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Sep 23, 2014

Arab role may be key to U.S. strikes in Syria: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama wants some Arab participation in air strikes against the Islamic State in order to expand the campaign to Syria, reflecting U.S. concerns that any long-term campaign must count on regional involvement, U.S. officials say.

Obama authorized air strikes against Islamic State targets in Syria almost two weeks ago and was briefed on U.S. war plans last week by the U.S. military’s Central Command. But Obama held off on approving those plans as diplomats pushed ahead with efforts to forge a coalition.

Sep 21, 2014

U.S. military struggles to preserve options in Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As America re-engages with Iraq and deepens its involvement in the region’s web of sectarian conflicts, the Pentagon has made a practical assessment of the brutal job of stabilizing Baghdad: in the future, U.S. forces may be needed on the front lines.

President Barack Obama has ruled out a combat mission, but military officials and former officials say the reality of a protracted campaign in Iraq and possibly Syria may ultimately require greater use of U.S. troops, including tactical air strike spotters or front-line advisers embedded with Iraq forces.

Sep 17, 2014

U.S. general says cannot rule out larger ground role in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The most senior U.S. military officer raised the possibility on Tuesday that American troops might need to take on a larger role in Iraq’s ground war against Islamic State militants, but the White House stressed they would not deploy on a combat mission.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there was no intention now to place American military advisers on the ground in direct combat. U.S. assistance is taking other forms, including air strikes.

Sep 16, 2014

U.S. says won’t unleash ‘shock and awe’ air campaign in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is not preparing to unleash a “shock and awe” campaign of overwhelming airstrikes in Syria against Islamic State fighters and instead envisions a more modest, longer-term campaign, Pentagon officials told Congress on Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the military’s current plan would be outlined to President Barack Obama on Wednesday by the U.S. military’s Central Command and envisioned striking the group’s safe havens to knock out infrastructure, logistics and command capabilities.

Sep 8, 2014

Turkey to play role in fight against Islamic State

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is seeking specific roles in a U.S.-led coalition to battle Islamic State fighters, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said after talks with Turkish leaders on Monday, without revealing details.

Turkey was the only Muslim nation in a “core coalition” of 10 countries which met on the sidelines of a NATO summit last week. Any role it plays may be limited by a host of concerns, including fears for 46 Turkish hostages held by the militants.

Sep 8, 2014

Hagel in Turkey to see how far it will go in U.S.-led coalition

ANKARA (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will sound out Turkish leaders on Monday on “how far they’re willing to go” in a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State despite the militant group’s holding of Turkish hostages and domestic security fears, a U.S. official said.

Turkey was the only Muslim nation in a “core coalition” of 10 countries which met on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Newport, Wales last week. President Barack Obama said he would welcome Ankara’s cooperation after meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.

Sep 7, 2014

U.S. air strikes target insurgents near Iraq’s Haditha Dam

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – U.S. warplanes carried out four strikes on Islamic State insurgents menacing Iraq’s Haditha Dam on Sunday, witnesses and officials said, widening what President Barack Obama called a campaign to curb and ultimately defeat the jihadist movement.

Obama has branded Islamic State an acute threat to the West as well as Middle East and said that key NATO allies stand ready to back Washington in action against the well-armed sectarian force, which has seized expanses of northern Iraq and eastern Syria and declared a border-blurring religious caliphate.

Sep 7, 2014

U.S. moves to reassure Georgia as Ukraine crisis stokes unease

TBILISI (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel vowed to help further strengthen Georgia’s military during a rare visit on Sunday to the former Soviet republic, which has watched Ukraine’s crisis with alarm after fighting its own brief war with Russia in 2008.

Georgia’s capital Tbilisi was Hagel’s first stop after the NATO summit in Wales, where Georgia was given an enhanced status that inched it closer to its goal of NATO membership — something fiercely opposed by Moscow.

Sep 6, 2014

U.S., Georgia to discuss Islamic State threat during Hagel visit

NEWPORT, Wales, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Georgia, one of the
United States’ key partners in Afghanistan, will discuss ways it
might be able to help in the battle against Islamic State
fighters during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
this weekend, its defense minister told Reuters.

The former Soviet state is doggedly pursuing NATO membership
fiercely opposed by Moscow, and is enthusiastically supporting
the alliance. That includes deployments of Georgian troops to
Afghanistan, even as the NATO-led combat mission grinds to a
halt this year and other nations withdraw.

Sep 5, 2014

Obama says key allies ready to join U.S. action in Iraq

NEWPORT Wales (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said key NATO allies stood ready to join the United States in military action to defeat Islamic State militants in Iraq as he vowed to ‘take out’ the leaders of a movement he said was a major threat to the West.

Obama said the Washington would hunt down and dismantle the organization, which has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, in the same way it had tackled al Qaeda since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States and was doing to al-Shabaab in Somalia.

    • 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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