Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Growing Drone Race

U.S. Reaper drones at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. One is armed with two 500-lb bombs. Source: GlobalPost

James Bamford, Foreign Policy: Terrorists Have Drones Now. Thanks, Obama.

86 countries have drones, 19 of them armed. Now ISIS wants them too. Is it too late to stop the unmanned arms race?

Hanging in an atrium of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, home to the Wright brothers’ plane and the Mercury capsule that first carried an American into space, is a Predator drone with the tail number 3034. Like the other vehicles on display, it made history by launching a revolution: Nearly one month after 9/11, in the skies above Afghanistan, 3034 became the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to kill humans with a remotely fired missile.

Once little more than novelties, militarized drones are now buzzing around the globe like locusts. According to New America, “the virtual monopoly on drones that the States once enjoyed is long gone.” Eighty-six countries have some drone capability, with 19 either possessing armed drones or acquiring the technology. At least six countries other than America have used drones in combat, and in 2015, defense consulting firm Teal Group estimated that drone production would total $93 billion over the next decade—reaching more than three times the current market value.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The terrorists did not need President Obama to encourage them to go down this road. The genie got out of the bottle long before President Obama was elected President .... and blow-back from these groups should surprise no one.

A Look At The Afghan-Taliban Three Years After The Death Of Its Leader

Photo: A file photo of the man believed to be Mullah Omar.

Catherine Hirst, The Interpreter: The Taliban three years after Mullah Omar

This month marks the three year anniversary of the death of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the infamous, one-eyed cleric who led the Taliban for more than sixteen years.

Omar was a fascinating figure on many fronts. Famously reclusive and enigmatic, no Western journalist ever met him and he wasn’t seen in public after 2001. Under his rule, a stringent formulation of Shariah Law was implemented in Afghanistan, including amputation for theft and stoning for adultery. A veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war, Omar and Osama bin Laden were close colleagues and this was an important factor in the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan. After the fall of the Taliban, Omar managed to evade capture for twelve years, despite an intensive US-led manhunt and a $US10 million bounty. He died of natural causes in 2013.

Beyond his notorious exploits, influence, and the mysteries that surround him, Omar’s life and death provide fascinating insights into the role of individual leaders in the Jihadi system.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Leaders are important .... but it is the ideals and philosophy behind them that are even more important. Unfortunately ... the continuous refusal .... primarily many from the West .... to even acknowledge let alone understand and confront the importance of radical Islam to these groups .... will only mean that they will never be properly challenged.

The U.S. Is Bringing The 'Big Guns' For The Assault On Mosul

Photo credit: U.S. Army

The Cable/Foreign Policy: A Look at the U.S. Rockets About to Rock ISIS in Mosul

American warplanes have dropped over 40,000 bombs on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since August 2014. And while the planes get all the credit for taking out an estimated 20,000 Islamic State fighters and helping Iraqi forces retake the cities of Ramadi, Hit, and Tikrit, two little-noticed U.S. precision rocket and artillery systems have also launched hundreds of strikes against terrorist positions — with more on the way.

Since March 2015, the U.S. Army’s Paladin self-propelled howitzer – think of a 155mm cannon on tracks — has fired nearly 300 times in Iraq. At the same time, the HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) has launched nearly 100 missions against the Islamic State since last September, according to the Pentagon. But don’t let that lower number fool you: Each HIMARS “mission” can mean multiple salvos from its six GPS-guided rocket tubes, meaning the HIMARS has probably launched hundreds of rockets at Islamic State fighters.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Apparently the Islamic State is ready for the U.S. onslaught .... U.S. Sending More Troops To Syria, But IS Already Preparing For The Storm (RFE).

16 US Service Members Have Been Disciplined Over The Afghan Bombing Of A Hospital In Kunduz



L.A. Times: Pentagon disciplines 16 for deadly attack on Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan

The Pentagon has disciplined 16 service members for mistakes that led to the deadly airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan last fall, but no one will face criminal charges, The Times has learned.

The punishments follow a six-month Pentagon investigation into the disastrous Oct. 3 attack, which killed 42 medical staff, patients and other Afghans, and wounded dozens more at the international humanitarian aid group's trauma center in Kunduz.

The 16 found at fault include a two-star general, the crew of an Air Force AC-130 attack aircraft, and Army special forces personnel, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal investigation.

