Thursday, March 31, 2016

There Are 21 U.S. Generals Leading The War Against The Islamic State

Mohammed Ameen/Reuters

Nancy A. Youssef, Daily Beast: Exclusive: 21 Generals Lead ISIS War the U.S. Denies Fighting

There are only 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq—about what a colonel usually commands. But for this ISIS war, as many as 21 generals have been deployed. Why?

In the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the U.S. military is notably short on soldiers, but apparently not on generals.

There are at least 12 U.S. generals in Iraq, a stunningly high number for a war that, if you believe the White House talking points, doesn’t involve American troops in combat. And that number is, if anything, a conservative estimate, not taking into account the flag officers running the U.S. air war, the admirals helping wage the war from the sea, or their superiors back at the Pentagon.

At U.S. headquarters inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, even majors and colonels frequently find themselves saluting superiors at a pace that outranks the Pentagon and certainly any normal military installation. With about 5,000 troops deployed to Iraq and Syria ISIS war, that means there’s a general for every 416 troops, give or take. To compare, there are some captains in the U.S. Army in charge of that many people.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Too many Chiefs .... not enough Indians.

China Warns The U.S. Navy To Be Careful In The South China Sea


AFP: China to US: 'Be careful' in South China Sea

Beijing (AFP) - Beijing's defence ministry on Thursday warned the US navy to "be careful" in the South China Sea and slammed a newly signed agreement between Washington and the Philippines.

Earlier this month, Manila agreed to give US forces access to five military bases, including some close to the disputed South China Sea, where tensions have risen over Beijing's assertion of its territorial claims.

China claims virtually all the South China Sea despite conflicting claims by Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines, and has built up artificial islands in the area in recent months, including some with airstrips.

Read more ....

Update #1: Patrolling Disputed Waters, U.S. and China Jockey for Dominance (New York Times)
Update #2: Coming soon to the South China Sea: Beijing’s best weapons of war (Harry Kazianis, Asia Times).

WNU Editor: This adds "muscle" to the Chinese warning .... Pentagon Concerned by Chinese Anti-Ship Missile Firing (Washington Free Beacon)

Are There More Foreign Spies In The U.S. Than Ever Before?

Image from CommonSenseCanadian

The Hill: Former Intelligence chairman: More foreign spies in US than ever

There are currently more foreign intelligence operatives in the United States than at any point in the country’s history, the former head of the House Intelligence Committee claimed on Wednesday.

“There are more spies in the United States today from foreign nation states that at any time in our history — including the Cold War,” former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said in an address at the Heritage Foundation.

“And they’re stealing everything. If it’s not bolted down, it’s gone,” Rogers added. “And if it’s bolted down, give them about an hour — they’ll figure out how to get that, too.”
When asked for the source of his claim, Rogers appeared to credit American intelligence agencies.

“That’s what the intelligence business is designed to do, is determine that we have individuals here who are engaged in espionage activities,” he said.

“It’s massive, it’s huge. And the numbers are overwhelming.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In the past .... for someone who wanted to immigrate and reside in the U.S. from the former Soviet Union .... unless they were Jewish .... they had to go through hoops and loops to get to the U.S.. Today .... with open borders .... anyone from the former Soviet Union can make their way to the U.S.. And are there spies in this flow .... you betcha. Doubly in the case of China and only God knows who else.

Russian Media Reviews The World's Famous Stealth Aircraft



TASS: World’s most famous stealth aircraft

TASS is reviewing world's most famous stealth aircraft while Japan is about to become the fourth country in the world possessing one

MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. Japan had plans for March 2016 to complete trials of its new-generation aircraft, the Advanced Technology Demonstrator X, developed with the use of the stealth technology. The Land of the Rising Sun will become the fourth country in the world to develop stealth aircraft. Before that, only Russia, China and the United States could boast combat aviation systems based on low radar signature technology.

Stealth technology is a major required parameter for fifth-generation aircraft.

The stealth technology reduces radar and infrared detection and the effect is achieved through special coating, the specific shape of the aircraft’s body and materials of its airframe.
The radio waves emitted, for example, by the transmitter of an air defense missile system are reflected from the aircraft’s surface and received by a radar system, thus making the plane radar detectable.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A good summary.

More US Troops And Equipment For Eastern Europe



VOA: US Plans to Boost Military Presence in Eastern Europe

The United States plans to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression, officials said Wednesday.

The Pentagon intends to deploy an armored brigade combat team on a rotational basis next February along with a full set of equipment to NATO’s eastern borders, as part of the ongoing effort to reassure allies in the region that feel threatened by Russia.

The nine-month rotations will bring the U.S. military presence in Europe to three fully manned combat brigades, and they will conduct military exercises across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, the U.S. European command said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Russia is promising a response .... Russia vows ‘totally asymmetrical’ response to major US troop build-up in Europe (RT). More here .... NATO envoy: Russia won't passively watch US military build-up in Europe (TASS)

More News On More US Troops And Equipment Being Deployed To Eastern Europe

US to beef up military presence in Eastern Europe -- AP
U.S. to deploy armored brigade combat teams to Europe -- Reuters
Pentagon Readies More Robust U.S. Military Presence in Eastern Europe -- WSJ
The U.S. Plans to Increase Its Troop Presence in Europe in Response to an ‘Aggressive’ Russia -- Time
The US Is Sending Thousands More Armed Troops and Heavy Weaponry to Eastern Europe -- VICE News
In A Flashback To Cold War Days, Pentagon Announces Plan To Deploy Troops Along Russian Border -- Huffington post

The Pentagon Wants To Pair-Up Unmanned Fighter Jets With F-35s When They Go Into Combat

An unmanned U.S. Air Force QF-16 aerial target drone. U.S. Air Force

Fortune: The Pentagon Wants Autonomous Fighter Jets to Join the F-35 in Combat

The pilotless aircraft could take to the skies before driverless vehicles hit the road.

