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The Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017, Breaking Story: Breaking Story 1: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack — Improvised Bucket Bomb Device Explodes In United Kingdom Parson Green Tube Train Station in West London During Morning Rush Hour — 29 Injured None Seriously including Children — Threat Level Raised From Severe To Critical By Prime Minister May — Videos — Story 2: North Korea Fires Another Ballistic Missile Over Japan — Videos — Story 3: Conservative Commentator Ben Shapiro Allowed To Speak At University of California, Berkeley, Police Arrested Nine of The Protesters –Videos

Posted on September 18, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Communications, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Empires, Employment, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Government, Government Spending, Great Britain, Health, History, Human, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Japan, Language, Law, Life, Media, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, North Korea, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Prime Minister, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Security, South Korea, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Syria, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Turkey, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for terrorist attack in London tube train Parsons green 14 September 2017Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

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Image result for terrorist attack in London tube train Parsons green 14 September 2017

 

Breaking Story 1: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack — Improvised Bucket Bomb Device Explodes In United Kingdom Parson Green Tube Train Station in West London During Morning Rush Hour — 29 Injured None Seriously including Children — Threat Level Raised From Severe To Critical By Prime Minister May — Videos —

Parsons Green explained: Terror attack on London Tube

18-yr-old Terrorist arrested for London Tube terror attack

ISIS claimed responsibility for BUCKET BOMB ATTACK in the London subway station

29 Injured In Explosion On London Subway Train At Parsons Green Underground Station

WION Gravitas: Know all about terror attack at Parsons Green Station in London

Parsons Green: Man arrested over Tube bombing

Parsons Green: Explosion was from an improvised explosive device – BBC News

London police confirm Parsons Green explosion was terrorist attack

Eyewitnesses describe moments of explosion on London Tube

Londoners resilient following Parsons Green attack: ‘Everyone seemed in good spirits’

Soldiers on the streets and extra armed police on patrol Theresa May raises terror level to CRITICAL

Trump Just Made HUGE Announcement To Americans Immediately After London Terror Attack Overnight

Parsons Green: ‘It’s a terrible thing’ – US President Donald Trump – BBC News

Parsons Green terror attack Theresa May scolds Donald Trump over ‘unhelpful’ comments

Parsons Green: ‘There was a human stampede’ – BBC News

Parsons Green Explosion Tube Train Station at District Line London – Fulham 9/15/2017

Explosion on London tube train

Burning device filmed on tube carriage at Parsons Green station

Several Injured in London Terror Attack

UK raises terror threat after Parsons Green Tube attack

Mayor’s statement on Parsons Green terrorist attack

Blast In London Underground Station

London tube attack witness describes ‘frightening’ scene

Parsons Green explosion was terrorist attack – London police (Special Coverage)

Parsons Green attack: 22 injured, UK terror threat remains at severe

#London #ParsonsGreen Bombing and the #MSM Usual Suspects Trained Seal Show: Repeat But Don’t Report

Idiots React to London Underground Attack

UPDATED

 Parsons Green attack: Police raid in west London as 18-year-old man arrested in Dover – latest news

Detectives investigating the terrorist attack at Parsons Green have made a “significant” arrest in connection with the attempted bombing.

The 18-year-old man was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover on Saturday morning under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.

He remains in custody at a local police station from where he will be transferred to a south London police station.

 Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.

“The public should remain vigilant as our staff, officers and partners continue to work through this complex investigation. We are not, at this time, changing our protective security measures and the steps taken to free up extra armed officers remain in place.

“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers. For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage.”

The development came after Prime Minister ordered troops onto the streets on Friday night after a suspected Islamist placed a powerful time bomb on a packed rush hour train heading towards Westminster.

Theresa May took the decision after the independent Joint Terrorism Assessment Centre (JTAC) recommended raising the terror threat to its highest level, Critical, meaning another attack is expected.

The white bucket that is said to have blown up on the Parsons Green carriage
The improvised explosive device in a white bucket blew up on the final carriage of the Parsons Green train CREDIT: PRICEY1983AA/TWITTER

The army will deploy troops at key locations around the capital in order to free up police who were last night involved in a huge manhunt to catch the terrorist responsible for the failed Parsons Green bomb attack, which Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility.

At least 29 people were injured, including a boy believed to be aged about 10 when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off on a packed rush hour tube at Parsons Green in west London yesterday morning.

Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic after the blast sent a “fireball” and a “wall of flame” through a District line service in west London.

But the main device, which had been fitted with a crude timer using shop-bought fairy lights, failed to detonate, meaning hundreds of people were spared death and serious injury.

Anti-terror police are understood to be working on the theory that the bomb was detonated early by accident and that the intended target may have been the Tube station at Westminster.

Detectives have so far spoken to 45 witnesses and continue to receive information from the public to the confidential anti-terrorist hotline.

The public has sent 77 images and videos to investigators via the UK Police Image Appeal website.

A police officer at the entrance to Parsons Green after the station re-opened overnight
A police officer at the entrance to Parsons Green after the station re-opened overnight CREDIT: JONATHAN BRADY/PA WIRE

Detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are continuing to urge anyone with information about the terrorist attack to contact police.

The attack – the fifth terrorist attack on the UK in just six months – caused a diplomatic row between Washington and London.

Donald Trump seemed to accuse the Metropolitan Police of knowing the identity of the attacker in advance but failing to prevent the bombing. Mr Trump posted on Twitter: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”

His claim earned the US President a stiff rebuke from Theresa May. “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation,” said the prime minister. “The police and security services are working to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack and to identify all those responsible.”

Despite Mr Trump’s suggestion that the terrorist was known to police, counter-terrorism sources insisted that was not the case and that the hunt for the perpetrator of the bombing on a District Line train was ongoing.

An injured woman is assisted by a police officer close to Parsons Green station
An injured woman is assisted by a police officer close to Parsons Green station CREDIT: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA

Counter terrorism specialists from Scotland Yard were last night working to establish his identity from CCTV footage on the train and at stations on the line. They were also combing through records of payments with Oyster cards used to buy Tube tickets.

One theory is the suspected bomber may have fled the scene among the stampede of panicking passengers and escaped among the crowds.

They were also uncertain that Parsons Green was not the planned target, pointing to reports that the bomb, which was packed with shrapnel and contained a timing device, had apparently malfunctioned.

Witnesses reported seeing people “covered in blood” after a “flash and a bang” from the device, but sent a “fireball” through the packed Tube train.

Pictures and video posted on social media showed a flaming bucket – which appeared to have wires coming from it – inside a Lidl carrier bag on the floor of a carriage.

The device is not believed to have fully detonated and it is reported that it could have been set off on a timer.

More follows – stay with us for the latest updates through the day

Residents evacuated at Sunbury address

The Met Police said police officers had evacuated and were searching a residential address in Sunbury-on-Thames.

Scotland Yard said: “The evacuation is a precautionary measure following the arrest of a man in Dover, Kent, at approximately 07:50hrs this morning in connection with the investigation into the terrorist attack at Parsons Green Underground Station on Friday, 16 September.

Officers began evacuating the address at approximately 13:40hrs today.

Residents in the buildings immediately surrounding the address are also being evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Cordons are being put in place at a 100 metre radius to facilitate the Metropolitan Police Service’s operation, which is being supported by colleagues from Surrey Police.

A search of the address is ongoing and the cordons will remain in place until the operation is complete.

Police would like to thank the local residents directly affected for their cooperation and patience. Local officers are on duty in the immediate area to talk to the community and address any concerns that they may have.

No further arrests have been made.”

Police cordon set up after officers raid house in Sunbury-on-Thames

 00:35

Armed police raid west London address

Police investigating the Parsons Green bombing carried out a raid on an address in Sunbury-on-Thames, close to the start of the M3 in west London, on Saturday afternoon.

Residents described a house in Cavendish Road being evacuated by armed officers. Others reported bomb squad vehicles arriving as armed officers moved in.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick says London “will not stop”

London will not be stopped by terror, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said as she highlighted an increased visible police presence on the capital’s streets.

Ms Dick spoke as she joined officers on some of the city’s busiest streets, travelling on the Tube to Waterloo Station and patrolling the tourist hot spot of the South Bank

She said: “London has not stopped after other terrible attacks and it will not stop after this one.”

The Commissioner said the public should feel “utterly reassured” by the presence of police.

Met chief says London "will not stop"

Met chief says London “will not stop”

02:38

She said: “I’ve been out and about today. The public seem to be very positive about the number of officers that we have.”

She added: “The great thing about London is that we don’t give in, we don’t give in to terrorists – we never have and we carry on.

“So the transport system is running just as it ever did and the events are going ahead today. People are out and about. I’ve spoken to lots of people, Londoners and tourists and business people. People are here and I would say, carry on about your business and secondly, of course, be vigilant.”

She added: “My main message is London is carrying on. Carry on with your business but be alert, don’t be alarmed but make sure you tell us anything that worries you.”

Scenes from Saturday morning

Armed police are making their presence felt in the capital following the news last night that Prime Minister Theresa May had raised the UK terror threat level to critical.

Armed police in Westminster
Increased security in Westminster CREDIT:  TOM NICHOLSON/LNP

Meanwhile, Tube passengers have been returning to Parsons Green.

A passenger walks into Parsons Green Underground station
The station reopened in the early hours CREDIT: PETER NICHOLLS/REUTERS

Scotland Yard describe the arrest as “significant”

The 18-year-old was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said: “We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.

“The public should remain vigilant as our staff, officers and partners continue to work through this complex investigation. We are not, at this time, changing our protective security measures and the steps taken to free up extra armed officers remain in place.

“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers. For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage.”

18-year-old arrested in Dover over London bombing

00:49

Man, 18, arrested in Dover

An 18-year-old man has been arrested in the Dover area under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in connection with the Parsons Green station bombing.

More information to follow as we receive it.

Tightened security ahead of Chelsea v Arsenal game

In a statement, Chelsea said:  “Following Friday morning’s incident at Parsons Green, and in order to help us fully prepare for the game, the majority of the Stamford Bridge site will remain closed until Sunday morning.

“This includes Stadium Tours, the Museum, Megastore and the Chelsea Health Club & Spa, while the ticket office will be operating via telephone and online only.

“During that time, entrance to the site will be via the Stamford Gate entrance only. On Sunday, we urge supporters to arrive at least one hour before kick-off to allow for extra security measures.

“We also request that supporters do not bring bags as this will delay your entry to the stadium. The club continues to monitor events and liaise with the police and relevant authorities on supporter safety.”

Trump under fire in US over London bombing comments

Ben Cardin, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, backed Theresa May in her rebuke of Donald Trump over the London  bombing David Millward reports.

“I think the Prime Minister of the UK was appropriate in calling the president out.”

John Cohen, former US counterterrorism official and now a professor at Rutgers University, also believed Mr Trump’s intervention was unhelpful.

“At this stage investigators are going to be doing everything they can to locate those involved in the attack, and in particular the bomb maker,”  he told the New York Times.

“These types of statements — at this stage of the investigation — can undermine law enforcement efforts because it discloses key information that the investigators may be using to locate the attackers, and it could put peoples’ lives at risk.”

Bomb ‘highly likely’ to be TATP – CNN

A source briefed by investigators told CNN that an initial assessment of the device indicates it is “highly likely” to have contained the explosive TATP but that this has not been confirmed. It also appeared to have been crude and poorly designed, the source said.

‘Excellent progress’ made in hunt for terrorist, police say

Met Assistant Commissioner, Mark Rowley, said the police were making “excellent progress” in the hunt for the terrorist.

He said officers were trawling through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and 77 images and videos taken by members of the public at the scene were also being examined.

Mr Rowley said the IED had now been made safe and was being examined by specialist forensic scientists.

Threat level raised to ‘critical’

The UK’s terror threat level has been raised from severe to critical, indicating a further attack may be imminent, following the Parsons Green Tube bomb, Prime Minister Theresa May said.

Army troops will be assisting the police with their duties, freeing up officers to continue their investigation into the attack.

Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the Amaq news agency which has links to the group.

White House defends Trump’s comments on Parsons Green attack

Mr McMaster was asked about Donald Trump’s comments this morning, in which he said the suspect of the bombing was “in the sights” of Scotland Yard.

Theresa May called that speculation “unhelpful”.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster, right, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, participate in a news briefing at the White House, in Washington
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, right, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, participate in a news briefing at the White House, in Washington CREDIT: CAROLYN KASTER 

Mr McMaster said he thought the president was speaking in general terms, and did not have any specific information.

He said: “I think what the president was communicating was that all our law enforcement efforts are focused on this threat for years.

“Scotland Yard is a leader in this, and if it happened here in the US the FBI would also have the suspect in their sights.

“I think he means generally this kind of activity is what we are trying to prevent.”

President Trump calls for renewed effort to cut terror funding

H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has just spoken about the Parsons Green attack in the White House, Harriet Alexander reports.

He said: “The US stands in solidarity with the people of the UK.

“We will defend our people and our values against these cowardly attacks, and we will always stand by countries who do the same.”

He said Mr Trump had been “unambiguous” in his policy on terrorism, urging a renewed effort at cutting financing for terrorist networks.

President Trump speaks to PM to express sympathy

The White House press secretary has revealed details of the phone call between Donald Trump and Theresa May. The US president phoned to “convey his sympathies and prayers for those injured in the terrorist attack today in London”, the White House said.

“The President pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism. ”

A Downing Street spokesman said: “President Trump called the Prime Minister earlier today to offer his condolences over this morning’s cowardly attack in London.

“They also discussed North Korea’s latest missile test, agreeing it was a reckless provocation and that China must now use all its leverage to bring pressure to bear on the North Korean regime to ensure they change course and end these illegal tests.”

Number of injured rises to 29

NHS England says 29 people have been treated after the explosion at Parsons Green tube station.

As of 5.30pm on Friday, NHS England said it was now treating 21 patients.

Eight others were discharged earlier in the day.

 

Soldiers on the streets and extra armed police on patrol as Theresa May raises terror level to CRITICAL after ISIS claim Tube bucket-bomb attack was carried out by a cell of several jihadis

  • Soldiers and armed police will be on the streets as the threat level is raised to critical, the highest possible 
  • Scotland Yard have identified the suspect behind the rush hour blast on District Line train at Parsons Green
  • Manhunt underway for bomber amid fears he may have left other devices and could be armed with knives 
  • Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the west London attack saying its ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’
  • IED had timer attached meaning terrorist probably exited at an earlier station but bomb failed to detonate
  • Bloodied and burned commuters ‘ran for their lives’ after explosion on London Underground this morning 
  • Were you on the train, witness the bombing or know one of the injured? Email tips@dailymail.com

Soldiers are being deployed on London’s streets as the terror threat level is raised to critical amid fears the Parsons Green bomber could strike again, Theresa May announced tonight.

Operation Temperer will see military personnel replacing police at key sites such as nuclear power plants to free up extra armed officers for regular patrols.

Scotland Yard said it is making ‘excellent’ progress in hunting the suspected terrorist who set off an improvised bucket bomb on a packed commuter train by Parsons Green tube station in west London at 8.20am.

Mrs May said in a statement from Number 10: ‘The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has now decided to raise the national threat level from severe to critical – this means their assessment is that a further attack may be imminent.’

Minutes later Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley suggested there may have been more than one person involved stating that police were ‘chasing down suspects’.

Police identified the suspected terrorist using CCTV but the investigation has been overshadowed by an extraordinary diplomatic row triggered by Donald Trump

The US President tweeted just hours after the rush hour blast that police had the attacker ‘in their sights’ and should have been ‘more proactive’ in catching ‘the loser’.

Scotland Yard hit back and said Mr Trump’s comments were ‘pure speculation’ while senior officers refused to name the suspect.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack tonight, saying its ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’.

Scroll down for videos.  

A photograph of the flaming white bucket taken just after it exploded around 8.20am shows a number of wires protruding out of the top and on to the train carriage floor

The majority of victims suffered 'flash burns' including to their heads (pictured)  and several have been taken to a specialist burns unit

A victim, believed to be a schoolchild, is carried from the station with charred legs as others were treated for burns in the street and neighbouring shops

Others were treated for burns in the street and neighbouring shops

an 11-year-old who was found on the floor asking for his brother

Theresa May gave a statement from within Downing Street in which she announced the terror threat level would be raised to critical, its highest level

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley suggested there may have been more than one person involved stating that police were 'chasing down suspects'

A well-dressed young woman was walked to safety by a Met officer after having her head bandaged after suffering a burn or wound to her cheek

Firefighters from the London Fire Brigade raced to the scene in west London and were there within five minutes

This photograph captured the moment the first members of the emergency services raced to the scene within five minutes of the explosion

Elite armed counter-terrorism police are at the scene amid reports of the suspect being on the run and claims of a second device

Peter Crowley had the hair burnt off his head in the attack

Mr Crowley before the attack

A traumatised and injured passenger on the ill-fated Parsons Green train is taken away by paramedics and firefighters

The majority of the victims have suffered 'flash burns' caused by the ignition - but it appears that the bomb did not properly detonate

A forensic officer outside Parsons Green station in West London where there remains a heavy police presence as the manhunt for the suspected terrorist continues

Security was stepped up at stations around London following this morning's attack. Pictured is a British Transport Police officers at Euston

A police officer watches on as commuters file into the underground at Euston Station amid newly tightened security

As Britain faced its fifth terror attack in a year it has emerged:

  • Bucket bomb left on Tube train – which had a timer – failed to explode properly at 8.20am but left 29 injured;
  • Most victims suffered ‘flash burns’ and others crush injuries in ‘human stampede’ as people fled the train;
  • Two hours after the explosion Metropolitan Police confirmed they were treating it as a terrorist incident; 
  • The IED used Christmas lights as a fuse, as recommended by ISIS magazines and online bomb manuals;
  • Police are looking for multiple suspects – and officers have told MailOnline that main suspect is armed;
  • Donald Trump insists he has been briefed on bombing and Scotland Yard knew of the suspect before attack;
  • The Metropolitan Police hit back at ‘pure speculation’ and refused to name the suspect they are looking for; 
  • Met spotters are watching back CCTV from the train and at Tube stations to trace the bomber’s steps; 
  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency saying ‘soldiers’ had ‘planted IEDs’
  • Police asks the public to dial 999 or the anti-terror hotline on 0800 789 321 if they see anything suspicious.

The crude bucket bomb – which had a timer – went off at 8.20am inside a tube train packed with commuters, including children and a pregnant woman.

The device was hidden in a builder’s bucket and could have killed dozens but failed to properly detonate and sent a ‘wall of fire’ through the carriage at Parsons Green injuring at least 29 people.

Terrified passengers were seen covered in blood with scorched hands, legs, faces and hair – others suffered crush injuries during a stampede as they ‘ran for their lives’ over fears the ‘train would blow up’.

London Ambulance took 19 patients to hospitals, while the others went in themselves. The four hospitals dealing with patients were Imperial, Chelsea and Westminster, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and St George’s.

Officers are hunting for the bomber across London amid claims he could be armed and may have planted other explosive devices.

An officer at the scene told MailOnline: ‘We believe there is a second bomb – there is a man with knives on the loose.’

Theresa May raises terror threat level to its highest possible

Mrs May said in a statement from Number 10 –

 ‘The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has now decided to raise the national threat level from severe to critical – this means their assessment is that a further attack may be imminent.

‘The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets, providing extra protection.

‘This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses.’

In a pre-recorded television statement, May said military personnel would replace police officers ‘on guard duties at certain protected sites which are not accessible to the public’.

She said: ‘The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets, providing extra protection.

‘This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses.’

Speaking moments afterwards, Assistant Commissioner Mike Rowley said: ‘We are making excellent progress at the moment as we pursue our lines of inquiry to identify, locate and arrest those responsible.

‘We have hundreds of police officers trawling through CCTV footage, detectives have spoken to tens of witnesses and we have taken a large number of calls to the hotline… for members of the public.

‘Indeed members of the public have sent in so far 77 images and videos of the scene which they have sent in to our appeal website and these are now being assessed for evidential value.’

Mr Rowley said he was only aware of one device, and the remnants of that device are being examined by experts.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told LBC radio ‘there is a manhunt under way as we speak’ and there have been no arrests.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack this evening through its Amaq News Agency, saying its ‘soldiers planted IEDs’. However, the group has often made false claims in the past.

Photographs show what experts believe is a ‘unsophisticated’ bomb in a flaming white bucket inside a Lidl freezer bag with Christmas lights protruding from the top – a type of fuse encouraged by ISIS in its online manuals.

Donald Trump tweeted just hours after the rush hour blast that police had the attacker ‘in their sights’ and should have been ‘more proactive’ in catching ‘the loser’.

Scotland Yard hit back and said Mr Trump’s comments were ‘pure speculation’ while senior officers refused to name the suspect.

Mrs May also hit out at the President’s tweet, calling it ‘unhelpful’, and has this evening discussed the intelligence sharing between the two countries with the President in a telephone call.

This image was taken from the platform in the minutes after the terror attack and it remained alight until the fire service arrived

This image was taken from the platform in the minutes after the terror attack and it remained alight until the fire service arrived

A forensics tent has been erected on the platform - although there have been no fatalities - and a single pair of shoes lies abandoned outside the door where the bomb ignited

Horrified witnesses on social media claim there was a stampede as people were 'screaming and running' off the trains, which was searched by heavily armed police officers today

A heavily armed officer wanders through the damaged train's carriages looking for more devices

The abandoned train at Parsons Green today after a terrorist left a bucket bomb on the carriage floor

Police believe the bomber may have exited the train (pictured) perhaps one or two stops before the bomb went off

Passengers on trains at Parsons Green were evacuated onto the track away to safety after London was hit by another terror attack

Passengers are ushered across the track by firefighters after getting trapped in the aftermath of the bombing

 Witnesses to the explosion said there was a loud ‘bang’, a flash and then a ball of flame engulfed surrounding passengers on the ‘packed’ District Line train.

Luke Warsmey said: ‘The explosion was like a large match going off at the end of the carriage. People just started sprinting. It was every man for himself when that happened. The burn victims had severe leg injuries.

HOW RELEASING INFORMATION HELPED CATCH BARCELONA ATTACKER

The failure of the Metropolitan Police to name the suspect contrasts sharply with the response to the last major terror attack in Europe, Barcelona in August.

Just over an hour after the attack took place, Spanish police tweeted the public to say they were searching for the attacker and to avoid the area.

Then, three hours after the attack, a photo of a suspect, Driss Oukabir, was released and circulated online.

The release of the image caused Oukabir to come forward to his local police and tell officers his documents had been stolen.

This was again revealed to the media as Oukabir’s younger brother Moussa became the prime suspect.

‘It was a very busy commuter train, young and old, school children going to their schools. I saw was nannies trying to look for kids, because of the rush of people just taking five and six year olds away from them and they were trying to look for them.

‘There were lots of injuries from people being trampled on and everyone who had been close to it had the same burns to their head.’

Prime Minister Theresa May chaired a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee this afternoon to discuss the terrorist attack.

Mrs May later appealed to any members of the public with images of the incident to pass them to the police.

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion today.

A 100 yard cordon was erected around the station and a police helicopter was also overhead.

The Met confirmed it was a terrorist attack around 40 minutes later.

Scotland Yard said the area surrounding Parsons Green Tube station has been evacuated so specialist officers could ‘secure the remnants of the improvised device and ensure it is stable’.

NHS England said 29 patients in total were being treated at Imperial, Chelsea and Westminster, Guy’s and St Thomas’ and the Central London Community Healthcare Urgent Care Centre. Of these 18 were taken by ambulance and four self-presented.

In the aftermath armed police swooped from the SO-15 counter-terrorism unit performed a hard-stop on a bus in nearby Chelsea Bridge Road. The call was linked to the terror attack but nothing suspicious was found on board.

A team of paramedics walk towards the station to treat victims and St Mary's Hospital in Paddington have declared an emergency

A team of paramedics walk towards the station to treat victims and St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington have declared an emergency

Sniffer dogs are also searching around the cordoned off area amid claims that there are other devices 

Specialist forensic officer, including some with expertise in dealing with bombings and chemical incidents, are combing the train for clues

Specialist forensic officer, including some with expertise in dealing with bombings and chemical incidents, are combing the train for clues

A police cordon remained outside Parsons Green Tube station on Friday afternoon following the blast during the morning rush hour

A forensic officer in blue overalls walks along the pavement near Parsons Green tube station as the investigation continues into the attack

Emma Stevie, 27, described a ‘human stampede’ after the bomb went off. She said: ‘I heard lots of screams and people saying ‘run, run’. We got out and then there was a human stampede, down the stairs.

‘There were people lying underneath getting crushed, a big human pile-on. I wedged myself in next to a railing. I put myself in the foetal position. I kept thinking, ‘I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok’.

‘There was a pregnant woman underneath me, and I was trying really hard not to crush her.’

Lidl will help police after their bag was used to house bomb

Supermarket Lidl has offered to assist a police investigation into the terrorist incident on the London Underground, after one of its bags was apparently used to hold the improvised bomb.

The German-owned grocery chain issued a statement just hours after social media photos of the affected District Line carriage showed a still-burning bucket inside a Lidl-branded reusable bag.

‘We are shocked and concerned to have learned of an incident at Parsons Green this morning and our thoughts are with those affected,’ Lidl UK said.

‘We will, of course, support the authorities should they need our assistance in their investigations. We are closely monitoring the situation as it develops over the course of the day.’

A spokesman for the supermarket also confirmed that what seemed to be an insensitive tweet, purportedly sent out by Lidl UK’s twitter account on Friday morning, was fake.

Twitter user @jesuiscanard appeared to retweet a Lidl UK tweet from 10:32am which read: ‘We are proud to officially have the strongest bags. Great value for just 10p.’

Richard Aylmer-Hall told Sky News: ‘There were a few crush injuries on the stairs. People got squashed and crushed going down the stairs. Police evacuated everyone from the scene pretty quickly.

‘There was screaming, pushing and shoving – it was a like there was a terrorist on the loose with a gun or something – lots of people were in tears. When it was all over lots of people were being comforted and looked after. It was total chaotic panic.

‘A lady who had been on the same carriage as the device described it going off – a puff of smoke and flames coming out of it.’

Couple Lucy, 24 and Fabin, 29, were on their way to work when the explosion happened.

Lucy, who works in PR, said: ‘We just heard screaming and sprinting, there was a stampede on the stairs and people were falling over, there was a schoolboy being lifted up after he had fallen down, he was in his school uniform, he must have been about ten, he was crying and distressed.’

Fulham fitness instructor Niyi Shokunbi, 24, was in the next carriage the moment the bomb went off.

He told MailOnline: ‘I have never seen anything like it was like something out of a film. I thought it was an acid attack. It happened like bang within ten seconds, i just wanted to run.

‘I went towards the carriage where the bomb went off a woman said you don’t want to go in there. I saw a little boy with scratches on his face crying for his brother. A woman was bleeding. Everyone was running. I’ve never seen anything like it.’

People suffered burns from the explosion and others were hurt in the crush as people fled.

Rob Partinton, 24, from Harrow told MailOnline: ‘We were literally about two minutes from Parsons Green when the train suddenly stopped.

‘I saw people running on the track opposite direction towards Fulham Broadway, I could hear no screams but a lot of people running. We’ve been held at the station for the last half an hour. It’s pretty busy, a lot of police around and police dogs.’

Another witness, Sham, said he saw a man with blood all over his face. ‘There were loads of people crying and shaking,’ he told 5 live.

‘There were a lot of people limping and covered in blood. One guy I saw, his face was covered in blood – I’ve never seen anything like it.’

There is terror and panic at the station this morning, with police officers consoling members of the public

An injured man is helped into an ambulance – one of 18 ferried by ambulance to hospitals across London. Four others went to A&E themselves

A family with young children look towards the station in the aftermath of the terror attack on London

Witnesses say people ran from the scene with 'blood on their face'

People were stranded after the bombing and the District Line is expected to be closed for at least today

Bomb disposal experts are at the scene amid fears there could be second bomb 

Passengers ran onto the rail tracks to get away from the train as a fireball engulfed the carriage

 Witnesses claim people were trampled on when they fled the train after hearing a ‘whoosh’ and seeing flames race towards them

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

At the scene dozens of police and ambulances have continued to be called into the cordoned area. It is not known at this stage how many people are injured.

Specialist armed anti-terror units also swamped the area.

Fairy lights have been used as detonators by extremist bombers before

Pictures of the apparent home-made bomb seen after the explosion show a Lidl coolbag with a large paint tub inside and a string of Christmas tree lights hanging over the top.

If the device does turn out to be a terrorist bomb, it would not be the first time extremists have used so-called ‘fairy lights’ to build a device.

In May this year, a radicalised former doorman Zahid Hussain was found to have built an explosive device in his bedroom with fairy lights, shrapnel and a pressure cooker.

