National Security correspondent, Washington DC
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Aug 11, 2014

U.S. begins direct arms shipments to Kurdish forces

WASHINGTON, Aug 11 (Reuters) – The U.S. government is
directly supplying weapons to Peshmerga fighters from Iraq’s
semiautonomous Kurdish region to help them fight Sunni
militants, in a deepening of America’s military involvement in
Iraq, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The Kurdish fighters are struggling to stem advances by
militants from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot.

Aug 11, 2014

U.S. begins direct arms shipments to Kurdish forces: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is directly supplying weapons to Peshmerga fighters from Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region to help them fight Sunni militants, in a deepening of America’s military involvement in Iraq, U.S. government sources said on Monday.

The weapons shipments to Arbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, come as Kurdish fighters struggle to stem advances by militants from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot.

Aug 11, 2014

U.S. weighs options to evacuate desperate Yazidis from Iraqi mountain

By Missy Ryan and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON/EDGARTOWN Mass. (Reuters) – The United States is exploring options to evacuate thousands of Iraqi civilians trapped on a barren mountain in northern Iraq by Islamic militants, after four nights of humanitarian relief airdrops, U.S. officials said on Sunday.

While the airdrops appear to have provided urgently needed aid, the harsh conditions of the Sinjar mountain range in mid-summer have taken scores of lives among Iraq’s Yazidi minority, who are threatened by hardline militants from the Islamic State.

Aug 10, 2014

U.S. presses Iraq strikes, Republicans criticize ‘ineffective’ Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States conducted a new round of air strikes on Sunday against Islamic State militants in Iraq while congressional Republicans slammed President Barack Obama’s intervention as ineffective and called for more aggressive military steps.

Republican Representative Peter King of New York criticized Obama for insisting he will not send U.S. ground troops to combat Islamic State forces in Iraq, adding that the United States has been too timid in the crisis so far.

Aug 9, 2014

Iraq supplies Kurds with ammunition in ‘unprecedented’ move, U.S. says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Iraqi government provided a planeload of ammunition to Peshmerga fighters from Iraq’s semi autonomous Kurdish region on Friday, a U.S. official said, in an unprecedented act of military cooperation between Kurdish and Iraqi forces brought on by an urgent militant threat.

The official said Iraqi security forces flew a C-130 cargo plane loaded with mostly small-arms ammunition to Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, in a bid to strengthen the region’s Peshmerga fighters as they struggle to keep militants from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot, at bay.

Aug 8, 2014

U.S. lawmakers laud Iraq strikes, question long-term strategy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers in Washington welcomed President Barack Obama’s decision to attack advancing Islamist militants in Iraq, but some questioned whether his administration has a long-term strategy to arrest Iraq’s disintegration.

Two U.S. F/A-18 fighter jets dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on Friday on an Islamic State mobile artillery piece used to shell Kurdish forces defending Arbil, the Pentagon said.

Aug 7, 2014

Kurds use well-oiled lobbying to plead for help in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When radical Islamic forces threatening to dismember Iraq unexpectedly captured several towns from the Peshmerga Kurdish fighters last weekend, the Kurds’ public relations machine quickly seized on the setback to boost their case in Washington.

“This justifies all the reasons why the Pentagon should help beef up the Peshmerga forces by providing such sophisticated arms,” Karwan Zebari, the Kurdish government spokesman in the United States, told Reuters.

Jul 31, 2014

Iraqi Kurds, battling Islamist threat, press Washington for arms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq is pressing the Obama administration for sophisticated weapons it says Kurdish fighters need to push back Islamist militants threatening their region, Kurdish and U.S. officials said.

A Kurdish official said the request was discussed during a Kurdish delegation’s visit to Washington in early July, and U.S. officials said Washington was considering ways to bolster the Kurdish defenses.

Jul 3, 2014

Can Iraqi forces recapture lost ground alone? U.S. says ‘probably not’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraqi security forces will probably not be able to recapture ground they have lost to Islamist militants without assistance, the top U.S. military officer said on Thursday.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. advisers now conducting an assessment of Iraqi forces were reporting the military was “capable of defending Baghdad” but it “would be challenged to go on the offence, mostly logistically challenged.”

Jun 30, 2014

U.S. sends 300 more troops to Iraq over security concerns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is ramping up its military presence in Iraq, deploying around 300 additional troops as well as helicopters and drone aircraft in response security concerns in Baghdad, officials said on Monday.

The decision announced by the Pentagon puts U.S. military personnel in a security role at Baghdad International Airport in the face of advances by an al Qaeda splinter group, three years after America’s military withdrawal.

    • About Missy

      "Prior to heading the Mexico bureau, Missy was deputy bureau chief in Baghdad. She has also covered commodities in Washington, DC and worked in Peru, Argentina and Egypt for Reuters."
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