Thursday, May 25, 2017

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

From L-R, Belgium's King Philippe, U.S. President Donald Trump, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belgian's Prime Minister Charles Michel gather with NATO member leaders to pose for a family picture before the start of their summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Seth Johnston, RCD/Modern War Institute: How NATO Endures in the Twenty-First Century

Nearly seven decades after its founding, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is far from “obsolete.” This MWI Report examines how global institutions like NATO stay relevant, unified, and effective in the face of new crises. Change is central to the story of how NATO has avoided obsolescence and endured. Nearly every aspect of NATO—from its missions to its membership—is strikingly different than at the Alliance’s founding in 1949. Using a theoretical framework of “critical junctures” to explain variation in NATO’s organizational structure and strategy throughout its sometimes turbulent history, this report argues that the organization’s own bureaucratic actors played pivotal, yet overlooked, roles in NATO’s adaptation. It posits that NATO is remarkably resilient and will adapt to meet new bureaucratic challenges and security threats, from Russian military incursions into its neighbors to the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East.

Read more ....

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

Trump Omission in NATO Comments Rankles European Allies -- Julian E. Barnes and Carol E. Lee, WSJ

Trump Declines to Affirm NATO's Article 5 -- Rosie Gray, The Atlantic

It's Time for NATO to Call Turkey's Bluff -- Eric Edelman and Merve Tahiroglu, Weekly Standard

How Trump's visit revamped US Mideast policy -- Ephraim Sneh, Al-Monitor

We Can't Predict Whether Trump Will Succeed in the Middle East -- Hussein Ibish, The Atlantic

AP Analysis: Rouhani’s hardest challenge may be Iran’s hopes -- Adam Schreck, AP

Are U.S. and Iran on a Collision Course in Syria? -- Dan De Luce & Paul McLeary, Foreign Policy

Is Libya a failed state? -- Alan MacKenzie, DW

Why Libya is still a global terror threat -- Alia Brahimi, The Guardian

China’s imperial overreach -- Brahma Chellaney, The Strategist

Japan, South Korea Shaken by Pyongyang, Beijing – And Now, Washington -- Will Edwards, The Cipher Brief

Moldova Between Russia and the West: A Delicate Balance -- Eugene Rumer, Carnegie Endowment

Independence referendum blame game heats up in Spain -- Diego Torres, Politico

Puerto Rico’s Political and Economic Crisis Deepens -- Ed Morales, The Nation

This Time, Not for Prestige: The Space Race in the 21st Century -- Adam Routh, NRO

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

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May react during a ceremony at the new NATO headquarters before the start of a summit in Brussels, Belgium, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Reuters: Trump condemns leaks after UK police briefly halt information sharing

President Donald Trump said on Thursday that "deeply troubling" leaks to U.S. media about the Manchester suicide bombing would be investigated, after irate British police briefly stopped sharing information with U.S. agencies.

Prime Minister Theresa May raised British concerns with Trump at a NATO summit in Brussels, telling him intelligence shared between their two countries had to remain secure, in a rare public show of dissatisfaction with Britain's closest security ally.

After a suspension that lasted about a day, Britain's most senior counter terrorism officer said late on Thursday that the police had resumed sharing information with the United States after receiving "fresh assurances".

Trump had called the leaks "deeply troubling".

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

US air strike on IS killed 105 civilians in Iraq's Mosul.

Iraqi forces release videos countering claims of abuse.

Syrian army advances south toward rebel-held area.

Iran says has built third underground missile factory.

Hezbollah says unfazed by US, Saudi 'threats'.

UN alarm over conditions for Palestinian prisoners.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers put to death 3 accused of killing member.

Merkel threatens to pull troops from Turkey's Incirlik military base.

Turkey’s leader confronted by France, Germany at NATO summit.

Qatar says it is victim of hostile US media campaign.

ASIA

U.S. warship drill meant to defy China's claim over artificial island -officials. Official: At least 13 soldiers killed in south Afghanistan.

Afghan plane forced to fly back after angry MPs miss flight.

Philippines deploys top commandoes, attack helicopters to retake city from Islamist rebels. Philippines army rescues 78 hostages, kills 13 ISIS-linked terrorists – military. Thousands of residents flee Marawi as insurgents battle Philippines troops, raise Islamic State flag.

NATO troop increase plan draws criticism in Afghanistan.

South China Sea: US warship sails within 12 miles of China-claimed reef.

Bangladesh jails high-profile Islamist leader.

Jakarta bombing linked to Islamic State, Indonesian police say.

Myanmar to deport Turkish family amid crackdown fears.

AFRICA

Rescuers pull 2,300 migrants, two dead from Mediterranean.

Libya: breeding and training ground for jihadists.

Libya says working closely with Britain over concert attack.

Militants kill Egyptian police officer in Sinai Peninsula.

Suspected jihadists wreck Mali primary school.

Libyan coastguard opens fire at migrant boats: NGOs.

Five Kenyan police killed in roadside bomb attack.

Nigeria-Cameroon joint efforts to fight piracy.

Tunisian businessmen arrested in 'war on corruption'.

Rwanda: Elections 'will not be rigged'.

Sisi's Egypt cracks down on news websites.

EUROPE

Macron to win absolute parliament majority next month, poll shows.

Greek ex-PM Lucas Papademos injured in car blast. Greek ex-premier Lucas Papademos wounded in Athens bombing.

