Sunday, July 23, 2017

U.S. May Conduct Another Missile Defense Test Next Week

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, during Flight Test THAAD (FTT)-18 on July 11, 2017.
LEAH GARTON/MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY

Daily Caller: US Prepares For Another Missile Defense Test As North Korea Ramps Up The Threat

The U.S. will conduct another missile defense test in the near future to better address the growing ballistic missile threat from North Korea.

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a warning to mariners earlier this week to steer clear of the waterways between Kodiak Island in Alaska and Hawaii this coming weekend, according to the Kodiak Daily Mirror. U.S. military personnel are stationed at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska to conduct a test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile shield.

Read more ....

Update: Coast Guard: Missile test could be conducted next weekend (Navy Times/AP)

WNU Editor: From the Kodiak Daily Mirror ....

.... According to the notice, the launch is scheduled to occur at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska between 7 p.m. on July 29 and 1:30 a.m. on July 30. Alternative times for the launch are listed as between 7 p.m. on July 30 and 1:30 a.m. on July 31, or between 7 p.m. on July 31 and 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 1.

The Next Israel-Hezbollah War Could Be In Syria

Israeli soldiers are silhouetted as they search for the remains of rockets fired from Lebanon, near the northern city of Nahariya, Israel, Dec. 21, 2015. (photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Mona Alami, Al-Monitor: Next Israel-Hezbollah confrontation could be in Syria

There is a relative calm in southern Syria in the wake of the July 7 US-Russian-brokered cease-fire agreement backed by Jordan. The deal came against the backdrop of increased clashes between pro-regime militias and the Syrian opposition, as well as escalating strikes by Israel on Iranian interests in the region. Yet the cease-fire will be difficult to hold in the long run given the strategic importance southern Syria holds for Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. Such local dynamics mean that the possibility of a future showdown between Hezbollah and Israel is increasingly strong in southern Syria — more than in nearby Lebanon, Hezbollah’s bastion.

Russian troops in charge of monitoring the cease-fire appear to have deployed on July 17 in the Daraa province, according to Syrian Masdar News. The recent US-Russian deal included establishing de-escalation zones along Syria’s borders with both Jordan and Israel.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In the mind of Hezbollah .... waging war against Israel is just as important as waging war against Sunni extremists and opponents of Syrian President Assad. Hezbollah's focus right now is on fighting the civil war in Syria .... but once that conflict is over .... the grievances that have launched past Israeli - Hezbollah wars are still there, and it will not take much for them to restart again. The only question that we do not know the answer to is .... will that war be waged in Lebanon, south-east Syria, or both.

The Next Middle East War Will Be Between Sunni Saudi Arabia And Shia Iran For Regional Predominance

Joschka Fischer, Project Syndicate: The Middle East’s Next War

BERLIN – With the retaking of Mosul in northern Iraq, the Islamic State (ISIS) could soon be a thing of the past. But the defeat of ISIS and the demise of its self-proclaimed Iraqi-Syrian caliphate won’t bring peace to the Middle East, or even an end to the Syrian tragedy. Rather, it is likely to open a new chapter in the region’s bloody and chaotic history – one no less dangerous than the previous chapters since the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.

