Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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

President-elect Donald Trump sits at a table for dinner with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his choice for White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at Jean-Georges at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, Nov. 29, 2016. LUCAS JACKSON / Reuters

Carrie Sheffield, Salon: Putin, Kim Jong-un or ISIS could test Trump in first 100 days: “There are very unpredictable and unstable people running countries”

Former Senator George Mitchell weighs in on Donald Trump's challenges with Russia, NATO and rogue regimes

Though his liberal worldview may not have a platform in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, Democratic statesman George Mitchell offered some pragmatic, nonpartisan advice in an interview yesterday: Before Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he should first meet with our traditional European allies, especially those in NATO.

After rattling the foreign policy establishment (along with many grassroots and “establishment” conservatives) during his campaign, Trump would be smart to reassure world leaders, which preelection polls showed largely held a dim view of Trump, that he will indeed be a steady hand at the helm of the world’s sole superpower.

Read more ....

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

With Aleppo poised to fall, Syria's Assad is set to rise -- Nicholas Blanford, CSM

Erdogan comes face to face with US, Russia in Syria -- Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor

Read more:

In Iraq, family honors a son's fight for national unity against ISIS -- Scott Peterson, CSM

The Coming War on ‘Radical Islam’ -- Uri Friedman, The Atlantic

Khamenei Threatens Reprisal Over Sanctions -- Behnam Ben Taleblu, RCD

What Is the UK Doing in Yemen? -- Abigail Watson, RCD

Is Vietnam Reigniting a Fire in the South China Sea? -- Nguyen Quoc-Thanh, Diplomat

An India-Pakistan crisis: Should we care? -- Moeed Yusuf, War On The Rocks

The South Korean President's Welcome Offer to Resign -- Bloomberg editorial

Satellite Imagery of Pyongyang: What is Missing in this Analysis? -- Robert Carlin, 38 North

In Myanmar, genocide looms as the world waits on Suu Kyi -- Tej Parikh, Asia Times

Sweden, Finland & Norway Deepen Defense Ties with the West -- Kaitlin lavinder, Cipher Brief

The revolution that gave us Brexit and Trump could be about to hit France -- Adam Shaw, FOX News

America's Post-Truth Reality: Hybrid Warfare Was the Real Winner in the Election -- Charles Johnson, RamenIR

Is the White House Hiding Secrets About Russia's Role in the Election? -- Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic

World News Briefs -- November 30, 2016

OPEC President Qatar's Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo address a news conference after a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Reuters: OPEC in first joint oil cut with Russia since 2001, Saudis take "big hit"

OPEC agreed on Wednesday its first oil output cuts since 2008 after Saudi Arabia accepted "a big hit" on its production and dropped its demand on arch-rival Iran to slash output.

Non-OPEC Russia will also join output reductions for the first time in 15 years to help the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries prop up oil prices.

Brent crude jumped over 9 percent to more than $50 a barrel as Riyadh reached a compromise with Iran and after fast-growing producer Iraq also agreed to curtail its booming output.

"OPEC has proved to the sceptics that it is not dead. The move will speed up market rebalancing and erosion of the global oil glut," said OPEC watcher Amrita Sen from consultancy Energy Aspects.

Read more ....


Syria claims further advances against rebels in Aleppo. Syrian rebels vow to resist army advances in Aleppo.

Syria war: Aleppo risks becoming giant graveyard - UN. Aleppo could witness one of the worst massacres since World War Two, France warns.

‘Only road’ to deliver aid to eastern Aleppo liberated – Russian MoD.

Assad, allies aim to seize all Aleppo before Trump takes power: official.

Time running out, Obama has no response to Aleppo siege.

ISIS uses water as weapon in Mosul fight. Mosul food, water reserves dwindle as fighting cuts off supplies.

US warplanes disable four of five bridges in Mosul.

'Israeli jets' strike outside Damascus, no casualties.

Palestinian leader seeks Trump support for independence.

Report points to Iran sending arms to rebels in Yemen.

Let women drive, says Saudi prince.


North Korea sanctions: UN imposes new penalties on Pyongyang in response to nuclear missile tests. North Korea sanctions: UN curbs lucrative coal trade with China.

South Korean opposition parties push to impeach President Park Geun-hye.

Abuse of Rohingya Muslims in Burma may be 'crimes against humanity'.

UN says record half a million Afghans displaced by war.

Taliban ​facing financial crisis as civilian deaths deter donors.

Philippines detains two for bomb attempt near US embassy.

‘No mercy’ for Hong Kong’s pro-independence ‘rats’ says head of top Beijing think tank.

India's Supreme Court orders cinemas to play national anthem.


Militants strike north Mali airports with suicide truck, rockets.

Former Mali coup leader Sanogo on trial for murder.

Eleven-nation Central African talks back DR Congo deal.

Libyan general Khalifa Haftar meets Russian minister to seek help.

U.S. struggling to win enough votes for South Sudan arms embargo.

Zimbabwe police fire tear gas at bank note protest.

Rwanda probes possible role of French officials in genocide: prosecutor.

Morocco accuses African Union chief of obstructing readmission.


Putin: Trump agrees US-Russia relations 'must be straightened out'.

Russia positions 55,000 troops by its border with Ukraine in latest sign of aggression by Putin as fears grow he is preparing for war.

Ukraine prepares missile test near Crimea, angering Russia.

Germany says an intelligence informant offered state secrets to jihadists on the Internet.

