Wednesday, February 21, 2018

World News Briefs -- February 21, 2018 (Evening Edition)



Reuters: Syria's Ghouta residents 'wait to die' as more bombs fall

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Residents of Syria’s eastern Ghouta district said they were waiting their “turn to die” on Wednesday, amid one of the most intense bombardments of the war by pro-government forces on the besieged, rebel-held enclave near Damascus.

At least 38 people died on Wednesday. At least 310 people have been killed in the district since Sunday night and more than 1,550 injured, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

The eastern Ghouta, a densely populated agricultural district on the Damascus outskirts, is the last major area near the capital still under rebel control. Home to 400,000 people, it has been besieged by government forces for years.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Russia resists Western bid to condemn Iran at U.N. over Yemen arms.

Stakes rise in Turkey's Afrin assault as pro-Assad militia arrive.

Talks to end conflict in Syria's Eastern Ghouta break down: Russia.

Doctors forced to use expired drugs as 300 die in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Russia denies role in deadly air strikes on Syria's Eastern Ghouta.

Military action against Syria still on the table, Jim Mattis and Rex Tillerson say.

Turkey says whoever helps Kurd militia in Syria is 'legitimate target'.

At least 15 dead in air strike in northern Yemen: residents.

UN: Food aid to Palestinian refugees will end soon.

Netanyahu aide agrees to implicate PM over corruption claims – reports.

Bahrain: Five years in jail for Nabeel Rajab's tweets.

Gaza to pump sewage straight into sea as crisis worsens.

ASIA

Pakistan Supreme Court rules ousted PM Sharif cannot lead his party.

South Korean presidential adviser: Many hurdles ahead to resolving North Korea issue.

North Korean media slams Pence amid reports of canceled secret meeting. North Korea canceled planned meeting with Pence.

Report: North Korea mine struggling as sanctions squeeze regime.

North Korea's Kim Yo-jong baby rumours fascinate South.

After Kim Jong-un's sister, South Korea prepares for Ivanka Trump visit.

Grenade on Sri Lanka bus injures 19; military rules out attack.

Trudeau "assures" India Canada won't support Sikh separatists. Canada downplays rift with India over Sikh issue.

AFRICA

More than 90 Nigerian schoolgirls missing after Boko Haram attack: sources.

Al-Shabaab plundering starving Somali villages of cash and children.

DRC: Thousands flee amid surge in 'horrific violence'.

Switzerland imposes sanctions on allies of Congo's Kabila.

'I inherited a broke country', says new Liberian president.

5 South African officers killed in police station ambush.

Qatar and Chad restore relations, first since blockade.

South Africa hikes sales tax in 'tough' post-Zuma budget.

Cape Town's Day Zero pushed back, but authorities say drought threat still real.

EUROPE

Merkel ally blasts foreign minister for questioning NATO target.

Latvia's reputation at stake after corruption allegations.

Greek parliament debates whether to probe politicians in drug bribery case.

Pro-Brexit Tory MPs set out demands in letter to Theresa May.

Man who says he was a Russian 'troll' arrested after going public.

German prisons: 150 dangerous Islamists need deradicalizing, say police.

Accusations about Berlusconi's ties to Sicilian mafia revived.

Bulgaria and Romania push to join EU's Schengen Area.

Germany deports more rejected Afghan asylum seekers.

Macron's MPs: New immigration bill 'betrays French values'.

AMERICAS

Venezuela opposition to boycott 'fraudulent' presidential vote.

Venezuelans report big weight losses in 2017 as hunger hits.

'It's becoming impossible': Venezuelans flee as crisis deepens.

Democrats want $300 million to fight possible Russia election tampering.

Billy Graham: Influential US evangelist dies at 99.

New sealed charges brought in case against ex-Trump campaign manager.

Trump-Russia inquiry: lawyer who worked with Manafort pleads guilty to lying to FBI.

Florida shooting survivors rally for stricter gun controls.

Brazil's Congress approves military intervention in Rio.

Venezuela raised $735mn on launch of oil-backed ‘petro’ cryptocurrency – Maduro.

Land fight could grant thousands of indigenous Americans new rights in Canada.

Justin Trudeau dismisses suggestions of India 'snub', criticised in Canada for 'family vacation'.

Peru coach plunges off Pan-American Highway killing dozens.

Pope's investigator meets Chile sex abuse victims.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Israeli intelligence helped Australia stop airliner attack: Netanyahu.

