Friday, October 24, 2014
Red-Faced Swedish Navy Calls Off Hunt For Mystery Vessel In Baltic Sea - And Is Forced To Admit There Was No Submarine There After All -- Daily Mail
* Hunt for 'Russian submarine' in Stockholm called off Friday morning
* More than 200 troops, ships and helicopters now called from archipelago
* Underwater activity has been confirmed, a submarine has been ruled out
* Moscow today blasted Sweden's 'baseless Cold War-rhetoric actions'
Swedish military has called off the search for a 'Russian underwater vessel' thought to have been lurking in the Stockholm archipelago, after admitting that it was 'definitely not' a submarine.
Navy top brass has today been forced to concede that although 'underwater activity' is confirmed, the military has ruled out the possibility that it could have been a Russian sub.
This comes after Moscow blasted the hunt as 'groundless actions by the Swedish military, based on a Cold War-rhetoric'.
Read more ....
More News On Sweden Calling Off It's Hunt For A Mystery Submarine Spotted In Its Waters
Sweden Ends Submarine Search, Closing Book on Intrigue-Tinged Episode -- New York Times
Sweden scraps search for suspected submarine -- AP
Sweden calls off search for mystery subs -- AFP
Sweden submarine search called off -- BBC
Sweden calls off hunt for submarine -- The Guardian
Stir in Sweden's waters is over as search for vessel is called off -- CNN
Sweden Calls Off Submarine Search -- WSJ
Sweden Calls Off Submarine Search in Stockholm’s Archipelago -- Bloomberg
Sweden calls off hunt for suspected foreign submarine -- Deutsche Welle
Sweden calls off hunt for 'underwater craft' -- Al Jazeera
The hunt for Red October is over - Sweden calls off hunt for mystery Russian sub -- Independent.ie
Sweden: Suspected ‘foreign underwater’ intruder likely slipped past massive hunt -- Washington Post
What was lurking in Sweden's waters? -- Paul Kirby, BBC News
Why would a Russian submarine be lurking in waters off Sweden? -- Daniel Steed, The Conversation
Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Stringer
Iraq And The U.S. Are Losing Ground To The Islamic State -- David Ignatius, Washington Post
Jalal al-Gaood, one of the tribal leaders the United States has been cultivating in hopes of rolling back extremists in Iraq, grimly describes how his home town in Anbar province was forced this week to surrender to fighters from the Islamic State.
The extremists were moving Wednesday toward Gaood’s town of Al-Zwaiha, the stronghold of his Albu Nimr clan just east of the Euphrates River. The attacking force had roughly 200 fighters and about 30 armed trucks. Al-Zwaiha’s defenders were running out of ammunition and food and wondered whether they should make a deal with the marauding jihadists.
Read more ....
Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- October 24, 2014
The anti-ISIS coalition - military plans and political risks -- Ben Barry, International Institute for Strategic Studies
Syria will not get resolution while the opposition bickers -- Hassan Hassan, The National
Turkey’s New Kurdish Problem -- Mustafa Akyol, NYT
Turks, Kurds, Americans: the Kobani riddle -- Pepe Escobar, RT
Obama gives Syria’s Assad another pass on chemical weapons -- Washington Post editorial
Learning a New Afghan President’s Style -- Azam Ahmed, NYT
Adam Smith To Xi Jinping, Wealthy Nations Need Good Laws -- Wang Yong, World Crunch
Ethiopia, 30 years after the famine -- David Smith, The Guardian
The Future of China and Russia: Can a David Fracture a Goliath? -- Walter C. Clemens, Jr., The Diplomat
Special Report: Why Ukraine's revolution remains unfinished -- Richard Woods, Reuters
Can an election calm the crisis in Ukraine? -- Balázs Jarábik, The Guardian/Eurasia Outlook
Has Putin Already Won in Ukraine? Sure Looks That Way -- Carol Matlack, Bloomberg Businessweek
Russia Tones Down the Rhetoric as Its Economy Struggles -- Rob Garver, The Fiscal Times
Swedish Hunt For Russian Sub Recalls Cold War -- Christopher Harress, IBTimes
