Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

US WANTS TO SPEED IRAQI TRAINING

SINGAPORE - U.S. military leaders are looking for ways to improve and speed up the program to train and equip Iraqi forces, including options to better prepare Sunni tribes to join the fight, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said today.

Getting equipment to the battlefield more quickly and enhancing the training could help build the Iraqi forces' confidence, Mr. Carter said, just days after he publicly chastised them for showing "no will to fight" when they fled Ramadi last week even though they greatly outnumbered Islamic State militants.

"One particular way that's extremely important is to involve the Sunni tribes in the fight - that means training and equipping them," said Mr. Carter, who called a special meeting of his top advisers on Tuesday and asked them to come up with options. "Those are the kinds of things the team back home is looking at."

Iraqi officials have complained that they are not getting the heavy military equipment they need fast enough. And on Tuesday President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies must examine whether they are deploying military assets in Iraq effectively.

A senior defense official said Mr. Carter is not considering providing weapons directly to the Sunnis, and still wants to work through the Iraqi government.

SERBS LOOK FOR NON-RUSSIAN GAS SOURCE

TIRANA, Albania - In a major policy shift, the Serbian prime minister said his country will accept U.S. calls to reduce dependency on Russian gas by adding an American-backed pipeline that would bring gas to Europe from Azerbaijan.

"Regarding energy safety, energy security, we are ready to diversify the sources of gas for Serbia, which is very important for our American friends as well," Aleksandar Vucic told the Associated Press in an interview.

The United States has been encouraging Balkan and other states to move forward with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, which will take Azeri gas from the Caspian Sea to Italy, rather than setting its hopes on another project that would pipe Russian gas through Turkey.

The West has accused Russia of using gas as a tool to increase its political influence over countries like Serbia. …

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