NATO nearing solution to continue Aegean migrant mission: UK general.

Stockholm in flames as car fire epidemic rages in 'no-go' zone.

Great-grandson of man killed in Stalin's purges to sue Russian state.


Trump will leave his company 'in total' to focus on the White House as he promises first press conference since July to explain why avoiding conflicts of interest is 'visually important'. Trump says will back away from business to focus on White House.

Trump: There should be 'consequences' for people who burn the U.S. flag.

House Democrats re-elect Pelosi as leader despite discontent.

Obama says 'it's not a miracle' Trump won- he always had a chance - but it is a disappointment: 'I don't want to sugarcoat it. There are consequences to elections'.

Obama: 'Michelle will never run for office'.

FBI to gain expanded hacking powers as Senate effort to block fails.

Colombian Senate backs new Farc peace deal.

Castro's ashes begin final journey across Cuba.

Cubans 'fear reprisals' if they don't show grief over Castro's death, dissidents say.

U.S. sends nondelegation delegation to Castro services.

As Venezuela talks stutter, detained Maduro foes languish.

Chapecoense crash: Pilot reported 'no fuel' before tragedy which killed Brazilian footballers. Chapecoense air crash: Leaked tape shows plane 'ran out of fuel'.


Guantánamo parole board approves 21st captive for release, 29th ‘forever prisoner’.

Ohio State University attack: 'too soon' to determine terrorism link.

Secret Europol terror data found online.


OPEC agrees first production cut since 2008. Oil price surges as Opec agrees first cut in output since 2008.

Wall St. posts big Nov gains; mostly dips on day despite energy.

Samsung Electronics considers splitting firm in two.

U.S. Federal debt tops $19,900,000,000,000—on Black Friday.

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 30, 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) and Vice President-elect Mike Pence (R) greet retired Marine General James Mattis for a meeting at the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Mark Thomson, Time: Why Trump Is Interviewing Generals for His Cabinet

The benefit of their experience may be offset by a military-centric foreign policy.

Many of the latest administration try-outs turnstiling through Trump Tower over the three weeks since Donald Trump’s election couldn’t be blamed for rendering sharp salutes to the soon-to-be command-in-chief. After all, that’s what they did during their decades in uniform.

Trump has tapped Michael Flynn, a combative and cagey retired Army three-star who ran the Defense Intelligence Agency, to serve as his national security adviser. Other retired generals who have spoken with Trump about serving in his Administration include Jack Keane (retired Army general), who said he turned down an offer to serve as defense secretary. James Mattis (retired Marine general) remains a leading candidate for that post. David Petraeus (retired Army general) is under consideration to serve as secretary of state, and John Kelly (retired Marine general) could be tapped as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Read more ....

Military And Intelligence News Briefs -- November 30, 2016

Russia fully deploys 2 new divisions near Western border -- AP

Russia's top arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey develops new generation air defense system -- TASS

Russian troops in Crimea on high alert following Kiev’s missile launch preparations -- TASS

Kiev assures Black Sea firing drills pose no threat to Crimean residents -- TASS

Russia: Moscow Signs Military Deals With Armenia, Azerbaijan -- Stratfor

Report: Vietnam Expands Military Runway in South China Sea -- VOA

China military says 'not heard' of other base plans after Djibouti -- Reuters

China says it wants smooth military ties with Trump -- Reuters

China military says it's seriously concerned by Japan-South Korea pact -- Reuters

Pakistan's new army chief: A reality check -- CNN

NATO chief ignores fact that Europe isn't paying fair share -- The Hill

EU to support common defense market, boost joint spending -- DW

German domestic spy agency denies security lapse after Islamist mole -- DW

US, India Ink $737 Million Weapons Deal for Ultralight Howitzers -- Sputnik

US, France to Sign Military Space Cooperation Agreement -- Space Daily

CIA head warns Trump: Undermining Iran deal would be 'disastrous' -- The Hill

CIA chief warns Trump: Scrapping Iran deal 'height of folly' -- BBC

Ex-CIA head: North Korea will be able to reach Seattle with nuke by end of Trump's first term -- The Hill

US, S. Korea carry out joint exercises amid new round of N. Korea sanctions -- RT

Trump May Be About To Derail The Pentagon's Nuclear Plans -- Forbes

CNO: Navy to Take Steps to Protect Ohio Replacement Program From CR -- Defense News

The U.S. Navy's New Super Stealth Destroyer Is Getting Ready for Combat -- National Interest

Inside the 'Monster Garage,' AFSOC’s Secret Training Weapon -- Defense News

A Glimpse At How the F-35 Will Help the Marines Storm the Beach -- Defense One

For the First Time Ever, the F-35B Takes-Off at Sea With Full Weapons Load and Drops Live-Bombs -- National Interest

Boeing T-X Headed Toward First Flight -- Defense News

Former Pentagon chief hoping he was wrong about Trump -- The Hill

Trump, British security advisers to meet -- The Hill

Palin under consideration to head Veterans Affairs: report -- The Hill

Over Obama's objection, Congress agrees on a bigger military pay raise, more troops -- Military Times

Chairman hopeful for quick action from Trump on defense spending -- The Hill

Our casual use of military jargon is normalizing the militarization of society -- Tom Hawking, Quartz

Will the Department of Defense Invest in People or Technology? -- Theodore Johnson, The Atlantic

How America Can Rebuild the Military and Win the Wars of the Future -- James Hasik, National Interest

Arms deals account for '40 percent of corruption in world trade' -- DW

The Russians And The Trump Transition Team Are Talking

Washington Post: Russia has been in contact with Trump team over Syria, senior diplomat says

MOSCOW — Russia has been in contact over Syria with the team of President-elect Donald Trump, a senior Russian diplomat said Wednesday, suggesting that Moscow is already looking past the Obama administration when it comes to the crisis in Syria.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by the state-run Tass news agency as saying that Russia had been in communication with “several people that we have known for a long time.”