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab is moving ahead with an initiative to turn aging F-16 fighter jets into unmanned, autonomous combat aircraft. The pilotless planes will fly alongside the newer aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Speaking at a forum in Washington, Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said he expects to see the autonomous aircraft plying the skies alongside manned jets before driverless vehicles enter service on the ground. Work spoke specifically about U.S. Air Force efforts to create autonomous wingmen for its fighter pilots that gave new life to older planes imbued with autonomous piloting technologies and teamed with next-generation aircraft.

Read more ....

Update: Pentagon touts "Loyal Wingman" for combat jets (Flight Global)

WNU Editor: There are a lot of planes in the US Air-force's Bone-yard to choose from.

The U.S. Does Not Have Plans To Deploy 'Killer Robots'


AFP: No plans for killer US military robots... yet

Washington (AFP) - Robotic systems and unmanned vehicles are playing an ever-growing role in the US military -- but don't expect to see Terminator-style droids striding across the battlefield just yet.

A top Pentagon official on Wednesday gave a tantalizing peek into several projects that not long ago were the stuff of science fiction, including missile-dodging satellites, self-flying F-16 fighters and robot naval fleets.

Though the Pentagon is not planning to build devices that can kill without human input, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work hinted that could change if enemies with fewer qualms create such machines.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The U.S. can pooh-pooh this idea all that they want, but many countries are working on this project to do just that .... 40 countries are working on killer robots and there’s no law to say how we use them (The Next Web).

More News On The U.S. Not Having Plans To Deploy "Killer Robots"

US not planning automatic killer robots -- Tech Eye
The Department of Defense is serious about killer robots -- Maxim
Science fiction might become science fact; Killer Robot Army – Olathe Tech Time -- Albany Daily Star
An ex-Pentagon official thinks 'killer robots' need to be stopped -- Paul Szoldra, Tech Insider

White House Now Blaming War General’s 2014 Islamic State Assessment For Why No One Took The Group Seriously

U.S. President Barack Obama sits next to Commander of Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin III during in a briefing from top military leaders while at U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, September 17, 2014. REUTERS/LARRY DOWNING

Washington Times: Shifting blame, White House faults war general’s 2014 ISIS assessment as he departs

Army Gen. Lloyd Austin relinquished command in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday of the U.S. forces fighting the Islamic State –– as a bit of a sour note hung in the air back in Washington.

President Obama has been consistently criticized for a 2014 comment to the New Yorker magazine that the Islamic State, as it invaded Iraq from Syria, was merely the “jayvee.” In other words, it was not to be taken seriously. Months later, the terror army controlled large swaths of Iraq and Syria, forcing Mr. Obama to ordered a new war.

Then, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg interviewed Mr. Obama and came out with a long favorable story this month on the commander in chief’s foreign policy views. In the story is this:

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I guess President Obama did not have confidence in the General when he told everyone that he did have confidence in the General back in 2015 .... Obama still has confidence in U.S. General Austin: White House (Reuters).

Contents Of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Mysterious Briefcase Finally Unveiled

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gets off a plane upon his arrival at Moscow's Vnukovo airport, Russia, March 23, 2016. MAXIM ZMEYEV / Reuters

Sputnik: The Truth is Out: Contents of Kerry’s Mysterious Briefcase Finally Unveiled

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has finally revealed what kind of a ‘pleasant surprise’ US Secretary of State John Kerry brought to Moscow.

When John Kerry arrived at Moscow during his official visit on March 23, many onlookers noticed that the Secretary of State was carrying his briefcase personally as he emerged from the aircraft, as if unwilling to entrust his belongings to anyone.

During a meeting the following day, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin jokingly remarked that the briefcase must've contained some sort of a monetary incentive for the upcoming talks. In response, the Secretary of State promised to present the contents of the briefcase during a private meeting, claiming that the Russian President will be 'pleasantly surprised.'

Read more
....

WNU Editor: It must have been a slow news day in Moscow.

Tweet For Today

Report: Hillary Clinton To Be Interviewed By FBI Director Comey On Email Scandal


Mediaite: AJAM’s David Shuster Exclusive: Hillary Clinton to be Interviewed by FBI Director Comey in Coming Days

Al Jazeera America may be shutting off the lights permanently soon, but that doesn’t mean reporters like David Shuster aren’t continuing to go about their business until the final gun sounds.

Wednesday night, Shuster just reported on the 7:00 PM EST AJAM nightly newscast that the FBI has completed its examination of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton‘s private email server after an investigation lasting nearly one year. The former Fox News and MSNBC reporter states investigators are nearing a verdict whether to seek criminal charges against the Former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is actually old news .... but bottom line .... the next few weeks are going to be interesting.

Picture Of The Day

Navy Petty Officers 2nd Class Joseph Comparato, top, and Jocelyn Caro clean and maintain a close-in weapon system aboard the USS Porter in the Mediterranean Sea, March 26, 2016. The Porter is on a routine patrol to support U.S. national security interests in Europe. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price

Israeli Firm Has Helped The FBI Hack The San Bernardino Terrorist's iPhone



The Hill: Israeli firm helped FBI hack iPhone

The Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite helped the FBI hack into the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, NBC reports, citing industry sources.

