Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Military Balance In Asia

Tweets For Today

(Ret.) U.S. Geneal: A Conventional War On The Korean Peninsula Could Result In 20,000 South Koreans Being Killed Per Day

© REUTERS/ U.S. Air Force

CNBC: Pentagon scenario of a new Korean war estimates 20,000 deaths daily in South Korea, retired US general says

"Obviously North Korea is a threat," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan told CNBC on Monday.
The biggest risk is to the greater Seoul area, which is within striking distance of thousands of the North's rockets capable of doing significant damage.
A retired U.S. admiral puts the chances of a nuclear war with North Korea at 10 percent and the chance of a conventional conflict with the regime at 50/50.

A retired U.S. general said a Pentagon war scenario showed a conventional war with North Korea could result in about 20,000 deaths per day in South Korea, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, a retired U.S. Navy admiral sees a 50/50 chance of a conventional conflict with North Korea although much less likelihood of a nuclear war.

Read more ....

Update #1: 20,000 South Koreans killed per day: the terrifying cost of a US war with North Korea (SCMP/AP)
Update #2: New Korean Conflict Would Kill At Least 20,000 South Koreans Daily - US General (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: 140,000 per week.  560,000 per month. These numbers are staggering.

Picture Of The Day

Britain's Prince Harry places a scarf on a Romanian spectator during athletics the Invictus Games in Toronto. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Best of Invictus Games (Reuters). On a side note .... a regular reader of this blog emailed me this evening on what he saw today. In short .... and I am quoting him .... "everyone is a friend here, bounded together by their experiences in war, while competing and healing together". Kudos to Prince Harry of Wales to make these games possible.

Puerto Rico Facing A Humanitarian Crisis

New York Times: In Battered Puerto Rico, Governor Warns of a Humanitarian Crisis

SAN JUAN, P.R. — Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló of Puerto Rico said on Monday that the island was on the brink of a “humanitarian crisis” nearly a week after Hurricane Maria knocked out its power and most of its water, and left residents waiting in excruciating lines for fuel. He called on Congress to prevent a deepening disaster.

Stressing that Puerto Rico, a United States territory, deserved the same treatment as other hurricane-ravaged states, the governor urged Republican leaders and the federal government to move swiftly to send more money, supplies and relief workers. It was a plea echoed by Puerto Rico’s allies in Congress, who are pushing for quick movement on a new relief bill and a loosening of financial debt obligations for the island, which is still reeling from a corrosive economic crisis.

“Puerto Rico, which is part of the United States, can turn into a humanitarian crisis,” Governor Rosselló said. “To avoid that, recognize that we Puerto Ricans are American citizens; when we speak of a catastrophe, everyone must be treated equally.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Throughout the years I have always used Puerto Rico as an example on how debt and irresponsible government policies can destroy a society (Venezuela is my poster child now) .... but I must admit that I never thought Puerto Rico would be the disaster that it is today. And I am not alone .... many of its own citizens have abandoned Puerto Rico .... fed up with the corruption and an electorate that always chose politicians who made the situation worse. But no one never expected Hurricane Maria .... and I think a lot of people will agree with me that it is the "final straw that broke the camels back". Puerto Rico's economy has been obliterated. It's debt load is beyond crippling. It's infrastructure .... bad and neglected as it has been for years (makes you wonder on where did all the money go) .... is also now gone. No money .... just debt. No infrastructure. No economy. And to make matters worse .... those who can help rebuild immigrated to the U.S. a long time ago. Talk about disasters. But all not is bleak .... Puerto Rico will get the aid that it needs .... but it will not be enough .... and in the interim the media will blame this on the Trump administration without looking at the causes on why Puerto Rico is in the situation it is in today. Such is the U.S. landscape today.

On a personal note .... I have a few friends who live on the islands as well as my cousin's daughter who lives in Miami (she is involved in real-estate). They were all hit hard, but I have been told that everyone is working together, sacrificing together, and everyone is optimistic that everything will be repaired when the height of the tourist season starts around Christmas. Makes you wonder on why they are progressing quickly in repairing the damage, while Puerto Rico is giving the impression that they are lost and helpless on what to do. Yup .... it is an understatement to say that there is something terribly wrong here.

