Friday, September 22, 2017

Growing List Of Countries Are Threatening To Stay Away From The Winter Olympics In South Korea Because Of Security Fears


Daily Mail: France, Germany and Austria all threaten to stay away from the South Korean 2018 Winter Olympics over security fears sparked by Kim Jong-un

* Three countries revealed they could avoid games if security situation worsened
* Absence of the leading winter sports powers would be hammer blow to games
* Pyeongchang Olympics will take place just 50 miles from North-South border

Austria, Germany and France have threatened to stay away from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea amid security fears over the nuclear-armed North.

Winter Olympics powerhouse Austria also revealed it could stay away from the Pyeongchang Games next February if security concerns deepened.

France's Sports Minister Laura Flessel said yesterday: 'If this gets worse and we do not have our security assured, then our French team will stay here.'

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Winter Olympics will be running from February 9 to 25, and will take place in Pyeongchang, just 50 miles from North Korea.

Tonight's Movie Is 'Go For Broke!'



From Wikipedia: Go for Broke! is a 1951 war film directed by Robert Pirosh, produced by Dore Schary and featured Van Johnson in the starring role, as well as several veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Henry Nakamura, Warner Anderson, and Don Haggerty amongst its large cast.

The film dramatizes the real-life story of the 442nd, which was composed of Nisei (second-generation Americans born of Japanese parents) soldiers.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 22, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson enter a hall during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

M.K. Bhadrakumar, Asia Times: Straws in the wind for a reset in US-Russian relations

The receding specters of a war involving North Korea and a US-Russia confrontation in Syria. The sound of cracking ice in the frozen conflict in Ukraine. Russia and the United States bidding farewell to “tits-for-tat.” Is this the dawn of a brave new world?

You might be skeptical, but it’s possible to draw positive conclusions from the two meetings, on successive days, between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. These meetings, in fact, bode well for another meeting ahead, between presidents Valdimir Putin and Donald Trump, this time in Danang, Vietnam, on the sidelines of the November 11-12 APEC summit.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 22, 2017

Does NKorean H-bomb threat push US closer to war? -- Robert Burns and Matthew Pennington, AP

Analysis: Kim Jong Un, taking on Trump, makes it personal -- Foster Klug, AP

Analyst: North Korea earned revenue from bitcoin mining -- Elizabeth Shim, UPI

Saudi Arabia to test Tehran’s influence in Iraq -- Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Erika Solomon, Financial Times

How can Iran educate a million Afghan refugees? -- Shirin Shakib, DW

India-Japan Relations: Strong and Getting Stronger -- Shashank Joshi, War on the Rocks

The Worsening Rohingya Crisis Is Creating a Dangerous New Reality in Myanmar -- Laignee Barron & Eli Meixler, WPR

No way back for Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees -- Bertil Lintner, Asia Times

The Promises and Perils of Syrian Kurdistan -- Fritz Lodge, The Cipher Brief

Gulf Crisis Still Smolders As Washington Searches for Options -- Bennett Seftel, The Cipher Brief

How Sweden is Balancing its Security in the Baltics -- Anna Wieslander, Atlantic Council

What you need to know about the German electorate -- Mara Bierbach, DW

A Guide to the New Zealand election and the MMP electoral system -- ABC News Online

Catalonia independence bid - what you need to know -- Chase Winter, DW

The Last Hurdle for Ukraine’s Recovery -- Anders Åslund, Project Syndicate

World News Briefs -- September 22, 2017 (Evening Edition)

Kurds celebrate to show their support for the upcoming September 25th independence referendum in Erbil, Iraq September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

Reuters: Kurds press historic independence vote despite regional fears

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi Kurds are expected to vote for independence in a referendum on Monday that neighboring countries and Western powers fear could break up the country and stir broader regional ethnic and sectarian conflict.

Kurdish flags - a red, white and green tricolor emblazoned with a golden sun - adorn cars and buildings across the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, and billboards announce: “The time is now - say ‘yes’ to a free Kurdistan!”

Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region since 2005, has resisted calls by the United Nations, the United States and Britain to delay the referendum. Neighboring Turkey is holding army exercises on the Iraqi border to underline its concerns that the referendum could fuel separatism among its own Kurds.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Israeli jets bombed site close to Damascus airport, reports say. Israeli strikes hit weapons depot by Damascus airport: monitor.

Russian submarine hits terrorist targets in Syria.

Iraq forces oust IS from northern town in drive on Hawija.

UN to help Iraq build war crimes cases against IS extremists.

Turkey, Iran promise sanctions over Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum.

Kurds will vote for independence on Monday, setting up a possible showdown with Iraq and Turkey. Iraqi Kurdish referendum: UN warns of 'destabilising impact'.

Barzani on the Kurdish referendum: 'We refuse to be subordinates' .

Iran's Hassan Rouhani vows to boost missile defenses despite US criticism.

ASIA

Chinese coast guard sails near Japan's Senkaku Islands.

Bali volcano: Thousands evacuated, travel advisory issued as Mt Agung threatens to erupt.

North Korea triggers 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics security scare.

North Korea may test hydrogen bomb in Pacific Ocean.

North Korea's ambassador told the UN that sanctions are threatening the survival of its children.

Japan braces as North Korea threatens hydrogen bomb test in Pacific.

Pakistan tells UN won't be 'scapegoat' in Afghan war.

India calls Pakistan ‘Terroristan’ in UN speech row.

India cross-border firing kills six Pakistani civilians: military.

Fresh fires, bomb blast in Myanmar's Rakhine: gov't.

Satellite images show sprawling Rohingya refugee camps.

AFRICA

Darfur clashes kill 3 as Bashir urges reconciliation.

English speakers take to the streets in Cameroon.

As Congo refugees pour over border, Angola's backing for Kabila in doubt.

Kenyan president says Supreme Court election ruling was 'coup'.

Tunisian navy rescues 78 migrants off coast.

Zambia fears humanitarian crisis as influx of Congo refugees escalates.

Egypt, UAE to build industrial zone at Suez Canal.

Facing crime wave, residents in South Sudan capital pay police for protection.

South African minister calls for ANC to discipline Zuma: report.

EUROPE

Lavrov says US has no proof of Russian vote meddling.

Russia's Lavrov says US, N.Korea in 'kindergarden fight'.

Low-level conflict shows no sign of abating in eastern Ukraine.

Boats of Spanish military police blocked by Catalan ports as unrest grows.

Russia never placed political ads on Facebook — Kremlin.

Theresa May: UK will 'honour' financial commitments to EU. UK PM Theresa May proposes Brexit transition in Florence speech.

French labor reform decrees signed by President Emmanuel Macron. France's Macron signs labour reforms in law, defying protests.

Germany expels second Vietnamese diplomat over 'Cold War-style' abduction.

Eurozone sees 'burst of activity' in September.

AMERICAS

GOP’s ‘Obamacare’ repeal all but dead; McCain deals the blow.

Cuban official: Still no clue on US diplomat health mystery.

Mexico earthquake: Girl reportedly trapped under school rubble didn't exist. Entire towns in Mexico flattened as scale of earthquake damage emerges. Mexico earthquake: Death toll rises as search for survivors goes on.

Dam failing as scope of Puerto Rico’s disaster becomes clear.

Puerto Rico's power grid 'destroyed' by Hurricane Maria, leaving millions cut off.

Hurricane Maria lashes the Turks and Caicos on path toward Bahamas.

Trump dismisses Facebook ads controversy as part of 'Russia hoax'.

Erdogan protesters beaten and ejected from New York speech.

Busiest US-Mexico border crossing shuts for construction work.

Canadian retailers see potential NAFTA change as threat. Difficult NAFTA round three set to start in Canada. US says NAFTA helps Chinese goods reach American market.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Three Swiss Muslim group members charged with making al Qaeda propaganda.

Teenager charged over London tube bomb attack at Parsons Green.

Wounded but still deadly: Al-Qaeda 'posing threat' to Washington.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall Street edges up, shaking off healthcare, North Korea worries.