The firm has been rumored to be behind the FBI’s newfound ability to access the device, thanks to a previous and unconfirmed report from an Israeli newspaper.
Neither Cellebrite nor the Department of Justice has confirmed the reports.

The FBI has routinely contracted Cellebrite over the last five years. The company, which publicly boasts of its ability to hack into Apple devices, has received over $2 million in purchase orders from the agency since 2012.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: So much for Apple's messaging that breaking the encryption of its iPhones would be difficult.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Are U.S. - China Watchers Wrong When it Comes To Analysing Chinese War Doctrine?

Soldiers march in a military parade in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. (AFP Photo)

Wendell Minnick, Defense News: Analysis – A Chinese Way of War

CRS Warning for America’s China Watchers

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A new paper by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) warns of misreading Chinese tea leaves, such as the tendency of US-based China-watchers to use mirror imaging, ignore China’s lack of transparency and use of subterfuge, and the fact that the Chinese military advocates no differentiation between peace-time and war-time use of cyberwarfare.

Written by Ian E. Rinehart, a CRS analyst in Asian affairs, the report was released on March 24 for members of the US Congress. Entitled: “The Chinese Military: Overview and Issues for Congress,” Rinehart argues the US Congress must begin to examine “a Chinese way of war.”

These include numerous factors that are largely ignored in the US China-watching community that will greatly determine the winner of a war.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A must read for China watchers.

Russia And The US May Coordinate Their Miltiary Forces In The Liberation Of The Islamic State Stronghold Of Raqqa


The Guardian: Russia and US 'planning military coordination against Isis in Syria'

The two powers are working to liberate the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, says Russian deputy foreign minister

Signs of wider military cooperation in Syria have emerged as Russia revealed that discussions have taken place about coordinating the liberation of the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in conjunction with the US.

Russia and the US have slowly been working more closely in the wake of the partial Russian withdrawal of its aircraft from Syria, including an agreement last week to press President Bashar al-Assad to hold talks with the opposition about a political transition once peace talks recommence after 9 April in Geneva.

Russia and the US are discussing “concrete” military coordination to liberate the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, Interfax news agency cited the Russian deputy foreign minister, Oleg Syromolotov, as saying on Wednesday. The revelation follows visits to Moscow this month by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and CIA head John Brennan.

Read more ....

Update: Russia-US discussing prospect of coordinating a military operation against ISIS in Raqqa (RUDAW).

WNU Editor: I have doubts that a joint U.S. - Russian military operation to liberate Raqqa will happen. Both sides have different agendas, and the possibility of U.S. forces assisting Syrian forces .... even if it is against the Islamic State .... is a bridge that the White House is not prepared (or willing) to cross right now.

The U.S. Army's New Version Of The 155mm Howitzer Can Hit Targets 43 Miles Away



War Is Boring: The U.S. Army Is About to Double Its Howitzer Range

New barrel helps the M-777 to shoot much farther

On March 19, U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant Louis Cardin, a field artilleryman assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, died during an attack on Fire Base Bell outside of Makhmur, Iraq. Coincidentally, the U.S. Army is hard at work developing a farther-firing howitzer that could help keep artillery troops out of range of enemy forces.

The Army is cooking up a suite of improvements could double the range of the existing M-777 howitzer. Right now the 155-millimeter gun, in service with the Army and Marines, can lob shells at targets up to 18 miles away.

The M-777ER version the Army is working on “will be able to reach out and hit targets … before the targets can reach them,” David Bound, the lead engineer on the project at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, told Army reporters. Troops “won’t have to worry about coming into a situation where they are under fire before they can return fire.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a huge improvement for the U.S. Army's artillery units.

Iraq's Offensive To Retake Mosul Collapses After Mass Desertions



Washington Free Beacon: Mosul Offensive Hindered by ISIS Violence, Desertions

Kurdish forces doubt ability of Iraqi army soldiers.

Iraqi army soldiers were forced to withdraw from their mission to capture three villages held by the Islamic State last week, spelling trouble for the force as it gears up capture Mosul, the terror group’s de facto capital in Iraq.

USA Today reported:

[Thursday’s mission] proved to be a slog because of heavy rains, tougher-than-expected resistance from the militants and reports of the low morale that has dogged the Iraqi military ever since the Islamic State swept into Iraq in 2014. The stalled operation underscored just how difficult it will be to dislodge the militants from Mosul. … By Saturday, the Iraqi soldiers were bogged down outside the strategic hilltop village ofNassrash, where suicide bombers killed at least seven soldiers. The next day, rain turned the area’s dirt roads into quagmires and cloud cover prevented coalition jets from providing effective support.

The Iraqi army’s mission began with the primary goal of stripping the villages of ISIS control before crossing the Tigris River to recapture the ISIS-held town of Qayyarah. The soldiers were backed by air support from the U.S.-led coalition, artillery fire from U.S. Marines, and logistical support from Kurdish fighters.

Read more ....

Previous Post: Iraqi Soldiers Flee In Their First Mosul Military Operation

Update #1: Iraq Army's Mosul offensive stalls in face of fierce fighting, desertions -- USA Today
Update #2: Front line view of Mosul offensive as Iraq appeals for help against ISIL -- Euronews
Update #3: Heavy Fighting, Desertions Hinder Iraqi Army’s Mosul Offensive -- Breitbart

WNU Editor: American troops to the rescue? .... Obama could decide on greater troop presence in Iraq soon: general (Reuters)

Update #4: This sums it up nicely .... Why the Iraqi Operation to Retake Mosul Is Such a Mess (Time).