Read more ....

More News On 16 US Forces 'Disciplined Over Afghan Bombing'

U.S. military punishes 16 over 2015 Afghan hospital bombing -- Reuters
U.S. decides on punishment for deadly hospital attack -- AP
Kunduz hospital: 16 US forces 'disciplined over Afghan bombing' -- BBC
Defense official: About 16 disciplined for hospital attack in Afghanistan -- USA Today
Up to 16 service members to be disciplined following hospital airstrike in Afghanistan -- CNN
Pentagon disciplines 16 service members in Afghanistan hospital attack -- Washington Times
Here’s the Punishment for Those Involved in the Doctors Without Borders Airstrike -- Slate

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 28, 2016

Militant Islamist fighters in military vehicles parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. (Reuters)

Dominic Tierney, The Atlantic: ISIS and the ‘Loser Effect’

Could the Islamic State's recent failures signal its demise?

In 2014, ISIS racked up a series of stunning successes as it pushed through Iraq and Syria, gaining momentum and new recruits with each victory. But in recent weeks, Syrian government forces liberated the city of Palmyra from ISIS, signifying a broader retreat for the extremist group over the past year. Can ISIS survive the label of loser?

Who could have foreseen that within a decade, between 2004 and 2014, the terrorist group al-Qaeda in Iraq would transform into ISIS, outline an apocalyptic vision of the End Times, reintroduce slavery, embrace war without limits, take on the world’s greatest powers, and conquer a mini-empire spanning swaths of Syria and Iraq—with spin-off affiliates infiltrating Libya, Nigeria, and elsewhere?

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- April 28, 2016

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma -- Joe Dyke, AFP

Saudi Arabia’s post-oil future -- The Economist

The Taliban three years after Mullah Omar -- Catherine Hirst, Interpreter

U.S. may Lift Vietnam Arms Embargo On Abama's Asian Trip -- Prashanth Parameswaran, Diplomat

Momentum builds for Pakistan to act against corruption -- Tom Hussain, Al Jazeera

China's Long March Into Central Asia -- Stratfor

Al-Qaeda: 5 years after the death of Osama bin Laden -- Huffington Post

Special Operations: The Tunisian Revelations -- Strategy Page

East vs. West in the Arctic Circle -- Jochen Bittner, New York Times

Putin's Space Debacle Blasts Off -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

Why the Spanish may be better off without a government -- James Bartholomew, The Spectator

Power matrix: Ranking Europe’s leaders and ambassadors: Here’s who’s really in charge in Brussels. -- Ryan Heath, Politico

Drudge, Koch, Soros, Bezos: These 4 non-politicians will determine the next president -- Brendan Gauthier, Salon

Why Facebook Is Killing It—Even When Nobody Else Is -- Julia Greenberg, Wired

Am I a global citizen? Majority of world's people say 'yes' -- Peter Ford, CSM

World News Briefs -- April 28, 2016 (Evening Edition)



BBC: Syria conflict: Aleppo in 'catastrophic' state says UN

The UN says the situation in Syria's city of Aleppo is catastrophic, after dozens of people were killed in attacks on targets including a hospital

Air strikes on and around the Medecins Sans Frontieres-backed al-Quds hospital killed at least 27 people, while more than 30 died in other attacks.

UN envoy Jan Egeland said the next days would be vital for the humanitarian aid lifeline for much of Syria.

The violence has left a partial truce hanging by a thread.

UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura warned the cessation of hostilities agreed between non-jihadist rebels and government forces on 27 February was now "barely alive".

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

On surprise Iraq visit, Biden urging end to political crisis.

At least 61 killed in Aleppo airstrikes, including Doctors Without Borders staff, patients. Hospital hit in Syria as UN warns talks unravelling.

Kerry expresses outrage after 50 killed in strike on Syrian hospital.

Syria's army denies its warplanes targeted Aleppo hospital: state TV.

UN envoy appeals to US, Russia to help Syria peace talks.

Damascus concerned at reports of U.S. troops arrival.

Turkish military kills 11 Islamic State militants in northern Syria: sources.

Suicide bomber targets police chief of Yemen's Aden.

Jordan changes constitution to give King more power.

Fragile economy forces Iran's top leaders to form alliance.

ASIA

U.S. urges ASEAN unity on South China Sea ruling; warns China on reputation.

