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The Pronk Pops Show 893, May 15, 2017, Story 1: World Wide Ransom Ware Demands Spreading To Over 150 Countries — Huge Hacker Holdup Using Exploit of Security Flaw In Microsoft XP Operating System — Used Code Developed By U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) — Running Sacred — Crying — It’s Over — Videos — Story 2: American People Demand Congress Appoint Special Prosecutor — Investigate Obama’s Administration Use of Intelligence Community (NSA, CIA, FBI, …) Warrantless Surveillance of Both Democrat and Republican Presidential Candidates — The Use Intelligence Information For Political Purposes Is A Felony! — Videos

Posted on May 15, 2017. Filed under: American History, Applications, Blogroll, Breaking News, Computer, Computers, Corruption, Crime, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Hardware, History, Human, Law, Life, Media, Networking, Privacy, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Science, Security, Servers, Social Science, Software, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

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Story 1: Huge Hacker Holdup — Cyber extortion Attack — NSA Ransom War — Running Sacred — Crying — It’s Over — VideosImage result for ransome ware attackImage result for bitcoinImage result for cartoons ransom ware attackImage result for ransome ware attack list of countries and companies

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 New version of ransomware worm expected

Cyber Attack: Ransomware causing chaos globally – BBC News

Ransomware virus ‘WannaCry’ plagues 100k computers across 99 countries

Ransomware attack takes down LA hospital for hours

WannaCry Ransomware Hits Hospitals

WannaCry Ransomware Used In Global Attacks!

WATCH: Ransomware cyberattack targets Windows users around the world

BREAKING***100 Countries Massive Global Ransomware Attack Used NSA Hacking Tool

What is ransomware and how can I protect myself?

How Ransomware Locks Your PC & Holds Your Data Hostage

Massive Ransomware Outbreak Thanks to NSA – WannaCry Worm Spreading Fast

Ransomware As Fast As Possible

The Truth About Ransomware – Webinar

What is Ransomware, How it Works and What You Can Do to Stay Protected

NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney on Tucker Carlson 03.24.2017

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

ROY ORBISON – CRYING – LIVE 1988

Roy Orbison – “Running Scared” from Black and White Night

Roy Orbison – Crying (Monument Concert 1965)

Roy Orbison – It’s Over (Monument Concert 1965)

Roy Orbison – “It’s Over” from Black and White Night

Worldwide ransomware attacks: What we know so far

May 15, 2017
AUTHOR: LILY HAY NEWMAN. SECURITY

HOW AN ACCIDENTAL ‘KILL SWITCH’ SLOWED FRIDAY’S MASSIVE RANSOMWARE ATTACK

Cybersecurity Experts’ First Task: Find Out How Virus Spread

Investigators think a computer outlet that isn’t supposed to be connected to the internet was a possible vector for WannaCry

The virus, dubbed WannaCry, is a two-part virus. One part is ransomware, which locks computer files and demands online payment to unlock them. The other part spreads it.

The virus, dubbed WannaCry, is a two-part virus. One part is ransomware, which locks computer files and demands online payment to unlock them. The other part spreads it. PHOTO: RITCHIE B. TONGO/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Government investigators and private cybersecurity firms are trying to find out how a virus managed to spread around the globe over the weekend, which would give them their best chance to identify the mastermind behind the cyberattacks.

Investigators have already ruled out phishing—tricking someone into opening a seemingly legitimate email attachment that actually contains the virus—as a possible tactic. One of their hypotheses centers on something called port 445, an outlet that isn’t supposed to be connected to the internet.

The race is on to identify patient zero, or the first known infection of the virus, to find clues that could lead back to the hacker.

The attacks appear to have largely abated Monday, despite fears that a new workweek would trigger a second wave. Cybersecurity experts see fewer infections compared with Friday, when the onslaught started.

“We think the initial fire is put out,” said Rob Holmes, vice president of products at Proofpoint, a Silicon Valley company with virus sensors at major corporations and telecom companies.

The virus, dubbed WannaCry, is a two-part virus. One part is ransomware, which locks computer files and demands online payment to unlock them. The other part is a “spreader,” which transmits WannaCry to all other computers on a network. It attacks machines running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows systems that don’t have up-to-date security patches.

Mr. Holmes said 95% of ransomware attacks use the relatively unsophisticated technique of phishing.

A European Union cybersecurity agency published a report Monday, which said early indications pointed to emails containing WannaCry-infected Microsoft Office documents as the attacker’s weapon. But it quickly amended the report, saying phishing probably wasn’t involved.

If it had been a phishing attack, organizations would have found the offending email by now and described it to the public, cybersecurity experts said.

Now there are two main hypotheses as to how WannaCry could have wormed its way into a computer. One theory centers on port 445.

Imagine a network of 100 computers. These computers communicate with each other through digital roads. One of the roads is port 445, and it is usually reserved for Windows-running computers to transfer files to each other, or to send stuff to the printer, said Becky Pinkard, a vice president at cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows.

Authorities know WannaCry spread itself within a network using the port 445 roads. But how did it get there in the first place? Port 445 roads connect computers within a network, but it was thought to be walled off from the internet and outside world. Now investigators are trying to determine whether port 445’s wall has a hole that WannaCry wiggled through.

“Most researchers tend to believe at the moment that it spreads initially through vulnerable computers exposing port 445 on the internet,” the updated EU agency report said.

There is another theory. Ms. Pinkard said an employee could have taken an office-issued laptop to a coffee shop or hotel and logged onto the venue’s unsecure internet network. If that laptop doesn’t have the antivirus protections that networks at big organizations typically have, a hacker could’ve slipped WannaCry onto the device. When the employee brings the laptop back to the office and connects it to the network, bam: WannaCry spreads itself via port 445.

Companies can protect laptops from this with commercially available protection software, Ms. Pinkard said.

If researchers can find the original WannaCry victim, they might be able to trace the signature of the attacker who delivered the virus via an internet-protocol address, or IP address. “If I were law enforcement, I would be working to find who was the very first company impacted,” Ms. Pinkard said. “I would knock at the door and be asking, ‘Can I look at your logs?’ ”

The problem is that the IP address could lead to another IP address, which would lead to another IP address, and so on. “It’s a very slow and painful process,” Ms. Pinkard said.

Cybersecurity experts said that, even though some of the world’s smartest minds are on the case, it could take months or years to find the mastermind—if they find the attacker at all.