The continuation of this violent pattern seems almost certain because the region remains unable to resolve internal conflicts on its own, or to create anything like a resilient framework for peace. Instead, it remains trapped somewhere between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Western powers are hardly blameless for the Middle East’s woes. Any mention of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, by which Great Britain and France partitioned the post-Ottoman territories, still incites such rage in the Arab world that it seems as if the plan, devised in secret in 1916, had been conceived only yesterday.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Joschka Fischer also acknowledges the impact that Kurdish aspirations are having in destabilising the Middle East. As to what is my take on this post .... Joschka Fischer spends a lot of time blaming (and explaining) how the West contributed to the current crisis situation in the Middle East .... and how their decisions in the past have helped to produce the situation where we are today. Fair enough. But these conflicts have been percolating long before Europe became interested in the Middle East, and one can make the argument that the Turks with their Ottoman Empire and later the European powers followed by the U.S. only delayed the inevitable .... Shiites and Sunnis waging war and conflict over lands that they have been fighting for since the beginning of Islam. The only difference now is that large populations, oil wealth, technology, and access to better weapons have made these ancient conflicts more widespread and destructive .... and coupled with mass communications and social media .... easier to promote and maintain. As for the West .... Russia .... China .... the rest of the world .... we are all rapidly becoming spectators. And while we are involved to a certain degree, the trend is accelerating for future wars in the region to be started (and conducted) primarily by the people who live in this region, and their only expectation from us is to provide minimal military aide.

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 23, 2017

Israeli border police officers stand guard as Palestinians pray at Lions' Gate, the entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, in protest over Israel's new security measures at the compound housing Al-Aqsa mosque, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary (Haram al-Sharif) and to Jews as the Temple Mount, July 20, 2017. (photo by REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Osama Al Sharif, Al-Monitor: Jordan, Israel trade barbs as tension over Al-Aqsa continues

Anyone following Jordanian reaction to Israeli measures imposed at the Haram al-Sharif (which Israel calls The Temple Mount) in the Old City of Jerusalem following the deadly July 14 attack could be forgiven for thinking that Jordan and Israel were still at war. Israel closed the compound that includes Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine, preventing prayer there after three Arab-Israelis opened fire on Israeli guards near a gate leading to the shrine. Two policemen were killed before the assailants were shot dead. It was the first time that Israeli authorities had closed the compound since 1969, triggering angry reactions on both sides of the Jordan River.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- July 23, 2017

The death of the caliphate: Why ISIS’s huge territorial setbacks in Syria and Iraq are so devastating to the terrorist group -- Simon Cottee, NYDaily News

Qatar’s diverse $335 billion in investments around the world -- Amrank

Hanoi is choking on the fumes of 5m motorbikes, but can ban break its habit? -- Kate Hodal, The Guardian

Kenya’s Upcoming Elections Should Worry the World -- Patrick Gathara, Wash Post

Angela Merkel’s Turkish roulette: Berlin’s patience with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has run out. -- Matthew Karnitschnig, Politico

Estonia: A NATO Ally in Peril -- Jüri Toomepuu, Small Wars Journal

Divided UK, inconclusive election could put brakes on Brexit -- Jill Lawless, AP

Russia on Europe’s Gas Supply: Tough Talk, But No Teeth -- Agnia Grigas, RCW

How Kaczynski Is Driving Poland Away from Europe -- Jan Puhl, Spiegel Online

European Disunion: What the rise of populist movements means for democracy -- Yascha Mounk, New Republic

Putin’s Hackers Now Under Attack—From Microsoft -- Kevin Poulsen, Daily Beast

Colombia's New Cocaine Problem -- Ben Grenrock, Roads and Kingdoms

Trump’s 'Axis of Adults' Is Breaking Apart -- Eli Lake, Bloomberg

Alliances Are More Than Balance Sheets -- Jacob Parakilas, Newsweek

Are America's Overseas Security Commitments Worth It? -- RAND

Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak Officially Ends His U.S. Tenure


Business Insider/Reuters: Sergey Kislyak has officially ended his tenure as Russia's ambassador to the US

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia's ambassador to Washington Sergei Kislyak, a key figure in ongoing U.S. investigations into Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, ended his tenure on Saturday.

The Russian embassy in Washington said on its Twitter feed that Minister-Counseler and Deputy Chief of Mission Denis V. Gonchar would serve as Charge d'Affaires until Kislyak's successor arrived.

Kislyak, who held the post since 2008, is expected to be replaced by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He served as Russian ambassador to the U.S. for 9 years. His replacement will be deputy foreign minister Anatoliy Antonov .... Russia's Next U.S. Ambassador Will Be Anatoly Antonov (May 27, 2017).