North Korea test-fires two intermediate-range missiles, both fail: South Korea. U.S. says it detected two attempted North Korean missile launches.

Afghan Taliban say team in Pakistan not for peace talks.

Abu Sayyaf militants who beheaded Canadian plotted to kidnap Manny Pacquiao, Philippine president says.

Philippines wants coordinated patrols to protect ships from rebels.

Seoul: N. Korea erects mock-up of Seoul presidential palace.

Kyrgyzstan's new government takes oath of office.

China adopts law regulating overseas NGOs. China prompts criticism with tough curbs on foreign NGOs.

AFRICA

Equatorial Guinea's President Obiang wins re-election.

Libyan government urges factions to hold off attacking Islamic State in Sirte.

UN Libya blacklist leaves Indian oil tanker in limbo.

South Sudan war: US warns it could sanction leaders.

Sudanese police fire tear gas at protests over student's killing.

U.N. council removes 12-year-old arms embargo on Ivory Coast.

Nigeria's Buhari orders crackdown on Fulani cattle raiders.

UK joins IMF and World Bank to cut Mozambique aid.

Mozambique boosts security in Maputo due to demonstration fears.

EUROPE

EU in trouble as Eurosceptic parties gain in strength.

Spooked by Russia, Lithuania spares no money for defense.

Ukraine separatists say five killed on front line.

Russia lets sister of jailed pilot Savchenko return to Ukraine: Poroshenko.

Migrant crisis: UN's Ban Ki-moon condemns EU migrant curbs.

German nuclear plant hit by computer viruses.

Tear gas, clashes, vehicles set on fire: Anti-labor reform protests rock France.

German foreign minister criticizes Trump's 'America first' foreign policy.

Obama fails to swing Britain behind EU as 'Out' takes poll lead.

AMERICAS

Trump's 'America first' speech alarms U.S. allies.

Former Speaker Boehner calls Cruz 'Lucifer in the flesh'.

Clinton backers 'feel the Bern' of angry Sanders supporters.

US Election 2016: Bernie Sanders begins campaign lay-offs.

Donald Trump slams Ted Cruz for naming Carly Fiorina as running mate.

US economic growth slows to 0.5% in first quarter of 2016.

IMF: Latin America economy weighed down by Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.

Brazil prosecutors charge Rousseff campaign strategist.

Olympic torch handed over to Brazilians.

Sibling rivalry threatens Fujimori's bid ahead of Peru vote.

Venezuela’s woes are mounting as it turns the lights off.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Carter defends US strategy for defeating Islamic State group.

Islamic State turns to selling fish, cars to offset oil losses: report.

Isis has been financially weakened, claim UK and US military figures.

Italy arrests Islamic State suspects, uncovers attack plot.

Paris terror suspect is ‘a little jerk,’ his lawyer says.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Oil hits 2016 peaks again as weak dollar trumps global glut.

This CEO's $148 million in pay may rank him No. 1 for 2015.

Radisson hotel chain is latest U.S. giant to be snapped up by Chinese.

Paris Terror Suspect Salah Abdeslam Whistled And Jeered At By Extremists Upon His Arrival In Prison



Daily Mail: Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam is BOOED by radicalised inmates at his prison - because he did not go through with his suicide bombing

* Alleged extremist spent first night in Fleury-Mérogis prison on Wednesday
* The 26-year-old was whistled and jeered by extremist lags upon his arrival
* Reaction was provoked by his supposed failure to detonate suicide vest
* Arrested over November's attacks in French capital which killed 130 people

The man accused of being the logistics chief behind the Paris terror attacks was booed by radical Muslim inmates after arriving in jail - because he failed to carry out his suicide bombing.
Salah Abdeslam spent his first night in Fleury-Mérogis prison on Wednesday after being extradited from Belgium.
He was arrested over last November's attacks in the French capital which claimed 130 lives.
Upon arriving behind bars, the 26-year-old was whistled and jeered by extremist lags enraged by his alleged failure to detonate his suicide vest during the Paris onslaught.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Even his lawyer calls him a jerk .... Paris terror suspect is ‘a little jerk,’ his lawyer says (Washington Post).