He is said to have researched bomb-making techniques online, with police finding a wealth of notes and instructions at his home in Birmingham when he was arrested in 2015.

Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, of West Midlands Police, said of Hussain’s bomb at the time: ‘Forensic examination of the pressure cooker found it contained mixed urea, nails, drills bits, nuts, bolts, steel sockets and diesel fuel.

‘The Christmas tree lights also found at his address had been adapted so each one could be used as an explosive initiator or detonator.

‘Examination of his computer discovered browsing history relating to terrorism including bomb making and bomb blast injuries, showing he had a consistent and continued interest in

Chris Wildish, who was on the train, said he saw a ‘device’ in the last carriage.

‘It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket, in a white Aldi bag or Lidl bag,’ he told 5live.

‘Flames were still coming out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hanging out of it – I can only assume it was done on purpose.

‘It was standing against the door of the rear-most carriage.’

Chris Wildish, who was on the train, said he saw a ‘device’ in the last carriage.

‘It was a white bucket, a builder’s bucket, in a white Aldi bag or Lidl bag,’ he told 5live.

‘Flames were still coming out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hanging out of it’.

Sylvain Pennec, a software developer from Southfields, near Wimbledon, was around 10 metres from the source of the explosion when fire filled the carriage.

‘I heard a boom and when I looked there were flames all around,’ he said. ‘People started to run but we were lucky to be stopping at Parsons Green as the door started to open.’

He described the scene of panic as commuters struggled to escape the carriage, ‘collapsing and pushing’ each other.

Mr Pennec stayed behind to take a closer look at what he believed was the source of the explosion.

‘It looked like a bucket of mayonnaise,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure if it was a chemical reaction or something else, but it looked homemade. I’m not an expert though.’

Passengers on the train behind the affected Tube witnessed terrified passengers sprinting away up the tracks.

They were then held in their train for over an hour before being evacuated on to the tracks themselves.

Nicole Linnell, 29, who works for a fashion label, said: ‘We saw people running down the tracks. About 30 or 40 people.

‘They were running down the tracks outside our train.

‘It was absolutely terrifying. Running on the tracks is the last thing you want to do so we were like ‘What’s going on?’

‘After about an hour we were evacuated off the train on to the tracks. About 10 to 15 people at a time.’

Melanie Heyside had been at a gym nearby and intended to get on a District Line train to go to work.

She told Sky News: ‘I just was about to open the doors to leave the studio and then all of a sudden Swat cars completely stormed and blocked the street and police jumped out with their armour and were telling people to ‘move, to move’.

‘So I was inside with a group of other people and we weren’t really sure what to do.’

She said they were told to leave the area, which she added was populated by schoolchildren and others going to work, as quickly as possible.

Lady Margaret’s School, next to Parson’s Green tube station, has put an alert out to concerned parents to say all children are okay and there are no absences.

‘Crude’ bucket bomb made with fairy lights could have killed DOZENS say experts as police reveal 21/7-style device failed to properly detonate

Explosives experts say the Parsons Green bomb could have killed dozens if it had properly detonated at rush-hour this morning.

Anti-terror police are now examining the bucket bomb which failed to fully go off on a tube train in west London as they try to track down the bomber.

Photos of the explosive show a large builder’s tub – believed be packed with explosives – inside a Lidl coolbag, with a string of Christmas tree lights, thought to have been a crude detonator, hanging over the top.

Officers compared the device to those used in the failed 21/7 bombings, in which jihadis attempted to blow up tube trains. In that case, the bombs’ detonators went off but the explosives themselves were not ignited.

It is believed the bomb was left on the busy district line train from Wimbledon this morning before the bomber escaped. Police are analysing the device to track down the terrorist

ISIS have encouraged followers to use the lights in bomb guides they post online, but the terror group have yet to claim responsibility for the attack.

A timer is understood to have been found on the device, suggesting the terrorist left it on board the train and then got off. It also suggests it was intended to go off at busier stations further down the line.

Terror expert Will Geddes said:  ‘My suspicion is that Parsons Green was not the intended target.

‘Unless a person knows it, it is not going to mean a great deal to you – if it was Paddington or Notting Hill, they are internationally recognised names.’

‘I think it was more a premature detonation than anything else. This could have been a lot worse. It could have killed a significant number of people.’

Others say the bomb probably didn’t detonated properly because it was badly made.

Explosives expert Dr Sidney Alford told MailOnline: ‘The fact that an initial bang was heard but the bomb did not even shatter the plastic bucket it was contained in suggests to me this could have been hydrogen peroxide.

‘I can rule out other types of explosives as if the initial bang was heard with those they would have gone off completely and destroyed the bucket.’

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Dr Alford said the bomb properly did not go off because it was poorly designed.

Witnesses reported a ‘strong, acrid chemical smell’ in the carriage after the explosion.

Major General Chip Chapman told Sky News: ‘This doesn’t look like a high-end explosive from ISIS such as TATP (triacetone triperoxide) or, if it was, it failed significantly, the booster or detonator didn’t go off.’

‘That said of course, the most devastating land-based terror attack in Europe, in Madrid, had a similar modus operandi.’

He added: ‘It’s not a high explosive that functioned because the blast and shockwave would have killed multiple people.’

Former Army bomb squad expert Chris Hunter told the channel the pictures reminded him of the devices which failed to go off during botched the 21/7 attacks.

In that instance, a group of Islamic terrorists planned to carry out a copy-cat attack to 7/7, but although the detonator part of the bombs went off, they did not ignite the explosives and only one person was injured.

Examining the image of the bomb, chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told MailOnline: ‘It looks pretty unsophisticated.

‘It could be an incendiary device with some sort of detonator in a big white plastic bucket, perhaps with some sort of chemical like ammonia nitrate, fertiliser bomb to cause an explosion.’

He said the attack looked like ‘classic jihadi terrorism’ and the bomb could have been ‘devastating’ if it had detonated properly.

Mr de Bretton-Gordon said the attack would raise further questions over whether the sale of certain chemicals should be more heavily regulated.’

Describing the device, witness Sylvain Pennec said: ‘It looked like a bucket of mayonnaise. I’m not sure if it was a chemical reaction or something else, but it looked home made.’

The incident has been compared to the 21/7 attacks in which bombs were placed on the underground and the detonators went off, but did not ignite the explosives

In that instance, the bombers Muktar Said Ibrahim (left) and Ramzi Mohammed were tracked down by police and convicted of terror offences

It is not be the first time extremists have used so-called them to build a device.

In May this year, a radicalised former doorman Zahid Hussain was found to have built an explosive device in his bedroom with fairy lights, shrapnel and a pressure cooker.

He is said to have researched bomb-making techniques online, with police finding a wealth of notes and instructions at his home in Birmingham when he was arrested in 2015.

Similarities between the device and that used in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 have also been drawn.

In that case, timers were also used to allow the bombers to get away. However, in that case the explosives were in a pressure cooker.

Members of a bomb disposal squad stand in the street near Parsons Green tube station

There were reports of a man at the station with a knife in the aftermath of the explosion. Scotland Yard said they believe this is unrelated to the Tube incident

Pictures from the District Line train appear to show a burning plastic bucket stashed in a Lidl carrier bag, which exploded

A police officer and a sniffer dog stand in the street near Parsons Green tube station

People at the chaotic scene have been frantically calling relatives in the aftermath of the explosion 

Police at the scene are keeping people away, moving them up Fulham Road and away from the station

Emergency services at the scene following a blast on an underground train at Parsons Green tube station in West London

Peter Crowley tweeted this photograph, with the caption: 'Charred head from the fireball at Parsons Green'

Dozens of police vehicles are at the scene as people are being urged to avoid the area

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: 'We were called at 8.21am and we have information there was a fire on a train eastbound at the platform at Parsons Green'

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: ‘We were called at 8.21am and we have information there was a fire on a train eastbound at the platform at Parsons Green’

Armed police are at the scene in London, as commuters have been evacuated

 Armed police are at the scene in London, as commuters have been evacuated

Images from the scene show emergency services and armed police 

Social media users reported a 'stampede' around the underground station at rush hour 

The London Ambulance Service was called at 8:20am and sent single responders in cars, ambulance crews, incident response officers and a hazardous area response team

People fled the Underground station in panic, amid reports there was an explosion 

May confronts Trump in a direct phone call after the US President sparked a diplomatic row by claiming Scotland Yard had the Parsons Green bomber ‘in their sights’ before the terror attack 

Theresa May today confronted Donald Trump to vent her anger after he claimed Scotland Yard had the Parsons Green bomber ‘in their sights’ before the attack.

The US President sparked a major diplomatic row by suggesting British police knew the extremist behind the bucket bomb in the second major intelligence sharing breach in just five months.

Both Mrs May and the Met Police reacted with fury to the intervention slamming Mr Trump for speculating about the fast moving terror investigation.

And in a direct call with the US leader late this afternoon, the Prime Minister raised her concerns over the comment directly with him.

The row is a revival of damaging split between London and Washington in May when shared intelligence about the Manchester bombing was handed to US media.

In a brief statement after the call a Downing Street spokeswoman said: ‘President Trump called the Prime Minister earlier today to offer his condolences over this morning’s cowardly attack in London.’

The White House said Mr Trump ‘pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism’.

Mr Trump sparked a furious reaction from British police and politicians after he wrote on Twitter: ‘Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!’

Angry MPs told the Mail Online his careless words risked endangering the crucial manhunt to find the extremist behind the attack.

After risking a new diplomatic row with Britain, Mr Trump insisted he had been briefed on intelligence about the attack and called Mrs May.

Donald Trump on the White House lawn today where he insisted he had been briefed about Parsons Green and said the suspect was known to police

Theresa May (pictured in No 10 this afternoon) said any speculation was unhelpful when asked about the President's tweets on the Parsons Green attack  

Trump tweeted: 'Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!'

 Trump tweeted: ‘Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!’

Met terror chief Mark Rowley updated the media on the investigation this morning (pictured) but has not given any details of any man hunt

But in an afternoon press briefing, US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster insisted that Trump wasn’t conveying information about Friday’s attack in particular.

‘I think what the president was communicating is that obviously all of our law enforcement efforts are focused on this terrorist threat from, you know – for years,’ McMaster told reporters at the White House. ‘Scotland Yard has been a leader, as our FBI has been a leader.’

‘So I think if there was a terrorist attack here, God forbid, that we would say that they were in the sights of the FBI. So I think he didn’t mean anything beyond that. … I think he means generally that this kind of activity is what we’re trying to prevent. And so these organizations that are responsible for it, whatever comes out of this investigation that remains to be seen, it is likely that law enforcement had been orking on that problem set.’

Mr Trump’s initial Tweets came at almost exactly the same time as Met Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley gave an initial update on the attack in a TV statement.

Standard UK police procedure in the aftermath of any terror attack is to keep the identity of any suspects confidential. The tactic allows rapid arrests to be carried out without alerting the prime suspect or their family and friends.

Mr Trump’s used today’s tirade to promote his plans for a travel crackdown on Muslims wanting to visit the United States.

Speaking from Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency ‘Cobra’ committee, Mrs May said: ‘I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.’

A Met Police spokesman said: ‘The comments are unhelpful and pure speculation.

‘If anyone has got any evidence or information, please contact the anti-terrorism hotline.’

President Donald Trump has claimed Scotland Yard knew ahead of time about a bomber or bombers who set off a crude incendiary bomb Friday morning on London's 'Tube' subway

Trump added: 'Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!'

Trump added: ‘Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!’

The force declined to give details when asked by MailOnline if they had a suspect, evidence of a wider plot or if any suspect was seen on CCTV.

Liberal Democrat home affairs Sir Ed Davey told MailOnline Mr Trump could undermine the police investigation

He said: ‘It is insulting to the victims of this attack that Donald Trump is already using it to try and further his divisive political agenda.

‘Once again, Trump has shown he is not fit for the office of US President.’

Labour MP Stephen Doughty, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the MailOnline the President should not have intervened.

He said: ‘The full focus must be on allowing the police and security services to do their job, and those responding at the scene to the emergency and tending to those injured.’

Mr Doughty warned the United States was endangering the special relationship by interfering in British investigations.

He said: ‘It has the potential to not only undermine a vital relationship, but also to prejudice investigations into this and other incidents.’

Theresa May's former adviser Nick Timothy reacted to Trump's intervention by saying the president 'doesn't know' anything: 'This is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner'

Theresa May’s former adviser Nick Timothy reacted to Trump’s intervention by saying the president ‘doesn’t know’ anything: ‘This is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner’

Mr Doughty said it is ‘obviously not the first time’ key pieces of information about a terror attack have been leaked by the US, after details of the Manchester bombing investigation were printed in American newspapers.

Mr Timothy tweeted: ‘True or not – and I’m sure he doesn’t know – this is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner.’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan – who has clashed publicly with Mr Trump before over London terrorism – told LBC today he had not seen the tweets but insisted the focus must be on allowing the police to get on with their job.

He said: ‘What is important is cool, calm heads are heard now.’

Mr Trump’s tweets could reignite the diplomatic row between the UK and the US over the leaking of sensitive police information.

In May the UK police temporarily stopping sharing intelligence about the terror investigation with America over a series of leaks about the Manchester bombing.

The president linked Friday's attack to his controversial travel ban, saying it 'should be far larger, tougher and more specific ¿ but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!'

He also drew attention to the military action against ISIS and should the US should get 'nasty'

He also drew attention to the military action against ISIS and should the US should get ‘nasty’

It is understood American law enforcement agencies had the pictures for only a matter of hours before they were handed to a journalist from the New York Times.

The leak was the way Britons discovered the identity of the bomber Salman Abedi. Greater Manchester Police did not confirm his name until later.

At the time, Mrs May warned continued leaking would undermine the special relationship.

She told reporters the ties between Britain and America was the ‘deepest defense and security partnership that we have’ but she warned it was ‘built on trust’.

‘Part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently and I will be making clear to President Trump today that intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must remain secure,’ she added.

The latest version of Trump’s travel ban, initially announced in a botched late-January rollout, calls for a ban on people entering the U.S. from six terror-prone countries that are also Muslim-majority nations.

It also bars the entry of most refugees from anywhere in the world.

Federal court challenges have resulted in exceptions being made for travelers who already have established ties to the U.S., including a broad definition of what counts as a close family member.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments to decide the ban’s constitutionality in October, but allowed it to go into effect last month while the case is pending.

Timeline of terror: Parsons Green train bombing is FIFTH attack to hit Britain in 2017

March 22: Five people are killed in a car and knife attack in Westminster.

Khalid Masood drove a hire car over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament, mounted the pavement and hit pedestrians before crashing into railings outside the Palace of Westminster.

He stabbed Pc Keith Palmer, 48, to death.

Also killed in the atrocity were US tourist Kurt Cochran, Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, and Britons Aysha Frade, 44, and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes. Masood was shot dead by police.

March 22: Five people were killed in a car and knife attack in Westminster, London

May 22: Twenty-two people – including children – are killed in a bombing at a pop concert in Manchester.

Lone suicide attacker Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device as crowds of music fans, many of them youngsters, left Manchester Arena following a performance by US singer Ariana Grande.

May 22: Twenty-two people - including children - are killed in a bombing at a pop concert in Manchester

Lone suicide attacker Salman Abedi detonated an explosive device as crowds of music fans, many of them youngsters, left Manchester Arena

June 3: Eight people are killed in a terror attack around London Bridge.

A van ploughed into people on the bridge before the three attackers carried out a knife rampage in Borough Market.

The perpetrators – Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22 – were shot dead by police.

Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22 - were shot dead by police

June 19: One man dies and several others are injured after a man allegedly rams his van into worshippers in north London.

Darren Osborne, 47, of no fixed address in Cardiff, is charged with murder and attempted murder after being accused of carrying out a premeditated attack on Muslims as they left a mosque on Seven Sisters Road, Finsbury Park.

June 19: One man dies and several others are injured after a man allegedly rams his van into worshippers in north London

Police warned there is no such thing as a ‘typical terrorist’ after official statistics showed rises in numbers detained across ethnicities and age groups.

There were 379 arrests for terrorism-related offences in the year ending June 2017, the highest number in a 12-month period since data collection began in 2001.

Police and MI5 are running 500 investigations involving 3,000 individuals at any one time, while there are also 20,000 former ‘subjects of interest’ whose risk must be kept under review.

 The fairy lights bomber: Jihadi used similar device in plot two years ago

When officers raided his home in the Alum Rock area of the city, they found his room littered with text books detailing guerrilla warfare techniques and small arms combat, further bomb making instructions and dismantled electrical items such as doorbells and alarm clocks.

He bought most of the items he used for his bombs over the internet.

Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, of West Midlands Police, said of Hussain’s bomb at the time: ‘Forensic examination of the pressure cooker found it contained mixed urea, nails, drills bits, nuts, bolts, steel sockets and diesel fuel.

‘The Christmas tree lights also found at his address had been adapted so each one could be used as an explosive initiator or detonator.

‘Examination of his computer discovered browsing history relating to terrorism including bomb making and bomb blast injuries, showing he had a consistent and continued interest in terrorism and conflict.’

The Christmas tree lights found at Hussain's address, in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham, had been adapted so each one could be used as an explosive initiator or detonator

 ‘I feared the whole train would blow up’: Man whose hair was burned in tube explosion says he was ‘lucky to get away’ as victims describe human stampede to flee bucket bomb aftermath

Horrified witnesses have reported passengers fleeing a London tube carriage in terror as they feared the ‘whole train would blow up’.

Peter Crowley, who was travelling on the District Line this morning, said his head has been ‘charred’ after a fireball engulfed his train at Parsons Green in west London.

Emma Stevie, 27, was on the train when the explosion happened at Parsons Green, in south-west London, and was caught in a ‘stampede’ and crush on the station steps.

Other commuters at the scene said they were ‘thrown around and crushed’ by panicked crowds shouting ‘there’s a man, there’s a man’ before running from the area.

Police have evacuated Parsons Green Underground Station after reports of a man wielding a knife and a second explosive device.

Emergency services have been on the scene at the London Underground station since around 8.20am this morning when a ‘fireball’ engulfed a train.

Peter Crowley, who was travelling on the District Line this morning, said his head has been 'charred' after a fireball engulfed his train

Peter Crowley, who was travelling on the District Line this morning, said his head has been ‘charred’ after a fireball engulfed his train

A police officer escorts an injured woman from the scene at Parsons Green Underground Station

Other commuters at the scene said they were 'thrown around and crushed' by panicked crowds shouting 'there's a man, there's a man' before running from the area

Other commuters at the scene said they were ‘thrown around and crushed’ by panicked crowds shouting ‘there’s a man, there’s a man’ before running from the area

Witnesses claim at least 30 commuters including school children were injured after a homemade bomb exploded on a packed commuter train.

Dozens of commuters made a ‘100 metre sprint’ after a large flash engulfed the 8.20am train as it pulled into Parsons Green station.

Video editor Luke Walmsley, 33, saw a woman with the skin of both her legs removed by the fire.

He also claims a ten-year-old boy suffered injuries and everybody had similar burns to their faces and hair.

In the moments after the incident photos of a burning white bucket, similar to a pot of paint inside a Lidl bag, with wires coming from the top were posted on social media.

Emma Stevie told the BBC: ‘We got on the train at Parsons Green, then I heard lots of screams and people saying ‘run, run’.

‘We got out and then there was a human stampede, down the stairs.

‘There were people lying underneath getting crushed, a big human pile-on. I wedged myself in next to a railing. I put myself in the foetal position. I kept thinking, ‘I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok’.

‘There was a pregnant woman underneath me, and I was trying really hard not to crush her.

‘The fire brigade was telling us to get back on the platform, but no-one was.

‘The injuries from the stampede seemed the worst. I’m outside now, there are women crying and people sitting on the floor.’

Dozens of commuters made a '100 metre sprint' after a large flash engulfed the 8.20am train as it pulled into Parsons Green station

Peter Crowley told the BBC: ‘I heard a large bang from the doors on the other side of the tube train and this fireball came towards my heard and singed off all my hair – I have got burn marks at the top of my head. Everyone just ran off the train, it was quite scary.

‘It was a really hot intense fireball above my head, I’ve just got red marks and burns to the top of my head. There were a lot of people a lot worse than me.

‘I saw a gentleman opposite me in a puffer jacket and the whole back of that had been burned where the intense heat had got to it – he had burn marks across his face which are looking a lot worse than mine.

‘There were a lot of people in shock, a lot of people visibly upset. Mostly it was facial injuries, burns rather than cuts.

‘It was like nothing I have ever seen before – sheer panic. Everyone jumped off the train, everyone initial reaction was to look back and assess the situation. It was just sheer panic.

‘It was busy but it was movable, it was busy for that time of day. I am just going to the hospital shortly.’

Emergency services were at the scene within minutes of the terror attack 

People stand by an ambulance near Parsons Green tube station

Mr Charley said: 'I saw passengers with facial burns, they had been exposed to a very, very hot fire for a nano second, it was lucky doors were open because everyone just got off the tube'

Mr Crowley, seen here in a social media picture, described the chaos on the train this morning

He added: 'It was a terrifying experience, I am lucky I got away with just a bit of charred hair'

Accountant Sarah Hickson, 31, who was on her way to work said she was ‘thrown around and crushed’ by panicked crowds.

She said: ‘People just started shouting ‘there’s a man, there’s a man’ and everyone started running. It was just sheer panic.

‘There were two people in front of me, a pregnant woman and a schoolboy.

‘They were being crushed on the concrete stairs, TfL staff were doing their best to get control but everyone was screaming trying to get out.

‘Eventually they managed to get some calm and people moved ever so slightly back allowing the boy and pregnant woman to get up.’

She added: ‘I am physically okay but shaken up, it was a scary experience.’

People reported being crushed on the concrete stairs with TfL staff were doing their best to get control

Witnesses said 'In the immediate seconds there were people running and shouting, it was just like where do you run to?'

Witnesses said ‘In the immediate seconds there were people running and shouting, it was just like where do you run to?’

People on their way to work were 'thrown around and crushed' by panicked crowds

Mr Walmsley, 33, said: ‘There was a really acrid burning smell that came out of the carriage.

‘We were three-quarters of a carriage away; there was screaming and then running as it pulled into Parsons Green – that was when it happened. It was coming to a standstill.

‘In the immediate seconds there were people running and shouting, it was just like where do you run to?

‘We did not know what was going on, there was a girl who had serious burns to her leg and there was a 10-year-old boy who had burns to his ankle.

‘People were rushing down the platform, everyone was doing a 100m sprint.

‘There was a flash at the end of the carriage that came down the train.

‘There were lots of injuries from people being trampled on and everyone who had been close to it had the same burns to their head.

‘We heard the first scream and then looked down and saw a flash and then the smoke and people running.

‘It was complete pandemonium, complete terror. They didn’t open the gates and the underground did not understand what was going on.

‘People were shouting ‘he’s got a knife! He’s got a knife!’ I didn’t see anyone with a knife.

‘It was the school run and there were a lot of kids in school uniform and mums and nannies trying to work out where their kids were.

‘The explosion was like a large match going off at the end of the carriage.

‘When people started running there was then the smell of burnt people.

‘There were more than 30 people injured, it was a full carriage and everyone had something wrong with them.

‘There was this girl who had no skin on her leg, whatever she had been wearing was just gone.

‘And there was another girl whose back garment was gone and her hair was gone.

‘It was a packed commuter train.’

Witnesses claim at least 30 commuters including school children were injured after a homemade bomb exploded on a packed commuter train

Couple Lucy, 24 and Fabin, 29, were on their way to work when the explosion happened.

Lucy, who works in PR, said: ‘We just heard screaming and sprinting, there was a stampede on the stairs and people were falling over, there was a schoolboy being lifted up after he had fallen down, he was in his school uniform, he must have been about ten, he was crying and distressed.’

Olaniyi Shokunbi, 24, boarded the train the bomb had been planted on at Putney Bridge and had been listening to music when he saw people scrambling off the train.

He said: ‘I thought the train was leaving Parsons Green but then I saw lots of people running up.

‘My first instinct was to get out of the train myself.

‘It’s a small station. There’s only two exits and a lot of people were struggling over each other. Some people just jumped over.

‘I thought it was an acid attack. It was early morning and people were drinking coffee and I felt some [liquid] on me and I thought ‘that better not go on my face’.’

Mr Shokunbi, a fitness instructor, said he had seen people lying on the floor covered in blood.

He said: ‘There were people on the floor, there was a little boy, I really felt sorry for him, he couldn’t have been more than 11.

‘He had scratches on his head, he was looking for his little brother.

‘I was going to go back into the train station but a woman said ‘don’t go back in there, there’s people on the floor’.’

He added: ‘There was a woman on the floor. She couldn’t breathe. People were screaming and crying.’

One man said he had seen people lying on the floor covered in blood

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Speaking to local radio Mr Crowley added: ‘I would personally say roughly about 20 who had physical injuries a lot of people who were shaken by the incident.

‘I wasn’t aware of the bag, I tend to keep myself to myself, I was side on to where I believe the incident happened.

‘That side of my hair is charred. There was a lot powder as if it was a high pressure tube that had some coating on it.’

He added: ‘Everyone ran off the tube, it was panic stations, my initial thought was that the whole train would blow up.

‘I saw passengers with facial burns, they had been exposed to a very, very hot fire for a nano second, it was lucky doors were open because everyone just got off the tube.

‘It was a terrifying experience, I am lucky I got away with just a bit of charred hair.’

The incident is ongoing, said police at the scene as police helicopters hover ahead where the suspect is thought to still be on the loose.

Counter terror police confirmed this morning the incident at Parson’s Green is being treated as a terror attack.

At the scene dozens of police and ambulances have continued to be called into the cordoned area.

A police officer told MailOnline: ‘We believe there is a second bomb, people need to stay back there is a man with knives on the loose.’

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion

Merton Council Councillor Daniel Holden was on the train that exploded this morning said there are ‘quite a few people injured.’

UBER HELPS STRICKEN RAIL PASSENGERS

Uber has confirmed it is helping people affected by tube cancellations.

The company tweeted this morning: ‘We are aware of an incident at Parsons Green.

‘We have turned off dynamic pricing and will refund all journeys from the affected area. ‘

He said: ‘I was one carriage away when it happened.

‘It was like a fireball had just hit, everyone was screaming and panicking. Everyone was trying to push their way off the train.’

‘There’s hundreds of police, fire brigade and ambulance here now.’

Mr Holden said he wasn’t injured in the explosion, but saw a few people who were.

‘They’re treating a few people who look quite injured,’ he said.

Former London Mayor and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: ‘It really is important not to spectacle at the moment, obviously everyone should keep calm and go about their lives in a normal way.

‘As far as I understand the British Transport Police and TFL are on it and will be updating their websites as and when we get information.’

Chaos on the London Underground as District Line is shut down and police confirm Parsons Green explosion was terror attack

There is chaos on the London Underground after an explosion sent a fireball cascading through a packed commuter train this morning.

Transport for London said Tube services are suspended between Earls Court and Wimbledon.

Parsons Green station in west London remains closed with members of the public being urged to avoid area after a device exploded on the rush hour train.

Police have confirmed they are treating it as a terror-related incident.

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Horrified witnesses on social media claim there was a stampede as people were 'screaming and running off trains'

There was a stampede as a ‘fireball flew down the carriage’, leaving several passengers with serious facial burns on the packed rush hour train in Parsons Green, west London at 8.20am.

The doors opened on the District Line train and the commuters, many of them with scorched faces and hair, ran off screaming.

Transport for London said it was ‘investigating an incident at Parsons Green’ and urged customers travelling between Wimbledon and Earls Court to use alternative routes.

There is no service on the District Line from Earls Court to Wimbledon, with severe delays from Earls Court to Edgware Road.

TfL says there are also minor delays from Ealing Broadway to Turnham Green.

London Buses, South Western and London Overground are accepting London Underground tickets via any reasonable route.

TfL said passengers are being urged to avoid Earls Court, adding it remains unclear when the line will re-open with delays expected into the evening.

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion

Nigel Holness, London Underground’s director of network operations, said: ‘Our staff have worked to assist the emer-gency services and to ensure the safety of our customers during this morning’s incident at Parsons Green.

‘We are focussed on assisting the police investigation into what happened and providing support for our customers and staff.

‘Our Sarah Hope Line is available to offer help and support to anyone affected by this morning’s incident.’

Officers said the incident is ongoing, as police helicopters hover ahead where the suspect is thought to still be on the loose.

Counter terror police confirmed this morning the incident at Parson’s Green is being treated as a terror attack.

At the scene dozens of police and ambulances have continued to be called into the cordoned area.

A police officer told MailOnline: ‘We believe there is a second bomb, people need to stay back there is a man with knives on the loose.’