Ottawa Shooting Is Latest in Growing List of Attacks Linked to Extremism -- Shreeya Sinha, NYT
This is not supposed to happen in Canada -- Andrew Cohen, CNN
Ebola Doctor Described As Stable As New York's Mayor Says City Is 'Simply Not At Risk' Despite Medic's Seven Days Riding The Subway, Bowling And Traveling By Taxi -- Daily Mail
* Dr Craig Spencer, 33, who returned to the U.S. from Guinea where he was treating Ebola patients, was admitted to New York Hospital on Thursday
* His fiancée Morgan Dixon, 30, is also in quarantine at Bellevue Hospital but does not have Ebola symptoms
* Two friends were also placed in quarantine at undisclosed location
* An Uber cab driver, who drove Dr Spencer home from Brooklyn hours before he developed symptoms, was told he is not at risk
* The doctor was taken to hospital from his home in Harlem on Thursday morning after developing an 100.3F fever, diarrhea and nausea
* Spencer reported feeling sluggish on Tuesday but only developed a temperature on Thursday morning
* On Wednesday night, Dr Spencer, who had been self-monitoring his symptoms, went to a bowling alley in Brooklyn by subway and taxi
New York's Ebola-stricken doctor was described as being in a stable condition in an isolation unit today, officials said.
The city's mayor Bill de Blasio said that Dr Craig Spencer, 33, was in 'good shape' during a press conference on Friday afternoon at Bellevue Hospital.
The mayor appealed for calm, telling New Yorkers that they are 'simply not at risk' unless they have come in contact with the bodily fluids of the city's first Ebola patient.
Read more ....
Islamic State militants encroach on Baghdad.
French, US strikes turn back militants at Mosul Dam, but Yazidis trapped again.
U.S. reports more air strikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
US to investigate claims IS used 'chemical weapons' in Iraq. Islamic State militants gassed Iraqi police with chlorine: Iraqi officials. U.S. investigating whether Islamic State launched chlorine attack in Iraq.
Iraq's October oil exports rise despite unrest.
Kurds reject Erdogan report of deal with Syrian rebels to aid besieged Kobani.
As U.S. attacks Islamic State, Syria steps up assaults on moderate rebels.
Palestinian boy shot dead by Israeli forces at West Bank protest.
Pakistan and Iran exchange mortar fire on border.
Japan could deploy minesweepers off S. Korea in war with North, U.S. admiral says.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization says Afghanistan requests help in fighting terrorism.
Paranoia in Beijing with million-man mobilization of government informants.
No U.S. troop cuts without credible North Korea nuclear deal, says Kerry.
Kerry says no apology to N. Korea to free Americans.
China's top diplomat to visit Vietnam again amid sea dispute.
US to compensate Philippines $1.9M for coral reef damage.
China, 20 other countries initiate new Asian bank.
Egypt: Sinai 'car bomb' kills at least 26 soldiers. Attacks in Egypt's Sinai kill at least 28 security personnel. Three more killed in separate attack in Sinai: sources.
Aid needed to stem explosion of Ebola in Liberia: study.
Ebola crisis: Dozens monitored after first Mali case.
WHO: several hundred thousand Ebola vaccine doses expected by mid-2015.
Tunisian forces kill six after standoff with militants outside Tunis.
French moving troops toward Libyan border.
Chad: Deal to free Nigerian girls still on. Nigeria's Boko Haram 'abducts more women and girls'.
UN: Rape used as weapon of war in S. Sudan conflict.
South Sudan crisis threatens development.
Putin blasts US in speech, blaming West for conflict in Ukraine. Putin: Global security system damaged by Western Cold War mentality, needs reform.
Putin says Russia helped Ukraine's Yanukovich flee. Putin: Russia helped Yanukovych to flee Ukraine.
Putin: Ukraine not interested in dialogue.
Ukraine and Russia reach gas 'consensus'.
Russia still has troops in Ukraine, NATO says.
In eastern Ukraine, parliamentary election deepens divide.
Sweden calls off hunt for submarine.
