Friday, September 30, 2016

Before The Battle For Mosul Begins Iraqi Forces Must Retake The City Of Hawijah


Nancy Youseef, Daily Beast: This Is Where the Next Battle Against ISIS Will Be

Taking Hawijah would deprive ISIS of a place to flee to. That’s why it’ll be next.

Before Iraqi forces launch their highly anticipated offensive to retake the nation’s second-largest city, Mosul, back from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, they have one last battle ahead of them—reclaiming the Iraqi city of Hawijah from ISIS control, two defense officials told The Daily Beast.

Hawijah is one of the last ISIS bastions on the road toward Mosul, and in recent weeks the terror group has been unable to hold such cities under its grip, dedicating most of its resources to keeping Mosul instead, the officials said.

Hawijah, which at its peak had 450,000 residents, is a Sunni-dominated city that sits in the part of the Tigris River valley that Iraqi security forces initially bypassed in the push toward the city of Qayyarah, south of Mosul. In Qayyarah, the Iraqis set up a base where several hundred U.S. forces now are based, providing logistical support.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: According to this post the battle for Mosul will begin in November .... maybe.

The Importance Of Rhetoric In International Relations

Russian MiG-29 jet fighters perform during an air show last year outside Moscow. (Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters)

Shoko Kohama, Kazunori Inamasu and Atsushi Tago, Washington Post: Why Putin and Obama use fighting words when they don’t want to fight

Earlier this month, news agencies reported that a Russian fighter jet flew within 10 feet of a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea.

U.S. officials described the Russian flyby as a “dangerous and unprofessional” maneuver that had “the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions, and could result in a miscalculation or accident.” Russian authorities said that the incident occurred because the U.S. plane had turned off its transponder and that the Russian “pilots acted in strict conformity with air traffic international rules.”

Why the confrontational public rhetoric? After all, both sides could have kept the incident — an example of what we call “invisible crises” — from becoming public and settled the dispute through back channels. Even once the episode was publicized, U.S. and Russian officials could have tried to smooth things over in an effort to keep tensions from escalating.

Read more ....

Tonight's Movie Is 'Battle Of The Pacific'

From Wikipedia: Oba: The Last Samurai (太平洋の奇跡 –フォックスと呼ばれた男 – Taiheiyō no kiseki: Fokkusu to yobareta otoko, i.e. Miracle of the Pacific: The Man Called Fox), also known as Miracle of the Pacific, Battle of the Pacific and Codename: Fox, is a 2011 Japanese World War II Pacific War drama film directed by Hideyuki Hirayama and based on the true story of Captain Sakae Ōba, who together with his survivors held out on the island of Saipan for 512 days.

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

Annie Gowan, Washington Post: India's ‘surgical strike’ on Pakistan territory hints at new era for nuclear-armed rivals

NEW DELHI — India’s military remained on high alert and villagers fled border areas Friday, a day after a claimed commando-style mission against suspected militants in Pakistan-controlled territory — an operation that could signal a key shift in India’s longtime policy of restraint toward its regional rival.

Details remained scarce about the “surgical strike” that Indian paramilitary forces say they conducted Thursday against militants assembled in six “staging areas” just across the “line of control” dividing Kashmir.

India had said the counterterrorism strike killed militants in the “double digits.” Pakistan, meanwhile, said Indian forces did not cross the line and instead shelled border posts, killing two Pakistani soldiers.

Read more ....

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

Why the India-Pakistan war over water is so dangerous -- Michael Kugelman, Foreign Policy

India-Pakistan Conflict: If Neighbors Head To War, Who Has The Stronger Military? -- Jason Le Miere, IBTimes

Will The Fight For Mosul Be The October Surprise? -- Chris Weigant, Huffington Post

Peace in Syria is possible. Here’s how it can be achieved -- David Owen, The Guardian

Peres bombshell: I stopped an Israeli strike on Iran -- Steve Linde, Jerusalem Post

Is the U.S. Trying to Sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor? -- Ian Price, Diplomat

Thousands Of Colombians Fled During The World’s Longest Civil War. Here’s What They Think About The Peace Deal. -- Sara Elkamel, Huffington Post

U.S. Air Force and Navy May Challenge China in the South China Sea -- Kris Osborn, National Interest

Russia Accuses Us of Nurturing Aggressive Nuclear Strategy -- Vladimir Isachenkov, AP

Why the Next NATO-Russia Crisis Could Go Down in the Arctic -- Mike Scrafton, National Interest

Small Farmers in Russia Are Getting Crushed -- Pierre Avril, World Crunch

Former NATO Chief: The United States Should Be the World’s ‘Policeman’ -- Tom Rogan, Washington Free Beacon

Must America Lead? -- John Waters, RCB

Sept. 11 families can now sue the Saudis but will it matter? -- Larry Neumeister and Jennifer Peltz, AP

9/11 Families May Not Be Able to Sue Saudis After All -- Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

World News Briefs -- September 30, 2016

NBC News: U.S. Officials: Thousands of Ground Troops Massing Around Aleppo

Two senior U.S. officials tell NBC News that thousands of ground troops are massing around Aleppo and they worry that the war-torn city could soon fall.

The officials said they are awaiting a major ground operation as troops representing a mix of Syrian regime, Iranian Quds Force, Hezbollah, paid fighters from Iraq (Badr Brigade) and from Afghanistan gather.

Russian fixed wing and Syrian regime helicopters continue to pound the city from the air and they are still striking Aleppo with artillery batteries outside the city. The officials expect this to continue once the ground forces move in.

Read more ....


Russia sends more warplanes to Syria amid world anger at 'barbarous' strikes.

Sectarian fighters mass for battle to capture east Aleppo.