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 30, 2016



Ibrahim al-Marashi, Al Jazeera: Palmyra is a major turning point in Syria's Civil War

The fall of Palmyra marks a big win in the Syrian state's fight against ISIL.

Bashar al-Assad had said for years to both Syrians and the international community that only his regime could prevent the spectre of ISIL taking over Syria.

For the first time he has acted to deal with this threat. Damascus finally invested in amassing enough military forces to defeat ISIL in a battle for territory. Also, even with the withdrawal of Russian forces from the war, Moscow's residual airpower in Syria can still sustain the Assad regime's momentum on the battlefield.

The Syrian state's recent victory against ISIL in Palmyra represents a major shift not only in the war against ISIL, but also in the trajectory of the nation's five-year civil war.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- March 30, 2016

How America is bombing itself in Syria -- Bonnie Kristian, The Week

Why is David Cameron so silent on the recapture of Palmyra from the clutches of Isis? -- Robert Fisk, The Independent

On the American Front Line Against ISIS -- Robin Wright, New Yorker

Let’s Not Give Suicide Bombers So Much Credit—Sometimes They Have No Strategy -- Simon Cottee, Defense One/The Atlantic

The Three Dynamics of the Fight Against ISIS -- Michael Morell, Cipher Brief

How the West bought Iraq -- The Age

Why PKK shifted to urban warfare -- Mahmut Bozarslan, Al Monitor

How Washington Got Turkey's Dictator So Wrong -- Eli Lake & Josh Rogin, Bloomberg

NATO Must Demand More From Turkey -- Halil M. Karaveli, NYT

Europe’s Muslims hate the West -- Leon De Winter, Politico

Is Belgium’s nuclear security up to scratch? -- Robert J Downes and Daniel Salisbury, The Conversation

Russian Military Moves Risk Japanese Peace Talks And Energy Ties -- Jeremy Maxie, Forbes

Is Thailand on its way back to democracy? -- Inside Story/Al Jazeera

Colombia’s Slow March Toward Peace -- J. Weston Phippen, The Atlantic

Is That All There Is? Obama’s Disappointing Nuclear Legacy -- Joe Cirincione, Defense One

World News Briefs -- March 30, 2016 (Evening Edition)

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad stands next to his wife Asma, as he addresses injured soldiers and their mothers during a celebration marking Syrian Mother's Day in Damascus, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Reuters: Assad says he can form new Syria government with opposition

President Bashar al-Assad said it would not be difficult to agree on a new Syrian government including opposition figures, but his opponents responded on Wednesday that no administration would be legitimate while he remained in office.

Assad, bolstered by military victory in the desert city of Palmyra, was quoted by Russia's RIA news agency as saying a new draft constitution could be ready in weeks and a government that included opposition, independents and loyalists could be agreed.

While the distribution of portfolios and other technical issues would need to be discussed at Geneva peace talks, which resume next month, "these are not difficult questions", Assad said.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Assad insists on unity government despite opposition demands.

U.S. says new Syrian government including Assad a 'non-starter'.

Top US General: 'No doubt' Russia stabilized Syrian regime.

Russia, U.S. discussing coordination to liberate Syria's Raqqa: Interfax.

Exclusive: Russia, despite draw down, shipping more to Syria than removing.

Obama could decide on greater troop presence in Iraq soon. General.

Assad says Damascus to base Geneva talks on U.N. document: RIA.

Assad says conflict has cost Syria more than $200 billion.

Turkish police detain 16 suspected Nusra Front members: news agency.

Yemeni army advances against al Qaeda in southern city.

Khamenei says missiles, not just talks, key to Iran's future. Iran's Khamenei: Missiles are part of the future.

Thousands of Palestinians, Arab Israelis mark 'Land Day'.

U.S. condemns U.N. call for list of firms operating in West Bank.

ASIA

Obama, Xi seen discussing North Korea, cybersecurity on sidelines of nuclear summit.

U.S. says it will not recognize South China Sea exclusion zone.

Fifteen Afghan troops killed in fighting with Taliban.

North Korea: We are ready for ‘pre-emptive nuclear strike’ on U.S..

North Korea: U.S. military drills take region to 'brink of war'.

US allies seek to manage China on North Korean sanctions.

Myanmar gets first civilian government in decades.

Thai junta gives troops wide-ranging powers 'because not enough police'.

Bangladesh issues arrest warrant for opposition leader.

Mumtaz Qadri case: Pakistan police warn supporters to leave.

AFRICA

Two Turks among six killed in gun attack in Somalia's capital.

Boko Haram kill six soldiers in southeast Niger: ministry.

Nigeria Defense Minister: Military made gains against Boko Haram.

Libya's U.N.-backed Presidential Council reaches Tripoli by ship. UN-backed Libya govt told to leave after Tripoli arrival.

Libya could ‘open the floodgates’ for thousands of migrants into Europe.

Head of Libya's UN-backed unity govt arrives in Tripoli.

South Sudan starvation levels alarming, U.N. warns.

Burundi warns against execution investigations at ICC.

'Somalia-bound' ship of weapons seized by French navy.

EgyptAir hijacker wanted to 'see wife and children'.

EUROPE

U.S. to deploy armored brigade combat teams to Europe.

Brussels attackers 'searched on net for Belgian PM's home'.