 ‘Come round, the kettle’s on!’ Unfazed Londoners are praised for ‘beautiful response’ to Parsons Green bucket bomb by offering to make cups of tea and opening their homes for survivors

Defiant Londoners have reached out and offered to help anyone caught up in a bomb blast which hit an underground train this morning.

People across the capital have offered to make tea and open up their homes to anyone wounded in the blast on a train at Parsons Green in west London.

Taxi drivers have also come to the aid of those affected, offering free journeys while Facebook users are inviting victims in to shelter, rest and charge their phones.

Social media awash with people offering to 'put the kettle on' for those affected by the Parsons Green bomb blast

Nearby taxi company Hayber Cars has offered its services free of charge, while Chelsea and Fulham Dentist, has also offered people a place to shelter.

Jan Ståhlberg‏ tweeted: ‘Classic British response to an emergency & major incident: ‘I’ll put the kettle on’. Compassion and Communities come together.’

Anthony J Myers added: ‘Thank you to TfL staff, emergency services, security services and the Londoners of #ParsonsGreen who have offered to put the kettle on.’

Kind-hearted Debbie Clark, 57, has opened up her home on Kelvedon Road as a makeshift hospital while a police hunt is underway for the perpetrators behind the terror incident.

The mother of two woke up to hear banging at her front door from her neighbour Princess Stafford, who is deaf and mute and had been badly injured in a stampede as hundreds rushed out of the station following an explosion.

Ms Clark said: ‘I woke up to banging and she was at my door crying and distressed.’

People across the capital have offered to make tea and open up their homes to anyone wounded in the blast on a train at Parsons Green in west London
 People across the capital have offered to make tea and open up their homes to anyone wounded in the blast on a train at Parsons Green in west London

Across the road, Ms Clark said she saw three girls opposite her home, one was crying and said there were all ‘as white as a sheet’.

Taking them into her home, she gave them water and called their parents. She said: ‘they are just in shock. They said it happened so quickly, they just wanted to get out of there. One was from Sheffield, another from Surrey.’

She said: ‘I brought them all into my home, called the police and their parents. I just wanted to do something, you feel so helpless. I’ve lived here all my life and was born in Parson’s Green, you never expect something like this to happen.’

Flames engulfed one carriage and raced along a train on a west London route to Parsons Green, forcing passengers to trample others as they rushed for an exit 

Armed Police, paramedics and firefighters were all said to be at the west London station within five minutes of the explosion

Her neighbour Princess is currently on Ms Clark’s balcony with two chairs creating a makeshift stretcher with a suspected leg injury.

The 32-year-old was pushed to the floor by panicked commuters this morning as she waited to board a train at Parson’s Green to take her to work.

She told MailOnline how she was knocked to the ground and trapped. She said: ‘I couldn’t move, there were people on top of me and walking over me.’

The rush was so great she was pushed back to the stairwell, she said.

With tears in her eyes, she told MailOnline how she couldn’t breathe because of the number of people passing over her.

This afternoon she waits to be taken to hospital at Ms Clark’s home. She was told by London Ambulance they could be waiting for up to four hours.

Ms Clark said: ‘They are going to send a non emergency could take two to four hours because there have been serious injuries we understand. She can’t communicate she can’t hear and talk, good job I was in I am so glad I was in for her.’

‘Stay calm and go about your lives’: Boris Johnson urges Londoners not to panic as security is ramped up across the capital 

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called on Londoners to remain calm as security is stepped up in the capital in the wake of the Parsons Green explosion.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command have launched an investigation following the explosion in west London during the Friday morning rush hour.

Mr Johnson says people should ‘keep calm and go about their normal lives’ as emergency services respond to the  incident.

A number of commuters have been taken to hospital with serious facial burns, as police remain at the scene

Speaking this morning, government minister Boris Johnson called on people to remain calm

Mr Johnson says it would be ‘wrong to speculate’, but that police and transit authorities ‘are on it.’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said London ‘will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism’.

A Scotland Yard spokesman added: ‘We urge the public to remain calm but alert and if you have any concerns, see or hear anything suspicious then contact police.’

Prime Minister Theresa May is to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee this afternoon to discuss the incident.

Commuters fled in terror after the blast and witnesses reported seeing several people hurt and ‘covered in blood’ after a ‘flash and a bang’ on the District Line Tube.

Emergency services including armed police rushed to the scene and cordoned off the station.

Bomb disposal experts are among emergency services at the scene amid fears of more bombs

Transport for London said Tube services were suspended on that section of the underground

A woman walks with a young boy through west London as armed police stand guard nearby

Pictures posted on social media showed wires protruding from a flaming bucket inside a plastic carrier bag on the floor of a carriage.

The Met added: ‘It is too early to confirm the cause of the fire, which will be subject to the investigation that is now under way by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.’

Investigators will be scouring CCTV and taking statements from dozens of witnesses as they attempt to piece together the lead-up to the explosion.

The device will be forensically assessed after being made safe, while police will be urgently trying to establish whether someone attempted to detonate it, and whether they were present at the scene.

Heavily-armed police were drafted in to assist the investigation at Parsons Green today

Armed police boarded the train in the incident as the hunt for the bomber was stepped up

Paramedics in bullet-proof vests were guarded by armed police at the scene this morning

The scenes of panic evoked memories of the July 7 atrocities in 2005, when suicide bombers killed 52 people in a series of co-ordinated attacks across the transport network.

Two weeks later, a group of men attempted to set off rucksack devices but the bombs failed to go off.

The emergency at Parsons Green will spark another huge counter-terrorism probe as security services confront an unprecedented threat.

Four attacks – at Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park – have hit Britain already this year.

Authorities have foiled 19 plots since the middle of 2013 – including six since the Westminster atrocity in March.

An armed police officer stands guard after an incident on a tube train at Parsons Green station

 

Story 2: North Korea Fires Another Ballistic Missile Over Japan — Videos —

Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Image result for North Korea launced missile over japan

Report: North Korea’s missile flew over Japan

North Korea sends message to U.S. by launching another missile towards Japan

North Korea fires missile over Japan

North Korea Fires A

North Korea fires missile over Japan in ‘unprecedented threat’- BBC News

Another Missile Over Japan

North  Korea fires another Intemediate Ballistic missile over Japan

The Repeated Mistake That’s Always Made When Dealing With North Korea

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Story 3: Conservative Commentator Allowed To Speak At University of California, Berkeley, Police Arrested Some of The Protesters –Videos

North Korea fires missile over Japan in longest-ever flight

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean on Friday, U.S. and South Korean militaries said, its longest-ever such flight and a clear message of defiance to its rivals.

Since President Donald Trump threatened the North with “fire and fury” in August, Pyongyang has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, threatened to send missiles into the waters around Guam and launched two missiles of increasing range over U.S. ally Japan. It tested its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missiles in July.

The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by these tests seem to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target both U.S. troops in Asia and the U.S. homeland. This, in turn, is meant to allow North Korea greater military freedom in the region by raising doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect its Asian allies.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) and reached a maximum height of 770 kilometers (478 miles).

North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean on Friday, U.S. and South Korean militaries said, its longest-ever such flight and a clear message of defiance. (Sept. 15)

North Korea has repeatedly vowed to continue these tests amid what it calls U.S. hostility — by which it means the presence of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Japan and South Korea. Robust diplomacy on the issue has been stalled for years, and there’s little sign that senior officials from Pyongyang and Washington might sit down to discuss ways to slow the North’s determined march toward inclusion among the world’s nuclear weapons powers.

Friday’s missile, which Seoul said was the 19th ballistic missile launched by North Korea this year, triggered sirens and warning messages in northern Japan but caused no apparent damage to aircraft or ships. It was the second missile fired over Japan in less than a month. North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3.

The missile was launched from Sunan, the location of Pyongyang’s international airport and the origin of the earlier missile that flew over Japan. Analysts have speculated the new test was of the same intermediate-range missile launched in that earlier flight, the Hwasong-12.

That missile is linked to North Korea’s declaration that it means to contain the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam, which is the home of important U.S. military assets and appears well within the Hwasong-12′s range.

Friday’s missile test was met with the usual outrage. South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered his military to conduct a live-fire ballistic missile drill in response to the North Korean launch and instructed government officials to pursue “stern” measures to discourage Pyongyang from further provocations. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said one of the two missiles fired in the drill hit a sea target about 250 kilometers (155 miles) away, which was approximately the distance to Pyongyang’s Sunan, but the other failed in flight shortly after launch.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis both called the North Korean launch a reckless act.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency closed-door meeting to be held Friday afternoon in New York. Trump has not commented.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Pacific Command said the missile posed no threat to North America or to Guam.

South Korean experts have said North Korea wants to make missiles flying over Japan an accepted norm as it seeks to win more military space in a region dominated by its enemies.

North Korea initially flight-tested the Hwasong-12 and the ICBM model Hwasong-14 at highly lofted angles to reduce their range and avoid neighboring countries.

The two launches over Japan indicate North Korea is moving toward using angles close to operational to determine whether its warheads can survive the harsh conditions of atmospheric re-entry and detonate properly.

North Korea’s August launch over Japan came weeks after it threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam and bracket the island with “enveloping” missile fire. The North’s latest launch might be an attempt to demonstrate its ability to fire a missile close to Guam, which is 3,400 kilometers (2,112 miles) away from North Korea, said Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies.

https://apnews.com/9d5be2ad4dd44c6082a7982d17b84b2f/North-Korea-fires-missile-over-Japan-in-longest-ever-flight

NKOREA LEADER SAYS HE WILL COMPLETE NUKE PROGRAM

AP Photo
AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said the country is nearing its goal of “equilibrium” in military force with the United States, as the United Nations Security Council strongly condemned the North’s “highly provocative” ballistic missile test on Friday.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency carried Kim’s comments on Saturday – a day after U.S. and South Korean militaries detected the missile launch from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

It traveled 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) as it flew over Japan before landing in the northern Pacific Ocean. It was the country’s longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile.

The North has confirmed the missile as an intermediate range Hwasong-12, the same model launched over Japan on Aug. 29.

The KCNA said Kim expressed great satisfaction over the launch, which he said verified the “combat efficiency and reliability” of the missile and the success of efforts to increase its power.

While the English version of the report was less straightforward, the Korean version quoted Kim as declaring the missile as operationally ready. He vowed to complete his nuclear weapons program in the face of strengthening international sanctions, the agency said.

The U.N. Security Council accused North Korea of undermining regional peace and security by launching its latest missile over Japan and said its nuclear and missile tests “have caused grave security concerns around the world” and threaten all 193 U.N. member states.

Kim also said the country, despite “limitless” international sanctions, has nearly completed the building of its nuclear weapons force and called for “all-state efforts” to reach the goal and obtain a “capacity for nuclear counterattack the U.S. cannot cope with.”

“As recognized by the whole world, we have made all these achievements despite the UN sanctions that have lasted for decades,” the agency quoted Kim as saying.

Kim said the country’s final goal “is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He indicated that more missile tests would be forthcoming, saying that all future drills should be “meaningful and practical ones for increasing the combat power of the nuclear force” to establish an order in the deployment of nuclear warheads for “actual war.”

Prior to the launches over Japan, North Korean had threatened to fire a salvo of Hwasong-12s toward Guam, the U.S. Pacific island territory and military hub the North has called an “advanced base of invasion.”

The Security Council stressed in a statement after a closed-door emergency meeting that all countries must “fully, comprehensively and immediately” implement all U.N. sanctions.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho called the missile launch an “outrageous act” that is not only a threat to Japan’s security but a threat to the world as a whole.”

Bessho and the British, French and Swedish ambassadors demanded that all sanctions be implemented.

Calling the latest launch a “terrible, egregious, illegal, provocative reckless act,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said North Korea’s largest trading partners and closest links – a clear reference to China – must “demonstrate that they are doing everything in their power to implement the sanctions of the Security Council and to encourage the North Korean regime to change course.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country is ready to work on tougher U.N. and EU measures to convince Pyongyang that there is no interest in an escalation, and to bring it to the negotiating table.

Friday’s launch followed North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3 in what it described as a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The North flight tested its Hwasong-14 ICBMs twice in July and analysts say the missiles could potentially reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

The growing frequency, power and confidence displayed by Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests seem to confirm what governments and outside experts have long feared: North Korea is closer than ever to its goal of building a military arsenal that can viably target U.S. troops both in Asia and in the U.S. homeland.

This, in turn, is meant to allow North Korea greater military freedom in the region by raising doubts in Seoul and Tokyo that Washington would risk the annihilation of a U.S. city to protect its Asian allies.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who initially pushed for talks with North Korea, said its tests currently make dialogue “impossible.”

“If North Korea provokes us or our allies, we have the strength to smash the attempt at an early stage and inflict a level of damage it would be impossible to recover from,” he said.

Robust international diplomacy on the issue has been stalled for years, and there’s so far little sign that senior officials from North Korea and the U.S. might sit down to discuss ways to slow the North’s determined march toward inclusion among the world’s nuclear weapons powers.

Lederer reported from the United Nations.

Story 3: Conservative Commentator Ben Shapiro Allowed To Speak At University of California, Berkeley, Police Arrested Nine of The Protesters –Videos

 

Image result for ben shapiro speacks at berkeley september 14, 2017

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“Berkeley Students Need COUNSELING for My Talk?” Ben Shapiro RIPS Berkeley Snowflakes

Unprecedented measures at Berkeley for conservative writer’s speech

To see what free speech looks like in 2017 at the birthplace of the famed movement, consider the elaborate preparations underway for a talk Thursday by a conservative writer.

Ben Shapiro isn’t nearly as controversial as some right-wing speakers who have roiled the campus over the last year.

Nonetheless, UC Berkeley has told students that counseling is available to those stressed by all the commotion. A large swath of the campus will be closed off, including the plaza where the free speech movement began in the 1960s. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent on security, and police now can use pepper spray on protesters after a 20-year-old ban was lifted by the City Council this week.

Students and Black Panther supporters listen to Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther minister of information, at Sproul Plaza on Oct. 3, 1968.
Students and Black Panther supporters listen to Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther minister of information, at Sproul Plaza on Oct. 3, 1968. (Pirkle Jones / University of California Press)

Shapiro’s appearance is a key test for Berkeley, which has been hit by a series of violent clashes between far-left and far-right agitators that have sparked soul-searching in this liberal community about the line between protest and criminal behavior. Berkeley has become a favorite spot for far-right demonstrators to speak out, knowing they can get attention and push buttons in enemy territory.

The Thursday event marks the start of a parade of right-wing speakers who may be coming to campus over the next month. They include former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who announced that they will appear as part of a “Free Speech Week” event on campus.

The event is organized by Yiannopoulos and a student group. On Tuesday, Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof stressed that this event is far from a done deal — the student group hadn’t yet satisfied the requirements for bringing a speaker or followed proper procedure.

UC BERKELEY BRACES

‘We’ve never seen a situation like this’

But UC Berkeley’s new chancellor, Carol T. Christ, has said allowing these talks is essential, trumpeting the belief that the best response to hate speech is “more speech” rather than trying to shut down others.

That leaves officials with the task of keeping the peace — and trying to keep the various warring sides under control. They hope to do it with what officials say are unprecedented security measures.

“We’ve never seen a situation like this. It’s very unique. It’s a very different political dynamic where free speech … at Berkeley has become the occasion for the right and left to confront each other,” Christ said Wednesday. “I believe very strongly in Ben Shapiro’s right to speak on campus. I don’t agree with Ben Shapiro; in fact I profoundly disagree with him. But I believe he was legitimately invited by a student group and that he has the right to speak. It’s a really troubling situation.”

City and campus officials are taking heightened steps to prevent the sort of chaos that descended on campus when Yiannopoulos tried to speak in February.

Police officers and physical barriers will be set up in a roughly half-mile-long perimeter around six campus buildings Thursday afternoon, cutting off access to Sproul Plaza, the site of Mario Savio’s famous 1964 address during the free speech movement and a common meeting ground for activists of all stripes.

Mario Savio stands atop a police car in front of Sproul Hall on Oct. 1, 1964.
Mario Savio stands atop a police car in front of Sproul Hall on Oct. 1, 1964. (The Bancroft Library / Courtesy of UC Berkeley)

In order to pass through the security perimeter, people will have to show tickets for the speech. Those who show up to protest will encounter an “increased and highly visible police presence,” Provost Paul Alivisatos said in a letter to the campus last week.

If protesters spill into the city business district south of campus, along Telegraph Avenue, they will encounter the city’s police force — which is now free to use pepper spray on individual protesters officers deem are committing acts of violence.

Berkeley police officers make arrests during protests several weeks ago.
Berkeley police officers make arrests during protests several weeks ago. (Los Angeles Times)

PEPPER SPRAY AND CLOSED STREETS

Berkeley police try to keep order

Berkeley police have come under criticism for not doing enough to break up the violence that has marred past protests.

Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood successfully pitched the City Council on Tuesday to adjust a 1997 ban on the use of pepper spray as a crowd-control technique.

Greenwood argued that police needed another tool — besides batons and tear gas — to deal with the violence that has come with the new wave of protests.

Councilwoman Linda Maio, who voted for the measure, agreed, citing the prospects of large protests if Yiannopoulos and Bannon come to campus in the coming weeks.

“This is a new phenomenon that is evolving, and we really don’t know what to expect,” she said of the protests over the last few months.

On Wednesday, the city also announced it was banning a wide range of weapons, including bricks, Mace and dynamite in a square-mile area centered around UC Berkeley’s campus.

Since the election, Berkeley residents have seen months of clashes between activists on the left who employ black-bloc militant tactics and once-obscure far-right organizations such as the Proud Boys and the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights.

The skirmishes have resulted in thousands of dollars of property damage in Berkeley and a handful of criminal charges.

The situation at Berkeley on Thursday will be a far cry from Shapiro’s visit to the campus in April 2016.

SHAPIRO’S STORY

A conservative voice that fights Trump, Bannon

Shapiro was met with little, if any, controversy then. The website he edits, the Daily Wire, wrote at the time that “the audience at Berkeley was civil and polite, perhaps more so than any other university Shapiro has visited in the last few weeks.”

The month before that speech, Shapiro resigned from the Bannon-led BreitbartNews after a colleague of his accused then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of assaulting her.

“Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew [Breitbart]’s mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump; he has shaped the company into Trump’s personal Pravda,” Shapiro wrote in a statement at the time.

During the election, his lashing critiques of Trump made him one of the more prominent opponents of the then-Republican nominee in the conservative movement.

This opposition to candidate Trump also made him the target of anti-Semitic harassment. The Anti-Defamation League released a report last fall detailing anti-Semitic harassment of journalists on Twitter during the first half of the 2016 election cycle. It found Shapiro to be the No. 1 target.

Shapiro was frustrated by a Berkeley decision earlier this month to shrink the number of seats in the audience for his address. Fitting in with a broader critique he’s offered in his writing, Shapiro also ridiculed the idea that anyone would need to seek counseling because he was speaking.

“As far as them ensuring that I have a venue trying to make sure that it’s secure, I’m not sure all of what they’re doing makes sense, but I’m appreciative that they’re at least trying,” Shapiro said.

“It’s very easy to get kids riled up by doing the shtick Yiannopoulos does, but that’s not my game, and it’s always why the comparisons are weird for me.”

It is unclear what level of protests will greet Shapiro.

Organizers with the group RefuseFacism.org were busy on campus Wednesday handing out fliers promoting a demonstration against Shapiro set for Thursday evening.

At Tuesday’s packed City Council meeting, Raphael Kadaris, an organizer with the group, drew loud applause from the audience when he said the council members were acting as “collaborators” with what he claims is a growing fascist movement in the nation for allowing the police use of pepper spray.

“These people don’t care about free speech,” he said, referring to the conservative speakers coming to campus. “They are using free speech as a pretext to get a foothold, to normalize fascism on these college campuses and to recruit a new generation of fascist youth into their movement.”

Some faculty members have called for a boycott during the “free speech” week.

Christ said Wednesday the challenge is to protect free speech in this charged environment.

“I think we’re in an area which presents both challenges to the law and challenges to university policy when a speaker occasions the university to first of all spend extraordinary amounts of money and take extraordinary measures that are quite disruptive to the university’s main business in order to protect the right of free speech.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-berkeley-protests-far-right-shapiro-20170914-htmlstory.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 874, April 16, 2017, Story 1: Turkey Votes To Change From Parliamentary to Presidential System of Government — Erdogan Expands Powers and Control — Moving Toward Dictatorship! — Videos — Story 2: Coalition Against Islamic State in Syria — What is Next: Wrath of Euphrates: The Battle for Raqqa: Isolate and Assault — Take No Prisoners — Videos

Posted on April 17, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Communications, Constitutional Law, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Egypt, Empires, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, France, Germany, Government, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, Human, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Law, Libya, Life, Media, Middle East, MIssiles, National Interest, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Obama, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Syria, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Turkey Votes To Change From Parliamentary to Presidential System of Government —  Videos —

Image result for turkey referendum 2017 result 51.4%Image result for cartoons erdogan

Where’s Turkey headed after its referendum? – Inside Story

Turkey Referendum: Erdogan’s new grip on power

Dispute over Turkey’s referendum results continues

Is Turkey Becoming a Dictatorship?: Erdogan Claims Victory in Vote to Give President Sweeping Powers

Turkey’s Choice: Nation deciding on changing political system

The Truth about Turkeys failed Coup (CIA designed Civil War)

Lionel on the Alex Jones Show: Syria False Flags, North Korea Lies, French Elections & Media Lies

The Idiot’s Guide to Turkey, Erdogan and the Phony Coup

Turkish Referendum Erdogan Wins ! | The Millennial Revolt

Published on Apr 16, 2017

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in a referendum granting him sweeping new powers, hailing the result as an “historic decision”. The leader called on the international community to respect the result and discouraged his critics from “belittling” the outcome, saying they “shouldn’t try, it will be in vain”. The state-run Anadolu news agency claimed that 51 per cent per cent of voters had sided with the “Yes” campaign, ushering in the most radical change to the country’s political system in modern time.

But the main opposition the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said they would demand a recount of up to 40 per cent of the vote, saying that “illegal acts” occurred during the vote and that there were up to 2.5m “problematic ballots”. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) also claimed they had information that voter fraud was implicated in up to four per cent of the ballots. Both parties said they would appeal the results. CLICK LINKS FOR SOURCES

Story 2: Coalition Against Islamic State in Syria — What is Next: Wrath of Euphrates: The Battle for Raqqa: Isolate and Assault  — Take No Prisoners — Videos 

Image result for cartoons islamic state trump bomb the shit Image result for coalition to defeat isis list of 68 countries
Image result for coalition to defeat isis list of 68 countries
Image result for map of raqqaImage result for March 2017 map of syria kurds and islamic state controlledImage result for map of raqqa cityImage result for map of syria islamic state control 2017

Image result for 2017 map of syria kurds and islamic state controlled

Image result for map showing where there are kurds

Image result for map showing where there are kurds

Image result for map showing religous sect by area in syria, iraq, iran, turkey

Image result for map showing religous sect by area in syria, iraq, iran, turkey

Image result for coalition to defeat isis list of 68 countries

US eyes assault on ISIS stronghold

CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh talks to Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend near Mosul, Iraq, where coalition forces hope to make a push toward Raqqa, ISIS’ center of control in Syria.

U.S.-Led Coalition Has ‘Made Adjustments’ In Syria To Account For ‘Tensions’

Wrath of Euphrates Op: US troops spotted near Raqqa frontline (EXCLUSIVE)

400 US troops deployed outside ISIS capital Raqqa

Ministers of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS

Raqqa Battle Phase 3 outcome

Beginning of a new phase to free Raqqa

Battle for Raqqa. First phase of Wrath of Euphrates Initiative ends successfully.

Published on Nov 12, 2016

12 Nov 2016 Syria. Raqqa.
SDF, YPG, YPJ and International Brigade fighters had began to advance from Siluk and Eyn İsa southwards from two directions on November 5.

The Siluk branch has cleared an area of 30 kms and the Ayn İsa branch has cleared an area of 15 kms from ISIS gangs. Yesterday, the two branches united along the Beliz creek.

After the liberation of Xınıse and the unification of the two branches of fighters, the first phase of the initiative ended successfully.

Civilians flee Raqqa as Syrian forces advance

More U.S. Troops heading to Raqqa, Syria to fight ISIS

18 Allied Fighters Killed In US Led Syria Strike

100s killed following US-led airstrike in Syria

Assad: No one invited US to Manbij, all foreign troops in Syria without permission are ‘invaders’

U.S. military says misdirected airstrike in northern Syria killed 18 allied fighters

U.S.-led Coalition Accidentally Bomb Syrian Allies, Killing 18 | True News

Syria: Kurdish fighters make gains against IS behind enemy lines

Ross Kemp The Fight Against Isis

Turkey and Russia join forces against Islamic State

US Joins Ground Forces with Kurds, Syrian, & Russian Fighters Against ISIS in Syria

Targeting the High Value Terrorists

On The Road To Raqqa – Heavy Clashes Between Kurdish Forces And ISIS During The Battle Of Raqqa

US soldiers help Iraqi troops secure Mosul

Satellite Imagery: The Cutting of Mosul’s Bridges

Satellite Imagery: The Islamic State’s Mosul Defenses

Satellite Images: The Islamic State’s Scorched Earth Tactics

Why Did the Iraq War Start? The Untold Story – Seymour Hersh – Reasons, Justification (2005)

The Breathtaking Incoherence of American Foreign Policy as to North Korea and Syria

‘Defeating ISIS No.1 US goal’: Tillerson at coalition summit coinciding with London attack

Trump Gives Generals More Freedom on ISIS Fight

Pentagon brass take lead on decisions that were made by White House under Obama; ‘I authorize my military,’ Trump says

U.S. Army trainers watch as an Iraqi recruit fires at a military base in Iraq.
U.S. Army trainers watch as an Iraqi recruit fires at a military base in Iraq. PHOTO: JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES

U.S. military commanders are stepping up their fight against Islamist extremism as President Donald Trump’s administration urges them to make more battlefield decisions on their own.

As the White House works on a broad strategy, America’s top military commanders are implementing the vision articulated by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: Decimate Islamic State’s Middle East strongholds and ensure that the militants don’t establish new beachheads in places such as Afghanistan.

“There’s nothing formal, but it is beginning to take shape,” a senior U.S. defense official said Friday. “There is a sense among these commanders that they are able to do a bit more—and so they are.”

While military commanders complained about White House micromanagement under former President Barack Obama, they are now being told they have more freedom to make decisions without consulting Mr. Trump. Military commanders around the world are being encouraged to stretch the limits of their existing authorities when needed, but to think seriously about the consequences of their decisions.

The more muscular military approach is expanding as the Trump administration debates a comprehensive new strategy to defeat Islamic State. Mr. Mattis has sketched out such a global plan, but the administration has yet to agree on it. While the political debate continues, the military is being encouraged to take more aggressive steps against Islamic extremists around the world.

The firmer military stance has fueled growing concerns among State Department officials working on Middle East policy that the Trump administration is giving short shrift to the diplomatic tools the Obama administration favored. Removing the carrot from the traditional carrot-and-stick approach, some State Department officials warn, could hamper the pursuit of long-term strategies needed to prevent volatile conflicts from reigniting once the shooting stops.

The new approach was on display this week in Afghanistan, where Gen. John Nicholson, head of the U.S.-led coalition there, decided to use one of the military’s biggest nonnuclear bombs—a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB—to hit a remote Islamic State underground network of tunnels and caves.

Gen. Nicholson said Friday it was too early to say how many militants had been killed in the previous day’s bombing. The Afghan Defense Ministry retracted an earlier statement that the strike had killed 36 militants, saying it was unable to provide precise figures yet.

A military official for the coalition who viewed footage of the bombing said it was difficult to make out details of its effects beyond a “mushroom cloud” of smoke rising into the sky. He added that a second MOAB was available for use in the country, but no decision had been made on whether it should be deployed.

Islamic State’s Amaq news agency posted a statement on Friday saying none of its fighters were killed or wounded in the strike, which took place in Nangarhar province, along the country’s mountainous border with Pakistan.

Gen. Nicholson indicated that he—not the White House—decided to drop the bomb. “The ammunition we used last night is designed to destroy caves and tunnels. This was the right weapon against the right target,” he told reporters Friday. “I am fortunate that my chain of command allows me the latitude to make assessments on the ground.”

A senior administration official said Mr. Trump didn’t know about the weapon’s use until it had been dropped.

Mr. Mattis “is telling them, ‘It’s not the same as it was, you don’t have to ask us before you drop a MOAB,’” the senior defense official said. “Technically there’s no piece of paper that says you have to ask the president to drop a MOAB. But last year this time, the way [things were] meant, ‘I’m going to drop a MOAB, better let the White House know.’”

