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May 6, 2013

Espionage fuels China’s fast-paced military buildup: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China is using state-sponsored industrial and economic espionage to acquire technology fueling its fast-paced military modernization program and cut its reliance on foreign arms makers, the Pentagon said on Monday.

In its 83-page annual report to Congress on Chinese military developments, the U.S. Defense Department also highlighted Beijing’s efforts to develop advanced-technology stealth aircraft and to build an aircraft carrier fleet to project power further offshore.

May 2, 2013

U.S. rethinking its opposition to arming Syrian rebels: Hagel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is rethinking its opposition to arming the Syrian rebels, President Barack Obama’s defense chief said on Thursday, even as Obama himself signaled that no decision to deepen U.S. involvement in the conflict was imminent.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel cautioned that giving weapons to the forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad was only one option being considered by the United States. It carries the risk of arms finding their way into the hands of anti-American extremists among the insurgents, such as the Nusra Front.

Apr 28, 2013

No good military options for U.S. in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Despite President Barack Obama’s pledge that Syria’s use of chemical weapons is a “game changer” for the United States, he is unlikely to turn to military options quickly and would want allies joining him in any intervention.

Possible military choices range from limited one-off missile strikes from ships – one of the less complicated scenarios – to bolder operations like carving out no-fly safe zones.

Apr 27, 2013

Analysis: No good military options for U.S. in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Despite President Barack Obama’s pledge that Syria’s use of chemical weapons is a “game changer” for the United States, he is unlikely to turn to military options quickly and would want allies joining him in any intervention.

Possible military choices range from limited one-off missile strikes from ships – one of the less complicated scenarios – to bolder operations like carving out no-fly safe zones.

Apr 26, 2013

U.S. suspects Syria used chemical weapons, wants proof

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Thursday that the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad has probably used chemical weapons on a small scale in the country’s civil war, but insisted that President Barack Obama needed definitive proof before he would take action.

The disclosure created a quandary for Obama, who has set the use of chemical weapons as a “red line” that Assad must not cross, and triggered calls from some hawkish Washington lawmakers for a U.S. military response, which the president has resisted.

Apr 25, 2013

U.S. believes Syria used chemical weapons but says facts needed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence agencies believe Syria’s government has likely used chemical weapons on a small scale, the White House said on Thursday, but added that President Barack Obama needed “credible and corroborated” facts before acting on that assessment.

The disclosure of the assessment, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said was made within the past 24 hours and the White House said was based in part on physiological samples, triggered immediate calls for U.S. action by members of Congress who advocate deeper U.S. involvement.

Apr 18, 2013

U.S. looks into possible chemical weapons use in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence officials are looking into the possibility that chemical weapons may have been used in Syria in a limited form, although there is no consensus yet and additional analysis is required, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.

“More review is needed,” the senior U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Apr 17, 2013

U.S. sends Army planners to Amman but wary of Syria intervention

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is dispatching Army planners to Jordan as neighboring Syria’s conflict worsens, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday, but he signaled deep misgivings about direct American military intervention in the Syrian civil war.

Hagel told a Senate hearing that the United States has an obligation to think through the consequences of any U.S. military move in Syria and be honest about potential long-term commitments.

Apr 11, 2013

U.S.-Russia “reset” stalled, nominee for NATO commander says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s nominee to become NATO’s supreme allied commander said on Thursday the so-called reset in U.S. ties with Russia was now on pause and predicted that Moscow would be the “primary actor of regional concern” through 2020.

Relations between the former Cold War foes, badly damaged by Russia’s 2008 war with pro-Western Georgia, had improved during Obama’s first term and Obama signed a nuclear arms treaty with then-President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

Apr 11, 2013

South Korea says North likely to test-launch missile

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – South Korea said on Wednesday there was a “very high” probability that North Korea, after weeks of threats of war, would test-launch a medium-range missile at any time as a show of strength.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said South Korea had asked China and Russia to intercede with the North to ease tension that has mounted since the U.N. Security Council imposed fresh sanctions on North Korea after its third nuclear arms test in February.

    • 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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