Syria's war: 'Russian air raids kill 9,400 in one year'.

More than 80% of UN aid convoys in Syria blocked or delayed.

Syria's war: US-Russia talks 'on verge of ending'. Moscow is still open for dialogue with US on Syria — Lavrov.

Saudi Arabia furious over 9/11 vote.

Turkey gets a three-month extension of its state of emergency.

Israel pays Turkey $20 million over flotilla raid: official.

World leaders gather to honor Shimon Peres at Jerusalem funeral.


Kashmir: Pakistan calls emergency meeting amid 'deteriorating situation'.

Pakistan captures Indian soldier along disputed Kashmir border. India seeks release of soldier captured by Pakistan in Kashmir.

Kashmir attack: Villagers evacuate after India 'surgical strikes'.

After military raid, India looks at more ways to pressure Pakistan.

Seoul says North Korean soldier crossed the border to defect.

Chinese fishermen killed in S Korea coastguard clash.

Pentagon chief reassures ASEAN ministers over future US commitments.

Philippines' Duterte compares anti-drug crusade to Hitler.

Thailand's military allows 'culture of torture', says Amnesty.


14 soldiers killed in anti-Boko Haram operations: Niger.

UN warns of world's worst humanitarian crisis in Boko Haram region.

One million people in Somalia now face malnutrition.

Watchdog unable to say if chemical weapons used in Sudan.

EU extends sanctions on Libyan parliament head.

Libya: More than 100 families at risk of starvation in Benghazi.

DR Congo rebel leader back in court after hunger strike.


Greece says Erdogan's remarks on islands 'dangerous' to relations. Greek anger at Turkey border treaty remarks.

Cyprus President: No peace deal with Turkish military rights.

German interior minister revises 2015 refugee influx from 1.1 million to 890,000.

Czech PM urges ​Theresa May to stop attacks on citizens after Brexit vote.

Spain's Socialists line up for crucial leadership battle.

Pope in Georgia: Vaguely Russia rebuke, warm Georgia welcome.

Van Gogh paintings stolen from Amsterdam found in Italy.


US election 2016: Trump denies he breached Cuba embargo. Twitter, 'lies' and videotape: Trump shames beauty queen.

Trump says his company is worth $2 billion.

Obama admin ripped over ‘secret’ deal aiding Iranian banks.

US death penalty: Proportion of Americans who support execution falls below 50% for the first time.

Race and homicide in America, by the numbers.

Colombia's ELN rebels 'ready to start peace talks'.

Argentina discloses poverty data after three-year gap.

Four Mexican soldiers killed as military convoy ambushed in Sinaloa.

Investigators question engineer in deadly train crash.


After Islamic State, fears of a 'Shiite Crescent' in Mideast.

Boko Haram region could become world's worst crisis: UN.

Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria shows more ‘little jihadists’.


OPEC oil output hits record on Iraq, Libya boost: Reuters survey.

World Bank to name and shame countries that fail to prevent stunting in children.

Deutsche Bank shares recover on fine reduction report. Deutsche Bank chief Cryan tries to reassure on bank's strength.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 30, 2016

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses U.S. military personnel during a meeting near an F-16 fighter jet at Osan U.S. Air Base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, South Korea Thursday, April 9, 2015. Reuters/Lee Jin-man/Pool

VOA: Carter: US-Philippines Military Relationship ‘Ironclad’

HONOLULU — Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the United States-Philippines military relationship is “ironclad,” despite the Philippine president recently stating that U.S. special forces at Filipino bases should leave.

Carter was speaking aboard the USS Carl Vinson at port in San Diego, California, before meeting defense ministers from the Philippines and nine other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Hawaii.

Thursday marked the first meeting between Carter and Filipino Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana since President Rodrigo Duterte said his country would pursue an “independent foreign policy,” adding that “as long as we stay with America, we will never have peace.”

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- September 30, 2016

Philippine leader to end drills with U.S. that "China does not want" -- CBS/AP

Defense secretary: US will sharpen 'military edge' in Asia -- US News and World Report

U.S. plans big military expansion at Iraq's al Asad air base -- Military Times

NATO to Deploy E-3 AWACS to Middle East as Early as October -- Defense News

White House Approves Jet Sales to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait: Corker -- Defense News

Middle East Arms Race: US Sells Military Jets To Gulf Arab Nations Despite Israel Concerns -- IBTimes

Iran & Italy hold joint drills in strategic Strait of Hormuz, despite recent US military incidents -- RT

Designer: Next generation submarines will be smaller than current ones -- TASS

New Antennas to Make Russian Submarines Invisible to Sonars -- Sputnik

British Naval Commander Wants US Marine Aviation on Aircraft Carrier -- Defense News

Sweden Proposes Reintroduction of Compulsory Military Service -- WSJ

Canadian Debate Reprises Over Role in US Missile Shield -- Defense news

Turkey sets up first African military base in Somalia -- Daily Sabah

US builds new drone base in Niger -- DW

U.S. warships make port call in Hong Kong five months after carrier barred -- Japan Times

No plans to change US nuke strike rules: Pentagon chief -- AFP

Marines Could Deploy Aboard Littoral Combat Ships, Destroyers --

Unmanned air and sea vehicles coordinate together -- UPI

Pentagon’s 5,000-Strong Cyber Force Passes Key Operational Step -- Bloomberg

'Growing' Bullets: US Marines Start Testing 3D-Printed Ammo During Drills -- Sputnik

Military Labs Continue to Create World-Class Future Tech -- US Department of Defense

Obama defends allowing women to serve in combat jobs -- Military Times

Pentagon 'misled' Congress on war costs, expert says -- Washington Examiner

Overweight Military: Obesity Rates Rise for US Service Members -- Sputnik

Military could spend up to $8.4M annually on gender reassignment treatments -- USA Today

US Army Accidentally Tweets 'Trump Lies' -- Military Times

Is the anthem protest spreading to the military? -- Zhai Yun Tan, CSM

Preparations Underway For The Liberation Of Mosul from The Islamic State

Newsweek: Mosul Offensive Against ISIS Set to Begin, Says French Defense Minister

Jean-Yves Le Drian's comments come after the French air force conducted airstrikes against the group.