Indeed, on Thursday Mr. Trump himself emphasized the free rein he gives the Pentagon. “I authorize my military,” Mr. Trump said. “We have given them total authorization.”

On Friday, the U.S. military said it has sent dozens of soldiers to Somalia, where Mr. Trump recently gave the head of the U.S. Africa Command more leeway to carry out counterterrorism operations against al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate in the area.

The more aggressive military approach comes as the long slog against Islamic State is bearing fruit. The group is on the back foot in its Iraqi stronghold, Mosul, and is facing a hard battle to defend its de facto Syrian capital, Raqqa.

The U.S. has sent more forces into Iraq and Syria, stepped up support for Saudi Arabia’s fight against Houthi militants in Yemen, and dispatched an aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsula amid growing evidence that North Korea is preparing for a new nuclear test.

Loren DeJonge Schulman, who served as senior adviser to Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, said a more assertive military campaign is destined to fail unless it is part of a broader strategy against Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.

“It’s crazy that the Trump administration thinks that ‘taking the gloves off’ is either a winning strategy against ISIL or a useful narrative for the White House or the military,” said Ms. Schulman, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Derek Chollet, a former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs in the Obama administration, said giving the Pentagon more freedom is one of the most significant things Mr. Trump has done.

“It’s not clear to me that he’s making any tough decisions,” said Mr. Chollet, now executive vice president at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “All that he’s essentially done is ceded decision authority down to protect himself from making tough calls.”

The flip side of the Trump administration’s emphasis on a more-free-wheeling military approach to Islamic State is an apparent reduction of the use of soft-power tools—economic development, diplomacy and democracy-building—favored by the Obama White House.

Some State Department officials describe being cut out from the White House’s counterterrorism strategy in the Mideast, with efforts to nurture democratic governments and push for more secular education systems carrying less weight in the White House’s evolving approach.

“State is being systematically sidelined,” said a State Department official who has worked on counterterrorism issues in Washington and abroad.

The official said the White House strategy of prioritizing military might over diplomacy makes it hard to persuade Mideast allies to relax their grip on power. Many of Washington’s closest Arab allies are autocratic regimes guilty of human-rights abuses that critics say fuel terrorism.

“The problem there is that in many of the places where you need carrots, those carrots are often seen as threats to local governments,” the official said, referring to democracy and society-building programs the State Department funds across the Mideast.

Egypt offers a prime example of the Trump administration’s leanings. When Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, a military strongman, visited the White House earlier this month, Mr. Trump gave him a warm welcome. Mr. Obama had refused to meet him because of his regime’s alleged human-rights abuses.

U.S. officials in the Mideast say a counterterror approach that focuses solely on military might without programs to fight the causes that feed extremism could backfire, leading groups like Islamic State to go underground and wait for future opportunities to re-emerge. They are particularly concerned about Raqqa, where a U.S.-led military coalition is closing in around the city but post-liberation stabilization plans aren’t finalized as State Department officials wait for White House guidance.

Write to Dion Nissenbaum at dion.nissenbaum@wsj.com and Maria Abi-Habib at maria.habib@wsj.com

Appeared in the Apr. 15, 2017, print edition as ‘Military Takes Lead on ISIS.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-gives-generals-free-rein-on-isis-fight-1492218994

Raqqa campaign (2016–present)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Raqqa offensive (2016–present))
Raqqa campaign (2016–present)
Part of the Syrian Civil War,
the Syrian Kurdish–Islamist conflict (2013–present), and
the American-led intervention in Syria
Northern Raqqa Offensive (November 2016).svgBattle of Raqqa2.svg
Top: Map showing the SDF advances; Bottom: A map of the situation in Raqqa itself
Date 6 November 2016 – present
(5 months, 1 week and 4 days)
Location Raqqa Governorate, Deir ez-Zor Governorate, Syria
35.9500°N 39.0167°ECoordinates: 35.9500°N 39.0167°E
Status Ongoing

  • The SDF captures more than 236 villages, hamlets and strategic hills, two water and power stations,[10][11] Al-Tabqa Airbase,[12][13]and reportedly Tabqa Dam[14][15][16]
  • The SDF, after latest advances, are now at a distance of 5 km from the ISIL capital city of Ar-Raqqah[17]
  • The SDF and allies cut off all main roads out of Raqqa (minus Baath Dam)[18]
Territorial
changes
The SDF capture more than 7,400 square kilometres (2,900 sq mi) of territory from ISIL during the first, second and third phases of the campaign[19][20]
Belligerents
Syrian Democratic Forces
Self Defence Forces (HXP)[1]
Leftist/Anarchist volunteers[a]
CJTF–OIR

 Iraqi Kurdistan[8]


 Russia[9] Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantCommanders and leadersRojda Felat[21]
(leading YPJ commander)[22][23]
Kino Gabriel[24]
(MFS commander)
Syrian opposition Fayad Ghanim[25]
(Raqqa Hawks Brigade commander)
Abu Issa
(Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa chief commander)
Syrian oppositionMuhedi Jayila[26]
(Elite Forces commander)
Bandar al-Humaydi[24]
(Al-Sanadid Forces military chief commander)
Siyamend Welat[27]
(HXP chief commander)
United States Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend
(CJTF–OIR chief commander)

For other anti-ISIL commanders, see order of battleIslamic State of Iraq and the LevantAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi(WIA)[28][29]
(Leader of ISIL)
Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti[30]
(leading ISIL commander for Raqqa defenses, c. 11–26 December)[31]
Abu Saraqeb al-Maghribi[32]
(Head of security in Al-Thawrah)
Abu Jandal al-Masri[32]
(Chief of Information in Raqqa)
Abu Muhammad al-Jazrawi[32]
(Chief of Al-Hisba secret police)
Mahmoud al-Isawi[33]
(ISIL proganganda chief)
Abd al-Basit al-Iraqi [34]
(ISIL commander of Middle Eastexternal networks)
Zainuri Kamaruddin[35]
(Katibah Nusantara commander)
Abu Luqman[36]
(ISIL governor of Raqqa)

For other ISIL commanders, see order of battleUnits involvedSee anti-ISIL forces order of battleSee ISIL order of battleStrength

30,000–40,000 SDF fighters[37][38][39](70% Arab acc. to the SDF)[40]

500 HXP soldiers[1]
United States 900 American special forces,[51][52][53] 1 artillery battery[54]


Russia Several Tupolev Tu-95 bombers[9]

10,000–20,000+ fighters[55][56][57][58][59](estimate by Western SDF volunteers & some experts)

Unknown number of UAVs (drones)[64]

Casualties and losses

235+ killed[65][66][67][c]

1 killed[71]
United States 1 killed[72]


232+ killed, 30+ wounded, 15 armored vehicles lost (ISIL claim)[73][74][31]

2,098+ killed and 20 captured (SDF and US claim)[75]95 civilians killed[76][77]
14,000+ displaced[78][79][80]

The Raqqa campaign[81] (codenamed Operation Wrath of Euphrates), is an ongoing military operation launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Raqqa Governorate, with the goal of isolating and eventually capturing the Islamic State’s capital city, Raqqa. Another one of the main goals is to capture the Tabqa Dam, the nearby city of Al-Thawrah,[82] and the Baath Dam further downstream.[83] The offensive has also been dubbed the Battle to End All Battles in the War on ISIL.[84]

The offensive is concurrent with the Battle of al-Bab in the Aleppo governorate, the Battle of Mosul in Iraq, the Battle of Sirte (2016) in Libya, the Palmyra offensive (2017), and a reignition of fighting in Deir ez-Zor’s siege.

Background

In late October 2016, the United States Secretary of DefenseAsh Carter called for an offensive on Raqqa to take place concurrent with the Battle of Mosul in Iraq. He stated that the US was cooperating with its allies in order to launch an “isolation operation” around Raqqa. On 26 October, the President of TurkeyRecep Tayyip Erdoğan called the President of the United StatesBarack Obama and stated that he did not want the People’s Protection Units (YPG) to participate in the planned operation, and instead planned to involve the Turkish Armed Forces. The United Kingdom‘s Secretary of State for DefenceMichael Fallon rejected the idea of non-Arab forces taking part in the offensive and demanded a purely Arab force.[85]

On the same day, the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend stressed that the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces was the only armed group capable of capturing Raqqa in the near future. Fewer US-led coalition troops were to be involved than in the Battle of Mosul.[86] On 3 November, the commander of the Seljuk Brigade and SDF spokesman Col. Talal Silo rejected the participation of Turkey in the operation.[87]

After the start of the Battle of Mosul (2016–17) in Iraq, many of the 20,000 ISIL fighters estimated to be living in the city[88] fled to Raqqa, boosting the ISIL forces that were already present in their de facto capital city.[89]

Announcement

The SDF officially announced the start of the operation on 6 November in the village of Ayn Issa.[90] The intention was to proceed in two phases, first seizing areas around Raqqa and isolating the city, advancing from three fronts, then taking control of the city itself.[91] The SDF general command called for the international coalition against ISIL to support the operation.[92] In response, Ash Carter welcomed the announcement and emphasized the importance of capturing Raqqa and defeating ISIL, while cautioning that “there is hard work ahead”.[93]

The offensive

Phase One: Isolating Raqqa from its northern hinterland[edit]

Tal Saman, ISIL headquarters in the northern Raqqa countryside, after being captured by the SDF.

On 6 November, the SDF captured six small villages,[37] including the villages of Wahid, Umm Safa, Wasita, Haran, al-Adriyah and Jurah south and southeast of Ayn Issa.[94] The Islamic State detonated four car bombs on the first day of the offensive.[95]

On 8 November, the SDF reported that they had taken control of 11 villages near Ain Issa. The SDF also claimed that ISIL used several car bombs against their forces.[96] By 11 November, the SDF had captured over a dozen villages and the strategically significant town of Al-Hisbah, which had served as a local headquarters and command center for ISIL.[97] On the next day, the SDF continued to advance against ISIL in the area around Tal Saman and Khnez, bringing the number of captured farms and villages to 26.[98]

As of 14 November, the SDF reported the completion of the initial phase of the operations, stating that 500 km2has been captured: 34 villages, 31 hamlets and seven strategic hills, along with 167 Islamic State casualties.[24]The SDF had also begun to besiege Tal Saman, the largest village and ISIL headquarters north of Raqqa,[99] while ISIL launched a counter-attack near Salok in the eastern countryside of Raqqa Governorate in order to force the SDF to split its forces and open a new front.[100] On the next day, the SDF advanced into Tal Saman, resulting in a fierce battle with its ISIL defenders.[101] At the same time, the SDF also captured 10 more villages and farms.[102][103] By 19 November, the SDF had fully captured Tal Saman and had driven ISIL completely from the surrounding countryside.[104][105] With this, the first phase of the offensive was considered completed.[106]On 20 November 2016, 200 fighters completed training, joined the SDF, and were sent to participate in the offensive.[107]

Stalemate and preparation for the second phase

A United States Air Force airstrike on an ISIL position to the north of Raqqa

The second phase of the offensive aimed to enforce a full blockade of the city of Raqqa.[106] On 21 November, the SDF captured two more villages,[108] while ISIL launched a counter-attack near Tal Saman.[109] Over the next days, the SDF attempted to further advance, such as at al-Qalita,[110] but was unable to break through ISIL’s defense line south of Tal Saman.[111] On 24 November, a US serviceman died from wounds he suffered after stepping on an improvised explosive device near the town of Ayn Issa, to the north of Raqqa.[112]

On 25 November, ISIL received reinforcements from Iraq, among them explosive experts and defected Iraqi Army personnel.[113] On the next day, ISIL launched a counter-attack, retaking parts of Qaltah village and a nearby water pump station, while the SDF managed to advance in the village’s vicinity.[114][115] Boubaker Al-Hakim, an ISIL commander who was linked to the Charlie Hebdo shooting, was reported to have been killed in an American airstrike in Raqqa on 26 November.[116][117] Iraqi military however later stated in April 2017 that he might still be alive.[118]

On 27 November, the SDF announced the offensive’s second phase was due to start,[119] though this was then delayed. At least five SDF fighters were killed in renewed clashes north of Raqqa on 29 November.[120] Meanwhile, ISIL suffered from the defection of two senior commanders, who fled from Raqqa to join Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in Idlib.[121] On 4 December, a coalition drone strike in Raqqa killed two ISIL leaders who had helped facilitate the November 2015 Paris attacks and another who was involved in a foiled suicide attack in Belgium in 2015.[116][122] Three days later, co-Chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim said that the first phase to surround Raqqa was almost over, while a new Arab brigade consisting of more than 1,000 men and women from the al-Raqqa area had joined the SDF as part of the second phase which was slated to be launched on 10 December.[123] More than 1,500 Arab fighters who were trained and equipped by the anti-ISIL coalition joined the SDF for the second phase on its launch day.[124]

Phase Two: Isolating Raqqa from its western countryside

Initial advances[edit]

SDF fighters advance northwest of Raqqa after the start of the offensive’s second phase.

The SDF launched the second phase on 10 December, with the aim of capturing the northwestern and western countrysides of al-Raqqa and ultimately reaching and securing the Tabqa Dam. The same day, it was announced that Arab SDF groups, consisting of the Elite Forces, Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa and the newly formed Deir Ezzor Military Council would be taking part. During the first day, the SDF began to advance south of the Tishrin Dam and captured al-Kiradi village.[125][126] The United States announced that it would send 200 more troops to assist the SDF.[51] The next day, the SDF captured seven more villages from ISIL.[127][128] On 12 December, the SDF captured four villages as well as many hamlets south of Tishrin Dam.[129][130][128] The SDF captured five villages during the next two days.[131][132][133] On 15 December, the SDF captured three villages, taking the total number of villages captured by them in the second phase to 20.[134]

Over the next four days, the SDF captured 20 more villages, while finally reaching Lake Assad‘s shore, thereby cutting off and besieging 54 ISIL-held villages to the west. In response to these territorial losses, ISIL began to carry out more suicide attacks against both the SDF as well as civilian targets within SDF-controlled areas in an attempt to hinder the offensive.[135][136][137][138][139] On 19 December, ISIL launched a counter-attack to regain four villages in the northwestern countryside,[140] but the attack was repelled after a few hours.[141] The following night, ISIL forces retreated largely unopposed from the besieged 54 villages, leaving them to be captured by the SDF.[142][143] The SDF declared that they had captured 97 villages overall during the second phase, and had begun to advance against Qal’at Ja’bar.[144]

Battle of Jabar

Killed ISIL fighters near Mahmudli.

On 21 December, the SDF seized five villages near Qal’at Ja’bar, including Jabar,[143] which served as the main weaponry storage and supply centre for ISIL in the northwestern countryside.[145] The coalition then began to move toward Suwaydiya Saghirah and Suwaydiya Kabir, the last villages before Tabqa Dam.[143][146][147] Even though an ISIL counter-attack managed to retake Jabar village soon after,[148] the SDF attacked again on 23 December, and once again took control of it, while also capturing another village.[149][150] This prompted ISIL to launch yet another counter-attack later that day, which was accompanied by several suicide car bombs.[151][152][153] As a result, heavy clashes took place between them and SDF fighters in several villages along the frontline that lasted until the early morning of 24 December. The ISIL forces were eventually forced to withdraw after the SDF first shelled and then stormed their positions, whereupon the latter took control of most of Jabar as well as two more villages,[154][155][156] though some ISIL holdouts persisted in Jabar.[145]

ISIL was pushed out of the neighboring, strategic village of Eastern Jabar on the next day, bringing SDF within 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) of Tabqa Dam,[157][158] and by 26 December, the SDF had finally fully secured the main Jabar village, with the last ISIL defenders being expelled after heavy fighting.[145] An ISIL counterattack on the village later that day failed,[31][159] with a US airstrike killing Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti as he commanded the assault. Al-Kuwaiti, also known as Abdulmuhsin al-Zaghelan al-Tarish, was a high-ranking ISIL commander leading the defense of the whole Raqqa region against the SDF.[31][30] Meanwhile, the Amaq News Agency declared that Iman Na’im Tandil (nom de guerre: Abu ‘Umar Al-Hindi), one of the few Indian ISIL fighters active in Syria, had also been killed during the fighting near Jabar. The Islamic State’s official media wing later also officially paid tribute to Iman.[160]

Battle for Jabar’s surroundings

A YPGBMP, loaded on a truck, being transported to the frontline near Mahmudli on 4 January.

On 27 December, ISIL launched an attack on the village of Secol in the northern countryside, reportedly breaching the local SDF defences.[161] On the next day, the SDF reportedly captured Hadaj village after two days of heavy fighting, while another ISIL counter-attack against Jabar was repelled.[162] Mahmud al-Isawi, a senior ISIL facilitator who was a manager of instructions and finances for the group’s leaders as well as a provider of propaganda and intelligence support, was killed on 31 December in a US-led coalition airstrike on Raqqa.[163] After three days of heavy fighting, the SDF captured all or most of Mahmudli, the largest town of the Al-Jarniyah Subdistrict, on 1 January 2017. ISIL counterattacked later in an attempt to regain the town.[164][165] The SDF leadership said that in the clashes since the launch of the second phase they had captured 110 villages, killed 277 ISIL fighters, and captured 13.[166]

Also on January 1, the SDF resumed its offensive on the northern front, reportedly advancing 6 km south of Tell Saman against ISIL positions.[11][167] The SDF reportedly captured nine more villages in this area, within the next three days.[168][169][170][171][172] Meanwhile, with the SDF edging closer to Raqqa, ISIL further restricted Internet access and increased surveillance over Internet users in Raqqa. There were harsh punishments for accessing anti-ISIL websites, with a new special unit within the ISIL’s security office searching for offenders. Several online activists in Raqqa were captured and tortured or executed.[173] Another two villages and hamlets were captured by the SDF on 5 January.[174]

SDF fighters examine Qal’at Ja’bar. ISIL had built tunnels and weapons depots into the medieval castle.[175]

The SDF captured Qal’at Ja’bar (Ja’bar Castle) from ISIL on 6 January.[176][177] The same day, ISIL was reported to have moved its 150 prisoners from Tabqa city due to the offensive.[178] The SDF later captured eight villages and five hamlets at the Ayn Issa front.[179] On 7 January, the SDF captured five villages including the strategic Suwaydiya Gharbi[180][181] and Suwaydiya Saghirah, reaching the outskirts of Tabqa Dam.[182] ISIL reportedly recaptured Suwaydiya Saghirah by the next day after a counterattack, while a local leader of the group was killed in clashes.[183] Meanwhile, ISIL was reported to have withdrawn 150 of its fighters towards Raqqa city.[184]

On 8 January 2017, US special forces raided the village of Al-Kubar, between Ar-Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor, killing at least 25 ISIL militants in the two-hour operation.[185] It was believed that the goal of the US may have been to rescue hostages from an ISIL secret prison in the village. After the raid, ISIL forces cut off access to the village.[185]

On 9 January, the SDF captured another village, along with three hamlets.[186]

On 10 January, ISIL launched a large-scale counter-attack at the Jabar frontline and reportedly recaptured several sites;[187] with pro-Free Syrian Army sources claiming Qal’at Ja’bar and the village of Jabar were among these.[188] ISIL consequently released photos of dead SDF fighters, while claiming that over 70 of them had been killed in the counter-attack.[189] However, the SDF was reported to still be in control of Jabar village and Qalat Jabar a few days later.[190][191]

An ISIL attack on Jib Shair village, trying to resist SDF advances from the north, was repelled on the next day, after which the SDF advanced and captured six hamlets around it.[192] The SDF later announced that their forces advancing from the Ayn Issa front and on the Qadiriya front linked up in Kurmanju village after capturing several villages over the past few days,[193] besieging a large pocket of about 45 villages and 20 hamlets.[194] All of them were captured by the next day, resulting in the alliance gaining about 460 square kilometres (180 sq mi) of land.[195] Another village was captured by the SDF on 13 January.[196][197] On 15 January, the SDF progressed to Suwaydiya Kabir village,[198] while ISIL launched a large-scale counter-attack against Mahmudli and a nearby village, resulting in clashes within these settlements.[199] The attack was repelled after several hours of fighting.[200] The SDF captured three villages during the day,[201] while Suwaydiya Saghirah was also reported to be under its control again.[202] On 17 January 2017, 28 Arab tribes from Raqqa announced their support for the offensive and encouraged locals to join the SDF.[203][204]

The SDF attacked Suwaydiya Kabir on the next day, leading to heavy clashes in the village.[205] Meanwhile, it was announced that about 2,500 local fighters had joined the offensive since it began.[206] On 19 January, ISIL launched a counter-attack against Suwaydiya Saghirah, supported by mortars and heavy machine guns, killing or wounding several YPG fighters.[207][208] Despite this, the SDF made further progress on the next day, capturing a village and advancing against many other ISIL-held villages.[209] The SDF again attacked Suwaydiya Kabir on 20 January, reaching the outskirts of the village, and captured it on 22 January after heavy clashes, with the support of U.S. special forces.[210][211]

Tabqa Dam raid and further SDF advances in the north

The Tabqa Dam in 2014.

In late January 2017, it was reported that a number of ISIL militants were hiding inside the structure of the Tabqa Dam, including senior militant leaders who used to be “very important prisoners” wanted by the US and several other countries, in order to deter a possible US-led coalition strike on them.[212]

On 23 January, the SDF began to advance on the Tabqa Dam, spurring ISIL to open its turbines to raise the Euphrates River’s water levels. This was seen as an attempt to hinder the progress of the Kurdish-led forces and a scare tactic,[213] and caused the water level of the Euphrates to rise to its highest level in 20 years, leading to record flooding downstream.[84] Coinciding with this, pro-SDF sources reported that US special forces and SDF units had launched a raid against Al-Thawrah across the river.[214] By 24 January, SDF forces had managed to capture parts of the town, and SDF forces on the dam began working towards the Tabqa Dam’s control rooms, at the southern part of the dam, in an attempt to stop the massive outflow of water released by ISIL. However, the entrance to the dam’s control rooms was too well defended, and with the continued threat of disastrous flooding downstream, SDF and the US forces withdrew from both the Tabqa Dam and the town of Al-Thawrah, after which ISIL closed the dam’s turbines again.[84]

Over the next three days, ISIL repeatedly launched fierce counter-attacks against SDF positions in the western and northern countryside.[215][216][217] ISIL managed to retake ground in the area around the dam,[218] but the attack was later repelled.[219]

Preparation for the third phase

An SDF IAG Guardian armoured personnel carrier in February 2017, one of several APCs that were supplied by the United States to the SDF.

On 31 January 2017, the SDF received a number of armoured personnel carriers supplied by the US. The SDF spokesman stated that preparations for a new phase of the operation were continuing and the operation would begin in “a few days”.[220] Meanwhile, the leader of the SDF-aligned Syria’s Tomorrow Movement and its paramilitary wing, Ahmad Jarba, announced that 3,000 Arab fighters under his command were training with US special forces to be deployed in the battle for Raqqa against ISIL.[45]

On the night of 2–3 February, intense CJTF–OIR airstrikes targeted several bridges in or near Raqqa city, destroying them as well as the local water pipelines, leaving the city without drinking water. Meanwhile, the SDF advanced against the village of Qaltah in the northern countryside,[221] which the coalition had already unsuccessfully attacked in November.[114] ISIL maintenance crews managed to fix the pipelines during 3 February, restoring Raqqa’s water supply.[222][223] On 3 February, 251 Arab fighters in Hasaka completed their training and joined the SDF.[224]

Phase Three: Isolating Raqqa from its eastern countryside

Pressing south[edit]

YPG and YPJ fighters in combat.

On 4 February, the SDF announced the offensive’s third phase, aiming at capturing Raqqa’s eastern countryside, and to separate Raqqa city from ISIL forces in Deir ez-Zor, though operations in the west and north would continue simultaneously.[225] The SDF captured a village and three hamlets to the northeast of Raqqa later that day, with clashes being reported at al-Qaltah and Bir Said, while 750 Arabs completed training and joined the SDF.[226][227] On the next day, the Kurdish-led forces captured another two villages along with a hamlet and two farms, and besieged Bir Said,[228][229] while especially intense airstrikes hit several ISIL targets in Al-Thawrah.[230] Bir Said, along with another village, was eventually captured by the SDF on 6 February.[231][232][233] In addition to these villages, the SDF also captured another five villages on two fronts.[234] The SDF made further progress, capturing three more villages on 7 February.[235] In early February 2017, US-led coalition airstrikes destroyed much of the Deir ez-Zor-Raqqa highway, reducing it to a single-file gravel road in some spots, with the SDF patrolling other areas with minefields, in order to prevent ISIL from reinforcing Raqqa city.[84] By this point, almost all of the five bridges leading to Raqqa had been destroyed either by the US-led coalition or by ISIL, with the only exceptions being the Tabqa Dam and the Baath Dam, both west of Raqqa city.[236]

As these advances continued, ISIL responded by launching several unsuccessful counter-attacks against Suwaydiya Kabir and other strategic territories captured by the SDF.[237][238] On 8 and 9 February, the SDF advanced at the northern and northeastern frontline, capturing several villages and besieging Mizella, a major strategic ISIL stronghold in the northern countryside. The advance put them within 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) of Raqqa.[239][240][241][242][243] The SDF captured Mizella the next day.[40][244] The two fronts of the alliance converged on 11 February as it also captured two villages and wheat silos to the north of Raqqa during the day;[245][246] the next day, the SDF attempted to cross the Balikh River northeast of Raqqa, leading to heavy fighting with local ISIL defenders.[247] On 12 February, a large-scale counter-attack by ISIL reportedly succeeded in retaking Suwaydiya Kabir and four other nearby villages.[248][249] However, pro-YPG sources denied these reports.[250] Another counterattack was carried out by ISIL to the northeast of Raqqa where the SDF had advanced to, leading to heavy clashes between both sides.[251] Clashes continued over the next few days.[252] On 16 February, 165 more SDF fighters completed training and joined the offensive.[253]

Capturing the eastern countryside

A destroyed bridge over the Euphrates in Deir ez-Zor Governorate. As result of the CJTF–OIR bombing campaign, as well as ISIL detonations, most bridges across the river were destroyed.

On 17 February 2017, the SDF announced the launch of the second stage of the third phase, aimed at capturing the eastern countryside of Raqqa near Deir ez-Zor, with the Deir Ezzor Military Council leading the operation.[254] On the same day the SDF captured two villages from ISIL to the north of Deir ez-Zor and came within 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) of the northeast of Raqqa,[255] while the Russian Air Force conducted airstrikes on ISIL forces in Raqqa city for the second time since its entry into the war.[9] The next day, the SDF captured another village to the southwest of the Makman front (north of Deir ez-Zor) as well as another near Raqqa.[256][257] On 18 February, the SDF stormed a prison a few kilometres northeast of Raqqa, freeing some of the inmates.[258] They later captured three villages in Deir ez-Zor’s northern countryside.[259] On the next day, the SDF captured five villages to the east of Raqqa.[260] On 20 February, they captured four villages on the Makmen front, including the strategic village of Sebah al-Xêr as well as a base station of Syriatel, thus cutting off the road between Makman and Raqqa and besieging three ISIL-held villages. Furthermore, the SDF took control of a significant bridge over the Balikh River on the western front.[261][262][263][264][265][266]

On 21 February, the SDF captured two villages on the Makman front and another one near Raqqa.[267][268][269] ISIL later again assaulted Suwaydiya Kabir, attacking it from three fronts, leading to heavy fighting around it.[270] The SDF continued advancing in the eastern countryside of Raqqa on 22 February, capturing three villages, and merging the two fronts at Makman and Bir Hebe. A YPJ commander declared that the SDF had cut the road to Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.[271][272][273] The SDF stated that it had entered Deir ez-Zor Governorate for the first time in the offensive.[274] On the next day, they captured six villages and sixteen hamlets.[275]

Opening of a new front

On 24 February, the SDF captured four villages in the Makman front and another three in a fourth front to the northeast of Deir ez-Zor.[276][277] They captured the strategic Abu Khashab village later that day.[278] On 25 February, they captured another three villages on the fourth front.[279][280]

On 26 February, a US airstrike near Tabqa Dam destroyed a former government facility which was being used as a headquarters by ISIL. The airstrike’s vicinity to the dam’s structure led to fears that the dam could potentially be destabilized or destroyed during the fighting.[280] Later that day, it was reported that the SDF had captured the village of Al-Kubar, on the northern bank of the Euphrates in the Deir ez-Zor countryside, further tightening the siege on Raqqa.[281] On 28 February, it was reported that the US-led coalition had completely destroyed the Tabqa Airbase in an airstrike.[282]

On 27 February, the plan that the Pentagon submitted to US President Trump to significantly speed up the fight against ISIL included a significant increase in US participation in the Raqqa campaign, with the possibility of the US increasing its ground presence on the Raqqa front to 4,000–5,000 troops.[283]

Advance to the Raqqa-Deir Ezzor highway

YPG/SDF fighters on the bank of the Euphrates east of Raqqa.