More News On Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak Officially Ending His U.S. Tenure

Russian diplomat Sergey Kislyak departs U.S. as ambassadorship ends -- CBS
Key figure in US, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak goes home -- DW
Kislyak Ends Term As Russia’s Ambassador To Washington -- RFE
‘Witch hunt’ target, Russian Ambassador Kislyak ends US tenure -- RT

New White House Communications Director Vows To Stop Leaks





Axios: Scaramucci promises "dramatic action" to stop the leaks

New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is making the Sunday Show rounds today.

* From Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: "[W]e have to get the leaks stopped. If we don't get them stopped. I'm a businessperson so I will take dramatic action to stop those leaks. ... If the leaks don't stop I'm going to pare down the staff because it's just not right.... Something is going on inside the White House that the president does not like. We will fix it."

* From an interview with John Dickerson of CBS News, when asked how he'll treat leakers on his watch: "They're going to get fired. I'm just going to make it very, very clear, okay? Tomorrow I'm going to have a staff meeting. And it's going to be a very binary thing. I'm not going to make any prejudgments about anybody on that staff. If they want to stay on the staff, they're going to stop leaking."

* Bonus: Scaramucci told Wallace that while he thinks some members of the press are stretching or making up stories, he wants to "engage" the mainstream media, adding that he wants to "de-escalate" tensions between the press and the White House.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If he has the mandate to control the messaging and discipline of the White House .... including firing people .... the culture is going to change very quickly. If not .... we are going to find out very soon on how much authority does he really have.

More News On White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci Vowing To Stop Leaks

New Trump communications director promises crackdown on media leaks -- Reuters
'I will take dramatic action': Scaramucci threatens to chop staff if White House leaks don't stop -- CBC
Scaramucci promises 'dramatic action' to stop White House leaks -- The Hill
Scaramucci on WH leakers: "They're going to get fired" -- CBS
Scaramucci makes Sunday shows debut with vow to stop WH leaks -- The Hill
Scaramucci Vows “Dramatic Action” to Stop Leaks From the White House -- Daniel Politi, Slate
White House communications ‘obviously’ have problems, says new director -- Politico

Europe Warns The U.S. On Imposing New Sanctions On Russia



Reuters: EU sounds alarm, urges U.S. to coordinate on Russia sanctions

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union sounded an alarm on Saturday about moves in the U.S. Congress to step up U.S. sanctions on Russia, urging Washington to keep coordinating with its G7 partners and warning of unintended consequences.

In a statement by a spokeswoman after Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress reached a deal that could see new legislation pass, the European Commission warned of possibly "wide and indiscriminate" "unintended consequences", notably on the EU's efforts to diversify energy sources away from Russia.

Germany has already warned of possible retaliation if the United States moves to sanction German firms involved with building a new Baltic pipeline for Russian gas.

EU diplomats are concerned that a German-U.S. row over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built by Russia's state-owned Gazprom could complicate efforts in Brussels to forge an EU consensus on negotiating with Russia over the project.

Read more ....

Update #1: EU warns the US against unilateral tightening of Russia sanctions - Reuters -- RBTH/TASS
Update #2: EU "Sounds Alarm" Over New US Sanctions On Russia; Germany Threatens Retaliation -- Zero Hedge

WNU Editor: Germany warned last month that they would retaliate if these U.S. sanctions would be imposed .... A Trade War Between The U.S. And Germany Over Russian Sanctions? (June 16, 2017). Even accusing Washington of ulterior motives .... that sanctioning Russian energy companies that would force Europeans to buy from U.S. suppliers .... U.S., Russia Vie For European Gas Dominance (OilPrice.com). As for the White House response from this Congressional agreement on new Russian sanctions .... their message is not clear yet .... White House offers muddled message on Russia sanctions legislation (Washington Post)

Update #3: White House Signals Acceptance of Russia Sanctions Bill (NYT).