Long-awaited iPhone 8, Plus models hit stores worldwide.

China fumes over S&P credit rating downgrade. China hits back at S&P's 'mistaken' credit downgrade.

Uber London loses licence to operate.

Russia keen on more OPEC cooperation.

Why Did Steve Bannon Meet China's Second Most Powerful Man Last Week?

Steve Bannon (YouTube)

Zero Hedge: Bannon Held Secret Meeting With China's Second Most Powerful Man

Shortly after Steve Bannon visited Hong Kong last week to give a closed-door speech at a big investor conference hosted by CLSA, a Chinese state-owned brokerage and investment group, Trump's former strategist flew to Beijing for a "secret meeting with the second most powerful Chinese Communist party official", less than a month after the former chief White House strategist declared that America was at “economic war with China”, the FT has reported.

The meeting occurred at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound, where Bannon meet with Wang Qishan, the head of the Chinese Communist party’s anti-corruption campaign.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: A day after I had called China's Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Qishan the second most powerful man in China .... Is This China's Second Most Powerful Person? (September 21, 2017) .... both Zero Hedge and the Financial Times are now calling Wang Qishan the second most powerful man in China. The Financial Times even repeated my analysis that Wang Qishan will remain in his position for the next year or two.

Hmmmm .... I guess they read this blog. :)

The Financial Times article is here .... Steve Bannon held secret meeting in China (Financial)

Update: Now everyone else has jumped on the band-wagon with a focus on how important Wang Qishan is to Chinese President Xi ....

Bannon met with Communist Party official in Beijing: report -- The Hill
Secret meeting with Steve Bannon in Beijing adds to speculation over Wang Qishan's future -- South China Morning Post
Stephen Bannon secretly met with a powerful Chinese Communist Party leader in Beijing -- The Week Magazine
Steve Bannon held secret meeting with a senior Chinese Communist party official: Report -- Washington Examiner
Steve Bannon held secret meeting with Wang Qishan: report -- Asia Times

Update #2: This report is accurate .... China's anti-graft czar aims to retire at party congress (Nikkei Asian Review), but I have been told that President Xi has asked him to stay on for a year or two.We shall see .... but in my world when your President or Prime Minister asks you to serve .... you do not say no.

Life Has Still Not Returned To The Old City Of Mosul



France 24: Video: In the ruins of Mosul's old city

With the battle for Mosul over FRANCE 24's James André reports from Iraq's second city, left in ruins after months of gruelling fighting between IS group fighters and government forces.

More than two months have passed since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Mosul, yet life in Iraq's northern city is still far from normal. Schools are closed, water is scarce, and the rubble left by months of fighting still litters the streets.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is telling .... Iraq PM: Half of IS families detained near Mosul are Turkish (ABC News/AP)

U.S. And Russian Forces Are Now Coming Into Contact In Syria

A photo from the Russian Defense Ministry website showing Russian bombers dropping their payloads on targets in Syria. Moscow's intervention in the Syrian war has increased tensions with Turkey, but has also served to drive a wedge into the NATO alliance. Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics: We're Getting a Little Too Close to Starting WWIII in Syria

Weapons are dropping on US and Russian soldiers in Syria, setting up the dominoes for a conflict that could spread far beyond that country.

If ISIS is on the run, that's a good thing, right? Not entirely—especially if it means the troops of the United States and Russia, two nations with nukes pointed at each other's cities, are coming into contact. This is the story of how we sleepwalked up to the brink of armageddon.

For the past several years, both sides have been attacking their common foe, the outlaw terrorist group called ISIS, from different directions. The American-backed side, rebels called the Syrian Democratic Forces, is advancing on ISIS from the northeast. The Russian-backed side, the regime of the autocratic Assad family, is pushing them from the west. The whole region is hot. The skies are filled with Russian and American warplanes, while the Mediterranean Sea is thick with warships. Meanwhile, many hundreds of U.S. and Russian Special Forces troops are crawling across a battlefield marked by airstrikes, indirect artillery fire, and occasional urban warfare.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There are already reports of U.S. military forces meeting units from the Syrian Army on contested roads .... VIDEO: Syrian Army comes face-to-face with US Army, forces Humvees to drive off (AMN). And while both sides have restrained themselves from firing on each other .... and they are talking to each other .... U.S., Russian generals talk face-to-face on Syria (Reuters) .... worries that this may not last are increasing.