NATO leaders meet under intense Trump pressure on spending.

Trump meets with EU officials in Brussels ahead of NATO summit.

Facing fuming British prime minister, Trump vows to plug leaks.

Macron out-Trumps Trump in handshake duel before NATO summit.

UK bomber said to have told mother ‘Forgive me’ before blast.

Information leaked in US affects Manchester bomb probe.

Obama in Berlin for landmark church assembly. Barack Obama tells Berlin audience: ‘We can’t hide behind a wall’.

AMERICAS

Trump tells Nato allies to pay up. Trump chastises NATO, vows to crackdown on leaks.

Appeals court deals blow to Trump administration travel ban.

Foreign meetings omitted from Sessions' security clearance.

Republican candidate charged with assault after 'body-slamming' Guardian reporter.

Canada's Trudeau seeks reset as agenda lags, rivals regroup.

Venezuelan student killed by National Guard tear gas canister.

Venezuela prosecutor says security forces killed student.

Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer deploys troops to streets. Brazil protests: Temer revokes decree deploying troops in Brasilia.

President Lenin Moreno takes office in Ecuador.

Expect above-average Atlantic hurricane season, US forecasters say.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Trump, at NATO, vows unwavering fight against terrorism.

Trump talks counter-terrorism with EU, NATO leaders.

NATO to 'formally join' anti-ISIL coalition.

Father of Manchester bomb suspect 'was in militant group'.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

S&P 500 hits record high after upbeat retail results.

OPEC agrees to extend oil production cut for nine months. OPEC extends cuts in oil output by nine months.

Ancestry.com denies exploiting users' DNA.

Private firm launches rocket from New Zealand.

Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademo Injured In Targeted Bomb Attack



BBC: Greek ex-PM Lucas Papademos injured in Athens car blast

Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has been injured by an explosion inside his car in Athens.

Reports say the blast may have been caused by a letter bomb.

Mr Papademos, 69, and his driver have suffered leg injuries but their lives are not believed to be in danger, the reports add.

Mr Papademos was appointed caretaker prime minister in November 2011 amid political and economic turmoil. He served in post until May 2012.

Mr Papademos has also served as vice-president of the European Central Bank.

Read more ....

More News On Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademo Being Injured In A Targeted Bomb Attack

Letter Bomb Injures Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos -- Greek Reporter
Greek ex-prime minister hurt as letter bomb explodes in car -- AP
Lucas Papademos: Former Greek PM injured after car explosion in Athens -- The Independent
Greek ex-premier Lucas Papademos wounded in Athens bombing -- The Telegraph
Greek ex-Prime Minister Lucas Papademos targeted in Athens blast -- FOX News
Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos Injured by Explosion in Car -- NBC
Former Greek PM Lucas Papademos hurt in Athens car bomb -- SKY News
Former PM Lucas Papademos injured in explosion -- Al Jazeera
Former Greek PM Lucas Papademos hurt in Athens bomb attack -- RT

President Obama Is In Berlin



Politico: How Obama not so subtly undercuts Trump

Obama’s calculated but opaque opposition to Trump was on full display in Berlin.

When they realized former President Barack Obama was going to be in Berlin the same day President Donald Trump was going to be in Brussels, Angela Merkel was the one who called the White House to break the news.

The German chancellor invited Obama to the event in front of the Brandenburg Gate last year, before the election. Officially part of a multi-day gathering sponsored by the Protestant church in Germany, focused on youth and highlighting an exchange program between Berlin and Chicago, it was really about letting Obama boost his friend ahead of her fall reelection campaign and begin the international phase of his own post-presidency.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He just cannot let it go. After being deferred to and praised by many for 8 years .... and then to see President Trump be treated and feted by the Saudis and Israelis in a manner that was never accorded to him .... he has to (cough cough) voice his thoughts. I understand what he is doing .... he is fighting for his legacy, and he and his supporters know that President Trump is well positioned to uproot it. Here is an easy prediction .... President Obama's criticisms of President Trump are going to increase over time. But for the moment .... happy days are here today .... Nothing Says "Happiness" and "Relief" Like Angela Merkel Seeing Barack Obama Again (Mother Jones).

More News On President Obama's Remarks In Berlin

In Berlin, Obama Tacitly Criticizes Trump -- US News and World Report
Obama jabs Trump ahead of NATO summit -- FOX News
Obama, in Europe, taunts Trump -- Washington Times
Obama sends Trump clear message: 'We can't hide behind a wall' -- USA Today
Trump debuts in Europe as Obama returns to stir nostalgia for the old days -- The Guardian

Trump - Macron Handshake Under The Microscope



Bloomberg: Macron Out-Trumps Trump in Handshake Duel Before NATO Summit

* Trump’s handshake style under microscope since Abe meeting
* Trump and Macron met for first time ahead of NATO leader talks

Donald Trump is known for employing knuckle-crushing, testosterone-driven, arm-shuddering handshakes. But he met his match today in Emmanuel Macron.

It took the French president just six seconds to out-Trump Trump in a handshake that showed the world -- and a man three decades his senior -- that there’s a new leader on the world stage.

Trump’s trick is to go in strong and then hold on just slightly too long, often pulling the other man toward him. Meeting Macron for the first time before a NATO summit in Brussels, Trump went in firm as usual. But this time, it was Trump -- not Macron -- who tried to back out first. Macron simply wouldn’t let go as Trump tried to pull back once, and then flexed his fingers straight to get out. On the second try, he was able to pull away.

