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Jul 22, 2015

Pentagon chief tells Saudi Arabia: Iran threat is shared concern

JEDDAH (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said after talks in Saudi Arabia that Iran’s “potential for aggression” was a shared concern as he moved to bolster defense ties with Riyadh following a nuclear agreement with its arch-foe.

The conservative, mainly Sunni Muslim kingdom is engaged in a contest for power with Shi’ite Iran stretching across the region. It fears the nuclear deal will free Tehran from international pressure and sanctions, giving it more room to back allies in conflicts from Syria to Yemen.

Jul 22, 2015

U.S. defense chief in Saudi Arabia to reassure after Iran deal

JEDDAH (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter flew into Saudi Arabia for meetings on Wednesday with King Salman and his security leadership to reassure the kingdom of America’s support after Washington struck a nuclear deal with its arch-rival Iran.

Carter said ahead of his trip that he aimed to discuss American strategy to counter “Iranian aggression” in the region, as well as the fight against Islamic State.

Jul 21, 2015

After Israel talks, Pentagon chief says: ‘Friends can disagree’

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter never expected to win over Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the merits of the nuclear agreement with Iran but tried to put a brave face on their sometimes blunt, closed-door exchange on Tuesday.

“We don’t agree on everything. And the prime minister made it quite clear that he disagreed with us on with respect to the nuclear deal,” Carter said at an airbase in Jordan.

Jul 21, 2015

After Israel talks, Pentagon chief says: “Friends can disagree”

JERUSALEM, July 21 (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash
Carter never expected to win over Israel’s Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu about the merits of the nuclear agreement
with Iran but tried to put a brave face on their sometimes
blunt, closed-door exchange on Tuesday.

“We don’t agree on everything. And the prime minister made
it quite clear that he disagreed with us on with respect to the
nuclear deal,” Carter said at an airbase in Jordan.

Jul 20, 2015

From Israel perch, U.S. vows to help counter Iran proxy threat

HUSSEIN LOOKOUT, Israel (Reuters) – As U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter walked along an Israeli lookout near the border with Lebanon, Israel’s Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon turned to him and said: “Probably Hezbollah is watching us.”

Israel warned during Carter’s visit on Monday it feared a deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief would translate into more money for Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese militia group, and others hostile to Israel.

Jul 19, 2015

U.S. aims to shift Israel focus to security ties after Iran deal

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said it plainly just before landing in Israel, where officials are fuming over the Iran nuclear deal: “I’m not going to change anybody’s mind in Israel. That’s not the purpose of my trip.”

    Carter, making the first visit by a U.S. cabinet official to

Israel since last week’s landmark agreement to curb Iran’s

nuclear program, aims instead to move away from political

tensions over the accord to more cool-headed, nuts-and-bolts

discussions on deepening security ties.

    Increased U.S. military-related support is expected to be on the table. But Israeli and U.S. officials have played down the prospects of any looming announcements.

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.

    • 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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