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Sep 30, 2015

Russia begins Syria air strikes as war enters volatile new phase

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia launched air strikes in Syria on Wednesday in the Kremlin’s biggest Middle East intervention in decades, but Moscow’s assertion that it had hit Islamic State was immediately disputed by the United States and rebels on the ground.

The air strikes plunged the four-year-old civil war in Syria into a volatile new phase as President Vladimir Putin moved forcefully to assert Russian influence in the unstable region.

Sep 30, 2015

Russia launches air strikes in Syria

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia said it launched air strikes against Islamic State in Syria on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament’s unanimous backing to intervene to prop up the Kremlin’s closest Middle East ally.

Moscow gave Washington just an hour’s notice of the strikes, which set in train Russia’s biggest play in the region since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, a U.S. official said.

Sep 30, 2015

Across arc of conflict, ‘Obama Doctrine’ shows signs of failure

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In Syria, U.S.-trained rebels surrender supplies and ammunition to al Qaeda-linked insurgents. In Iraq, the battle by American-backed government forces against Islamic State is at a stalemate. In Afghanistan, the Taliban seize a provincial capital for the first time since their ouster in 2001.

Less than a year and a half after President Barack Obama used a West Point speech to lay out a strategy for relying on local partners instead of large-scale U.S. military deployments abroad, there is mounting evidence that the so-called “Obama Doctrine” may be failing.

Sep 30, 2015

Across arc of conflict, “Obama Doctrine” shows signs of failure

WASHINGTON, Sept 30 (Reuters) – In Syria, U.S.-trained
rebels surrender supplies and ammunition to al Qaeda-linked
insurgents. In Iraq, the battle by American-backed government
forces against Islamic State is at a stalemate. In Afghanistan,
the Taliban seize a provincial capital for the first time since
their ouster in 2001.

Less than a year and a half after President Barack Obama
used a West Point speech to lay out a strategy for relying on
local partners instead of large-scale U.S. military deployments
abroad, there is mounting evidence that the so-called “Obama
Doctrine” may be failing.

Sep 25, 2015

U.S. to make new diplomatic push on Syria, talk to Iran: officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will try to launch a new initiative for a political solution in Syria during meetings in New York in the next week, starting with talks with his Iranian counterpart on Saturday, U.S. and other Western officials said.

After backing a United Nations peace process that has failed to end the Syrian conflict, Kerry will test several ideas for a new approach during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in the coming days, the officials said.

Sep 25, 2015

U.S., China agree on rules for air-to-air military encounters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday announced agreements with China on a military hotline and rules of behavior to govern air-to-air encounters, just days after the Pentagon criticized China over an unsafe intercept of a U.S. spy plane.

The agreements were unveiled following talks in Washington between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama and seek to lessen the chance of an accidental flare-up between the two militaries, despite tensions in the South China Sea.

Sep 24, 2015

Unclear if U.S.-Russia interests overlap in Syria – Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is still uncertain whether U.S. and Russian interests overlap in Syria, despite a shared concern about the threat from Islamic State fighters, U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter said on Thursday.

Russia has sought military-to-military discussions with the United States as it forges ahead with a buildup in Syria that now includes more than two dozen advanced fighter jets, as well as tanks, troops and artillery.

Sep 24, 2015

Deadlock in battle for Iraq refinery casts doubts on Mosul campaign

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Iraqi army’s failure to recapture the country’s largest oil refinery from Islamic State after 15 months of fighting is calling into question the government’s plans to retake the northern city of Mosul from the jihadists.

Iraq’s military has been trying to build momentum at the Baiji refinery and in Anbar province in the west before attempting to seize Mosul, the biggest prize in the war against the ultra-hardine Sunni group.

Sep 22, 2015

Russia starts Syria drone surveillance missions: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia has started flying drone aircraft on surveillance missions in Syria, U.S. officials said on Monday, in what appeared to be Moscow’s first military air operations there since staging a rapid buildup at a Syrian air base.

The beginning of Russian drone flights underscored the risks of U.S.-led coalition planes and Russian aircraft operating within Syria’s limited airspace, without agreeing on coordination or objectives in Syria’s civil war.

Sep 21, 2015

Russia starts drone surveillance missions in Syria: US officials

WASHINGTON, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Russia has started flying
drone aircraft on surveillance missions in Syria, U.S. officials
said on Monday, in what appeared to be Moscow’s first military
air operations inside the country since staging a rapid buildup
at a Syrian air base.

The start of Russian drone flights underscored the risks of
U.S.-led coalition planes and Russian aircraft operating within
Syria’s limited airspace without agreeing on coordination or
objectives in Syria’s civil war.

    • 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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