A parallel hunt would be following the money. WannaCry asked for ransom to be delivered via a digital currency called bitcoin. About 124 payments totaling about $34,000, or a little less than $300 each, went to the attacker as of Sunday afternoon, said bitcoin-analytics-firm Chainalysis. Every bitcoin transaction is recorded on an online ledger. But finding out the individual behind each transaction is difficult because users’ identities are well encrypted.

“There’s going to be a paper trail,” said Brian Knight, a George Mason University specialist in financial technology. “Whether it can be deciphered is a separate question.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cybersecurity-experts-first-task-find-out-how-virus-spread-1494868250

The cyberattacks started Friday and spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system

The cyberattacks started Friday and spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system

 Security agencies are hunting for those behind a crippling cyberattack which has so far hit hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, including at government agencies, factories and health services.

Here is what we know so far about the cyber ransom attacks:

– What happened? –

The cyberattacks started Friday and spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, an older version that is no longer given mainstream tech support by the US giant.

The so-called WannaCry ransomware locks access to user files and in an on-screen message demands payment of $300 (275 euros) in the virtual currency Bitcoin in order to decrypt the files.

Victims have been advised by security experts not to pay up.

The attack is unique, according to policing agency Europol, because it combines ransomware with a worm function, meaning once one machine is infected, the entire internal network is scanned and other vulnerable machines are infected.

– Who has been affected? –

Europol chief Rob Wainwright said computer systems in more than 150 countries were hit, with the majority of organisations affected over the weekend in Europe.

But as Asia woke up to the working week on Monday, leading Chinese security-software provider Qihoo 360 said “hundreds of thousands” of computers in the country were hit at nearly 30,000 institutions including government agencies.

In Japan, a spokesman for Hitachi said the conglomerate discovered problems on Monday morning and its computer networks were “unstable”.

Other high-profile victims include hospitals in Britain, the Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, French carmaker Renault, US package delivery company FedEx, Russia’s interior ministry and the German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

– Where did the malware come from? –

Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said in a blog post Sunday that the culprits used a code developed by the US National Security Agency.

It was leaked as part of a document dump, according to researchers at the Moscow-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab.

Smith warned governments against stockpiling such vulnerabilities and said instead they should report them to manufacturers — not sell, store or exploit them, lest they fall into the wrong hands.

“An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen,” Smith wrote.

“The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake up call.”

– Who was behind the attack? –

Europol said on Monday it was continuing to hunt for the culprits behind the unprecedented attack.

The agency’s senior spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth said it was still “a bit early too say who is behind it, but we are working on a decrypting tool”.

Experts think it unlikely to have been one person, with criminally minded cyber crime syndicates nowadays going underground and using ever more sophisticated encryption to hide their activities.

– How can people protect their computers? –

Microsoft took the unusual step of reissuing security patches first made available in March for Windows XP and other older versions of its operating system.

Kaspersky said it was seeking to develop a decryption tool “as soon as possible”.

Europol said European companies and governments had heeded warnings and as a result avoided further fallout from the ransomware.

“It seems that a lot of internet security guys over the weekend did their homework and ran the security software updates,” Jan Op Gen Oorth told AFP.

https://www.yahoo.com/tech/worldwide-ransomware-cyberattacks-know-152751340.html

Dozens of countries hit by huge cyberextortion attack

NEW YORK (AP) — Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack Friday that locked up computers and held users’ files for ransom at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies.

It was believed to the biggest attack of its kind ever recorded.

The malicious software behind the onslaught appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was supposedly identified by the National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes and was later leaked to the internet.

Britain’s national health service fell victim, its hospitals forced to close wards and emergency rooms and turn away patients. Russia appeared to be the hardest hit, according to security experts, with the country’s Interior Ministry confirming it was struck.

All told, several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software, which so far has been responsible for tens of thousands of attacks, in more than 60 countries. That includes the United States, although its effects there didn’t appear to be widespread, at least initially.

The attack infected computers with what is known as “ransomware” — software that locks up the user’s data and flashes a message demanding payment to release it. In the U.S., FedEx reported that its Windows computers were “experiencing interference” from malware, but wouldn’t say if it had been hit by ransomware.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, called the attack “the biggest ransomware outbreak in history.”

Security experts said the attack appeared to be caused by a self-replicating piece of software that enters companies and organizations when employees click on email attachments, then spreads quickly internally from computer to computer when employees share documents and other files.

Its ransom demands start at $300 and increase after two hours to $400, $500 and then $600, said Kurt Baumgartner, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. Affected users can restore their files from backups, if they have them, or pay the ransom; otherwise they risk losing their data entirely.

Chris Wysopal of the software security firm Veracode said criminal organizations were probably behind the attack, given how quickly the malware spread.

“For so many organizations in the same day to be hit, this is unprecedented,” he said.

The security holes it exploits were disclosed several weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has published what it says are hacking tools used by the NSA as part of its intelligence-gathering.

Shortly after that disclosure, Microsoft announced that it had already issued software “patches” for those holes. But many companies and individuals haven’t installed the fixes yet or are using older versions of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports and didn’t fix.

By Kaspersky Lab’s count, the malware struck at least 74 countries. In addition to Russia, the biggest targets appeared to be Ukraine and India, nations where it is common to find older, unpatched versions of Windows in use, according to the security firm.

Hospitals across Britain found themselves without access to their computers or phone systems. Many canceled all routine procedures and asked patients not to come to the hospital unless it was an emergency. Doctors’ practices and pharmacies reported similar problems.

Patrick Ward, a 47-year-old sales director, said his heart operation, scheduled for Friday, was canceled at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

Tom Griffiths, who was at the hospital for chemotherapy, said several cancer patients had to be sent home because their records or bloodwork couldn’t be accessed.

“Both staff and patients were frankly pretty appalled that somebody, whoever they are, for commercial gain or otherwise, would attack a health care organization,” he said. “It’s stressful enough for someone going through recovery or treatment for cancer.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was no evidence patient data had been compromised and added that the attack had not specifically targeted the National Health Service.

“It’s an international attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected,” she said.

Spain, meanwhile, took steps to protect critical infrastructure in response to the attack. Authorities said they were communicating with more than 100 energy, transportation, telecommunications and financial services providers about the attack.

Spain’s Telefonica, a global broadband and telecommunications company, was among the companies hit.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise around the world. In 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California said it had paid a $17,000 ransom to regain control of its computers from hackers.