Bogdanov, who is President Vladi­mir Putin’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, declined to name the Trump team members, adding only that Moscow hoped that relations with Washington over Syria would improve under the incoming administration.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: In the Kremlin's eyes .... President Obama is now a lame duck.

More News On Reports That The Russians And The Trump Transition Team Are Talking

Trump team in contact with Moscow on Syria: Russian diplomat -- The Hill
Putin voices hope for better US-Russian ties under Trump -- AP
Putin: Trump agrees US-Russia relations 'must be straightened out' -- CNN
Putin: Trump and I are in agreement — US-Russia relations 'must be straightened out' -- Business Insider
US-Russian Relations Under a Trump Presidency: What to Expect -- The Diplomat
If Trump wanted a US-Russia 'grand bargain,' what would it look like? -- Fred Weir, CSM

OPEC Reaches A Deal On Oil Production

Wall Street Journal: OPEC Reaches Deal to Cut Oil Production

Cartel representatives agree to cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day

VIENNA—OPEC representatives reached a landmark deal Wednesday to reduce crude oil output, giving oil an immediate price boost after months of wrangling between OPEC members and market uncertainty about the ability of the once-mighty cartel to agree.

Almost exactly two years after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries group made a historic decision to avoid cutting output and allow prices to fall, the group said Wednesday that it agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels a day from the current 33.6 million barrels. It also said it expects producers from outside the cartel to join with additional cuts totaling 600,000 barrels a day.

Read more ....

More News On OPEC Reaching A Deal On Oil Production

Opec countries agree first oil output cut in eight years -- BBC
OPEC Agrees To First Cut In Oil Production Since 2008 -- NPR
OPEC in first joint oil cut with Russia since 2001, Saudis take "big hit" -- Reuters
OPEC Agrees to Cut Production in Drive to End Record Glut -- Bloomberg
OPEC agrees to oil production cuts -- USA Today
Oil jumps over 10 percent as OPEC finalizes output cut deal -- Reuters
Oil price surges as Opec agrees first cut in output since 2008 -- The Guardian
The OPEC Deal: Here Are The Details -- Nick Cunningham, Oil Price
OPEC Starts Counting the Days -- Liam Denning, Bloomberg
What the OPEC Production Cut Will Really Mean for Oil Prices -- Geoffrey Smith, Fortune
Why Saudi Arabia surprised the skeptics with an OPEC deal -- Patti Domm, CNBC

U.S. Air Force Report: U.S. Falling Behind Both Russia And China In Developing Hypersonic Missiles

Experts for the Air Force Studies Board at the National Academies of Science concluded that the US may face a threat from this ‘new class of weapons.’ This graphic from the report shows operational flight information for high-speed maneuvering weapons

Washington Free Beacon: Air Force: Hypersonic Missiles From China, Russia Pose Growing Danger to U.S.

U.S. falling behind in race for high-speed maneuvering weapons.

The United States is vulnerable to future attack by hypersonic missiles from China and Russia and is falling behind in the technology race to develop both defensive and offensive high-speed maneuvering arms, according to a new Air Force study.

“The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are already flight-testing high-speed maneuvering weapons (HSMWs) that may endanger both forward deployed U.S. forces and even the continental United States itself,” an executive summary of the report says.

“These weapons appear to operate in regimes of speed and altitude, with maneuverability that could frustrate existing missile defense constructs and weapon capabilities.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Chilling Air Force report warns Russia and China's hypersonic missiles 'may endanger the United States' (Daily Mail)
Update #2: Air Force Study Warns US Falling Behind China, Russia in Hypersonic Missiles (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: Here comes another arms race.

China Wants Smooth Military Ties With The Incoming Trump Administration

© REUTERS/ Natalie Thomas

Reuters: China says it wants smooth military ties with Trump

China said on Wednesday it wanted to develop smooth military-to-military ties with the new U.S. administration of Donald Trump.

While the world's two largest economies are frequently at odds over issues like the disputed South China Sea, both have been trying to improve trust between their armed forces to reduce the risk of misunderstanding in any encounters.

This month, China and the United States staged a three-day humanitarian relief military drill as part of that trust-building exercise.

New concern looms with Trump's election as U.S. president. He lambasted China on the campaign trail and has suggested Japan and South Korea be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

Read more ....

Update #1: China hopes to promote military ties with next U.S. administration (Shanghai Daily/Xinhua)
Update #2: China Hopes for Stable Military Relationship With US Under Trump - Ministry (Sputnik)

WNU Editor: Aside from a few warnings to President-elect Trump that there will be consequences if he starts to impose tariffs .... China has been very quiet since the U.S. Presidential election.

Editor's Note

Because of my trip to Ottawa yesterday I am behind a few things this morning. Blogging will return later in the afternoon.

