WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Obama’s decision to arm Syrian rebels for the first time follows an intense, nearly two-year debate within the White House in which the president and his closest advisers consistently expressed skepticism about U.S. intervention in a Middle East civil war, current and former officials said.
The two deciding factors in the decision to change course, they said, were growing military gains by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, aided by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, and harder intelligence that the Syrian military had used chemical weapons in the form of sarin nerve gas.
WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) – On the site of a former
military golf course where President Dwight Eisenhower once
played, the future of U.S. warfare is rising in the shape of the
new $358 million headquarters for the military’s Cyber Command.
The command, based at Fort Meade, Maryland, about 25 miles
north of Washington, is rushing to add between 3,000 and 4,000
new cyber warriors under its wing by late 2015, more than
quadrupling its size.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism overseas underwent “a marked resurgence” in 2012, reaching levels not seen in 20 years, the U.S. State Department charged on Thursday in its annual report on trends in political violence.
The report cited a series of actual and planned attacks in Europe and Asia linked to Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanon-based ally, including a July 2012 bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli citizens and a Bulgarian, and wounded 32 others.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saddled with Middle East problems ranging from Iran to Syria and beyond, President Barack Obama now faces one that is both old and new: Iraq.
Unresolved sectarian tensions, inflamed by the raging civil war in neighboring Syria, have combined to send violence in Iraq to its highest level since Obama withdrew the last U.S. troops in December 2011, U.S. officials and Middle East analysts say.
WASHINGTON, May 24 (Reuters) – Twelve years after the “war
on terror” began, President Barack Obama wants to pull the
United States back from some of the most controversial aspects
of its global fight against Islamist militants.
In a major policy speech on Thursday, Obama narrowed the
scope of the targeted-killing drone campaign against al Qaeda
and its allies and took steps toward closing the Guantanamo Bay
military prison in Cuba.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Samantha Power, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, former White House aide and Harvard professor, is under consideration to be the U.S. State Department’s top human rights official, sources familiar with the matter said.
If chosen, Power, an outspoken defender of human rights who wrote a study of the U.S. government’s failure to prevent genocide in the 20th century, could become a strong voice in the administration for a more muscular U.S. role in protecting rights in such places as Syria, China and Sudan.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama signaled on Tuesday that he is no rush to respond quickly to Syria’s apparent use of chemical weapons, taking a cautious approach to the Arab country’s civil war that mirrors the views of the U.S. public, most lawmakers and some American allies.
Obama, who last year declared that the use or deployment of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would cross a “red line,” told a White House news conference there is evidence those weapons were used, but that there is still much U.S. intelligence agencies do not know.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The FBI in 2011 interviewed one of the brothers suspected in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings, a U.S. law enforcement source said on Friday, a disclosure that could raise questions about whether the government missed potential warning signs about the men’s behavior.
The source said the FBI’s dealings two years ago with Tamerlan Tsarnaev occurred following a request from an unidentified foreign government.
WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) – The stealthy,
nuclear-capable U.S. B-2 bomber is a veteran of wars in Iraq and
Libya, but it isn’t usually a tool of Washington’s statecraft.
Yet on Thursday, the United States sent a pair of the
bat-winged planes on a first-of-its-kind practice run over the
skies of South Korea, conducting what U.S. officials say was a
TOKYO/WASHINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) – Japan and Australia
plan to sanction North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank as part of
U.S.-led efforts targeting Pyongyang’s main foreign exchange
bank for the role Washington says it has in funding the
country’s nuclear programme.
A Japanese government source said Tokyo could act within the
next two to three weeks. Australian Foreign Ministry sources
said Canberra might also unveil sanctions soon.