More News On Puerto Rico

Trump Says Puerto Rico in 'Deep Trouble' as Storm Adds to Debts -- Bloomberg
Trump declares Puerto Rico is in 'deep trouble' as questions mount about his commitment -- Washington Post
Help slow to arrive in Puerto Rico in aftermath of Hurricane Maria -- CBS News
Dems bash Trump for NFL focus as Puerto Rico reels -- The Hill
Puerto Rico evacuates area near crumbling dam, asks for aid -- Reuters

Monday, September 25, 2017

Spain’s Attorney General Hints That The Catalan President May Be Arrested For Promoting Sunday's Independence Vote

The Guardian: Spain’s attorney general refuses to rule out arrest of Catalan president

Carles Puigdemont could face action, says attorney general, as Catalonia prepares to defy Madrid by holding independence vote

Spain’s attorney general has refused to rule out the possibility of arresting the Catalan president, as the region’s pro-sovereignty government prepares to defy Madrid by holding an independence referendum on Sunday.

José Manuel Maza said that Carles Puigdemont could face action for disobedience, breaching public duties and misuse of public funds for proceeding with the poll after Spain’s constitutional court suspended the hastily passed legislation underpinning the vote.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That Spain’s Attorney General May Order The Arrest Of The Catalan President For Promoting Sunday's Independence Vote

Countdown begins to Catalonia independence bid -- Washington Post/AP
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont could face arrest over referendum -- Deutsche Welle
Spain's chief prosecutor says arrest of Catalan leader 'possible' -- Digital Journal
Catalan separatists take to the streets ahead of referendum -- Business Insider

Pilot Killed When Eurofighter Jet Plunges Into Sea At Italian Air Show

The Telegraph: Eurofighter pilot attempting loop-the-loop in front of his parents and girlfriend dies after crashing into sea

This is the terrible moment that a fighter pilot lost his life after crashing his Eurofighter into the sea during an air show off the coast of Italy.

Capt Gabriele Orlandi, 36, was attempting to perform a loop-the-loop in his 85million euro Eurofighter Typhoon when he apparently misjudged the manoeuvre and smashed into the water, a few hundred yards from the coast.

The Italian air force pilot was performing the stunt in front of a large crowd that included his girlfriend and his parents at the air show in Terracina, south of Rome.

Read more ....

Update #1: Italian pilot is killed as he fails to eject before his Typhoon jet crashes into the sea during airshow in front of stunned spectators (Daily Mail)
Update #2: Eurofighter jet plunges into sea at Italian air show, killing pilot (VIDEO) (RT)

WNU Editor: Our prayers are with the family and loved ones.

Secret Service: Drones And Other High-Tech Weapons Are A Grave Threat To President Trump

Swarms of nano drones (smaller than the ones pictured) could soon be implemented to boost intelligence in US military warfare. iStock

Washington Examiner: 'Swarm attack' from armed drones pose 'grave threat' to Trump

The Secret Service is facing a "grave" threat to President Trump from a new wave of high-tech weapons including armed drones, plastic guns made on 3-D printers and even sophisticated IEDs, according to a new alert issued by a former agent.

"This threat is grave," Dan Bongino told Secrets. The author of a new book on the Secret Service that calls for a seismic change of thinking at the agency, Bongino said terrorists are eager to unleash an attack on their "ultimate prize."

New age threats include weaponized drones delivered in "swarms" that could attack the White House or any place the president is. The problem, he explained, is that the agency's agents and Uniformed Division are trained mostly to stop ground attacks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am sure that the Secret Service are well aware of these threats .... but the impression that I am getting is that they are not sure that their methods can stop these assassination/terror attempts.

A Chinese Take On The North Korean Crisis

Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge reopens: A sign with the Korean and Chinese flags is displayed near the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge, the biggest border crossing between Korea and China. [AFP]

Liu Zhen, SCMP: What if worst comes to worst with North Korea? China ‘must be ready’ for war on the peninsula

Beijing should consider talks with other countries to prepare for possible fallout in the region, analyst says

Beijing needs to come up with backup plans – either on its own or with Washington and Seoul – in case the crisis on the Korean peninsula escalates into conflict, a leading Chinese analyst has warned.