Krishna Chinthapalli, a doctor at Britain’s National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery who wrote a paper on cybersecurity for the British Medical Journal, warned that British hospitals’ old operating systems and confidential patient information made them an ideal target for blackmailers.

He said many NHS hospitals in Britain use Windows XP software, introduced in 2001, and as government funding for the health service has been squeezed, “IT budgets are often one of the first ones to be reduced.”

“Looking at the trends, it was going to happen,” he said. “I did not expect an attack on this scale. That was a shock.

https://apnews.com/e8402f2faf934f7ab5419d4961d3dafe/Global-extortion-cyberattack-hits-dozens-of-nations

Global ‘WannaCry’ ransomware cyberattack seeks cash for data

LONDON (AP) — A global “ransomware” cyberattack, unprecedented in scale, had technicians scrambling to restore Britain’s crippled hospital network Saturday and secure the computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in many other nations.

The worldwide effort to extort cash from computer users spread so widely that Microsoft quickly changed its policy, making security fixes available for free for the older Windows systems still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses.

A malware tracking map showed “WannaCry” infections popping up around the world. Britain canceled or delayed treatments for thousands of patients, even people with cancer. Train systems were hit in Germany and Russia, and phone companies in Madrid and Moscow. Renault’s futuristic assembly line in Slovenia, where rows of robots weld car bodies together, was stopped cold.

In Brazil, the social security system had to disconnect its computers and cancel public access. The state-owned oil company Petrobras and Brazil’s Foreign Ministry also disconnected computers as a precautionary measure, and court systems went down, too.

Britain’s home secretary said one in five of 248 National Health Service groups had been hit. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said all but six of the NHS trusts back to normal Saturday.

The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Center was “working round the clock” to restore vital health services, while urging people to update security software fixes, run anti-virus software and back up their data elsewhere.

Who perpetrated this wave of attacks remains unknown. Two security firms — Kaspersky Lab and Avast — said they identified the malicious software in more than 70 countries. Both said Russia was hit hardest.

These hackers “have caused enormous amounts of disruption— probably the biggest ransomware cyberattack in history,” said Graham Cluley, a veteran of the anti-virus industry in Oxford, England.

And all this may be just a taste of what’s coming, another cyber security expert warned.

Computer users worldwide — and everyone else who depends on them — should assume that the next big “ransomware” attack has already been launched, and just hasn’t manifested itself yet, Ori Eisen, who founded the Trusona cybersecurity firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, told The Associated Press.

The attack held hospitals and other entities hostage by freezing computers, encrypting data and demanding money through online bitcoin payments. But it appears to be “low-level” stuff, Eisen said Saturday, given the amount of ransom demanded — $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

He said the same thing could be done to crucial infrastructure, like nuclear power plants, dams or railway systems.

“This is child’s play, what happened. This is not the serious stuff yet. What if the same thing happened to 10 nuclear power plants, and they would shut down all the electricity to the grid? What if the same exact thing happened to a water dam or to a bridge?” he asked.

“Today, it happened to 10,000 computers,” Eisen said. “There’s no barrier to do it tomorrow to 100 million computers.”

This is already believed to be the biggest online extortion attack ever recorded, disrupting services in nations as diverse as the U.S., Ukraine, Brazil, Spain and India. Europol, the European Union’s police agency, said the onslaught was at “an unprecedented level and will require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits.”

In Russia, government agencies insisted that all attacks had been resolved. Russian Interior Ministry, which runs the national police, said the problem had been “localized” with no information compromised. Russia’s health ministry said its attacks were “effectively repelled.”

The ransomware exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was purportedly identified by the U.S. National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes. Hackers said they stole the tools from the NSA and dumped them on the internet.

It could have been much worse if not for a young cybersecurity researcher who helped to halt its spread by accidentally activating a so-called “kill switch” in the malicious software.

The 22-year-old Britain-based researcher, identified online only as MalwareTech, explained Saturday that he spotted a hidden web address in the “WannaCrypt” code and made it official by registering its domain name. That inexpensive move redirected the attacks to MalwareTech’s server, which operates as a “sinkhole” to keep malware from escaping.

“Because WannaCrypt used a single hardcoded domain, my registration of it caused all infections globally to believe they were inside a sandbox … thus we initially unintentionally prevented the spread,” the researcher said, humbly and anonymously, in his blog post.

His move may have saved governments and companies millions of dollars and slowed the outbreak before U.S.-based computers were more widely infected.

Indeed, while FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were “experiencing interference” from malware — it wouldn’t say if it had been hit by the ransomware — other impacts in the U.S. were not readily apparent on Saturday.

That said, the threat hasn’t disappeared, the MalwareTech researcher said.

“One thing that is very important to note is our sinkholing only stops this sample and there is nothing stopping them removing the domain check and trying again, so it’s incredibly important that any unpatched systems are patched as quickly as possible,” he warned.

The kill switch also couldn’t help those already infected. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them.

Security experts said it appeared to be caused by a self-replicating piece of software that enters companies when employees click on email attachments, then spreads quickly as employees share documents.

The security holes it exploits were disclosed weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious hacking group. Microsoft swiftly released software “patches” to fix those holes, but many users still haven’t installed updates or still use older versions of Windows.

Microsoft had made fixes for older systems, such as 2001′s Windows XP, available only to mostly larger organizations, including Britain’s National Health Service, that paid extra for extended technical support. In light of Friday’s attacks, Microsoft announced that it’s making the fixes free to all.

Cluley said “There’s clearly some culpability on the part of the U.S. intelligence services. Because they could have done something ages ago to get this problem fixed, and they didn’t do it.”

“It’s very, very difficult these days, with encryption, to spy on people,” Cluley added. “But I don’t think that those concerns should hide the fact that ALL of us need to be protected … We’re living an online life, and we all deserve security there.”

https://apnews.com/770946e7df454d2e9acda3bdbd3ed425/Unprecedented-global-‘ransomware’-attack-seeks-cash-for-data

Ransomware

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it. More advanced malware encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.[1] The ransomware may also encrypt the computer’s Master File Table (MFT)[2][3] or the entire hard drive.[4] Thus, ransomware is a denial-of-access attack that prevents computer users from accessing files[5] since it is intractable to decrypt the files without the decryption key. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that has a payload disguised as a legitimate file.