Read more ....

Update: Trump handshake showdown: France’s Macron just won’t let go (AP)

WNU Editor: Groan .... it's just a handshake. But in some places in Europe this is big news .... like this news in the U.S. .... Trump Shoves Leader at NATO Summit (US News and World Report/Reuters).

EU President President Tusk: No Common Ground With President Trump On Key Issues Like Russia, Climate Change, Brexit, And Trade



AFP: EU's Tusk says no 'common position' on Russia with Trump

European Union president Donald Tusk said talks with US President Donald Trump on Thursday revealed no "common position" on Russia, a subject on which the US leader faces pressure at home.

Tusk, along with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, also argued for the benefits of open trade and the Paris climate agreement that Trump is opposed to.

Those issues "remained open", Tusk said, though an EU official said the sides agreed to set up an EU-US task force on trade.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Meeting Between President Trump And EU Leaders

Donald Trump and EU leaders air differences at Brussels meeting -- Financial Times
Trump talks trade with EU, varied differences remain -- Reuters
Trump, European Union leaders remain at odds over Russia -- USA Today
Trump visits European Union headquarters; EU leaders cite some differences -- L.A. Times
Trump, EU struggle to get on same page in Brussels -- Politico

NATO To Formally Join The Anti-ISIS Campaign



Reuters: France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State: diplomats

France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to play a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.

The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda.

"NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States. France and Germany believe it is."

Read more ....

More News On NATO Agreeing To Formally Join The Anti-ISIS Campaign

Trump talks counter-terrorism with EU, NATO leaders. -- UPI
Nato to formally join anti-Isis coalition -- Financial Times
NATO will formally join anti-'Islamic State' coalition -- DW
NATO to 'formally join' anti-ISIL coalition. -- Al Jazeera
NATO Says Alliance Is Joining Anti-ISIS Coalition -- Newser
NATO: The missing piece in the fight against international terrorism? -- SKY News

President Trump: I Am Not Going To Ask What The New NATO Building Costs



Express: 'I never asked what it cost' Trump's savage dig at NATO's £1billion shiny new Brussels HQ

DONALD TRUMP issued a savage dig at NATO members for the one billion dollar price tag of their new headquarters in Brussels.

Addressing member states on Thursday, he spoke about the unveiling of a piece of the North Tower from the 9/11 attacks and a part of the Berlin wall, which has gone on display at the new building.

He then blasted the group as he joked “I never asked, once, what the new Nato headquarters cost – I refuse to do that.”

He said: “I want to extend my appreciation to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York for contributing this remnant of the North Tower as well as to Chancellor Merkel and the German people for donating this portion of the Berlin wall.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: His remark on the cost of the new NATO building is at the end of his speech. A virtual tour of the new NATO building can be seen here.

U.S. President Trump Chastises Fellow NATO Leaders Over Defense Spending



Business Insider: Trump lectures NATO allies to their faces as they look on in awkward silence

President Donald Trump on Thursday lectured a group of leaders from member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization over not contributing their "fair share" in defense spending.

Standing beside Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Trump blasted the nearly two-dozen member countries that have not met their "financial obligations" to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It is quite a sight to see all of these NATO leaders .... just standing there with smirks on their faces while being called out by President Trump for their unwillingness and lack of interest to meet what NATO expects on defense spending. I have said it before .... if Russia is the threat that these NATO leaders are always voicing about .... why are they not spending the money to deter it. And as expected .... instead of focusing on the money (or lack of) .... the media is focusing on this .... In NATO Speech, Trump Is Vague About Mutual Defense Pledge (NYT). More here .... Trump gave a speech to NATO leaders, but it's what he left out that got their attention (CNBC), and more here .... Europe’s leaders desperately wanted Trump to say these two words today—and he didn’t (Quartz).

More News On U.S. President Trump Chastises Fellow NATO Leaders Over Defense Spending

Trump chastises NATO, vows to crackdown on leaks -- AP
Trump scolds NATO allies, warns of unending fight against militants -- Reuters
Trump Shames NATO Leaders on Defense Spending -- Bloomberg
Trump chastises fellow NATO members, demands they meet payment obligations -- Washington Post
Trump blasts NATO allies for not paying fair share -- ABC News
Trump scolds NATO allies over defense spending -- CNN

Pentagon: US Airstrike In Mosul Caused Explosion That Killed 105 Iraqi Civilians


Daily Mail: US strike killed more than 100 civilians hiding in a Mosul building when bomb that was aimed at two ISIS snipers caused jihadis' weapons to explode

* US strike targeting ISIS fighters in a Mosul building in Iraq killed at least 105
* United States Air Force Brigadier General Matt Isler confirmed the death toll
* CTS and coalition forces were not aware that civilians were in the building

A US strike targeting Islamic State fighters in a Mosul building in Iraq killed at least 105 civilians when the blast caused ISIS weapons to explode.

US Air Force Brigadier General Matt Isler confirmed the incident on March 17 claimed the lives of at least 105 civilians - adding a further 36 remain unaccounted for.

