WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is publicly voicing confidence in Iraq’s prime minister in the fight against surging Islamic State militants, but privately some U.S. officials question whether he is too weak to bridge the sectarian divide.
Washington is still betting on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who stands at the center of President Barack Obama’s strategy to roll back the latest conquests of Islamic State while keeping the United States from being pulled deeper into a conflict U.S. combat troops left in 2011.
WASHINGTON/LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on
Tuesday that two Iranian warships have “linked up” with a cargo
ship that Iran has said is carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen,
as activists on board the vessel said it was due to arrive at
the Yemeni port of Hodaida on Thursday.
“We’re not overly concerned at this point,” Pentagon
spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told a briefing, adding that the
ships’ locations were being monitored “every step of the way.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States signaled no intent to shift its strategy in Iraq’s war on Monday, even as the fall of the city of Ramadi to Islamic State called into question the relative strength of Iraq’s army after months of U.S.-led advising and air strikes.
The loss of the western Iraqi city to the militants represents the biggest defeat for Iraq’s government since mid-2014, when Islamic State swept into Iraq and seized more than a third of the country.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After weeks of planning and surveillance focused on a compound near the oilfields of eastern Syria, elite American commandos were finally given the green light to swoop in on their target – an Islamic State commander considered to have acted as the group’s “chief financial officer.”
Mounting a rare raid in a war-ravaged country where U.S. President Barack Obama has long been reluctant to commit “boots on the ground,” the Delta Force unit flew in from Iraq under cover of darkness in the early hours of Saturday on Black Hawk helicopters and Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – Iranian naval vessels fired shots at a Singapore-flagged tanker in the Gulf on Thursday, in what appeared to be Iran’s latest attempt to settle a legal dispute by force with passing commercial vessels, U.S. officials said.
The incident unnerved the shipping industry just as President Barack Obama met with Gulf allies to try to allay their concerns that Iran would be empowered by a deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the West lifting sanctions.
WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – Iranian naval vessels fired
what appeared to be warning shots over a Singapore-flagged ship
in international waters in the Gulf on Thursday, prompting it to
flee to United Arab Emirates waters, U.S. officials said.
The Alpine Eternity, a 29,130 gross tonnes oil products
tanker, has safely reached the UAE port of Jebel Ali after
coming under attack in the Gulf, its manager said.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon is considering sending U.S. military aircraft and ships to assert freedom of navigation around rapidly growing Chinese-made artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter requested options that include sending U.S. military ships and aircraft within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of reefs that China has been building up in the disputed Spratly Islands, the official said.
WASHINGTON/DUBAI, May 12 (Reuters) – The United States
called on Iran on Tuesday to send humanitarian relief for Yemen
to a U.N. distribution center in Djibouti and criticized plans,
reported by Iranian state media, for Iranian warships to escort
a cargo vessel directly to Yemen.
The Pentagon said it was watching the ship, the Iran Shahed,
which Tehran says is carrying humanitarian supplies.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter was declared missing on Tuesday with six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers aboard as it was ferrying rice and tarps to earthquake victims in rugged terrain in Nepal, near a town hard hit by the latest deadly aftershocks.
Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said reports from the field indicated the helicopter’s crew was overheard talking about fuel problems before U.S. military officials lost contact with the light attack helicopter.
WASHINGTON/ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The United States has begun a long-awaited program to train Syrian fighters to go into combat against Islamic State, the Pentagon said on Thursday, deepening America’s role in Syria’s civil war after eight months of airstrikes against the Sunni militants.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the military was starting small, training a first group of just 90 Syrians, who would be paid a stipend and could expect some still-undefined support once they return to the battlefield.