Pentagon Correspondent
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Dec 12, 2013

U.S. vows support for Syrian opposition despite troubles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is concerned about troubles facing Syria’s Western-backed opposition but it will keep supporting Free Syrian Army leader General Salim Idris and the moderate opposition, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday.

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.

Dec 9, 2013

U.S. to fly African troops to Central African Republic to ease violence

WASHINGTON/DOHA, Dec 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on
Monday that it will fly African forces into Central Africa
Republic, responding to a request by France to bolster
international efforts to halt the spread of violence between
Christians and Muslims.

Two U.S. military C-17 aircraft will fly about 850 troops
from Burundi into Central African Republic within the next 24
hours, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman,
said. It was unclear what U.S. support might follow, but Firman
said consultations were ongoing.

Dec 5, 2013

U.S. repatriates Algerian Guantanamo detainees who fear going home

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has repatriated two Algerians held at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than a decade, the Pentagon said on Thursday, in what the men’s attorneys described as an involuntary transfer that ignored their pleas to go elsewhere.

Djamel Ameziane and Bensayah Belkecem did not want to go back to Algeria because they fear being persecuted there, their attorneys said.

Dec 4, 2013

Delaying security deal a risk to Afghan forces: U.S. military chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military could wait months for a political decision on whether troops stay or leave Afghanistan, but delaying a security pact would damage the confidence of Afghan forces and undermine NATO’s plans, the top U.S. military officer said on Wednesday.

The comments by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, came amid an impasse over the security pact, which would allow American troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014.

Dec 3, 2013

Pentagon says halts ground shipments out of Afghanistan via Pakistan

WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – The U.S. military has halted
ground shipments of cargo leaving Afghanistan via its key
Pakistan supply route to ensure the safety of drivers following
protests in Pakistan over American drone strikes, a Pentagon
spokesman said on Tuesday.

The affected route, which runs from Torkham Gate at the
Afghanistan-Pakistan border to the Pakistani port city of
Karachi, has been crucial for the United States as it winds down
its combat mission in landlocked Afghanistan and moves equipment
out of the country.

Dec 2, 2013

U.S. sends new submarine-hunting jets to Japan amid East Asia tension

TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy’s first two advanced P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft have arrived in Japan, U.S. military officials said on Monday, helping to upgrade America’s ability to hunt submarines and other vessels in seas close to China as tension in the region mounts.

The initial deployment – another four of the aircraft are due to arrive in the coming days – was planned before China last month established an air defense identification zone covering islands controlled by Japan and claimed by Beijing.

Nov 26, 2013

Defying China, U.S. bombers fly into East China Sea zone

WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers
on a training mission flew over disputed islands in the East
China Sea without informing Beijing, Pentagon officials said on
Tuesday, defying China’s declaration of a new airspace defense
zone in the region.

The Pentagon said the flight on Monday night did not prompt
a response from China, and the White House urged Beijing to
resolve its dispute with Japan over the islands diplomatically,
without resorting to “threats or inflammatory language.”

Nov 26, 2013

Defying China, U.S. aircraft fly over East China Sea without notification

WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Two U.S. military aircraft
have flown around disputed islands in the East China Sea without
informing China, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, defying China’s
declaration that the region falls into a new airspace defense
zone.

“We have conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus.
We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include
not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering
our frequencies,” spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said, using the
Japanese name for the islands.

Nov 24, 2013

U.S., Japan slam China’s “destabilizing” move on East China Sea airspace

TOKYO/WASHINGTON, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Japan and ally the
United States sharply criticized China’s move to impose new
rules on airspace over islands at the heart of a territorial
dispute with Tokyo, warning of an escalation into the
“unexpected” if Beijing enforces the rules.

China’s government-run Xinhua news agency published
coordinates for a newly established “East China Sea Air Defense
Identification Zone,” which covers most of that sea and includes
the skies over the disputed islands.

Nov 24, 2013

U.S. says China’s move on East China Sea airspace ‘destabilizing’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Saturday sharply criticized China’s move to impose new rules on airspace over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Japan, calling it a “destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region.”

China’s government-run Xinhua news agency published coordinates for a newly established “East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone,” which covers most of that sea and includes the skies over the disputed islands.

    • 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. ..."
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