National Security correspondent, Washington DC
Missy's Feed
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.

Jun 30, 2014

U.S. sends 300 more troops to Iraq, narrows options for second operations center

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is again ramping up its military presence in Iraq, sending around 300 additional troops into the country as well as a detachment of helicopters and drone aircraft, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said about 200 forces arrived on Sunday in Iraq to reinforce security at the U.S. embassy, its support facilities and Baghdad International Airport. Another 100 personnel were also due to move to Baghdad to “provide security and logistics support.”

Jun 24, 2014

As Libya teeters near chaos, U.S. keeps hands-off policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Among all countries swept by the Arab Spring uprisings, few today are as dysfunctional as Libya.

Heavily armed militias outgun its fledgling army. A renegade former general has launched a purge of radical Islamists. Weapons looted from arsenals of ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi help fuel the bloody conflict in Syria. And an estimated $30 billion in oil revenue has been lost in the past 11 months.

Jun 20, 2014

U.S. seeks Iraqi legal safeguards for military advisers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States expressed confidence on Friday it would secure legal safeguards for U.S. forces arriving in Iraq over the next week to shield them from the possibility of prosecution in Iraqi courts, despite America’s inability do so three years ago.

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday he will deploy up to 300 military advisers to Iraq in the face of advances by an al Qaeda splinter group and would consider targeted strikes against insurgents.

Jun 16, 2014

Pentagon: U.S. could discuss Iraq with Iran, but won’t coordinate military action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials may hold discussions with Iran about Iraq’s security crisis on the sidelines of nuclear talks this week, but Washington will not coordinate potential military action in Iraq with its longtime adversary Tehran, the Pentagon said on Monday.

“It’s possible that on the sidelines of those discussions there could be discussions surrounding the situation in Iraq,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said, referring to talks in Vienna this week between world powers and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Jun 15, 2014

U.S. bolsters Baghdad embassy security, orders some staff evacuated

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States ordered military personnel to boost security for its diplomatic staff in Baghdad on Sunday and said some staff were being evacuated from the embassy as the Iraqi government battled to hold off insurgent forces.

“A small number of DOD (Department of Defense) personnel are augmenting State Department security assets in Baghdad to help ensure the safety of our facilities,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. A U.S. military official said fewer than 100 people would be involved, including marines and other soldiers.

Jun 13, 2014

Analysis – Iraqi military breakdown fueled by corruption, politics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Iraqi army that disintegrated under an onslaught by Islamist fighters this week was a hollow force, riven by corruption, poor leadership and sectarian splits – a shadow of the military Washington had hoped to leave in the war-ravaged country.

The United States dismantled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s military after invading in 2003 and spent $20 billion to build up a new 800,000-strong force, banking on its ability to keep the peace when the U.S. military withdrew in 2011.

    • 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."
    • Follow Missy