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Jan 11, 2013

Afghan troop levels top agenda for Obama-Karzai talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will hold a critical round of talks on Friday that could help determine how fast the United States withdraws troops from Afghanistan and whether it leaves a residual force after 2014.

Hosting Karzai at the White House, Obama faces the challenge of pressing ahead with his re-election pledge to continue winding down the long war in Afghanistan while preparing the Afghan government to prevent a slide back into chaos and a Taliban resurgence once most NATO forces are gone.

Jan 9, 2013

U.S. does not rule out removing all troops from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration does not rule out a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 2014, the White House said on Tuesday, just days before President Barack Obama is due to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The comments by U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes were the clearest signal yet that, despite initial recommendations by the top military commander in Afghanistan to keep as many as 15,000 troops in the country, Obama could opt to remove everyone, as happened in Iraq in 2011.

Jan 8, 2013

U.S. doesn’t rule out complete pullout from Afghanistan after 2014

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – The Obama administration does
not rule out a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from
Afghanistan after 2014, the White House said on Tuesday, just
days before President Barack Obama is due to meet Afghan
President Hamid Karzai.

The comments by U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben
Rhodes were the clearest signal yet that, despite initial
recommendations by the top military commander in Afghanistan to
keep as many as 15,000 troops in the country, Oba ma could opt to
r emove eve ryone, as happened in Iraq in 2011.

Jan 8, 2013

Obama shows combativeness entering 2nd term but risks await

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Just two weeks before his second inauguration, President Barack Obama is acting as if he believes he has a big mandate for his next term. The latest sign: his decision to defy a concerted campaign against his choice for defense secretary.

The Democratic president, re-elected in November, unveiled a more combative approach during the end-of-year “fiscal cliff” taxes and spending drama, exploiting disarray in Republican ranks that underscored Washington’s legislative dysfunction.

Jan 8, 2013

Analysis: Obama shows combativeness entering second term but risks await

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Just two weeks before his second inauguration, President Barack Obama is acting as if he believes he has a big mandate for his next term. The latest sign: his decision to defy a concerted campaign against his choice for defense secretary.

The Democratic president, re-elected in November, unveiled a more combative approach during the end-of-year “fiscal cliff” taxes and spending drama, exploiting disarray in Republican ranks that underscored Washington’s legislative dysfunction.

Jan 7, 2013

Obama to tap Hagel for Pentagon, Brennan for CIA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Monday will nominate Republican Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to head the CIA, two choices likely to stoke controversy as he fills out his second-term national security team.

The selection of Hagel, a maverick former senator and decorated Vietnam veteran tapped to replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon, appears destined for a bruising Senate confirmation battle against critics who have already launched an onslaught over his record on Israel and Iran.

Jan 4, 2013

All signs point to Hagel as pick for U.S. defence secretary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama appeared poised on Friday to pick former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as the next U.S. defence secretary and the announcement may come early next week.

Sources on Capitol Hill and in the national security community said all signs were pointing to Hagel as Obama’s choice to replace current Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

Jan 4, 2013

All signs point to Hagel as pick for defense secretary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama appeared poised on Friday to pick former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary and the announcement may come early next week.

Sources on Capitol Hill and in the national security community said all signs were pointing to Hagel as Obama’s choice to replace current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Dec 22, 2012

Obama nominates John Kerry as next secretary of state

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday nominated John Kerry to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling the veteran U.S. senator the “perfect choice” for America’s top diplomat as he began reshaping his national security team for a second term.

Obama settled on Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, after the front-runner, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, withdrew from consideration last week.

Dec 21, 2012

Obama to announce John Kerry’s nomination for secretary of state

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Friday will announce the nomination of Senator John Kerry as secretary of state to succeed Hillary Clinton, marking his first major step in the overhaul of his national security team on the cusp of his second term.

Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, had been widely tipped to become America’s top diplomat after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration last week. The Massachusetts Democrat is expected to win easy confirmation from his Senate colleagues.

    • 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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