Furious Cameron warns Britain is closer to leaving the EU after Brussels 'thumps' UK with 'appalling' bill for an extra £1.7billion to prop up struggling European nations.
New York Ebola doctor's fiancee and two friends are quarantined amid fears he gave them deadly virus after he spent SEVEN days riding the subway, bowling and traveling in taxis.
U.S. officials considering quarantines for returning healthcare workers.
Canada vows tougher laws as citizens worry in face of attacks.
Canada’s top cop wants more terror arrests, but needs evidence.
Canada’s support for security forces in Iraq to continue unimpeded: Defense Minister.
U.S. weighs passport, border changes in wake of Ottawa attack.
Brazil poll shows Neves leading election, at odds with major surveys.
Top rebel commanders join Colombian peace talks in Cuba.
Venezuela's Maduro slams Spain's Rajoy over jailed opponent.
TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR
Jihadists celebrated attacks on Canadian military men as dead soldier memorialized.
In West, ISIS finds women eager to enlist.
ISIS Inc.: US official reveals how terror network makes its millions.
ISIS rakes in donations on Twitter.
Suspect in beheading of US journalist Daniel Pearl released.
International financial watchdog warns on Iran, North Korea.
Wall St. boosted by earnings, S&P posts best week in nearly two years.
What billionaires really spend each month.
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with military leaders from 21 nations to discuss strategy in the Middle East at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Oct 14, 2014. The discussion was part of a ongoing effort to build a coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and integrate capabilities. DoD photo by D. Myles Cullen
Iraqi Counteroffensive Months Aways; US Airstrikes Continue -- Stars and Stripes
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — American airstrikes have helped the Iraqi military stall the advance of Islamic State militants, but it will be months before government forces are ready to mount a counteroffensive to reclaim lost territory, U.S. officials said here Thursday.
That assessment, from military and defense officials speaking on the condition of anonymity, came the same day that Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi told Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by phone that his troops would go on the offensive against the insurgents who sent the Iraqi military fleeing earlier this year. Al-Obeidi offered no timetable for the offensive.
Read more ....
Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- October 24, 2014
Iraqi and FSA Ground Operations Against IS Are ‘Months Away’: US Military -- RIA Novosti
US, Iraq plan offensive against Islamic State -- Washington Post
US Official: Iraq Army Not Ready To Repel Islamic State -- Defense News
Details of Peshmerga Fighters’ Passage Through Turkey Not Finalized Yet: Ambassador -- RIA Novosti
Ebola crisis rekindles concerns about secret research in Russian military labs -- Washington Post
Kremlin Threatens to Sue France Over Possible Mistral Contract Breach -- RIA Novosti
Report: Russia, China near cybersecurity deal -- The Hill
China criticizes U.S. missile defense radar in Japan -- Reuters
Second Chinese aircraft carrier to be completed in 6 years: Kanwa -- Want China Times
China To Debut Two New Fighter Aircraft At Zhuhai Air Show? -- Defense World
Intelligence: China Has F-35 Fever -- Strategy Page
Sweden’s Navy Believes Mini-Submarine Seen in Stockholm Archipelago Waters -- RIA Novosti
Well-‘red’: MI5 spied on prominent academics ‘for decades’, secret docs show -- RT
Niger buys "spy plane" to combat Sahel militants -- Reuters
US to Maintain Control Over Military Operations in South Korea: Secretary of Defense -- RIA Novosti
U.S. Navy Starting Work on New SSN(X) Nuclear Attack Submarine -- USNI
NO on Ohio Replacement Submarine: ‘We’re Going to Build It’ -- Sea Power Magazine
Navy readies for 1st F-35 carrier landing -- Stars and Stripes
BAE Proposes Rail Guns for Army’s Future Fighting Vehicle -- Defense Tech
Pentagon’s ‘Iron Man’ project blasted as waste by Sen. Tom Coburn -- Washington Times
Pentagon seeks to perfect technology behind mind-controlled drones -- Washington Times
Leahy: Ottawa shooting no reason to stop NSA reform -- The Hill
Intelligence: Sex Snares Secrets At High Cost -- Strategy Page
As number of youths eligible to serve shrinks to 3 in 10, Army adapts recruiting strategy -- Stars and Stripes/The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville (MCT)
Virginia subs to get berthing changes for female crew -- Navy Times
‘Black Hawk Down’ senior NCO, decorated hero Gallagher dead at 52 -- Stars and Stripes
Unfit for battle: America's military is growing tired, injured and overweight -- Thomas E. Ricks, Foreign Policy
Studies Link Mental Issues and the Rigor of the Military -- NYT
China patiently challenges US military superiority -- Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, The Hill
Islamic State Targets Town as Iraq Army Musters for Defense of Baghdad -- Wall Street Journal
Weakness of Iraq’s U.S.-Trained Military Raises Concerns as Islamic State Threatens Baghdad
Just 15 minutes into a recent battle with Islamic State in the town of Dhuluiya, Ibrahim Thiab watched a group of Iraqi soldiers break ranks and flee in terror.