U.S. Military Trainers Use American TV Cop Shows To Train Afghanistan's Security Forces



The Hill: Watchdog: US troops used cop shows for help training Afghan forces

U.S. troops watched cop shows and used slides from an operation in Eastern Europe for help training Afghan security forces, a U.S. watchdog said Thursday in a new report slamming U.S. training efforts in the country.

“One U.S. officer watched TV shows like 'Cops' and 'NCIS' to learn what he should teach,” John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said in a speech introducing the report.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Once in a while I will sit back and watch an episode of "Cops" or "48 Hours" .... its pure entertainment. But using these programs to train security forces in a war zone ?!?!?! To put it bluntly .... something is wrong .... and why is it only being "flagged" now?

Update: You know this training is not working when you read stories like this one .... 3 Police Chiefs Are Killed in a Month in a Volatile Afghan District (NYT).

More News On U.S. Military Trainers Using American TV Cop Shows To Train Afghanistan's Security Forces

US military officers relied on TV cop shows to train Afghan police -- Military Times
U.S. Government Watchdog Calls for Changes in Afghan Training Effort -- US News And World Report/Reuters
Some US troops watch 'Cops' to train Afghan police. That's a problem, watchdog says. -- Washington Post
US military official used TV shows as guide for training Afghan police officers: Report -- Washington Examiner
US Government Agency Calls For Changes in Afghan Troops Training -- Voice of America
SIGAR report puts Afghan security deficiencies in focus -- Al Jazeera
Soldier used TV show ‘Cops’ to learn to train Afghan police – watchdog -- RT

Iran Unveils Its Latest Ballistic Missile That Can Carry Multiple Warheads



Daily Mail: Iran shows off its weapons in military parade as Rouhani vows to boost the country's missile capabilities after firing back at Trump's 'ignorant' rhetoric at the UN

* An Iranian news agency said one of the weapons on display at the parade was a new ballistic missile with range of 1,200 miles
* Parade also showcased Iranian army units and Revolutionary Guard forces
* In a speech broadcast on state television, Rouhani said: 'We will increase our military power as a deterrent'

Iran flaunted its new ballistic weapons today as President Hassan Rouhani vowed to boost the country's missile capabilities without seeking the permission of any other nation.

An Iranian news agency said one of the weapons on display at the parade was a new ballistic missile with range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles), capable of carrying several warheads.

The unveiling by the Revolutionary Guard came during a military parade in Tehran that commemorated the 1980s Iraq-Iran war.

Read more ....

More News On Iran Unveiling Its Newest Missile

Rouhani Lashes Back at Trump, as Iran Unveils New Missile -- New York Times
Iran unveils new long-range ballistic missile -- CNN
Iran unveils latest ballistic missile in show of defiance to US -- CBS News
Iran Shows Off Khorramshahr Ballistic Missile After Trump Speech -- NBC
Defying Trump, Iran says will boost missile capabilities -- Reuters
Iran unveils missile that can reach Israel, carry multiple warheads -- The Times of Israel
Iran defies Trump with promise to strengthen its military -- CNBC

Syria Claims Israeli Jets Bombed A Site Near Damascus Airport

Smoke rises from the Damascus International Airport after an alleged air strike in January [File: Reuters TV]

The Guardian: Israeli jets bombed site close to Damascus airport, reports say

Assad affiliated social media reports say at least two missiles were fired in third attack by Israeli military on targets associated with Hezbollah

Israeli jets have reportedly bombed an area near the Damascus international airport in the third attack in as many weeks by the Israeli military on targets associated with the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

According to social media reports on sites associated with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Israeli planes fired at least two missiles from outside Syrian airspace, hitting either a weapons depot or a convoy.