Small Drones Rigged To Drop Grenades Have Proven Themselves To Be Very Effective Weapons



Scout Warrior: Small Russian Drones Do Massive Damage WIth Grenade Weapons

Small consumer drones rigged to drop grenades have proved an effective weapon in Iraq and Syria.

Small consumer drones rigged to drop grenades have proved an effective weapon in Iraq and Syria. The volume of attacks by ISIS drones threatened to stall the assault on Mosul, and the Iraqi Federal Police soon now deploy their own grenade-dropping drones against ISIS. However, such drones are not limited to the tactical battlefield. In spite of their diminutive size, such drones may become weapons of mass destruction in their own right. A precision attack does not need to deliver a massive warhead: it just has to ‘bring the detonator’ to a vulnerable target.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above video is from Iraq, and the post from Scout Warrior focuses on the drones that the Ukraine rebels may be using .... and the enormous economic damage that these cheap devices can inflict..

BREAKING NEWS: Israeli Embassy Attacked In Jordan


WNU Editor: This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Updates On Today's Terror Attack Against The Israeli Embassy In Jordan

Jordanian killed and Israeli injured inside the Israeli embassy in Amman (update) -- Ammon
Attack at Israel embassy in Jordan – reports -- BBC
Jordan army site: Violent incident near Israeli Embassy -- Washington Post/AP
Israeli embassy in Jordan locked down amid reports of gunfire -- The Independent

The Pakistan - India Nuclear Standoff Is The World's Most Dangerous Flashpoint

An Indian Agni-II IRBM. Agencia Brasil photo via Wikimedia

Zachary Keck, War Is Boring: The World’s Most Dangerous Flashpoint

Pakistan and India's nuclear standoff contains potentially greater risks than the Cold War

With the world’s attention firmly fixated on North Korea, the greatest possibility of nuclear war is in fact on the other side of Asia.

That place is what could be called the nuclear triangle of Pakistan, India and China. Although Chinese and Indian forces are currently engaged in a standoff, traditionally the most dangerous flashpoint along the triangle has been the Indo-Pakistani border. The two countries fought three major wars before acquiring nuclear weapons, and one minor one afterwards.

Read more ....

WNU editor: If there should ever be a nuclear war .... I would bet it would be between Pakistan - India.

This is How Japan Will Sink The Chinese Navy In The Event Of War

Chinese servicemen gesture from the deck of a naval vessel, during the closing ceremony of the Pakistan Navy’s Multinational Exercise AMAN-17, in the North Arabian Sea, Pakistan, February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro​

Kyle Mizokami, National Interest: How Japan Could Sink China's Navy in a War: Ramjet Missiles

A new anti-ship missile promises to give a tremendous boost to the Japan Self Defense Force's ability to deter naval aggression. The missile, known as XASM-3, can travel at speeds of Mach 3, evading missile defenses to sink enemy surface ships. The missiles will be a significant worry for China, whose navy will have to sail within range of the missiles in order to reach the North Pacific Ocean.

Traditional anti-ship missiles such as the U.S.-made Harpoon and French Exocet use rocket motors and turbojet engines to fly at subsonic speeds. The missiles are collectively known as “sea skimmers” due to their ability to fly as little as fifteen feet above the waves. The advantage to this low altitude flight is that incoming missiles are hidden from targets by the curvature of the earth. The lower a missile flies, the shorter the detection range. A radar sixty feet off the ground can detect a sea skimming missile flying at thirty feet at a range of nineteen miles. Assuming a Harpoon missile flies at a height of ten meters, enemy air defenses will pick it up on their radars only in the last two minutes of flight, giving them little time to react.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a clear signal from Japan to China that in the event of a conflict .... China will be paying a heavy price.