Russia, Pakistan form anti-terror military cooperation commission.

IS-run terror camps used to recruit Afghan youth, says CIS Anti-Terrorism Center chief.

Pentagon: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen 'soon'. U.S. misses deadline to repatriate detainee who pleaded guilty.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street falls as Fed minutes send bond yields higher.

BP says world's oil consumption will peak in late 2030s.

Plastic bans worldwide will dent oil demand growth, says BP.

Text of revised Pacific trade deal released.

No Money In The Pentagon's Budget To Pay Iraq's Peshmerga Salaries

Kurdish peshmerga fighters gather north of Kirkuk, Iraq, Oct. 19, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed

Al-Monitor: Pentagon stops budgeting for peshmerga salaries

The Trump administration’s budget proposal for next fiscal year does not include peshmerga salaries even as the Pentagon aims to continue training the Kurdish force.

The Department of Defense had requested $365 million in stipends for the year that ends Sept. 30 but did not spend the money after negotiations to extend an expiring memorandum of understanding broke down in September. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had agreed to pay the peshmerga wages in October, but a US Inspector General report released earlier this month said the Kurdish fighters still hadn’t been paid

“Those documents do not specifically refer to training/stipends for the peshmerga,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Al-Monitor in an email today. Lawmakers have yet to weigh in on the $716 billion Pentagon request for fiscal year 2019.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Everyone knew that this day was going to come .... the war is almost over, so why spend the money.

U.S. Navy Sends Warships Into The Black Sea To 'Send Russia A Message'



CNN: US show of force sends Russia a message in Black Sea

Washington (CNN)The US Navy is ramping up its presence in the Black Sea as part of a bid to counter Russia's increased presence there, a US military official tells CNN.

It's a region that has become increasingly fraught with tensions as Russia has reinforced its military forces in the area following its seizure of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a move rejected by the vast majority of the international community.

On Saturday the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney joined the USS Ross in the Black Sea to "conduct maritime security operations," according to a statement from the US Navy's 6th Fleet, which oversees US naval operations in the region. It's the first time two US Navy warships have been in the Black Sea since July 2017.

"Our decision to have two ships simultaneously operate in the Black Sea is proactive, not reactive," US Navy Vice Adm. Christopher Grady, the commander of 6th Fleet, said in a release announcing the Carney's arrival.

Read more ....

Update: Navy sends destroyers to Black Sea to ‘desensitize’ Russia (Navy Times)

WNU Editor: Russia is not going to respond .... though they would love to .... US Warships in Black Sea on 'Russia's Radar' - Russian Admiral (Sputnik International). The Kremlin is now focused on only one thing .... winning the Russian President election next month, and by a convincing majority. After the election .... it is going to be different.

More News On The U.S. Navy Sending Warships Into The Black Sea

Navy sends destroyers to Black Sea to ‘desensitize’ Russia -- Navy Times
U.S. Navy Sends Two Warships to Black Sea, Risking Russia's Anger -- Newsweek
U.S. Navy sends two missile-guided Destroyers to Black Sea -- UPI
The US Navy is sending destroyers into the Black Sea to send Russia a message -- Business Insider
Pentagon makes show of force in Black Sea to counteract Russian influence: report -- The Hill
Why is the US Navy ramping up its presence in the Black Sea? -- International Business Times

Report: White House Considering Citing The Killing Of Russian Fighters In Syria As Sign Of "Tough Stance" Toward Putin



Bloomberg: White House Considers Citing Russian Deaths in Syria as Sign of U.S. Resolve

* Trump’s spokeswoman makes oblique reference to Syria battle
* More than 200 mercenaries may have died in Feb. 7 fight

The Trump administration is considering citing the deaths of scores of Russian mercenaries in a Feb. 7 battle with U.S.-backed forces in Syria as evidence of the president’s tough stance toward the Kremlin, a person familiar with the matter said.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made an oblique reference to “an incident” on Tuesday, as she argued that President Donald Trump has been tougher on Russia than his predecessor Barack Obama. She was alluding to the Syria battle -- an episode that threatens to deepen tensions with Moscow.

“He has done a number of things to put pressure on Russia and to be tough on Russia. Just last week, there was an incident that will be reported in the coming days, and another way that this president was tough on Russia,” Sanders said in a briefing for reporters.

Read more ....