The offensive resumed on 5 March, with the SDF capturing at least seven villages and 15 hamlets to the northeast of the Euphrates River, east of Raqqa. The offensive had previously been paused due to bad weather, according to the SDF.[284][285][286] The area captured by SDF forces on that day was about 19 square kilometers, and about 32 ISIL militants were killed in the clashes.[287] After further advances on 6 March, the SDF cut the highway between Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, which was the last road out of the city,[288][18] and reached the Euphrates River.[289] The SDF captured six villages, the Al-Kubar Military Base (a former nuclear facility), and the Zalabiye Bridge, during the day.[290][291] On 8 March, the SDF took control of the strategic West Menxer hill in the eastern countryside,[292] while elements of the US 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit were deployed to northern Syria, bringing with them an artillery battery of M777 howitzers to support the attack on Raqqa.[54] Meanwhile, about 150 ISIL militants from Hama and Deir-ez Zor managed to reinforce Raqqa, by crossing the Euphrates, despite the partial siege that had been imposed by the SDF on the city.[293]

On 9 March, SDF captured the strategic East Menxer hill and captured three villages on two different fronts. Two villages, including Kubar, were captured on the front to the far east of Raqqa, and one near Raqqa.[294][295][296] 244 Arab fighters from the Raqqa countryside also joined the SDF during the day, for the protection of the people in the region.[297] On the next day, SDF forces advancing from the Abu Khashab front captured three villages, including two near Kubar.[298][299][299][300] On 12 March, the SDF captured Khas Ujayl village, to the southeast of Raqqa, on the Abu Khashab front,[301][302] while ISIL continued to launch repeated counterattacks in the area, in an attempt to check the SDF advances.[303] Meanwhile, 230 ISIL fighters entered Raqqa to reinforce the city.[303][304]

On 14 March, the SDF captured the Khass Hibal village, as well as the Al-Kulayb grain silos, along the Raqqa-Deir Ezzor highway.[305][306] An SDF spokeswoman stated that Raqqa had been isolated. The advance of the SDF put them in control of the land region used by ISIL to connect to their territories in the east, stretching from al-Kubar to the northern bank of the Euphrates and measuring 30 kilometres (19 mi).[307] The SDF captured the Hamad Asaf silos and the[308] Al Kulayb village the next day. Hamad Assaf was also reportedly captured.[309][310] On 17 March, a YPG commander stated that the SDF planned to storm Raqqa city in April 2017, and that the YPG would be participating in the attack, despite the fierce opposition from the Turkish government. However, Pentagon Spokesman Jeff Davis denied that any decision regarding when and how an assault on Raqqa city will be carried out.[311] Meanwhile, clashes continued to take place around Khas Ujayl.[312][313]

The town of al-Karama, after the SDF had captured it from ISIL.

Heavy clashes took place in the town of al-Karama, to the east of Raqqa, on 19 March.[314][315] On the next day, SDF captured al-Karama, along with Jarqa village as well as a train station and water pumping station nearby.[316][317][318][319][320] On 21 March, it was reported again that the SDF had captured Hamad Assaf in the eastern countryside from the Abu Khashab front.[321][322] Another village was captured on 22 March from the Abu Khashab front.[323][322] Meanwhile, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS) stated that coalition airstrikes hit a school being used as a shelter for displaced people in a village to the west of Raqqa on 20 March. SOHR stated that 33 civilians were killed in the airstrikes while RIBSS stated that it was unknown what happened to 50 families who were there.[324] The SDF continued advancing in the eastern Raqqa countryside on 23 March, capturing two more villages on the Abu Khashab front, allowing them to capture a small ISIL pocket.[325][326][327][328]On 24 March, the SDF took control of two more villages in the eastern countryside of Raqqa.[329][330][331]

Battle for al-Tabqa countryside and other advances

SDF fighters near Tabqa Dam on 27 March.

On 22 March, the SDF began an assault to capture the Tabqa Dam, al-Thawrah (Tabqa) city, and its airbase. Five hundred SDF fighters and five hundred US Special Forces from CJTF–OIR were airlifted by helicopters of the United States military, across the Euphrates River and Lake Assad, and were dropped on the Shurfa Peninsula to the west of Al-Thawrah. The attack was supported by artillery support from United States Marines, as well as air support.[332][333][334][335] SDF and US forces also landed on the Jazirat al-‘Ayd Island (or Peninsula) to the west of Tabqa Dam, capturing it as well.[336] Four villages southwest of Tabqa were captured in the attack, including Abu Hurayrah, al-Mushayirafah, al-Krain, and al-Jameen. The SDF advanced towards the town of Al-Thawrah, where fliers were dropped, asking residents to stay indoors and avoid clashing against ISIL for now. These fliers were also dropped on Raqqa city.[337] An anti-ISIL coalition spokesman announced that the advance had cut off the highway linking the Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor, and Raqqa Governorates. He added that around 75-80% of the attacking force consisted of Arab fighters, with the rest being Kurds. The SDF stated that the advance was also meant to block any advance on Raqqa by the Syrian Arab Army from the west.[338]

On the same day, SDF and US forces stormed the Tabqa Dam, triggering “intense” clashes with ISIL forces. US officials stated that it may take several weeks to capture Tabqa Dam, Al-Thawrah city, and the surrounding countryside from ISIL.[339][340] Airstrikes by the coalition on Tabqa city were reported to have killed about 25 civilians.[341] On 23 March, some early reports circulated that the SDF had captured Tabqa Dam from ISIL, after clashing with ISIL forces for a few hours.[342][343][8] However, these reports were unconfirmed by other sources, with neither the SDF or CENTCOM confirming the capture of Tabqa Dam, and Rudaw reported that the SDF was still preparing to capture it.[342][344][345] SDF spokesman Talal Silo stated during the day that they were still advancing on the dam and the city and expected to attack the dam soon.[346] Later on the same day, it was reported that ISIL was redeploying a large number of fighters from the Deir ez-Zor Province to Al-Thawrah and Raqqa city, in order to reinforce those fronts.[347] ISIL’s Amaq News Agency later denied later that the SDF had captured the dam.[348]

Refugees from al-Thawrah (Tabqa) city, who have fled from the fighting between the SDF and ISIL.

On 24 March, SDF spokeswoman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed announced that they had reached the Tabqa Dam, and were fighting ISIL at its entrance.[349] The assault on the dam was spearheaded by SDF fighters who were backed by United States Special Operation Forces. According to early reports, the SDF and its allies had taken its outer perimeter, with the battle ongoing for its middle.[350] On the same day, it was also reported that the SDF had captured 8 villages to the southwest of Al-Thawrah.[351] On 25 March, pro-Kurdish news agency Kurdistan24 reported that the SDF had announced the capture of the Tabqa Dam.[352] On the same day, the SDF advanced on Al-Tabqa Airbase, setting off clashes in the vicinity.[353]Amaq meanwhile claimed SDF had withdrawn from the dam.[354]

On 26 March, the SDF captured 2 villages to the east of Al-Thawrah. It was also reported that ISIL was shelling the surroundings of Tabqa Dam with heavy weaponry.[355][356]On the same day, ISIL claimed that Tabqa Dam was on the verge of collapse and that all the floodgates were closed. The dam was reported to have become inoperable, which ISIL claimed was due to Coalition bombing and artillery strikes, though the SOHR stated that the actual reasons were unknown, adding that ISIL still held its main building and turbines.[357][358]SDF however denied that it had been hit, while RIBSS (Raqqa is Silently Being Slaughtered) stated that ISIL was informing fleeing civilians that the dam was safe.[359] Additionally, the US-led Coalition stated that the Tabqa Dam was structurally sound, and that the dam had not been targeted by any airstrikes. They also stated that the SDF controlled an emergency spillway at the northern part of the dam, which could be used in the event of an emergency.[360] On the same day, SDF spokesman Talal Silo announced that SDF had stormed the Tabqa military airport, and had taken sixty to seventy percent of it.[361] They later announced that they had completely captured the Al-Tabqa Airbase, following a 24-hour battle.[12][362][13]ISIL forces stationed at Al-Tabqa Airbase were reported to have withdrawn northward, to Al-Thawrah city. Additionally, SDF forces captured 2 villages near the airbase during the advance.[362][363]

SDF forces target ISIL positions near Tabqa Dam.

Late on 26 March, it was reported that the SDF had taken full control of Tabqa Dam, and that repairs on the dam by Coalition engineers had begun.[14][364] A day later however SDF announced they were temporarily pausing their offensive for the dam.[365][15][16] Later in the day, a spokeswoman of the SDF announced that engineers who had been permitted to check the dam and its operations did not find it was damaged or malfunctioning.[366] SDF also captured 2 villages to the west of Raqqa on the same day.[367][368][369] It resumed the offensive against ISIL at the Tabqa Dam on 28 March.[370] Syrian engineers worked on the dam during a pause in the fighting to open spillways and ease the pressure on the dam. Its southern reaches were reported to be under ISIL control. ISIL claimed that the maintenance team was killed in airstrikes by the anti-ISIL coalition while the SOHR stated that it had learned that the engineer administering the dam had been killed in airstrikes along with a technician. It also stated that the group had sent 900 fighters from Raqqa to fight against the SDF advance.[371]

On 29 March, the SDF cut the road between Al-Thawrah (Tabqa) city and Raqqa. The SDF stated that ISIL had shelled the Tabqa Dam during the day, causing repair work to be temporarily paused.[372][373][374] On 31 March, SDF forces attacked the town of Al-Safsafah, to the east of Al-Thawrah, in an attempt to besiege the city.[375][376] On the same day, the Ajeel tribe of al-Raqqa announced its support for the SDF’s Raqqa campaign and sent 150 fighters. On 1 April 2017, 200 Arab youths completed training and joined the SDF, also for the Raqqa campaign.[377][378] The SDF announced during the day that over 220 new recruits had joined the offensive.[379] Meanwhile, leaflets were dropped on the city calling on ISIL to surrender.[380] Clashes continued in the countryside of Tabqa on next day as both sides attempted to advance.[381]

The SDF and some activists stated on 2 April that it had repelled a major ISIL counterattack to the northeast of Tabqa city, near the Tabqa Dam and near the Tabqa airbase. They also continued to advance in villages to the east of Tabqa city.[382] On the same day, it was reported that SDF had completely besieged Al-Thawrah (Tabqa) city, with Kurdish activists stating that 2 SDF units linked up to the east of the city.[383][384] SOHR, however, stated that they were still trying to besiege the city.[385] SDF fighters continued battling for Safsafah and Ibad, on the next day, to fully encircle Tabqa.[386][387] On 3 April, it was reported that ISIL was possibly in the process of moving its capital from Raqqa city to Mayadin, in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate. This followed months of gradual relocation of resources and senior ISIL leaders from Raqqa to Mayadin.[388] SDF entered and besieged Safsafah on 5 April, thus also besieging Tabqa city while claiming that it had also taken control of a major part of Safsafah.[389][390] The village was captured by the next day, resulting in SDF completely encircling Tabqa city.[391][392]

The SDF captured Ibad village, to the east of Safsafah, on 9 April, further expanding their control in eastern countryside of Tabqa, while more than 25 ISIL fighters were killed in the clashes.[393][394] ISIL also launched unsuccessful counterattacks on Safsafah,[395] while also attacking Al-Tabqa Airbase.[396] The SDF captured another village near Tabqa on the next day.[397][398]

On 11 April, the US-led Coalition reported that the SDF had captured 60% of Tabqa Dam, and that they were “very close” to liberating the dam.[399][400] On 13 April, the United States military stated that CJTF-OIR had bombed a SDF fighting position near Tabqa as it was misidentified as belonging to ISIL. It added that the airstrikes resulted in deaths of 18 SDF fighters.[401]

Phase Four: Offensive directly north of and around Raqqa city; Assault on Tabqa city

On 13 April, the SDF announced the launch of the fourth phase of the campaign.[402] The new phase will involve capturing the entire area directly north of Raqqa city, including the Jalab valley, as well as completing the siege of Raqqa city.[403] The advancements may involve capturing the southern countryside of Raqqa as well, since the SDF stated that they plan to fully isolate the city before launching an attack on it.[404][403] A plan to attack Raqqa city itself was also scheduled to for April 2017, but it was postponed due to the Battle of Tabqa.[405] SDF was reported to have captured a village in the northern countryside of Raqqa on the same day.[406]

SOHR stated early on 15 April that the SDF had advanced to the edge of Tabqa, and was within hundreds of meters of the city.[407] Later, SDF captured the village of Ayad al-Saghir village near Tabqa and stormed the city itself, capturing the Alexandria suburb and bringing about 15% of the city under their control.[408][409][410] They also cleared the Mushayrifah village near Tabqa, killing 27 ISIL fighters.[411][412]

On 17 April, the SDF captured 3 villages in the northern countryside of Raqqa along with four hamlets.[413][414][415]

Civil administration of captured territory

Samer Kharkhi, one of the Raqqa Civil Council’s leading members.

On 14 November, the SDF’s civilian sister institution, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), started working on the establishment of a civilian administration to run the city of Raqqa after the expulsion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. SDC co-chair Îlham Ehmed said “such an administration could provide a good example for democratic change in Raqqa, especially that the city has been for years a de facto capital for the ISIS terrorist group. This accomplishment would be a major change in the overall situation in Syria, and would help the country move towards stability, democratic change. Raqqa will be an example for the whole country.”[416]

On 8 December, Col. John Dorrian, the Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, stated that “a governance structure representative of the local population” similar to that in Manbij is planned for Raqqa.[417] On 10 December, Cihan ShekhEhmed, the spokesman of the SDF-led operation, said that Raqqa would be run by a local elected civilian council after it was liberated.[124] On 27 March 2017, Salih Muslim Muhammad, co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), said that as soon as the SDF had captured the city, “the people of Raqqa are the ones who [will] take the decision on everything”. If they wanted to do so, Muslim said, they could choose to join the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria.[418] On the same day, the Raqqa Civil Council announced that it had taken over the administration of the eastern countryside.[419]

Gallery

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Most Leftist Western volunteers fight as part of the YPG,[2] though some have also formed an independent unit, the Antifascist International Tabur,[3] or joined the International Freedom Battalion. The latter is a larger unit, mostly composed of Kurdish and Turkish communists.[4]
  2. Jump up^ 1,500 volunteers from villages captured by the SDF during phase one;[49] 1,000 volunteers from villages captured during phase two,[19] 750 volunteers from villages captured during phase three,[27] 200 more joined in April[50]
  3. Jump up^ According to SOHR, 8 SDF casualties were Western volunteers; among these were 4 Americans (one of which fought for the MFS), 1 British, 1 Canadian, and 1 German.[68] ARA News, on the other side, reported that only 5 Western volunteers had been killed.[69]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raqqa_campaign_(2016%E2%80%93present)

Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Meeting

March 24, 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks with a delegate during the afternoon ministerial plenary for the Global Coalition working to Defeat ISIS at the State Department in Washington, March 22, 2017.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks with a delegate during the afternoon ministerial plenary for the Global Coalition working to Defeat ISIS at the State Department in Washington, March 22, 2017.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presided over a meeting of the 68-member Global Coalition to defeat ISIS and emphasized that the Coalition is unified, remains committed to the military defeat of ISIS, and noted the significant progress that has been made.

On March 22, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presided over a meeting of the 68-member Global Coalition to defeat ISIS and emphasized that the Coalition is unified, remains committed to the military defeat of ISIS, and noted the significant progress that has been made.

On the battlefield, 23 coalition partners have over 9,000 troops in Iraq and Syria in support of the effort to defeat ISIS. The Coalition has made significant progress in denying ISIS safe haven and building the military capacity of those directly engaged in fighting ISIS.

Coalition operations have liberated 62 percent of the terrain ISIS once controlled in Iraq and 30 percent in Syria, including key cities in both countries. The number of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria is down by more than half since its peak in 2014.

Coalition aircraft have conducted more than 19,000 strikes on ISIS targets, removing tens of thousands of ISIS fighters from the battlefield and killing over 180 senior to mid-level ISIS leaders, including nearly all of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s deputies, his so-called ministers of war, information, finance, oil and gas, and his chief of external operations.

The Coalition has supported its Iraqi partners to achieve significant progress in the fight to retake Mosul. Iraqi Security Forces officially liberated eastern Mosul on January 24, 2017, and now are making significant territorial gains in the western portion of the city.

To date, Coalition efforts have trained nearly 90,000 Iraqi Security Force members, including Iraqi Army soldiers, Counterterrorism Services soldiers, Kurdish Peshmerga, federal police and border security soldiers, and tribal volunteers.

With the support of the Coalition, Syrian partners have liberated over 14,000 square kilometers of terrain in Syria, including more than 7,400 square kilometers of territory since isolation operations around Raqqa began on November 5.

Coalition forces are now pressuring ISIS in Raqqa, its external operations headquarters, from where ISIS is plotting against Coalition member interests around the globe.

“Hard-fought victories in Iraq and Syria have swung the momentum in our coalition’s favor,” said Secretary Tillerson, “but we must increase the intensity of our efforts to solidify our gains in the next phase of the counter-ISIS fight. Degradation of ISIS is not the end goal, we must defeat ISIS.”

http://editorials.voa.gov/a/global-coalition-to-defeat-isis-meeting/3781086.html

The race for Raqqa: Major battle to liberate the ISIS stronghold looms after victory nears in Mosul and Palmyra… but who will lead the offensive?

  • Syrian soldiers, Turkish troops and US-backed Kurdish troops eyeing up Raqqa
  • Islamic State terrorists were driven out of Mosul and Palmyra in another victory
  • With liberation of the two cities drawing nearer, Raqqa will become top priority
  • The fall of the terror group’s de facto capital would be seen as ISIS’ biggest loss 

A major battle to liberate the Islamic State group’s stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria is looming after victories on the battlefields of Mosul and Palmyra.

The Pentagon has drawn up a secret plan which is likely to lean on local allies with stepped-up American support, but questions still remain as to who exactly will lead the operation to kick ISIS out of its de facto capital.

Syrian government forces, Turkish troops and their Syrian militia allies, and US-backed Kurdish forces all have their eye on Raqqa.

Each vehemently rejects letting the others capture the city and would likely react in anger should the United States support the others, and it is not clear that any has the resources to take the city on its own.

The fall of Raqqa, the Islamic State group’s de facto capital and largest remaining stronghold, would be the biggest defeat for the militants in Syria since they captured the northern city on the banks of the Euphrates River in January 2014.

A major part of the proposal would be to increase the number of US Special Operations trainers and advisers, which currently number around 500. Pictured: An Iraqi Army officer watches as a rocket launched towards Islamic State militants during a battle in Mosul, Iraq

An Iraqi Army officer (right) uses his mobile phone to film a rocket launched towards Islamic State militants during a battle with Islamic State militants in Mosul,Iraq

The proposal does not call for putting Americans on the front lines but does call for greater American decision-making powers. Pictured: A displaced Iraqi family in Hamam Ali town, southern Mosul

Iraqi family displaced due to fighting between the Iraqi army and ISIS, waiting at a temporary shelter to be sent to a refugee camp in Hamam Ali town, southern Mosul

Plan comes as major battle to liberate Raqqa looms after victories on the battlefields of Mosul and Palmyra. Questions remain as to who exactly will lead the operation to kick ISIS out of its de facto capital. Pictured: Iraqi soldiers

Iraqi soldiers fire a rocket toward Islamic State militants on the outskirt of the Makhmour south of Mosul, Iraq

Syrian government forces, Turkish troops and their Syrian militia allies, and US-backed Kurdish forces all have their eye on Raqqa. Pictured: Smoke billows as Iraqi forces hold a position on a street in Mosul on March 1

Smoke billows as Iraqi forces hold a position on a street in Mosul on March 1, 2017, during an offensive by security forces to retake the western parts of the city from Islamic State

Since October, US-backed coalition forces have been advancing on Mosul in an attempt to re-capture it from the terror group’s control.

Civilians have been evacuated and ISIS have been driven out of the city one village and area at a time.

This morning, an Iraqi military commander says forces have taken control of another neighborhood in western Mosul.

Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, spokesman of the Joint Military Operations Command said despite bad weather, Iraqi special operations forces have completely retaken the Wadi Hajjar area from militants.

However, commanders on the ground say that clearing operations are still continuing.

Wadi Hajjar lies just northwest of the city’s international airport.

Iraqi forces, including special operations forces and federal police units, launched an attack on the western part of Mosul nearly two weeks ago to dislodge the extremists.

Since the offensive began, more than 28,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, according to the UN.

Across the border in Syria, army units were clearing land mines and explosives left behind by ISIS in the historic town of Palmyra on Friday, a day after government troops and allied militiamen recaptured it from the extremists.

The military expects the process to be long and difficult due to the large number of mines planted by the terror group.

Syrian troops fully recaptured Palmyra on Thursday after a push that saw the militants’ defenses crumble and ISIS fighters flee in the face of artillery fire and intense Russia-backed airstrikes.

Each vehemently rejects letting the others capture the city and would likely react in anger should the United States support the others, and it is not clear that any has the resources to take the city on its own. Pictured: Parts of the ancient city of Palmyra being blown up

The Tetrapylon and Roman Amphitheatre in the ancient city of Palmyra is blown up in conflict

Fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State, now called the Islamic State group, marching in Raqqa, Syria, where attention will now turn

Fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State, now called the Islamic State group, marching in Raqqa, Syria, where attention will now turn

Now, all eyes turn to Raqqa.

Faysal Itani, an analyst at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, said: ‘Raqqa is more of an abstract goal: everyone wants it in principle, but no one is willing to commit the resources and bear the risks necessary.’

Turkey rules out a US compromise in Syria

Turkey is ruling out compromise with the United States over the involvement of Kurdish militia fighters in an assault in Syria, an obstacle for Washington’s plan to deploy its strongest allies on the ground in a decisive showdown with Islamic State.

Donald Trump has made defeating ISIS one of the key goals of his presidency, and his new administration received a draft Pentagon plan on Monday to accelerate the campaign.

Raqqa in Syria, one of Islamic State’s two de facto capitals along with Mosul in Iraq, is expected to be the scene of the final battle to crush the jihadists’ self-proclaimed Caliphate sometime this year, after a US-backed Iraqi government assault on Mosul already under way since October.

But putting together a united ground force to take Raqqa has so far proven a confounding task in Syria, where the United States, Turkey, Russia, Iran and Arab states have all backed local forces in a multi-sided civil war since 2011. All the foreign powers oppose Islamic State, but their Syrian proxies have mainly fought against one another.

Turkey, with the second largest army in NATO, is adamant that Washington should switch support for the planned Raqqa offensive from the Kurdish YPG militia to Syrian rebels Turkey has trained and led against Islamic State for the past year.

 President Donald Trump has vowed to ‘obliterate’ the group.

‘We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet,’ he told Congress on Tuesday.

The top US commander in the campaign against IS, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, has said he believes Raqqa and Mosul will be taken within six months.

So far, the offensive on Mosul has been underway four months, with only half the city captured from the militants in ferocious street-to-street urban combat.

And that is using a relatively intensively trained and united military, backed by heavy U.S. firepower and commandos on the ground – a contrast to the comparatively undisciplined and fragmented forces the US has to choose from as allies in Syria.

Raqqa is a smaller city than Mosul, but the militants are believed to have dug in with powerful fortifications there.

In Syria, US-backed predominantly Kurdish fighters known as the Syria Democratic Forces, or SDF, remain Trump’s best bet.

Aided by US-led coalition airstrikes and some 500 US special forces troops deployed in an advisory role, the force has been marching toward Raqqa since November.

Closing in on the city from different directions, it is now stationed some eight kilometers (five miles) north of the city.

The US military recently provided a small number of armored vehicles to the US-backed force to give better protection from small arms fire and roadside bombs as they get closer to Raqqa.

Further aid to the rag-tag group, however, raises sensitive questions over how to deal with Turkey, a NATO ally with much at stake in Syria.

Turkey considers the main Kurdish militia in Syria – known as the YPG, and an affiliate of the US-backed SDF – a terrorist organization, and has vowed to work with Syrian opposition fighters known as the Free Syrian Army to liberate Raqqa.

In a dramatic reversal of years of the Obama administration’s calls for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, Trump has hinted he might be willing to work with Assad’s army and Russia, whose year-and-a-half military intervention has propped up Assad’s government.

Assad’s forces are preoccupied with other battles, however, and would likely need significant US military involvement to take on Raqqa.

On Wednesday, the Syrian military recaptured the central town of Palmyra, a city located in the desert south of Raqqa that has gone back and forth between control of the military and the extremists several times.

The government forces have also clashed with the Turkish-backed Syrian fighters, who block their path to Raqqa.

Iraqi security forces inspect a recently discovered tunnel that had been used by Islamic State militants as a training camp, in western Mosul, Iraq on Wednesday, March 1. 2017

Iraqi security forces inspect a recently discovered tunnel that had been used by Islamic State militants as a training camp, in western Mosul, Iraq on Wednesday, March 1. 2017

Syrians are sharply divided over who should enter Raqqa.

Many opposition supporters consider the SDF, which maintains a tacit non-aggression pact with Assad’s forces, to be a hostile group.

There are also fears of tensions if Raqqa, home to a nearly 200,000 mainly Arab population, is taken by the SDF, a coalition of Kurdish, Arab and Christian fighters.

‘Let us be frank that any force that will liberate Raqqa, other than the Free Syrian Army, is going to be a new occupation force with different flags and banners,’ said Mohammed Khodor of Sound and Picture Organization, which tracks atrocities by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was even more blunt, warning that if the SDF enters Raqqa, it will hurt relations between Ankara and Washington.

Since the Mosul offensive began, more than 28,000 people like these have been displaced by the fighting, according to the UN

Since the Mosul offensive began, more than 28,000 people like these have been displaced by the fighting, according to the UN

‘We have said that a terror organization cannot be used against another terror organization,’ the Turkish leader told the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The Kurds reject that notion and insist that only forces fighting under the SDF banner will liberate Raqqa.

‘Turkey is an occupation force and has no legitimate right to enter Raqqa,’ said SDF spokeswoman Cihan Sheikh Ehmed.

In a text message exchange from northern Syria, she said the SDF has the experience in fighting IS to finish the operation.

Battlefield victories by the SDF against the Islamic State group have brought growing Western support.

Asked if adding more US troops or better arming Syria’s Kurds were options, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he will ‘accommodate any request’ from his field commanders.

In Mosul, the US-led coalition is playing a greater role than ever before in the fight against IS and coalition forces have moved closer to front-line fighting.

U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian says the increased support is an effort to ‘accelerate the campaign’ against the Islamic State group, noting that launching simultaneous operations in both Mosul and Raqqa ‘puts further strain on the enemy’s command and control.’

‘It is a complicating factor when you don’t have a partner government to work with,’ conceded Dorrian, adding that whoever the coalition partners with in the fight for Raqqa is ‘a subject of ongoing discussions.’

Wladimir van Wilgenburg, a Middle East analyst at the Jamestown Foundation who closely follows Kurdish affairs, says the US-led coalition wants to have a quick end to IS in Raqqa, from which external operations against the West are planned.

That means it would prefer to work with the Kurdish-led SDF forces ‘since they are able to mobilize manpower unlike the Turks,’ he said.

An ISIS flag flies in the city of Palmyra - but not for long as victory nears in the city

An ISIS flag flies in the city of Palmyra – but not for long as victory nears in the city

Allied forces stand on the rubble of the Tetrapylon and Roman Amphitheatre in Palmyra

Allied forces stand on the rubble of the Tetrapylon and Roman Amphitheatre in Palmyra

An Iraqi soldier inspects a recently-discovered train tunnel, adorned with an Islamic State group flag

An Iraqi soldier inspects a recently-discovered train tunnel, adorned with an Islamic State group flag

In any case, the battle for Raqqa is sure to be a long and deadly one. It took the SDF nearly 10 weeks to capture the northern Syrian town of Manbij from IS last year.

It took Turkish forces and allied groups more than three months to retake the town of al-Bab, a costly battle that killed dozens of Turkish soldiers and many civilians.

Raqqa is much larger than either Manbij or al-Bab.

Some Syrian opposition activists say the extremists dug a trench around it to make it difficult for attackers to storm it.

‘It would be difficult for any troops,’ said Itani of the Atlantic Council.

‘Witness the slow and ugly progress in Mosul as well. Raqqa would be tough,’ he said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4278252/The-race-Raqqa-Major-battle-liberate-ISIS-city.html#ixzz4eXuAmt6k

President Trump arriving at the White House on Sunday. CreditAl Drago/The New York Times

The Trump foreign policy team has been all over the map on what to do next in Syria — topple the regime, intensify aid to rebels, respond to any new attacks on innocent civilians. But when pressed, there is one idea everyone on the team seems to agree on: “The defeat of ISIS,” as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put it.