While initially popular in Russia, the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally;[6][7][8] in June 2013, security software vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected over 250,000 unique samples of ransomware in the first quarter of 2013, more than double the number it had obtained in the first quarter of 2012.[9] Wide-ranging attacks involving encryption-based ransomware began to increase through Trojans such as CryptoLocker, which had procured an estimated US$3 million before it was taken down by authorities,[10] and CryptoWall, which was estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have accrued over $18m by June 2015.[11]

Operation

Typically, modern ransomware uses encryption to deny users’ access to their files. The software encrypts the victim’s files using a symmetric cipher with a randomly generated key, and then deletes the key, leaving only a version of it made inaccessible to the victim using public key cryptography. Only the attacker can then decrypt the symmetric key needed to restore the files.[12]

The symmetric key is randomly generated and will not assist other victims. At no point is the attacker’s private key exposed to victims and the victim need only send a very small ciphertext (the encrypted symmetric-cipher key) to the attacker.

Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan, entering a system through, for example, a downloaded file or a vulnerability in a network service. The program then runs a payload, which locks the system in some fashion, or claims to lock the system but does not (e.g., a scareware program). Payloads may display a fake warning purportedly by an entity such as a law enforcement agency, falsely claiming that the system has been used for illegal activities, contains content such as pornography and “pirated” media.[13][14][15]

Some payloads consist simply of an application designed to lock or restrict the system until payment is made, typically by setting the Windows Shell to itself,[16] or even modifying the master boot record and/or partition table to prevent the operating system from booting until it is repaired.[17] The most sophisticated payloads encrypt files, with many using strong encryption to encrypt the victim’s files in such a way that only the malware author has the needed decryption key.[12][18][19]

Payment is virtually always the goal, and the victim is coerced into paying for the ransomware to be removed—which may or may not actually occur—either by supplying a program that can decrypt the files, or by sending an unlock code that undoes the payload’s changes. A key element in making ransomware work for the attacker is a convenient payment system that is hard to trace. A range of such payment methods have been used, including wire transfers, premium-rate text messages,[20] pre-paid voucher services such as Paysafecard,[6][21][22] and the digital currency Bitcoin.[23][24][25] A 2016 census commissioned by Citrix revealed that larger business are holding bitcoin as contingency plans.[26]

History

Encrypting ransomware

The first known malware extortion attack, the “AIDS Trojan” written by Joseph Popp in 1989, had a design failure so severe it was not necessary to pay the extortionist at all. Its payload hid the files on the hard drive and encrypted only their names, and displayed a message claiming that the user’s license to use a certain piece of software had expired. The user was asked to pay US$189 to “PC Cyborg Corporation” in order to obtain a repair tool even though the decryption key could be extracted from the code of the Trojan. The Trojan was also known as “PC Cyborg”. Popp was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for his actions, but he promised to donate the profits from the malware to fund AIDS research.[27]

The notion of using public key cryptography for ransom attacks was introduced in 1996 by Adam L. Young and Moti Yung. Young and Yung critiqued the failed AIDS Information Trojan that relied on symmetric cryptography alone, the fatal flaw being that the decryption key could be extracted from the Trojan, and implemented an experimental proof-of-concept cryptovirus on a Macintosh SE/30 that used RSA and the Tiny Encryption Algorithm (TEA) to hybrid encrypt the victim’s data. Since public key crypto is used, the cryptovirus only contains the encryption key. The attacker keeps the corresponding private decryption key private. Young and Yung’s original experimental cryptovirus had the victim send the asymmetric ciphertext to the attacker who deciphers it and returns the symmetric decryption key it contains to the victim for a fee. Long before electronic money existed Young and Yung proposed that electronic money could be extorted through encryption as well, stating that “the virus writer can effectively hold all of the money ransom until half of it is given to him. Even if the e-money was previously encrypted by the user, it is of no use to the user if it gets encrypted by a cryptovirus”.[12] They referred to these attacks as being “cryptoviral extortion”, an overt attack that is part of a larger class of attacks in a field called cryptovirology, which encompasses both overt and covert attacks.[12]

Examples of extortionate ransomware became prominent in May 2005.[28] By mid-2006, Trojans such as Gpcode, TROJ.RANSOM.A, Archiveus, Krotten, Cryzip, and MayArchive began utilizing more sophisticated RSA encryption schemes, with ever-increasing key-sizes. Gpcode.AG, which was detected in June 2006, was encrypted with a 660-bit RSA public key.[29] In June 2008, a variant known as Gpcode.AK was detected. Using a 1024-bit RSA key, it was believed large enough to be computationally infeasible to break without a concerted distributed effort.[30][31][32][33]

Encrypting ransomware returned to prominence in late 2013 with the propagation of CryptoLocker—using the Bitcoin digital currency platform to collect ransom money. In December 2013, ZDNet estimated based on Bitcoin transaction information that between 15 October and 18 December, the operators of CryptoLocker had procured about US$27 million from infected users.[34] The CryptoLocker technique was widely copied in the months following, including CryptoLocker 2.0 (though not to be related to CryptoLocker), CryptoDefense (which initially contained a major design flaw that stored the private key on the infected system in a user-retrievable location, due to its use of Windows’ built-in encryption APIs),[24][35][36][37] and the August 2014 discovery of a Trojan specifically targeting network-attached storage devices produced by Synology.[38] In January 2015, it was reported that ransomware-styled attacks have occurred against individual websites via hacking, and through ransomware designed to target Linux-based web servers.[39][40][41]

Some ransomware strains have used proxies tied to Tor hidden services to connect to their command and control servers, increasing the difficulty of tracing the exact location of the criminals.[42][43] Furthermore, dark web vendors have increasingly started to offer the technology as a service.[43][44][45]

Symantec has classified ransomware to be the most dangerous cyber threat.[46]

Non-encrypting ransomware

In August 2010, Russian authorities arrested nine individuals connected to a ransomware Trojan known as WinLock. Unlike the previous Gpcode Trojan, WinLock did not use encryption. Instead, WinLock trivially restricted access to the system by displaying pornographic images, and asked users to send a premium-rate SMS (costing around US$10) to receive a code that could be used to unlock their machines. The scam hit numerous users across Russia and neighboring countries—reportedly earning the group over US$16 million.[15][47]

In 2011, a ransomware Trojan surfaced that imitated the Windows Product Activation notice, and informed users that a system’s Windows installation had to be re-activated due to “[being a] victim of fraud”. An online activation option was offered (like the actual Windows activation process), but was unavailable, requiring the user to call one of six international numbers to input a 6-digit code. While the malware claimed that this call would be free, it was routed through a rogue operator in a country with high international phone rates, who placed the call on hold, causing the user to incur large international long distance charges.[13]