A Look At How Hezbollah Is Benefiting From The Syrian War

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters from a screen during a rally to commemorate Hezbollah Wounded Veterans Day in Beirut's southern suburbs, Lebanon May 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Marc C. Johnson, The Hill: How the Iran deal, Syrian civil war prepares Hezbollah for future of terror

Surveying the conflict in Syria over the last 6-plus years, it’s not hard to find losing parties in the wreckage.

Thousands of innocent children, civilians, doctors, first responders, and journalists fill casualty lists — non-combatant collateral damage. The Syrian Arab Army can’t credibly claim to have “won,” either, as both ISIS and non-ISIS rebel groups are still trying to bring down its regime.

And ISIS itself — belatedly — appears to be losing ground, in no small part thanks to the direct intervention of Russia and Iran.

But one group, Hezbollah, is reaping significant tangible benefits from fighting in Syria. Not that they haven’t been been bloodied. The group has lost an estimated 1,500 fighters since 2011, with more than three times that wounded.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The perception is that Hezbollah is benefiting from the Syrian war .... but this conflict is far from over .... and everyday body-bags are being shipped back to Lebanon. If this conflict continues to fester .... and it looks like it will .... Lebanese Shiite "unquestionable" support for the conflict will change .... and probably sooner rather than later.

Having Dinner With The President-Elect

Daily Mail: All is forgiven? Trump and Romney have a 'warm' discussion as they dine on frog legs at three-Michelin star restaurant in New York amid rumors Mitt will be named secretary of state

* Trump is giving Romney a second look for secretary of state before he makes an appointment to the high-profile cabinet position
* He met with Romney and Reince Priebus for dinner at Jean-Georges, a French eatery near Central Park on Tuesday night
* CNN's Jim Acosta was in the restaurant and said the men were 'talking warmly but were very animated during their discussion'
* Trump interviewed Tennessee lawmaker Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, this afternoon
* Yesterday Trump met with former CIA Director David Petraeus; Rudy Giuliani is still in the running, too

President-elect Donald Trump met with Mitt Romney and Reince Priebus for dinner in New York City as the incoming commander-in-chief decides who will become his secretary of state.

This is the second time Romney and Trump have met since the election. Trump has been considering Romney for the prominent spot in his cabinet despite the former Massachusetts governor being one of Trump’s biggest critics in the GOP.

The three men arrived at Jean-Georges, a French eatery near Central Park, around 7.30pm on Tuesday.

Read more ....

Update #1: Romney gushes over Trump after posh dinner (Politico)
Update #2: Mitt Romney’s stunning 180 on Donald Trump (Aaron Blake, Washington Post)

WNU Editor: I see a lot of sucking up from Mitt Romney in this video. As to why is President-Elect Donald Trump even bothering with him .... this may explain it .... Why Trump is courting Romney for the State Department (Thomas Lifson, American Thinker).

There Will Be Nothing But Rubble When The Syrian War Is Over

A man at a site recently hit by what activists said was a Scud missile in Aleppo’s Ard al-Hamra neighborhood, February 23, 2013. REUTERS/Muzaffar Salman

New York Times: For Bashar al-Assad, Winning the Syrian War May Lead to New Troubles

BEIRUT, Lebanon — With the Syrian government making large territorial gains in Aleppo on Monday, routing rebel fighters and sending thousands of people fleeing for their lives, President Bashar al-Assad is starting to look as if he may survive the uprising, even in the estimation of some of his staunchest opponents.

Yet, Mr. Assad’s victory, if he should achieve it, may well be Pyrrhic: He would rule over an economic wasteland hampered by a low-level insurgency with no end in sight, diplomats and experts in the Middle East and elsewhere say.
As rebel forces in Aleppo absorbed the harshest blow since they seized more than half the city four years ago, residents reported seeing people cut down in the streets as they searched frantically for shelter. The assault punctuated months of grinding battle that has destroyed entire neighborhoods of the city, once Syria’s largest and an industrial hub.

If Aleppo fell, the Syrian government would control the country’s five largest cities and most of its more populous west. That would leave the rebels fighting Mr. Assad with only the northern province of Idlib and a few isolated pockets of territory in Aleppo and Homs Provinces and around the capital, Damascus.

But analysts doubted that would put an end to five years of war that have driven five million Syrians into exile and killed at least a quarter of a million people.

Ryan C. Crocker, a veteran diplomat in the Middle East, including in Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait and Iraq, where he served as an American ambassador, said he believed that the fighting in Syria would go on for years because once the Assad government had taken the cities, the insurgents would hide in the countryside.

“The Lebanon civil war is a comparison worth looking at,” he said. “It was long, hot and mean, and it took 15 years to end and it only ended because the Syrians moved into Lebanon and stopped it.”
He added, “With Syria, we’re just five years into it, and there’s no Syria to come in and end it.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: With hundreds of thousands dead .... a million wounded .... families torn apart .... and much of the country destroyed .... and it take 50+ years before the bitterness of this conflict is forgotten.

Syria Claims Israel Warplanes Launched Missile Strikes Outside Of Damascus

BBC: Syria conflict: 'Israeli jets' strike outside Damascus

Syrian state media say Israeli jets have fired two missiles from Lebanese airspace which struck outside Damascus.

A military source told the Sana news agency that the missiles landed in the Sabboura area but caused no casualties.

The source did not say if anything was hit, but the highway from Lebanon to Damascus runs through the town.

The Israeli military has not commented. It is believed to have bombed weapons shipments intended for Lebanon's Hezbollah movement in the past.

Hezbollah, which fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006, has sent thousands of fighters to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the country's civil war.

