hardly alone in the region being riven by tribal loyalties; tribes are a factor in Libya, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and across the Persian Gulf. In some ways, they play a role just as • TURN TO YEMEN, 2A


INDEX THE AMERICAS ...........4A U.S. NEWS ....................5A OPINION ........................7A COMICS & PUZZLES ...6B

9/5/2011 4:22:51 AM

MIAMI HERALD 05 de septiembre de 2011  

MIAMI HERALD 05 de septiembre de 2011