But other observers said it was still too early to discuss a post-war Pyongyang with other countries, insisting there is no sign of the North Korean regime falling.

In an article published in Australia-based online magazine East Asia Forum earlier this month, Peking University international relations professor Jia Qingguo called on China to work with the United States and South Korea on contingency plans.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Chinese focus right now is on the Party Congress next month .... after that .... the focus will be on North Korea.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 25, 2017

Daniel Lewis, National Interest: Kurdistan Independence: An Island of Stability or Source of New Conflict?

And why America could be in a lose-lose position.

Today, millions of people living in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) area of Iraq will go to the polls to vote on an independence referendum. Will the vote help usher in stability for the region or fuel yet more disruption and violence, possibly even a new war? Either is possible, yet neither is set in stone.

To support Kurdish independence would potentially pit the Trump administration against NATO ally Turkey, cause a rift between Baghdad and Washington, and just as the fight against ISIS appears to be winding down, possibly spawn a civil war between the Kurds, Shia and Sunni militias within Iraq. America is in a lose-lose position.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 25, 2017

The inconvenient Kurds -- David Goldman, Asia Times

What is the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum? -- Matthias von Hein, DW

What’s next after Iraqi Kurds vote on independence -- AP

Iraqi Kurdistan’s Unlikely Ally -- Kamran Bokhari, Geopolitical Futures

This Man Helped The US Fight ISIS. Now He Wants Payback. -- Mike Giglio, BuzzFeed

Japan’s Abe calls snap election amid worries over North Korea -- Linda Sieg, Asia Times

Abe gambles on snap election as Koike surprises with new party -- Tomohiro Osaki and Reiji Yoshida, Japan Times

Bangladesh holds the key to Rohingya insurgency -- Bertil Lintner, Asia Times

The Future of Germany's Social Democrats -- Michael Bröning, Foreign Affairs

Angela Merkel's Bitter Victory -- E. Wayne Merry, National Interest

Merkel's Lackluster Win Is Good for Germany -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Three myths about Catalonia’s independence movement -- Francisco de Borja Lasheras, European Council on Foreign Relations

Catalans are not alone. Across the world, people yearn to govern themselves -- Neal Ascherson, The Guardian

The Devastation of Puerto Rico -- Daniel Larison, American Conservative

Corruption in Latin America: Taking Stock -- David Lipton & Alejandro Werner & Carlos Gonçalves, IMF Blog

OPEC Deal With Russia Is Showing Signs of Strain -- Robin Mills, Asia Times

The NFL Can't Afford to Become a Battleground -- Megan McArdle, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- September 25, 2017 (Evening Edition)

Reuters: North Korea says U.S. 'declared war,' warns it could shoot down U.S. bombers

NEW YORK/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea’s foreign minister said on Monday President Donald Trump had declared war on North Korea and that Pyongyang reserved the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. bombers even if they are not in its air space.

Ri Yong Ho said a Twitter message by Trump on Saturday in which the president warned that the minister and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “won’t be around much longer” if they acted on their threats amounted to a declaration of war.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday denied the United States had declared war, calling the suggestion “absurd”.

Read more ....


Iraq’s Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears.

Iraqi Kurds to hold independence vote, KRG leader says 'will never go back to Baghdad'. Kurdish president: Independence referendum will go on Monday. Iraqi Kurds voting in non-binding referendum on independence.

Iran halts flights to Kurdish region before referendum.

Iraq parliament demands troops go to areas disputed with Kurds.

Iraq hangs 42 prisoners on death row: ministry.

Lebanon’s president says Syrian refugees must return home.

Russia, Syria intensify bombings of rebel-held Idlib, even targeting signatories to truce: witnesses.

US-backed forces seize Conoco gas plant from Islamic State.

US-backed Syria militia says Russia hit forces at gas plant.

Russia denies it bombed US-backed militias in Syria - RIA.

Erdogan ready to send more troops to Syria, praises Russian role.

Israel builds settlements 'at high rate': UN.


North Korean diplomat says Trump has ‘declared war’. North Korea says Trump has declared war.

Seoul urges US to avoid 'further escalation' with N. Korea.

