Pentagon Correspondent
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Nov 16, 2014

U.S. military chief says battle with Islamic State starting to turn

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The United States’ top military officer told American troops on a surprise visit to Baghdad on Saturday that the momentum in the battle with Islamic State was “starting to turn”, but predicted a drawn-out campaign lasting several years.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was visiting Iraq for the first time since President Barack Obama responded to Islamic State advances this summer by ordering troops back into a country they left in 2011.

Nov 15, 2014

Iraq troops close in on Baiji refinery, Dempsey in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Iraqi security forces appeared
close on Saturday to retaking the country’s biggest refinery
which was besieged by Islamic State militants hours after the
top U.S. military officer arrived ahead of an expanded American

General Martin Dempsey paid his first trip to Iraq since
President Barack Obama, alarmed by Islamic State advances,
ordered non-combatant American forces back into the country this

Nov 15, 2014

Top U.S. general arrives in Iraq as military campaign expands

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer, General Martin Dempsey, arrived on Saturday in Baghdad on an unannounced visit to meet U.S. commanders preparing to increase American assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling Sunni Islamic State (IS) militants.

It was Dempsey’s first trip to Iraq since President Barack Obama, alarmed by Islamic State advances, ordered non-combatant American forces back into the country this summer, less than three years after withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. U.S. air strikes began in August.

Nov 14, 2014

China raised issue of U.S. spy flights during military talks – Pentagon

WASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – China raised the thorny
subject of U.S. military spy flights during talks that led to
agreements this week on reducing friction between the two
militaries, but was told U.S. missions in international airspace
and waters would continue, the U.S. military said.

The closed-door conversations underscore China’s sensitivity
to surveillance by U.S. P-8 Poseidon spy planes and other
aircraft, especially off Hainan Island, home to a major Chinese
submarine base. A Chinese intercept of a P-8 plane in
international airspace off Hainan in August was described as
dangerous by Washington.

Nov 13, 2014

Top U.S. general mulls sending advisers with Iraqi ground troops

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. general told lawmakers on Thursday he would consider sending American military advisers to accompany Iraqi troops if they advance against Islamic State militants in the difficult terrain near Mosul and the Iraqi border with Syria.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a congressional hearing that he had not decided if such a recommendation would be necessary.

Nov 12, 2014

Nigeria says U.S. support lacking in Boko Haram battle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – ‘Nigeria’s envoy to Washington criticized U.S. support in the battle against Boko Haram militants as insufficient, including failure to share enough intelligence and sell needed weaponry to fight the Islamist group.

Ambassador Ade Adefuye, in remarks posted on the Nigerian Embassy’s website on Tuesday, appealed for greater backing from Washington and rejected claims of human rights abuses that have limited some U.S. military assistance.

Nov 8, 2014

U.S. air strikes target Islamic State convoy in Iraq

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. air strikes destroyed an Islamic State convoy near the Iraqi city of Mosul but U.S. officials said on Saturday it was unclear whether the group’s top commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been in any of the 10 targeted vehicles.

Colonel Patrick Ryder, a Central Command spokesman, said the U.S. military had reason to believe that the convoy was carrying leaders of Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which controls large chunks of Iraq and Syria.

Nov 8, 2014

Obama to send 1,500 more troops to Iraq as campaign expands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has approved sending up to 1,500 more troops to Iraq, roughly doubling the number of U.S. forces on the ground helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces battle the militant group Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Obama’s decision greatly expands the scope of the U.S. campaign and the geographic distribution of American forces, some of whom will head into Iraq’s fiercely contested western Anbar province for the first time to act as advisers.

Nov 7, 2014

Obama to send more troops to Iraq as campaign expands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 1,500 more U.S. troops for Iraq, roughly doubling the number already there to advise and retrain Iraqi forces battling Islamic State militants, U.S. officials said on Friday.

The United States has about 1,400 troops in Iraq, slightly below a previous limit of 1,600.

Nov 6, 2014

U.S. launches fresh strikes on Khorasan group in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said it conducted air strikes on Wednesday night against the so-called Khorasan group, an al Qaeda-linked militant faction based in Syria, and said the group was plotting to attack Europe or the United States.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a target of the strike was David Drugeon, a French-born militant and convert to Islam who some U.S. officials say is a bomb maker for the group.

    • 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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