Update: Risking Major Escalation, Trump Weighs Killing Of Russian Fighters In Syria As Sign Of "Tough Stance" Toward Putin (Zero Hedge).

WNU Editor: I doubt that the administration is considering to do this .... this is just speculation from Bloomberg. But in the event that Bloomberg is 0.0001% accurate .... and this is what the White House does .... it is a guarantee that in the weeks and months to come we will be hearing of an accidental Russian military strike on a U.S. base/ship/FOB/etc. that has resulting in the killing of a hundred or more U.S. troops .... and the Russians will be saying ooopppsss! .... it was a mistake.

On A Trip To India Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau Denies Allegations That Canada Supports Sikh Independence

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire, daughter Ella Grace and son Xavier pose for photographers during their visit to the holy Sikh shrine of Golden temple in Amritsar, India February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Globe and Mail: Trudeau denies allegations that Canadian ministers are Sikh separatists in India trip

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he made it "very, very clear" to the chief minister of Punjab that Canada supports a united India and condemns violent extremism, describing repeated allegations from the leader of the predominately Sikh region that Canadian ministers are separatists as misunderstandings and false.

Trudeau and his Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan met Amarinder Singh on Wednesday in part to try and mend fences with the state where a majority of Indian Canadians are from.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: For those who may not know .... Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau has four members in his cabinet  who are Sikhs, and they are accompanying him on this trip.

Update: Made a mistake in the above title (since corrected). The Canadian government does now and never has supported Sikh independence. The Canadian government supports a united India.

More News On Canadian Prime Minister Denying Allegations In India That Canada Does Not Support Sikh Independence

Trudeau "assures" India Canada won't support Sikh separatists -- Reuters
Canada does not back separatists, Trudeau tells India minister -- AFP
Raised Khalistan as it's primary issue: Punjab CM on meeting with Trudeau -- Times of India
‘Cold-shouldered’ in Delhi, Trudeau lauds reception at Golden Temple -- Hindustan Times
Canada downplays rift with India over Sikh issue -- Al Jazeera
How Justin Trudeau NEVER misses an opportunity to don traditional attire: The Canadian Prime Minister, who wore Indian clothes this week on a visit to the country, ditches his suit whenever he can -- Daily Mail
Justin Trudeau dismisses suggestions of India 'snub', criticised in Canada for 'family vacation' -- ABC News Online

Life Is Very Different For Some In Syria


WNU Editor: To say that the above video is bizarre is an understatement. I have seen a few of these videos in the past few years .... and I am not sure if they are true. The country is burning .... but for some it is life that is untouched by war.

Iran Confronts Turkey In Syria's Afrin Region



Jerusalem Post: Conflicting interests: Iran confronts Turkey in Syria's Afrin region

The chances for a deepening crisis in Afrin are growing.

On Monday night, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan phoned Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Sources fed local rosy statements to media about “cooperation in the fight against terrorist elements” and Rouhani said the two leaders discussed “plots to disintegrate regional states.”

But behind the scenes Iran is quietly opposing Turkey’s operation in the mostly Kurdish Afrin region in northwest Syria. Tehran is a key ally of Damascus but is reticent to confront Turkey, with which it enjoys amicable relations.

Read more ....

Update #1: Afrin puts Turkish-Iranian-Russian mistrust on full display (Al-Monitor)
Update #2: Turkey and Iran face off in a new battle in Syria (Washington Post)

WNU Editor: Iran does not want to find itself in competition with Turkey on what happens in Syria .... and they certainly do not want Turkey to be a major player in deciding what happens in Syria when the major fighting dies down. But short of using their own militias to confront the Turkish military .... Iran's options on what to do in this case are very limited.

Turkey Warns Syria To Not Support The Kurdish Enclave Of Afrin



The National: Turkey warns pro-Syrian forces in Afrin of 'serious consequences'

Arrival of Damascus-backed militias opens door to more violence

Turkey on Wednesday warned Syrian President Bashar Al Assad of "serious consequences" unless his forces retreated from the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

Pro-government militias entered the Afrin area on Tuesday, but were repelled by Turkish shelling, President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said. It is unclear whether the Iran-backed troops are inside the eponymous city.

"Any step by the regime or other elements in this direction will surely have serious consequences," presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like the Turks are looking for a way out .... Turkey Signals Readiness for Talks to Avoid Clash With Syria (Bloomberg).