Syrian War News Updates -- July 23, 2017

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Al Jazeera: Syria truce crumbles as air raids hit Eastern Ghouta

Monitoring group says air strikes hit rebel-held towns just 24 hours after a ceasefire was agreed.

Syrian government forces have carried out several air strikes in the Eastern Ghouta area outside of Damascus, a day after the Syrian military declared a cessation of hostilities in the area, according to a UK-based monitor.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Saturday had been relatively calm after the ceasefire took effect with isolated incidents of shellfire.

But on Sunday, six air strikes hit the towns of Douma and Ain Terma in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, it said.

Read more ....

Syrian War News Updates -- July 23, 2017

Syrian warplanes strike near Damascus despite ceasefire, Syrian observatory says -- CBC/AP
Syria strikes hit near Damascus despite ceasefire: monitor -- AFP
Hezbollah and Syrian army advance in border offensive -- France 24
Hezbollah and Syrian Army Attack Islamists on Lebanon Border -- NYT
Lebanese mediator killed in fighting near Syrian border -- Al Jazeera
Syrian army, allies advance against Islamic State east of Raqqa -- Reuters
Militants burst from tunnels, hit weak points in Raqqa fight -- ABC News/AP
US Special Operators Are Moving Closer to the Fighting in Raqqa -- The Drive
U.S., British volunteers battle Islamic State in militants’ de facto Syrian capital -- AP
Women burn burqas and men shave beards to celebrate liberation from Isis in Syria -- The Independent

The Islamic State Did Have The Ingredients To Build A Crude 'Dirty Bomb'

Washington Post: How ISIS nearly stumbled on the ingredients for a ‘dirty bomb’

On the day the Islamic State overran the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014, it laid claim to one of the greatest weapons bonanzas ever to fall to a terrorist group: a large metropolis dotted with military bases and garrisons stocked with guns, bombs, rockets and even battle tanks.

But the most fearsome weapon in Mosul on that day was never used by the terrorists. Only now is it becoming clear what happened to it.

Locked away in a storage room on a Mosul college campus were two caches of cobalt-60, a metallic substance with lethally high levels of radiation. When contained within the heavy shielding of a radiotherapy machine, cobalt-60 is used to kill cancer cells. In terrorists’ hands, it is the core ingredient of a “dirty bomb,” a weapon that could be used to spread radiation and panic.

Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt and watched anxiously for three years for signs that the militants might try to use it. Those concerns intensified in late 2014 when Islamic State officials boasted of obtaining radioactive material, and again early last year when the terrorists took over laboratories at the same Mosul college campus with the apparent aim of building new kinds of weapons.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Apparently ISIS did not appreciate what they had .... 'They aren't that smart': ISIS had the 'perfect' ingredient to build a huge dirty bomb under their noses in Mosul but had no idea (Daily Mail). What is also reassuring is that the real physical impact from such a bomb (if it was used) would have been minimal .... Isis And The C-60 For A Dirty Bomb In Mosul - Not A Huge Problem (Tim Worstall, Forbes).

Taliban Seize Two Districts In Central Afghanistan


VOA: Taliban Captures 2 Districts in Central Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD — Heavy fighting is raging in central Afghanistan where officials say the Islamist Taliban has captured two key district headquarters and is assaulting government outposts in nearby areas.

Insurgents stormed Taywara district in Ghor province early Sunday, after seizing control of the border district of Kohistan in the adjoining northern province of Faryab, according to Afghan and Taliban officials.

Read more ....