North Korea blows up US aircraft carrier, bombers, jets in new propaganda video.

South Korea's ruling party warns Trump and North Korea: Stop 'excessive verbal threats'.

Rohingya face hunger and disease in Bangladesh refugee camp after escaping Myanmar violence.

Cambodian opposition erects banners urging leader's release.

Bali volcano: Evacuations continue as tremors suggest Mount Agung eruption imminent. 35,000 flee amid fears of volcano eruption in Bali.

Australia to get its own space agency, government says.

New Zealand election result stalled as PM Bill English and Opposition's Jacinda Ardern woo minor party.


'Hundreds' dead in Ethiopia ethnic clashes.

DRC's Kabila paints violence in Kasai as war on terror.

Kenya election: Chief prosecutor orders inquiry into electoral commission.

Moscow welcomes Libya’s fighting factions.

UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion.

Authorities in Somalia's Puntland region tout capture of weapons-laden boat.

Hospitals in crisis in Uganda as Middle Eastern countries poach medical staff.

Rwandan police arrest Paul Kagame critic Diane Rwigara.

Egyptian students told to respect the flag or risk a year in prison.


Hopes and frustrations as Brexit talks resume after May speech.

Germany: Merkel faces thorny task in building new government.

Lithuania cautions German elections should not weaken NATO against Russia.

Catalonia referendum: Final week before independence vote.

French Senate vote: Macron's En Marche! disappoints as conservatives retain majority.

Moscow concerned over possible supply of Canadian lethal weapons to Kiev.

UN accuses Russia of violating human rights in Crimea.

Six people believed injured in suspected London acid attack.

UK credit rating downgraded by Moody's.


Venezuela: Trump acted like ‘the world’s emperor’ at UN.

New travel ban leads Supreme Court to cancel Oct. 10 hearing.

Donald Trump orders sweeping new travel ban, including N. Korea. Trump slaps travel ban on Chad, North Korea, Venezuela.

Trump NFL row: US president denies comments were race-related.

Most schools in Mexico City still closed after earthquake.

Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico facing crisis. Devastated Puerto Rico struggles without power, water, phones.

Soldiers descend on Rio 'Favela' as shootouts erupt.

Mexico: As quake search continues, thousands left homeless.

Canada pressured to dump dairy supply management in NAFTA talks.

Chelsea Manning says she was denied entry to Canada.


U.S. air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya: U.S. military.

Police remove Islamic State flag waving in Islamabad.

Pakistani Taliban video features white socks and M4s.

Rohingya exodus: Myanmar at risk of becoming a magnet for global jihadists.


A rare tumble for tech stocks pulls US indexes lower.

OPEC to discuss extending cuts, quotas: UAE minister.

Exclusive: Toshiba tells banks chip deal delayed as Apple yet to approve.

US commerce secretary in Beijing ahead of Trump trip.

Could The Kurdish Independence Referendum Cause A Civil War Or Worse?

Joseph Trevithick, The Warzone/The Drive: How the Kurdish Independence Referendum Could Spark a Civil War or Worse

The vote on whether Iraqi Kurdistan should be independent will have far reaching impacts no matter the outcome.

Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region has finished voting on a controversial referendum that could potentially lead to a new independent country. It is a goal that Kurds around the world have long pushed for, but it potentially touch off a broader conflict involving Iran, Turkey, and Syria, as well as test loyalties and allegiances between the Kurds and dozens of nations and ethnic groups throughout the Middle East and beyond.

On June 7, 2017, President Masoud Barzani, the present head of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), met with various parties and formally announced the date for the non-binding poll as Sept. 25, 2017. Barzani, who has been president of the KRG since 2005, had initially called for the vote in 2014, following the meteoric rise of ISIS in Iraq following the spectacular collapse of the Iraq’s national army in the face of the terrorist group, but delayed it due to apparent international pressure. With ISIS in retreat and the situation stabilizing, it has been harder to argue for further delays.

Read more ....