More News On Turkey Warning Syria To Not Support The Kurdish Enclave Of Afrin

Two Turkish soldiers killed in Hakkari -- Hurriyet Daily News
Turkey says whoever helps Kurd militia in Syria is 'legitimate target' -- AFP
Turkey troops shell Syria allied forces in Afrin -- Middle East Monitor
Turkey shells pro-Assad militias entering Afrin to aid Kurdish rebels -- Al-Monitor
Syrian Troops Retreat After Turkish Artillery Fires Warning Strikes -- VOA
Syrian Popular Forces Join Kurdish Fighters in Afrin - YPG Representative -- Sputnik
Damascus & Ankara dispute whether pro-Syrian govt forces entered Afrin -- RT
Turkish shells explode behind reporter covering pro-Syrian govt deployment in Afrin (VIDEO) -- RT
Stakes Rise in Turkey's Afrin Assault as Pro-Assad Militia Arrive -- US News and World Report/Reuters
Turkey's slow and costly Afrin adventure -- Ahval
Why Turkey Says It's Ready to Go to War With Syria Over Afrin -- Wall Street Journal

Syrian And Russian Air Strikes On The Rebel-Held Enclave On The Outskirts Of The Capital Damascus Continue



Daily Mail: More than 250 innocent civilians are killed and multiple hospitals are obliterated in two days of air strikes by Syria and Russia as Assad prepares ground assault against rebels

* WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
* Syrian and Russian airstrikes killed more than 100 in Eastern Ghouta on Tuesday
* This takes the total civilian death toll to more than 250 people in 48 hours
* Harrowing pictures show some of the 20 boys and girls killed in the airstrikes
* Damascus also sent pro-regime fighters to the Kurdish-controlled Afrin region

Syrian and Russian air strikes on a rebel-held enclave on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, have killed more than 100 civilians for the second day in a row.

Air strikes, rockets and artillery fire have been battering Eastern Ghouta enclave in apparent preparation for a government ground assault.

At least 250 civilians have been killed since the escalation began on Sunday, among them dozens of children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Read more ....

More News On Syrian And Russian Air Strikes Continuing On The Rebel-Held Enclave On The Outskirts Of The Capital Damascus

Syria war: Eastern Ghouta bombing 'catastrophic' -- BBC
Syria's Ghouta residents 'wait to die' as more bombs fall -- Reuters
New strikes kill 10 in rebel-held suburbs of Syrian capital -- AP
Fresh strikes on Syria enclave kill 10: monitor -- AFP
Syria, Russia pound rebel enclave, put clinic out of service -- AFP
Death toll rises as Syrian shelling of Damascus suburb continues -- Press Association
At least 260 dead after days of government airstrikes in Syria: report -- Global News/AP
Rebels in Syria Prepare for Final Assad Assault on Ghouta -- VOA
Fresh strikes kill civilians in Syrian rebel enclave -- The Guardian
Hundreds dead in 'relentless bombing' of Eastern Ghouta -- Al Jazeera
'It's not a war. It's a massacre': scores killed in Syrian enclave -- The Guardian
Fears and outrage over bloodshed in Syria enclave -- AFP
Russia, Iran Urged To Press Syria To End 'Massacre' In Ghouta -- RFE
Russia denies role in deadly air strikes on Syria's Eastern Ghouta -- AFP
Doctors forced to use expired drugs as 300 die in Syria's Eastern Ghouta -- CNN
'The hospitals are overflowing with blood': Doctors struggle to cope in Eastern Ghouta -- Middle East Eye
UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by Eastern Ghouta violence -- AFP
Former US ambassador: 'Syrian situation extremely dangerous' -- DW

World News Briefs -- February 21, 2018



BBC: Syria war: Eastern Ghouta bombing 'catastrophic'

A doctor working in the Syrian rebel enclave of the Eastern Ghouta says the situation is "catastrophic" - and he believes the international community has abandoned the people living there.

"We don't have anything - no food, no medicine, no shelter," Dr Bassam told the BBC. "We don't have bread. We don't have anything."

"Maybe every minute we have 10 or 20 air strikes," Dr Bassam said.

Three days of bombing in the area has reportedly killed nearly 300 people.

The Syrian military says it is trying to liberate the area from terrorists - but it has also been accused of targeting civilians.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Doctors forced to use expired drugs as 300 die in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Russia denies role in deadly air strikes on Syria's Eastern Ghouta.

Military action against Syria still on the table, Jim Mattis and Rex Tillerson say.