Well, let me add to their confusion by asking just one question: Why?

Why should our goal right now be to defeat the Islamic State in Syria? Of course, ISIS is detestable and needs to be eradicated. But is it really in our interest to be focusing solely on defeating ISIS in Syria right now?

Let’s go through the logic: There are actually two ISIS manifestations.

One is “virtual ISIS.” It is satanic, cruel and amorphous; it disseminates its ideology through the internet. It has adherents across Europe and the Muslim world. In my opinion, that ISIS is the primary threat to us, because it has found ways to deftly pump out Sunni jihadist ideology that inspires and gives permission to those Muslims on the fringes of society who feel humiliated — from London to Paris to Cairo — to recover their dignity via headline-grabbing murders of innocents.

The other incarnation is “territorial ISIS.” It still controls pockets in western Iraq and larger sectors of Syria. Its goal is to defeat Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria — plus its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies — and to defeat the pro-Iranian Shiite regime in Iraq, replacing both with a caliphate.

Challenge No. 1: Not only will virtual ISIS, which has nodes all over the world, not go away even if territorial ISIS is defeated, I believe virtual ISIS will become yet more virulent to disguise the fact that it has lost the territorial caliphate to its archenemies: Shiite Iran, Hezbollah, pro-Shiite militias in Iraq, the pro-Shiite Assad regime in Damascus and Russia, not to mention America.

Challenge No. 2: America’s goal in Syria is to create enough pressure on Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah so they will negotiate a power-sharing accord with moderate Sunni Muslims that would also ease Assad out of power. One way to do that would be for NATO to create a no-fly safe zone around Idlib Province, where many of the anti-Assad rebels have gathered and where Assad recently dropped his poison gas on civilians. But Congress and the U.S. public are clearly wary of that.

So what else could we do? We could dramatically increase our military aid to anti-Assad rebels, giving them sufficient anti-tank and antiaircraft missiles to threaten Russian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian helicopters and fighter jets and make them bleed, maybe enough to want to open negotiations. Fine with me.

What else? We could simply back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria and make it entirely a problem for Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and Assad. After all, they’re the ones overextended in Syria, not us. Make them fight a two-front war — the moderate rebels on one side and ISIS on the other. If we defeat territorial ISIS in Syria now, we will only reduce the pressure on Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah and enable them to devote all their resources to crushing the last moderate rebels in Idlib, not sharing power with them.

I don’t get it. President Trump is offering to defeat ISIS in Syria for free — and then pivot to strengthening the moderate anti-Assad rebels. Why? When was the last time Trump did anything for free? When was the last real estate deal Trump did where he volunteered to clean up a toxic waste dump — for free — before he negotiated with the owner on the price of the golf course next door?

This is a time for Trump to be Trump — utterly cynical and unpredictable. ISIS right now is the biggest threat to Iran, Hezbollah, Russia and pro-Shiite Iranian militias — because ISIS is a Sunni terrorist group that plays as dirty as Iran and Russia.

Trump should want to defeat ISIS in Iraq. But in Syria? Not for free, not now. In Syria, Trump should let ISIS be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hezbollah’s and Russia’s headache — the same way we encouraged the mujahedeen fighters to bleed Russia in Afghanistan.

Yes, in the long run we want to crush ISIS everywhere, but the only way to crush ISIS and keep it crushed on the ground is if we have moderate Sunnis in Syria and Iraq able and willing to replace it. And those will only emerge if there are real power-sharing deals in Syria and Iraq — and that will only happen if Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah feel pressured to share power.

And while I am at it, where is Trump’s Twitter feed when we need it? He should be tweeting every day this message: “Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have become the protectors of a Syrian regime that uses poison gas on babies! Babies! Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Assad — poison gas enablers. Sad.”

Do not let them off the hook! We need to make them own what they’ve become — enablers of a Syria that uses poison gas on children. Believe it or not, they won’t like being labeled that way. Trump needs to use his global Twitter feed strategically. Barack Obama never played this card. Trump needs to slam it down every day. It creates leverage.

Syria is not a knitting circle. Everyone there plays dirty, deviously and without mercy. Where’s that Trump when we need him?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/opinion/why-is-trump-fighting-isis-in-syria.html?_r=0

Kurdistan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Kurdistan (disambiguation).
Kurdistan
Flag of Kurdistan.svg
Flag
Kurdish-inhabited area by CIA (1992) box inset removed.jpg
Kurdish-inhabited areas
Language Kurdish
Location Upper Mesopotamia, and the Zagros Mountains, including parts of Eastern Anatolia Region (Armenian Highlands) and southeastern Anatolia, northern Syria, northern Iraq, and the northwestern Iranian Plateau.[1]
Countries Iraq Republic of Iraq
 Islamic Republic of Iran
 Republic of Turkey
 Syrian Arab Republic
Population 28 million (2014 estimate)[2]
Internet TLD .krd

Kurdistan (/ˌkɜːrdɪˈstæn/ or /ˌkɜːrdɪˈstɑːn/) (Kurdish: [ˌkurdɪˈstan]; “Homeland of the Kurds” or “Land of the Kurds”;[3] also formerly spelled Curdistan;[4][5] ancient name: Corduene[6][7]) or Greater Kurdistan, is a roughly defined geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people form a prominent majority population,[8] and Kurdish culture, languages, and national identity have historically been based.[9] Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges.[10]

Contemporary use of the term refers to four parts of Kurdistan, which include southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), and northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan).[11][12] Some Kurdish nationalist organizations seek to create an independent nation state consisting of some or all of these areas with a Kurdish majority, while others campaign for greater autonomy within the existing national boundaries.[13][14]

Iraqi Kurdistan first gained autonomous status in a 1970 agreement with the Iraqi government, and its status was re-confirmed as an autonomous entity within the federal Iraqi republic in 2005.[15] There is a province by the name Kurdistan in Iran; it is not self-ruled. Kurds fighting in the Syrian Civil War were able to take control of large sections of northern Syria as government forces, loyal to Bashar al-Assad, withdrew to fight elsewhere. Having established their own government, they called for autonomy in a federal Syria after the war.[16]

History

Main article: History of the Kurds

Ancient history

Various groups, among them the Guti, Hurrians, Mannai (Mannaeans), and Armenians, lived in this region in antiquity.[17] The original Mannaean homeland was situated east and south of the Lake Urmia, roughly centered around modern-day Mahabad.[18] The region came under Persian rule during the reign of Cyrus the Great and Darius I.

The Kingdom of Corduene, which emerged from the declining Seleucid Empire, was located to the south and south-east of Lake Van between Persia and Mesopotamia and ruled northern Mesopotamia and southeastern Anatolia from 189 BC to AD 384 as vassals of the vying Parthian and Roman Empire. At its zenith, the Roman Empire ruled large Kurdish-inhabited areas, particularly the western and northern Kurdish areas in the Middle East. Corduene became a vassal state of the Roman Republic in 66 BC and remained allied with the Romans until AD 384. After 66 BC, it passed another 5 times between Rome and Persia. Corduene was situated to the east of Tigranocerta, that is, to the east and south of present-day Diyarbakır in south-eastern Turkey.

Ancient Kurdistan as Kard-uchi, during Alexander the Great‘s Empire, 4th century BC

Some historians have correlated a connection between Corduene with the modern names of Kurds and Kurdistan;[7][19][20] T. A. Sinclair dismissed this identification as false,[21] while a common association is asserted in the Columbia Encyclopedia.[22]

Some of the ancient districts of Kurdistan and their corresponding modern names:[23]

  1. Corduene or Gordyene (Siirt, Bitlis and Şırnak)
  2. Sophene (Diyarbakır)
  3. Zabdicene or Bezabde (Gozarto d’Qardu or Jazirat Ibn or Cizre)
  4. Basenia (Bayazid)
  5. Moxoene (Muş)
  6. Nephercerta (Miyafarkin)
  7. Artemita (Van)

19th-century map showing the location of the Kingdom of Corduene in 60 B.C

One of the earliest records of the phrase land of the Kurds is found in an Assyrian Christian document of late antiquity, describing the stories of Assyrian saints of the Middle East, such as Abdisho. When the Sasanian Marzban asked Mar Abdisho about his place of origin, he replied that according to his parents, they were originally from Hazza, a village in Assyria. However they were later driven out of Hazza by pagans, and settled in Tamanon, which according to Abdisho was in the land of the Kurds. Tamanon lies just north of the modern Iraq-Turkey border, while Hazza is 12 km southwest of modern Erbil. In another passage in the same document, the region of the Khabur River is also identified as land of the Kurds.[24] According to Al-Muqaddasi and Yaqut al-Hamawi, Tamanon was located on the south-western or southern slopes of Mount Judi and south of Cizre.[25]

Post-classical history

Map of Jibal (mountains of northeastern Mesopotamia), highlighting “Summer and winter resorts of the Kurds”, the Kurdish lands. Redrawn from Ibn Hawqal, 977 CE.

In the tenth and eleventh centuries, several Kurdish principalities emerged in the region: in the north the Shaddadids (951–1174) (in east Transcaucasia between the Kur and Araxes rivers) and the Rawadids (955–1221) (centered on Tabriz and which controlled all of Azarbaijan), in the east the Hasanwayhids (959–1015) (in Zagros between Shahrizor and Khuzistan) and the Annazids (990–1116) (centered in Hulwan) and in the west the Marwanids (990–1096) to the south of Diyarbakır and north of Jazira.[26][27]

Map by Mahmud al-Kashgari (1074), showing Arḍ al-Akrād Arabic for land of Kurds located between Arḍ al-Šām (Syria), and Arḍ al-ʿIrāqayn (Iraq Arabi and Iraq Ajami).

Kurdistan in the Middle Ages was a collection of semi-independent and independent states called emirates. It was nominally under indirect political or religious influence of Khalifs or Shahs. A comprehensive history of these states and their relationship with their neighbors is given in the text of Sharafnama, written by Prince Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi in 1597.[28][29] The emirates included Baban, Soran, Badinan and Garmiyan in the south; Bakran, Bohtan (or Botan) and Badlis in the north, and Mukriyan and Ardalan in the east.

The earliest medieval attestation of the toponym Kurdistan is found in a 12th-century Armenian historical text by Matteos Urhayeci. He described a battle near Amid and Siverek in 1062 as to have taken place in Kurdistan.[30][31] The second record occurs in the prayer from the colophon of an Armenian manuscript of the Gospels, written in 1200.[32][33]

A later use of the term Kurdistan is found in Empire of Trebizond documents in 1336[34] and in Nuzhat-al-Qulub, written by Hamdollah Mostowfi in 1340.[35]

Modern history

1803 Cedid Atlas showing Kurdistan in blue

Kurdish independent kingdoms and autonomous principalities circa 1835

According to Sharafkhan Bitlisi in his Sharafnama, the boundaries of the Kurdish land begin at the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and stretch on an even line to the end of Malatya and Marash.[36] Evliya Çelebi, who traveled in Kurdistan between 1640 and 1655, mentioned different districts of Kurdistan including Erzurum, Van, Hakkari, Cizre, Imaddiya, Mosul, Shahrizor, Harir, Ardalan, Baghdad, Derne, Derteng, until Basra.[37]

In the 16th century, after prolonged wars, Kurdish-inhabited areas were split between the Safavid and Ottoman empires. A major division of Kurdistan occurred in the aftermath of the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514, and was formalized in the 1639 Treaty of Zuhab.[38] From then until the aftermath of World War I, Kurdish areas (including most of Mesopotamia, eastern Anatolia, and traditionally Kurdish northeastern Syria) were generally under Ottoman rule, apart from the century-long, intermittent Iranian occupation in the early modern to modern period, and the later reconquest and vast expansion by the Iranian military leader Nader Shah in the first half of the 18th century. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Allies contrived to split Kurdistan (as detailed in the ultimately unratified Treaty of Sèvres) among several countries, including Kurdistan, Armenia and others. However, the reconquest of these areas by the forces of Kemal Atatürk (and other pressing issues) caused the Allies to accept the renegotiated Treaty of Lausanne and the borders of the modern Republic of Turkey, leaving the Kurds without a self-ruled region. Other Kurdish areas were assigned to the new British and French mandated states of Iraq and Syria.

Kurdistan (shaded area) as suggested by the Treaty of Sèvres

At the San Francisco Peace Conference of 1945, the Kurdish delegation proposed consideration of territory claimed by the Kurds, which encompassed an area extending from the Mediterranean shores near Adana to the shores of the Persian Gulf near Bushehr, and included the Lur inhabited areas of southern Zagros.[39][40]

At the end of the First Gulf War, the Allies established a safe haven in northern Iraq. Amid the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from three northern provinces, Iraqi Kurdistan emerged in 1992 as an autonomous entity inside Iraq with its own local government and parliament.

A 2010 US report, written before the instability in Syria and Iraq that exists as of 2014, attested that “Kurdistan may exist by 2030”.[41] The weakening of the Iraqi state following the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has also presented an opportunity for independence for Iraqi Kurdistan,[42] augmented by Turkey’s move towards acceptance of such a state although it opposes moves toward Kurdish autonomy in Turkey and Syria.[43]

Turkey

The incorporation into Turkey of the Kurdish-inhabited regions of eastern Anatolia was opposed by many Kurds, and has resulted in a long-running separatist conflict in which thousands of lives have been lost. The region saw several major Kurdish rebellions, including the Koçgiri rebellion of 1920 under the Ottomans, then successive insurrection under the Turkish state – including the 1924 Sheikh Said rebellion, the Republic of Ararat in 1927, and the 1937 Dersim rebellion. All were forcefully put down by the authorities. The region was declared a closed military area from which foreigners were banned between 1925 and 1965.[44][45][46]

In an attempt to deny their existence, the Turkish government categorized Kurds as “Mountain Turks” until 1991.[47][48][49] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan”, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[50] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[51] Many people who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned.[52] Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, political parties that represented Kurdish interests were banned.[50]

In 1983, the Kurdish provinces were placed under martial law in response to the activities of the militant separatist organization, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).[53][54] A guerrilla war took place through the 1980s and 1990s in which much of the countryside was evacuated, thousands of Kurdish-populated villages were destroyed, and numerous extrajudicial summary executions were carried out by both sides.[55] Many villages were reportedly set on fire or destroyed.[56][57] Food embargoes were placed on Kurdish populated villages and towns.[58][59] More than 20,000 Kurds were killed in the violence and hundreds of thousands more were forced to leave their homes.[60]

Turkey has historically feared that a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq would encourage and support Kurdish separatists in the adjacent Turkish provinces, and have therefore historically strongly opposed Kurdish independence in Iraq. However, following the chaos in Iraq after the US invasion, Turkey has increasingly worked with the de facto autonomous Kurds in Iraq.[61]

Syrian Civil War

Military situation on March 10, 2017:

  Controlled by Syrian Kurds
  Controlled by Iraqi Kurds
  Controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIL, ISIS, IS)

The successful 2014 Northern Iraq offensive by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with the resultant weakening of the ability of the Iraqi state to project power, also presented a “golden opportunity” for the Kurds to increase their independence and possibly declare an independent Kurdish state.[42] The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, who took more than 80 Turkish persons captive in Mosul during their offensive, is an enemy of Turkey, making Kurdistan useful for Turkey as a buffer state. On 28 June 2014 Hüseyin Çelik, a spokesman for the ruling AK party, made comments to the Financial Times indicating Turkey’s readiness to accept an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq.[43] Various sources have reported that Al-Nusra has issued a fatwā calling for Kurdish women and children in Syria to be killed,[62] and the fighting in Syria has led tens of thousands of refugees to flee to Iraq’s Kurdistan region.[63][64][65] As of 2015, Turkey is actively supporting the Al-Nusra.[66]

People

Main article: Kurds

The Kurds are a people of Indo-European origin. They speak an Iranian language known as Kurdish, and comprise the majority of the population of the region – however, included therein are Arab, Armenian, Assyrian/Aramean/Syriac,[67] Azerbaijani, Jewish, Ossetian, Persian, and Turkish communities. Most inhabitants are Muslim, but adherents to other religions are present as well – including Yarsanism, which is an ethnically Kurdish religion, Yazidis, Alevis, Christians,[68] and in the past, Jews most of whom immigrated to Israel.[69]

Geography

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Kurdistan covers about 190,000 km², and its chief towns are Diyarbakır (Amed), Bitlis (Bedlîs) and Van (Wan) in Turkey, Erbil (Hewlêr) and Slemani in Iraq, and Kermanshah (Kirmanşan), Sanandaj (Sine), Ilam and Mahabad (Mehabad) in Iran.[70] According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Kurdistan covers around 190,000 km² in Turkey, 125,000 km² in Iran, 65,000 km² in Iraq, and 12,000 km² in Syria, with a total area of approximately 392,000 km².[71]

Historic map from 1721, showing borders of Curdistan provinces in Persia.

Iraqi Kurdistan is divided into six governorates, three of which (and parts of others) are under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Iranian Kurdistan encompasses Kurdistan Province and the greater parts of West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, and Īlām provinces. Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdish: Rojavayê Kurdistanê) is located primarily in northern Syria, and covers the province of Al Hasakah and northern Raqqa Governorate, northern Aleppo Governorate and also Jabal al-Akrad (Mountain of the Kurds) region. The major cities in this region are Qamishli (Kurdish: Qamişlo) and Al Hasakah (Kurdish: Hasakah).

Turkish Kurdistan encompasses a large area of Eastern Anatolia Region and southeastern Anatolia of Turkey and it is home to an estimated 15 to 20 million Kurds.[72]

Subdivisions (Upper and Lower Kurdistan)

In A Dictionary of Scripture Geography (published 1846), John Miles describes Upper and Lower Kurdistan as following:

Modern Curdistan is of much greater extent than the ancient Assyria, and is composed of two parts the Upper and Lower. In the former is the province of Ardelan, the ancient Arropachatis, now nominally a part of Irak Ajami, and belonging to the north west division called Al Jobal. It contains five others namely, Betlis, the ancient Carduchia, lying to the south and south west of the lake Van. East and south east of Betlis is the principality of Julamerick, south west of it is the principality of Amadia. the fourth is Jeezera ul Omar, a city on an island in the Tigris, and corresponding to the ancient Bezabde. the fifth and largest is Kara Djiolan, with a capital of the same name. The pashalics of Kirkook and Solimania also comprise part of Upper Curdistan. Lower Curdistan comprises all the level tract to the east of the Tigris, and the minor ranges immediately bounding the plains and reaching thence to the foot of the great range, which may justly be denominated the Alps of western Asia.[73]

A typical Kurdish village in Hawraman, Kurdistan

The northern, northwestern and northeastern parts of Kurdistan are referred to as upper Kurdistan, and includes the areas from west of Amed to lake Urmia.

The lowlands of southern Kurdistan are called lower Kurdistan. The main cities in this area are Kirkuk and Arbil.

Climate

Much of the region is typified by an extreme continental climate – hot in the summer, bitterly cold in the winter. Despite this, much of the region is fertile and has historically exported grain and livestock. Precipitation varies between 200 and 400 mm a year in the plains, and between 700 and 3,000 mm a year on the high plateau between mountain chains.[71] The climate is dominated by mountains in the zone along the border with Iran and Turkey, with dry summers and cold, snowy winters or wet springs, while to the south, it progressively transitions towards semi-arid and desert zones. The northern mountainous regions along the border with Iran and Turkey receive heavy snowfall.

Forests

Kurdistan is one of the most mountainous regions in the world with a cold climate receiving annual precipitation adequate to sustain temperate forests and shrubs. Mountain chains harbor pastures and forested valleys, totaling approximately 16 million hectares (160,000 km²), including firs and countryside is mostly oaks, conifers, platanus, willow, poplar and olive.[71] Also the Mediterranean region known as west Kurdistan has olive trees. Kurdistan’s climatic conditions are due to the northern mountainous topography producing the steppe and forest vegetation in the area. The region north of the mountainous region on the border with Iran and Turkey features meadow grasses and such wild trees as poplar, willow and oak, hawthorn, Cherry plum, rose hips, mountain apple, pear, mountain ash, and olive. The desert in the south, by contrast, has such species as palm trees and date palm.

Mountains

Canyon in Rawanduz in northern Iraqi Kurdistan

Mountains are important geographical and symbolic features of Kurdish life, as evidenced by the saying “Kurds have no friends but the mountains.”[74] Mountains are regarded as sacred by the Kurds.[75] Included in the region are Mount Judi and Ararat (both prominent in Kurdish folklore), Zagros, Qandil, Shingal, Mount Abdulaziz, Kurd Mountains, Jabal al-Akrad, Shaho, Gabar, Hamrin, and Nisir.

Rivers

Zê river in Zebari region, Iraqi Kurdistan.

The plateaus and mountains of Kurdistan, which are characterized by heavy rain and snow fall, act as a water reservoir for the Near and Middle East, forming the source of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as well as other numerous smaller rivers, such as the Little Khabur, Khabur, Tharthar, Ceyhan, Araxes, Kura, Sefidrud, Karkha, and Hezil. Among rivers of historical importance to Kurds are the Murat (Arasān) and Buhtān rivers in Turkey; the Peshkhābur, the Little Zab, the Great Zab, and the Diyala in Iraq; and the Jaghatu (Zarrinarud), the Tātā’u (Siminarud), the Zohāb (Zahāb), and the Gāmāsiyāb in Iran.

These rivers, which flow from heights of three to four thousand meters above sea level, are significant both as water sources and for the production of energy. Iraq and Syria dammed many of these rivers and their tributaries, and Turkey has an extensive dam system under construction as part of the GAP (Southeast Anatolia Project); though incomplete, the GAP already supplies a significant proportion of Turkey’s electrical energy needs. Due to the extraordinary archaeological richness of the region, almost any dam impacts historic sites.[76]

Lakes

The city of Piranshahr, center of Mokrian district, northwestern Iran

Kurdistan extends to Lake Urmia in Iran on the east. The region includes Lake Van, the largest body of water in Turkey; the only lake in the Middle East with a larger surface is Lake Urmia – though not nearly as deep as Lake Van, which has a much larger volume. Urmia, Van, as well as Zarivar Lake west of Marivan, and Lake Dukan near the city of Sulaymaniyah, are frequented by tourists.[76]

The city of Batman, eastern Turkey

Petroleum and mineral resources

KRG-controlled parts of Iraqi Kurdistan are estimated to contain around 45 billion barrels (7.2×109 m3) of oil, making it the sixth largest reserve in the world. Extraction of these reserves began in 2007.

Al-Hasakah province, also known as Jazira region, has geopolitical importance of oil and is suitable for agricultural lands.

In November 2011, Exxon challenged the Iraqi central government’s authority with the signing of oil and gas contracts for exploration rights to six parcels of land in Kurdistan, including one contract in the disputed territories, just east of the Kirkuk mega-field.[77] This act caused Baghdad to threaten to revoke Exxon’s contract in its southern fields, most notably the West-Qurna Phase 1 project.[78] Exxon responded by announcing its intention to leave the West-Qurna project.[79]

As of July 2007, the Kurdish government solicited foreign companies to invest in 40 new oil sites, with the hope of increasing regional oil production over the following 5 years by a factor of five, to about 1 million barrels per day (160,000 m3/d).[80] Gas and associated gas reserves are in excess of 2,800 km3 (100×1012 cu ft). Notable companies active in Kurdistan include Exxon, Total, Chevron, Talisman Energy, Genel Energy, Hunt Oil, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, and Marathon Oil.[81]

Other mineral resources that exist in significant quantities in the region include coal, copper, gold, iron, limestone (which is used to produce cement), marble, and zinc. The world’s largest deposit of rock sulfur is located just southwest of Erbil (Hewlêr).[82]

In July 2012, Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government signed an agreement by which Turkey will supply the KRG with refined petroleum products in exchange for crude oil. Crude deliveries are expected to occur on a regular basis.[83]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdistan

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The Pronk Pops Show 869, April 7, 2017, Story 1: Trump Imperial Presidency of The American Empire –Trump Just Another Progressive Global Interventionist Not An American First Nationalist –Another Undeclared War — 59 Tomhawk Cruise Missiles Attack al Shayrat Airbase Destroying 6 Aircraft and One Runway — Videos — Story 2: What is Next? United States Led Coalition of Egypt, Jordan, Kurds, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to Destroy Islamic State, Jabhat Al Nustra Front ( al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate), Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadists in Syria, Hezbollah, and Bashar al-Assad Syrian Regime –Videos — Story 3: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch Confirmed 54 Yes — 45 No — Videos

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SYRIA FALSE FLAG LEADS TO WAR – Ron Paul

The world reacts to the strikes against Syria

Gen. Jack Keane reacts to US airstrikes in Syria

Mark Steyn: Trump hit a reset button for the world

President Trump’s Syria policy raises concerns

Sen. Paul: We didn’t have the debate, we simply went to war

A look at the intel that led to US strike on Syrian airbase

US Strikes Syria: Chemical attack not the first in Syrian civil war

Marco Rubio: President had legal, moral authority to attack

Israeli PM Netanyahu ‘fully supports’ US strike on Syria

President Trump Orders U.S. Airstrike on Syria

Trump turns on Assad: How will US strikes impact war in Syria? (part 1)

BREAKING! WE’RE AT WAR! TRUMP JUST LAUNCHED A MASSIVE STRIKE AGAINST SYRIA WW3 HAS BEGUN!!!

Issue Analysis: Trump, Assad, Syria, China, North Korea, UN Resolutions, Russia and What’s Next?

President Donald Trump Bombs Syria

Syria Chemical Attack: Push For Ousting Bashar al-Assad

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry-Picked” Intelligence on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike

Global Empire – The World According to Seymour Hersh [Part Two]

Global Empire – The World According to Seymour Hersh [Part One]

Turkey’s interests in the Syrian civil war

Saudi Arabia’s role in the Syrian civil war

Why Do Saudi Arabia And Iran Hate Each Other?

TURKEY vs SYRIA Military Power Comparison | Turkish Army VS Syrian Arab Army | 2016

Image result for phosgene posters

Toxicity of Phosgene with Audio

FSA use poison gas on SAA and Syrian people supplied by Turkey

Phosgene Exposure

Gas warfare in the First World War

What is Sarin Gas?

Published on Sep 7, 2013

Hank discusses the chemistry of sarin, the nerve agent that killed more than 1400 people in a chemical weapons attack in Syria.

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AMERICA’S TOP GENERAL JUST GAVE TRUMP SOMETHING THAT WILL SCARE NORTH KOREA TO DEATH!

Published on Apr 7, 2017

Sub for more: http://nnn.is/the_new_media | Danny Gold for Liberty Writers reports, Anyone who has been watching the news recently is sure to have heard all about North Korea and their nukes. They also know President Donald Trump is NOT happy about it and he and Mattis are ready to STRIKE BACK!

 

Why did Donald Trump strike al-Shayrat air base?

An aerial view of the al-Shayrat Airfield near Homs, Syria, 07 October 2016
An aerial view of the al-Shayrat Airfield near Homs, Syria, 07 October 2016 CREDIT: US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE HANDUT

The strike on al-Shayrat air base near the western Syrian city of Homs was both a symbolic and a tactical one.

The airfield is not just a valuable military target, it is also the one from which the Syrian government launched its chemical attack on Tuesday.

Donald Trump had intended the raid as a direct retaliation. 

Shayrat is one of the largest and most active Syrian Air Force bases, which has served as the nerve centre of its missions against rebels in Homs, as well as Palmyra, where government forces have been battling Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Watch | Donald Trump: Syria strike in ‘vital’ US interest

However, it is believed that the US gave advance warning of the missile strike to Russia, which gave the Syrian military some time to move most of its assets to another base.

The Russians, who intervened militarily on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime in October 2015, have aircraft stationed at bases across Syria and the US could not risk accidentally hitting one.

Russia reportedly reinforced the base and built additional runways before beefing up its operations there.

Maj Gen. Igor Konashenkov, Russian defense ministry spokesman, reported on Friday that only 23 of the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles reached the air base.

The raid damaged one of its two runways, according to pictures shared on social media which also showed severe fire damage to other parts of the base.

Rami Adbulrahman, director of UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said he was told 90 per cent of the base was destroyed and senior airforce commander, Brigadier Khalil Issa Ibrahim, was among the seven reported killed.

Before 2013 the base was used to store chemical weapons but nothing was targeted that could have contained them now.

It was believed there may have been sarin gas stored in one warehouse but that was avoided.

Maj Konashenkov said they destroyed six MiG-23 fighter jets of the Syrian air force which were under repairs, but did not damage other warplanes.

A former pilot who was stationed at Shayrat before he defected said Shayrat could hold up to 45 aircraft and that had they all been hit it would have had a major impact on the Syrian military’s strike capacity.

The mayor of Homs criticised the strikes, saying they only aided terrorists as the base was the main operations centre for carrying out strikes against Isil.

