USAREUR General: Terror threat in Europe highest in world

Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti speaks during a news conference in Tallinn, Estonia, March 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

 

(WASHINGTON, DC) The threat posed by violent extremism is higher in Europe than anywhere else in the world, apart from actual war zones and hotspots, US European Command head General Curtis Scaparrotti said, commenting on Wednesday’s terrorist attack in London.

“The number of threat streams that we have of this type within Europe – it’s probably higher in Europe than any other part of the globe, with the exception of the places we’re actually physically fighting [terrorists], like Syria […] Afghanistan and Iraq,” the senior US military leader in Europe, who is also NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. Continue reading

U.S. carrier confronts two sets of fast boats in Strait of Hormuz

Iranian fast-attack boats. /Getty Images/File

 

A U.S. aircraft carrier on March 21 deployed helicopter gunships to track two sets of Iranian fast-attack vessels during a confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. Navy said.

Navy commanders told Reuters the USS George H.W. Bush confronted the Iranian boats after they approached a U.S.-led, five-vessel flotilla as it entered the Strait, Reuters reported. Continue reading

Israel Threatens to ‘Destroy’ Syrian Air Defense Systems

Avigdor Lieberman. Source: REUTERS

 

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman threatened to destroy Syrian air defense systems after the Syrian military launched ground-to-air missiles against Israeli warplanes illegally carrying out strikes against targets in the country.

“The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our planes we will destroy them without the slightest hesitation,” The Time Of Israel quoted Lieberman’s statement on Israeli public radio. Continue reading

US armored column at Manbij to block Russians

The Pentagon announced Tuesday, March 6, that a US armored convoy was deployed around the disputed northern Syrian town of Manbij, and in an unusual move, released a video depicting the convoy and its men.

A US military spokesman tweeted that the US deployment was a deliberate action taken to assure that forces within the US-led coalition deterred aggression and kept the focus on defeating ISIS.

Affirming that the US-led coalition was aware of the location of Russian-backed Syrian forces, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters Monday. Continue reading

Epic US, Russian, Turkish military summit on Syria

 

EXCLUSIVE:  For the first time ever, the top soldiers of the United States, Russia and Turkey are holding a secret meeting in the Turkish town of Antalya for an urgent two-day effort to avert a clash between their three armies, which stand ominously face to face in northern Syria.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armed forces, and Gen. Hulusi Akar, Chief of Staff of the Turkish army sat down together on Tuesday, March 7. Continue reading

Marine Le Pen Blacklisted by EU Bureaucrats

Marine Le Pen Blacklisted by EU Bureaucrats

 

(PARIS, FRANCE) European Union lawmakers lifted the EU parliamentary immunity of French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Thursday for tweeting pictures of Islamic State violence.

  • Le Pen, who leads her National Front party in the European legislature, is under investigation in France for posting three graphic images of Islamic State executions on Twitter in December 2015, including the beheading of American journalist James Foley.
  • Le Pen’s immunity shielded her from prosecution. By lifting it, after a request from the French judiciary, the parliament is allowing any eventual  against her.
  • The move grants the prosecutor looking into the affair power to bring Le Pen in for police questioning.
  • In the next steps, the prosecutor could drop the case, appoint an investigating magistrate to delve further into it, or send it straight to trial.
  • A trial date ahead of the election in April and May would require the French legal process to go much faster than it normally does.

The offence being considered is “publishing violent images”, which under certain circumstances can carry a penalty of three years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros ($78,930). Continue reading

Russian jets mistakenly bomb US-backed forces in Syria: US

Syrian army tanks are positioned on the eastern outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on February 17, 2017 (AFP Photo/George OURFALIAN)

 

Washington (AFP) – Russian warplanes bombed US-backed fighters in several small villages in northern Syria after they mistakenly thought Islamic State group forces were in the area, a US general said Wednesday.

Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said Russian and Syrian regime aircraft attacked the villages to the south and east of Al-Bab in Aleppo province on Tuesday, resulting in an unspecified number of casualties.

The Russians apparently had observed Islamic State fighters moving from the area and wrongly assumed that other forces remaining were jihadists. Continue reading

Is Germany Ready to Fire Shots?