Turkey says whoever helps Kurd militia in Syria is 'legitimate target'.

UN: Food aid to Palestinian refugees will end soon.

Netanyahu aide agrees to implicate PM over corruption claims – reports.

Bahrain: Five years in jail for Nabeel Rajab's tweets.

ASIA

South Korean presidential adviser: Many hurdles ahead to resolving North Korea issue.

North Korean media slams Pence amid reports of canceled secret meeting. North Korea canceled planned meeting with Pence.

Report: North Korea mine struggling as sanctions squeeze regime.

North Korea's Kim Yo-jong baby rumours fascinate South.

After Kim Jong-un's sister, South Korea prepares for Ivanka Trump visit.

Grenade on Sri Lanka bus injures 19; military rules out attack.

Trudeau "assures" India Canada won't support Sikh separatists. Canada downplays rift with India over Sikh issue.

AFRICA

Al-Shabaab plundering starving Somali villages of cash and children.

DRC: Thousands flee amid surge in 'horrific violence'.

'I inherited a broke country', says new Liberian president.

5 South African officers killed in police station ambush.

Qatar and Chad restore relations, first since blockade.

South Africa hikes sales tax in 'tough' post-Zuma budget.

Cape Town's Day Zero pushed back, but authorities say drought threat still real.

EUROPE

Pro-Brexit Tory MPs set out demands in letter to Theresa May.

Man who says he was a Russian 'troll' arrested after going public.

German prisons: 150 dangerous Islamists need deradicalizing, say police.

Accusations about Berlusconi's ties to Sicilian mafia revived.

Bulgaria and Romania push to join EU's Schengen Area.

Germany deports more rejected Afghan asylum seekers.

Macron's MPs: New immigration bill 'betrays French values'.

AMERICAS

Billy Graham: Influential US evangelist dies at 99.

Trump-Russia inquiry: lawyer who worked with Manafort pleads guilty to lying to FBI.

Florida shooting survivors rally for stricter gun controls.

'It's becoming impossible': Venezuelans flee as crisis deepens.

Brazil's Congress approves military intervention in Rio.

Venezuela raised $735mn on launch of oil-backed ‘petro’ cryptocurrency – Maduro.

Land fight could grant thousands of indigenous Americans new rights in Canada.

Justin Trudeau dismisses suggestions of India 'snub', criticised in Canada for 'family vacation'.

Peru coach plunges off Pan-American Highway killing dozens.

Pope's investigator meets Chile sex abuse victims.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Russia, Pakistan form anti-terror military cooperation commission.

IS-run terror camps used to recruit Afghan youth, says CIS Anti-Terrorism Center chief.

Pentagon: First Gitmo transfer under Trump could happen 'soon'. U.S. misses deadline to repatriate detainee who pleaded guilty.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

BP says world's oil consumption will peak in late 2030s.

Plastic bans worldwide will dent oil demand growth, says BP.

Text of revised Pacific trade deal released.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 21, 2018

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg brief the media during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels on Feb.15, 2017. Francois Lenoir / Reuters

National Interest: Mattis: "NATO Remains our Number-One Alliance"

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is reaffirming that NATO remains the United States’ most important alliance. That is despite a perception that the Trump Administration is skeptical of the alliance.

“NATO remains our number-one alliance. So I spent a fair amount of time on that effort at EUCOM. Obviously heartened coming out of the NATO ministerial would be an understatement, but the continued climbing of the defense budgets,” Mattis told reporters on Feb. 17.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- February 21, 2018

Exclusive: Japan to buy at least 20 more F-35A stealth fighters - sources -- Reuters

North Korean cyberspies ready to launch mass cyberattacks: Report -- Washington Examiner

U.S. to Deploy Attack Drones in Korea -- Chosun

US, South Korea planning new joint military exercises -- The Hill

Report: U.S. Pacific Command developing South Korea evacuation plans -- UPI

Interview: Head of US Air Force special ops in Asia-Pacific talks regional threats, priorities -- Defense News

Trouble in paradise: Maldives crisis locks China & India in tug-of-war -- RT

Over 20 Russian Baltic Fleet warships to join naval drills -- TASS

Russian Strategic Bombers Conduct Air Patrol Over Sea of Japan -- Sputnik

Russia releases video of its modernized ballistic missile defense system -- Defense News

Russia's Su-35: prized state-of-the-art fighter, battle-tested in Syrian skies -- TASS