According to Isler, Iraqi counterterrorism service troops and coalition forces were not aware civilians were in the building, and ordered an air strike.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Pentagon Report That A US Airstrike In Mosul Caused An Explosion That Killed 105 Iraqi Civilians

US air strike on IS killed 105 civilians in Iraq's Mosul -- BBC
U.S. military acknowledges over 100 civilians died in Mosul strike in March -- Reuters
US: More Than 100 Civilians Killed in Iraq Bombing in March -- NYT/AP
US probe finds more than 100 civilians killed in Mosul air strike -- AFP
US military admits 100 civilian deaths as a result of anti-IS bombing -- DW
Pentagon Officials Say a U.S. Airstrike Killed Over 100 Civilians in Mosul -- NBC
US report: Building in Mosul airstrike contained explosives -- CNN
Pentagon: More than 100 civilians killed in March airstrike in Mosul -- USA Today
Coalition confirms more than 100 Mosul civilians killed in March airstrike -- RUDAW
Pentagon Confesses Coalition Strike Killed Over 100 Civilians in Mosul -- Sputnik

The Battle For The Philippine City Of Marawi Intensifies Between The Military And Islamist Insurgents



ABC News Online: Thousands of residents flee Marawi as insurgents battle Philippines troops, raise Islamic State flag

Thousands of residents have fled the southern Philippine city of Marawi as government troops exchanged gunfire with Islamist insurgents.

Army tanks packed with soldiers rolled into Marawi on Thursday in an effort to repel Islamist insurgents linked to Islamic State (IS), who had torched buildings, seized more than a dozen Catholic hostages and raised the black flag of IS.

Read more ....

The Battle For The Philippine City Of Marawi Intensifies Between The Military And Islamist Insurgents

Marawi fighting: Troops battle militants in Philippine city -- BBC
Philippines deploys top commandoes, attack helicopters to retake city from Islamist rebels -- Reuters
Soldiers launch attacks in besieged Philippine city -- AP
Philippine troops bomb Islamist militants in city -- AFP
Philippines army rescues 78 hostages, kills 13 ISIS-linked terrorists – military -- RT
At least 21 killed as Isis-linked militants rampage through Philippines city -- The Guardian
Philippine Troops Begin Campaign to Retake City From Islamist Militants -- VOA
Mindanao: Air raids target fighters holed up in Marawi -- Al Jazeera
Philippine army launches attacks against ISIS-linked terrorist group -- USA Today
Battle in Philippines With ISIS-Linked Militants Is Test for Duterte -- New York Times
The Philippine President Declares His Intentions in Mindanao -- Stratfor

World News Briefs -- May 25, 2017



DW: Trump calls on NATO members to contribute 'their fair share'

US President Donald Trump has once again urged NATO members to pay more, saying 2 percent of GDP was the miniumum. Earlier, EU officials seemed assured that Trump had reversed some of his criticism of the bloc.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday repeated calls for members of the NATO military alliance to pay more, saying that payments must make up for "the years lost."

Speaking in Brussels at his first NATO summit, Trump said 23 of the 28 NATO allies owed "massive amounts of money" and that this was "not fair to the people and tax payers of the United States."

His comments came after he began the meeting by leading a moment's silence for victims of the Manchester bombing, which he described as "a barbaric and vicious attack on our civilization."

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

US air strike on IS killed 105 civilians in Iraq's Mosul.

Iraqi forces release videos countering claims of abuse.

Syrian army advances south toward rebel-held area.

Iran says has built third underground missile factory.

UN alarm over conditions for Palestinian prisoners.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers put to death 3 accused of killing member.

Merkel threatens to pull troops from Turkey's Incirlik military base.

ASIA

Philippines deploys top commandoes, attack helicopters to retake city from Islamist rebels. Philippines army rescues 78 hostages, kills 13 ISIS-linked terrorists – military. Thousands of residents flee Marawi as insurgents battle Philippines troops, raise Islamic State flag.

Official: At least 13 soldiers killed in south Afghanistan.

NATO troop increase plan draws criticism in Afghanistan.

South China Sea: US warship sails within 12 miles of China-claimed reef.

Bangladesh jails high-profile Islamist leader.

Jakarta bombing linked to Islamic State, Indonesian police say.

Myanmar to deport Turkish family amid crackdown fears.

AFRICA

Libya says working closely with Britain over concert attack.

Militants kill Egyptian police officer in Sinai Peninsula.

Suspected jihadists wreck Mali primary school.

Libyan coastguard opens fire at migrant boats: NGOs.

Five Kenyan police killed in roadside bomb attack.

Nigeria-Cameroon joint efforts to fight piracy.

Tunisian businessmen arrested in 'war on corruption'.

Rwanda: Elections 'will not be rigged'.

Sisi's Egypt cracks down on news websites.

EUROPE

Greek ex-PM Lucas Papademos injured in car blast. Greek ex-premier Lucas Papademos wounded in Athens bombing.

NATO leaders meet under intense Trump pressure on spending.

Trump meets with EU officials in Brussels ahead of NATO summit.

Facing fuming British prime minister, Trump vows to plug leaks.

Macron out-Trumps Trump in handshake duel before NATO summit.

Information leaked in US affects Manchester bomb probe.

Obama in Berlin for landmark church assembly. Barack Obama tells Berlin audience: ‘We can’t hide behind a wall’.

AMERICAS

Trump tells Nato allies to pay up. Trump chastises NATO, vows to crackdown on leaks.

Foreign meetings omitted from Sessions' security clearance.

Republican candidate charged with assault after 'body-slamming' Guardian reporter.