Mr. Thiab, a former general under Saddam Hussein, commands a unit of tribal fighters also defending Dhuluiya, located 45 miles northeast of Baghdad. Instead of criticism, though, the combat veteran offered sympathy.
“They had no experience fighting, and they were yelling and panicking,” said Mr. Thiab, who sought out the frightened troops and promised them help from his civilian forces. The former general was more pointed about Iraq’s battlefield performance against Islamic State invaders: “Ridiculous,” he said.
The weakness of Iraq’s U.S.-trained military is a growing international worry as Islamic State fighters threaten Baghdad, with attacks as close as 12 miles west of the capital.
Read more ....
Update: Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad -- VOA
My Comment: I do not know what to say .... this is just one massive mess.
Islamist rebels wearing gas masks before heading for battle with Syrian regime forces, 2013. Photo: AFP
Islamic State Militants Allegedly Used Chlorine Gas Against Iraqi Security Forces -- Washington Post
BALAD, Iraq — Dizzy, vomiting and struggling to breathe, 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a government hospital 50 miles north of the capital last month. The diagnosis: poisoning by chlorine gas. The perpetrators, according to the officers: Islamic State extremists.
The chlorine attack appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State on the battlefield. An Iraqi Defense Ministry official corroborated the events, and doctors said survivors’ symptoms were consistent with chlorine poisoning.
Iraqi forces say two other crude chlorine attacks have occurred since the extremists seized vast tracts of Iraqi territory this summer, but details on those incidents remain sketchy. The reported assaults all raise concerns that the militants are attempting to hone their chemical weapons capabilities as they push to control more ground.
Read more ....
More News On Reports That The Islamic State Has Used Chemical Weapons Against Iraqi Forces
US to investigate claims IS used 'chemical weapons' in Iraq. -- BBC
Iraqi Officials Say Islamic Militants Used Chlorine Gas North of Baghdad -- WSJ
U.S. investigating whether Islamic State launched chlorine attack in Iraq -- UPI
Iraqi Officials Say Militants Used Gas -- AP
Islamic State militants gassed Iraqi police with chlorine: Iraqi officials. -- RIA Novosti
ISIS chlorine attack on security forces confirmed – Iraq officials -- RT
US investigating ISIS use of chlorine gas -- The Hill
U.S. looking into possible chlorine gas attack in Iraq - Kerry -- Swiss Info/Reuters
Kerry Says US Concerned About Reports on IS Chlorine Usage in Iraq -- RIA Novosti
US investigate claims Islamic State used chemical weapons -- The Telegraph
ISIS Militants Have Chemical Weapons, Allegedly Used Chlorine Gas In Attack On Iraqi Forces: Report -- IBTimes
Iraq Claims ISIS Used Chemical Weapons in Attack -- NYMag
Report: ISIS Used Chemical Weapons Against Iraqi Forces -- Arutz Sheva
Update: British forces in Iraq are not waiting for the U.S. to investigate these chemical attack allegations .... they have been expecting such attacks for weeks.
Islamic State fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province.
Analysis: Concerns Rise About US Intel Capabilities On IS -- Voice of America
Concerns about the capabilities of U.S. intelligence agencies have been steadily rising, sparked in part by comments from President Barack Obama that they “underestimated” the rise of the group known as Islamic State.