Belgium wants to buy Rafale fighters for naval capability, says French lawmaker -- Defense News

NATO command change to address ‘deficiencies’ -- Defense News

U.S., Israel test Arrow 3 missile system -- UPI

US State Department clears Dutch Apache upgrades, Kuwait boats, Finnish weapons -- Defense News

State Department Approves $1.1Bln Sale of Apache Helicopters to Netherlands -- Sputnik

Pentagon makes show of force in Black Sea to counteract Russian influence: report -- The Hill

Navy, Marines Step Up Training to Prepare for High-End Fight -- USNI News

Navy asks DoD for longer forward deployed tours -- Navy Times

A light attack aircraft fleet: Could it change the fight or put lives at risk? -- Air Force Times

Failed missile test off of Kauai costs $130 million -- Army Times

Week ahead: Pentagon turns focus to missile defense -- The Hill

Pentagon Prepares New Ballistic Missile Defense Review -- Sputnik

Lockheed filed a pre-award protest of the Air Force‘s Huey replacement competition. Here‘s why. -- Defense News

Top Mattis aide leaving Pentagon -- The Hill

Marines quietly lower combat training requirements to help female officers -- Hot Air

Non-citizens can provide an "untapped" pool of military recruits, experts say -- UPI

Nvidia Making Facial Recognition AI for Smart City Surveillance -- NextGov

Top experts warn against 'malicious use' of AI -- AFP

Florida shooting: West Point admits murdered hero Peter Wang -- BBC

The Pentagon is still in the dark about Trump's military parade — but it could use donations to help pay for it -- Business Insider

A Top-Secret US Military Base Will Melt Out of the Greenland Ice Sheet -- Motherboard

Can the Army Get Ready for War with Russia and China and Fight Terror Too? -- Dave Majumdar, National Interest

Modern Information Warfare Requires a New Intelligence Discipline -- Robert Kozloski, RCD

This Is Where The U.S. Marines Learn How To Storm Beaches And Drink Snake Blood



Business Insider: The US sent its biggest force in years to an Asian military exercise where Marines learn how to storm beaches and drink snake blood — and the photos are awesome

US Marines in Thailand for the Cobra Gold training exercise took part in one of the wildest parts: drinking cobra blood.

Cobra Gold, an annual military exercise for Marines, is one of the largest in the Asia-Pacific region. The 6,800 US personnel attending this year represents a showing of American muscle in an area where China is growing more powerful.

This year, seven countries are participating in Cobra Gold: the US, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The worse meal that I have ever had involved eating snakes (it was in China in the 1980s). It was like I was crunching on bone. I vowed never to do it again. Drinking snake blood .... yech!

How Did The U.N. Know That Iran Violated Sanctions On Sending Arms To Yemen?

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley points to previously classified missile segments she says prove Iran violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen with arms, during a press conference at Joint Base Anacostia in Washington, DC, on December 14, 2017. (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Popular Mechanics: Missile CSI: How We Know Iran Violated an Arms Embargo

Iran (and Russia) back one side of the Yemen Civil War. Saudi Arabia (and the United States) back the other. Things are getting dicey.

* Iran (and Russia) back one side of the ongoing Yemen Civil War. Saudi Arabia (and the United States) back the other.
* Houthi rebels in Yemen fired missiles at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in November.
* The U.S. accuses Iran of violating a 2015 embargo against allowing arms to reach Yemen.

In November, missiles coming from Yemen bombarded the airport Riyadh, rattling Saudi Arabia and upping the ante in this explosive little war. Now, the United Nations has confirmed what Saudi Arabia suspected back then: That Iran is supplying the weapons.

The UN report “identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley wrote in the New York Times this weekend demanding that the Security Council act. “The U.N. panel has given the world a chance to act before a missile hits a school or a hospital and leads to a dangerous military escalation that provokes a Saudi military response,” she wrote.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have always U.N. inspectors (at least via through ICAO when I worked there in the early 1990s) to be very efficient and professional in their work. They may take their time .... but their conclusions (if they are not pressured politically) are usually very accurate.

Could North Korea And America Be At War By April?

Harry J. Kazianis, FOX News: Why North Korea and America could be at war by April

Despite some media outlets’ endless fawning over all things North Korea during the Winter Olympics, the catalyst that nearly brought Washington and Pyongyang to war last year—the murderous Kim regime’s quest for nuclear weapons and missiles that can strike the U.S. homeland—is only growing more powerful by the day.