New York Times Reporter: Libya As The ‘Cornerstone Of A Hillary Clinton Doctrine’



Washington Free Beacon: NYT: Aides Viewed Libya as the ‘Cornerstone of a Hillary Clinton Doctrine’

White House correspondent for the New York Times Mark Landler was asked about Hillary Clinton’s role in Libya, and said how some of Clinton’s aides saw Libya as the “cornerstone of a Hillary Clinton doctrine” in an interview Tuesday on CNN.

The terrorist attack that occurred while Clinton was secretary of state in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

Landler was asked whether Clinton was responsible for what occurred in Libya after Donald Trump criticized her handling of the situation.

“She’s acknowledged that the State Department dropped the ball on security in Benghazi that terrible night. On the broader question of the intervention, it will be a tough issue for her in the campaign because she’s as closely identified with that intervention as anyone in the administration,” Landler said.

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WNU Editor: What happened in Libya (and what is happening) is not going to resonate with most U.S. voters.

World Leaders Are Scared Of A 'President Donald Trump'

‘Surely it won’t happen’: world leaders express shock, disbelief and dread at the mere thought of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The Guardian: President Trump fills world leaders with fear: 'It's gone from funny to really scary'

Most of the world seems to agree a Donald Trump presidency is a disturbing possibility that would inflict unthinkable damage, Guardian reporters found.

Dangerous, foolish, irrational, scary, terrifying, irresponsible, a clown, a disaster. These are just some of the words used to describe the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency by politicians, diplomats and analysts around the world.

As the businessman gave his first major policy address since becoming frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday, Guardian correspondents in Washington and around the globe asked the international community whether it was prepared for the swaggering billionaire to occupy the White House.

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WNU Editor: The German foreign minister is the latest to criticize Donald Trump .... German foreign minister criticizes Trump's 'America first' foreign policy (Reuters). What's my take on this issue .... I am still keeping an open mind on both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton .... and as for world leaders afraid of a President Donald Trump .... I am old enough to remember when they were saying the same thing about Ronald Reagan before the 1980 Presidential election.

France 24 TV-Crew Unexpectedly Come Across A Team Of U.S. Coalition Special Forces In Syria (Video)



The Firearm Blog: Coalition SOF in the Wild, Syrian edition

In a recent broadcast by a channel called France 24, French reporters in Syria unexpectedly came across a coalition special operations unit, coordinating air strikes and working with Kurdish YPG units in the fight against Daesh in Shaddadi (northern Syria). Somewhat untypical of these types of units in going this long without realizing that a video crew was at work directly behind them. But we saw this in the early parts of the invasion of Afghanistan with a film crew capturing SAS operators in a firefight.

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WNU Editor: A fascinating video .... starting with a special forces video cameraman filming the team while being filed by the France 24 team.

Hat Tip to Phill for this link.

Was Syria The Islamic State's Biggest Oil Customer?

A youth works at a makeshift oil refinery in Syria that, according to its owner, gets crude oil from Islamic State-controlled areas of Syria and Iraq.

Newsweek: ISIS's Multimillion-Dollar Oil Deals With Assad Regime Uncovered In U.S. Special Forces Raid

The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has negotiated multimillion-dollar oil deals with the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), new documents retrieved from a U.S. raid against the radical Islamists’ oil chief have revealed.

A U.S. special forces raid on ISIS’s oil minister—known by his nom de guerre Abu Sayyaf—in May 2015 saw the extraction of thousands of documents implicating his oil operation with that of the Assad regime, with revenue from the sale of oil to Damascus helping the group to reach a peak of $40 million a month in oil revenue, according to documents seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Sayyaf led the group’s oil ministry, known as the Diwan of Natural Resources, and used deals with the Syrian regime to boost the division’s income, contributing 72 percent of $289.5 million the group earned in natural-resource revenues in the six months preceding February 2015.

Read more ....

Previous Post: The Rise And Fall Of The Islamic State’s Oil Man

WNU Editor: It is not the first time that these reports have surfaced. What's my take .... I am not surprised. I also suspect that the Islamic State has been selling oil to everyone .... sometimes to customers who do not even know that they are buying oil from them.

Five Of Six Air Force F-35 Fighter Jets Could Not Take Off During Testing

An F-35 Lightning II taxis to the parking ramp Nov. 11, 2015, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Timothy Boyer

Clay Dillow, Fortune: Only One of Six Air Force F-35s Could Actually Take Off During Testing

Software glitches continue to dog the nation’s newest fighter jet.