Caption: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2017 Munich Security Conference on February 18 (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

 

Bundeswehr officials expect a more active and a more lethal role for Germany in the Middle East.

German military leaders are preparing to take on a more active role in the fight against the Islamic State in the Middle East. This news emerges following the February 17–19 Munich Security Conference. Spiegel Online reported on February 20 that German diplomats and military officers left the conference feeling that some major challenges ahead of them go far beyond merely increasing the nation’s military budget. The feeling was that Germany must get ready to fire shots.

German generals expect future missions to include air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and possibly an increased deployment of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. Spiegel Online quoted a German military general who attended the conference as saying, “[United States President Donald] Trump doesn’t only want more money from us but he also wants us to finally fire shots” (Trumpet translation throughout). Although former President Barack Obama had previously insisted on a more active NATO involvement, the quoted general believes that the tone is sharper now and that Germany must prepare to pull the trigger. Continue reading

Turkey has completed more than half of its Syria border wall

The wall is made from portable concrete blocks each weighing seven tons.

 

Turkey has finished construction on more than half of its 511-kilometer (317 miles) security wall along its border with Syria.

“The construction works are ongoing and we will complete it as soon as possible,” said Ergun Turan, president of Turkey’s state-owned housing agency TOKI. Continue reading

Australian arrested over Islamic State missile-design plot

Forensic experts collect evidence from a house in the Guildford area of Sydney as part of Australia’s largest ever counter-terrorism raid on September 18, 2014. (AFP/Saeed Khan)

 

Suspect was allegedly working to provide jihadists with long-range guided missile capabilities

The 42-year-old electrician was working alone and there was no domestic-related terror threat, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia says it’s ‘Ready to Send Ground Troops’ to Syria

[Mosa’ab Elshamy/AP]

 

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has said the kingdom is ready to send ground troops to Syria to “fight ISIS” following the meeting between US Senator John McCain and the Saudi King, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The Saudi foreign minister said Saudi forces could battle ISIS alongside US special forces in Syria, Süddeutsche Zeitung repoted on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia is a long-term supporter of various radical jihadi groups, including Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), opposing the Syrian government.

Any involvement of Saudi forces in the conflict in Syria will clearly lead to the escalation of the war. Continue reading

U.S. Says It Won’t ‘Take’ Iraq’s Oil As Russia Expands Influence

Oil Engineer

 

Less than a day after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis contradicted Trump’s oft-repeated maxim that we should have taken Iraq’s oil, Russia has moved to expand its footprint in the region with a new oil deal in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Russian state-owned Rosneft PJSC has announced that not only will it purchase Kurdish crude until 2019, but it is also studying exploration and production opportunities there. The deal was announced at the same time that Russia moved to expand its footprint in Libya in a second deal designed to gain more control in the Middle East. Continue reading

Germany’s Identity Crisis Leading to the Rise of the Far Right

Caption: (iStock.com/franckreporter )

 

In a world of uncertainty and crisis, Germany needs a lot of things: A strong leader. A stronger military. Stronger borders. A stable eurozone economy. But there is something else German’s are crying out for: an identity.

In “Germany’s Taboos, Once a Bulwark Against the Far Right, May Now Be Enabling It,” the New York Times wrote:

Since World War II, trying to define the German national identity, much less celebrate it, has been taboo. Doing so was seen as a possible step toward the kind of nationalism that once enabled the Nazi regime. Flags were frowned upon, as was standing for the national anthem.

But spurred by a sense of lost control over the country’s borders, economy and politics, many Germans are reaching for a shared identity but finding only an empty space. Continue reading

U.S. Pilots Confirm: Obama Admin Blocks 75 Percent of Islamic State Strikes

What we’ve known all along from previous posts…

ISIS was hit in token strikes.

ISIS could’ve been wiped out years ago.

…is now confirmed via military pilots.

 

‘We can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us’

U.S. military pilots who have returned from the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq are confirming that they were blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordnance on terror targets because they could not get clearance to launch a strike, according to a leading member of Congress.

Strikes against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) targets are often blocked due to an Obama administration policy to prevent civilian deaths and collateral damage, according to Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Continue reading