In fact, we seem destined to re-live the tension-filled events of 2017 all over again. Know this: come springtime, the United States and North Korea could very well find itself at war as tensions are set to spike once more.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I for one do not believe that there will be a war against North Korea anytime soon. The new sanctions that have been imposed on North Korea will take a year or two to have an impact .... a decision that the White House appears to be committed to. South Korea does not want a war .... and they must be on board if hostilities were to be initiated. But for the moment the South Koreans  are more focused on having talks with North Korea .... which will probably happen by this summer. Military deployments that would be a sign of a U.S. preparation for war (3 U.S. aircraft carriers or more in the region) are not occurring. And while there is concern that the U.S. may act unilaterally .... I have not seen any evidence that the U.S. will do so unless there is a real threat underway (i.e. missiles are being prepped to launch against the U.S).

India To Build A Military Presence In Seychelles


CNN: As China concerns grow, India looks to build military presence in Seychelles

The Seychelles is not typically associated with geopolitics. But beyond the white sandy beaches and tropical jungles, the tiny archipelago nation is emerging as a key player in India's battle to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean.

Late last month, India and the Seychelles signed a revised agreement granting India permission to construct a military base on the Seychelles' Assumption Island, roughly 1,650 kilometers (1,025 miles) east of mainland East Africa.

The deal, which follows several years of diplomatic negotiations, will provide India with a crucial military staging point in what is fast becoming a critically strategic region.

Read more ....

More News On India To Build A Military Presence In Seychelles

India boosts maritime reach with Seychelles pact to build naval facilities -- Reuters
India moves to set up overseas military base in Seychelles -- Irish Times
India Gains a New Naval Foothold in the Seychelles to Counter China's Ambitions -- World Politics Review
India, Seychelles sign revised agreement -- India Post
India To Build Major Overseas Military Base Off Africa To Combat China - Zero Hedge

Tonight's Ebook Is The 'Art Of War' By Nicolo Machiavelli

WNU Editor: A new tradition at WNU. Once in a while I will be posting ebooks on war/military/defense/etc... or the complete works by certain authors. These ebooks are free, and they can be downloaded to your computer or smart device/tablet/etc.. for reading at a future date. For tonight .... we have the works by Nicolo Machiavelli including his master-piece "The Art Of War" (click here).

U.S. Intelligence: Philippine President Duterte Is A Threat To Democracy

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, wearing a military uniform, gestures as he attends the 67th founding anniversary of the First Scout Ranger regiment in San Miguel town, Bulacan province, north of Manila, Philippines November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Reuters: Philippines 'concerned' as U.S. intelligence tags Duterte a threat to democracy

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is taking seriously the U.S. Intelligence Community’s report tagging the firebrand leader a threat to democracy in Southeast Asia, his spokesman said on Wednesday.

The report, produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, places Duterte alongside Cambodian’s Hun Sen, the Rohingya crisis and Thailand’s military-backed constitution as threats to democracy.

“We view this declaration from no less than the intelligence department of the United States with some concern...,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque told DZMM radio.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He is definitely different.

Is Japan's Air Force The Best In Asia?

Japanese Air Self Defense Force maintainers work on a F-15J fighter upon arrival for Cooperative Cope Thunder at Elmendorf Air Force Base, May 27, 2003 . Cope Thunder is a Pacific Air Forces-sponsored, air combat training exercise held up to four times a year. The June 5-20 exercise represents the first time the JASDAF has deployed fighter aircraft to any exercise outside of Japan. More than 1,675 people will participate at Elmendorf and Eielson Air Force Bases, including approximately 980 U.S. service members and 695 service members from Thailand, Singapore, Republic of Korea, India and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. About 275 people from the JASDF will participate. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Keith Brown)

Charlie Gao, National Interest: Japan's Air Force: The Best in Asia?

With tensions rising all over Asia, Japan has been embarking on a program of rearmament in order to take a more proactive posture in the region. One of the critical pieces in this puzzle is the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF). The JASDF fields a wide variety of aircraft, most American made. However, Japan’s indigenous technology industry has produced many upgrades for these aircraft, making them more capable than the originals in some aspects. They are also one of the only nations that still operates the venerable F-4 Phantom II, a jet the United States last used in the Vietnam War.

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WNU Editor: The Japanese are spending the money .... Exclusive: Japan to buy at least 20 more F-35A stealth fighters - sources (Reuters).