More News On The Afghan War

The Latest: Taliban stalk hospital killing wounded police -- AP
Officials: Taliban seize 2 districts, kill wounded police -- Washington Post/AP
Taliban claims more ground in Afghanistan -- SKY News
Taliban Seize Control Of Two Districts In Afghanistan -- RFE
Taliban fighters attack police, capturing two districts -- Al Jazeera
Taywara district center also falls to Taliban control in Ghor province --Khaama Press
Faryab’s Kohistan District Falls To The Taliban -- Tolo News
Faryab’s Kohistan District Falls To The Taliban -- Tolo News
Afghanistan: Taliban overrun 2 districts -- Anadolu Agency
13 Taliban militants killed in Afghanistan's Kunduz province; military aircraft targeted gathering, says army official -- First Post
Taliban carry out mass kidnapping in Afghanistan's Kandahar province -- DW
Taliban execute 7 of the 70 abducted civilians in Kandahar province -- Khaama Press
Afghan Police Searching For Missing Villagers After Mass Kidnapping -- RFE
Mattis: Authority delegated by Trump in Afghanistan is tactical, not strategic -- Military Times
Mattis on Afghanistan troops decision: 'We are working to get it right' -- CNN
Afghanistan: A morally corrupting catastrophe -- Alon Ben-Meir, Japan Times/The Globalist
Making Afghanistan Great Again -- Fred Kaplan, Slate

World News Briefs -- July 23, 2017





The Guardian: More Jerusalem clashes feared as Israel searches for way to secure holy site

Death toll of violence over access to compound housing al-Aqsa mosque reaches seven, bringing global calls for restraint

Israeli officials insisted on Sunday they will not remove the metal detectors from outside a major Jerusalem mosque, whose installation triggered rapidly escalating confrontations with Palestinians, will not be removed.

Amid a mounting toll of deaths and injuries in the crisis, Israelis and Palestinians are braced for weeks of confrontation, as both sides appeared to dig into their positions.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

Syria: Safe zone demarcation agreement reached for Damascus after fighting leaves 92 dead.

Syria strikes hit near Damascus despite ceasefire: monitor.

Syrian army, allies advance against Islamic State east of Raqqa.

Hezbollah and Syrian army advance in border offensive.

Lebanese mediator killed in fighting near Syrian border.

Iran and Iraq sign accord to boost military cooperation.

Iran seizes Saudi Arabian fishing boat and arrests crew as tensions escalate in Persian Gulf.

Qatar crisis: Turkey's Erdogan calls for swift end to Gulf dispute. Erdogan set to visit Saudi Arabia over Gulf crisis.

Yemen cholera cases could exceed 600,000 in 2017: Red Cross.

Rocket launched from Gaza Strip – Israeli military.

Israel says Jerusalem mosque metal detectors to stay, may be reduced. Israel installs security cameras at al-Aqsa compound.

Netanyahu faces pressure over holy site after violence kills eight.

Iran rejects US threats over detained Americans.

ASIA

Taliban fighters attack police, capturing two districts.

Taliban carry out mass kidnapping in Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Afghanistan: Taliban 'kidnapped dozens' of villagers. 70 villagers kidnapped in Afghanistan, at least 7 killed: police.

Marawi standoff enters third month, underlining crisis in Philippines.

North Korea says South will pay 'harshest' price for challenging missile tests.

Last chance to see North Korea for US tourists.

Japanese PM Abe's support slides again before parliament appearance.

Timor-Leste election: 'Disenfranchised youth' party wins first seats in parliament.

Fukushima disaster: Robot finds possible melted nuclear fuel.

AFRICA

Libya eastern commander Haftar, U.N.-backed premier Serraj to meet in Paris on Tuesday: source.

Ugandan air force carries out airstrikes on South Sudanese rebels positions in Upper Nile.

Western donors freeze support for 'obsolete' South Sudan peace deal.

Saudi Arabia vows to continue efforts to lift U.S. sanctions on Sudan.

Nigeria's ex-oil minister battles slew of graft cases.

Chief of Nigerian Army Staff, Buratai orders troops to capture Boko Haram leader within 40 days.

Egypt opens military base says largest in region.

Kenya poll has Kenyatta at 47%, Odinga at 43% before Aug. 8 vote.

DR Congo opposition unveil plans to force Kabila out.

Mozambique to default on another bond repayment.