In February 2013, a ransomware Trojan based on the Stamp.EK exploit kit surfaced; the malware was distributed via sites hosted on the project hosting services SourceForge and GitHub that claimed to offer “fake nude pics” of celebrities.[48] In July 2013, an OS X-specific ransomware Trojan surfaced, which displays a web page that accuses the user of downloading pornography. Unlike its Windows-based counterparts, it does not block the entire computer, but simply exploits the behavior of the web browser itself to frustrate attempts to close the page through normal means.[49]

In July 2013, a 21-year-old man from Virginia, whose computer coincidentally did contain pornographic photographs of underaged girls with whom he had conducted sexualized communications, turned himself in to police after receiving and being deceived by ransomware purporting to be an FBI message accusing him of possessing child pornography. An investigation discovered the incriminating files, and the man was charged with child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.[50]

Leakware (also called Doxware)

The converse of ransomware is a cryptovirology attack that threatens to publish stolen information from the victim’s computer system rather than deny the victim access to it.[51] In a leakware attack, malware exfiltrates sensitive host data either to the attacker or alternatively, to remote instances of the malware, and the attacker threatens to publish the victim’s data unless a ransom is paid. The attack was presented at West Point in 2003 and was summarized in the book Malicious Cryptography as follows, “The attack differs from the extortion attack in the following way. In the extortion attack, the victim is denied access to its own valuable information and has to pay to get it back, where in the attack that is presented here the victim retains access to the information but its disclosure is at the discretion of the computer virus”.[52] The attack is rooted in game theory and was originally dubbed “non-zero sum games and survivable malware”. The attack can yield monetary gain in cases where the malware acquires access to information that may damage the victim user or organization, e.g., reputational damage that could result from publishing proof that the attack itself was a success.

Mobile ransomware

With the increased popularity of ransomware on PC platforms, ransomware targeting mobile operating systems have also proliferated. Typically, mobile ransomware payloads are blockers, as there is little incentive to encrypt data since it can be easily restored via online synchronization.[53] Mobile ransomware typically targets the Android platform, as it allows applications to be installed from third-party sources.[53][54] The payload is typically distributed as an APK file installed by an unsuspecting user; it may attempt to display a blocking message over top of all other applications,[54] while another used a form of clickjacking to cause the user to give it “device administrator” privileges to achieve deeper access to the system.[55]

Different tactics have been used on iOS devices, such as exploiting iCloud accounts and using the Find My iPhone system to lock access to the device.[56] On iOS 10.3, Apple patched a bug in the handling of JavaScript pop-up windows in Safari that had been exploited by ransomware websites.[57]

Notable examples

Reveton

A Reveton payload, fraudulently claiming that the user must pay a fine to the Metropolitan Police Service

In 2012, a major ransomware Trojan known as Reveton began to spread. Based on the Citadel Trojan (which itself, is based on the Zeus Trojan), its payload displays a warning purportedly from a law enforcement agency claiming that the computer has been used for illegal activities, such as downloading unlicensed software or child pornography. Due to this behaviour, it is commonly referred to as the “Police Trojan”.[58][59][60] The warning informs the user that to unlock their system, they would have to pay a fine using a voucher from an anonymous prepaid cash service such as Ukash or Paysafecard. To increase the illusion that the computer is being tracked by law enforcement, the screen also displays the computer’s IP address, while some versions display footage from a victim’s webcam to give the illusion that the user is being recorded.[6][61]

Reveton initially began spreading in various European countries in early 2012.[6] Variants were localized with templates branded with the logos of different law enforcement organizations based on the user’s country; for example, variants used in the United Kingdom contained the branding of organizations such as the Metropolitan Police Service and the Police National E-Crime Unit. Another version contained the logo of the royalty collection society PRS for Music, which specifically accused the user of illegally downloading music.[62] In a statement warning the public about the malware, the Metropolitan Police clarified that they would never lock a computer in such a way as part of an investigation.[6][14]

In May 2012, Trend Micro threat researchers discovered templates for variations for the United States and Canada, suggesting that its authors may have been planning to target users in North America.[63] By August 2012, a new variant of Reveton began to spread in the United States, claiming to require the payment of a $200 fine to the FBI using a MoneyPak card.[7][8][61]In February 2013, a Russian citizen was arrested in Dubai by Spanish authorities for his connection to a crime ring that had been using Reveton; ten other individuals were arrested on money laundering charges.[64] In August 2014, Avast Software reported that it had found new variants of Reveton that also distribute password stealing malware as part of its payload.[65]

CryptoLocker

Encrypting ransomware reappeared in September 2013 with a Trojan known as CryptoLocker, which generated a 2048-bit RSA key pair and uploaded in turn to a command-and-control server, and used to encrypt files using a whitelist of specific file extensions. The malware threatened to delete the private key if a payment of Bitcoin or a pre-paid cash voucher was not made within 3 days of the infection. Due to the extremely large key size it uses, analysts and those affected by the Trojan considered CryptoLocker extremely difficult to repair.[23][66][67][68]Even after the deadline passed, the private key could still be obtained using an online tool, but the price would increase to 10 BTC—which cost approximately US$2300 as of November 2013.[69][70]

CryptoLocker was isolated by the seizure of the Gameover ZeuS botnet as part of Operation Tovar, as officially announced by the U.S. Department of Justice on 2 June 2014. The Department of Justice also publicly issued an indictment against the Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev for his alleged involvement in the botnet.[71][72] It was estimated that at least US$3 million was extorted with the malware before the shutdown.[10]

CryptoLocker.F and TorrentLocker

In September 2014, a wave of ransomware Trojans surfaced that first targeted users in Australia, under the names CryptoWall and CryptoLocker (which is, as with CryptoLocker 2.0, unrelated to the original CryptoLocker). The Trojans spread via fraudulent e-mails claiming to be failed parcel delivery notices from Australia Post; to evade detection by automatic e-mail scanners that follow all links on a page to scan for malware, this variant was designed to require users to visit a web page and enter a CAPTCHA code before the payload is actually downloaded, preventing such automated processes from being able to scan the payload. Symantec determined that these new variants, which it identified as CryptoLocker.F, were again, unrelated to the original CryptoLocker due to differences in their operation.[73][74] A notable victim of the Trojans was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; live programming on its television news channel ABC News 24 was disrupted for half an hour and shifted to Melbourne studios due to a CryptoWall infection on computers at its Sydney studio.[75][76][77]

