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Apr 24, 2013

Crossing Obama’s ‘red line’ on Syria will require concrete proof

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – While President Barack Obama has declared a “red line” over Syrian use of chemical weapons, U.S. officials suggested on Tuesday that Washington was unlikely to respond without clear-cut evidence of such use – evidence that may be very hard to come by.

Israel’s top military intelligence analyst said in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons – probably the nerve gas sarin – in their fight against rebels trying to force out President Bashar al-Assad.

Apr 24, 2013

Analysis: Crossing Obama’s “red line” on Syria will require concrete proof

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) – While President Barack Obama has declared a “red line” over Syrian use of chemical weapons, U.S. officials suggested on Tuesday that Washington was unlikely to respond without clear-cut evidence of such use – evidence that may be very hard to come by.

Israel’s top military intelligence analyst said in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons – probably the nerve gas sarin – in their fight against rebels trying to force out President Bashar al-Assad.

Apr 20, 2013

U.S. readies new non-lethal military aid for Syria opposition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States plans to provide about $100 million in new non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition that could include for the first time battlefield support equipment such as body armor and night-vision goggles, a U.S. official said.

Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to announce the new aid package, which would mark a recalibration of U.S. policy toward rebel groups in the Syrian civil war, at an international conference on Syria that he will attend in Turkey this weekend.

Apr 16, 2013

U.S. condoned torture after 9/11, must close Guantanamo – report

WASHINGTON/MIAMI (Reuters) – An independent task force issued a damning review of Bush-era interrogation practices on Tuesday, saying the highest U.S. officials bore ultimate responsibility for the “indisputable” use of torture, and it urged President Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo detention camp by the end of 2014.

In one of the most comprehensive studies of U.S. treatment of terrorism suspects, the panel concluded that never before had there been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”

Apr 15, 2013

Obama’s Guantanamo policy hit by violence, force-feeding

MIAMI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A violent weekend clash between guards and prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the release of harrowing accounts by inmates of force-feeding of hunger strikers brought President Barack Obama’s failure to close the camp under close scrutiny on Monday.

The White House defended a raid carried out by guards on Saturday that highlighted weeks of mounting tensions with prisoners at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, but pointed the finger at Congress for keeping Obama from fulfilling his promise to shut the facility.

Apr 12, 2013

U.S. downplays report on North Korean nuclear missile capability

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Friday played down a Pentagon spy agency report that triggered alarm that North Korea might be able to deliver a nuclear-tipped missile at a time of heightened tensions in Asia and the United States over Pyongyang’s threats of war.

The evaluation from the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), produced in March and revealed at a congressional hearing on Thursday, concluded that North Korea likely has nuclear bombs that could be delivered by missiles.

Apr 12, 2013

U.S. report on North Korea nuclear missile called preliminary, low level

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An excerpt from a Pentagon report that set off worries about a North Korean nuclear missile was part of a very preliminary assessment not intended to be made public and never reached senior levels of the U.S. government, U.S. sources said on Friday.

The evaluation from the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, concluded that North Korea likely has a nuclear bomb that can be launched on a missile. U.S. defense and intelligence officials later cast serious doubt on whether North Korea can, in fact, fire a nuclear missile.

Apr 11, 2013

Red Cross chief presses U.S. on Guantanamo hunger strike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday expressed opposition to the force-feeding of prisoners staging a mass hunger strike at the Guantanamo prison camp and said he urged President Barack Obama to do more to resolve the “untenable” legal plight of inmates held there.

ICRC president Peter Maurer made his case in talks with Obama and other top U.S. officials in Washington this week while a team from the Geneva-based group monitored the hunger strike by dozens of detainees at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. Many have been held for more than a decade without charge or trial.

Apr 9, 2013

North Korea tests Obama’s ‘strategic patience’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea’s next act of defiance could be a critical test of whether President Barack Obama’s “strategic patience,” his long-standing policy toward the nuclear renegade state, is beginning to run out.

With North Korea considered likely to cap its barrage of bellicose threats with a military provocation in coming days, the United States has drawn up new security plans with ally South Korea and increased pressure on China to do more to rein in Pyongyang, U.S. officials said.

Apr 9, 2013

Analysis: North Korea tests Obama’s “strategic patience”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North Korea’s next act of defiance could be a critical test of whether President Barack Obama’s “strategic patience,” his long-standing policy toward the nuclear renegade state, is beginning to run out.

With North Korea considered likely to cap its barrage of bellicose threats with a military provocation in coming days, the United States has drawn up new security plans with ally South Korea and increased pressure on China to do more to rein in Pyongyang, U.S. officials said.

    • 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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