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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.

Jul 30, 2013

Afghan forces will need help after NATO mission ends: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Afghan forces will require significant support from the U.S. military and its allies after the NATO combat mission ends next year, according to a new Pentagon report implicitly warning against a “zero option” of total withdrawal.

A senior U.S. defense official said on Tuesday the Pentagon had not developed a plan for total pullout from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but that failure to reach a deal with Kabul on legal guarantees for U.S. troops could force such a scenario.

Jul 27, 2013

Egypt’s leaders must pull nation back from brink: U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Egypt’s leaders must pull their country “back from the brink,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday, saying Egypt was at a pivotal moment after the killing of dozens of protesters.

Egyptian security forces shot dead dozens of supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, witnesses said, days after the army chief called for a popular mandate to wipe out “violence and terrorism.”

Jul 24, 2013

Obama halts delivery of F-16s to Egypt amid unrest

WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has
halted the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, U.S.
officials said on Wednesday, in the strongest signal yet of
U.S. impatience with Egypt’s armed forces after its toppling of
President Mohamed Mursi.

The decision appears to underscore deepening U.S. concern
about the course taken by the Arab world’s most populous
country, reeling from violent street clashes following Mursi’s
July 3 overthrow.

Jul 21, 2013

Islamist rebels would gain sway in long Syrian war: U.S. official

By Phil Stewart

ASPEN, Colo. (Reuters) – - Radical Islamist rebels will gain sway over the many disparate factions opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad unless they are checked, and the country’s civil war could last years, a top Pentagon intelligence official said on Saturday.

David Shedd, the deputy director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, did not advocate any form of intervention by the United States or its allies, saying that was up to policymakers.

    • 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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