Peter's Feed
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

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

Jul 2, 2014

U.S. military to face growing crises, falling budgets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – First it was worries over the South China Sea, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and Syria. Then it was Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the hunt for Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Now the United States and its allies find themselves preparing once again for potential military action in Iraq.

For U.S. defense planners already struggling to implement savage spending cuts, the last year has been one of the most demanding since the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Jun 18, 2014

World peace declining after long post-WWII improvement: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – World peace has deteriorated steadily over the last seven years, with wars, militant attacks and crime reversing six earlier decades of gradual improvement, a global security report said on Wednesday.

Conflict in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and Central African Republic in particular helped drag down the annual Global Peace Index, according to research by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

Jun 10, 2014

After Ukraine, U.S. trains more special forces in eastern Europe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As NATO refocuses on its eastern borders after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the United States is quietly deploying more troops to train special forces in former Soviet bloc states anxious about Moscow’s intentions.

Major exercises began last month in Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia involving several hundred personnel from U.S. special forces, the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) said in a statement to Reuters.

    • About Peter

      "Peter Apps is Reuters global defence correspondent, currently on sabbatical as executive director of the Project for Study of the 21st Century (PS21):"
    • Follow Peter