The operation to liberate the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) is set to begin soon, France’s defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian declared on Friday, the same day that the French air force conducted strikes against the group after taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

“The battle for Mosul has not started yet. (The operations today) are the extension of our support for the coalition,” he told reporters in northwestern France, Reuters reported. “There will soon be the main attack.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Islamic State is ready for the onslaught .... Preparing for Battle: In Mosul, ISIS Builds Walls, Tunnels, Trenches (Daily Beast).

More News On The Battle To Retake Mosul

Preparations intensify for Mosul offensive in Iraq -- Euronews
Mosul offensive to start soon, says French defence minister -- Reuters
French fighter jets launch mission against IS group in Mosul -- France 24
France begins aicraft carrier airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Mosul -- UPI
US-led coalition targets Islamic State’s leadership in Mosul ahead of ground offensive -- Long War Journal
ISIS News: 18 Members Killed By Airstrikes, US Military Says -- IBTimes
US Picking Off Key IS Officials, 'Softening' Grip on Mosul -- VOA
Islamic State Struggling to Reinforce Mosul Ahead of Iraqi Offensive -- VOA
U.S. sends more troops to Iraq to retake Mosul -- PBS Newshour
Turkey, US, Iraq trying to resolve disagreements on Mosul operation -- Daily Sabah
UN estimates 700,000 Iraqis will need humanitarian aid once Mosul operation begins -- Al Bawaba
'Massive crisis' as 1.5m expected to flee Iraq's Mosul -- Al Jazeera
UN warns of refugee 'disaster' once Iraqi troops take on ISIS in Mosul -- Military Times

Will Russian President Putin Run For The Presidency Again In 2018?

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) watches celebrations for City Day in Moscow, Russia, September 10, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

Andrew Osborn, Reuters: Putin faces dilemma after vote win: How to prolong a system based on himself

Vladimir Putin appears politically invincible after Russia's ruling party won its biggest ever parliamentary majority this month. But he faces an increasingly pressing dilemma: How best to ensure the survival of a system built around himself.

With a presidential election due in March 2018, Putin, 63, must decide whether or not to run again. He must also decide whether to bring that vote forward to 2017 to reset the system early to hedge against the risk of a flat-lining economy.

Few outside his tiny coterie know what he will do. Most Kremlin-watchers are sure he will run again and win, delaying the successor question until 2024. Others say he may surprise.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Surprise ... surprise .... this Reuters post is saying something that I have been saying for the past year in this blog .... that Russian President Putin is getting tired of the demands and worries with the job. The key part is the following ....

.... People who know Putin say he is growing weary. In an unguarded moment picked up by microphones last year, he was heard complaining about how little he slept.

One former high-ranking official close to the Kremlin said Putin, in power either as president or prime minister for nearly 16 years, was fatigued.

"Putin is tired, he's getting older," the source, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

This does not necessarily mean that Putin will relinquish power .... but he must be tired from the demands of the job .... and from my point of view he certainly does not have the energy that he once had. The fact that his closest supporters and friends have retired or resigned in the past year .... is  another sign to me that change is in the air in the Kremlin. I am still predicting that he will run in the 2018 election .... but after that I will not be surprised if (2 or 3 years later) he will have his successor in place for 2024. If there is no successor .... expect Prime Minister Medvedev to run for the Presidency in 2024.

Is Now The Time To Draw The Line Against Russia?

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, September 5, 2016. Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin/via REUTERS

David Sanger, New York Times: What Is Russia Up To, and Is It Time to Draw the Line?

WASHINGTON — Escalating airstrikes in Syria. Sophisticated cyberattacks, apparently intended to influence the American election. New evidence of complicity in shooting down a civilian airliner.

The behavior of Russia in the last few weeks has echoes of some of the uglier moments of the Cold War, an era of proxy battles that ended in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. President Obama, fresh from a meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin this month, wondered aloud whether the Russian leader was content living with a “constant, low-grade conflict.” His reference was to Ukraine, but he could have been addressing any of the arenas where Mr. Putin has reveled in his new role as the great disrupter of American plans around the globe.

“It seems to me we have Mr. Putin’s answer,” said Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of a coming book, “A World in Disarray.” “He’s answered in the affirmative. Low-grade conflict is his thing. And the question is how directly or indirectly we introduce costs.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Who is going to draw the line .... President Obama? The U.S. election is only 6 weeks away, and a new President is going to occupy the Oval Office in 2017. I have said more than once in this blog that everything started to unravel with the overthrow of the Ukraine government in 2014, and the following civil war. Solve Ukraine .... all other tensions with Russia will dissipate quickly. Unfortunately .... it appears that drawing "red lines in the sand" is the preferred route ... at least for the New York Times.

President Obama Hints That He Will Be An Activist Ex-President When He Leaves Office

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the White House Press Briefing Room in Washington, June 8, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

McClatchy News: Obama implies he’ll be more vocal about issues after he leaves office

Many U.S. presidents, upon leaving office, try to fade from the national spotlight and live the rest of their lives as private citizens.

President Barack Obama implied in a Vanity Fair interview that he might choose to go a different route.