Venezuelan student killed by National Guard tear gas canister.

Venezuela prosecutor says security forces killed student.

Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer deploys troops to streets. Brazil protests: Temer revokes decree deploying troops in Brasilia.

President Lenin Moreno takes office in Ecuador.

Expect above-average Atlantic hurricane season, US forecasters say.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Trump talks counter-terrorism with EU, NATO leaders.

NATO to 'formally join' anti-ISIL coalition.

Father of Manchester bomb suspect 'was in militant group'.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

OPEC agrees to extend oil production cut for nine months. OPEC extends cuts in oil output by nine months.

Ancestry.com denies exploiting users' DNA.

Private firm launches rocket from New Zealand.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- May 25, 2017



BBC: Trump Nato: Leaders gather for 'tough' talks on defence spending

Leaders of the Nato military alliance are gathering in Brussels to meet President Donald Trump for what the US says will be "very tough" talks.

Mr Trump is expected to press members to pay their full financial share of the alliance's costs.

The alliance has already agreed to his request to join the US-led coalition against so-called Islamic State.

Mr Trump is meeting several EU leaders for the first time, including France's new President, Emmanuel Macron.

Read more ....



Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- May 25, 2017

Live Updates: Trump Is in Brussels, and Disagreement on Russia Emerges -- New York Times

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State: diplomats -- Reuters

NATO cheers Trump’s military budget -- Politico

NATO leaders to urge Trump to offer support -- Reuters

Trump's First NATO Summit: Don't Expect Much -- Dov S. Zakheim, National Interest

NATO, the world's biggest military alliance, explained -- AP

Montenegro finds itself at heart of tensions with Russia as it joins Nato -- The Guardian

Russia boasts of arms upgrade, 'strategic parity' with NATO -- Defense News

The Russian Military Wants To Adopt This Brand New Kalashnikov Assault Rifle -- Task & Purpose

Brazilian military receives Helibras helicopters -- UPI

Next army chiefs summit set for Nigeria despite its military's human rights violations -- Army Times

Pakistani military feeling the Trump pressure -- DW

US to switch from free military grants to loans for Ukraine & others -- RT

Trump's budget proposes converting some military grants to loans -- Reuters

Manchester: Britain stops sharing intelligence with U.S. after leaks -- UPI

Lockheed Martin drops out of US Navy missile competition -- Defense News

Lockheed awarded contract for Trident II D5 navigation subsystem -- UPI

US Army anti-missile command system’s initial capability delayed four years -- Defense News

Trump military budget proposal aims to increase readiness -- UPI

Trump's budget request: Here's what's in it for troops, veterans and military families -- Military Times

DARPA's hypersonic Phantom Express spaceplane gets sign off to be built -- Wired

How Boeing plans to build Darpa's first hypersonic spacecraft -- IBTimes

DARPA challenges Boeing to create spaceplanes able to launch ten times in ten days -- ZDNet

Air Force official: Next-gen GPS program 'not out of the woods' -- Defense News

How the Army wants to protect missiles from GPS jammers -- C4IRSNet

2018: The Year the U.S. Military Goes "Iron Man"? -- Kris Osborn, National Interest

New Zealand company partners with U.S. Army for engineered skin -- UPI

Navy Debuts New Tracksuit, Female Dress Coat for Sailors -- Military.com

House Passes Bill to Ban Nonconsensual Nude Photo Sharing in Military -- NBC

Military space tech smuggler arrested in US, faces 150yrs in prison -- RT

Ex-Marine Staff Sergeant Admits Stealing from Presidential Squadron -- Military.com

German Defense Spending – A Case Study -- John Beckner, RCD

Why President Trump's Defense Budget Is Dead on Arrival -- Mackenzie Eaglen, National Interest

Trump’s Bigger Fleet Is Dead in the Water -- David Axe, War Is Boring

Tom Cruise tells Aussie TV that 'Top Gun 2' will happen, may film next year -- Military Times

My Take On GOP House Candidate Greg Gioforte 'Body Slamming' Guardian Reporter Ben Jacobs



FOX News: Greg Gianforte: Fox News team witnesses GOP House candidate 'body slam' reporter

The race to fill Montana's sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives took a violent turn Wednesday, and a crew from the Fox News Channel, including myself, witnessed it firsthand.

As part of our preparation for a story about Thursday's special election to air on "Special Report with Bret Baier," we arranged interviews with the top two candidates, Republican Greg Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist. On Wednesday, I joined field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey in Bozeman for our scheduled interview with Gianforte, which was to take place at the Gianforte for Congress Bozeman Headquarters.

Faith, Keith and I arrived early to set up for the interview in a room adjacent to another room where a volunteer BBQ was to take place. As the time for the interview neared, Gianforte came into the room. We exchanged pleasantries and made small talk about restaurants and Bozeman.

Read more ....

Update: Republican candidate charged with assault, roiling Trump's Montana test (Reuters)

WNU Editor: Will this impact today's special election in Montana today .... I do not know ... two thirds of the voters have already voted in advanced polls. As for what's my own take on what Greg Gianforte did .... a candidate who is on the verge of winning an easy election .... talk about being stupid. If you lose your cool over a simple question .... what happens when you are faced with a really difficult question? But what I find interesting about this incident is the U.S. media coverage of it .... specifically many blaming President Trump for it .... Joe Scarborough: Greg Gianforte Assault Unsurprising in ‘Age of Trump’ (Mediaite). This only validates last week's Harvard University study that exposes how bias the media is against President Trump .... Harvard University Study: The Mainstream Media’s Is Biased Against President Trump (May 19, 2017), as well as validating my own personal opinion that President Trump has truly gotten under the skin of the main stream media and the progressive left. In short .... if someone does something stupid or there is a horrible incident somewhere in the world .... the first thing that goes in the mind of the media is to blame Trump.

