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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.

Aug 21, 2013

U.S. military chief sees more room to boost moderate Syrian rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military could – if asked – significantly boost American support to Syria’s moderate opposition, the top U.S. military officer said, suggesting moderates were still unable to shape events should President Bashar al-Assad fall from power.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the comments in a letter to a congressman seen by Reuters on Wednesday, in which he renewed his concerns about the limits of U.S. military power to steer events in Syria’s war.

Aug 15, 2013

U.S. mission in Jordan could last years as Syria war rages: Dempsey

AMMAN (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer told American troops in Jordan on Thursday that their mission to help the kingdom contain the fallout from Syria’s war would likely last years, as the United States bolsters support for the key regional ally.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed a group of mostly U.S. planners who have arrived over the past several months as America expands assistance that now includes stationing F-16 fighter jets and Patriot missiles there.

Aug 14, 2013

Jordan seeks U.S. surveillance aircraft as Syria war rages

AMMAN (Reuters) – Jordan on Wednesday asked the United States to provide manned U.S. surveillance aircraft to help keep an eye on its border with Syria, the top U.S. military officer said, as the kingdom struggles to contain fallout from Syria’s civil war.

The request came during a visit by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and would further bolster the U.S. military support to Jordan after U.S. decisions to station F-16 aircraft and Patriot missiles there.

Aug 12, 2013

U.S. eyeing Syrian opposition alliances, chemical weapons moves

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – The United States is gaining more insight into Syria’s moderate opposition but must watch carefully to determine when occasional collaboration with Islamist radicals might turn into real alliances, the top U.S. military officer said on Monday.

The comments by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, came at the start of a trip to close U.S. allies Israel and Jordan likely to be dominated by discussions about Syria’s conflict and broader regional unrest.

Aug 9, 2013

U.S. and Russia seek to keep working ties despite Snowden, summit fuss

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Russian officials will seek to maintain a working relationship when they meet in Washington on Friday, even though the political mood between their countries has hit one of its lowest points since the end of the Cold War.

President Barack Obama’s cancellation this week of a summit in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin finally put to rest any notion that a much-vaunted “reset” of ties sought by the United States in recent years is alive.

Aug 8, 2013

Malaria vaccine highly effective in small U.S. test

WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) – An experimental malaria
vaccine proved highly effective in a small, early-stage clinical
trial in people, raising hope in the global effort to combat
the deadly disease, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday in the
journal Science.

“This was something that everybody said was not possible.
And here it is,” Navy Captain Judith Epstein, one of the
researchers, said in a telephone interview.

Aug 7, 2013

Putin will not ‘cave’ to Obama pressure: Snowden’s father

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The father of Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor, predicted on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will stand up to pressure from Washington as the two nations spar over Moscow’s decision to grant his son asylum.

Lon Snowden’s comments came on the day that President Barack Obama canceled a summit meeting with Putin planned for next month in retaliation for Russia giving refuge to Edward Snowden.

Aug 6, 2013

Pentagon cuts unpaid leave to six days from 11

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Tuesday he was slashing the amount of unpaid leave that 650,000 civilian employees were ordered take this year to six days from 11 in an effort to limit the pain from across-the-board budget cuts.

The decision means most civilian defense employees, who saw their pay effectively cut by 20 percent, will complete their furloughs next week. Teachers and school staff who were due to take five days of unpaid leave at the start of the school year in late August will not be furloughed, defense officials said.

Aug 6, 2013

Despite Snowden, U.S. to hold high-level Russia talks on Friday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will hold talks with Russia’s defense and foreign ministers in Washington on Friday despite Moscow’s decision to grant asylum to former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The State Department, confirming a report by Reuters, said the talks would go ahead and that Snowden’s case would be among the issues raised when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meet their Russian counterparts.

    • 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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