Migrant arrivals to Greece rise sharply despite EU-Turkey deal. Turkey, Greece scramble to start EU deal as migrant arrivals rise.

Germany tells refugees: Integrate or lose your right to live here permanently.

France's Hollande drops plans to change constitution. French leader abandons plan to strengthen state of emergency.

US accuses Russia of dismantling security agreements.

Russia running 'shadow government' for east Ukraine: report.

Ukrainian parties fail to form new governing coalition.

Ukraine bans all Russian movies released since 2014.

AMERICAS

Colombia, ELN rebels to begin peace talks in Ecuador.

Rousseff calls impeachment effort 'coup', vows to keep social programs. Brazil president warns of 'putsch' ahead of impeachment vote.

Brazil's PMDB party abandons Rousseff, quits coalition. Rousseff blow as Brazil's biggest party quits coalition.

Venezuela congress passes bill to free jailed activists. Venezuela's National Assembly passes amnesty bill. Venezuela parliament approves amnesty law, Maduro vows to veto.

Colombia and leftist ELN rebels to begin formal peace talks: source.

Polls show Trump with big lead, Clinton edge narrowing.

Trump drops pledge to back Republican presidential nominee other than himself.

Poll: Half of American voters back Trump's Muslim ban.

Former Canadian Cabinet minister killed in plane crash.

Mexico says experts investigating 43 students will cease work in April.

Thousands attend funeral for controversial Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Air strikes target al Qaeda in Yemen, troops control Aden district.

US intensifies air campaign against al Qaeda in Yemen.

ISIS claims bomb attack on Russia police in Dagestan. Russia police say blast kills officer, Islamic State claims responsibility.

Poll: Few think ISIS will be destroyed within year.

Al Qaeda-linked publication weighs in on the U.S. presidential race.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Weak global economy is said to threaten government finances.

Cautious Yellen drives world stocks near 2016 peaks.

China proposes new Web rules that could enhance censorship.

Foxconn finalises Sharp takeover.

Apple remains in dark how FBI hacked iPhone without its help.

U.S. Will Not Recognize A Chinese Declared Air Defense Identification Zone In The South China Sea


Reuters: U.S. says it will not recognize South China Sea exclusion zone

The United States has told China it will not recognize an exclusion zone in the South China Sea and would view such a move as "destabilizing," U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said on Wednesday.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that an international court ruling expected in the coming weeks on a case brought by the Philippines against China over its South China Sea claims could prompt Beijing to declare an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, in the region, as it did in the East China Sea in 2013.

Work told an event hosted by the Washington Post that the United States would not recognize such an exclusion zone in the South China Sea, just as it did not recognize the one China established in the East China Sea.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: One more issue to talk about when President Obama meets Chinese President Xi this week .... Obama Seeing China Leader as South China Sea Tensions Rise (AP).

Colombia To Hold Peace Talks In Ecuador With The ELN, The Country's Second-Largest Rebel Group

Frank Pearl (L), head of Colombian government delegation and Antonio Garcia, head of National Liberation Army (ELN) delegation, shake hands after signing a joint statement to begin formal peace talks at Venezuela's foreign Ministry in Caracas, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Marco Bello

VOA: Colombia to Hold Peace Talks With Second-Largest Rebel Group

Colombia has agreed to hold formal peace talks with the country's second-largest rebel group, moving closer to ending a five-decade-long civil war.

Negotiations between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army, or ELN, will take place in Ecuador, according to a joint statement issued Wednesday.

The two sides had already been holding exploratory peace talks. But Wednesday's announcement formalized those discussions and brought the leftist ELN into a wider peace process.

For three years, Colombia and another rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have been holding peace talks in Havana, Cuba.

Read more ....

More News On Colombia Agreeing To Hold Peace Talks In Ecuador With The ELN

Colombia to hold peace talks with 2nd-largest rebel group -- AP
Colombia, ELN rebels to begin peace talks in Ecuador -- Reuters
Colombia extends peace talks to second big rebel force -- AFP
Colombia ELN: Government and rebels to hold peace talks -- BBC
Colombia starts peace talks with ELN, country's second-biggest guerrilla group -- The Guardian
Colombian gov't, ELN agree to peace talks -- FOX News/EFE
Colombia’s ELN rebels enter peace talks, raise hopes for more changes -- PBS
Colombia, ELN Rebels Agree to Formal Peace Talks -- WSJ
Colombia government, ELN rebels set to announce formal peace talks -- Colombia Reports
ELN and government begin formal talks -- The Bogota Post

Turkey Demands Germany Remove A Video Mocking Turkish President Erdogan



The Guardian: Turkey 'demands deletion' of German video mocking Erdoğan

Ankara summons German envoy to explain song lampooning Turkish president, according to reports

The Turkish government has reportedly ordered the deletion from the internet of a German satirical video that pokes fun at President Recep Tayipp Erdoğan and condemns his human rights record.

Germany’s ambassador to Turkey, Martin Erdmann, was summoned to the foreign ministry in Ankara last week, according to German media, and asked to justify the contents of the short film made by Extra 3, the popular satirical television programme.

“We demanded that the programme be deleted,” a Turkish diplomat told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The video is funny (see above) .... but to demand its removal is causing more publicity than what it would otherwise get.