Update: Kirkuk teetering on the brink of war (Fazel Hawramy)

WNU Editor: Iraq does not have the military capability on taking  on the Kurds .... so I doubt that such a military undertaking will be pursued by Baghdad. Turkey and Iran do have the military capability .... but invading Iraqi Kurdistan (even with Baghdad's approval) .... all that I can say is "talk about walking into a hornet's nest". My prediction .... Iraqi Kurdistan is landlocked .... if they push forward with their goal of independence they will be cut-off from the rest of the world by Turkey-Iran-Iraq. It is not a military conflict, but it will cripple the Iraqi-Kurdistan economy. But if there is going to be bloodshed, it will be in the territories that Kurdish forces are present and where the majority of the civilians are Arab or Turk-men .... Kirkuk is such a place. That type of conflict may be local .... but it will carry international consequences. If Iraq explodes into another civil war, it will start in a place like Kirkuk.

What Has Been The Middle East's Reaction To The Referendum In Iraqi Kurdistan?

Daily News (Egypt): Regional threats mount as Kurdistan holds referendum

Iraq, Turkey aim at preventing Kurdistan’s oil exports

Thousands of Kurds casted their votes on Monday in a referendum aimed at separating Iraqi Kurdistan from Iraq. According to the Kurdistan government, there were 12,000 polling stations, including in disputed areas.

In a press conference Monday, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Nechirvan Barzani said, “The referendum is not a threat to Turkey or any neighbouring countries, and it is a peaceful and democratic process.”

But in light of previous international and regional opposition to the referendum, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned on Monday that his country might take a military action in Northern Iraq if the referendum resulted in threatening Turkey. He also announced closing the crossings to prevent Kurdistan from exporting oil.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. is trying to satisfy all sides .... Refusing to Back Kurdish Independence, White House Hopes for 'Unified Iraq' (Haaretz). The Gulf states have also been low key.

Reactions From The Middle East On The Referendum In Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraq’s Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears -- AP
Kirkuk Kurds hail independence vote, but Arabs, Turkmen wary -- The Times of Israel
Iraq, Turkey Threaten Kurdistan's Oil Boom After Controversial Independence Vote -- Wall Street Journal

Iraqi Reaction

Iraq parliament demands troops go to areas disputed with Kurds. -- AFP
Baghdad Asks World To Stop Buying Kurdish Oil -- OilPrice.com
Iraqi MP: Like Israel, Kurdistan will cause years of war -- Rudaw
Iraq takes control of borders ahead of Kurdish independence vote -- Middle East Monitor

Syrian Reaction

Damascus rejects Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum -- Reuters
Syria Says Recognizes Only A Unified Iraq -- Tasnim News Agency

Turkish Reaction

Erdogan threatens military action over Iraqi Kurdish referendum -- The Times of Israel
Turkey tightens border as Kurds vote in independence ballot -- The Australian
Turkey Warns Iraq Kurds It Can 'Close the Valves' on Oil Exports -- Bloomberg
Turkey's Erdogan threatens to cut off oil flow from Iraq's Kurdish area over referendum -- Reuters
Turkey will only make contact with Baghdad government in Iraq from now on: PM Yıldırım -- Daily Sabah
Turkey's Erdogan to discuss response to Iraqi referendum during Iran visit: PM -- Reuters

Iranian Reaction

Iran closes border with Iraqi Kurdistan -- Arab News
Iran halts flights to Kurdish region before referendum -- Al Jazeera
Iranian leaders are quietly panicking over the Kurdish referendum -- Michael Rubin, Washington Examiner
As Iraqi Kurds Go to the Polls, Iran Warns Against 'Separatist Secession' -- Sputnik International

Israeli Reaction

Netanyahu muzzles Israeli officials on Kurdish referendum -- Reuters
As Israel Backs Kurdish Independence, Palestinians May Reap the Benefit -- Haaretz

Will North Korea Sell Its Know-How On How To Build Nuclear Bombs?

Kim Jong-un, center, before a nuclear test at an undisclosed location, according to the North’s state-run news agency. Credit KCNA

Daniel Salisbury, The Conversation: Will North Korea Sell Its Nuclear Technology?

North Korea is more than willing to breach sanctions to earn cash.

Earlier this month CIA Director Mike Pompeo suggested “the North Koreans have a long history of being proliferators and sharing their knowledge, their technology, their capacities around the world.”

My research has shown that North Korea is more than willing to breach sanctions to earn cash.