But far from an intelligence failure, insiders and analysts warn the furor is symptomatic of larger problems that could haunt the U.S. in years to come.
For weeks, Islamic State militants have besieged Kobani, the majority-Kurd Syrian city at the doorstep of NATO partner Turkey. Yet for weeks, U.S. military leaders said Kobani was not the focus of anti-IS strategy.
Read more ....
My Comment: Much of the problem with understanding and analyzing the Islamic State has been due to politics .... not intelligence. This VOA post explains why .... and it is a sobering read.
U.S. Treasury Department: The Islamic State Is Likely The 'Best-Funded Terrorist Organization In The World'
Islamic State Among ‘Best-Funded’ Terrorist Groups On Earth: Treasury Dept. -- Washington Times
With the exception of a handful of state-sponsored militant groups, the Islamic State is likely the “best-funded terrorist organization” Washington has ever faced, raising $1 million a day from black-market oil sales, $20 million in ransoms over the past year and millions a month through extortion in Syria and Iraq, the Treasury Department’s top official for tracking terrorist financing said Thursday.
David S. Cohen, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the extremist group, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, has “grabbed the world’s attention for its outlandish ambitions and astounding brutality, but also for another reason: its substantial wealth. ISIL’s primary funding tactics enable it today to generate tens of millions of dollars per month.”
Read more ....
More News On The U.S. Treasury Department's Claim That The Islamic State Is Likely The 'Best-Funded Terrorist Organization In The World'
ISIS Is Making An Absurd Amount Of Money On Ransom Payments And Black-Market Oil Sales -- Business Insider
Islamic State among world's richest militant groups: US -- AFP
‘World’s wealthiest terror org’: US vows to cut ISIS revenue sources -- RT
Islamic State making millions despite US bid to halt money flow -- L.A. Times
ISIS militants now world's richest -- News24
From oil to extortion, ISIL’s monthly millions in US sights -- The National
Treasury Department’s Anti-Terrorism Chief Says Cutting Off ISIS Funds Of High Importance -- Time
Treasury's War on the Islamic State -- Foreign Policy
Enforcer at Treasury Is First Line of Attack Against ISIS -- New York Times
A U.S. F-15 out of Elmendorf Air Force Base (before it was re-named Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson) escorts a Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber out of Alaska airspace in 2006. Credit Wikipedia.org
U.S., Allies Scramble Jets Almost Daily To Repel Russian Incursions -- Washington Times
Moscow’s military provocations signal return to Cold War-era gamesmanship
Russian military provocations have increased so much over the seven months since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine that Washington and its allies are scrambling defense assets on a nearly daily basis in response to air, sea and land incursions by Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Not only is Moscow continuing to foment unrest in Eastern Ukraine, U.S. officials and regional security experts say Russian fighter jets are testing U.S. reaction times over Alaska and Japan’s ability to scramble planes over its northern islands — all while haunting Sweden’s navy and antagonizing Estonia’s tiny national security force.
Read more ....
My Comment: Russian jets intercepted over the Baltic Sea .... Nato jets 'intercept Russian spy plane' over Baltic (BBC). Russian jets intercepted by Japanese fighter planes .... Japan Intercepted Record Number of Chinese and Russian Military Aircraft (USNI). U.S. and Canadian fighter jets intercepting Russian bombers near Alaska .... US, Canada send fighter jets to intercept Russian aircraft (Reuters). Yup .... a definite trend.
Dozens Killed In Sinai Army Checkpoint Blast -- Al Jazeera
Egyptian president calls defence council meeting after at least 26 are killed and 28 injured in attack.
At least 26 people have been killed in an attack on an army checkpoint in Egypt's North Sinai, state media has reported.
The attack on Friday afternoon hit an army checkpoint at Karm al-Qawadeis, southwest of Sheikh Zuweid.
The AP news agency quoted unnamed security officials as saying that a suicide bomber was responsible, although unconfirmed reports said rockets and mortar bombs were also used, causing a secondary explosion.
Read more ....