More News On Turkey Demanding That Germany Remove A Video Mocking Turkish President Erdogan

Turkey Protests Germany Over Satirical Erdogan Video -- AP
Turkey Summons German Ambassador Over Erdogan Music Video Parody: Report -- Newsweek
Satirical TV song about Erdogan sparks Turkey-Germany row -- AFP
Turkey ‘demands’ takedown of Erdogan-mocking video, German authors add subtitles instead -- RT
Germany and EU reject protests over song mocking Erdogan -- BBC
Berlin rebuffs Turkish protest over Erdogan satire -- Financial Times
Germany, EU reject Turkish protest against Erdogan satire -- Reuters
Germany: 'Press freedom is non-negotiable' amid diplomatic row over Erdogan satire -- DW
Juncker says Erdogan can't silence EU media -- EU Observer
Watch: the weird German music video that infuriated Turkey's president -- VOX

Turkish President Erdogan Blasts President Obama's Syrian Policy



Foreign Policy: Erdogan Uses Closed-Door Meeting to Blast Obama Administration

The Turkish president told a gathering of academics and former government officials that the White House was wrong to back the Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State.

Facing a high-profile snub from the White House and a growing chasm with the United States over human rights and press freedoms, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan courted Washington’s top think tank luminaries on Tuesday night in an effort to rehabilitate his image and criticize the Obama administration’s policies in Syria.

During a private dinner at Washington’s high-end St. Regis Hotel, a defiant Erdogan ripped the American media’s coverage of his administration’s policies and bashed the White House’s support for Kurdish fighters in Syria. Washington sees the Kurds as their most valuable proxies in the ground battle against the Islamic State, but Erdogan views them as terrorists aligned with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a militant group struggling for autonomy. Kurdish militants have been tied to several recent bombings inside Turkey.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He is also blaming Europe for the mess in the Middle East .... Erdogan says European countries allowed terror threat to spread (CNN). Not surprising .... President Obama is not going to meet Turkey's President this week, that thankless job has been given to Vice President Biden .... Turkey's Erdogan to meet with Biden on summit sidelines: White House (Reuters).

Russian Mi-28 Attack Helicopters Are Now Engaged In The Syrian War



David Axe, Daily Beast: Russia’s Secret Weapon of the ISIS War

In the battle with ISIS for storied Palmyra, Russian forces unleashed their flying tank.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces battling to recapture the ancient city of Palmyra had a lot of help from above. At least one Russian Mi-28 attack helicopter—Moscow’s answer to the U.S. Army’s fearsome Apache gunship—flew top cover as Syrian tanks and infantry stormed the modern city adjacent to the UN World Heritage Site.

Video posted online by a pro-regime group clearly shows an Mi-28 firing a rocket from beneath one of its stubby wings. The battle for Palmyra, which ended this week as ISIS militants fled the city, apparently represented the two-seat, gun- and missile-armed Mi-28’s combat debut.

The Russian gunship’s appearance over Palmyra underscores Russia’s continuing support for the regime of Assad, Syria’s president. In a surprise move on March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had ordered Russian forces to withdraw from Syria, around six months after thousands of Moscow’s troops and scores of its best warplanes deployed to western Syria to help bolster Assad’s own embattled forces.

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WNU Editor: Like the American Apache gunship .... these attack-helicopters are extremely effective.

Two-Thirds Of Americans Support Torture Against Terror Suspects


Reuters: Exclusive: Most Americans support torture against terror suspects - poll

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe torture can be justified to extract information from suspected terrorists, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a level of support similar to that seen in countries like Nigeria where militant attacks are common.

The poll reflects a U.S. public on edge after the massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino in December and large-scale attacks in Europe in recent months, including a bombing claimed by the militant group Islamic State last week that killed at least 32 people in Belgium.

Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has forcefully injected the issue of whether terrorism suspects should be tortured into the election campaign.

Trump has said he would seek to roll back President Barack Obama's ban on waterboarding - an interrogation technique that simulates drowning that human rights groups contend is illegal under the Geneva Conventions. Trump has also vowed to "bring back a hell of a lot worse if elected.

Read more ....

More News On The Latest Poll Where Two-Thirds Of Americans Support Torture Against Terror Suspects

Most Americans support torture for terror suspects: Poll -- Washington Times
Poll: Nearly two-thirds say torturing terror suspects can be justified -- CBS
Poll: Two-Thirds of Americans Support Torturing Terror Suspects -- Time
Poll: Most Americans support torture -- The Hill
Cruel Intentions? Most Americans Want to Torture Terrorism Suspects -- Sputnik
Support for torture in US grows to 63 percent – poll -- RT
Two-thirds of Americans support torture against terror suspects: Poll -- i24 News

Pakistan's Embrace Of Small Tactical Nuclear Warheads Raises Concerns On How Secured Are These Warheads

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
From The Atlantic

Economic Times/New York Times: Pakistan's embrace of small, tactical nuclear weapons, highly vulnerable to theft

WASHINGTON — As President Obama gathers world leaders in Washington this week for his last Nuclear Security Summit, tons of materials that terrorists could use to make small nuclear devices or dirty bombs remain deeply vulnerable to theft. Still, Mr. Obama’s six-year effort to rid the world of loose nuclear material has succeeded in pulling bomb-grade fuel out of countries from Ukraine to Chile, and has firmly put nuclear security on the global agenda.

But despite the progress, several countries are balking at safeguards promoted by the United States or are building new stockpiles.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, where some of the largest stockpiles of civilian nuclear material remain, has decided to boycott the summit meeting, which begins Thursday night. Mr. Putin has made it clear he will not engage in nuclear cleanup efforts dominated by the United States.