A checkered history

Over the years North Korea has earned millions of dollars from the export of arms and missiles, and its involvement in other illicit activities such as smuggling drugs, endangered wildlife products and counterfeit goods.

Still, there are only a handful of cases that suggest these illicit networks have been turned to export nuclear technology or materials to other states.

North Korean technicians allegedly assisted the Pakistanis in production of Krytrons, likely sometime in the 1990s. Krytrons are devices used to trigger the detonation of a nuclear device.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is always about the money. And while I do not see North Korea selling a nuclear weapon or two (for now), selling the know-how is not a stretch. The question that needs to be asked is .... what are we going to do about it? Specifically .... since China has been the way-station for the North Koreans to do business with the outside world, what will the Chinese do to change this behavior. As of today .... aside a few sanctions .... the Chinese are not instilling much confidence.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Is Accusing The U.S. Of 'Declaring War'

BBC: North Korea accuses US of declaring war

North Korea's foreign minister has accused US President Donald Trump of declaring war on his country.

Ri Yong-ho told reporters in New York that North Korea reserved the right to shoot down US bombers.

This applied even when they were not in North Korean airspace, the minister added. The world "should clearly remember" it was the US that first declared war, Mr Ri said.

The two sides have been engaged in an increasingly angry war of words.

Despite weeks of tension, experts have played down the risk of direct conflict between the two.

Read more ....

North Korea's Foreign Minister Is Accusing The U.S. Of 'Declaring War'

North Korea Says It Has the Right to Shoot Down US Warplanes -- New York Times
North Korean diplomat says Trump has ‘declared war’ -- AP
North Korea says Trump has declared war -- AFP
North Korea says US 'declared war' warns it could shoot down US bombers -- Reuters
'Declaration of war': North Korea claims Trump speech brought 'all options' to the table -- FOX News
North Korean Foreign Minister Says Trump Has 'Declared War' -- NBC
North Korean minister says Trump has declared 'war' -- ABC News
North Korea Claims Right to Down U.S. Jets Outside Airspace -- Bloomberg
North Korea's foreign minister: Trump's words are 'clearly a declaration of war' -- Politico
North Korea Claims US Has Declared War -- VOA

Is Syrian President Assad Here To Stay?

Mr. Assad, center, greeting worshipers at a mosque in Qarat, Syria, this month. He increasingly seems likely to rule for years to come, albeit over a greatly reduced country. Credit Syrian Arab News Agency

New York Times: Syrian War Drags On, but Assad's Future Looks as Secure as Ever

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Although Syria’s bloody six-year war is far from over, one result is already becoming clear: President Bashar al-Assad looks as though he is here to stay.

On the battlefield, no one remains who is willing and able to topple him. The rebel forces are waning, and President Trump has canceled the C.I.A. program that provided them with arms and support. The Islamic State, with its own agenda to rule Syria as a caliphate, is being routed from its strongholds.

Regional powers, foreign officials and Syrians themselves are increasingly operating as if he will rule for years to come, albeit over a greatly reduced country. His allies have begun to trumpet what they see as their impending victory, and his government is talking about rebuilding a shattered country, hosting an international trade fair last month and signing a deal with Iran to rebuild its power grid.

Even some longtime rebel supporters have grown war-weary and started to embrace the inevitable.

Read more ....

Update: The Syrian war is far from over. But the endgame is already playing out (Liz Sly, Washington Post).

WNU Editor: The war will grind on .... even if every region in the country is taken over by the Syrian army. Too many people have been killed, wounded, or displaced. The sense of revenge and retribution will be a part of the Syrian culture for years .... if not decades. But for now .... the war continues.

It Is Getting Tense In Eastern Syria Between U.S. Backed-Forces And Russian- Backed Forces

A Russian military helicopter flies over Deir el-Zour province, Syria, Sept. 15, 2017. A U.S.-backed force in Syria said a Russian airstrike killed one of its fighters and injured two others in the province.

RT: Death of Russian general in Syria is result of US hypocrisy – Moscow

The death of Russian Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov in Syria is the price Russia was forced to pay for hypocritical US policy, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.

“The death of the Russian commander is the price paid with blood for the hypocrisy of American policy in Syria," Ryabkov said on Monday.