In the interview conducted by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Obama talked about his use of the term “radical Islam,” how he would miss Air Force One and his desire to make the world better.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh have been predicting for the past year that when he leaves office President Obama will be a very activist ex-President .... hmmmm .... it looks like they are right. What's my take .... I am not surprised, and he will have a supportive press .... but I still do not think it is going to be an easy ride for him if he goes down this road. The Vanity Fair article is here .... President Barack Obama: The Ultimate Exit Interview (September 26, 2016).

United Nations: U.S. Drone Strike In Afghanistan Killed 18 Civilians

Washington Post: U.N. officials criticize fatal U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan

KABUL — United Nations officials Thursday condemned an airstrike by an unmanned U.S. military aircraft a day earlier that they said killed 15 civilians and wounded at least 12 in the insurgent-plagued eastern Afghan province of Nangahar. They called for a complete investigation.

The early morning attack targeted a residential compound in the volatile Achin district, near the border of Pakistan, which U.S. military officials said they believed was being used by fighters for the Islamic State militant group, widely known in Afghanistan as Daesh.

However, local leaders and legislators said the victims were all civilians, including children and a teacher, who had gathered at a guesthouse to welcome home a tribal leader who had just returned from the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. All were said to have been sleeping when the strike hit.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Not a good week for U.S. drone operators. A friendly fire incident by a U.S. drone in Somalia that end up killing 22 Somali soldiers. A drone strike in Afghanistan killing 18 civilians. I could be wrong, but it looks like the U.S. rules of engagement using drones has "loosened - up"

More News On reports That A U.S. Drone Strike In Afghanistan Killed 18 Civilians

Suspected US drone strike targeting Isis killed civilians in Afghanistan, UN says -- The Guardian
Afghanistan: UN mission condemns killing of at least 15 civilians in airstrike -- UN News Center
Afghanistan: suspected US drone strike kills at least 18, including civilians -- Euronews
US looking into Afghanistan airstrike which may have killed civilians -- FOX News
U.S. drone strike kills 15 civilians in Afghanistan, United Nations says -- Reuters

Russia Has Now Been Waging War In Syria For One Year

Reuters: Russia sending more warplanes to Syria as world anger grows over 'barbarous' strikes

Russia is sending more warplanes to Syria to further ramp up its campaign of air strikes, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday, as Moscow defied global censure over an escalation that Western countries say has torpedoed diplomacy.

In a statement issued by the White House after the two leaders spoke by telephone, U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the Russian and Syrian bombing of Aleppo as "barbarous".

Fighting intensified a week into a new Russian-backed government offensive to capture all of Syria's largest city and crush the last remaining urban stronghold of the rebellion.

Moscow and its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, spurned a ceasefire this month to launch the offensive, potentially the biggest and most decisive battle in the Syrian civil war which is now in its sixth year.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: What's my take .... after one year the momentum of the war has shifted in Syria to favour the regime. Has Russia helped in achieving this .... definitely. But while the regime and its allies are winning the battlefields, winning the war is still a long way off. And even if rebel strongholds in Aleppo and elsewhere fall, this conflict is far from over ... something that Moscow itself has conceded will take time with no guarantee of success. What's my prediction .... Russian media and the Kremlin are boasting of success .... but what I see is a quagmire, and I would not be surprise if Russia slowly starts to disengage from Syria at the beginning of next year.

More News On Russia Passing The One Year Mark of Fighting The War In Syria

Russia fighting in Syria for a year, still at odds with US -- Salon/AP
Russia says it will continue with air strikes in Syria -- IBTimes
Year passes since Russian military operation in Syria -- Vestnik Kavkaza
Kremlin says no time frame for Russia's military operation in Syria -- Reuters
Russia 'Killed Close to 10000' After Year in Syria: Monitor -- Newsweek
Monitor: Over 9,000 killed in Russia’s air campaign in Syria -- RUDAW
Russia dismisses Syria campaign death toll allegation -- AFP
Russia Rejects John Kerry’s Demands on Syria, Accusing U.S. of Promoting Terror -- NYT
US protecting Syria jihadist group - Russia's Lavrov -- BBC
With Limited Means and One Year Russia Achieved More in Syria Than US and Allies -- Sputnik
A year of Russian anti-ISIS ops in Syria: 5 key milestones -- RT
How Putin's high-risk Syria gamble is paying off -- Oleg Kashin, The Guardian
Putin is making a mistake in Syria — and Russia will pay the price -- Philip Gordon, Washington Post
Key dates since Russian intervention in Syria -- AFP

The Battle For The Syrian City Of Aleppo Rages On

Reuters: Syrian army, rebels wage fierce battles in Aleppo

Syrian government forces and rebels fought battles in the center of Aleppo and north of the city on Friday, a week into a Russian-backed offensive by the Syrian army to take the entire area, a war monitor and sources on both sides said.

There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of Friday's fighting. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a Syrian military source said government forces had captured territory north of Aleppo and buildings in the city center.

Rebel sources however denied there had been any additional advances north of the city by government forces that seized the Handarat camp area north of Aleppo on Thursday. A rebel official said government forces had advanced in the Suleiman al-Halabi district of central Aleppo, but were then forced to withdraw.

Read more ....

More News On The Battle For Aleppo

WHO says 338 killed in eastern Aleppo in past week -- Reuters
'A giant kill box': Death toll in the hundreds as Syrian army storms Aleppo -- Middle East Eye
Syrian troops capture hospital north of Aleppo -- AP
Syria military says it retook hospital, refugee camp in Aleppo -- USA Today
Syrian Army Takes Control of Kindi Hospital in Northern Aleppo -- Sputnik
Regime forces amass around Aleppo as diplomacy falters -- CNN
Assad is assembling 10,000 troops for final assault on Aleppo -- VICE News
Syrian Military Video Shows Destruction of Aleppo as the Besieged City Awaits Aid -- ABC News
UN: Up to 600 wounded in Syria's east Aleppo, evacuations needed -- NRT
Syria regime advances in Aleppo, MSF decries 'bloodbath' -- AFP
"Catastrophe" in Aleppo, says U.N. humanitarian chief -- AP
White Helmets Video Shows Toll in Idlib, Aleppo of Syria Offensive -- NBC

Saudi Arabia Tried To Cut A Deal With OPEC To Limit Iran's Oil Production

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Wall Street Journal: Economics Drove Saudi OPEC Move

Behind the kingdom’s decision to agree to production cuts was a recognition of the consequences of low oil prices.

Scanning the latest intelligence on oil markets, Saudi Arabian officials came to an upsetting conclusion this month: the kingdom’s oil policy wasn’t working.

Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih’s attention was drawn to an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ prediction that a global glut of oil would persist well into 2017, said people familiar with the matter. The data suggested that economic pain from low oil prices would last longer than the ministry first believed, as the Saudis fought an expensive war in Yemen and middle-class living standards eroded.

“The pressure was mounting,” said a person close to the Saudi oil ministry. “Falih and the government realized they need to show they are not just watching their economy and others suffer.”

Mr. Falih didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Read more ....

Update: Saudis tried to cut secret deal with OPEC – WSJ (RT)

WNU Editor: This is why I believe these recent moves by OPEC to limit production and raise the price of oil will fail. No one is interested in cutting production, and what Saudi Arabia is proposing will not make a dent on the current price of oil. In addition .... the technology of fracking is improving, and it will offset any cuts that OPEC member states may agree to. Bottom line .... the days of $100/barrel oil are gone for at least the medium term.

Editor's Note

Because of time constraints Military and Intelligence News Briefs and World News Briefs will be posted at 17:00 EST and 18:00 EST respectively.

A $100 Million U.S. Drone Base In Africa

Image: BBC

The Intercept: U.S. Military Is Building a $100 Million Drone Base in Africa

FROM HIGH ABOVE, Agadez almost blends into the cocoa-colored wasteland that surrounds it. Only when you descend farther can you make out a city that curves around an airfield before fading into the desert. Once a nexus for camel caravans hauling tea and salt across the Sahara, Agadez is now a West African paradise for people smugglers and a way station for refugees and migrants intent on reaching Europe’s shores by any means necessary.

Africans fleeing unrest and poverty are not, however, the only foreigners making their way to this town in the center of Niger. U.S. military documents reveal new information about an American drone base under construction on the outskirts of the city. The long-planned project — considered the most important U.S. military construction effort in Africa, according to formerly secret files obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act — is slated to cost $100 million, and is just one of a number of recent American military initiatives in the impoverished nation.

Read more ....

More News On A New U.S. Drone Base In Africa

US Building '$50 Million Drone Base' in Niger -- Newsweek
The US put a $100 million drone base next to a world heritage site -- VICE News
Pentagon Confirms Plans to Build Drone Base in Africa's Poorest Country -- Sputnik
US invests $50m in Niger drone base for counterterrorism -- BBC
US Agadez Drone Base In Niger To Cost At Least $50 Million -- IBTimes
Key US drone hub in Africa doubles in price to $100mn – report -- RT

U.N. News Agency Calls On Americans Living Abroad To 'Defeat Trump'

Politico: U.N news agency scrubs tweet calling on Americans abroad to 'end Trump'

The United Nations News Centre — the official U.N. news service — tweeted, then quickly pulled, a post that called for "8 million Americans abroad" to "stop Trump."

The tweet, published at 9:14 p.m. ET on Thursday, urged American expats to share a voter registration tool on the website of the activist organization Avaaz that states, "U.S. Citizens abroad could defeat Trump ... if they voted."

The Web page, titled "The October surprise that will end Trump," allows users to sign up for help registering to vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election and encourages them enlist their friends as well.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: So much for being an impartial news service. As for this promised UN investigation .... I have seen how these investigations are conducted when I was working at the UN .... my prediction (and it is an easy one) .... is that this is going to be swept under the rug.

Pentagon: US To 'Sharpen Military Edge' In Asia

Defense Secretary Ash Carter addresses sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, Sept. 29, 2016. Carter is on a trip to discuss rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region and ongoing security challenges there. DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley

CNN: Defense Secretary Ash Carter: US to 'sharpen military edge' in Asia

(CNN)The US will "sharpen our military edge" in the face of Chinese territorial expansionism and other regional threats as it embarks on the next phase of its pivot to Asia, the US defense secretary said Thursday.

The "rebalance" to the Asia-Pacific region would ensure that the US "remains the region's strongest military and security partner of choice," Pentagon chief Ash Carter told US Navy sailors in a speech aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in San Diego.

The declaration comes as China, the region's other superpower, continues to make neighbors nervous by unilaterally developing what most analysts agree are military installations on disputed reefs in the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest shipping channels.

Read more ....