Five of six Air Force F-35 fighter jets were unable to take off during a recent exercise due to software bugs that continue to hamstring the world’s most sophisticated—and most expensive—warplane.

During a mock deployment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, just one of the $100 million Lockheed Martin LMT -0.04% F-35s was able to boot its software successfully and get itself airborne during an exercise designed to test the readiness of the F-35, FlightGlobal reports. Nonetheless, the Air Force plans to declare its F-35s combat-ready later this year.

Details surrounding the failed exercise were disclosed earlier this week in written testimony presented to Congress by J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If only 1 out of 6 F-35s can actually take off during a test, how can they then do this test/exercise .... A-10 vs. F-35: Air Force warplanes to face off (CNN).

The Islamic State Is Now In The 'Selling Fish To Car Business' To Raise Funds

A flag belonging to the Islamic State fighters is seen on a motorbike after forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad recaptured the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate in this handout picture provided by SANA on March 27, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

Reuters: Islamic State turns to selling fish, cars to offset oil losses: report

Islamic State earns millions of dollars a month running car dealerships and fish farms in Iraq, making up for lower oil income after its battlefield losses, Iraqi judicial authorities said on Thursday.

Security experts once estimated the ultra-radical Islamist group's annual income at $2.9 billion, much of it coming from oil and gas installations in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S.-led coalition has targeted Islamic State's financial infrastructure, using air strikes to reduce its ability to extract, refine and transport oil and so forcing fighters to reportedly take significant pay cuts.

Yet the militants, who seized a third of Iraq's territory and declared a caliphate in 2014, seem to be adapting again to this latest set of constraints, in some cases reviving previous profit-turning ventures like farming.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Anything to make a buck.

U.S. Special Forces Have Crippled The Islamic State Network Responsible For Terror Attacks In Europe And Africa

A F/A-18C Hornet of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 (VMFA-251) is catapulted off the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) aircraft carrier in the Gulf, June 18, 2015.
REUTERS/HAMAD I MOHAMMED

Kimberly Dozier, Daily Mail: U.S. Special Ops Kill 40 ISIS Operatives Responsible for Attacks From Paris to Egypt

Delta Force and Navy SEALs have crippled the group’s ability to recruit foreign fighters and put pressure on the network responsible for striking Europe and Africa.

As the self-proclaimed Islamic State trumpets its global terrorist campaign, U.S. special operations forces have quietly killed more than three dozen key ISIS operatives blamed for plotting deadly attacks in Europe and beyond.

Defense officials tell The Daily Beast that U.S. special operators have killed 40 “external operations leaders, planners, and facilitators” blamed for instigating, plotting, or funding ISIS’s attacks from Brussels and Paris to Egypt and Africa.

That’s less than half the overall number of ISIS targets that special operators have taken off the battlefield, one official explained, including top leaders like purported ISIS second-in-command Haji Imam, killed in March.

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WNU Editor: These targets are high priority .... and justifiably so.

Russian Jet Intercepts U.S. Spy Plane In Asia

A MiG-31 fighter jet © Vitaliy Ankov / Sputnik

Washington Free Beacon: Russian Warplane Flies Within 50 Feet of U.S. Spy Plane in Asia

Latest aerial encounter occurred near new Russian missile sub

A Russian MiG-31 jet flew within 50 feet of a U.S. surveillance aircraft in Northeast Asia last week, Moscow’s latest aerial saber-rattling against American ships and planes, according to defense officials.

“On April 21, a U.S. Navy P-8 Maritime Patrol reconnaissance aircraft flying a routine mission in international airspace was intercepted by a MiG-31 Russian jet in the vicinity of the Kamchatka Peninsula,” Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, told the Washington Free Beacon.

Benham said the intercept was “characterized as safe and professional.”

Read more ....

Update #1: US Aircraft Intercepted by Russian Supersonic MiG-31 in Far East - Media (Sputnik)
Update #2: World’s fastest jet MiG-31 intercepts US spy plane near Russia’s Far East (RT)

WNU Editor: The focus is on air intercepts in Europe .... but it is also happening in the Far East.

U.S. Vice President Biden Makes A Surprise Visit To Iraq



CNN: Biden makes surprise trip to Iraq

(CNN)Vice President Joe Biden landed in Iraq Thursday for an unannounced trip.