Another Trojan in this wave, TorrentLocker, initially contained a design flaw comparable to CryptoDefense; it used the same keystream for every infected computer, making the encryption trivial to overcome. However, this flaw was later fixed.[35] By late-November 2014, it was estimated that over 9,000 users had been infected by TorrentLocker in Australia alone, trailing only Turkey with 11,700 infections.[78]

CryptoWall

Another major ransomware Trojan targeting Windows, CryptoWall, first appeared in 2014. One strain of CryptoWall was distributed as part of a malvertising campaign on the Zedo ad network in late-September 2014 that targeted several major websites; the ads redirected to rogue websites that used browser plugin exploits to download the payload. A Barracuda Networks researcher also noted that the payload was signed with a digital signature in an effort to appear trustworthy to security software.[79] CryptoWall 3.0 used a payload written in JavaScript as part of an email attachment, which downloads executables disguised as JPG images. To further evade detection, the malware creates new instances of explorer.exe and svchost.exe to communicate with its servers. When encrypting files, the malware also deletes volume shadow copies, and installs spyware that steals passwords and Bitcoin wallets.[80]

The FBI reported in June 2015 that nearly 1,000 victims had contacted the bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center to report CryptoWall infections, and estimated losses of at least $18 million.[11]

The most recent version, CryptoWall 4.0, enhanced its code to avoid antivirus detection, and encrypts not only the data in files but also the file names.[81]

Fusob

Fusob is one of the major mobile ransomware families. Between April 2015 and March 2016, about 56 percent of accounted mobile ransomwares was Fusob.[82]

Like a typical mobile ransomware, it employs scare tactics to extort people to pay a ransom.[83] The program pretends to be an accusatory authority, demanding the victim to pay a fine from $100 to $200 USD or otherwise face a fictitious charge. Rather surprisingly, Fusob suggests using iTunes gift cards for payment. Also, a timer clicking down on the screen adds to the users’ anxiety as well.

In order to infect devices, Fusob masquerades as a pornographic video player. Thus, victims, thinking it is harmless, unwittingly download Fusob.[84]

When Fusob is installed, it first checks the language used in the device. If it uses Russian or certain Eastern European languages, Fusob does nothing. Otherwise, it proceeds on to lock the device and demand ransom. Among victims, about 40% of them are in Germany with the United Kingdom and the United States following with 14.5% and 11.4% respectively.

Fusob has lots in common with Small, which is another major family of mobile ransomware. They represented over 93% of mobile ransomwares between 2015 and 2016.

WannaCry

In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack spread though the Internet, using an exploit vector that Microsoft had issued a “Critical” patch for (MS17-010) two months before on March 14, 2017. The ransomware attack infected over 75,000 users in over 99 countries, using 20 different languages to demand money from users. The attack affected Telefónica and several other large companies in Spain, as well as parts of the British National Health Service (NHS),[85] FedEx, Deutsche Bahn, as well as the Russian Interior Ministry and Russian telecom MegaFon.[86]

Mitigation

As with other forms of malware, security software might not detect a ransomware payload, or, especially in the case of encrypting payloads, only after encryption is under way or complete, particularly if a new version unknown to the protective software is distributed.[87] If an attack is suspected or detected in its early stages, it takes some time for encryption to take place; immediate removal of the malware (a relatively simple process) before it has completed would stop further damage to data, without salvaging any already lost.[88][89]

Alternately, new categories of security software, specifically deception technology, can detect ransomware without using a signature-based approach. Deception technology utilizes fake SMB shares which surround real IT assets. These fake SMB data shares deceive ransomware, tie the ransomware up encrypting these false SMB data shares, alert and notify cyber security teams which can then shut down the attack and return the organization to normal operations. There are multiple vendors[90] that support this capability with multiple announcements in 2016.[91]

Security experts have suggested precautionary measures for dealing with ransomware. Using software or other security policies to block known payloads from launching will help to prevent infection, but will not protect against all attacks. Keeping “offline” backups of data stored in locations inaccessible to the infected computer, such as external storage drives, prevents them from being accessed by the ransomware, thus accelerating data restoration.[23][92]

There are a number of tools intended specifically to decrypt files locked by ransomware, although successful recovery may not be possible.[2][93] If the same encryption key is used for all files, decryption tools use files for which there are both uncorrupted backups (plaintext in the jargon of cryptanalysis) and encrypted copies; recovery of the key, if it is possible, may take several days.[94]

See also

References

WannaCry ransomware attack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
WannaCry ransomware attack
Wana Decrypt0r screenshot.png

Screenshot of the ransom note left on an infected system
Date 12 May 2017 (ongoing)
Location Worldwide
Also known as WannaCrypt, WanaCrypt0r
Type Cyber-attack
Theme Ransomware encrypting hard disk with $300 demand
Cause EternalBlue exploit
Participants Unknown
Outcome More than 230,000 computers infected[1]

WannaCry, also known by the names WannaCrypt,[2] WanaCrypt0r 2.0,[3] Wanna Decryptor[4] and other similar names, is a ransomware program targeting Microsoft Windows. In May 2017, a large cyber-attack using it was launched, infecting over 230,000 computers in 99 countries, demanding ransom payments in bitcoin in 28 languages. The attack has been described by Europol as unprecedented in scale.[5]

The attack affected Telefónica and several other large companies in Spain, as well as parts of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS),[6] FedEx and Deutsche Bahn.[7][8][9] Other targets in at least 99 countries were also reported to have been attacked around the same time.[10][11]

WannaCry is believed to use the EternalBlue exploit, which was developed by the U.S. National Security Agency[12][13] to attack computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems.[3][14] Although a patch to remove the underlying vulnerability had been issued on 14 March 2017,[15] delays in applying security updates left some users and organisations vulnerable.[16] Microsoft has taken the unusual step of releasing updates for the unsupported Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 and patches for Windows 8 operating systems.[2][17]

A kill switch has been found in the code, which prevents new infections. This has been activated by researchers and should slow or stop the spread. However, different versions of the attack may be released and all vulnerable systems still have an urgent need to be patched.

Background

The purported infection vector, EternalBlue, was released by the hacker group The Shadow Brokers on 14 April 2017,[18][19] along with other tools apparently leaked from Equation Group, which is believed to be part of the United States National Security Agency.[20][21]

EternalBlue exploits vulnerability MS17-010[15] in Microsoft‘s implementation of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. Microsoft had released a “Critical” advisory, along with an update patch to plug the vulnerability a month before, on 14 March 2017.[15] This patch only fixed Windows Vista and later operating systems but not the older Windows XP.

