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Sep 10, 2013

Dismantling Syria chemical weapons arsenal would be tough task

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Any deal with Syria to hand over its chemical weapons in the middle of a chaotic civil war would be difficult for inspectors to enforce and destroying them would likely take years, U.S. officials and experts caution.

Syria’s strongest backer, Russia, proposed on Monday that Damascus save itself from a U.S. military strike over its alleged use of chemical weapons by putting its stockpiles under international control.

Sep 5, 2013

Surprise or not, U.S. strikes can still hurt Assad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It would hardly be a surprise to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or his military if American missiles start hitting Syria soon.

With weeks to prepare for an attack, Assad might benefit in some ways from the delay in any strike caused by President Barack Obama’s decision to seek approval from a divided U.S. Congress.

Sep 5, 2013

Analysis: Surprise or not, U.S. strikes can still hurt Assad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It would hardly be a surprise to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or his military if American missiles start hitting Syria soon.

With weeks to prepare for an attack, Assad might benefit in some ways from the delay in any strike caused by President Barack Obama’s decision to seek approval from a divided U.S. Congress.

Sep 5, 2013

Kerry portrait of Syria rebels at odds with intelligence reports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry’s public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by U.S. and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.

At congressional hearings this week, while making the case for President Barack Obama’s plan for limited military action in Syria, Kerry asserted that the armed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership, and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution.

Aug 29, 2013

Syria crisis tests U.S. defense chief wary of war

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (Reuters) – Since U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel left for Southeast Asia last week, he has been wrestling with a dilemma at the heart of Washington’s policy on Syria and Hagel’s own guiding philosophy – when and how to go to war.

“I think the world has had enough war,” Hagel told a forum in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

Aug 29, 2013

Insight:Syria crisis tests U.S. defense chief wary of war

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (Reuters) – Since U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel left for Southeast Asia last week, he has been wrestling with a dilemma at the heart of Washington’s policy on Syria and Hagel’s own guiding philosophy – when and how to go to war.

“I think the world has had enough war,” Hagel told a forum in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

Aug 25, 2013

U.S. says ready to carry out military options, if Obama chooses

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The Pentagon is prepared to carry out military options on Syria should President Barack Obama order them, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday.

Hagel echoed White House statements cautioning that America was still gathering the facts about the Syrian government’s alleged use of poison gas against civilians.

Aug 24, 2013

U.S. defense chief hints at asset positioning ahead of Syria decision

MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel strongly suggested on Friday the United States was positioning naval forces and assets in anticipation of any decision by President Barack Obama to order military action on Syria after apparent chemical weapons use.

Hagel’s comments to reporters traveling with him to Malaysia came after a defense official said the Navy would expand its presence in the Mediterranean with a fourth cruise-missile armed warship because of the escalating civil war in Syria.

Aug 23, 2013

In small American town, a window into Egyptian general’s past

CARLISLE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Unlike today’s ubiquitous images of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in crisp uniform decorated with medals, the U.S. Army War College yearbook shows the officer who would one day seize power in Egypt smiling at a party in a small Pennsylvania town, looking relaxed in a yellow polo shirt.

There is a picture of Sisi visiting a U.S. Civil War battleground and another of his family taken at a Halloween party they attended, with his wife and daughter grinning next to a woman dressed like the Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra.

Aug 23, 2013

Insight: In small American town, a window into Egyptian general’s past

CARLISLE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Unlike today’s ubiquitous images of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in crisp uniform decorated with medals, the U.S. Army War College yearbook shows the officer who would one day seize power in Egypt smiling at a party in a small Pennsylvania town, looking relaxed in a yellow polo shirt.

There is a picture of Sisi visiting a U.S. Civil War battleground and another of his family taken at a Halloween party they attended, with his wife and daughter grinning next to a woman dressed like the Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra.

    • 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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