Iraqis prepare attack against Islamic State with US help
WASHINGTON — Iraqi security forces, backed by U.S.-led air power and hundreds of advisers, are planning to mount a major spring offensive against Islamic State fighters who have poured into the country from Syria, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials. Such a counterattack is likely to face an array of logistical and political challenges.
US is still open to talking to Iran about Islamic State
PARIS — Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the Obama administration would keep the door open to confidential communications with Iran on the security crisis in Iraq, despite sarcastic criticism from Iran’s supreme leader, who said the American plan for bombing Islamic militants, their common enemy, was absurd.
U.S. and Russia hit roadblock trying to start Crimea talks
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s effort to solicit Russia’s help to defuse the crisis in Ukraine appeared to hit a dead end on Monday when Secretary of State John Kerry delayed an anticipated trip to Russia and the two sides issued dueling accounts of their recent diplomacy.
US signals flexibility as Iran nuclear talks resume
GENEVA — Negotiators from Iran and six world powers convened Thursday as U.S. officials signaled that the United States is prepared to offer Iran limited relief from economic sanctions if Tehran agrees to halt its nuclear program and reverse part of it.
US official: Al-Qaida affiliate weakening Syria peace efforts
PARIS — A senior State Department official said Monday that an al-Qaida-affiliated rebel group was undermining the chances for a successful international effort to end the war in Syria.
Security council agrees on resolution to rid Syria of chemicals
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have agreed on a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons, but the text will not threaten the use of force for a failure to comply, officials said.
Kerry, meeting with Russian counterpart, seeks Syria talks soon
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the United States and Russia were still working toward holding an international peace conference on Syria and agreed that it should take place “sooner rather than later.”
Kerry heads to Asia to reassure allies of US support
MANAS, Kyrgyzstan — With tensions on high in the Korean Peninsula, Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in South Korea on Friday in an attempt to reassure U.S. allies in the region that the United States remains committed to their defense.
Kerry criticizes Iran, Russia for shipping arms to Syria
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the Syrian opposition is capable of properly handling the military support it receives.
As Assad holds firm, Obama could revisit arms policy
WASHINGTON — When President Barack Obama rebuffed four of his top national security officials who wanted to arm the rebels in Syria last fall, it put an end to a debate of several months over how aggressively Washington should respond to the strife there that has now left nearly 70,000 dead.
US in talks with Afghans on presence after 2014
WASHINGTON — The United States and Afghanistan began talks Thursday on a security agreement that would authorize a U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014, when Afghan forces are to assume responsibility for the war.
Strategy Shift for Afghan War Poses Stiff Challenge for Obama
One of the most difficult challenges President-elect Barack Obama’s national security team faces is Obama’s vow to send thousands of U.S. troops to help defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Medics, Trained for Combat Wounds, Tend to Iraq’s Needy
Shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday, there was a desperate wail at the back gate of B Company’s compound in Sadr City. A woman had been badly burned and her relatives were begging for help.
New Fight for Sadr City Becomes Proving Ground for Iraqi Military
The Iraqi soldiers pushed their way up a main thoroughfare in Sadr City over the past week, but the militias who still prowl the Shiite enclave were sniping at them from the alleyways.
Petraeus in Support of ProposalReducing No. of U.S. Troops in Iraq
Under the timetable embraced on Monday by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the number of American combat brigades would decline by one-fourth by next summer, from 20 now to 15 in July, with the prospect of deeper, if as yet unscheduled, reductions to come.