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Nov 4, 2011

Iran is top threat to U.S., military official says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran is the biggest threat to the United States and its allies in the Middle East, surpassing al Qaeda, which is down but not out, a senior U.S. military official said on Friday.

“The biggest threat to the United States and to our interests and to our friends, I might add, has come into focus and it’s Iran,” said the official, addressing a forum in Washington.

Nov 4, 2011

Iran now top threat to U.S. says military official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran is the biggest threat to the United States and its allies in the Middle East, surpassing al Qaeda, which is down but not out, a senior military official said on Friday.

“The biggest threat to the United States and to our interests and to our friends, I might add, has come into focus and it’s Iran,” said the official, addressing a forum in Washington.

Nov 3, 2011

As troops leave, U.S. seeks custody of key Iraq detainee

WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) – With less than 60 days before the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, the United States is quietly seeking to keep custody of its highest profile detainee there, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.

But it is unclear if Baghdad will agree — something it appears highly reluctant to do — or where the United States would take him if it did win outright custody.

Oct 27, 2011

U.S. defense chief skeptical on North Korea talks

SEOUL (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday he was skeptical about the fate of the latest diplomatic push with North Korea and called on China to do more to pressure Pyongyang over its nuclear programs.

The United States ended two days of meetings with North Korea on Tuesday, sounding somewhat upbeat about an eventual return to wider talks on ending Pyongyang’s atomic activities even as it acknowledged there was no breakthrough.

Oct 26, 2011

U.S. defense chief says North Korea “serious threat”

SEOUL (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta branded North Korea a “serious threat” on Wednesday, as the U.S. military cast a cautious eye on diplomatic engagement with Pyongyang that it fears could be short-lived.

The United States and North Korea appear to be inching toward a resumption of six-party talks aiming to wean the North of its nuclear programs. Envoys from Pyongyang and Washington met in Geneva this week.

Oct 23, 2011

U.S. lauds China’s measured response to Taiwan arms

BALI, Indonesia (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Sunday lauded China for its measured reaction to the latest U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, which has triggered harsh words from Beijing but, at least so far, apparently nothing else.

Past U.S. arms sales to Taiwan have prompted Beijing to temporarily cut-off ties with the U.S. military, as happened after last year’s $6.4 billion arms package. China deems the self-ruled island an illegitimate breakaway from Beijing’s rule that must accept eventual reunification.

Oct 22, 2011

U.S. defense chief heads to Asia as budget cuts loom

MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta left on Friday for his first trip to Asia as Pentagon chief, aiming to reassure allies that the U.S. military will keep a strong presence in the Pacific — even in an era of belt-tightening.

Such assurances cannot be taken for granted. The U.S. military is facing at least $450 billion in defense spending cuts over the next decade, reductions Panetta told last week Congress would take the Pentagon “to the edge.”

Oct 20, 2011

After Gaddafi, can US keep Libya at arm’s length?

WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The death of Muammar Gaddafi
after months of U.S. and NATO airstrikes may provide the Obama
administration a needed foreign policy coup, but it is unlikely
to alter the U.S. quest to keep Libya at arm’s length.

Leaders of European nations that rallied support for a NATO
campaign launched in March hailed the news Gaddafi had been
killed in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday, capping months of
bloody conflict between Gaddafi loyalists and Western-backed
rebels.

Oct 20, 2011

U.S. fears more plots from Iran’s Quds Force

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States believes Iran’s shadowy Quds Force is becoming increasingly aggressive overseas and may be working on other international plots beyond the alleged plan to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington, three U.S. officials told Reuters.

U.S. allegations last week of a foiled plot in Washington have escalated tensions between the United States and Iran. They have also renewed Washington’s focus on the Quds Force, the covert operations arm of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is believed to have sponsored attacks on U.S. targets in the Middle East — but never before in the United States.

Oct 12, 2011

Probe finds no U.S. fault in Afghan chopper crash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. military investigation has found American personnel were not at fault when the Taliban shot down a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan in August, killing all 30 Americans and eight Afghans on board, U.S. defense officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

The investigation into the single deadliest incident involving American forces in the decade-old Afghan war still has not been made public and U.S. officials spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. Families of the victims were still being briefed on the results of the probe, they said.

    • 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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