More News On Today's Car Bomb Attack That Killed 26 Egyptian Soldiers At An Army Checkpoint In The Sinai
Sinai Car Bomb Kills 26 Egyptian Soldiers, Official Says -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Car bomb kills at least 25 security forces in Egypt's Sinai -- Reuters
Dozens dead in attack in Egypt's Sinai -- Deutsche Welle
Death toll rises to 26 soldiers from car bomb on Sinai checkpoint -- Ahram Online
Egypt: Sinai car bomb kills at least 25 soldiers -- BBC
Security Forces: At least 25 Dead in Attack in Egypt's Sinai -- VOA
Car bomb targeting Egyptian soldiers kills 25 in Sinai -- Haaretz/Reuters
Doctor in New York City Is Sick With Ebola -- New York Times
A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.
The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center and placed in isolation at the same time as investigators sought to retrace every step he had taken over the past several days.
At least three people he had contact with in recent days have been placed in isolation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dispatched a team to New York, is conducting its own test to confirm the positive test on Thursday, which was performed by a city lab.
Read more ....
More News On Ebola Now In New York City
Ebola Updates -- Reuters
Ebola outbreak: Get up to speed with the latest developments -- CNN
NY officials urge calm after doctor's Ebola diagnosis -- CBS/AP
Doctor with Ebola in NY hospital, nurse declared virus-free -- Reuters
New York doctor who worked in Guinea tests positive for Ebola -- Washington Post
N.Y. doctor positive for Ebola had no symptoms until Thursday, officials say -- CNN
New York doctor diagnosed with Ebola; health officials seek out those in contact -- FOX News
New York Officials Urge Calm Amid Ebola Diagnosis -- WSJ
NYC's first Ebola patient in isolation amid city jitters -- USA Today
Tracking One Man’s Contacts in a City of 8 Million -- NYT
Retracing the Steps of Craig Spencer, Doctor Who Tested Positive for Ebola -- ABC News
From Guinea to the U.S.: Timeline of first Ebola patient in New York City -- CNN
Don't 'panic': Bellevue Hospital 'well-prepared' for Ebola-infected doctor Craig Spencer -- New York Daily News
Ebola in New York: What you need to know -- New York Daily News
Don't Panic: Why Ebola Won't Become an Epidemic in New York -- Maggie Fox, NBC
Factbox: Ebola cases in the United States -- Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Vitaly Belousov)
Putin Lashes Out At US, West For Destabilizing World -- RT
Vladimir Putin has lashed out at the United States for destabilizing the world order of checks and balances for its own gains. He also accused the West of inflaming the situation in Ukraine and said Russia was not interested in building an empire.
The Russian President delivered a fierce broadside aimed at the United States at a speech for the Valdai Club in Sochi, which is an informal group of scholars. He hit out at Washington for behaving without regard to the rest of the world's interests
“The system of international relations needed some changes, but the USA, who believe they were the winners of the Cold War, have not seen the need for this.” He added that the US has been trying to create the world “for their own gains." The Russian President added that because of this, regional and global security had been weakened.
Read more ....
More News On Russian President Putin Blaming The US And The West For Destabilizing The World
Putin accuses United States of damaging world order -- Reuters
Putin: new serious conflicts involving world powers possible -- ITAR-TASS
Putin: US Dictatorship, Global Interference Lead to Escalation of Conflicts Worldwide -- RIA Novosti
Putin Accuses US of Undermining Global Stability -- AP
Putin says Washington no threat, but its policies harmful -- Reuters
Putin accuses U.S. of upsetting global order -- UPI
Putin Accuses United States Of 'Unilateral Diktat' -- Radio Free Europe
Putin: Cold War ‘Winners’ Shaping World to Accommodate Own Needs -- RIA Novosti
Putin: Russian bear won’t ask for permission -- RT
My Comment: Putin has said some harsh things in the past .... but this is different. My guess is that sanctions are hurting (and in my opinion they are hurting), and the situation in both Ukraine and in the Middle East is deteriorating rapidly enough to now seriously impact Russian foreign policy and interests in these regions. But what is worrisome to me .... is that Putin is probably correct when he alludes the real possibility that the international situation as a whole may get worse. But on a side note .... it sould be noted that he has also not been helpful in "stabilizing the world".
Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Younesi enters the Saadabad palace for an official meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari in Tehran, July 17, 2005. (photo by REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
Top Iranian Official: Obama is ‘The Weakest of U.S. Presidents’ -- Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon
Adviser to Iranian president mocks Obama’s ‘humiliating’ presidency
The Iranian president’s senior adviser has called President Barack Obama “the weakest of U.S. presidents” and described the U.S. leader’s tenure in office as “humiliating,” according to a translation of the highly candid comments provided to the Free Beacon.
The comments by Ali Younesi, senior advisor to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, come as Iran continues to buck U.S. attempts to woo it into the international coalition currently battling the Islamic State (IS, ISIL, or ISIS).
And with the deadline quickly approaching on talks between the U.S. and Iran over its contested nuclear program, Younesi’s denigrating views of Obama could be a sign that the regime in Tehran has no intent of conceding to America’s demands.
Read more ....
My Comment: The Washington Free Beacon post does not mention it .... but the official who made these remarks (Ali Younesi) was also Iran's former Intelligence Minister. The Iranian government's contempt for the American government has been ongoing for decades .... so this is actually nothing new. What is new is why now .... why is the Iranian government goading the White House to act tough against Iran?
Ukraine's Multibillion-Dollar Gas Debt: Who Pays? -- RT
Ukraine plans to buy $770 million worth of gas (2 billion cubic meters) from Russia this winter to keep the heat on, but before that, they must pay off $1.45 billion in debt. The question is: who is going to pay the bill?
All three parties, Russia, the EU, and Ukraine met in Brussels on Tuesday and confirmed Kiev will pay $385 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian supplied gas through the end of March. Before Ukraine can start purchasing gas, they need to pay off $1.45 billion in debt.
“There’s one obstacle: Ukraine failed to pay for Russian-supplied gas for seven months,” Oettinger said Tuesday. It will be difficult for Ukraine to find a benefactor, since, as Oettinger pointed out, its credit history is less than stellar. The economy is in ruin and may already need extra IMF money to stay afloat.
Read more ....
My Comment: It is always about the money. Bottom line .... Ukraine is bankrupt and it does not have the means to pay-off this debt. They are hoping that the Europeans would give them the money to do so .... but the problem (from the European perspective) is that the last time they did that, the government in Kiev essentially took the money to pay off it's government employees and to pay for it's war against the eastern part of the country. I doubt that the EU is not going to make the same mistake again .... hence the impasse of today. My prediction .... the EU will pay-off this debt, and they will give the Ukraine government extra money via through loans and other subsidies.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Ukrainian army armoured fighting vehicles and ambulances drive towards the eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk May 13, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis
Ukraine’s Home Front Grows War Weary -- Anna Nemtsova, Daily Beast
As elections approach on Sunday, so do protests about the government’s neglect of soldiers on the front line.
LVIV, Ukraine—Indifference was what Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines found most painful, and indifference is what provokes their parents, struggling for their rights at home, to mount angry protests.
On a recent afternoon, a group of mothers and fathers blocked three streets around the regional administration building in Lviv, in a part of the country known for its fierce nationalism. They protested against the continuation of the ATO, or the Anti Terrorist Operation, as the war is known in Ukraine. A ceasefire was in effect, but the Ukrainian army was still fighting with pro-Russian separatist forces in the east.
Read more ....
My Comment: You can count me as one of those who is growing weary of this conflict. As to the conflict itself .... the situation in eastern Ukraine is becoming even more dire. Winter is about to start .... and I have been told from more than one source that the Ukrainian soldiers who are deployed there are not ready to confront the cold. Unlike the war weariness of many Ukrainians .... rebel morale is high and many of them want to continue with the fight .... Ukraine rebels dream of New Russia (BBC)
Update: When the Ukraine civil war started I told (and begged) my friends in Ukraine who supported the war that you do not want to get into a fight with these people. It's in their blood, and they are not going to give up until they get what they want. So guess what .... this does not surprise me .... Ukraine rebels end ceasefire before polls (Al Jazeera).