Countries initially affected[22]

On 12 May 2017, WannaCry began affecting computers worldwide.[23] After gaining access to the computers, via local area network (LAN), an email attachment, or drive-by download, the ransomware encrypts the computer’s hard disk drive,[24][25] then attempts to exploit the SMB vulnerability to spread to random computers on the Internet,[26] and “laterally” between computers on the same LAN.[27] As with other modern ransomware, the payload displays a message informing the user that files have been encrypted, and demands a payment of $300 in bitcoin within three days.

The Windows vulnerability is not a zero-day flaw, but one for which Microsoft had made available a security patch on 14 March 2017,[15] nearly two months before the attack. The patch was to the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol used by Windows.[28] Organizations that lacked this security patch were affected for this reason, although there is so far no evidence that any were specifically targeted by the ransomware developers.[28] Any organization still running the older Windows XP[29] were at particularly high risk because until 13 May,[2] no security patches had been released since April 2014.[30] Following the attack, Microsoft released a security patch for Windows XP.[2]

According to Wired, affected systems will also have had the DOUBLEPULSAR backdoor installed; this will also need to be removed when systems are cleaned up.[31]

Impact

The ransomware campaign was unprecedented in scale according to Europol.[5] The attack affected many NHS hospitals in the UK.[32] On 12 May, some NHS services had to turn away non-critical emergencies, and some ambulances were diverted.[7][33] In 2016, thousands of computers in 42 separate NHS trusts in England were reported to be still running Windows XP.[29]Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK in Tyne and Wear, one of Europe‘s most productive car manufacturing plants, halted production after the ransomware infected some of their systems. Renault also stopped production at several sites in an attempt to stop the spread of the ransomware.[34][35]

List of affected organizations

Response

Several hours after the initial release of the ransomware on 12 May 2017, a “kill switch” hardcoded into the malware was discovered. This allowed the spread of the initial infection to be halted by registering a domain name.[52] However, the kill switch appears to be a coding mistake on the part of the criminals, and variants without the kill switch are expected to be created.[53][54]

Reactions

Upon learning about the impact on the NHS, Edward Snowden said that if the NSA “had privately disclosed the flaw used to attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, [the attack] may not have happened”.[55]

British Prime Minister Theresa May said of the ransomware, “This is not targeted at the NHS. It is an international attack. A number of countries and organizations have been affected.”[56]

Microsoft has created security patches for its now-unsupported versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.[57]

See also

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Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

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

Image result for world war 3 starts in north koreaImage result for Operation Gotham Shield 2017Image result for branco cartoons trump wallStory 1: Bluff, Bombast, Bust, Bang, Boom–World War III With North Korea and Communist China? — Videos–

Image result for north korea world war 3Image result for north korea world war 3Image result for north korea world war 3

North Korea looking for a fight with US?

North Korea Threatens to Sink U.S. Aircraft Carrier

News Wrap: Trump calls North Korea situation ‘unacceptable’ – North Korea Fan

U.S BOMBERS ON HIGH ALERT After North Korea Threatens to Sink Approaching US Carrier

China warns North Korea could ‘cross the point of no return’ with sixth nuke test

North Korea reveals WHERE nuclear war with ‘fanatic’ US will break out

RARE! Entire US Senate to Go to White House for North Korea Briefing

U.S. aircraft carrier nears South Korea

Aircraft Carrier USS Carl Vinson CVN 70, Submarine USS Michigan, Target North Korea

Story 2: Operation Gotham Shield 2017 — Simulation of Nuclear and EMP Attack Over New York City — Videos

Image result for Operation Gotham Shield 2017 
Image result for Operation Gotham Shield 2017Image result for Operation Gotham Shield 2017Image result for Operation Gotham Shield 2017

April 24-26 2017 — Operation Gotham Shield 2017

4/24/17 Why Operation Gotham Shield Needs Your Attention – Alex Jones Infowars

Why Operation Gotham Shield Needs Your Attention

Operation Gotham Shield | NYC & NJ on April 24th – 26th

What is an EMP? The 60 second answer

What’s an electromagnetic pulse attack?

Prepping For An EMP

JEANINE PIRRO: “Lights Out: The Danger to US Power Grid” – The EMP Threat

Are You Prepared For An EMP Attack?

Washington D.C. To Hold Massive “Coordinated Terror Attack” Drill This Wednesday

April 26th is shaping up to be a busy day.

As we reported on Friday, that’s when Operation Gotham Shield, an exercise involving FEMA, Homeland Security and a myriad of law enforcement and military agencies and which simulates a nuclear bomb blast over Manhattan, is set to conclude.

Then, as we learned earlier, April 26 is also when the entire Senate will be briefed by Donald Trump and his four top defense and military officials on the situation in North Korea at the White House, an event which Reuters dubbed as “unusual.”

April 26 is also when the USS Carl Vinson is expected to finally arrive off the coast of the Korean Penninsula.

Now, in a statement from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the regional association reports that “law enforcement officials and other first responders will participate in a full-scale exercise on April 26 designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the National Capital Region.”

The statement adds that emergency managers who work together at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) planned the exercise to help protect residents by preparing for an attack involving multiple target locations and teams of perpetrators.

The exercise will be conducted across a widespread geographical area. According to the release, the regional exercise will be staged at six sites in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, and will involve hundreds of police, fire, and emergency medical service personnel and volunteer actors.

The locations include neighborhoods in the northeast and southeast quadrants of the District of Columbia, Prince George’s County, and Arlington and Fairfax Counties.  Residents in those neighborhoods will be notified ahead of time to expect the exercise.

According to Scott Boggs, Managing Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at COG, “Law enforcement officials practice and exercise their skills on their own regularly because that’s the best way to ensure we are always ready to respond quickly and professionally. On April 26, we’ll go one step further and stage a very realistic emergency event involving multiple sites and actors posing as the casualties.  However, there is no reason for residents to be alarmed because the exercise will occur in a controlled environment.

The is scheduled to take place near or at George Mason University, and last from 8;30am until 4:30pm.

The statement also advises that the only media availability will be in a one hour block before the exercise, from 7:30am – 8:30am on April 26.

Full statement below (link).

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-24/washington-dc-area-hold-massive-drill-preparation-complex-coordinated-terror-attack-

Operation Gotham Shield: Is there a connection between massive power outages and the nuclear EMP drill?

Are Today’s Massive Power Outages Really Secretly Part of the Operation Gotham Shield Nuclear EMP Drill?