Read more ....

More News On Syrian Claims That Israel Warplanes Launched Missile Strikes Outside Of Damascus

'Israeli jets' strike outside Damascus, no casualties -- Al Jazeera
Syria: Israeli warplanes fired 2 missiles from Lebanese airspace that struck near capital, no casualties -- AP
Israeli air strikes reportedly hit Assad and Hezbollah arsenal and convoy in Syria -- International Business Times
Israeli warplanes launch 2 rockets across Syrian border that strike near Damascus -- RT
Syria says Israel bombed Hezbollah weapons convoy, regime weapons cache -- i24 News

Pentagon Blamed ‘Unintentional’ Human Error That Led to Airstrikes On Syrian Troops In September

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

New York Times: ‘Unintentional’ Human Error Led to Airstrikes on Syrian Troops, Pentagon Says

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Tuesday blamed “unintentional” human mistakes for the American-led airstrikes in September that killed dozens of Syrian government troops. The attacks were conducted under the “good-faith belief” that the targets were Islamic State militants, according to the official inquiry.

The investigation, led by an Air Force general, concluded that the strikes did not violate the law of armed conflict or the rules for the American military. Danish, British and Australian forces also participated in the strikes.

“In my opinion, these were a number of people all doing their best to do a good job,” said Brig. Gen. Richard A. Coe, the officer who led the investigation.

At the time, the Russians, who have been working closely with the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to fight the Islamic State and other rebels, said the attack had killed 62 Syrian troops and wounded more than 100.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This explains why the Russians are not buying this story .... RAF failed to pass on warning from Russia about Syria airstrikes: Putin's officials had to wait for 27 minutes on a hotline before they could warn jets were targeting regime soldiers and not ISIS (Daily Mail).

More News On The Pentagon Blaming ‘Unintentional’ Human Error That Led to Airstrikes On Syrian Troops In September

Investigation: 'Confirmation bias,' mistakes led coalition to mistakenly bomb Syrian troops -- Air Force Times
Accidental strikes on Syrian forces were the result of human error, Pentagon investigation finds -- Washington Post
U.S. military blames human error for mistaken coalition airstrikes in Syria -- CBS/AP
Investigation: 'Human Errors' at Fault in Deadly U.S. Airstrike in Syria -- NBC
U.S. Cites Human Error for September Strike on Syria-Aligned Forces -- WSJ
Errors led to coalition strike on Syria forces: Pentagon -- AFP
Syria conflict: US admits mistakes led to strike on state forces -- BBC
US-led Coalition Blames Human Error in Strike on Syria-aligned Forces -- VOA
US airstrike on Syrian troops was ‘unintentional error’ that did not constitute war crime, Pentagon says -- The Independent
U.S.-led strikes on Syrian-aligned troops caused by human error -- UPI
Pentagon Finds Human Errors Led To Strikes On Syrian Government-Aligned Troops -- NPR
Errors led to US-led coalition airstrikes on Syrian forces in September -- DW

U.S. Decapitation Strikes On The Islamic State Intensifies

Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, one of the jihadist group’s longest-serving officials, has been killed in Aleppo in Syria, its Amaq News Agency reported on Tuesday. WIBBITZ

Washington Post: ISIS’s second-in-command hid in Syria for months. The day he stepped out, the U.S. was waiting.

For a man given to fiery rhetoric and long-winded sermons, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani became oddly quiet during his last summer as the chief spokesman for the Islamic State.

The Syrian who exhorted thousands of young Muslims to don suicide belts appeared increasingly obsessed with his own safety, U.S. officials say. He banished cellphones, shunned large meetings and avoided going outdoors in the daytime. He began sleeping in crowded tenements in a northern Syrian town called al-Bab, betting on the presence of young children to shield him from the drones prowling the skies overhead.

But in late August, when a string of military defeats suffered by the Islamic State compelled Adnani to briefly leave his hiding place, the Americans were waiting for him. A joint surveillance operation by the CIA and the Pentagon tracked the 39-year-old as he left his al-Bab sanctuary and climbed into a car with a companion. They were headed north on a rural highway a few miles from town when a Hellfire missile struck the vehicle, killing both of them.

The Aug. 30 missile strike was the culmination of a months-long mission targeting one of the Islamic State’s most prominent — and, U.S. officials say, most dangerous — senior leaders. The Obama administration has said little publicly about the strike, other than to rebut Russia’s claims that one of its own warplanes dropped the bomb that ended Adnani’s life.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is a war of attrition .... but you still needs boots on the ground which the Iraqis and Kurds are providing.

Islamic State Takes Credit For Monday's Attack At Ohio State University

BBC: Islamic State group claims Ohio State University rampage

The Islamic State group says it was behind a car and knife rampage at a US college that left 11 people injured.

Monday's attack at Ohio State University was carried out by one of its students, Somali-born Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the authorities said.

The IS-affiliated Amaq news agency called the 18-year-old business undergraduate a "soldier".

Artan drove his car at a group of people, then attacked them with a knife before being shot dead.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Another example that reveals how ineffective the vetting process can be when it tries to gauge one's ideological motivations.

