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Jun 27, 2014

U.S. reduces Nigeria surveillance flights seeking abducted girls

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States reduced its surveillance flights to help find more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamist militants after building a body of intelligence and after other states ramped up support, a U.S. official said.

Nigeria has committed itself to the hunt for the girls, who were kidnapped in April in one of the violent group’s most spectacular attacks, and received help from the United States and other countries, including its neighbors.

Jun 27, 2014

U.S. takes time to gather data before any attacks on ISIL in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence about the Islamist insurgent offensive in Iraq is improving but it could take weeks to complete a detailed picture of the threat and any possible American air attacks do not appear imminent, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Last week’s announcement that up to 300 U.S. military advisers were being sent to Baghdad and the earlier movement of an aircraft carrier, a cruiser and a destroyer into the Gulf prompted speculation of impending military action against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.

Jun 26, 2014

Benghazi suspect expected to arrive in U.S. this weekend: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A suspected leader of the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, captured by U.S. forces and spirited out of Libya, is expected to arrive in the United States this weekend after his journey at sea, U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday.

Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah was taken aboard the USS New York, an amphibious transport ship, after his seizure in a raid on the outskirts of Benghazi on June 15. He is expected to be prosecuted in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Jun 26, 2014

More U.S. forces arrive in Baghdad, two-star general leads effort

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Another 50 U.S. special operations forces have arrived in Baghdad under the newly appointed command of a two-star general as the U.S. military steadily ramps up an advisory mission aimed at helping Iraq battle back Sunni militants, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The Pentagon said the first of two planned Joint Operations Centers in Iraq had also become activated, bolstering its ability to oversee U.S. teams and gather information about the situation on the ground, including about Iraq’s security forces.

Jun 25, 2014

Bergdahl has not yet been asked why he left Afghan base: U.S. Army

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has made no admission of wrongdoing since being released by the Taliban last month, officials said on Wednesday, adding that he has yet to be asked the tough question of why he left base before his 2009 capture.

Army officials said the two-star general investigating Bergdahl’s disappearance in Afghanistan will seek to bring up that subject with the soldier sometime after his outpatient treatment in Texas is finished in about two weeks and before the expected completion of the Army’s probe in mid-August.

Jun 23, 2014

U.S. says its forces get immunity guarantees from Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq has given assurances to the United States that U.S. special operations forces that President Barack Obama has ordered into the country will be shielded from possible prosecution in Iraqi courts, U.S. officials said on Monday.

With the agreement, Washington has overcome a major hurdle as it rushes to bolster the U.S. presence in Iraq in the face of militant advances by Sunni Islamists from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, an al Qaeda splinter group.

Jun 20, 2014

U.S. seeks Iraqi legal safeguards for military advisers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States expressed confidence on Friday it would secure legal safeguards for U.S. forces arriving in Iraq over the next week to shield them from the possibility of prosecution in Iraqi courts, despite America’s inability do so three years ago.

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday he will deploy up to 300 military advisers to Iraq in the face of advances by an al Qaeda splinter group and would consider targeted strikes against insurgents.

Jun 19, 2014

Iraq asks United States for air support to counter rebels

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq has asked the United States for air support in countering Sunni rebels, the top U.S. general said on Wednesday, after the militants seized major cities in a lightning advance that has routed the Shi’ite-led government’s army.

However, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave no direct reply when asked at a Congressional hearing whether Washington would agree to the request.

Jun 18, 2014

Iraq asks United States for air support to counter rebels – U.S

BAGHDAD/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraq has asked the United States for air support in countering Sunni rebels, the top U.S. general said on Wednesday, after the militants seized major cities in a lightning advance that has routed the Shi’ite-led government’s army.

However, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave no direct reply when asked at a Congressional hearing whether Washington would agree to the request.

Jun 17, 2014

U.S. captures suspected ringleader of 2012 attack in Benghazi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Tuesday it had captured a suspected ringleader of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, a raid that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador and ignited a political firestorm in Washington.

President Barack Obama said in a statement that he had authorized the operation in Libya on Sunday in which U.S. military troops, working with law enforcement personnel, captured Ahmed Abu Khatallah.

    • 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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