Read more ....

More News On Reports That Israeli Jets Have Bombed A Site Near Damascus Airport

Rockets hit Damascus airport area in probable Israeli attack: report -- Reuters
Syria says IAF carried out air strike overnight near Damascus -- Jerusalem Online
Israeli jets reportedly strike weapons depot outside Damascus -- The Times of Israel
SOHR: Israeli warplanes hit near Damascus airport -- Al Jazeera
Israeli warplanes strike near Damascus airport – reports -- RT
Israeli air strikes hit Hezbollah arms depot near Damascus airport - reports -- Middle East Eye

Pentagon Releases Video Of The Syrian Fighter Shot Down By A U.S. Navy Pilot In June



Business Insider/The Aviationist: Here's the video of the Syrian fighter jet being shot down by a US Navy pilot in June

On Jun. 18, F/A-18E Super Hornet belonging to the VFA-87 “Golden Warriors” and piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Michael “Mob” Tremel,” shot down a Syrian Arab Air Force Su-22 Fitter near the town of Resafa (40 km to the southwest of Raqqa, Syria).

The VFA-31 Tomcatters, also embarked on USS George Bush (CVN-77) supporting Operation Inherent Resolve from the Mediterranean Sea back then, have included footage of the aerial engagement, filmed with their ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infra Red) pod, in their 2017 OIR cruise video.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The account from the U.S. pilots who shot down this Syrian fighter jet can be read here .... Here's The Definitive Account Of The Syrian Su-22 Shoot Down From The Pilots Themselves (The Drive).

Could North Korea Crush The U.S. Military In A War?


Dave Majumdar, National Interest: Could North Korea's Army Crush the U.S. Military in a War?

Other than North Korea’s massed dug in artillery forces, Pyongyang’s enormous and well training special operations forces are the most dangerous threat facing the United States and the South. According to U.S. military sources, Pyongyang’s special operations troops are well trained and well equipped and pose a significant danger.

As Washington ratchets up the pressure on North Korea—or potentially launches a preemptive strike—the Kim regime in Pyongyang has options to strike back hard at the United States and South Korea using purely conventional means.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Any conventional war on the Korean peninsula will primarily be a conflict between South Korean and North Korean military forces. As for U.S. forces, they will primarily be engaging the enemy from the air and from the sea. If the war continues ..... it will take for US ground forces to be deployed, but even then I do not see them leading the fight into North Korea. In the current situation, there is simply not enough U.S. forces to do the job alone.

World News Briefs -- September 22, 2017



Reuters: North Korea may consider H-bomb test in Pacific, Kim calls Trump 'deranged'

SEOUL/NEW YORK (Reuters) - North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats.

Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks.

South Korea said it was the first direct statement of its kind by a North Korean leader. However, Kim’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said North Korea could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific Ocean. Ri told reporters in New York he did not know Kim’s exact thoughts.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Israeli jets bombed site close to Damascus airport, reports say. Israeli strikes hit weapons depot by Damascus airport: monitor.

Russian submarine hits terrorist targets in Syria.

Iraq forces oust IS from northern town in drive on Hawija.

UN to help Iraq build war crimes cases against IS extremists.

Kurds will vote for independence on Monday, setting up a possible showdown with Iraq and Turkey. Iraqi Kurdish referendum: UN warns of 'destabilising impact'.

Barzani on the Kurdish referendum: 'We refuse to be subordinates' .

Iran's Hassan Rouhani vows to boost missile defenses despite US criticism.

ASIA

North Korea may test hydrogen bomb in Pacific Ocean.

North Korea's ambassador told the UN that sanctions are threatening the survival of its children.

Japan braces as North Korea threatens hydrogen bomb test in Pacific.

Pakistan tells UN won't be 'scapegoat' in Afghan war.

India calls Pakistan ‘Terroristan’ in UN speech row.

India cross-border firing kills six Pakistani civilians: military.

Satellite images show sprawling Rohingya refugee camps.

AFRICA

As Congo refugees pour over border, Angola's backing for Kabila in doubt.

