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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Robert Andrews believes his own son might still be alive if U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl had not gone missing from his Afghan guard post on June 30, 2009.
As Bergdahl emerges from five years of Taliban captivity, former comrades are accusing him of walking away from his unit and prompting a massive manhunt they say cost the lives of at least six fellow soldiers, including Andrews’ 34-year-old son, Darryn, a second lieutenant.
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – In 2008, when he joined the army, he was a bookish athlete from rugged Idaho with a passion for fencing. A year later, he was a captive of the Afghan Taliban. Today, he is on the way home, a free man at last.
But a new ordeal for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, 28, is just beginning.
Held alone for nearly five years, without any contact with fellow soldiers, Bergdahl likely suffered deep psychological scars that could take years to heal, possibly a lifetime, say experts who have studied prisoners held for long periods of time at war.