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Nov 14, 2014

China raised issue of U.S. spy flights during military talks – Pentagon

WASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – China raised the thorny
subject of U.S. military spy flights during talks that led to
agreements this week on reducing friction between the two
militaries, but was told U.S. missions in international airspace
and waters would continue, the U.S. military said.

The closed-door conversations underscore China’s sensitivity
to surveillance by U.S. P-8 Poseidon spy planes and other
aircraft, especially off Hainan Island, home to a major Chinese
submarine base. A Chinese intercept of a P-8 plane in
international airspace off Hainan in August was described as
dangerous by Washington.

Nov 13, 2014

Top U.S. general mulls sending advisers with Iraqi ground troops

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. general told lawmakers on Thursday he would consider sending American military advisers to accompany Iraqi troops if they advance against Islamic State militants in the difficult terrain near Mosul and the Iraqi border with Syria.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a congressional hearing that he had not decided if such a recommendation would be necessary.

Nov 12, 2014

Nigeria says U.S. support lacking in Boko Haram battle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – ‘Nigeria’s envoy to Washington criticized U.S. support in the battle against Boko Haram militants as insufficient, including failure to share enough intelligence and sell needed weaponry to fight the Islamist group.

Ambassador Ade Adefuye, in remarks posted on the Nigerian Embassy’s website on Tuesday, appealed for greater backing from Washington and rejected claims of human rights abuses that have limited some U.S. military assistance.

Nov 8, 2014

U.S. air strikes target Islamic State convoy in Iraq

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. air strikes destroyed an Islamic State convoy near the Iraqi city of Mosul but U.S. officials said on Saturday it was unclear whether the group’s top commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been in any of the 10 targeted vehicles.

Colonel Patrick Ryder, a Central Command spokesman, said the U.S. military had reason to believe that the convoy was carrying leaders of Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which controls large chunks of Iraq and Syria.

Nov 8, 2014

Obama to send 1,500 more troops to Iraq as campaign expands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has approved sending up to 1,500 more troops to Iraq, roughly doubling the number of U.S. forces on the ground helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces battle the militant group Islamic State, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Obama’s decision greatly expands the scope of the U.S. campaign and the geographic distribution of American forces, some of whom will head into Iraq’s fiercely contested western Anbar province for the first time to act as advisers.

Nov 7, 2014

Obama to send more troops to Iraq as campaign expands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has authorized the deployment of up to 1,500 more U.S. troops for Iraq, roughly doubling the number already there to advise and retrain Iraqi forces battling Islamic State militants, U.S. officials said on Friday.

The United States has about 1,400 troops in Iraq, slightly below a previous limit of 1,600.

Nov 6, 2014

U.S. launches fresh strikes on Khorasan group in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said it conducted air strikes on Wednesday night against the so-called Khorasan group, an al Qaeda-linked militant faction based in Syria, and said the group was plotting to attack Europe or the United States.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a target of the strike was David Drugeon, a French-born militant and convert to Islam who some U.S. officials say is a bomb maker for the group.

Nov 5, 2014

Afghan casualties on battlefield at unsustainably high level: U.S. general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 4,600 Afghan troops have been killed in the war against the Taliban this year, a 6.5 percent jump over last year and an unsustainably high figure that underscores the need for better medical evacuation, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, a top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, said 4,634 Afghan security personnel were killed in action this year, compared with 4,350 in 2013, despite a 25 percent dip in Taliban attacks from 24,000 to 18,000 over the same period.

Oct 30, 2014

U.S. military says advisers needed in embattled Iraq province

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States needs to expand a limited advise-and-assist mission in Iraq into embattled Anbar province, where some Iraqi forces are isolated and in defensive positions against Islamic State, the top U.S. military officer said on Thursday.

But General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraq’s government must be ready to arm Sunni tribes as a precondition for getting outside advisers into the western Iraqi province.

Oct 28, 2014

U.S. isolates troops, Australia imposes visa ban on Ebola-hit West Africa states

WASHINGTON/SYDNEY, Oct 28 (Reuters) – The U.S. military has
isolated soldiers returning from an Ebola response mission in
West Africa and Australia imposed a visa ban on the affected
countries, policies that critics said would have little benefit
but could feed a global panic.

Ebola has killed nearly 5,000 people since March, mostly in
West Africa, but nine cases in the United States prompted states
such as New York and New Jersey to ignore federal advice and
quarantine all health workers returning from the region.

    • 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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