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Maggie Ybarra

Maggie Ybarra

Maggie Ybarra is military affairs and Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Times. She can be reached at

Articles by Maggie Ybarra

North Korea seeks allies as China accord cools

A string of unexpected, even odd, overtures from North Korea to its neighbors in recent days is fueling speculation that the isolated nation and its mercurial leader could be seeking to broaden its diplomatic options elsewhere in the region to account for a cooling relationship with Pyongyang's principal ally, China. Published July 8, 2014

A burned Iraqi army vehicle on a street after clashes between followers of Shiite cleric Mahmoud al-Sarkhi and ISIL in Karbala. (Associated Press)

Pentagon draws red line on Iraqi attack

The Pentagon came as close as it has to date on Thursday to identifying a red line that would need to be crossed for the Obama administration to justify an aggressive U.S. military attack on the al Qaeda-inspired extremists who have declared a new Islamic state spanning the border between Syria and Iraq. Published July 3, 2014

F-35A Lightning IIs, perform an aerial refueling mission with a KC-135 Stratotanker May 13, 2013, off the coast of northwest Florida. The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is a joint graduate flying and maintenance training wing that trains Air Force, Marine, Navy and international partner operators and maintainers of the F-35 Lightning II. The F-35As are assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd FW. The KC-135 is assigned to from the 336th Air Refueling Squadron from March ARB, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen)

Air Force sued over F-35 basing decision

The U.S. Air Force is being sued by a coalition of residents in Vermont, who say the decision to base new F-35 fighters out of a local airport will be a nuisance and a potential safety risk. Published July 2, 2014

FILE - This June 21, 2007 file photo show a MQ-4 Predator controlled by the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron stands on the tarmac at Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad, Iraq.  A Pentagon official says the U.S. has started flying armed drones over Baghdad to protect U.S. civilians and military forces in the Iraqi capital. The official said the flights started in the last 24 to 48 hours to bolster manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights the military has been sending over violence-wracked Iraq in recent weeks. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the new flights on the record. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

U.S. flying armed drones over Iraq: Pentagon

The Pentagon has begun flying armed drones over Iraq to provide protection to U.S. troops on the ground while they assess the capabilities of the Iraqi army, which is currently engaged in a land war with armed Sunni militants. Published June 27, 2014

A destroyed Iraqi army humvee is left behind outside of the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, more than two weeks after the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic Sate of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took over the country's second largest city. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Mideast nations on Wednesday against taking new military action in Iraq that might heighten already-tense sectarian divisions, as reports surfaced that Syria launched airstrikes across the border and Iran has been flying surveillance drones over the neighboring country. (AP Photo)

Additional U.S. forces arriving in Iraq

The Pentagon has established the first of two command centers that will serve as headquarters for U.S. military personnel headed to Iraq to assess the capabilities of the Iraqi army as it attempts to beat back an insurgency mounted by Sunni militants. Published June 26, 2014

** FILE ** In this file image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video, File)

Army has not advised Bergdahl of his legal rights

The Army has yet to explain to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl his legal rights even though the soldier has been talking to medical staff who are helping him reintegrate into society and anything he says during their conversations can be used against him in a military court. Published June 25, 2014

Members of an Iraqi volunteer force put on their newly issued boots in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq Tuesday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has put on hold plans for a counteroffensive to retake Iraqi cities captured by Sunni insurgents in the north and west of the country, instead deploying elite forces in Baghdad to bolster its defenses. (Associated Press photographs)

Kurdish leader cites 'new reality' in Iraq, meets with Kerry

Secretary of State John F. Kerry extended his sweep through Iraq Tuesday, stopping in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, where a top Kurdish leader warned that a recent advance of Sunni extremists has created "a new reality and a new Iraq." Published June 24, 2014

U.S. airmen prepare an MQ-9 Reaper for flight during exercise Combat Hammer, May 15, 2014, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force)

Air Force generals will face off over difficult budget, job cuts

A group of top Air Force generals will gather behind closed doors at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday to hash through ways to cut 3,400 positions from the service as part of a proposal to shave $1.6 billion from the Pentagon's budget over the coming five years, defense officials said this week. Published June 24, 2014

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, an alleged leader of the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, was captured by U.S. special forces on Sunday. (Associated Press)

Benghazi suspect will face civilian court

The Obama administration is looking at expediting the movement of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the suspected ringleader of the 2012 Benghazi attacks, onto U.S. soil from the Navy ship where he is currently being held in the Mediterranean Sea, Defense Department officials said Thursday. Published June 19, 2014

Volunteers in the newly formed "Peace Brigades" participate in a parade near the Imam Ali shrine in the southern holy Shiite city of Najaf, Iraq, Thursday, June 19, 2014, after called for by the radical Shiite cleric Muqtatda al-Sadr to form brigades to protect Shiite holy shrines against possible attacks by Sunni militants. (AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo)

Obama will send 300 'advisers' to Iraq, open to ‘targeted’ action

President Obama said Thursday that he is sending up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to aid in the urgent fight against advancing Sunni militants, ramping up U.S. involvement in the country less than three years after he withdrew all American troops. Published June 19, 2014

Two Iraqi divisions dissolved, Gen. Dempsey tells Senate panel

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told lawmakers Wednesday that two entire Iraqi military divisions — roughly 60,000 troops — once trained by U.S. soldiers, simply dissolved in northern Iraq last week and in some cases even joined forces with advancing Sunni extremists militants in the nation. Published June 18, 2014


Fellow soldiers testify Bowe Bergdahl endangered lives

The Obama administration mishandled the process of retrieving Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban after allegedly deserting his comrades at an outpost in Afghanistan, according to a former member of the captured soldier's unit and the father of a soldier who died during initial searches for the sergeant in 2009. Published June 18, 2014