The U.S. military will let women serve in all combat roles, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced on Thursday in a historic move striking down gender barriers in the armed forces.
“As long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before,” Carter told a Pentagon news conference.
U.S.-led air strikes have hit at least 175 targets in the Islamic State’s main oil-producing region over the past month, as Washington intensifies efforts to disrupt a key revenue source estimated to provide more than $1 million a day to the militant group.
Those strikes include 116 oil tanker trucks hit by coalition forces earlier this week as the United States targeted the vehicles for the first time in the wake of last Friday’s suicide and shooting attacks in Paris claimed by Islamic State.
Two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers flew near artificial Chinese-built islands in the South China Sea this week and were contacted by Chinese ground controllers but continued their mission undeterred, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The latest U.S. patrol in the disputed South China Sea occurred in advance of President Barack Obama’s visit to the region next week to attend Asia-Pacific summits where he is expected to reassert Washington’s commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the area.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Jews on Tuesday to unite behind Israel after rifts caused by the Iran nuclear talks and later pressed for bipartisan support for the country at a liberal think tank.
A day after a fence-mending White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Netanyahu told an assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America that the past year was one of high diplomatic stakes but it was important to stick together now that a U.S.-backed deal had been reached with Iran.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State militants in Syria, which ground to a near halt in late October, has intensified in recent days.
Coalition forces carried out 56 strikes against Islamic State in Syria in the eight days from Oct. 30 to Nov. 6 after going the previous eight days with only three strikes, according to U.S. military figures. The strikes have focused on the towns of Mar’a, al Hawl, al Hasakah and Dayr az Zawr.
WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United States takes offense at comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new communications director accusing President Barack Obama of anti-Semitism and suggesting that Secretary of State John Kerry had the mental abilities of a 12-year-old, the State Department said on Thursday.
It said Kerry had spoken to the Israeli leader on Thursday and understood that Netanyahu “will be reviewing” the appointment of Ran Baratz after a U.S.-Israeli summit meeting at the White House next week.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is intensifying its diplomacy to end the “hell” of Syria’s civil war even as it increases support for moderate rebels fighting Islamic State militants, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday
The chief U.S. diplomat leaves for Vienna later in the day for talks among more than a dozen foreign ministers on ending the four-and-a-half year conflict. Iran is for the first time taking part in such talks, which will also include Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military will intensify air strikes and may carry out more direct ground attacks as it steps up efforts against Islamic State militants following a failed bid to train Syrian rebels, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee just days after a U.S. soldier was killed participating in a Kurdish-led mission to rescue Islamic State hostages, Carter indicated that similar missions were likely in the future as U.S. forces adapt to the fight in Syria and Iraq.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. troops are intensifying pressure on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq by supporting local forces with an expanded air campaign and occasional direct ground support, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told lawmakers on Tuesday.
Testifying alongside Carter before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Marine Corp Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he would consider recommending putting U.S. forces with Iraqi troops to fight Islamic State if it improved the chances of defeating the militants.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Russian military officials signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday that includes steps their pilots should take to avoid an inadvertent clash over Syria as they carry out separate air strikes against militant groups, the Pentagon said.
The issue of aircraft safety started after Russia began bombing targets in Syria last month. Moscow says it is attacking Islamic State, but many of its air strikes have hit territory held by other rebel groups fighting against Russia’s Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad.