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Jul 31, 2012

U.S. defense head to meet Egypt’s new Islamist leader

CAIRO (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to meet Egypt’s new Islamist president and its top general, seeking to balance security concerns with efforts to promote the country’s still wobbly transition to democracy.

It will be Panetta’s first opportunity to speak with President Mohamed Mursi of the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Jul 30, 2012

Iran sanctions having impact, even if not obvious-US

TUNIS, July 30 (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta said on Monday Western sanctions against Iran over its
nuclear programme were working even if the impact on
decision-making in Tehran was not obvious at the moment.

Panetta made his comments ahead of a visit this week to
Israel, which has said the sanctions had failed to stop Iran’s
nuclear programme and warned that time was running out before
Iran achieves a “zone of immunity” in which Israeli bombs cannot
penetrate deeply buried uranium enrichment facilities.

Jul 29, 2012

Syria strikes putting “nail in Assad’s own coffin,” Panetta says

TUNIS (Reuters) – Attacks on the Syrian city of Aleppo are putting the nail in the coffin of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, showing he lacks the legitimacy to rule, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Sunday.

Panetta, speaking at the start of a weeklong trip to the Middle East and North Africa, did not offer any new steps the United States might take even as he renewed calls for a united international effort “to bring the Assad regime down.”

Jul 26, 2012

Special Report: Obama’s struggle to mend veterans’ safety net

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On a blistering June afternoon, President Barack Obama slipped into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to spend time with soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was the most recent of his nearly weekly gestures intended to reinforce his commitment to America’s troops and veterans.

Across town that day, hundreds of unemployed veterans shuffled through a wing of the Washington Nationals baseball stadium, many hoping that at this job fair they would catch a break. Among them was Nick Tivas, a 23-year-old Iraq war veteran with a buzz cut and a grievance against the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Jul 26, 2012

For too many veterans, the ultimate defeat

CHAMPION, Ohio (Reuters) – On a warm summer afternoon in Champion, Ohio, Michael Ecker, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, called out to his father from a leafy spot in their backyard. Then, as the two stood steps apart, Michael saluted, raised a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

“His eyes rolled back,” his father, Matt, said softly as he recounted the 2009 suicide. “There was just nothing I could do.”

Jul 26, 2012

Romney resists specifics on VA policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is raising some of the same complaints about veterans’ plight that then-Senator Barack Obama did four years ago, as both sides gear up for an election in which the veteran vote in swing states could be of critical importance.

But many veteran advocates are still waiting for Romney to spell out how he would do better than his opponent.

Jul 18, 2012

U.S. says Assad losing control in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Wednesday it was clear that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was losing control of his country and it urged the international community to get behind a political transition plan to avert a looming sectarian civil war.

The White House, reacting after a Damascus bomb blast that killed Syria’s defence minister and Assad’s brother-in-law, said the 16-month old Syrian rebellion was gaining momentum and the country’s fractured opposition was both strengthening and unifying.

Jul 18, 2012

Syria “spinning out of control,” U.S. defense chief says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday the situation in Syria appeared to be “spinning out of control” as he and his British counterpart warned that the Syrian regime would be held responsible for securing its chemical weapons.

“This is a situation that is rapidly spinning out of control,” Panetta said, adding that the international community needed to “bring maximum pressure on (President Bashar al-Assad) to do what’s right, to step down and allow for that peaceful transition.”

Jul 16, 2012

U.S. Navy fires on fishing boat near UAE; 1 killed

DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One person was killed and three others injured on Monday when a U.S. Navy ship fired at an approaching fishing boat off the United Arab Emirates, but officials did not immediately blame terrorism or cite an Iran-link to the still-murky incident.

Why the boat approached the U.S. refuel ling ship, the USNS Rappahannock, was still unclear, U.S. officials said. But the U.S. Navy said the small motor boat ignored repeated warnings to halt its approach before a security team fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun.

Jun 26, 2012

Agencies ordered to preserve records in leak probes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence and defense officials have been ordered to preserve documents and emails that could be relevant to national security leak investigations being pursued by federal prosecutors, Obama administration officials said on Tuesday.

A U.S. defense official said the order to Defense Department personnel applies to any documentation – emails, faxes and paper documents – that might be relevant to investigators.

    • 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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