With Tensions Growing With China, Taiwan Simulates 'Chinese Invasion' During Military Exercise

Watching over: The military drill was presided over by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen

Daily Mail/AFP: Taiwan simulates 'Chinese invasion' during military exercise amid growing tensions with Beijing

* Forces in Taiwan simulated a Chinese invasion today as part of war games
* The drills are held annually and mock up a scenario of a Chinese attack
* It comes amid growing tension between Taiwan and Beijing
* President Tsai Ing-wen oversaw today's exercise off coast of Penghu Island

Military forces in Taiwan have today simulated a 'Chinese invasion' as part of live-fire war games amid rising tensions with Beijing.

The drills held annually are Taiwan's biggest military exercise and mock up a scenario in which Chinese troops launched an amphibious assault.

The nation is boosting its firepower to counteract the risk of military threat from China.

Read more ....

Update #1: Taiwan holds war games simulating Chinese island attack (AP)
Update #2: Defense autonomy shows Taiwan's resolve to defend itself: president (Focus Taiwan)

WNU Editor: Hope for the best .... prepare for the worse.

Iran Says Its Third Underground Missile Factory Is Now Operational

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016 © Mahmood Hosseini / Reuters

Reuters: Iran says it has built third underground ballistic missile factory

Iran has built a third underground ballistic missile production factory and will keep developing its missile program, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard as saying.

The development is likely to fuel tensions with the United States in a week when President Donald Trump, on his first foreign trip, has called Iran a sponsor of militant groups and a threat to countries across the Middle East.

"Iran's third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years ... We will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully," Fars quoted Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace division, as saying.

Read more ....

More News On Iran Saying Its Third Underground Missile Factory Is Now Operational

Iran says it has built third underground missile factory -- AFP
Iran says its third underground missile factory is up and running as it vows to keep developing weapons despite Trump putting Tehran 'on notice' -- Daily Mail
Iran claims third underground missile production site built -- AP
Iran builds third underground missile plant – report -- Times of Israel
Iran builds new underground ballistic missile factory -- The Jerusalem Post
Iran building third underground missile factory, official says -- Times of Israel
Iran says it built 3rd underground ballistic missile factory, vows to increase capabilities -- RT

U.S. Special Forces face Growing Demands And Risks In The War Against Terror Groups

U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers practice combat marksman skills at a range in Kabul province, Afghanistan. (Connor Mendez / Department of Defense)

L.A. Times: U.S. special operations forces face growing demands and increased risks

Touching down before dawn, Somali “Lightning” commandos climbed out of U.S. military helicopters and carefully advanced in the dark toward a ramshackle compound tucked into muddy farmland dotted by banana trees.

U.S. surveillance had monitored the site for days after an intelligence tip signaled the location of Moalin Osman Abdi Badil, the suspected leader of a Shabab terrorist cell linked to plots against U.S. forces and their allies in Somalia.

A team of Navy SEALs joined the Somali soldiers as they slipped toward the low-slung buildings, hoping to surprise the militants. But guards heard or spotted the raiders and a fierce firefight lighted up the night.

The Pentagon says the militants killed a Navy SEAL, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38; and wounded two other SEALs in the May 5 attack near Barii, about 40 miles west of the capital, Mogadishu.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I am surprised to learn from this article that there are only 8,600 special operators deployed worldwide.

Is U.S. Intelligence The Leakiest Intelligence Agency In The World?

Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg: The U.S. Intelligence Ship Is Too Leaky To Sail

The U.S. services have lost credibility by becoming the leakiest in the world.

U.K. police investigating the Manchester terror attack say they have stopped sharing information with the U.S. after a series of leaks that have so angered the British government that Prime Minister Therese May wants to discuss them with President Donald Trump during a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting in Brussels. What can Trump tell her, though? The leaks drive him nuts, too.

Since the beginning of this century, the U.S. intelligence services and their clients have acted as if they wanted the world to know they couldn't guarantee the confidentiality of any information that falls into their hands. At this point, the culture of leaks is not just a menace to intelligence-sharing allies. It's a threat to the intelligence community's credibility.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: From NSA leaker Edward Snowden .... to the avalanche of leaks last year on candidate Donald Trump .... followed by the explosion of leaks with his election .... and now British police refusing to work with U.S. intelligence .... the failure of the intelligence community to keep secrets has to be one of President Trump's top concerns. My prediction .... I will not be surprised if in the coming weeks a huge effort will be made to investigate and identify those who are leaking, and to prosecute them. I will also not be surprised that for the next FBI Director .... this will be his top priority and a complete reversal of former FBI Director James Comey's approach to this problem.

U.K. Has Stopped Sharing Information With U.S. Intelligence After Leaks Of The Manchester Bombing Were Made To The Media



BBC: Manchester attack: Police 'not sharing information with US'

Police investigating the Manchester Arena bomb attack have stopped sharing information with the US after leaks to the media, the BBC understands.