In addition, Pakistan’s embrace of a new generation of small, tactical nuclear weapons, which the Obama administration considers highly vulnerable to theft or misuse, has changed the way the administration talks about Pakistani nuclear security. While Mr. Obama declared early in his presidency that the United States believed Pakistan’s nuclear assets were secure, administration officials will no longer repeat that line. Instead, when the subject comes up, they note the modest progress Pakistan has made in training its guards and investing in sensors to detect break-ins. They refuse to discuss secret talks to persuade the Pakistanis not to deploy their new weapons.

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WNU Editor: I suspect that these warheads are heavily guarded .... but you can never say for sure that they are 100% secured.

Poll: Majority Of Americans View The Islamic State As A 'Serious Threat'

Islamic State fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of a northern Raqqa province in Syria. (Reuters)

The Hill: Poll: Few think ISIS will be destroyed within year

Just 17 percent of voters think it’s likely the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will be destroyed in the next year, according to a poll released Monday.

In the Rasmussen Reports poll, 68 percent of likely voters surveyed said they think ISIS is a very serious threat to the United States, and another 20 percent said they think the terrorist group is a somewhat serious threat. Only 1 percent of respondents in the most recent poll said ISIS wasn’t a threat at all.

Pollsters found increased concern over the ISIS threat. Last month, 60 percent thought ISIS was a very serious threat.

The poll was conducted after ISIS-claimed attacks in Brussels last week that killed at least 31 people, including at least four Americans, and renewed anxiety about the terror group's threat and reach.

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WNU Editor: The majority are correct on this one. Details on the poll are here .... Voters See ISIS As Serious, Long-Term Threat (Rasmussen).

World News Briefs -- March 30, 2016



WSJ: Iran Will Continue Missile Program, Supreme Leader Says

‘It’s the time of both missiles and dialogue,’ Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that Iran wouldn’t abandon its ballistic missile program despite growing international pressure following last year’s historic agreement limiting its nuclear program.

“I approve of political dialogue on international levels,” Mr. Khamenei said, according to his official website. But today, he said, “it’s the time of both missiles and dialogue.”

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MIDDLE EAST

Top US General: 'No doubt' Russia stabilized Syrian regime.

Russia, U.S. discussing coordination to liberate Syria's Raqqa: Interfax.

Exclusive: Russia, despite draw down, shipping more to Syria than removing.

Assad says Damascus to base Geneva talks on U.N. document: RIA.

Assad says conflict has cost Syria more than $200 billion.

Turkish police detain 16 suspected Nusra Front members: news agency.

Yemeni army advances against al Qaeda in southern city.

Khamenei says missiles, not just talks, key to Iran's future. Iran's Khamenei: Missiles are part of the future.

ASIA

Fifteen Afghan troops killed in fighting with Taliban.

North Korea: We are ready for ‘pre-emptive nuclear strike’ on U.S..

North Korea: U.S. military drills take region to 'brink of war'.

US allies seek to manage China on North Korean sanctions.

Myanmar gets first civilian government in decades.

Thai junta gives troops wide-ranging powers 'because not enough police'.

Bangladesh issues arrest warrant for opposition leader.

Mumtaz Qadri case: Pakistan police warn supporters to leave.

AFRICA

Nigeria Defense Minister: Military made gains against Boko Haram.

Libya could ‘open the floodgates’ for thousands of migrants into Europe.

Head of Libya's UN-backed unity govt arrives in Tripoli.

South Sudan starvation levels alarming, U.N. warns.

Burundi warns against execution investigations at ICC.

'Somalia-bound' ship of weapons seized by French navy.

EgyptAir hijacker wanted to 'see wife and children'.

EUROPE

Brussels attackers 'searched on net for Belgian PM's home'.

Migrant arrivals to Greece rise sharply despite EU-Turkey deal.

Germany tells refugees: Integrate or lose your right to live here permanently.

France's Hollande drops plans to change constitution. French leader abandons plan to strengthen state of emergency.

US accuses Russia of dismantling security agreements.


Ukrainian parties fail to form new governing coalition.

Ukraine bans all Russian movies released since 2014.

AMERICAS

Brazil's PMDB party abandons Rousseff, quits coalition. Rousseff blow as Brazil's biggest party quits coalition.

Venezuela congress passes bill to free jailed activists. Venezuela's National Assembly passes amnesty bill. Venezuela parliament approves amnesty law, Maduro vows to veto.

Colombia and leftist ELN rebels to begin formal peace talks: source.

Polls show Trump with big lead, Clinton edge narrowing.

Trump drops pledge to back Republican presidential nominee other than himself.

Poll: Half of American voters back Trump's Muslim ban.

Former Canadian Cabinet minister killed in plane crash.

Mexico says experts investigating 43 students will cease work in April.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

US intensifies air campaign against al Qaeda in Yemen.

ISIS claims bomb attack on Russia police in Dagestan. Russia police say blast kills officer, Islamic State claims responsibility.

Poll: Few think ISIS will be destroyed within year.

Al Qaeda-linked publication weighs in on the U.S. presidential race.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Cautious Yellen drives world stocks near 2016 peaks.

China proposes new Web rules that could enhance censorship.

Foxconn finalises Sharp takeover.

Apple remains in dark how FBI hacked iPhone without its help.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 30, 2016


WSJ: Pentagon Readies More Robust U.S. Military Presence in Eastern Europe

Move aims to reassure NATO allies and send message to Russia

The Pentagon has drawn up plans to position American troops, tanks and other armored vehicles full time along NATO’s eastern borders to deter Russian aggression, in what would be the first such deployment since the end of the Cold War.

