Pentagon Correspondent
Phil's Feed
Sep 30, 2014

Pentagon: media lacking patience at start of Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Tuesday criticized some media coverage for lacking patience at the start of a long fight against the Islamic State, cautioning that progress would take time and saying “we cannot bomb them into obscurity” in Syria and Iraq.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to specify which coverage was, in his words, “a little shrill and hyperbolic and not exactly in balance.”

Sep 26, 2014

Up to 15,000 Syrian rebels needed to retake eastern Syria -U.S. military

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Western-backed opposition force of around 12,000 to 15,000 will be needed to retake areas of eastern Syria controlled by Islamic State militants, the top U.S military officer said on Friday, as the Pentagon outlined the first steps in a U.S.-led training program that could run several years.

The Pentagon said its assessment teams have already arrived in Saudi Arabia to help map out a U.S.-led program there expected to train more than 5,000 Western-backed opposition fighters in the first year.

Sep 24, 2014

New airstrikes in Syria take aim at Islamic State’s oil money

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – A third night of U.S.-led
airstrikes pounded Islamic State-controlled oil refineries in
eastern Syria, as the United States and its partners moved to
choke off a crucial source of revenue for the militant group,
U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined in the
strikes by piloted and drone aircraft targeting facilities
around al Mayadin, al Hasakah, and Abu Kamal, the U.S. military
said.

Sep 24, 2014

U.S. says still assessing fate of Khorasan figure after Syria strike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday it was still assessing whether Mohsin al-Fadhli, a senior figure of the al Qaeda-linked Khorasan group, was killed in a U.S. strike in Syria, with the Pentagon cautioning any confirmation could take time.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters earlier on Wednesday: “We believe he is dead.”

Sep 24, 2014

U.S. and Arab allies launch first strikes on militants in Syria

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United States and its Arab allies bombed militant groups in Syria for the first time on Tuesday, killing scores of Islamic State fighters, members of a separate al Qaeda-linked group and opening a new front amid shifting Middle East alliances.

The attacks encountered no objection, and even signs of tacit approval, from President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government, which said Washington had warned Damascus in advance.

Sep 23, 2014

Obama vows continued air strikes against extremists in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama vowed more strikes against extremists in Syria on Tuesday after U.S. forces carried out separate air raids targeting Islamic State militants and an al Qaeda affiliate that Washington said was plotting attacks on America and Europe.

“We will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people,” Obama said as he left the White House to travel to the United Nations in New York, where he will meet officials from Arab nations that joined in the strikes against the Islamic State group.

Sep 23, 2014

U.S., Arab partners launch first strikes on IS in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and several Gulf Arab allies launched air and missile strikes on Islamic State strongholds in Syria on Tuesday, U.S. officials said, opening a new, far more complicated front in the battle against the militants.

“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against (Islamic State) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement.

Sep 23, 2014

U.S., Arab partners launch first strikes in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and several Gulf Arab allies have launched air and missile strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, U.S. officials said, opening a new, far more complicated front in the battle against the militants.

“I can confirm that U.S. military and partner nation forces are undertaking military action against (Islamic State) terrorists in Syria using a mix of fighter, bomber and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said in a statement on Monday.

Sep 23, 2014

Arab role may be key to U.S. strikes in Syria: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama wants some Arab participation in air strikes against the Islamic State in order to expand the campaign to Syria, reflecting U.S. concerns that any long-term campaign must count on regional involvement, U.S. officials say.

Obama authorized air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria almost two weeks ago and was briefed on U.S. war plans last week by the U.S. military’s Central Command. But Obama held off on approving those plans as diplomats pushed ahead with efforts to forge a coalition.

Sep 21, 2014

U.S. military struggles to preserve options in Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As America re-engages with Iraq and deepens its involvement in the region’s web of sectarian conflicts, the Pentagon has made a practical assessment of the brutal job of stabilizing Baghdad: in the future, U.S. forces may be needed on the front lines.

President Barack Obama has ruled out a combat mission, but military officials and former officials say the reality of a protracted campaign in Iraq and possibly Syria may ultimately require greater use of U.S. troops, including tactical air strike spotters or front-line advisers embedded with Iraq forces.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
    • Contact Phil

    • Follow Phil