UK officials were outraged when photos appearing to show debris from the attack appeared in the New York Times.

It came after the name of bomber Salman Abedi was leaked to US media just hours after the attack, which left 22 dead.

Theresa May said she would tell Donald Trump at a Nato meeting that shared intelligence "must remain secure".

Meanwhile, the Queen has been to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital visiting some of the injured as well as members of the emergency services.

Read more ....

More News On The U.K.  Decision To Stop Sharing Information With U.S. Intelligence Because Of Leaks To The Press Of The Manchester Bombing

UK police stop passing Manchester bombing information to US over leaks -- The Guardian
May to confront Trump as UK police stop sharing attack information with U.S. -- Reuters
U.S. leaks shed light on Manchester attack, but infuriate U.K. -- CBS
Manchester attack: May to tell Trump to stop intelligence leaks -- CNN
Manchester bombing: British stop sharing case details with U.S., reports say -- USA Today
Manchester bombing: Theresa May to confront Trump on investigation leaks -- FOX News
'The Trust Is Breached': British Officials Angry About Manchester Terror Leaks From US -- TIME

Reporters Fall For A Fake 'White House' Document Where Trump Is Making Absurd Demands On Israel


Washington Free Beacon: Reporters Fall for Fake Document of Trump Making Absurd Demands in Israel

Reporters on Monday fell for a fake "White House" document that supposedly showed President Donald Trump making unusual demands of his Israeli hosts during his trip abroad.

The Twitter account Rogue White House Senior Advisor on Friday shared what it claimed was Trump's demands ahead of a trip to Israel, including roughly a metric ton of sugary and non-kosher junk food.

While the account's motive remains unclear, its shtick is to share shocking and outlandish "insider" stories about Trump while providing no evidence. The account has never provided verification that it is actually run by a White House staffer.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It took me two seconds to figure out that this is a fake .... but the fact that so many of the media outlets fell for the joke tells me a lot on how they manage the news when it comes to the Trump administration.

Tweet For Today

Report: China Has Begin Building Its Fourth Aircraft Carrier

China’s unfinished aircraft carrier under construction in Dalian in Liaoning province. Photo: Kyodo

UPI: Report: China building fourth aircraft carrier at Dalian shipyard

May 23 (UPI) -- China is building its fourth aircraft carrier and is expected to deploy the vessel in six years.

The latest development may be a sign the world's second-largest economy seeks to expand its navy while militarizing disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Taiwanese newspaper China Times reported Tuesday construction of a fourth aircraft carrier, also China's third homemade carrier, is underway and could be ready for deployment by 2023.

Quoting Chinese military sources, the report stated a new "block" had emerged at Dalian Shipyard, the same location where the Type 001A carrier, China's first self-built aircraft carrier, was assembled and deployed.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Some are saying that this is not China's fourth aircraft carrier .... Why China’s not building next aircraft carrier just yet (South China Morning Post). On a side note .... Chinese state media is peeved that detailed photos of PLA’s second aircraft carrier are appearing in Japanese media .... Chinese state media calls for tighter national security after detailed photos of PLA’s second aircraft carrier appear in Japanese media (South China Morning Post).

The Retirement Date For The U-2 And A-10 Has Been Postponed Indefinitely

An Air Force U-2 flies a training mission. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Rose Reynolds)

DoD Buzz: Air Force Kills Retirement Date for U-2 Spy Plane

The Air Force has dropped plans to begin retiring the U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane around 2019, officials said Tuesday.

That was the date listed in previous spending plans drafted by the service. But the Pentagon’s budget request for fiscal 2018, beginning Oct. 1, doesn’t include any retirement date for the Cold War-era workhorse.

“There is not a retirement date for the U-2 in this budget,” Maj. Gen. James Martin, the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for budget, said during a budget briefing at the Pentagon. “We plan to keep that platform well into the future.”

Read more ....

More News On The Retirement Date For The U-2 And A-10 Being Postponed Indefinitely

The A-10 Warthog Isn’t Going Anywhere — Yet -- Task & Purpose
The US Air Force makes it official: The A-10 will not be retired for the F-35 -- Business Insider
Stayin’ alive: No retirement in sight for the A-10 and U-2 -- Defense News
Budget spares U-2 and A-10 from retirement -- Flight Global
Air Force gives new life to the A-10 Warthog -- CNN
Air Force Would Defer A-10, U-2 Retirement Plans Under Trump Budget -- Executive Gov
Trump's Budget Would Keep the A-10 Warthog Flying, at Least For Now -- The Drive

Picture Of The Day

Flare Fanfare
An F-15E Strike Eagle releases flares as part of a combined arms demonstration during the Wings Over Wayne Air Show at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., May 21, 2017. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brittain Crolley

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

U.S. Navy Conducts A Sea Navigation Operation Within 12 Miles Of A China-Claimed Reef In The South China Sea

A satellite image released by the Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies shows construction of possible radar tower facilities in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea. Reuters

Reuters: U.S. warship sails within 12 miles of China-claimed reef

A U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, the first such challenge to Beijing under U.S. President Donald Trump.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Dewey was traveling close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.

The so-called "freedom of navigation operation" comes at a time when Trump is seeking China's cooperation to rein in ally North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Read more ....

Update: U.S. Navy Conducts South China Sea Navigation Operation (WSJ).

WNU Editor: This is the first Sea Navigation Operation under President Trump.