General Asapov was serving as one of Russia’s military advisers in Syria. On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said he was fatally wounded by an exploding shell in a sudden mortar attack by IS terrorists.

Read more ....

More News On Growing Tensions Between U.S. Backed-Forces And Russian- Backed Forces In Eastern Syria

Russia, US Maintain Close Military Contacts on Syria - Ryabkov -- Sputnik
Moscow blames 'two-faced US policy' for Russian general's Syria death -- Gulf Times/Reuters
US special ops forces & hardware spotted at ISIS positions north of Deir ez-Zor – Russian MoD -- RT
Russia's Sergey Lavrov calls for 'pullout' of US forces from Syria -- Washington Examiner
Lavrov calls to coordinate Russian, US military action in Syria -- TASS
Russia stokes propaganda war, claims US troops in Syria met with no resistance from Isis -- International Business Times
U.S.-backed alliance says Russian jets struck its fighters in east Syria -- Reuters
US-backed Syria militia says Russia hit forces at gas plant -- AFP
US-backed forces say Russia attacked them in eastern Syria -- AP
Kurdish-led forces accuse Russia of targeting, wounding troops in Syria -- Kurdistan24
Russia denies it bombed US-backed militias in Syria - RIA -- Reuters
US sends mass military gears to SDF in Raqqa -- The Statesman
US-backed fighters elated over front-row seats to Raqa fall -- AFP
Syrian militias aim to push Islamic State out of Raqqa within a month -- Syria
US-led strikes killed 84 civilians near Syria's Raqa: HRW -- AFP

Commentaries, Reactions, And Analysis On Germany's Election Results

Stefan Kuzmany, Spiegel Online: A New Germany

The Alternative for Germany's entry into the German parliament is not normal -- it's an attack on our liberal democracy, one that all the other parties must fight. That's just one reason that going into opposition is the right decision by the Social Democrats.

Don't worry! Why all the handwringing? Angela Merkel will stay on as chancellor -- that much we know -- and she'll continue to govern with her wonted calm and reason. And -- chill out! -- that 13-plus percent for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) isn't so bad either -- for unlike our European neighbors, we never had right-wing populists in parliament before -- and now we do. So what? Germany is just ceding to the norm, that's all.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Reactions, And Analysis On Germany's Election Results

German election press review - shock and concern the abiding reaction -- DW
German election: World reacts to Merkel victory, AfD rise -- DW
Juncker to Merkel: EU needs stable German government to shape Europe -- Reuters
As Germans clip Merkel's wings, Brussels braces for turbulence -- Reuters
Germany: Merkel faces thorny task in building new government -- Geir Moulson, AP
Uncharted political waters for Angela Merkel -- Volker Wagener, DW
'Angela's nightmare victory': German press react to Merkel's election win... with most focussing on her share of the votes crashing more than anyone had expected -- Daily Mail
German election: Not so boring now, is it? -- Sky News
Four graphics that explain how a far-right party won third place in Germany -- CNN
The German election: Here's what happens next -- Holly Ellyatt, CNBC
Five things to know about Germany´s surging nationalist party -- Press Association
Who is Frauke Petry, the AfD's controversial co-chair? -- Alex Pearson and Nancy Isenson, DW
What the stunning success of AfD means for Germany and Europe -- Cas Mudde, The Guardian
View: The five major policy challenges facing Germany’s new government -- Euronews
Merkel’s poll win unlikely to make much difference to Brexit, analysts say -- Jon Henley and Daniel Boffey, The Guardian
German election: Can the Greens and FDP join Angela Merkel in a coalition? -- Jefferson Chase, DW
Far-right AfD enters German parliament: What it means for German politics -- Jefferson Chase, DW
Germany wants to battle again -- Ines Pohl, DW
Merkel ‘to blame for AfD existence’ & will be challenged by new reality – analysts to RT -- RT
'A lot of people feel left behind': voters on the far-right surge in Germany -- The Guardian
German vote could doom Merkel-Macron deal on Europe -- Noah Barkin, Reuters
The end of German exceptionalism -- Gideon Rachman, Financial
What is the role of Germany's parliamentary opposition? -- Carla Bleiker, DW