While Washington focuses on when the United States might begin bombing Islamic State targets in Syria, another town in Iraq has the U.S. military's attention.
If the Obama administration actually takes the fight to the Islamic State in Syria, it would likely do so in stages, hitting the easiest targets first and the most difficult ones later as it develops a richer picture of the battlefield, former intelligence officials and experts say.
A Chinese PLA wing commander has repeatedly harassed U.S. military aircraft in the South China Sea, most recently directing a Chinese jet fighter to do a Top Gun-like barrel roll that came dangerously close to an American patrol jet on a routine mission, the U.S. Defense Department confirmed on Friday, Aug. 22.
U.S. military operations in Iraq may be limited for now, but the rhetoric in Washington is heating up.
On Thursday, it boiled over at the Pentagon, where Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel painted a new and more dangerous picture of the threat that the Islamic State poses to Americans and U.S. interests.
Nearly two years into James Foley's captivity at the hands of Islamist militants and shortly before his execution, U.S. Special Forces troops attempted to free the American journalist and a group of other American hostages. That operation failed when the captives were not to be found where U.S. intelligence assessments had indicated they would be. On Tuesday, Islamic State militants released a video depicting Foley's beheading.