WASHINGTON (Reuters) – American forces face formidable challenges as President Barack Obama considers an air assault on Islamist fighters in Syria, including intelligence gaps on potential targets, concerns about Syria’s air defenses and fears that the militants may have anti-aircraft weapons, current and former U.S. officials say.
The Pentagon began preparing options for an assault on Islamic State fighters after the militants last week posted a gruesome video showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. Deliberations by Obama’s national security team on expanding the campaign against Islamic State from Iraq into neighboring Syria gathered pace in recent days, officials say.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Even as warplanes dropped the first U.S. bombs on Islamic militant targets in northern Iraq, President Barack Obama faced doubts inside his administration and out that the limited mission he circumscribed was enough to shift the balance in a conflict threatening to tear Iraq apart.
Backed into a corner after months of steadfastly avoiding direct U.S. military action in the Iraq crisis, Obama has reluctantly ordered intervention in a country that Americans thought they had left behind long ago.
BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) – The United States
began to drop relief supplies to beleaguered Yazidi refugees
fleeing Islamist militants in Iraq, but there was no immediate
sign on Friday of U.S. air strikes to halt the sweeping advance
of Islamic State fighters.
President Barack Obama said he had authorised limited
bombing to prevent “genocide” and blunt the onslaught of Sunni
radicals who have captured swathes of northern Iraq and advanced
to a half hour drive from the Kurdish regional capital, Arbil.
WASHINGTON/ARBIL, Iraq, Aug 7 (Reuters) – President Barack
Obama said on Thursday he had authorized U.S. air strikes to
blunt the onslaught of Islamist militants in northern Iraq and
began airdrops of supplies to besieged religious minorities to
prevent a “potential act of genocide.”
Obama, in his most significant response yet to the crisis,
said he approved “targeted” use of air power to protect U.S.
personnel if Islamic State militants advance further toward
Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish semi-autonomous region in
northern Iraq, or threaten Americans anywhere in the country.
WASHINGTON/ARBIL Iraq (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday he had authorized limited U.S. airstrikes to blunt the onslaught of Islamic militants in northern Iraq and began military airdrops of humanitarian supplies to besieged religious minorities to prevent a “potential act of genocide.”
Speaking after meetings with his national security team, Obama – in his most significant response to the Iraq crisis – said he approved “targeted” use of air power to protect U.S. personnel if Islamic State militants advance further toward the Kurdish capital Arbil or threaten Americans anywhere in the country.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday backed Egyptian efforts to broker a durable Israel-Hamas ceasefire in Gaza but also called for a longer-term solution that provides for Israeli security while offering Gaza residents hope they will not remain “permanently closed off from the world.”
Obama said the short-term U.S. goal is to make sure that a 72-hour truce holds and is extended beyond its Friday deadline, including the cessation of cross-border rocket fire by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
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.
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.
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.
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.”