More News On Defense Secretary Ash Carter's Remarks That The U.S. Is Going To 'Sharpen It's Military Edge' In Asia

Ash Carter: U.S. will sharpen 'military edge' in Asia -- Military Times
US will 'sharpen military edge' in Asia Pacific, says Pentagon chief -- The Guardian/AP
On USS Carl Vinson, Carter Highlights Asia-Pacific Rebalance -- US Department of Defense
Defense Secretary Ash Carter Discusses Priorities in Asia Pacific on USS Carl Vinson -- NBC San Diego
US to sharpen ‘military edge’ in Asia Pacific with more subs, undersea drones – Pentagon chief -- RT
‘Pivot’ Prompts US to Send Newest, Best Weapons to Asia-Pacific - Carter -- Sputnik

U.S. Airforce Now Conducting Tests In Comparing The A-10 And F-35 When It Comes To Providing Close Air Support

Photo: Air Force

Scout Warrior: Pentagon Advances F-35 vs A-10 Close Air Support Testing

Will the F-35s current and future line up of weapons, coupled with its sensors and ISR technologies enable the aircraft to out-perform the A-10 warthog when it comes to Close Air Support Missions.

Flying close to ground troops in combat in hostile and high-threat conditions requires a host of unique attributes for an aircraft -- such as flying slow and low to the ground, absorbing some degree of small arms fire and having an ability to quickly maneuver in response to fast-changing ground combat conditions.

These, and many more, are among factors now being analyzed as proponents of both the A-10 Warthog and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter assess their respective abilities to perform the crucial and highly valued Close Air Support mission. The Pentagon and the Air Force are now conducting a thorough examination of each plane's capability for this role - including extensive analysis, simulated tests, flights of both aircraft under combat-like conditions and a range of tests, Air Force and Pentagon officials have explained. While many of the details of the ongoing evaluation are not now being discussed publically, the results are expected to bear prominently upon the visible ongoing debate regarding the future mission scope of both the A-10 and the F-35.

Read more ....

Update: The F-35 and A-10 are finally going head to head to see which is better for close air support (Business Insider).

WNU Editor: I am looking forward to their conclusions, and more importantly .... the parameters that were used in conducting these tests.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Likens Himself To Adolf Hitler

Sydney Morning Herald: Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte likens himself to Adolf Hitler, wants to kill millions of drug

Manila: Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has likened himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the latest of a series of rash outbursts that are alarming his country's allies in Asia, including the United States.

In a rambling speech in his hometown of Davao, Mr Duterte told reporters that he had been "portrayed to be some cousin of Hitler" by critics.

Noting that Hitler had murdered millions of Jews, Mr Duterte said: "There are three million drug addicts (in the Philippines). I'd be happy to slaughter them."

The 71 year-old firebrand president then said "if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…" before pausing and pointing to himself.

Read more ....

Update #1: Philippines' Duterte likens himself to Hitler, wants to kill millions of drug users (Reuters)
Update #2: Philippines President likens himself to Hitler (CNN)
Update #3: Jewish leaders react to Rodrigo Duterte Holocaust remarks (BBC)

WNU Editor: He is now trying to clarify his remarks .... Duterte decries Hitler comparison, but 'would be happy to slaughter drug addicts' (CNN).

Is The Islamic Satte Becoming More Dangerous As It's Defeat On The Battlefield Becomes More Likely?

A member of Iraqi army stands near weapons that belonged to Islamic State militants, at an Iraqi army base in Camp Tariq near Falluja, Iraq, September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Mohamad Bazzi, Reuters: Islamic State is becoming more dangerous as it weakens

By many measures, Islamic State is a weakened and demoralized force. After months of U.S.-led bombing and defeats by local troops in Iraq and Syria, the group lost thousands of its fighters, was forced to relinquish significant territory and has been cut off from routes it used to move weapons and reinforcements.

But the group remains a potent threat in other ways, especially in its ability to inspire self-radicalized militants to carry out attacks in the West and elsewhere.

The man accused of carrying out a bombing in New York on Sept. 17 appears to have been inspired – if not directed – by the leaders and ideologues of al Qaeda and Islamic State. The 28-year-old suspect, Ahmad Rahami, wrote admiringly in a journal about al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, American-born radical Islamic preacher Anwar al-Awlaki – who was killed in Yemen by a U.S. drone strike – and leading Islamic State strategist Abu Mohammad al-Adnani.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I disagree with this analysis. If the Islamic State could .... it would unleash all the terror attacks possible against the West. But it cannot, and as it weakens its capabilities of doing so will weaken also.

U.S. Pushed To Lift UN Sanctions On Iranian Banks On The Same Day That Four American citizens Were Released From Prison

A Bank Sepah branch in Tehran. The U.S. agreed to lift United Nations sanctions on Bank Sepah and its London affiliate on the same day in January that Iran released four Americans from prison. PHOTO: SIMON DAWSON/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Signed Secret Document to Lift U.N. Sanctions on Iranian Banks

Administration backed measures on the same day Tehran released four American citizens from prison.

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration agreed to back the lifting of United Nations sanctions on two Iranian state banks blacklisted for financing Iran’s ballistic-missile program on the same day in January that Tehran released four American citizens from prison, according to U.S. officials and congressional staff briefed on the deliberations.

The U.N. sanctions on the two banks weren’t initially to be lifted until 2023, under a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers that went into effect on Jan. 16.

The U.N. Security Council’s delisting of the two banks, Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International, was part of a package of tightly scripted agreements—the others were a controversial prisoner swap and transfer of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran—that were finalized between the U.S. and Iran on Jan. 17, the day the Americans were freed.

The new details of the delisting have emerged after administration officials briefed lawmakers earlier this month on the U.S. decision.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I have said ot more than once in the past few months ... but with each passing day we are learning more about this Iranian nuclear secret deal.

Tweet For Today

WNU Editor: This hits me home. I have always enjoyed playing chess .... but forcing women to wear a hijab in a chess tournament?!?!?!?!

Comparing U.S. And Russian Nuclear Weapons

Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system drives during Victory Day parade to mark end of World War Two at Red Square in Moscow. Thomson Reuters

Alex Lockie, Business Insider: How the US's nuclear weapons compare to Russia's

At Monday night's debate, Republican candidate and businessman Donald Trump said "Russia has been expanding their" nuclear weapons, adding that "they have a much newer capability than we do."