Fares Shehabi, an MP for Aleppo, posted on Twitter: “Trump attacked an airport solely dedicated to fighting ISIS in central Syria and providing aid to besieged civilians in Deir Ezzor.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/07/did-donald-trump-strike-al-shayrat-air-base/

Jumping to conclusions; something is not adding up in Idlib chemical weapons attack

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BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:47 P.M.) – At least 58 people were killed in a horrific gas attack in the Idlib Governorate this morning. However, even before investigations could be conducted and for evidence to emerge, Federica Mogherini, the Italian politician High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, condemned the Syrian government stating that the “Assad regime bears responsibility for ‘awful’ Syria ‘chemical’ attack.”

The immediate accusation from a high ranking EU official serves a dangerous precedent where public outcry can be made even before the truth surrounding the tragedy can emerge

Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu, joined in on the condemnation, as did Amnesty International.

Merely hours after the alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhun, supposedly by the Syrian government, holes are beginning to emerge from opposition sources, discrediting the Al-Qaeda affiliated White Helmets claims.

For one, seen in the above picture, the White Helmets are handling the corpses of people without sufficient safety gear, most particularly with the masks mostly used , as well as no gloves. Although this may seem insignificant, understanding the nature of sarin gas that the opposition claim was used, only opens questions.

Within seconds of exposure to sarin, the affects of the gas begins to target the muscle and nervous system. There is an almost immediate release of the bowels and the bladder, and vomiting is induced. When sarin is used in a concentrated area, it has the likelihood of killing thousands of people. Yet, such a dangerous gas, and the White Helmets are treating bodies with little concern to their exposed skin. This has to raise questions.

It also raises the question why a “doctor” in a hospital full of victims of sarin gas has the time to tweet and make video calls. This will probably be dismissed and forgotten however.

Terrorist Mohammed Alloush is not a gas expert, he is just one of the participants in the crime https://twitter.com/maytham956/status/849235559117619201 

@maytham956 Hmm…’Patients are flooding in’ YET this ‘doctor’ (seems the main source of ‘gas attack’) has time to film, tweet and videocalls… pic.twitter.com/SfLOfjE2pG

View image on Twitter

It is known that about 250 people from Majdal and Khattab were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda terrorists last week. Local sources have claimed that many of those dead from the chemical weapons were those from Majdal and Khattab.

ALSO READ  In Video | ISIS Hunters secure gas fields in east Palmyra

This would suggest that on the eve of upcoming peace negotiations, terrorist forces have once again created a false flag scenario. This bares resemblance to the Ghouta chemical weapons attack in 2013 where the Syrian Army was accused of using the weapons of mass destruction on the day that United Nations Weapon’s Inspectors arrived in Damascus.

Later, in a separate chemical weapon usage allegation, Carla del Ponte, a UN weapons inspector said that there was no evidence that the government had committed the atrocity. This had however not stopped the calls for intervention against the Syrian government, a hope that the militant forces wished to eventuate from their use of chemical weapons against civilians in Khan-al-Assal.

Therefore, it is completely unsurprising that Orient TV has already prepared a “media campaign” to cover the Russian and Syrian airstrikes in Hama countryside against terrorist forces, with the allegations that the airforces have been using chemical weapons. And most telling, there announcement of covering the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, hours before this allegation even emerged…….. Seems like someone forgot to tell him that it would not occur for a few more hours before his tweet.

Orient TV reporter :
“tomorrow we are launching a media campaign to cover the airstrikes on Hama country side including the usage of CW”

Meanwhile, pick up  trucks have been photographed around bodies of those killed. Again, it must be questioned why there are people around sarin gas without any protective gear, and not affected at all when it can begin attacking the body within seconds? Also, the pick up trucks remain consistent to what local sources have said that many of those dead were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda terrorists from pro-government towns in rural Hama.

ALSO READ  Update from Syrian airbase targeted by US missiles

Also, what is brought into question is where the location of the hose is coming from in the below picture, a dugout carved into the rock. This also suggests that the location is at a White Helmets base where there are dug out hiding spots carved into the mountainside and where they have easy access to equipment, as highlighted by Twitter user Ian Grant.

In response to the allegations, the Syrian Arab Army soldiers in northern Hama denied the use of chemicals weapons today. This is consistent with the Russian Ministry of Defense who denied any involvement in the attack.

The army “has not and does not use them, not in the past and not in the future, because it does not have them in the first place,” a military source said.

And this of course begs the question. With the Syrian Army and its allies in a comfortable position in Syria, making advances across the country, and recovering lost points in rural Hama, why would they now resort to using chemical weapons? It is a very simple question with no clear answer. It defies any logic that on the eve of a Syria conference in Brussels and a week before peace negotiations are to resume, that the Syrian government would blatantly use chemical weapons. All evidence suggests this is another false chemical attack allegation made against the government as seen in the Khan-al-Assal 2013 attack where the terrorist groups hoped that former President Obama’s “red-line” would be crossed leading to US-intervention in Syria against the government.

Most telling however, is that most recent report shows that the government does not deny striking Khan Sheikhun. Al-Masdar’s Yusha Yuseef was informed by the Syrian Army that the air force targeted a missile factory in Khan Sheikoun, using Russian-manufactured Su-22 fighter jet to carry out the attack. Most importantly, the Su-22’s bombs are unique and cannot be filled with any chemical substances, which is different than bombs dropped from attack helicopters. Yuseef was then told that the Syrian Air Force did not know there were any chemical substances inside the missile factory in Khan Sheikhoun. It remains to be known whether there actually were chemicals in the missile factory targeted by the airstrikes, or whether the terrorist forces used gas on the kidnapped civilians from the pro-government towns and brought them in the lorry trucks to the site of the airstrikes. Whether they were gassed by the militant forces, or the airstrikes caused a chemical weapon factory to explode, the gruesome deaths of children, seen foaming in the mouth because of the gas, lays in the hands of the terrorists.

ALSO READ  Autopsies confirm Assad behind chemical attack in southern Idlib: Turkish state media

Therefore, it becomes evident that the area targeted was definitely a terrorist location, where it is known that the White Helmets share operation rooms with terrorist forces like Al-Qaeda as seen after the liberation of eastern Aleppo. Civilians and fighting forces, including Kurdish militias, have all claimed that militant groups that operate in Idlib, Hama and Aleppo countrysides, have used chemical weapons in the past. Therefore, before the war cries begin and the denouncement of the government from high officials in power positions begin, time must be given so that all evidence can emerge. However, this is an important factor that has never existed in the Syrian War, and the terrorist forces continue to hope that Western-intervention against the government will occur, at the cost of the lives of innocent civilians.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/jumping-conclusions-something-not-adding-idlib-chemical-weapons-attack/

The Western media refutes their  own lies.

Not only do they confirm that the Pentagon has been training the terrorists in the use of chemical weapons, they also acknowledge the existence of a not so secret “US-backed plan to launch a chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad’s regime” 

London’s Daily Mail in a 2013 article confirmed the existence of an Anglo-American project endorsed by the White House (with the assistance of Qatar) to wage a chemical weapons attack on Syria and place the blame of Bashar Al Assad.

The following Mail Online article was published and subsequently removed. Note the contradictory discourse: “Obama issued warning to Syrian president Bashar al Assad”, “White House gave green light to chemical weapons attack”.

This Mail Online report published in January 2013 was subsequently removed from Mail Online. For further details click here

The Pentagon’s Training of  “Rebels” (aka Al Qaeda Terrorists) in the Use of Chemical Weapons

CNN accuses Bashar Al Assad of killing his own people while also acknowledging that the “rebels” are not only in possession of chemical weapons, but that these “moderate terrorists” affiliated with Al Nusra are trained in the use of chemical weapons by specialists on contract to the Pentagon.

In a twisted logic, the Pentagon’s mandate was to ensure that the rebels aligned with Al Qaeda would not acquire or use WMD, by actually training them in the use of chemical weapons (sounds contradictory):

“The training [in chemical weapons], which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American. (CNN, December 09, 2012, emphasis added)

screenshot of the CNN article, the original link has been redirected to CNN blogs,

The above report by CNN’s award winning journalist Elise Labott (relegated to the status a CNN blog), refutes CNN’s numerous accusations directed against Bashar Al Assad.

Who is doing the training of terrorists in the use of chemical weapons?  From the horse’s mouth: CNN

Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons

And these are the same terrorists (trained by the Pentagon) who are the alleged target of  Washington’s counterterrorism bombing campaign initiated by Obama in August 2014:

“The Pentagon scheme established in 2012 consisted in equipping and training Al Qaeda rebels in the use of chemical weapons, with the support of military contractors hired by the Pentagon, and then holding the Syrian government responsible  for using the WMD against the Syrian people.

What is unfolding is a diabolical scenario –which is an integral part of military planning– namely a situation where opposition terrorists advised by Western defense contractors are actually in possession of chemical weapons.

This is not a rebel training exercise in non-proliferation. While president Obama states that “you will be held accountable” if “you” (meaning the Syrian government) use chemical weapons, what is contemplated as part of this covert operation is the possession of chemical weapons by the US-NATO sponsored terrorists, namely “by our” Al Qaeda affiliated operatives, including the Al Nusra Front which constitutes the most effective Western financed and trained fighting group, largely integrated by foreign mercenaries. In a bitter twist, Jabhat al-Nusra, a US sponsored “intelligence asset”, was recently put on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

The West claims that it is coming to the rescue of the Syrian people, whose lives are allegedly threatened by Bashar Al Assad. The truth of the matter is that the Western military alliance is not only supporting the terrorists, including the Al Nusra Front, it is also making chemical weapons available to its proxy “opposition” rebel forces.

The next phase of this diabolical scenario is that the chemical weapons in the hands of Al Qaeda operatives will be used against civilians, which could potentially lead an entire nation into a humanitarian disaster.

The broader issue is: who is a threat to the Syrian people? The Syrian government of Bashar al Assad or the US-NATO-Israel military alliance which is recruiting “opposition” terrorist forces, which are now being trained in the use of chemical weapons.” (Michel Chossudovsky, May 8, 2013, minor edit)

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Pentagon_Trained_Syria%E2%80%99s_Al_Qaeda_%E2%80%9CRebels%E2%80%9D_in_the_Use_of_Chemical_Weapons/57792/0/38/38/Y/M.html

4 DEADLIEST CHEMICAL WEAPONS

During the World War I, a new, deadly type of weapon was used for the first time; toxic gas. Considered uncivilised prior to the war, the development and military usage of poisonous gas grenades was soon called for by the demands of both sides to find a new way to overcome the stalemate of unforeseen trench warfare.

First used at the Second Battle of Ypres on 22 April 1915, cylinders filled with toxic gas soon became one of the most devastating and effective weapons used in the entire Great War, killing more than 90,000 soldiers and injuring about 1.25 million. In this article, we are going to explore the 4 of most deadly chemical weapons ever conceived, their history, usage, and effects on the human beings.

4.Mustard Gas(Yperite)

While Germans were releasing the mustard gas in year 1917 near the Belgian city of Ypres for the first time, chemist Frederic Guthrie was most likely turning in his grave. In year 1860, this British professor discovered the mustard gas, and also experienced its toxic effects first-hand for the first time. 57 years later, after its first military usage at Ypres, it got its infamous nickname, Yperite.

In the beginning, Germans planned to use the mustard gas only as a paralyzing agent. However, they soon found out, that when in sufficient concentrations, this gas could be easily lethal to the majority of the enemy soldiers.

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dc/British_55th_Division_gas_casualties_10_April_1918.jpg

Soldiers after the mustard gas attack

Due to its dangerous properties, mustard gas soon became a popular chemical weapon, used in WWII, during the North Yemen Civil War, and even by Saddam Husein in year 1988. Even 150 years after its discovery, antidote is still to be discovered.

Pure mustard gas is colourless, oily liquid at room temperature. When used in its impure form, as warfare agent, it is usually green-brown in color and has an specific odor resembling mustard or garlic, hence the name. Yperite fumes are more than 6 times heavier than air, staying near the ground for several hours, effectively filling and contaminating enemy’s trenches, and killing everyone without proper protection.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fd/155mmMustardGasShells.jpg

Mustard gas shells

Lethal dose for an adult man weighing 160 lbs is approximately 7,5 g of liquid mustard gas, when in contact with his skin for several minutes. However, when used in its gaseous form, lethality greatly depends on its concentration and on the length of exposure. Gas mask is usually not enough to be protected from this gas; it can easily penetrate the skin and kill the victim from inside. It easily passes through most of the clothes, shoes or other materials. For instance, standard rubber gloves could protect the skin for only about ten minutes.

4 or 6 hours after exposure, burning sensation appears in the affected areas, followed by reddening of the skin. After next 16 hours, large blisters appear on the affected skin, subsequently causing severe scarring and sometimes even necrosis. If the eyes were affected, temporary or permanent blindness typically occurs after few days.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Mustard_gas_burns.jpg

Soldier with mustard gas burns

When inhaled, first symptoms start to manifest themselves after several hours, starting with chest pain, bloody coughing and vomiting, followed by muscle spasms. Death usually occurs within 3 days, caused either by lung edema or heart failure.

3.Phosgene

In year 1812, 22-year old British amateur chemist John Davy syntetized the phosgene gas for the first time. However, it didn’t contain any phosphorus, its name was derived from greek words phos(light) and gennesis(birth). John Davy probably assumed that his invention would be used in a more sensible way, however, on 9.th of December, 88 tons of phosgene were released during the trench warfare in France, killing 69 men and seriously injuring more then 1,200.

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/Phosgene_poster_ww2.jpg

U.S. Army phosgene identification poster(WWII)

Germans were satisfied by the results, so they soon started using grenades filled by phosgene in combat. It accounts for more than 60% of all deaths caused by the chemical warfare during the First World War, more than chlorine and mustard gas combined.

During the Second World War, most soldiers were well-prepared for the possible use of this deadly gas, so the casualties were nowhere that high. However, phosgene-filled grenades used during the 1942 Battle of Kerch by Nazi Germany allegedly injured at least 10,000 Soviet soldiers.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Nach_Gasangriff_1917.jpg

British casualties after German phosgene attack

Which deadly properties does this gas possess? At low temperatures, it is a colourless liquid. However, when heated to more than 8 degrees celsius, it evaporates quickly. Its odor has been often described by the survivors as pleasant, similar to newly mown hay or wet grass. After release, it contaminates the area for about 10 minutes, double the time in the winter. When compared to chlorine, phosgene has a major advantage; first symptoms start to manifest themselves after much longer time period, usually after more than five minutes, allowing more phosgene to be inhaled.

After one inhales high concentrations of this lethal gas, his chances of survival are very mild. After few minutes, he is likely to die of suffocation, because phosgene aggresively disrupts the blood-air barrier in the lungs.

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Australian_infantry_small_box_respirators_Ypres_1917.jpg

Australian soldiers wearing gas masks(WWI)

After inhaling less concentrated phosgene, you might be little bit better off. One hour after exposure, first symptoms include strong burning sensation in pharynx and trachea, severe headache and vomiting, followed by pulmonary edema(swelling and fluid buildup), which often leads to suffocation.

To this day, phosgene remains one of the most dangerous chemical weapons in the world. Although not as deadly as sarin or nerve gas, it is very easy to manufacture; no wonder it’s often used during terrorist attacks. Homemade phosgene grenade can be easily created by exposing a bottle of chloroform to UV-light source for a few days.

2.Sarin

If previous two chemicals weren’t dangerous enough, here comes the sarin, often known as the most powerful of all nerve agents.

Sarin was developed back in 1938 by a group of 4 German scientists, Scharder, Ambros, Rudiger and van der Linde, during their research of pesticides. During the WWII, this deadly gas was first used by the Nazi Germany in June 1942. At the end of the war, Germany allegedly possessed more than 10 tons of sarin.

https://i1.wp.com/blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/files/2013/04/japan-sarin1.jpg

Japanese firemen decontaminating the Tokyo subway after sarin attack

However, it is most famous for being used during the 1995 terrorist attack on the Tokio subway by a Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, killing 13 people and allegedly injuring more than 5,000. It was also used back in August 2013 by al-Assad’s forces in Ghouta, Syria, killing more than 1,700 people.

Sarin belongs to the group of nerve gasses, the deadliest of all toxic gasses used in chemical warfare. It is highly toxic; a single drop of sarin the size of the head of a pin is enough to kill an adult human. In addition, most of the victims usually die few minutes after contamination.

It usually enters the organism via respiration, but it can also penetrate the skin or be ingested. In home temperature, sarin is a colourless liquid without significant odor, similar to water. However, when exposed to higher temperatures, it starts to evaporate, being still odorless. After release, it often remains deadly for more than 24 hours.

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Missile filled with sarin containers

Immediately after exposure, first symptoms include strong headaches, increased salivation and lacrimation(secretion of tears), followed by gradual paralysis of the muscles. Death is caused by asphyxiation or heart failure.

According to some sources, Sarin is 500 times more deadly than kyanide, with its lethal dose being only about 800 micrograms. Only 5 tons of sarin, obiviously properly dosed, would be enough to wipe out entire humanity.

1.Agent Orange

This mixture of two herbicides, most famous for its usage in Vietnam War, is not a chemical weapon in the true sense of the word. It was discovered in year 1943 by American botanic Arthur Galston. In year 1951, further research started by the scientific team in the military base of Detrick, Maryland.

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Barrel of ”Agent Orange”

During the War of Vietnam, it was widely used for deforestation of the large areas covered by thick jungle, to enable easier and more effective bombing of enemy bases and supply routes. Although designed as herbicide, the Agent Orange also contained large amounts of dioxin, a highly toxic compound, making it one of the most deadly chemical weapons ever deployed.

In years 1962-1971, military operation with codenames ”Ranch Hand” or ”Trail Dust” took place in Southern Vietnam. During this operation, jungles in the region were heavily showered by this herbicide, primarily in the areas of Mekong delta. Mixture was storaged in orange barrels, hence the name ”Agent Orange”. During the operation, more than 20 million gallons of this dangerous chemical were used, destroying large areas of jungle, contaminating air, water and food sources.

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Vietnamese babies born with severe birth defects

In high concentrations, dioxin causes severe inflammation of skin, lungs and mucous tissues, sometimes resulting in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary edema, or even death, however, it also affects eyes, liver and kidneys. It is also highly effective carcinogen, known for causing laryngeal and lung cancer.

It is estimated, that the usage of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War led to more than 400,000 people being killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with mild to severe birth defects as a result of contamination. Agent Orange alone killed 10 times more people than all other chemical weapons combined.

Tomahawk (missile)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the sounding rocket, see TE-416 Tomahawk.
Tomahawk
Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile -crop.jpg

A BGM-109 Tomahawk flying in November 2002
Type Long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1983–present
Used by United States Navy
Royal Navy
Production history
Manufacturer General Dynamics (initially)
Raytheon/McDonnell Douglas
Unit cost $250,000(FY2014)[1] (Block IV)
Specifications
Weight 2,900 lb (1,300 kg), 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) with booster
Length Without booster: 18 ft 3 in (5.56 m)

With booster: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)

Diameter 20.4 in (0.52 m)
Warhead Nuclear: W80 warhead (retired)[2]
Conventional: 1,000 pounds (450 kg) High explosive or Submunitions dispenser with BLU-97/B Combined Effects Bomb or PBXN
Detonation
mechanism
FMU-148 since TLAM Block III, others for special applications

Engine Williams International F107-WR-402turbofan
using TH-dimer fuel
and a solid-fuel rocket booster
Wingspan 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m)
Operational
range
Block II TLAM-A – 1,350 nmi (1,550 mi; 2,500 km) Block III TLAM-C, Block IV TLAM-E – 900 nmi (1,000 mi; 1,700 km)

Block III TLAM-D – 700 nmi (810 mi; 1,300 km)[3]

Speed Subsonic; about 550 mph (890 km/h)
Guidance
system
GPS, INS, TERCOM, DSMAC, active radar homing (RGM/UGM-109B)
Launch
platform
Vertical Launch System (VLS) and horizontal submarine torpedo tubes (known as TTL (torpedo tube launch))

The Tomahawk (US /ˈtɑːməhɔːk/ or UK /ˈtɒməhɔːk/) is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile. Introduced by General Dynamics (now Boeing Defense, Space & Security)[4][5] in the 1970s, it was initially designed as a medium to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a surface platform. It has been improved several times, and after corporate divestitures and acquisitions, is now made by Raytheon. Some Tomahawks were also manufactured by McDonnell Douglas.

Description

The Tomahawk missile family consists of a number of subsonic, jet engine-powered missiles designed to attack a variety of surface targets. Although a number of launch platforms have been deployed or envisaged, only sea (both surface ship and submarine) launched variants are currently in service. Tomahawk has a modular design, allowing a wide variety of warhead, guidance, and range capabilities. The Tomahawk project was originally awarded to Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland by the US Navy. James H. Walker led a team of scientists to design and build this new long range missile. The original design, updated with advanced technology, is still used today.

The missile is named after the Tomahawk, a one-handed axe used as a tool and a weapon by pre-contact Native Americans in the United States.

Variants

There have been several variants of the BGM-109 Tomahawk employing various types of warheads.

  • BGM-109A Tomahawk Land Attack Nuclear (TLAM-N) – Not deployed.[6]
  • BGM-109A Tomahawk Land Attack Missile – Nuclear (TLAM-A) with a W80 thermonuclear weapon. Retired from service sometime between 2010 and 2013.[2]
  • RGM/UGM-109B Tomahawk Anti Ship Missile (TAS-M) – active radar homing anti-ship missile variant; withdrawn from service in the 1990s.
  • BGM-109C Tomahawk Land Attack Missile – Conventional (TLAM-C) with a unitary warhead. This was initially a modified Bullpup warhead.
  • BGM-109D Tomahawk Land Attack Missile – Dispenser (TLAM-D) with cluster munitions.
  • RGM/UGM-109E Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM Block IV) – improved version of the TLAM-C.
  • BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) – with a W84 nuclear warhead; withdrawn from service in 1991.
  • AGM-109H/L Medium Range Air to Surface Missile (MRASM) – a shorter range, turbojet powered ASM with cluster munitions ; never entered service, cost US$569,000 (1999).[7]

Ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM) and their truck-like launch vehicles were employed at bases in Europe; they were withdrawn from service to comply with the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Many of the anti-ship versions were converted into TLAMs at the end of the Cold War. The Block III TLAMs that entered service in 1993 can fly farther and use Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to strike more precisely. Block III TLAM-Cs retain the DSMAC II navigation system, allowing GPS only missions, which allow for rapid mission planning, with some reduced accuracy, DSMAC only missions, which take longer to plan but terminal accuracy is somewhat better, and GPS aided missions which combine both DSMAC II and GPS navigation which provides the greatest accuracy. Block IV TLAMs are completely redesigned with an improved turbofan engine. The F107-402 engine provided the new BLK III with a throttle control, allowing in-flight speed changes. This engine also provided better fuel economy. The Block IV TLAMs have enhanced deep-strike capabilities and are equipped with a real-time targeting system for striking fleeing targets. Additionally, the BLOCK IV missiles have the capabilities to be re-targeted inflight, and the ability to transmit, via satcom, an image immediately prior to impact to assist in determining if the missile was attacking the target and the likely damage from the attack.

Upgrades

UGM-109 Tomahawk missile detonates above a test target, 1986

A major improvement to the Tomahawk is network-centric warfare-capabilities, using data from multiple sensors (aircraft, UAVs, satellites, foot soldiers, tanks, ships) to find its target. It will also be able to send data from its sensors to these platforms. It will be a part of the networked force being implemented by the Pentagon.

Tomahawk Block III[7][6] introduced in 1993 added time-of-arrival control and navigation through Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC) and jam-resistant GPS, smaller, lighter WDU-36 warhead, engine improvements and extended missile’s range.

Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS)[8] takes advantage of a loitering feature in the missile’s flight path and allows commanders to redirect the missile to an alternative target, if required. It can be reprogrammed in-flight to attack predesignated targets with GPS coordinates stored in its memory or to any other GPS coordinates. Also, the missile can send data about its status back to the commander. It entered service with the US Navy in late 2004. The Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS) added the capability for limited mission planning on board the firing unit (FRU).

Tomahawk Block IV[9][10][11] introduced in 2006 adds the strike controller which can change the missile in flight to one of 15 preprogrammed alternate targets or redirect it to a new target. This targeting flexibility includes the capability to loiter over the battlefield awaiting a more critical target. The missile can also transmit battle damage indication imagery and missile health and status messages via the two-way satellite data link. Firing platforms now have the capability to plan and execute GPS-only missions. Block IV also has an improved anti-jam GPS receiver for enhanced mission performance. Block IV includes Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS), and Tomahawk Command and Control System (TC2S).

On 16 August 2010, the Navy completed the first live test of the Joint Multi-Effects Warhead System (JMEWS), a new warhead designed to give the Tomahawk the same blast-fragmentation capabilities while introducing enhanced penetration capabilities in a single warhead. In the static test, the warhead detonated and created a hole large enough for the follow-through element to completely penetrate the concrete target.[12] In February 2014, U.S. Central Command sponsored development and testing of the JMEWS, analyzing the ability of the programmable warhead to integrate onto the Block IV Tomahawk, giving the missile bunker buster effects to better penetrate hardened structures.[13]

In 2012, the USN studied applying Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) technology into the Tactical Tomahawk.[14]

In 2014, Raytheon began testing Block IV improvements to attack sea and moving land targets.[15] The new passive radar seeker will pick up the electromagnetic radar signature of a target and follow it, and actively send out a signal to bounce off potential targets before impact to discriminate its legitimacy before impact.[13] Mounting the multi-mode sensor on the missile’s nose would remove fuel space, but company officials believe the Navy would be willing to give up space for the sensor’s new technologies.[16] The previous Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile, retired over a decade earlier, was equipped with inertial guidance and the seeker of the Harpoon missile and there was concern with its ability to clearly discriminate between targets from a long distance, since at the time Navy sensors did not have as much range as the missile itself, which would be more reliable with the new seeker’s passive detection and active millimeter-wave radar.[17][18] Raytheon estimates adding the new seeker would cost $250,000 per missile.[19] Other upgrades include sea-skim mode[20] – low-altitude flight over water at high subsonic speeds. The first Block IV TLAMs modified with a maritime attack capability will enter service in 2018-2019.[21]

A supersonic version of the Tomahawk is under consideration for development with a ramjet to increase its speed to Mach 3. A limiting factor to this is the dimensions of shipboard launch tubes. Instead of modifying every ship able to carry cruise missiles, the ramjet-powered Tomahawk would still have to fit within a 21-inch diameter and 20-foot long tube.[16]

In October 2015, Raytheon announced the Tomahawk had demonstrated new capabilities in a test launch, using its onboard camera to take a reconnaissance photo and transmit it to fleet headquarters. It then entered a loitering pattern until given new targeting coordinates to strike.[22]

By January 2016, Los Alamos National Laboratory was working on a project to turn unburned fuel left over when a Tomahawk reaches its target into an additional explosive force. To do this, the missile’s JP-10 fuel is turned into a fuel air explosive to combine with oxygen in the air and burn rapidly. The thermobaric explosion of the burning fuel acts, in effect, as an additional warhead and can even be more powerful than the main warhead itself when there is sufficient fuel left in the case of a short range target.[11][23]

TACTOM(Tactical Tomahawk) is Tomahawk’s modernization program that will incorporate an all-weather-seeker[24] that will complement Tomahawk’s Synthetic Guidance Mode; which uses a high-throughput radio signal to update the missile in flight, giving it new target information as a maritime or land target moves.

Launch systems

Each missile is stored and launched from a pressurized canister[25] that protects it during transportation and storage, and also serves as a launch tube. These canisters were racked in armored box launchers (ABL), which were installed on the re-activated Iowa-class battleships USS Iowa, USS New Jersey, USS Missouri, and USS Wisconsin. The ABLs were also installed on eight Spruance-class destroyers, the four Virginia-class cruisers, and the USS Long Beach. These canisters are also in vertical launching systems (VLS) in other surface ships, capsule launch systems (CLS) in the later Los Angeles-class submarines, and in submarines’ torpedo tubes. All ABL equipped ships have been decommissioned.

For submarine-launched missiles (called UGM-109s), after being ejected by gas pressure (vertically via the VLS) or by water impulse (horizontally via the torpedo tube), the missile exits the water and a solid-fuel booster is ignited for the first few seconds of airborne flight until transition to cruise.

After achieving flight, the missile’s wings are unfolded for lift, the airscoop is exposed and the turbofan engine is employed for cruise flight. Over water, the Tomahawk uses inertial guidance or GPS to follow a preset course; once over land, the missile’s guidance system is aided by terrain contour matching (TERCOM). Terminal guidance is provided by the Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation (DSMAC) system or GPS, producing a claimed circular error probable of about 10 meters.