EUROPE

EU sounds alarm, urges U.S. to coordinate on Russia sanctions. EU concerned over US bill on Russia sanctions, warns of ‘unintended consequences’.

Protesters demand Polish President veto judicial law.

Britain needs transitional deal with EU, to end before next election: minister.

Popularity tumbles for France's Macron: poll.

Merkel rival Martin Schulz slams migrant policy.

Top Merkel aide says Turkey's conduct 'unacceptable'.

Spain's business leaders worried about Catalan secession.

Greek holiday island battles to recover from deadly quake.

Key figure in US, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak goes home.

‘Imagine living with this crap’: tempers in Venice boil over in tourist high season.

Rome risks water rationing as drought-hit lake set to go offline.

AMERICAS

U.S. lawmakers reach deal on Russia sanctions bill, creating limits for Trump.

White House on edge as Mueller quietly pursues Russia probe.

Venezuelan's opposition calls new strike, violence flares.

Venezuelan violinist Wuilly Arteaga hurt in protest.

US weighs financial sanctions to hit Venezuela's oil revenue, sources say.

FARC and former paramilitary arch enemies agree to both face Colombia’s Truth Commission.

'People are getting poorer': hunger and homelessness as Brazil crisis deepens.

Conservative Party merger alters landscape in Canada's oil patch.

SF iconic Golden Gate Bridge to close traffic during marathon due to terrorist threat.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Mattis on ISIS leader Baghdadi: 'Until I see his body, I am going to assume he is alive'.

ISIL women recruits detained in Mosul.

Hundreds of Islamic State corpses await repatriation from Libya.

Shabaab gains in Somalia due to ‘lapses in offensive counterterrorism operations’.

YouTube has started redirecting searches for violent extremism to anti-terrorism videos.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Saudi Arabia turns off the U.S. oil tap.

India's Delhi government tells Philip Morris to remove all ads.

Rookie from New Jersey wins World Series of Poker, $8.1M.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 23, 2017

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gives a speech during a meeting of Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 21, 2017, during which he announced freezing all contacts with Israel. (Flash90)

Times of Israel: In first, Abbas halts security cooperation meetings with Israel

As part of general freeze of contacts with Jerusalem over Temple Mount metal detectors, Palestinian sources say PA president suspending security ties for first time since he took office a decade ago

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has canceled security coordination meetings between Israeli and Palestinian officials protesting the installation of metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The open-ended suspension of security cooperation was part of the more general freeze in contacts with Israel that Abbas announced late Friday, Palestinian sources said, despite initial assessments the PA president would refrain from severing the military ties.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- July 23, 2017

Israeli Army Gears Up for Escalation in West Bank That Could Last Weeks -- Haaretz

Why Russia's ballistic-missile defense works and the US's kinda doesn't -- Business Insider

Incoming! Russian Airforce to Get Delivery of Over 100 New Aircraft in 2018 -- Sputnik

Putin's forces stage day of military might in Russia as deadly fighter jets take to the skies while the next generation are inspired at armed forces theme park -- Daily Mail

Baltic Frontier: China Will Hold Naval Drills 'Wherever Its Interests Demand It' -- Sputnik

Chinese military to recruit more college students -- Economic Times

Reduce tension through direct dialogue: Pentagon to India, China -- Economic Times

Shortage of ammunition for Indian Army; unfit food on trains: 10 things CAG has red-flagged -- Hindustan Times

ISIS Using Motion Detector IEDs In Battle for Raqqa -- Defense Tech

Egypt opens military base says largest in region -- ABC News/AP

Turkey has agreed to buy Russia's advanced missile-defense system, leaving NATO wondering what's next -- Business Insider

Canadian special forces tasked with buying weapons for Kurds -- RUDAW

Canadian special forces to get new vehicles later this year -- Ottawa Citizen

2 British submariners reportedly asked Theresa May to make it easier to download porn while at sea -- Business Insider

British troops targeted by drones in Afghanistan are being protected by a new radio wave 'rifle' that zaps the unmanned aircraft out of the sky -- Daily Mail

