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Dec 23, 2013

U.S. moves Marines to Africa as South Sudan violence rages

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military on Monday deployed about 150 Marines to a base in the Horn of Africa to prepare for possible further evacuations of American citizens from the deepening conflict in South Sudan, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The deployment of a special crisis-response team of Marines, who are normally stationed at Moron Air Base in Spain, follows a thwarted evacuation attempt in South Sudan over the weekend in which four U.S. soldiers were wounded by gunfire.

Dec 21, 2013

Obama warns South Sudan after U.S. military aircraft attacked

HONOLULU (Reuters) – President Barack Obama was briefed by his national security team on Saturday after four U.S. military service members were wounded when their aircraft were fired upon during a mission to evacuate American citizens from chaotic South Sudan.

“Any effort to seize power through the use of military force will result in the end of longstanding support from the United States and the international community,” the White House said in a statement following Obama’s call with National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other top aides.

Dec 20, 2013

Top U.S. Navy official knew of probe months before bribery scandal broke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said on Friday he knew about a Navy contracting investigation for months before it erupted into a major bribery scandal and that Navy investigators planted false information that helped lead to the first arrests in the case.

In his first public comments on the scandal involving maritime services firm Glenn Defense Marine Asia and its colorful chief executive Leonard Glenn Francis, Mabus said there would be “more disclosures” in the case, which has so far led to action against six senior Navy officers and an investigator.

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.”

    • 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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