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Jul 20, 2014

U.S. presses case against Russia on downed jet as horror deepens

HRABOVE Ukraine/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry laid out what he called overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as international horror deepened over the fate of the victims’ remains.

Kerry demanded that Moscow take responsibility for actions of pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine whom Washington suspects of downing the jet with a missile, and expressed disgust at their “grotesque” mishandling of the bodies.

Jul 20, 2014

Kerry makes most explicit U.S. case against Russia over Malaysia jet downing

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) – Secretary of State John
Kerry on Sunday laid out what he said was overwhelming evidence
of Russian complicity in the downing of a Malaysian airliner in
eastern Ukraine as he made the U.S. case against Moscow in the
most emphatic and explicit terms yet.

In a blitz of U.S. morning news shows, Kerry demanded that
Russia take responsibility for actions of allied separatists
suspected of shooting down the passenger plane and he expressed
disgust over the rebels’ “grotesque” mishandling of victims’
bodies at the crash site.

Jul 18, 2014

Downing of airliner seen as pivotal moment in Ukraine crisis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine could be a turning point for the Ukraine crisis, if it convinces reluctant Europeans to get behind tougher “sectoral” sanctions long-sought by U.S. President Barack Obama.    Although it’s unclear exactly who was behind the apparent ground-launched missile that destroyed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, U.S. allies who have tried to occupy the middle ground in the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War may now support bolder action to end the fighting in Ukraine.

“Some people thought Ukraine didn’t have anything to do with them. They are now discovering their error,” one senior U.S. official said, adding that this could shatter the view in some European capitals that the conflict was largely contained.     Current and former U.S. officials, as well as independent analysts, say the tragedy would sharpen global attention on Ukraine’s raging separatist conflict and Moscow’s role in fueling it. That, in turn, could be a catalyst for stronger sanctions that could inflict real damage on Russia’s economy.

Jul 18, 2014

U.S. urges ‘precise operation’ from Israel in Gaza ground campaign

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday reaffirmed its stance that Israel has a right to defend itself but called on its close ally to restrict itself to a “precise operation” as the Jewish state launched a ground campaign in Gaza.

The State Department said that during a phone call with Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “explained his decision to launch an operation to target the threat of further terrorist infiltration through tunnels into Israel.”

Jul 17, 2014

U.S. asks Israel to do more to protect Gaza civilians

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday called on Israel to do more to prevent Palestinian civilian casualties in its conflict with Hamas militants after four children were killed on a beach in the Gaza Strip.

Even while stepping up U.S. pressure for Israeli restraint, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reasserted Washington’s condemnation of Hamas’s “indiscriminate rocket attacks” targeting Israeli civilians and affirmed U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

Jun 26, 2014

U.S. drone strikes risk ‘slippery slope’ to endless war, panel says

WASHINGTON, June 26 (Reuters) – The Obama administration’s
reliance on drone strikes abroad threatens to create a “slippery
slope” toward endless war and sets a dangerous precedent that
other countries could follow, former senior U.S. officials said
in a report on Thursday.

The report acknowledged that the armed unmanned aircraft are
a useful tool in the U.S. counterterrorism arsenal and are “here
to stay,” but it called on President Barack Obama to allow
increased public scrutiny and tighter oversight for the
secretive program while developing international norms.

Jun 19, 2014

Obama sends U.S. military advisers to Iraq as battle rages over refinery

TIKRIT Iraq (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was sending up to 300 U.S. military advisers to Iraq but stressed the need for a political solution to the Iraqi crisis as government forces battled Sunni rebels for control of the country’s biggest refinery.

Speaking after a meeting with his national security team, Obama said he was prepared to take “targeted” military action later if deemed necessary, thus delaying but still keeping open the prospect of U.S. air strikes against a militant insurgency. But he insisted that U.S. troops would not return to combat in Iraq.

Jun 18, 2014

In Washington, growing chorus calls for Iraq’s Maliki to go

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama came under pressure from U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday to persuade Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to step down over what they see as failed leadership in the face of an insurgency threatening his country.

As Obama held an hour-long meeting with congressional leaders on U.S. options in Iraq, administration officials joined a chorus of criticism of Maliki, faulting him for failing to heal sectarian rifts that militants have exploited.

Jun 14, 2014

Insight – Obama faces limited options in Iraq crisis, doubts over air strikes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two and a half years after President Barack Obama disentangled America from a long, unpopular war in Iraq, his options for helping the Iraqi government stave off a militant onslaught are slim as doubts simmer over whether even punishing air strikes would be effective.

He will announce in coming days how far he is willing to go in responding to the crisis in Iraq, where militants are sweeping south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to recreate a large mediaeval Islamic caliphate spanning Iraq and Syria.

Jun 14, 2014

Obama faces limited options in Iraq crisis, doubts over air strikes

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – Two and a half years after
President Barack Obama disentangled America from a long,
unpopular war in Iraq, his options for helping the Iraqi
government stave off a militant onslaught are slim as doubts
simmer over whether even punishing air strikes would be
effective.

He will announce in coming days how far he is willing to go
in responding to the crisis in Iraq, where militants are
sweeping south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to
recreate a large mediaeval Islamic caliphate spanning Iraq and
Syria.

    • 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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