While in Iraq, Biden will meet with political leaders and is "focused on encouraging Iraqi national unity and continued momentum in the fight against ISIL," according to a White House statement, using a different term for ISIS.
"The Vice President will also be discussing steps the international community can take to promote Iraq's economic stability and further regional cooperation," the statement continued. "He will also have an opportunity to thank US diplomatic and military personnel for their tremendous service."

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Vice President Biden Making A Surprise Visit To Iraq

Biden makes unannounced trip to Iraq, his first since 2011 -- Washington Post
On surprise Iraq visit, Biden urging end to political crisis -- AP
Biden visits Iraq for talks with officials, show of support -- Reuters
Biden makes surprise visit to Iraq in effort to boost fight against ISIL -- USA Today
Vice President Joe Biden Visits Iraq Amid Political Turmoil -- WSJ
Biden makes surprise trip to Baghdad -- Politico
Iraq Turmoil Greets Biden on Surprise Trip to Talk Islamic State -- Bloomberg
US Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Baghdad on unannounced visit -- RUDAW
Biden meets PM Abadi in Baghdad to discuss security: state TV -- Reuters

World News Briefs -- April 28, 2016



Washington Post: Biden makes unannounced trip to Iraq, his first since 2011

BAGHDAD — Vice President Biden arrived here Thursday at a moment of intense political turmoil for Iraq and its prime minister, who is fighting to hold onto his office amid a paralyzing political crisis, a weakened economy, and a grinding war against the Islamic State.

Biden’s trip, kept secret prior to his arrival, is his first to the country since late 2011, when he came to Baghdad to mark the withdrawal of the last American troops from the country. He arrived around midday aboard a military cargo plane and was slated for a full day of meetings with Iraqi leaders.

Senior White House officials have touted the recent success of Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. airpower and advisers, in driving the Islamic State from territory that the group seized last summer.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

On surprise Iraq visit, Biden urging end to political crisis.

At least 61 killed in Aleppo airstrikes, including Doctors Without Borders staff, patients. Hospital hit in Syria as UN warns talks unravelling.

Syria's army denies its warplanes targeted Aleppo hospital: state TV.

Syria conflict: Aleppo in 'catastrophic' state says UN.

UN envoy appeals to US, Russia to help Syria peace talks.

Damascus concerned at reports of U.S. troops arrival.

Turkish military kills 11 Islamic State militants in northern Syria: sources.

Suicide bomber targets police chief of Yemen's Aden.

Jordan changes constitution to give King more power.

ASIA

North Korea rushes to re-test intermediate missile, fails again: South Korea. U.S. says it detected two attempted North Korean missile launches.

Afghan Taliban say team in Pakistan not for peace talks.

Abu Sayyaf militants who beheaded Canadian plotted to kidnap Manny Pacquiao, Philippine president says.

Philippines wants coordinated patrols to protect ships from rebels.

Seoul: N. Korea erects mock-up of Seoul presidential palace.

Kyrgyzstan's new government takes oath of office.

China adopts law regulating overseas NGOs. China prompts criticism with tough curbs on foreign NGOs.

AFRICA

UN Libya blacklist leaves Indian oil tanker in limbo.

South Sudan war: US warns it could sanction leaders.

Sudanese police fire tear gas at protests over student's killing.

U.N. council removes 12-year-old arms embargo on Ivory Coast.

Nigeria's Buhari orders crackdown on Fulani cattle raiders.

UK joins IMF and World Bank to cut Mozambique aid.

Mozambique boosts security in Maputo due to demonstration fears.

EUROPE

Ukraine separatists say five killed on front line.

Russia lets sister of jailed pilot Savchenko return to Ukraine: Poroshenko.

Migrant crisis: UN's Ban Ki-moon condemns EU migrant curbs.

German nuclear plant hit by computer viruses.

Tear gas, clashes, vehicles set on fire: Anti-labor reform protests rock France.

German foreign minister criticizes Trump's 'America first' foreign policy.

Obama fails to swing Britain behind EU as 'Out' takes poll lead.

AMERICAS

US Election 2016: Bernie Sanders begins campaign lay-offs.

Donald Trump slams Ted Cruz for naming Carly Fiorina as running mate.

US economic growth slows to 0.5% in first quarter of 2016.

IMF: Latin America economy weighed down by Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina.