Kenyan president says Supreme Court election ruling was 'coup'.

Tunisian navy rescues 78 migrants off coast.

Zambia fears humanitarian crisis as influx of Congo refugees escalates.

Egypt, UAE to build industrial zone at Suez Canal.

Facing crime wave, residents in South Sudan capital pay police for protection.

South African minister calls for ANC to discipline Zuma: report.

EUROPE

Low-level conflict shows no sign of abating in eastern Ukraine.

Boats of Spanish military police blocked by Catalan ports as unrest grows.

Russia never placed political ads on Facebook — Kremlin.

Theresa May: UK will 'honour' financial commitments to EU. UK PM Theresa May proposes Brexit transition in Florence speech.

French labor reform decrees signed by President Emmanuel Macron. France's Macron signs labour reforms in law, defying protests.

Germany expels second Vietnamese diplomat over 'Cold War-style' abduction.

Eurozone sees 'burst of activity' in September.

AMERICAS

Mexico earthquake: Girl reportedly trapped under school rubble didn't exist. Entire towns in Mexico flattened as scale of earthquake damage emerges. Mexico earthquake: Death toll rises as search for survivors goes on.

Puerto Rico's power grid 'destroyed' by Hurricane Maria, leaving millions cut off.

Hurricane Maria lashes the Turks and Caicos on path toward Bahamas.

Trump dismisses Facebook ads controversy as part of 'Russia hoax'.

Erdogan protesters beaten and ejected from New York speech.

Busiest US-Mexico border crossing shuts for construction work.

Canadian retailers see potential NAFTA change as threat. Difficult NAFTA round three set to start in Canada. US says NAFTA helps Chinese goods reach American market.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Three Swiss Muslim group members charged with making al Qaeda propaganda.

Teenager charged over London tube bomb attack at Parsons Green.

Wounded but still deadly: Al-Qaeda 'posing threat' to Washington.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

China fumes over S&P credit rating downgrade. China hits back at S&P's 'mistaken' credit downgrade.

Uber London loses licence to operate.

Russia keen on more OPEC cooperation.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 22, 2017

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS

Hyonhee Shin & Linda Sieg, Reuters: A North Korea nuclear test over the Pacific? Logical, terrifying

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - Detonating a nuclear-tipped missile over the Pacific Ocean would be a logical final step by North Korea to prove the success of its weapons program but would be extremely provocative and carry huge risks, arms control experts said on Friday.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho suggested leader Kim Jong Un was considering testing “an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb” over the Pacific in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat at the United Nations to “totally destroy” the country.

“It may mean North Korea will fire a warhead-tipped (intermediate range) Hwasong-12 or Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile and blow it up a few hundred kilometers above the Pacific Ocean,” said Yang Uk, a senior researcher at the Korea Defence and Security Forum in Seoul.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 22, 2017

North Korea's Thermonuclear Threat -- Morris Jones, Lowy Institute

If North Korea uses H-bomb, 'ultimately' Trump's decision on any military action: Tillerson -- ABC News

What military options are open to the US in tackling North Korea? -- SCMP

Fake evacuation orders sent to US military personnel in South Korea -- FOX News

U.S. Navy carrier drills with Japanese navy amid North Korean tension -- Reuters

Putin assesses Zapad-2017 military drills -- TASS

Russia just successfully tested one of its newest ICBMs — Here's what it can do -- Daniel Brown, Business Insider

Russian aircraft scrambled 14 times in a week to intercept foreign jets along borders -- TASS

The French Turn to Armed Drones -- Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer, War on the Rocks

Iran defies Trump with promise to strengthen its military -- CNBC

Battle for Marawi Deepens Philippines' Military Budget Challenge -- The Diplomat

US Considers Limiting Military Ties to Myanmar Over Rohingya Crisis -- TIME

Pentagon Discloses Meeting With Russian Military To Prevent Accidental Clashes In Syria -- RFE

