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Oct 1, 2014

Israel’s Netanyahu to Obama: Don’t allow Iran deal that leaves it at nuclear threshold

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly told U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday that he must make sure that any final nuclear deal with Iran does not leave it at the “threshold” of being able to develop nuclear weapons.

Even as Netanyahu pressed Obama over Iran in White House talks, the president urged the Israeli leader to help find ways to prevent Palestinian civilian casualties like those inflicted in the recent Gaza war between Israel and Hamas militants.

Oct 1, 2014

Amid differences, Israel’s Netanyahu to seek reassurances from Obama on Iran

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu meet for a new round in their often-tense relationship on Wednesday, facing differences over Iran diplomacy and Middle East peace efforts as well as complications from the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State militants.

Hosting the Israeli prime minister in a brief visit to Washington, Obama is expected to try to find common ground with Israel, a traditionally close ally, on the most pressing issues but may have a difficult time narrowing the gap.

Sep 30, 2014

U.S. takes cautious line in response to Hong Kong protests

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is carefully calibrating its response to pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, showing support for peaceful protests while signaling it has little interest in seeing the situation escalate and risk a harsher crackdown by Chinese authorities.

Saying it was closely monitoring the political unrest unfolding on the streets of Hong Kong, the White House on Monday urged security forces there to “exercise restraint” and also called on protesters to “express their views peacefully.”

Sep 28, 2014

Insight – Russian suspicions of U.S. motives in Syria make cooperation unlikely

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Russia see Islamic State as a common enemy but are failing to overcome deep mutual distrust and agree on how to tackle the threat together, making any role for Moscow in the U.S.-led campaign unlikely, say U.S. officials.

Differences between the former Cold War foes are stark, say the officials. Moscow suspects Washington’s ulterior motive is removal of its ally, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Washington refuses to consider working together as long as Moscow insists that U.S. strikes need Syrian and U.N. approval.

Sep 28, 2014

Russian suspicions of U.S. motives in Syria make cooperation unlikely

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and Russia see Islamic State as a common enemy but are failing to overcome deep mutual distrust and agree on how to tackle the threat together, making any role for Moscow in the U.S.-led campaign unlikely, say U.S. officials.

Differences between the former Cold War foes are stark, say the officials. Moscow suspects Washington’s ulterior motive is removal of its ally, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Washington refuses to consider working together as long as Moscow insists that U.S. strikes need Syrian and U.N. approval.

Sep 27, 2014

Next U.S. attorney general faces daunting national security challenges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At a time when heightened fears of government surveillance coincide with growing anxiety about global terrorism, the next top U.S. law-enforcement officer will face daunting challenges to balance protection of Americans’ security and the right to privacy.

President Barack Obama says he has not yet chosen a successor to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced his resignation on Thursday, but whoever takes on the job for the last two years of the tenure will have no easy task.

Sep 24, 2014

‘Too many Israelis’ ready to give up on peace, Obama laments

UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama lamented on Wednesday that “too many Israelis” were ready to abandon Middle East peace efforts and urged them to reflect on the matter, saying the status quo with the Palestinians was unsustainable.

As part of a broader speech to the United Nations Assembly, Obama appeared to gently chide close U.S. ally Israel against giving up on peace a week before he hosts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

Sep 23, 2014

Shadowy al Qaeda cell, hit by U.S. in Syria, seen as ‘imminent’ threat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While the world has focused on a U.S.-led air assault on Islamic State strongholds in Syria, American officials said they also struck a blow there against a little-known cadre of hardened al Qaeda militants that posed a more immediate threat to the West.

The strikes early on Tuesday on what Washington called the Khorasan Group, so shadowy that U.S. officials had barely uttered its name in public, were staged to disrupt a plot against U.S. or European targets that the Pentagon said was “nearing the execution phase.”

Sep 23, 2014

U.S., Iran seek common ground against militants, but doubts persist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Whether Washington likes it or not, Shi’ite Iran, a key ally of the governments of Iraq and Syria, is all but certain to be a major player in the fight against the Sunni militants of Islamic State.

Bitterly at odds over most major Middle Eastern issues, the United States and Iran now essentially find themselves on the same side in an escalating crisis over the Islamist group that has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Aug 31, 2014

Libyan armed faction takes over U.S. embassy annex in Tripoli

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Members of a Libyan militia have taken over an annex of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli but have not broken into the main compound where the United States evacuated all of its staff last month, U.S. officials said on Sunday.

A YouTube video showed the breach of the vacated diplomatic facility by an armed group from the northwestern city of Misrata, with dozens of fighters seen crowding around a swimming pool and some diving in from the balcony of a nearby building.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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