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Sep 4, 2014

From suburban Maryland, U.S. firm tracks gruesome jihadi videos

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – From an office in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, a small team scans the Web 24 hours a day for jihadi videos often featuring gruesome executions by groups such as Islamic State.

    On Tuesday, SITE Intelligence Services grabbed headlines when it found and alerted its subscribers to footage of the beheading of Steven Sotloff, the second American journalist to be put to death by IS in two weeks.

Sep 2, 2014

U.S., allies to stage exercises in West Ukraine as battles rage in East

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As fighting between the army and Russian-backed rebels rages in eastern Ukraine, preparations are under way near its western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies.

The decision to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 is seen as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine while stopping well short of military intervention in the conflict.

Aug 31, 2014

Insight – As Islamic State fighters begin to blend in, defeating them no easy matter

BAQIRTA Iraq/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After their lightning takeover in June, flag-waving Islamic State militants paraded through the captured Iraqi city of Mosul in looted U.S.-built Humvees, armoured cars and pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns.

Today, many have ditched military-type vehicles that could make them easy targets of U.S. air strikes, and try to blend in with residents, say witnesses. While still terrifying, they are now a far more discreet force.

Aug 31, 2014

As Islamic State fighters begin to blend in, defeating them no easy matter

BAQIRTA Iraq/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After their lightning takeover in June, flag-waving Islamic State militants paraded through the captured Iraqi city of Mosul in looted U.S.-built Humvees, armored cars and pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns.

Today, many have ditched military-type vehicles that could make them easy targets of U.S. air strikes, and try to blend in with residents, say witnesses. While still terrifying, they are now a far more discreet force.

Aug 21, 2014

‘Ambiguous warfare’ providing NATO with new challenge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March, NATO has been publicly refocusing on its old Cold War foe Moscow. The threats it now believes it faces, however, are distinctly different to those of the latter half of the 20th century.

    The West then was defending against the risk of Soviet armour pouring across the North German plain. Now, officials and experts say, it is “ambiguous warfare” that is focusing minds within NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Aug 16, 2014

West faces tough choices if Russia, Ukraine fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If Russia and Ukraine slide into outright war, the United States and allies will face tough choices on how to support a friendly state they have no intention of making a full NATO member.

In what appeared to be a dramatic escalation on Friday, Ukraine said it had destroyed much of a column of armored vehicles that had entered its territory from Russia.

Aug 14, 2014

From jihad to pop culture, Islamists present new face on Web

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The jihadist calling himself Abdullah caused a brief stir on the Internet this week – but not, to his disappointment, because of his backing for Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Instead, his comments posted on Twitter over the death of U.S. actor Robin Williams went viral, prompting a blizzard of facetious questions about his film tastes.

Aug 6, 2014

From Syria to Ukraine, social media opens up warfare

6 (Reuters) – In 2013, Eliot Higgins used
videos posted online from Syria to track weapons and pinpoint a
chemical strike in Damascus from a computer in the English
Midlands.

This year, the British blogger and activist is using the
same techniques to investigate the missiles in Ukraine believed
to have brought down Flight MH17.

Aug 5, 2014

U.S. military team in Ukraine to help airliner crash probe

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 (Reuters) – A small U.S. military team has
arrived in Kiev to help investigate the downing of Malaysian
Airlines Flight MH17, the United States said on Tuesday, with
more direct training support for Ukraine also possible.

The team of about 10 people – which includes special
operations, logistics, communications and air planning personnel
- will operate from the capital of Kiev and will not visit the
crash site in the conflict area of eastern Ukraine.

Jul 18, 2014

Malaysian airliner downing puts spotlight on Buk missile system

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) – As Russia and Ukraine trade
blame over the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian airliner,
they appear to agree on one thing: the type of Soviet-era
missile that brought it down.

But if an SA-11 Buk missile, known as “Gadfly” in NATO,
struck the aircraft and killed all 298 on board, that won’t
solve the mystery of who did it: Russia, Ukraine and
Russian-speaking rebels have all claimed the missile in their
arsenals.

    • About Peter

      "Peter Apps is political risk correspondent for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, covering a range of stories on the interplay between politics, economics and markets. Previously, he was emerging markets correspondent based in London after postings in southern Africa and Sri Lanka. His neck was broken in a vehicle smash on assignment in Sri Lanka in 2006, leaving him largely paralysed from the shoulders down."
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