Qatar Withdraw May Endanger U.S. Forces in Djibouti -- Joseph Hammond, RCD

The U.S. Air Force’s Vital Role in Iraq and Afghanistan -- Rathna K. Muralidharan, RCD

Navy $5 Billion Deal Builds New Nuclear-Armed Columbia-Class Sub -- Scout Warrior

US stealth fighter jets adding more firepower -- CNN

Light ISR: The Air Force’s next experiment? -- Defense News

The Air Force is scrambling to train more pilots as new aircraft languish on the runway -- Business Insider

US Army May Be Abandoning Its 7.62mm Rifle Program -- Task & Purpose

The Army Kills its Plan to Replace the M4 Carbine Rifle -- Popular Mechanics

Robotic delivery: Drones could deliver you and your gear to the fight -- Defense News

For the first time, the Marine Corps plans to have a female infantry officer among its ranks -- Washington Post

Should all infantry squad leaders be staff sergeants? -- Marine Times

Air Force Reserve grooming space warriors -- Space News

Exclusive: Trump administration prepares to ease export rules for U.S. guns -- Reuters

When hurricanes destroy phone lines, the Guard enables communication -- Military Times

Here's why Donald Trump wants his nukes to be smaller -- Jeffrey Lewis, Foreign Policy

Back to the Future With Mini-Nukes? -- Malcolm Davis, The Strategist

Why Green Berets are the smartest, most lethal fighters in the world -- Paul Szoldra, Business Insider

The origin of Mattis’ call sign, ‘Chaos’ -- Military Times

Is The Era Of The B-52 Coming To An End?

April 9, 2016: A pair of U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, taxi after landing at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. (Reuters/Air Force)

Military.com: Without New Nuclear Weapon, B-52 Bomber Mission Ends, General Warns

If the United States doesn't invest seriously in the Long Range Standoff Weapon, commonly known as LRSO, it can kiss the future of the B-52 Stratofortress bomber goodbye, the head of U.S. Strategic Command said Wednesday.

Gen. John Hyten said the LRSO is necessary for the B-52 long-range bomber because the B-21 Long Range Strategic Bomber -- the Pentagon's latest classified multi-billion dollar program -- can carry out only one nuclear mission at a time.

"We expect [the B-52] to be a nuclear-capable platform" lasting into the 2050s, Hyten told the audience during a speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

The LRSO program would replace the AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile, known as ALCM, developed in the early 1980s.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The B-52 will still be used for this .... Today's B-52s Are Not The B-52s That Your Dad Flew (January 18, 2015). On a side note, I am surprised about this ....

.....B-21 Long Range Strategic Bomber -- the Pentagon's latest classified multi-billion dollar program -- can carry out only one nuclear mission at a time.

I guess they are cutting corners for this future bomber.

Trump Administration Ready To Change The Rules Of Engagement On Drone Strikes And Military Raids



New York Times: Trump Poised to Drop Some Limits on Drone Strikes and Commando Raids

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is preparing to dismantle key Obama-era limits on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations. The changes would lay the groundwork for possible counterterrorism missions in countries where Islamic militants are active but the United States has not previously tried to kill or capture them.

President Trump’s top national security advisers have proposed relaxing two rules, the officials said. First, the targets of kill missions by the military and the C.I.A., now generally limited to high-level militants deemed to pose a “continuing and imminent threat” to Americans, would be expanded to include foot-soldier jihadists with no special skills or leadership roles. And second, proposed drone attacks and raids would no longer undergo high-level vetting.

But administration officials have also agreed that they should keep in place one important constraint for such attacks: a requirement of “near certainty” that no civilian bystanders will be killed.

Read more ....

Update: Trump’s New Drone Strike Policy: What’s Any Different? Why It Matters (Luke Hartig, Just Security).

WNU Editor: Will the lawyers still be present in the command and control centers .... apparently yes. Can the enemy use civilians as shields even if the civilians are supporting the enemy .... apparently yes. So what is different is that lower level targets are now targets, and the vetting (by the lawyers) will be less intense (whatever that means).

Life On A U.S. Navy Submarine (Video)

Cartoon Round Up ....