More News On The Islamic State Taking Credit For Monday's Attack At Ohio State University

ISIS Calls Ohio State University Attacker a ‘Soldier’ -- NYT
IS group claims Ohio university attacker one of its 'soldiers' -- France 24
Ohio State knifeman was inspired by ISIS: Authorities believe Abdul Artan carried out lone wolf attack despite claims from terror group he was a jihadi solider -- Daily Mail
ISIS claims responsibility for Ohio State attack -- The Hill
ISIS claims responsibility for Ohio State car-and-knife attack -- RT
Investigators believe Ohio State attacker was inspired by ISIS -- CNN
Ohio State attacker may have self-radicalized, officials say -- Reuters
Ohio University Attack: Police Investigate Extremist Motive -- Newsweek
The Hand Of ISIS At Ohio State -- Robin Wright, The New Yorker

This Is How Society In The Future Will Be Controlled

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Wall Street Journal: China’s New Tool for Social Control: A Credit Rating for Everything

Beijing wants to give every citizen a score based on behavior such as spending habits, turnstile violations and filial piety, which can blacklist citizens from loans, jobs, air travel.

HANGZHOU, China—Swiping her son’s half-fare student card through the turnstile here one Monday afternoon, Chen Li earned herself a $6 fine and a reprimand from a subway-station inspector for not paying the adult fare.

A notice on a post nearby suggested more-dire consequences. It warned that infractors could be docked points in the city’s “personal credit information system.” A decline in Ms. Chen’s credit score, according to official pronouncements, could affect her daily life, including securing loans, jobs and her son’s school admission.

“I’m sure if it comes up, I can explain,“ Ms. Chen said, saying she picked up the card accidentally. “It was unintentional.”

Hangzhou’s local government is piloting a “social credit” system the Communist Party has said it wants to roll out nationwide by 2020, a digital reboot of the methods of social control the regime uses to avert threats to its legitimacy.

Read more ....

Update: China Wants To 'Rank' Its Citizens According To Behaviour (October 27, 2016)

WNU Editor: When I first heard that this is what the Chinese government wanted to do last month .... a chill went through my body. This Chinese Communist social credit system is actually a credit system to punish those who do not comply to the rules of the state .... and to reward those who do. Opposition and non-conformity will no longer be allowed ....and you do not even need a secret police force to enforce it .... your control is via through money and the provision of government services. This is the ultimate form of tyranny.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Editor's Note

Must be in Ottawa today.
Paying a visit to our nation's capital.
Someone want's my opinion .... which tells me how screwed up our (Canada's) foreign policy is.
Will be stuck there all day and evening.
Blogging will return tomorrow morning.

Update 00:25 EST. November 30, 2016:  I just got back. I wish I was not bound by confidentiality agreements .... because what I saw and heard today makes me shudder knowing that Canadian foreign policy is being formulated on an important European issue by extremely well paid people who have no clue on what is happening there.

Sighhh ....

I never drink alone but tonight is going to be an exception.  A good shot of Johnnie Walker Blue .... and I am going to hit the sack. Blogging will return tomorrow.

German Spy Chief Warns That Russia Could Disrupt Next Year's Elections

The President of the German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) Bruno Kahl gives a speech at the 60th anniversary of the founding of the BND in Berlin, Germany, November 28, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BBC: German spy chief Kahl warns Russia 'could disrupt elections'

Germany's foreign intelligence chief has warned that Russia could seek to disrupt next year's German elections with cyber attacks.

Bruno Kahl said his agency was aware of cyber attacks with no other purpose than "causing political uncertainty".

"Europe is in the focus of this attempted disruption, and Germany in particular," he told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily.

Russia or Russia-linked groups have been regularly accused of such attacks.

Although campaigning for federal elections next autumn has not yet begun, Angela Merkel announced last week that she would be seeking a fourth term as chancellor.

Earlier this year, Germany's domestic intelligence agency accused Russia of being behind a series of cyber attacks on German state computer systems, including targeting the lower house of parliament last year.

Read more ....

More News On German Spy Chief Warning That Russia Could Disrupt Next Year's Elections

Spy chief adds to warnings of Russian cyber attacks on Germany -- Reuters
In wake of cyberattack, German spy chief points at Russia, warns of attempts to disrupt election -- Washington Post
Russian hackers targeting Germany: intelligence chief --
Top German spy warns of political cyberattacks, Russia links --

Another Attack On An Indian Military Base In Kashmir

VOA: Soldiers, Militants Killed in Attack on Indian Camp in Jammu and Kashmir

NEW DELHI — Three Indian soldiers and three attackers were killed when armed militants stormed an army base in the northern Jammu and Kashmir state early Tuesday. The latest attack is likely to further heighten tensions between India and Pakistan, whose ties hit a low point following a September attack on an Indian army camp in the disputed Kashmir region.

The soldiers and militants were killed in a gunbattle that raged for many hours after militants lobbed grenades and opened fire while trying to enter the Nagrota base, a major army camp that is one of the four command centers in Kashmir.

Nagrota lies about 20 kilometers from Jammu on the main highway that connects Kashmir’s two main cities of Srinagar and Jammu.

Defense Ministry spokesman, Manish Mehta said “early morning the encounter took place. The situation is under control.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Kashmir clashes: Indian soldiers killed in Nagrota camp attack (BBC)
Update #2: India-Pakistan Conflict Update: 3 Indian Soldiers, 4 Terrorists Killed In Militant Attack in Jammu (International Business Times)

WNU Editor: This has been a deadly year .... Terror deaths: 2016 is already Jammu and Kashmir’s bloodiest year in half a decade (Quartz).