Olympic torch handed over to Brazilians.

Sibling rivalry threatens Fujimori's bid ahead of Peru vote.

Venezuela’s woes are mounting as it turns the lights off.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Isis has been financially weakened, claim UK and US military figures.

Italy arrests Islamic State suspects, uncovers attack plot.

Paris terror suspect is ‘a little jerk,’ his lawyer says.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Oil hits 2016 peaks again as weak dollar trumps global glut.

This CEO's $148 million in pay may rank him No. 1 for 2015.

Radisson hotel chain is latest U.S. giant to be snapped up by Chinese.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 28, 2017

© Sputnik/ Vitaliy Ankov

Sputnik: Bear and Dragon: Russia, China to Intensify Joint Military Drills in 2016

Russia and China will hold "many more" military drills in 2016 than last year.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of international military exercises between Russia and China will be increased in 2016, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

“We assess the level of Russian-Chinese contacts on both the government and military levels as high. This year we will hold many more exercises and events than last year,” Shoigu said during a meeting with Chinese Defense

Minister Chang Wanquan in Moscow.Shoigu said military exercises would be held on the ground and at sea.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- April 28, 2017

Russia, China set to increase joint exercises in 2016 — Russia’s defense minister -- TASS

Moscow intl. security forum discusses fight against terrorism, global defense issues -- RT

Russia outlines military strategy -- CCTV

Russia Willing To Restore Ties With NATO, But On Mutual Basis, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Says -- IBTimes

Russia’s brand new cosmodrome launches first-ever rocket -- RT

Afghan, Russian Defense Ministers Discuss Military Cooperation, Terrorism -- Sputnik

Russia, Afghanistan to form joint military-technical cooperation committee -- RBTH/Interfax

North Korea 'missile crashes' moments after launch -- Al Jazeera

China to join exercises with rival South China Sea claimants -- AP

Iran, Russia draft military cooperation roadmap -- Press TV

Iran to strengthen its missile defense capability — defense minister -- TASS

NATO Weighs Refugee-Monitoring Mission for Mediterranean Fleet -- Bloomberg

A Trump presidency could add pressure on Canada's defence spending -- CBC

European trainers help Mali re-establish artillery capability -- IHS Jane's 360

Far and Wide: US Could Deploy Super Radar to Norway -- Sputnik

US Lawmakers Urge More US Naval Operations in South China Sea -- Military.com

Congress to Air Force: You Can't Retire the A-10 Until the F-35 Proves It's Better -- Popular Mechanics

Lockheed Martin reveals lower than expected F-35 production -- IHS Jane's 360

Inflation Adds $3.4Bln to Cost of Next Six US Nuclear Aircraft Carriers -- Sputnik

House Panel Seeks to Increase Army Ranks by 45,000 Soldiers -- Military Times

‘We Need To Hold Our Noses,’ Buy Russian RD-180 Engines: SecDef -- Breaking Defense

SpaceX just landed a coveted $83 million military contract -- CNN

SpaceX breaks Boeing-Lockheed monopoly on military space launches -- Reuters

Republicans blast Pentagon energy programs -- The Hill

Counter-Drone Prototype Put to Test at Army NIE -- Defense News

FBI won't tell Apple how it hacked terrorist's iPhone -- CNN

As US drops “cyber bombs,” ISIS retools its own cyber army -- Ars Technica

Autonomous Robots and Military A.I. Won't Fight Wars Alone, Pentagon says -- Inverse

Digital blue cammies: A history of the Navy working uniform -- Navy Times

Navy Relaxes Tattoo Restrictions Allowing More Art on Neck, Legs and Arms -- NBC

House committee votes to require women to register for military draft -- AP

Kerry expresses reservations about all-volunteer U.S. military -- Reuters

Army Studies 38-Acre Arlington National Cemetery Expansion -- AP

Sailor Accused of Spying for China Could Dodge Trial -- Daily Mail

Four ex-high-ranking Army officers exonerated in Pentagon acquisition scandal -- Washington Times

US Military to Release Report on Doctors Without Borders Afghan Hospital Attack Friday -- NBC

A retired Navy SEAL commander’s 12 rules for being an effective leader -- Business Insider

The power and the glory: Dramatic moments of warfare and rescue missions captured in the US military's best photos of 2015 -- Daily Mail