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Jul 16, 2015

After Iran deal, U.S. overtures to Gulf easier than to Israel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama may find Gulf allies more receptive than Israel to his offer to “double down” on security cooperation in the immediate aftermath of this week’s Iran nuclear deal, even though concerns run deep in both camps.

In an effort to soothe the anxiety of its main Middle East allies, Obama is dispatching Defense Secretary Ash Carter to both Israel and the Gulf next week to reassure them of U.S. security commitments.

Jul 14, 2015

Obama sending defense chief to Middle East to reassure on Iran

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama
is sending his defense chief next week to the Middle East, where
he faces the unenviable job of reassuring allies such as Israel
that a nuclear deal with Iran will not undermine America’s
commitment to their security.

It could be a very hard sell.

So far, the White House has only disclosed one stop on the
trip – to Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
condemned Tuesday’s deal as “a stunning, historic mistake”.

Jul 10, 2015

Insight – Iraq’s Shi’ite militias target Falluja in Anbar campaign

ERBIL, Iraq/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraqi Shi’ite militia fighters are tightening a noose around the Islamic State-held city of Falluja west of Baghdad as the first stage of a counter-offensive in the Sunni province of Anbar, likely to determine the course of the conflict in coming months.

Islamic State seized Anbar’s capital Ramadi two months ago, extending its control over the Euphrates river valley west of Baghdad and dealing a major setback to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the U.S.-backed army he entrusted with its defence.

Jul 10, 2015

Iraq’s Shi’ite militias target Falluja in Anbar campaign

ERBIL, Iraq/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraqi Shi’ite militia fighters are tightening a noose around the Islamic State-held city of Falluja west of Baghdad as the first stage of a counter-offensive in the Sunni province of Anbar, likely to determine the course of the conflict in coming months.

Islamic State seized Anbar’s capital Ramadi two months ago, extending its control over the Euphrates river valley west of Baghdad and dealing a major setback to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the U.S.-backed army he entrusted with its defense.

Jul 9, 2015

Russia is top U.S. national security threat: Gen. Dunford

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia presents the greatest threat to U.S. national security and its behavior is “nothing short of alarming,” Marine General Joseph Dunford told lawmakers on Thursday as they weighed his nomination to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford also added his voice to those Pentagon officials who have supported providing lethal arms to Ukraine to help it defend itself from Russia-backed separatists, a step that President Barack Obama has so far resisted.

Jul 9, 2015

Russia is top U.S. national security threat -U.S. Gen. Dunford

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) – Russia presents the greatest
threat to U.S. national security and its behavior is “nothing
short of alarming,” Marine General Joseph Dunford told lawmakers
on Thursday as they weighed his nomination to become chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford also added his voice to those Pentagon officials who
have supported providing lethal arms to Ukraine to help it
defend itself from Russia-backed separatists, a step that
President Barack Obama has so far resisted.

Jul 7, 2015

U.S. only training 60 Syrian fighters, far below expectations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States was only training about 60 Syrian opposition fighters to battle Islamic State as of July 3, far below expectations, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress on Tuesday, citing rigorous U.S. vetting of recruits.

The program, which launched in May in Jordan and Turkey, was designed to train as many as 5,400 fighters a year and seen as a test of President Barack Obama’s strategy of engaging local partners to combat extremists.

Jul 2, 2015

U.S. seeing rapid expansion of Sunni outreach at new Anbar base

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is seeing signs that new efforts to draw Sunni tribesmen into Iraq’s battle against Islamic State may be taking root at a military base near the fallen capital of Sunni-dominated Anbar province, U.S. officials say.

A U.S. defense officials told Reuters the first group of 500 Sunni recruits would soon complete training at the Taqaddum military base near the city of Ramadi, making way for a second group of about 500 Sunnis who have agreed to participate.

Jun 25, 2015

Putin not done in eastern Ukraine, NATO’s top general says

BRUSSELS, June 25 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir
Putin is not done in eastern Ukraine, NATO’s top commander said
on Thursday, cautioning that Russia has been building up
supplies on its border with Ukraine and keeping its military
options open.

U.S. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied
commander, said the border between Ukraine and Russia was “wide
open,” allowing free movement of equipment and supplies.

Jun 25, 2015

NATO warns of risk of return to heavy fighting in Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s head warned on Thursday of a risk of a return to heavy fighting in Ukraine but said it would be unwise to declare a ceasefire agreement dead, despite repeated violations, because it remained the best hope for peace.

The Ukrainian military on Tuesday accused pro-Russian rebels of conducting long-range artillery attacks on villages in the east and said one of its serviceman was killed and 12 wounded in clashes in the previous 24 hours.

    • 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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