South Korea's President Park Says She's Willing To Resign

New York Times: Park Geun-hye, Embattled South Korean President, Says She’s Willing to Resign

SEOUL, South Korea — President Park Geun-hye of South Korea said Tuesday that she was willing to resign before her term ends, in an effort to head off a pending impeachment vote over a devastating corruption scandal.

“I am giving up everything now,” she said in a dramatic, five-minute televised address, offering her third public apology for the scandal that has paralyzed her government for weeks. It was the first time South Koreans had heard from their cloistered leader since a previous televised public apology on Nov. 4.

But opposition lawmakers immediately rejected the offer, calling it a ploy meant to divide her political opponents and allow Ms. Park to survive in office, and they vowed to proceed with impeachment efforts. But their plan to call for an impeachment vote on Friday has been cast into doubt.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like she is looking for a deal that will not put her in a court room.

More News On South Korean President Park Saying She's Willing To Resign

S. Korean leader offers conditional resignation amid scandal -- AP
South Korea's President Park 'willing to resign' -- BBC
S. Korea president says willing to leave office early -- AFP
South Korea's Park Geun-hye offers to resign if lawmakers agree on impeachment -- UPI
Korea’s Park Offers to Resign If Parliament Decides She Should -- Bloomberg
S. Korean President Says She's Open To Stepping Down, But Doesn't Resign -- NPR
South Korean President Resignation: All You Need To Know About Scandal Surrounding Park Geun-Hye -- International Business Times

Bickering Amongst OPEC Countries Continues Before Tomorrow's Big Meeting

A soldier patrols in front of the headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Reuters: Iran, Iraq at loggerheads with Saudis ahead of OPEC meeting

Iran and Iraq are resisting pressure from Saudi Arabia to curtail oil production, making it hard for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reach a global output-limiting deal when it meets on Wednesday.

OPEC sources told Reuters a meeting of experts in Vienna on Monday failed to bridge differences between OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, and the group's second- and third-largest producers over the mechanics of output cuts.

"The revival of Iran’s lost share in the oil market is the national will and demand of Iranian people," Iranian news agency Shana quoted the country's oil minister Bijan Zanganeh, who was due to arrive in Vienna later on Tuesday, as saying.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The meeting is tomorrow .... but there is no consensus on production cuts. My prediction .... expect this .... Get ready for $40 oil if OPEC deal collapses (CNN). For countries like Venezuela that are dependent on oil exports for their revenues .... this will be a disaster.

Picture Of The Day

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
Nikita Khrushchev (third from the left) and Fidel Castro visiting the Duripsh collective farm. © SPUTNIK/ ANATOLY EGOROV

Tweet For Today

Miguel Diaz-Canel Will Be The Next President Of Cuba After Raul Castro Steps Down

Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel (left) is likely to succeed Raul Castro (right) when he steps down as president in 2018. Also in this picture is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a conference at the University of Havana, Cuba Nov. 16, 2016. Photo: Enrique de la Osa/Reuters

IBTimes: Miguel Diaz-Canel Likely To Succeed Raul Castro

The one constant in Cuba in the last six decades has been a Castro holding the reins of power. But with Friday’s death of Fidel and the fact his younger brother Raul is 85, attention is turning to the next generation of Cuban leaders.

Miguel Diaz-Canel, 55, currently serves as Raul Castro’s vice president and is his apparent successor. He has been working his way up the hierarchy for 30 years, first in provincial positions and then as minister of higher education. When he was 43, he became a member of the Politburo, the youngest ever. Most of the other members fought in the 1959 revolution.

An electrical engineer by trade and a Beatles fan, Diaz-Canel is a social media devotee, often posting pictures of himself and the younger Castro brother.

America’s Quarterly said in a profile last year Diaz-Canel generally keeps a low profile. He was born after the revolution and is a member of the reform wing of the party, more an experienced manager than ideologue. Unlike the Castros, he dresses in jeans and sports jackets, eschewing military fatigues.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I predicted this in 2013 .... The Next Leader Of Cuba? (February 25, 2013) .... and the comment I made in 2013 still stands.

Video Of A Danish Sikorsky Seahawk Helicopter Landing On A Warship In Extreme Conditions Of The North Atlantic Ocean

Business Insider/The Aviationist: Watch a Seahawk helicopter attempt to land on a warship in rough seas

The following video was released by the Danish Air Force on Facebook last week.

It was filmed during a recent test of the new Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk off the Faroe Islands, between Norway and Iceland.

The multi-mission naval chopper was involved in sea trials with a Danish and an Australian test pilot called to explore the aircraft’s flight envelope and landing restrictions in the very same extreme conditions Danish warships can find operating in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Impressive.

Monday, November 28, 2016

How Not To Develop And Manufacture A Tank

An Arjun MBT being test driven. Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons/Ajai Shukla

Kyle Mizokami, National Interest: India Took 35 Years to Make Its First Tank (And It Was a Total Disaster)

In the mid-1970s, India began development on a totally new, advanced main battle tank that would satisfy the needs of the country’s Armored Corps. An impressive combination of firepower, armor protection and mobility, the tank was to be India’s first indigenously produced tank—and one of the best in the world. The service date for the tank, known as Arjun, was confidently set for 1985.

Instead, the Arjun suffered a tortuously long development period spanning two centuries. The final result, introduced into the army twenty-six years later than originally planned, is a mess of a tank that not even the Indian Army wants.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It took them 35 years to figure this out?!?!?!

