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Apr 23, 2015

Pentagon says evicted Russian hackers, global cyber threat grows

PALO ALTO, California (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday disclosed a cyber intrusion this year by Russian hackers who accessed an unclassified U.S. military network, in a episode Defense Secretary Ash Carter said showed the growing threat and the improving U.S. ability to respond.

Carter cited the newly declassified incident during an address at Stanford University, in which he also warned the Pentagon was ready to help defend America’s networks and to use cyber weaponry, if needed.

Apr 23, 2015

Pentagon chief seeks to woo Silicon Valley, eyes tech innovation

REDWOOD CITY, California (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in California’s Silicon Valley on Wednesday at the start of a three-day trip aiming to draw in America’s tech innovators despite major challenges, including making the Pentagon attractive to cyber-savvy youth.

Carter plans to make several announcements during the visit, defense officials say, including establishing an outreach office in Silicon Valley focused on scouting new and emerging breakthrough technologies and building industry ties to the Pentagon.

Apr 23, 2015

Pentagon’s new cyber strategy cites U.S. ability to retaliate

REDWOOD CITY, California (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is due to unveil an updated cyber strategy on Thursday that will stress the military’s ability to retaliate with cyber weapons, a capability he hopes will help deter attacks.

The strategy presents a potentially far more muscular role for the U.S. military’s cyber warriors than the Pentagon was willing to acknowledge in its last strategy rollout in 2011 and singles out threats from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Apr 23, 2015

US concerned Iranian ships may carry arms to Yemen -Pentagon chief

MOFFETT FIELD, California, April 22 (Reuters) – The United
States is concerned a group of Iranian cargo ships may be
carrying advanced weapons to Yemen, Defense Secretary Ash Carter
said on Wednesday, as he called on Iran to avoid “fanning the
flames” of the conflict with arms deliveries.

Asked whether he thought weapons were on board the Iranian
ships, Carter said: “We’re certainly concerned about that.”

Apr 16, 2015

Iraq signals unease with Iran general’s battlefield prominence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq’s prime minister said on Thursday that he welcomed Iranian assistance in Iraq’s battle against Islamic State but suggested unease with the prominence of a top Iranian general, who has been widely seen in photos from Iraq’s battlefields.

Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s al-Quds brigade of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was almost an invisible man until Islamic State’s Sunni jihadists overran cities in northern and central Iraq last year.

Apr 15, 2015

Iraq says Islamic State still fierce; eyes Baiji, Anbar fights

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq’s prime minister said on Wednesday that the Islamic State remains a fierce adversary as he outlined plans during a trip to Washington to prioritize battles in the refinery city of Baiji and Anbar province, where the militants are striking back.

Haidar al-Abadi, speaking to reporters a day after meeting U.S. President Barack Obama, portrayed a mixed picture of a weakening Islamic State eight months after U.S.-led air strikes against the group began in Iraq.

Apr 15, 2015

Iraq PM says Yemen could stoke regional war, slams Saudi operations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on Wednesday the fighting in Yemen could engulf the region in war, and suggested after talks in Washington that U.S. leaders shared his concerns and “want to stop this conflict as soon as possible.”

Abadi, who met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday, also said that convincing Iraq’s neighbor Saudi Arabia to halt its offensive in Yemen could be difficult.

Apr 11, 2015

Exclusive: Iraq’s leader to seek arms, with deferred payment, on U.S. visit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq’s prime minister will seek President Barack Obama’s help to acquire billions of dollars in drones and other U.S. arms to fight Islamic State during a U.S. visit next week, but will request deferment of payments for the purchases, a senior Iraqi official said.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is grappling with an insurgency by militants from Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that emerged from the chaos in Iraq and neighboring Syria and seized much of northern and central Iraq last year.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S.-led coalition, Iraqis pound Islamic State in Tikrit

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S.-led coalition warplanes launched their first airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Tikrit on Wednesday, officials said, coming off the sidelines to aid Iraqi forces fighting alongside Iran-backed Shi’ite militia on the ground.

The decision to give air support to the Tikrit campaign pulls the United States into a messy battle that puts the U.S.-led coalition, however reluctantly, on the same side of a fight as Iranian-backed militia in a bid to support Iraqi forces and opens a new chapter in the war.

Mar 25, 2015

Exclusive: U.S.-led coalition planning to carry out Tikrit strikes – source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S.-led coalition is planning to carry out air strikes in support of Iraqi operations against Islamic State in the city of Tikrit, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, confirming comments by Iraq’s president in an interview with Reuters.

The U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss timing of any strikes.

    • 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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