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Jun 17, 2015

U.S. calls for ‘greater commitment’ from Iraq’s government

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States called for a “greater commitment” from Iraq’s government on Wednesday in the fight against Islamic State as it lamented Baghdad’s failure to deliver enough soldiers for training and underscored the need to empower Sunni tribesmen.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional hearing that the U.S. military had hoped to train 24,000 Iraqi security forces by this fall but had only received enough recruits to train about 9,000 so far.

Jun 11, 2015

U.S. military considering more Anbar-style hubs in Iraq: officer

NAPLES, Italy (Reuters) – The United States is considering replicating the creation of a new U.S. military hub in Anbar elsewhere in Iraq as the campaign against Islamic State advances, the top U.S. military officer said on Thursday.

“It’s another one of the options that we’re considering,” General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters before landing in Naples, Italy, acknowledging that might require more troops.

Jun 9, 2015

U.S. military chief seeks to reassure Israel on Iran threat

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – America’s top general sought to reassure Israel on Tuesday of “unshakable” U.S. military support, despite deep strains in political relations over the prospect of a U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran and differences over Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy.

U.S. General Martin Dempsey, on a visit to Israel, said he shared a core Israeli fear that sanctions relief for Iran following a nuclear agreement would allow Tehran to give more money to its military and its guerrilla proxies.

Jun 9, 2015

U.S. weighs more Iraq training sites but no strategy overhaul

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama is weighing expanding the number of training sites for Iraqi forces as a way to bolster the battle against Islamic State, the top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday, a move that could mean deploying more U.S. forces.

But General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters that Obama’s requests for options in Iraq left intact a U.S. military strategy that has so far kept U.S. ground troops off the front lines.

Jun 5, 2015

U.S. quietly starts channeling arms from $1.6 billion fund to Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has quietly started delivering promised arms for Iraqi soldiers from a $1.6 billion fund approved by Congress last year, officials said, following mounting Iraqi frustration over the pace of coalition assistance.

The Pentagon said long-awaited equipment from the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF) started being fielded about two weeks ago and was moving as fast as possible. Officials noted extensive, previous arms transfers under different U.S. authorities.

May 30, 2015

U.S. military orders review as anthrax mishap widens

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on Friday it discovered even more suspected shipments of live anthrax than previously thought, both in the United States and abroad, and ordered a sweeping review of practices meant to inactivate the bacteria.

The Pentagon said a total of 11 states, two more than it first acknowledged, received “suspect samples,” as did Australia and South Korea. It had previously only identified a foreign shipment to a U.S. air base south of Seoul.

May 29, 2015

Live anthrax found in U.S. military shipment to Australia: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An investigation of a U.S. military facility’s mistaken shipments of live anthrax bacteria has turned up another live sample, this one from a 2008 batch sent to Australia, a U.S. defense official said on Friday.

The disclosure, if confirmed, suggests the possibility of a broader problem among anthrax samples meant to have been made inactive at the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

May 28, 2015

U.S. Army chief says no human error seen in anthrax mishap

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. personnel working at an Army facility in Utah appeared to follow correctly all the outlined procedures to inactivate anthrax before they mistakenly shipped off live samples of the deadly bacteria, the Army’s top general said on Thursday.

Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno said investigators were now reviewing the procedures themselves to determine why the bacteria was not rendered inactive.

May 28, 2015

U.S. training of Syria rebel fighters expands to Turkey: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military has started training Syrian opposition fighters in Turkey to combat Islamic State, an expected expansion of a program that first launched in Jordan weeks ago, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not offer details on the size of the first group of recruits undergoing training in Turkey or the specific start date.

May 27, 2015

U.S. military mistakenly ships live anthrax to labs in nine states

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. military facility in Utah mistakenly sent live anthrax bacteria to private laboratories in nine U.S. states, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, adding, however, that there were no known suspected infections or risk to the general public.

The anthrax had been meant to be sent to laboratories in an inactive state as part of U.S. military efforts to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment, the Pentagon 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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