The US Military Prepares For War In Space

CNN: US military prepares for the next frontier: Space war

Washington (CNN)Since man first explored space, it has been a largely peaceful environment. But now US adversaries are deploying weapons beyond Earth's atmosphere, leading the US military to prepare for the frightening prospect of war in space.

"As humans go out there, there has always been conflict. Conflict in the Wild West as we move in the West ... conflict twice in Europe for its horrible world wars," Gen. John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command, told CNN. "So, every time humans actually physically move into that, there's conflict, and in that case, we'll have to be prepared for that."

Today, the US depends on space more than any other nation. Without satellites, televisions would go blank, mobile networks silent, and the Internet would slow and then stop.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Pentagon is definitely getting ready ....

.... To respond, the US has created a massive new Space Command, with some 38,000 employees, a $25 billion annual budget, and 134 locations around the globe. Among them are units such as the 50th Space Wing, a 352-member team charged with monitoring US and foreign military satellites. For now, these space warriors are little more than spectators, watching and observing this new space battlefield with no ability to fire back.

A Russian Reset?

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin © Reuters

Michael Crowley, Politico: A Russia reset? Maybe not yet.

As Moscow talks up a possible Putin-Trump meeting, officials in Congress and the Pentagon are ready to block any attempt to appease the Russian president.

After a phone call between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin days after the U.S. election, Russian media buzzed that Putin might host Trump this winter to kick off what the Kremlin described as their joint effort to "normalize ties” between the U.S. and Russia.

The talk of an early state visit remains speculative. But Trump's avowed desire for better relations with the autocratic Russian president makes it plausible that Trump would pay the first presidential visit to Moscow since a hopeful trip by President Barack Obama in 2009.

But interviews with more than a dozen officials and experts contacted by POLITICO since the election reveal an unyielding bipartisan and institutional opposition to any perceived effort by Trump to appease Putin. Such a gesture would be met with strong resistance from Congress, European allies, career national security officials and possibly even some key Trump officials.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: By the looks of it .... everyone is against any major reconciliation between the U.S. and Russia .... with the exception of President Putin and soon to be President Trump. And since these are the two men who have the final authority to decide if such a reconciliation process should take place .... I am willing to bet that right now the backroom channels are buzzing, and the groundwork is being placed for this process to move forward.

Iranian Patrol Boat Pointed Its Weapons At A U.S. Military Helicopter In The Strait of Hormuz

Reuters: Iranian vessel made 'unsafe' action against U.S. helicopter: officials

An Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard vessel pointed its weapon at a U.S. military helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, two U.S. defense officials told Reuters on Monday, an action they described as "unsafe and unprofessional."

The incident is the latest in a series of similar actions by Iranian vessels this year, but the first reported since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election earlier this month.

During his campaign, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessel that harassed the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be "shot out of the water," if he was elected. Trump is due to take office on Jan. 20.

There was no immediate Iranian comment on the incident.

Read more ....

More News On An Iranian Patrol Boat Pointing Its Weapons At A U.S. Military Helicopter In The Strait of Hormuz

Iranian patrol boat trains its weapon on US Navy helicopter -- CNN
Iranian Navy Boat Threatens U.S. Helicopter -- NBC
Iranian small boat pointed weapon at US Navy helicopter in Strait of Hormuz, officials say -- FOX News
Iranian vessel points weapon at US helicopter -- SKY News
Iran military vessel pointed weapon at US helicopter, Pentagon officials say -- The Guardian/Reuters

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 28, 2016

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto arrive for a press conference at the Los Pinos residence in Mexico City, Mexico, August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Josh Cohen, Reuters: The top three global winners and losers in a Trump presidency

The world still has to wait for Donald Trump to flesh out the details of his foreign policy. Based on comments he’s made so far, Russia and NATO are likely losers in the Trump era: Russia because of the U.S. president-elect’s praise for President Vladimir Putin, and NATO because Trump thinks “free riders” are forcing the United States to pay more than its share to maintain the alliance.

Ahead of Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, here are the three “winners” and three “losers” you might not have expected.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 28, 2016

Trump: Ready to lead the free world, 140 characters at a time -- Linda Feldmann, CSM

Afghanistan Is All Ready To Be Donald Trump’s First Foreign Policy Disaster -- David Wood, Huffington Post

Cuba after Fidel: Economic reform? Sí. Political reform? No. -- Haward LaFranchi, CSM

Fidel Castro May Be Dead, but Tyranny Remains in Cuba -- Ana Quintana, RCD

Fidel Castro was Canada’s favourite dictator -- Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star

Only Power Rules: Turkey After the Failed Coup -- Nick Ashdown, Los Angeles Review Of Books

Vietnam Taking Long-Term Hard Line Toward China on Maritime Claims -- Ralph Jennings, VOA

China Plays Nice Because It Can -- Stratfor

Four Ways Donald Trump Can Deter Beijing in the South China Sea -- Harry J. Kazianis, RCD

How Russian Propaganda Really Works in the West -- Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg

This Tiny Sliver of Russian Territory (and Its Weapons) Is What NATO Fears Most -- Robert Farley, National Interest

Can Portugal leave its crisis behind? -- Jochen Faget, DW

Colombia's Peace Puzzle -- Stephen Johnson, National Interest

Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, (General, USMC, Retired): Can He Be A Civilian Leader? -- David S. Maxwell, Small Wars Journal

The future of conflict is in cyberspace -- Davey Winder, Raconteur

From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years -- Justin Fox, Bloomberg