But according to Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, the founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk, although Russia may have updated its missiles and warheads more recently, the idea that Moscow has better capabilities is "almost certainly not true."

On paper, newer, more complicated, more fearsome weapons comprise Russia's nuclear arsenal. Russia's RS-24 Yars Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), introduced in the mid 2000s, can strike anywhere in the US with what some report to be ten independently targetable nuclear warheads.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is now a race to modernise nuclear weapons .... and any talk about cutting back the number of nuclear weapons is now long gone. And to think that almost 8 years ago President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize on the promise that he would help stop this nuclear proliferation.

Picture Of The Day

Sunset Parking
A C-17 Globemaster III aircraft sits on the parking ramp before a mission during Exercise Cerberus Strike 16-02 at Fort Carson, Colo., Sept. 16, 2016. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Joseph Swafford

Chinese Navy Wants To Copy How The U.S. Launches Its Carrier Fighters

Photo taken in May 2012 shows a Chinese aircraft carrier cruising for a test on the sea. China's first aircraft carrier was delivered and commissioned to the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army on Sept. 25, 2012. The carrier, with the name "Liaoning" and hull number 16, was officially handed over to the Navy at a ceremony held in a naval base of northeast China's Dalian Port. (Xinhua/Li Tang)

Popular Mechanics: China Wants to Launch Carrier Fighters Just Like the U.S. Navy

Here's what that could mean for the western Pacific.

For nearly sixty years, U.S. Navy fighters have launched from aircraft carrier decks with steam-powered catapults. These catapults were created for carriers because they can safely accelerate large aircraft with big payloads. Catapult-Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) operations soon became the norm for the U.S. Navy and a handful of its allies.

Now China is looking to get in on the action. Growing evidence suggests that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is mimicking the U.S. Navy's launch methods, and the change could have big ramifications for the western Pacific.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I suspect that this is not the only thing that they are copying.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The U.S. Navy Has A Plan To Save Its Aircraft Carriers From Multiple Torpedo Attacks

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) transits up the Elizabeth River as it passes the downtown Norfolk waterfront after completing a successful and on-time six-month Planned Incremental Availability at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, VA. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tyler Folnsbee/Released)

Kris Osborn, National Interest: The US Navy's Master Plan to Save Aircraft Carriers from Lethal Torpedo Attacks

The Navy is arming aircraft carriers with a prototype high-tech torpedo defense technology able to detect, classify, track and destroy incoming enemy torpedoes, service officials said.

The Anti-Torpedo Defense System, currently installed on five aircraft carriers and deployed on one carrier at the moment, is slated to be fully operational by 2022.

The overall SSTD system, which consists of a sensor, processor and small interceptor missile, is a first-of-its-kind "hard kill" countermeasure for ships and carriers designed to defeat torpedoes, Navy officials said.

The emerging Surface Ship Torpedo Defense technology includes the Anti-Torpedo Defense System, or ATTDS and an SLQ-25 Acoustic Device Countermeasure; the ATTDS consists of a Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo program and Torpedo Warning System.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The US Navy has obviously gone out of its way to keep the details of this technology secret .... but it must be very impressive for them to sound this confident on what these counter-measures are capable of doing.

After 241 Years The U.S. Navy Drops "Man" And Other Historic Job Titles To Achieve Gender Neutrality

Sailors on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan © Mike Blake / Reuters

USNI News: Navy Eliminating 241-Year-Old Rating System in New Enlisted Rank Overhaul

After more than 200 years, the Navy is making a fundamental change in how it will address its enlisted sailors, according to a notification on the new policy obtained by USNI News.

Starting today, the service will shelve the rating system it adopted from the U.K. Royal Navy, stop referring to sailors by their job titles and adopt a job classification in line with the Army, Marine Corps and the Air Force.

For example, under the new rules The Hunt for Red October character Sonar Technician Second Class Ronald “Jonesy” Jones – ST2 Jones for short – would be Petty Officer Second Class Jones or Petty Officer Jones. Machinist’s Mate First Class Jake Holman – MM1 Holman– from the novel and film The Sand Pebbles would be Petty Officer First Class Holman or Petty Officer Holman.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: As I have said more than once in the past few years .... this is no longer your grandpa's Navy.

More News On The U.S. Navy Eliminating It's 241-Year-Old Rating System

Navy scuttles sailors' enlisted rating titles in huge career shake-up -- Navy Times
Navy ditching traditional enlisted rating system -- Stars and Stripes
No more 'Boats:' the Navy does away with referring to sailors by rating in favor of rank -- Virginia Pilot
Navy Removes All Historic Job Titles After Study On Gender Neutrality -- Daily Caller
U.S. Navy drops "man" from job titles -- Ottawa Citizen
Tradition’s end: US Navy overhauls ranks for gender-sensitivity & simplicity -- RT
Document: Outline of Changes to U.S. Navy’s Enlisted Personnel Management -- USNI News

Pentagon Orders A Review Of The $12.9 Billion Aircraft Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford

The USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier (file photo)

Bloomberg: Pentagon Opens Review of Costly Carrier Over Navy Objections

* Navy’s Mabus accepts review after it was delayed for a month
* Carrier’s troubles risk breaching $12.9 billion spending limit

The Pentagon will start a review next month of the U.S. Navy’s costliest warship after resolving Navy objections to the inquiry aimed at determining why the aircraft carrier has faced years of delay.

Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, ordered the review of the $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford that’s being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. in part to see what lessons can be learned for production of the two other ships to follow in its class. Kendall agreed to delay the review’s start by a month to defuse a mini-mutiny of sorts by Navy officials who said the timing would be too disruptive.

The carrier’s increasing cost over the years caused Congress to set a $12.9 billion ceiling that might be breached by problems that have surfaced more recently. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s testing chief, warned in June that the Ford may struggle to launch and recover aircraft, mount a defense and move munitions, requiring costly improvements after it’s delivered.

Read more ....

Update #1: Pentagon orders review of $13B USS Gerald Ford (NBC)
Update #2: Navy’s Troubled New Carrier Undergoing Long Overdue Review (The Drive)

WNU Editor: This review is waaayyyy overdue. Bottom line .... this aircraft carrier is going to cost more than the $12.9 billion that has been allocated for it.

Saudi Arabia Warns Of 'Disastrous Consequences' Over US 9/11 Law

The National: Gulf Arab states warn of fallout from US Congress’s Saudi 9/11 law

ABU DHABI // Gulf Arab states warned of fallout for American economic interests and counter-terrorism cooperation on Thursday after the US Congress voted to override a presidential veto on a law that will allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.

"Populist legislation in the Jasta case prevailed over rationalism, which is required in all matters of international law and investment risks. The repercussions will be serious and enduring," tweeted Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, referring to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or Jasta.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: They are figuring this out now ?!?!?!? .... Lawmakers realize potential trouble with new 9/11 law as Saudis rethink U.S. alliance (UPI)

More News On Saudi Arabia Warning Of 'Disastrous Consequences' Over US 9/11 Law

9/11 lawsuits bill causes Saudi Arabia 'great concern' -- BBC
Saudi warns of 'disastrous consequences' over US 9/11 law -- AFP
U.S. 9/11 law exasperates Saudis, government silent -- Fiscal Times
Right to sue over 9/11 risks Saudi pullout from US, say bankers -- Financial Times
Experts: Saudi Arabia May Still Fight Back against 9/11 lawsuit bill -- NBC/AP
Congress's Passage of 9/11 Lawsuit Bill Marks New Blow to US-Saudi Relations -- Wall Street Journal

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 29, 2016

Daniel Lewis, National Interest: Why the Offensive against ISIS in Mosul Could Be a Disaster

Speaking at a press conference in New York on September 19, President Obama stood at the dais with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and said that the battle for Mosul was ready “to move forward fairly rapidly” and that “we are prepared to help provide rapid humanitarian assistance.” The President and Prime Minister, I believe, are underestimating the challenges and difficulties that will result from the exodus of hundreds of thousands new refugees once the military operation to clear Mosul begins.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- September 29, 2016

Three Questions Facing the Mosul Operation -- Daniel R. DePetris, National Interest

Q&A: Amnesty Suspects Russian War Crimes In Syria, But Lacks Definitive Proof -- RFE

Who is responsible for Iran’s pre-deal nuclear progress? -- Michael Rubin, AEI

Gone is Shimon Peres, but so is his era -- John Bell, Al Jazeera

Israel Wonders What Happens When Its Fathers Are Gone -- Daniel Gordis, Bloomberg

Libya’s Terrorist Descent: Causes and Solutions -- Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal

Kashmir’s High Price for Demanding Independence -- Tariq Mir, Boston Review

The West's wishful thinking for Afghanistan must end -- Florian Weigand, DW

How The U.S. Will Stand Up To An Angry Philippine Leader -- Ralph Jennings, Forbes

Duterte Talks Big, But the Philippines Won't Break Ties With the US Any Time Soon -- Richard Javad Heydarian, RCW

At last, the destruction of heritage has been recognised as a weapon of war -- Irina Bokova, The Guardian

U.S. Could Pay a High Price for Suing the Saudis -- Bloomberg editorial

Killing people, breaking things and America’s winless wars: Details of the dismal U.S. military record -- Nick Turse, Salon/

Politicians Leave the Military in the Lurch – Again and Again -- Justin T. Johnson, RCD

For outside world, U.S. election is all about Trump -- Peter Apps, Reuters

Amnesty International: Sudan's Government Is Using Chemical Weapons In Darfur

Amnesty International: Sudan: Credible evidence of the use of chemical weapons to kill and maim hundreds of civilians including children in Darfur revealed

An Amnesty International investigation has gathered horrific evidence of the repeated use of what are believed to be chemical weapons against civilians, including very young children, by Sudanese government forces in one of the most remote regions of Darfur over the past eight months.

Using satellite imagery, more than 200 in-depth interviews with survivors and expert analysis of dozens of appalling images showing babies and young children with terrible injuries, the investigation indicates that at least 30 likely chemical attacks have taken place in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur since January 2016. The most recent was on 9 September 2016.

Read more ....

More News On Amnesty International Accusing The Sudan Government Of Using Chemical Weapons In Darfur

Group calls for Darfur chemical weapons investigation -- FOX News/AP
Children bear brunt of alleged chemical weapon attacks in Sudan, says Amnesty -- The Guardian
Amnesty accuses Sudan of deadly Darfur chemical attacks -- AFP
Sudanese government ‘killing hundreds of civilians with chemical weapons attacks’ in Darfur - Amnesty -- The Independent
Sudan Crisis: Amnesty Report Cites Evidence Government Used Chemical Weapons in Darfur -- NBC
Sudan Accused of Using Chemical Weapons in Darfur -- VOA
Sudan government accused of using chemical weapons in Darfur -- BBC
Up to 250 people killed in alleged chemical attacks in Darfur since January – Amnesty (GRAPHIC) -- RT
Chemical weapons are being used against the Darfuris. This is a war crime -- Salil Shetty, The Guardian