The Pentagon intends the plans as an escalation of a proposal it announced last year, when it said it was looking at ways to increase U.S. military deterrence in Eastern Europe, such as prepositioning older materiel in the region.

Some countries on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s eastern flank have expressed concern about the depth of the U.S. commitment to their defense—especially in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Ukraine.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- March 30, 2016

Pentagon reportedly lays out plan for increased US presence in Eastern Europe -- FOX News

US Officials: Pentagon to deploy armored brigade combat team to Eastern Europe early next year -- AP

NATO needs to beef up defense of Baltic airspace: top commander -- Reuters

French President: 3,000 Extra Staff Hired for Euro Security -- AP

Russia’s strategic missile force to test mobile robot at forthcoming exercise -- TASS

Russian weaponry selling best in Latin America -- TASS

Russia Expects Yak-130 Jet Trainers to Appear in Latin America Soon -- Sputnik

Qatar, France Complete Dassault Rafale Fighter Jet Deal -- Defense News

Saab To Partner with Tata Power To Manufacture LEDS in India -- Defense News

Israel’s military chief issues memo after West Bank shooting -- AP

Saudi Arabia, Oman set up arms factories -- IHS Jane's 360

France to end military operations in Central African Republic this year -- France 24

Zika virus command center leads biggest military operation in Brazil's history -- The Guardian

US: NKorea threat compels security steps China won't like -- AP

U.S., allies conduct 24 strikes against Islamic State: U.S. military -- Reuters

US Improving Accuracy of Airstrikes, Intel Against ISIS: Dunford -- Military.com

F-16 crashes near Bagram Airfield, pilot safe -- Defense News

Ohio Replacement Plan Is Good News For Electric Boat -- Breaking Defense

US Navy Picks Electric Boat as Prime Contractor for New Sub -- AP

Slimmed-down F-35 Gen III helmet to be introduced sooner -- Flight Global

Lockheed Martin begins testing of Aegis combat system on first Hobart-class destroyer -- IHS Jane's 360

Lockheed Martin Resumes Production of Tactical Missile Systems -- Sputnik

Boeing to Cut More Than 4,500 Jobs -- WSJ

Ex-Navy SEAL From Chicago Invents War Paint For Military, Hunters -- DNA Info

Trump’s claim that the U.S. pays the ‘lion’s share’ for NATO -- Washington Post

Pentagon defends NATO after Trump criticism -- The Hill

The next president must start national security planning now, a top expert warns -- Defense News/Military Times

Dunford: Next U.S. Military Strategy Document will be Classified -- USNI News

The Enduring Danger of Nuclear Weapons -- Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics

A Nuclear-Armed ISIS? It’s Not That Farfetched, Expert Says -- Patrick Tucker, Defense One

Is The U.S. About To Outsource The Manufacturing Some Of Its Weapons Production To India?



Live Mint: Lockheed Martin offers to build F-16, helicopters and UAVs in India

Lockheed Martin is keen to make F-16V, the advanced fourth generation fighter jet in India, provided positive results emerge out of India-US talks next month.

US defence contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. has offered to build its flagship F-16 fighter jets, C-130J Super Hercules military transport planes and helicopters in India.

The American company is keen to make F-16V, the advanced fourth generation fighter jet in India, provided positive results emerge out of India-US talks next month, Lockheed Martin executives said. India and the US are set to hold government-to-government discussions in mid April.

“We are bullish about the prospects,” said Randy Howard, director F-16, business development at Lockheed Martin.

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Update: No Longer Made in the USA? Lockheed to Expand Weapons Production in India (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: I am sure this deal is being done to entice India to buy Lockheed Martin products .... but one has to also wonder to what length will this deal involve manufacturing weapons components destined for the U.S. military.

President Obama To Host Nuclear Summit



Wall Street Journal: Obama to Host Summit on Global Nuclear Concerns

Threats from Islamic State, North Korea on agenda as world leaders gather for Nuclear Security Summit

WASHINGTON—World leaders are scheduled to gather here Thursday for a two-day summit hosted by President Barack Obama that will focus on global nuclear concerns, particularly the potential for a terrorist organization to obtain nuclear materials and the growing threat of North Korea.

Officials from more than 50 countries are set to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, White House officials said, but notably absent is any representative from Russia.

The summit, which has been held every two years since 2010, comes as world leaders are increasingly concerned about terrorist groups, such as Islamic State, seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon or radioactive material.

Read more ....

More News On President Obama Hosting This Year's Nuclear Summit

Obama to host world leaders for nuclear summit -- CNN
Obama-led summit focuses on preventing nuclear terrorism -- USA Today
Islamic State threat raises stakes for US nuclear summit -- AFP
Kremlin: Russia skips nuclear security summit over lack of cooperation with partners -- TASS
Skipping nuclear summit a 'missed opportunity' for Russia: White House -- Reuters
Russian Boycott Of Nuclear Terrorism Summit Leaves U.S. ‘Scratching Our Heads’ -- RFE
At the Nuclear Security Summit, Real Action Will Be on the Sidelines -- Stratfor
Washington nuclear summit: What's at stake -- AFP
FACT SHEET: The Nuclear Security Summits: Securing the World from Nuclear Terrorism -- White House
Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit In Times Of Terror – Analysis -- Eurasia Review
Nuclear Materials Remain Vulnerable to Theft, Despite U.S.-Led Effort -- NYT

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