Anti-drone system gets tryout with US special forces -- GCN

U.S. military turns to Silicon Valley to protect troops from drones -- CNN

B-2 Stealth Bomber Flanked By F-15s Stuns At The Royal International Air Tattoo -- The Drive

U.S., seven allies map joint F-35 jet operations in Europe -- Reuters

Breathless F-35 pilots to get oxygen boost via algorithm tweak -- The Register

US Joint Chiefs Chairman: Russia is the Greatest Threat America Faces -- NBC

Top US general: Military option for North Korea not ‘unimaginable’ -- Politico

Top U.S. military commander says at Aspen Security Forum potential conflict with North Korea would be ‘horrific’ loss of life -- Aspen Times

The Navy's put down a 'significant bet' on the $13 billion USS Gerald R Ford, which some say is a risky gamble -- CNBC

How the U.S. Navy Is Waging War on ISIS -- National Interest

Faster, More Powerful Navy Railgun Coming This Summer -- Sputnik

The Navy’s Railgun Will Get Faster, More Powerful This Summer -- Defense Tech

NSA chief: Now is 'not the best time' for US-Russia cyber unit -- NBC

Artillery: When Cheaper Is Better And More Popular -- Strategy Page

The US Navy May Have Watered Down Its MQ-25 Drone Even More -- The Drive

Pentagon nominates Vice Adm. Aquilino to lead Navy’s 5th Fleet -- Stars and Stripes

Veterans' Access to Medical Marijuana Hinges on Monday Vote -- Military.com/Stars and Stripes

Message On Bunker Buster Bomb Tells ISIS "This Is For Making Me Miss Game of Thrones" -- The Drive

Trump Orders Extensive Study of Defense Industrial Base -- Joseph Marks, NextGov

Pentagon study declares the American empire is ‘collapsing’ -- Raw Story

Weapons: A Better AK-47 But So What? -- Strategy Page

Moscow And Baghdad Agree To A Huge Arms Deal Involving Tanks

T-90 tank © Alexey Kudenko / Sputnik

Strategic Cultural Foundation: Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal

It was reported on July 20 that Russia and Iraq have struck a deal on supplying a large batch of T-90 tanks. Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian president’s aide for military technical cooperation, confirmed the agreement but declined to provide details, saying only «the number of tanks is substantial». Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the deal might cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion.

The T-90 is among the best-selling tanks in the world. Hundreds of vehicles have been sold to India, Algeria, Azerbaijan and other countries. A small number of tanks has been delivered to Syria to reinforce the military’s capabilities of combatting Islamic State (IS). Kuwait, Vietnam and Egypt are considering the option of purchasing T-90s.

Read more ....

More News On The Russian - Iraqi Arms Deal On Tanks

Iraq to receive Russian T-90 tanks in 2017 -- Iraqi News
Iraq to buy ‘large batch’ of advanced Russian T-90 tanks – Kremlin -- RT
Iraq Purchases 73 T-90 Tank Variants From Russia -- Defense World
Tanks: Russia to supply large batch of tanks to Iraq -- Economic Times
Why Russia's T-90 Is the Tank of Choice for Iraq -- Sputnik
A T-90 tank shoots during a demo exercise at Alabino base (File)'Space Age Technology': Why Russia's T-90 Tank is Taking Over the World -- Sputnik

Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Joseph Dunford Speaks At The Aspen Security Forum (Video)


WNU Editor: Key points from General Dunford's remarks at the Aspen Security Forum ....

Dunford: Military option for North Korea not 'unimaginable' (Politico)
Top U.S. General Says Russia Just One Of Many Security Threats Facing Country Today (RFE)
Joseph Dunford says Russia most military capable country of those posing threat to US (TASS)