DARPA And Boeing Are Teaming Up to Build a Hypersonic Spaceplane



Daily Mail: The X-37b's big brother gets the go ahead: Boeing to build XS-1 'Phantom Express' hypersonic space plane that will allow short notice military satellite launches


* The project, known as XS-1, is expected to debut in 2020,
* Will 'provide short-notice, low-cost access to space'
* Takes off like a rocket, releases an expendable second-stage rocket and satellite, then turns around and land like an airplane on a runway

The mysterious X-37b spaceplane has captured the imagination of many, with some suggesting it is a spy plane and others who think it could be a space bomber.

But now its big brother is one step closer to being built.

The project, known as XS-1, is expected to debut in 2020, and military bosses claim it will 'bolster national security by providing short-notice, low-cost access to space.'

Read more ....

More News On DARPA And Boeing Teaming Up to Build a Hypersonic Spaceplane

DARPA and Boeing Team Up to Build a Hypersonic Spaceplane, the "Phantom Express" -- Popular Mechanics
Boeing will make the military’s new hypersonic spaceplane -- Verge
Boeing is building DARPA's new hypersonic space plane -- Endgadget
DARPA just announced it's one step closer to building a hypersonic space plane -- Business Insider
Boeing will build DARPA’s XS-1 Spaceplane -- Next Big Future
Boeing Awarded Contract to Design US Plane Capable of Space Flight - Pentagon -- Sputnik

Top U.S. General Disputes Reports That Civilian Deaths From U.S. Air Strikes Are Soaring

Rodi Said/Reuters

AFP: No increase in civilian deaths under Trump: US general

A top US Air Force official on Wednesday denied claims that civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria are soaring under President Donald Trump, who has given greater leeway to battlefield commanders.

Airwars, a London-based collective of journalists and researchers that tracks civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria, this week said it has seen numbers jump since Trump came into power.

The group estimates as many as 366 civilians were killed in Iraq and Syria in April alone.

Another Britain-based group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on Tuesday said US-led air strikes killed 225 civilians in Syria over the past month.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Centcom count (at the end of April) that states that after 3 years only 396 civilians have been killed by the U.S. coalition bombing campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria .... is .... to put it bluntly .... a number that I have trouble believing.

U.S. And Russia Are Not Hindering Each Other Over The Skies Of Syria

Washington Examiner: Russia's no-fly zones in Syria aren't a problem, says US air commander

The top U.S. general running the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria says Russian-declared no-fly zones are not restricting where the U.S.-led coalition can fly its warplanes as it targets the terror group.

"We don't recognize any specific zone in itself that we preclude ourselves from operating in," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. "Wherever the enemy's at, wherever they present themselves, we're going to get after them."

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is an interesting read .... Inside the Air War Over Syria: A High Altitude 'Poker Game' (New York Times).

More News On U.S. - Russian Operations Over The Skies Of Syria

US unhindered by Russian no-fly zones in Syria -- The Hill
US-Russia Calls Increase to Avoid Air Mishaps in Syria -- AP
US, Russia Boost Communication to Head Off Syria Incidents -- VOA
US increases use of deconfliction hotline with Russia amid pending operation to liberate Raqqa -- Military Times
U.S., Russia military increase communication in skies over Syria -- Reuters
U.S. and Russia boost dialogue about Syria operations to include generals -- Washington Post

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- May 24, 2017

A soldier from the Household Cavalry waits to cross a road in Parliament Square with an armed Met Police officer

Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian: Troops on the streets create unsettling terrain for our democracy

We need our election to go ahead undisturbed, lest we give the murderers behind the Manchester atrocity even the scent of victory

The prospect of nearly 1,000 troops emerging from their barracks and on to the streets of Britain will be a shock to the system. Other countries may be used to the sight of soldiers outside palaces and parliaments, at stations or large venues, but not Britain. This, remember, is a country that prides itself on the fact that most of its police are armed with nothing more than a stick.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- May 24, 2017

Manchester attack: Why the Libya connection matters -- Paul Cruickshank, CNN

The normality of terrorism -- Felix Steiner, DW

After the Manchester Terror Attack: What Comes Next? -- Freddie Gray, National Interest

How 'closed communities' provide a breeding ground for radical Islam -- Matthias von Hein, DW

Donald Trump prepares to meet with 'apprehensive' Nato with terrorism on the agenda -- Clark Mindock, The Independent

NATO Allies Should Not Be Judged on Defense Spending Alone -- Rachel Rizzo & Jim Townsend, National Interest

Could Iran’s Elections Indicate a New Future? -- Bennett Seftel, National Interest

Duterte's real motives behind imposing Philippine martial law -- Ana P. Santos, DW

Putin’s Shadow Cabinet and the Bridge to Crimea -- Joshua Yaffa, New Yorker

Will the Balkan Tinderbox Ignite, Again? -- David Kanin, Cipher Brief

I Grew Up in Chavez’s Socialist Venezuela. Here’s What I Think About Current Crisis. -- Ricardo Pita, Daily Signal

Why Venezuelan parents are keeping their children at home -- Vanessa Buschschl├╝ter, BBC News

The Silver Lining to Brazil's Never-Ending Corruption Scandal -- Ian Bremmer, TIME

The Geopolitical Education of Donald Trump -- Michael J. Totten, World Affairs

The Saudi Oil Blunder That Will Keep Costing -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg