Outgoing US defence secretary Chuck Hagel: reported to have resigned under pressure from a White House eager to project more assertive responses.  Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Chuck Hagel, president Barack Obama’s defence secretary, has stood down after less than two years in the job in a sign of increased unease at the W(...)

US secretary of defence Chuck Hagel (L) and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey prepare to leave  a media briefing at the Pentagon in Washington last night. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters.

The militant Islamic State poses an “imminent threat” to the US and may take years to defeat, defence secretary Chuck Hagel has said. “They are an imm(...)

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who had fled  violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, take part  in a demonstration at the Iraqi-Syrian border crossing in Fishkhabour, Dohuk province, yesterday.  Photograph: Youssef Boudlal/Reuters

Nuri al-Maliki has given up his fight to remain prime minister of Iraq and now supports his replacement, Haider al-Abadi, state television has reporte(...)

Cairo university students and members of the Muslim Brotherhood shout slogans against the military in front of Cairo University in Cairo earlier this week. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

The US said last night it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles as well as $260 million (€192 million) in cas(...)

US secretary of state John Kerry said today there is “clear” and “compelling” evidence that the Syrian government used poison gas against its citizen(...)

Free Syrian Army fighters prepare a mortar in Sidi Meqdad area in the suburbs of Damascus, this week. The US government is rethinking its opposition to armingSyrian rebels, President Barack Obama’s defence chief has said. Photograph: Ward Al-Keswani/Reuters

The United States is rethinking its opposition to arming the Syrian rebels, President Barack Obama’s defence chief has said, even as Mr Obama h(...)

A Free Syrian Army commander reacts after they failed to capture a Syrian Amry tank during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s neighbourhood of Salaheddine. Photograph: Ammar Abdullah/Reuters

State forces and militias loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad stormed the coastal village of Baida today, killing at least 50 people incl(...)

A North Korean soldier watches the South Korean side at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, north of Seoul today. Photograph:  Lee Jung-hoon/Yonhap/Reuters

South Korea's defense chief has confirmed that North Korea has moved to its east coast a missile with a "considerable" range, but that it was n(...)