The Tomahawk Weapon System consists of the missile, Theater Mission Planning Center (TMPC)/Afloat Planning System, and either the Tomahawk Weapon Control System (on surface ships) or Combat Control System (for submarines).

Several versions of control systems have been used, including:

  • v2 TWCS – Tomahawk Weapon Control System (1983), also known as “green screens,” was based on an old tank computing system.
  • v3 ATWCS – Advanced Tomahawk Weapon Control System (1994), first Commercial Off the Shelf, uses HP-UX.
  • v4 TTWCS – Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System, (2003).
  • v5 TTWCS – Next Generation Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System. (2006)

Navigation and other details

The TLAM-D contains 166 sub-munitions in 24 canisters: 22 canisters of seven each, and two canisters of six each to conform to the dimensions of the airframe. The sub-munitions are the same type of Combined Effects Munition bomblet used in large quantities by the U.S. Air Force with the CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition. The sub-munitions canisters are dispensed two at a time, one per side. The missile can perform up to five separate target segments which enables it to attack multiple targets. However, in order to achieve a sufficient density of coverage typically all 24 canisters are dispensed sequentially from back to front.

TERCOM – Terrain Contour Matching. A digital representation of an area of terrain is mapped based on digital terrain elevation data or stereo imagery. This map is then inserted into a TLAM mission which is then loaded onto the missile. When the missile is in flight it compares the stored map data with radar altimeter data collected as the missile overflies the map. Based on comparison results the missile’s inertial navigation system is updated and the missile corrects its course. TERCOM was based on, and was a significant improvement on, “Fingerprint,” a technology developed in 1964 for the SLAM.[26]

On July 26, 2014 it was announced that 196 additional Block IV missiles had been purchased.[27]

DSMAC – Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation. A digitized image of an area is mapped and then inserted into a TLAM mission. During the flight the missile will verify that the images that it has stored correlates with the image it sees below itself. Based on comparison results the missile’s inertial navigation system is updated and the missile corrects its course.

  • Total program cost: $US 11,210,000,000[28]

Operational history

Remnants of a shot down Tomahawk from Operation Allied Force, showing the turbofan engine at the Museum of Aviation in Belgrade, Serbia

United States Navy

In the 1991 Gulf War, 288 Tomahawks were launched, 12 from submarines and 276 from surface ships.[29] The first salvo was fired by the Destroyer USS Paul F. Foster[30] on January 17, 1991. The attack submarines USS Pittsburgh and USS Louisville followed.

On 17 January 1993, 46 Tomahawks were fired at the Zafraniyah Nuclear Fabrication Facility outside Baghdad, in response to Iraq’s refusal to cooperate with UN disarmament inspectors. One missile crashed into the side of the Al Rasheed Hotel, killing two civilians.[31]

On 26 June 1993, 23 Tomahawks were fired at the Iraqi Intelligence Service’s command and control center.[32]

On 10 September 1995, the USS Normandy launched 13 Tomahawk missiles from the central Adriatic Sea against a key air defense radio relay tower in Bosnian Serb territory during Operation Deliberate Force.[33]

On 3 September 1996, 44 cruise missiles between UGM-109 and B-52 launched AGM-86s, were fired at air defence targets in Southern Iraq.[34][35]

On 20 August 1998, 79 Tomahawk missiles were fired simultaneously at two separate targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for the bombings of American embassies by Al-Qaeda.[2]

On 16 December 1998, 415 Tomahawk missiles were fired at key Iraqi targets during Operation Desert Fox.[36]

In early 1999, 218 Tomahawk missiles were fired by US ships and a British submarine during Operation Allied Force against key targets in Serbia and Montenegro.[3]

In October 2001, approximately 50 Tomahawk missiles struck targets in Afghanistan in the opening hours of Operation Enduring Freedom.[4][37]

During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, more than 802 Tomahawk missiles were fired at key Iraqi targets.[38]

On 3 March 2008, two Tomahawk missiles were fired at a target in Somalia by a US vessel during the Dobley airstrike, reportedly in an attempt to kill Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, an al Qaeda militant.[39][40]

On 17 December 2009, two Tomahawk missiles were fired at targets in Yemen.[41] One of the targets was hit by a TLAM-D missile. The target was described as an ‘alleged Al-Qaeda training camp’ in al-Ma’jalah in al-Mahfad a region of the Abyan governorate of Yemen. Amnesty International reported that 55 people were killed in the attack, including 41 civilians (21 children, 14 women, and six men). The US and Yemen governments refused to confirm or deny involvement, but diplomatic cables released as part of United States diplomatic cables leak later confirmed the missile was fired by a US Navy ship.[42]

On 19 March 2011, 124 Tomahawk missiles[43] were fired by U.S. and British forces (112 US, 12 British)[44] against at least 20 Libyan targets around Tripoli and Misrata.[45] As of 22 March 2011, 159 UGM-109 were fired by US and UK ships against Libyan targets.[46]

On 23 September 2014, 47 Tomahawk missiles were fired by the United States from the USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea, which were operating from international waters in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, against ISIL targets in Syria in the vicinity of Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, Al-Hasakah and Abu Kamal,[47] and against Khorasan group targets in Syria west of Aleppo.[48]

On 13 October 2016 five Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched by USS Nitze at three radar sites in Yemen held by Houthi rebels in response to anti-ship missiles fired at US Navy ships the day before.[49]

On 6 April 2017, 59 Tomahawk missiles were launched from the USS Ross (DDG-71) and USS Porter (DDG-78), targeting Shayrat, a military airfield near Homs, in Syria. The strike was in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad. Initial reports indicate that the Syrian airbase was ‘almost completely destroyed’ after the US strike.[50]

As of 2015, the United States Navy has a stockpile of around 3,500 Tomahawk cruise missiles of all variants, with a combined worth of approximately US $2.6 billion.[51]

Royal Navy

In 1995 the US agreed to sell 65 Tomahawks to the UK for torpedo-launch from her nuclear attack submarines. The first missiles were acquired and test-fired in November 1998; all Royal Navy fleet submarines are now Tomahawk capable, including the new Astute-class.[52][53][54][55] The Kosovo War in 1999 saw the Swiftsure-class HMS Splendid become the first British submarine to fire the Tomahawk in combat. It has been reported that seventeen of the twenty Tomahawks fired by the British during that conflict hit their targets accurately;[citation needed] the UK subsequently bought 20 more Block III to replenish stocks.[56] The Royal Navy has since fired Tomahawks during the 2000s Afghanistan War, in Operation Telic as the British contribution to the 2003 Iraq War, and during Operation Ellamy in Libya in 2011.

In April 2004, the UK and US governments reached an agreement for the British to buy 64 of the new generation of Tomahawk missile—the Block IV or TacTom missile.[57] It entered service with the Royal Navy on 27 March 2008, three months ahead of schedule.[58] In July 2014 the US approved the sale to the UK of a further 65 submarine-launched Block IV’s at a cost of US$140m including spares and support;[59] as of 2011 the Block III missiles were on Britain’s books at £1.1m and the Block IV at £0.87m including VAT.[60]

The Sylver Vertical Launching System on the new Type 45 destroyer is claimed by its manufacturers to have the capability to fire the Tomahawk, although the A50 launcher carried by the Type 45 is too short for the weapon (the longer A70 silo would be required). Nevertheless, the Type 45 has been designed with weight and space margin for a strike-length Mk41 or Sylver A70 silo to be retrofitted, allowing Type 45 to use the TLAM Block IV if required. The new Type 26 frigates will have strike-length VLS tubes. SYLVER user France is developing MdCN, a version of the Storm Shadow/Scalp cruise missile that has a shorter range but a higher speed than Tomahawk and can be launched from the SYLVER system.

United States Air Force

The Air Force is a former operator of the nuclear-armed version of the Tomahawk, the BGM-109G Gryphon.

Other users

The Netherlands (2005) and Spain (2002 and 2005) were interested in acquiring the Tomahawk system, but the orders were later cancelled in 2007 and 2009 respectively.[61][62]

In 2009 the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States stated that Japan would be concerned if the TLAM-N were retired, but the government of Japan has denied that it had expressed any such view.[63]

It is believed that the SLCM version of the Popeye was developed by Israel after the US Clinton administration refused an Israeli request in 2000 to purchase Tomahawk SLCM’s because of international Missile Technology Control Regime proliferation rules.[64]

As of March 12, 2015 Poland has expressed interest in purchasing long-range Tomahawk missiles for its future submarines.[65]

Operators

Map with Tomahawk operators in blue

Current operators

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomahawk_(missile)

Story 2: What is Next?  United States Led Coalition of Egypt, Jordan, Kurds, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to Destroy Islamic State, Jabhat Al Nustra Front ( al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate), Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadists in Syria, Hezbollah, and Bashar al-Assad Syrian Regime –Videos — Military strike comes after Trump previously railed against Syria intervention

What comes next after Syria missile attack

Story 3: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch Confirmed 54 Yes — 45 Nos

Senate confirms Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court (C-SPAN)

The Senate Goes “Nuclear”

Mike Pence Reads Final Vote Confirming Neil Gorsuch To Supreme Court | NBC News

Senate Democrats trigger “nuclear option” to curb filibusters

Harry Reid goes Nuclear Pushes Major Senate Filibuster Rules Change

 

Reid, Democrats trigger ‘nuclear’ option; eliminate most filibusters on nominees

The Senate goes nuclear

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It’s more than just a rule change: The so-called “nuclear option” will fundamentally alter the way the Senate operates – for good.(Casey Capachi/(In Play))
November 21, 2013

Senate Democrats took the dramatic step Thursday of eliminating filibusters for most nominations by presidents, a power play they said was necessary to fix a broken system but one that Republicans said will only rupture it further.

Democrats used a rare parliamentary move to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has been the standard for nearly four decades.

The immediate rationale for the move was to allow the confirmation of three picks by President Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — the most recent examples of what Democrats have long considered unreasonably partisan obstruction by Republicans.

In the long term, the rule change represents a substantial power shift in a chamber that for more than two centuries has prided itself on affording more rights to the minority party than any other legislative body in the world. Now, a president whose party holds the majority in the Senate is virtually assured of having his nominees approved, with far less opportunity for political obstruction.

The main combatants Thursday were the chamber’s two chiefs, Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who have clashed for several years over Republican filibusters of Obama’s agenda and nominees.

Reid said the chamber “must evolve” beyond parliamentary roadblocks. “The American people believe the Senate is broken, and I believe the American people are right,” he said, adding: “It’s time to get the Senate working again.”

McConnell linked the rule change to the methods used to approve Obama’s health-care law solely with Democratic votes. The normally reserved GOP leader paced at his desk during his speech, often turning his back to Democrats to address only his fellow Republicans.

“It’s a sad day in the history of the Senate,” McConnell told reporters, calling the move a Democratic “power grab.”

The clash ended with a vote nearly as partisan as the times — 52 to 48, with all but three Democrats backing the move and every Republican opposing it.

The vote was the culmination of more than 25 years of feuding over nominations, beginning with President Ronald Reagan’s choices for the Supreme Court and including Obama’s picks for obscure federal regulatory agencies. Each side in Thursday’s debate cited its own statistics to state its case.

Democrats said the attempted filibusters of Chuck Hagel during his confirmation hearing to become defense secretary, a first for any nominee to lead the Pentagon — as well as a blockade of picks to head the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — exceeded anything Democrats did when they were in the minority. In addition, Democrats charged that Republicans didn’t even have substantive objections to the D.C. Circuit nominees they filibustered.

After the vote, Obama told reporters at the White House that Republicans had turned nomination fights into a “reckless and relentless tool” to grind the gears of government to a halt and noted that “neither party has been blameless for these tactics.” However, he said, “today’s pattern of obstruction . . . just isn’t normal; it’s not what our founders envisioned.”

Republicans countered that they had confirmed 99 percent of Obama’s judicial selections. McConnell accused Democrats of eyeing the D.C. Circuit in an effort to stack the court, which reviews many cases related to federal laws and regulations, to tilt its balance in a liberal direction.

What made the day so historic for senators, former senators and the small collection of parliamentary experts in Washington was the simple majority vote used to execute the changes — a tactic so extreme it is known as the “nuclear option.”

Previous majorities had threatened to upend filibuster rules in this manner, but relying on a simple majority vote had been used only for relatively minor procedural changes to how amendments were handled, never to eliminate the super­majority requirement altogether. Before Thursday, the standard precedent was that major rule changes needed a two-thirds majority. The change was so significant that Reid and his leadership team held a victory party with liberal activists afterward in a room just off the Senate floor.

Republicans said the way Democrats upended the rules will result in fallout for years. “It’s another raw exercise of political power to permit the majority to do anything it wants whenever it wants to do it,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), the GOP’s parliamentary expert, told reporters.

Republicans vowed to reciprocate if they reclaim the majority.

“Democrats won’t be in power in perpetuity,” said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), a 27-year member. “This is a mistake — a big one for the long run. Maybe not for the short run. Short-term gains, but I think it changes the Senate tremendously in a bad way.”

After the vote, Reid told reporters that his views on the issue had evolved — from eight years ago, when Republicans held the majority and he led the fight to protect the filibuster. He acknowledged that he wouldn’t mind seeing the supermajority requirement abolished for everything but that there were not enough votes in his caucus to support such a move.

Reid first faced pressure on this issue from junior Democrats four years ago, particularly Sen. Jeff Merkley, a former speaker of the Oregon state House, who became the point person for growing the anti-filibuster movement. But Reid repeatedly rejected their effort as too radical.

Even if Republicans want to do away with the filibuster someday, Reid said, Thursday’s move was worth it because the current climate had become too hostile to get anything significant done. Reid said he faced a choice: “Continue like we are or have democracy?”

The rule change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations or to legislation.

Individual senators will still be able to seize the floor for marathon speeches opposing nominees, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) did in a nearly 13-hour session in March against the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director. But once such speeches end, the majority will be able to confirm nominees without needing bipartisan support.

With the Senate majority very much up for grabs in midterm elections next year, Democrats placed a big bet on maintaining control of the chamber. GOP leaders have suggested that, if given the Senate majority back, they might further strip filibuster rules so they could dismantle Obama’s landmark domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, on a simple majority vote.

In his remarks, McConnell finally turned to Democrats and said that a majority of them had never served in the minority and then lectured the longtime members who knew what it was like to be on the other side.

“The solution to this problem is at the ballot box,” he said. “We look forward to having a great election in 2014.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-poised-to-limit-filibusters-in-party-line-vote-that-would-alter-centuries-of-precedent/2013/11/21/d065cfe8-52b6-11e3-9fe0-fd2ca728e67c_story.html?utm_term=.5bf7f548abcf

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The Pronk Pops Show 833, February 7, 2017, Story 1: Appeaser Obama’s Legacy of A Bad Iranian Nuclear Deal: Islamic Republic of Iran Puts Trump On Notice — Nuclear Agreement Allows Iran To Build Ballistic Missiles With A 2,000 Mile Range To Enable Iran To Strike Israel — Time Trump Triggers Terrorist Terminations — First: Islamic State — Second: Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Will Prevail In The Vigorous Vetting and Pause In Granting Visas From Travelers From Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2017. Filed under: Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Coal, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Drones, Education, Egypt, Empires, Energy, Environment, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, House of Representatives, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Libya, MIssiles, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear, Oil, Pistols, Rifles, Russia, Senate, Solar, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Appeaser Obama’s Legacy of A Bad Iranian Nuclear Deal: Islamic Republic of Iran Puts Trump On Notice — Nuclear Agreement Allows Iran To Build Ballistic Missiles With A 2,000 Mile Range To Enable Iran To Strike Israel — Time Trump Triggers Terrorist Terminations — First: Islamic State — Second: Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos — 

The Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran and the Bomb

Russia rejects Trump’s claim that Iran is top terrorist state

Iran Defends Test of Ballistic Missile

Trump blasts Iran over ballistic missile test

Is War With Iran Inevitable?

Donald Trump warns of the Muslim Problem

Trump on Iran: ‘They will know I am not playing games’

Donald Trump about fighting ISIS | Islamic State Terrorism | Trump Presidential Announcement

Trump’s First Military Action Obliterated 30 Innocent Civilians

Iran Vows More Missile Tests Despite ‘Notice’ | MSNBC

Iran ‘On Notice’: Will Trump Pull The Trigger?

Eric Shawn reports: The Iran deal meets Mr. Trump

Is War with Iran in the Cards with the Trump Foreign Policy Team?

IRAN WARNS UNITED STATES DONT MAKE A PROBLEM OVER MISSILE! BREAKING NEWS 01 02 2017 BREAKING NEWS

Iran Test-Fire Of Medium-Range Missile Ends In Failure

Trump Slams Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘It’s an Embarrassment to Our Country’

Islamic Republic vs Islamic State: What’s The Difference?

USA vs SYRIA & IRAN & RUSSIA Military Power Comparison 2017 (Middle East War) HD

IRAN vs ISRAEL | Military Power Comparison 2016 HD

IRAN Army | IRAN Military Power 2016

Saudi Arabia VS Iran | Military Power Comparison | 2016

Saudi Arabia Military Power 2016-2017 | Saudi Arabian Army

Can Saudi Arabia fight two wars at once? BBC News

Saudi Air Force ON THE WAY to help their “Moderate” Friends

The differences and similarities between Sunni and Shia Isalm

A Short History of Islam: From Muhammad to ISIS

What ISIS Wants

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

World War 3 Could Start This Month 350,000 Soldiers In Saudi Arabia Stand Ready To Invade Syria

 

Published on Feb 16, 2016

WW3 Syria, Middle East, Turkey, Russia, World War 3 northern thunder
350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks, 2,450 warplanes and 460 military helicopters are massing in northern Saudi Arabia for a military exercise that is being called “Northern Thunder”.

Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno: Future of the U.S. Army

General Raymond Odierno Retiring {U.S. Army} 8-14-15

General Raymond T. Odierno Millitary Confession About Obama

OBAMA IS PISSED! Top Army Chief Of Staff General Drops Bombshell About Him As He Resigns

OBAMA JUST MADE A DRASTIC MOVE THAT LEFT AMERICA COMPLETELY DEFENSELESS

10 Countries Most Likely To Start WW3

Top 10 Countries That Would Not Survive WW3

10 Safest Countries If WW3 Breaks Out

10 Safest Spots During World War 3

Obama Recalls All Aircraft Carriers back to US, None At Sea Anywhere

Published on Jan 2, 2017

Barack Obama has recalled all 10 U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers from the Middle East, leaving the United States wide open to a potential attack.
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/30/…
News Stories about Carriers: http://yournewswire.com/obama-recalls…
https://www.superstation95.com/index….
Nwo Report: http://www.nworeport.me

No US carrier at sea leaves gap in Middle East

NOW PLAYINGUS Navy warship returns to ISIS fight

For the next week, not only will there be no U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Middle East, but there will be no American aircraft carriers deployed at sea anywhere else in the world, despite a host of worldwide threats facing the United States.

VIDEO: WHAT THE AIR FORCE NEEDS TO KEEP UP WITH GLOBAL DEMAND

The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and her strike group returned to Norfolk, Va., Friday following a seven-month deployment. The Ike launched hundreds of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria from both the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Two destroyers in the Ike’s strike group also saw combat. The USS Nitze and USS Mason were attacked in the Red Sea when Iranian backed Houthi forces in Yemen launched cruise misisles, which were intercepted by the Mason. A retaliatory strike by the Nitze destroyed the radar installations in Yemen in October.

IRAN CONDUCTS ‘WAR-GAME’ EXERCISES, THREATENS TO SHOOT DOWN TRESPASSING AIRCRAFT

The Eisenhower’s replacement carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, was delayed by more than six months in the shipyards and will not be able to replace the Ike until early next year, according to Navy officials.

While there is no U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East right now, there is a large deck U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship with thousands of Marines on board as well as helicopters and some jets to respond to a crisis, according to officials.

In the meantime, the Navy tells Fox News the U.S. military has other jets available to make up for the aircraft carrier gap in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. The Navy can also “surge” a carrier now in port to deploy if necessary. But the absence of a deployed U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, long seen as a symbol of American power projection, is noteworthy. It is believed to be the first time since World War II that at least one U.S. aircraft carrier has not been deployed.

“We are not going to discuss the timing of operational movements of carrier strike groups into and out of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” said Capt. Terry Shannon, a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesman, in a statement to Fox News. Centcom is tasked with control over all U.S. forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

It’s not the first time there was a carrier gap in the Middle East. Last fall, the U.S. Navy relied on a French aircraft carrier to fill the void when the USS Theodore Roosevelt returned home. At the time it was the first gap in carrier coverage in the Middle East since 2007.

Other factors contribute to the U.S. Navy not having an aircraft carrier deployed anywhere in the world right now. From 2011 to 2013, the Navy maintained two carriers in the Persian Gulf on the orders of Centcom’s then-commander, Gen. James Mattis, who is now President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary.

The congressionally mandated budget cuts known as sequestration have also been felt on the waterfront since 2011. After billions of dollars were cut from the Navy’s budget, ships such as the George H.W. Bush were forced to prolong their time in the shipyards, which had a ripple effect down the line. If the Bush had left the shipyard on time, she would have relieved the Ike in the Gulf or the Mediterranean, officials tell Fox News.

Fox News recently flew out to the USS George H.W. Bush 40 miles off the coast of North Carolina to see the crew’s final tuneup.

With jets landing every 60 seconds, the flight deck crew worked on getting the time between “traps” (landings) down to 40 seconds.

Aboard the ship, 18- to 22-year-old men and women work 14 hour days on the flight deck, with little rest — all this before deploying and potentially dropping live rounds on ISIS.

“This is the military equivalent of spring training, because once we complete this at the end of December, then we’ll be going forward and it’ll be real forces that we’ll be going flying with and against,” said Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, commander, Carrier Strike 2, interviewed on his perch above the four-acre flight deck known as “Vulture’s Row.”

In addition to fighting ISIS, the ship’s commanding officer says his crew will be ready to deal with a resurgent Russia or China if necessary.

“While we don’t have any emergent or pending conflicts with them, certainly, it is fair to say that we have divergent interests in many cases. and so we need to be prepared to understand how we will react to that if necessary,” said Capt. Will Pennington.

There is recent history with this ship.

On Aug. 8, 2014, a pair of F-18s from the Bush launched the first airstrikes against ISIS in northern Iraq.

Now, two and a half years later, the ship is headed back to the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

“That doesn’t mean that three months or six months from now, that will be the priority for our country. So we have to be ready to execute anywhere, anytime, any mission,” said Capt. James McCall, commander of Air Wing 8, in charge of all of the aircraft on board.

Fox News’ Stephen Scarola contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/30/no-us-carrier-at-sea-leaves-gap-in-middle-east.html

Hey, Team Trump: Tell America what’s in the Iran deal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Jan. 30, 2017, Iran tested a new ballistic missile, seemingly the long-range Khorramshahr. In response, the White House announced sanctions against 25 Iranian individuals and companies. It’s a small reaction to an extraordinary provocation that rips away the curtain obscuring America’s foreign-policy decisions, past and present.

The past first. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) congratulated the White House on the sanctions, which was a little hypocritical since he was one of the people who caused the problem in the first place.

In negotiating the secret Iran deal, President Barack Obama took the position that it wasn’t a treaty and therefore didn’t require Senate ratification under the Constitution. Had it been a treaty, Obama would’ve needed two-thirds of the upper chamber’s votes — which he wouldn’t have gotten.

Instead, Corker flipped the procedure around with a motion to condemn the treaty, which would’ve required a two-thirds vote to override a presidential veto. That wasn’t going to happen, so Obama got his treaty.

But what was in the treaty? Ah, that was the great thing. No one knew. And now the Iranians are telling us that Obama secretly promised them they could build ballistic missiles capable of a 2,000-mile flight.

Why that number? Because the Iranians insisted they wanted to be able to strike every part of Israel, and the European members of the six-party Iran talks — Germany, France and Britain — didn’t mind so long as Iran couldn’t build longer-range missiles that could reach them. No skin off their noses if Israel were destroyed.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. The administration thought the Iranian missile launched last month was a medium-range Shahab missile (postmarked Israel-only). It seems to have taken that from a speech by Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan last September.

The problem is, that’s not what Dehghan said, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. The Iranians have been phasing out the Shahab missile, and what he was referring to were long-range missiles such as the Khorramshahr, which he said would be operational by March 2017, along with similar long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

The new missiles have a range of 2,500 to 5,000 miles and could easily reach all of Europe. Add a range of another 500 miles and that includes Boston. At the same time that we gave Iran the green light for its nuclear program, we gave it the means to attack us.

Lest any doubt remain, we watered down a UN Security Council resolution that might have gotten in the way.

Resolution 1929 banned Iran from conducting any activity concerning missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but this was amended by Security Council Resolution 2231 which substituted: “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

In other words, we gave the Iranians the wiggle room to say that, even if their missiles are capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, that doesn’t matter because they weren’t designed with that in mind.

So who would be the recipient of the Iranians missiles? Israel, obviously. And also the United Kingdom and America. MEMRI reports that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps theoretician Hassan Abbasi has announced that Iran has “a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization and for the uprooting of the Americans and the English.”

We told the Iranians we don’t care all that much about the ­Israelis, just leave us out of it. Except that it didn’t quite work out that way for Obama and Corker, as it didn’t work out for Neville Chamberlain when he called Czechoslovakia a “far-away country.” The Iran deal was supposed to bring peace to the region, but instead it handed Trump the equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis.

US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn called the Iranian missile test a violation of the Security Council resolution. That’s an acknowledgment that the` new administration intends to be bound by Security Council resolutions, which is interesting in itself. But Flynn also needs to go public with the details of the Iran deal, including all the secret side agreements.

If we agreed to give Iran the means to attack Israel with a medium-range missile, we need to fess up. And if Iran has violated the agreement by testing longer-range missiles, our announced sanctions are a sadly inadequate response.

The Iran mess underscores the need for a revolution in American strategic thinking, one that recognizes the importance of an effort to recast our relationship with Russia and to rethink the purpose of the NATO alliance.

F.H. Buckley teaches at Scalia Law School. His most recent book is “The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America.”

http://nypost.com/2017/02/06/hey-team-trump-tell-america-whats-in-the-iran-deal/

 

Story 2: President Trump Will Prevail In The Vigorous Vetting and Pause In Granting Visas From Travelers From Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — Videos

 

Judge Napolitano’s take on the travel ban legal battle

Is the president within his bounds with the travel ban?

How both sides see the legal challenge on Trump’s travel ban

Why I Left the Left

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The Pronk Pops Show 829, February 1, 2017, Story 1: President Trump Honors U.S. Navy SEAL Killed in a Weekend Raid in al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen — Videos — Story 2: Trump Administration Condemns Iran for Provacative Guided Ballistic Missile Launch and Violates United Nations Resolution — Officially Putting Iran on Notice’ — Videos — Story 3: Yemen Houthis Rebels Attack Saudi Missile Frigate — Killing Two Crewmen — Videos

Posted on February 1, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, China, Coal, Coal, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Libya, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, North Korea, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Rule of Law, Russia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Solar, Spying, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Turkey, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 828: January 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 827: January 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 826: January 27, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 825: January 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 824: January 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 823: January 24, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 822: January 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 821: January 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 820: January 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 819: January 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 818: January 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 817: January 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 816: January 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 815: January 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 814: January 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 813: January 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 812: December 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 811: December 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 810: December 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 809: December 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 808: December 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 807: December 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 806: December 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 805: December 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 804: November 30, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 803: November 29, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 802: November 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 801: November 22, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 800: November 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 799: November 18, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 798: November 17, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 797: November 16, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 796: November 15, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 795: November 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 794: November 10, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 793: November 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 792: November 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 791: November 7, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 790: November 4, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 789: November 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 788: November 2, 2016

Story 1: President Trump Honors U.S. Navy SEAL Killed in a Weekend Raid in al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen — Videos —

Image result for president trump dover air force baseImage result for Chief Special Warfare Operator William Nawar Al Awlaki This was the president's first clandestine strike, and not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama. It involved 'boots on the ground' at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen (pictured)

PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKES UNANNOUNCED VISIT TO HONOR SLAIN NAVY SEAL

President Trump departs for Dover Air Force Base

FOX NEWS ALERT , SOON: President Trump at dover air force base to honor fallen seal killed in yemen

News Wrap: Trump makes surprise visit to honor Navy SEAL killed in Yemen

Navy SEAL Team 6 carries out daring raid in Yemen

Trump Releases Statement About SEAL Team Six Warrior Killed in Yemen Raid

U.S. Special Forces launch Raid against Al-Qaeda in Yemen

Raid in Yemen results in first U.S. combat death under Trump administration

Trump Leaves D.C. to Honor Fallen U.S. Navy Seal

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) —