Two destroyed T-72 tanks, which presumably came from Russia, are seen on a battlefield near separatist-controlled Starobesheve in eastern Ukraine October 2, 2014. Credit: REUTERS/Maria Tsvetkova
Exclusive: Charred tanks in Ukraine point to Russian involvement -- Reuters
(Reuters) - The burnt-out remains of dozens of tanks and armored vehicles in fields near this small village bear witness to the ferocity of a battle that turned the tide of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Most of the tanks were used by the government forces routed in August near Horbatenko, 40 km (25 miles) southeast of the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, a defeat so demoralizing that days later Kiev agreed a ceasefire with pro-Russian separatists.
But among the debris Reuters found the blackened carcasses of what military experts have since identified as two Russian army tanks, supporting statements by Kiev and the West that the rebels were backed by troops and equipment sent by Moscow.
Read more ....
My Comment: I guess sending in the T-90s would have been too obvious.
EXCLUSIVE LEAK: FBI Report Warns of Potential Homegrown ISIS Attacks Against Law Enforcement in US -- Breitbart
LUBBOCK, Texas — Federal authorities have warned US law enforcement of potential terror attacks against them from homegrown ISIS members or supporters, according to a leaked internal bulletin exclusively obtained by Breitbart Texas. The leaked document is dated October, 2014 and was provided by a trusted federal agent who did so on the condition of anonymity.
The memo was issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a Joint Intelligence Bulletin and is titled, “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Its Supporters Encouraging Attacks Against Law Enforcement and Government Personnel.” It is labeled, “UNCLASSIFIED/FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” and asserts that it may be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and should not be released tot he public, the media, or anyone else not authorized by the DHS.
Read more ....
Update: Exposed: New Leaked FBI Report Reveals ISIS May Be About To Target US Where It Hurts Most -- Western Journalism
My Comment: In view of what has just happened in Canada .... this should surprise no-one.
Update: FBI warns that Western journalists are now high priority targets for the Islamic State .... FBI warns news outlets that group affiliated with Islamic State is targeting journalists (Washington Post).
Update #2: FBI warns media that ISIS affiliate plans to kidnap journalists -- RT
Support for U.S. Campaign against ISIS; Doubts about Its Effectiveness, Objectives -- Pew Research
Just 30% Think U.S. and Allies Have ‘Clear Goal’
The public continues to support the U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. But most Americans say the U.S. military effort against ISIS is not going well, and just 30% think the U.S. and its allies have a “clear goal” in taking military action.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 15-20 among 2,003 adults, finds that 57% approve of the U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, while just 33% disapprove. Support is highest among Republicans (68%); majorities of Democrats (54%) and independents (55%) also approve.
Yet negative evaluations of how well the U.S. military campaign against ISIS is going also cross party lines: 64% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 52% of Democrats say the military campaign is going not too well or not at all well.
Read more ....
Update: Pew poll: Majority says US campaign against ISIS isn’t going well -- The Hill
My Comment: These are not good numbers for the administration. And with Congressional elections only two weeks away .... very worrisome for Democrat candidates who are supportive of the President's strategy against the Islamic State.
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the Turkish Parliament during a debate marking the reconvene of the parliament in Ankara October 1, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Umit Bektas
Turkey's U.S. Relations Show Strain As Washington's Patience Wears Thin -- Washington Post
(Reuters) - The U.S. decision to air-drop weapons to Kurdish forces in Syria on the same day Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan dismissed them as terrorists is the latest false note in the increasingly discordant mood music coming out of Washington and Ankara.
No matter how much officials on both sides publicly insist there is harmony, differences in strategy over the fight against Islamic State and the fate of the beleaguered Syrian border town of Kobani are straining relations between the Washington and its key regional ally, leaving Turkey increasingly isolated.
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My Comment: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan regards the Kurds as a far greater threat to Turkey than the Islamic State .... while the U.S. has an opposite view. But what is surprising about this "strained relationship" is the decision that has been made (from the U.S. and its allies) to simply ignore Turkey. This is new .... and I am sure that it is not going over well in Ankara.