TDW News

nnew york city cnukeWhen Russia holds a massive civil defense drill for nuclear war, the government informs its people and even includes them.When the US government does it however, they do it in secret, even using natural disasters as cover, meanwhile keeping the civilian population in the dark and telling them as little as possible.

The fact that there are massive power outages today of all days in San Francisco, LA and specifically New York City — causes reportedly still unknown at this time — seems like anything but a coincidence with everything else going on right now including a massive NYC-area 10 kiloton nuclear blast and EMP drill called Operation Gotham Shield.

Power Outages

NYC
The first massive power outage today occurred in New York City just before 6 am after the power inexplicably went down at the 7th avenue and 53rd street subway station, causing a chain reaction through the rest of NYC’s subway system. MTA did not get the generators back up and running until around 11:30. Delays are still rampant.

LA
A few hours later, outages began being reported around Los Angeles, including at the LA airport.

San Francisco
This one is reportedly the worst. Some 90,000 people are still without power all around downtown San Francisco as of 1 pm this afternoon. Businesses are shuttered, transportation systems are shut down, whole skyscrapers are dark. People are calling the whole scene “surreal”. Again, the cause of the outage still has not been explained.

Operation Gotham Shield

All of this is coinciding with the Operation Gotham Shield drill being held in the NYC area; depending on who you ask, it’s even going on right now, but again, we civilians (read: peons) are being mostly kept in the dark about the huge drill. One set of dates says the drill started on April 18th and will run through May 5th. Another set of dates say the actual nuke/EMP simulation part of the drill won’t happen until April 24th–26th.

As Mac Slavo of SHTFPlan.com reported yesterday:

[Gotham Shield] is a tabletop, joint agency exercise involving FEMA, Homeland Security and a myriad of law enforcement and military agencies. WMD, chemical and biological units will all be on hand as a response is tested for a “simulated” nuclear detonation over the United States’ foremost urban center, in the iconic and densely populated island of Manhattan and nearby shores of New Jersey.

According to the Voice of Reason:

On April 18th thru May 5th, 2017, state, local, and federal organizations alike are planning for Operation Gotham Shield 2017 — a major nuclear detonation drill in the New York-New Jersey area, along with the U.S.-Canadian border. During this exercise, 4 nuclear devices, 2 of which are rendered “safe” during the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Vital Archer Exercise, and one successful 10kt detonation in the NYC/NJ area, along with one smaller detonation on the U.S./Canadian border are to take place.

Among the organizations involved are:

– U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

– U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

– U.S. Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO)

– U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

– U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

– U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM)

– State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management

– State of New York Office of Emergency Management

– City of New York Office of Emergency Management

And many more…

So the chances that we’re suddenly having totally random “unexplained” massive power outages in major cities, starting specifically in the one where this massive nuclear war/EMP drill is currently going down and it is all simply a coincidence seem poor at best.

Slavo continues:

The potential for a more explosive false flag to spin out of control, by hijacking and ‘converting’ the simulated actions, is all too real.

This is closely related to the mechanism that many researchers believe was at work on the day of 9/11, nesting a false flag attack inside of a series of large-scale training operations which invoked emergency powers and simulated attacks in locations that were actually hit.

Stay vigilant, people.

___
http://dailywesterner.com/news/2017-04-21/are-todays-massive-power-outages-really-secretly-part-of-the-operation-gotham-shield-nuclear-emp-drill/

Story 3: Barrier, Fence, Double Fence, Wall, Border Security — No Budget — No Deal — Democrats Shutdown Government? — Videos —

Image result for branco cartoons trump wall

Image result for branco cartoons trump wall

Will the US government shut down on Trump’s 100th Day in Office?

Border wall battle fuels shutdown showdown

Could border wall budget fight lead to government shutdown?

Chuck Todd INTERROGATES Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus

Tucker Carlson: Border wall a threat to Democrats’ power

Trump’s Push for Border Wall Threatens to Cause Government Shutdown

Panel Discuss Will Trump Shut Down Government Over Wall Funding? @amandacarpenter @neeratanden

Trump’s ‘big, beautiful wall’ collides with Congress

Liz Goodwin

Senior National Affairs Reporter
Yahoo News April 25, 2017

President Trump reportedly backed off his demand that Congress include a down payment for a wall spanning the entire U.S.-Mexico border in a crucial spending bill that must pass by Friday night to keep the government funded.

Republican lawmakers have urged the president to focus on border security in general instead of the wall, which Democrats have called a poison pill that would cause them to reject the bill and shut down the government.

Trump told a group of conservative reporters he invited to the White House on Monday that he was open to getting funding for the wall in September when Congress debates the 2018 budget, the Associated Press reported. This is a sharp reversal from his position over the weekend and early Monday, when he doubled down on his demand for the wall. Trump tweeted repeatedly that the wall is necessary to stop the flow of drugs into the United States.

“If the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be!” Trump exclaimed Monday, adding: “#BuildTheWall.”

On Tuesday morning, the president claimed he had not changed his position on the wall as the “fake media” was claiming, but he didn’t specify whether he still believed he would get the funds in this week’s spending bill, which increasingly looks like a political impossibility.

Don’t let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.

The president may have realized that with Democrats ready to shut down the government over the wall and many lawmakers in his own party skeptical of it, there was little chance of reaching a deal on his signature campaign promise before the Friday night deadline. Some critics noted that Trump had long promised that Mexico — and not the U.S. — would pay for the wall’s construction.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised Trump in a statement for taking the wall “off the table.” He had earlier called the demand a “monkey wrench” the president had thrown into sensitive negotiations between the parties over a series of spending bills to keep the government funded for the next five months.

A view of the U.S.-Mexican border fence at Playas de Tijuana in Mexico. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

View photos

 

A view of the U.S.-Mexican border fence at Playas de Tijuana in Mexico. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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But it’s possible the president will find a way to declare victory even if his call for a wall goes unanswered by Congress. Several Republican senators urged the president to think of the “big, beautiful wall” he promised on the campaign trail as symbolic of border security in general. That way, the president could declare any increase in border spending in the spending bill a victory, right as his presidency passes the symbolic 100-day mark on Friday.

“Border walls and fences are part of an overall plan, but there will never be a 2,200-mile wall built. Period,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters Monday evening. “I think [the wall] has become symbolic for better border security. So it’s a code word for better border security.”

Graham said the president would still be in “good shape” if he gets funding for border security in the spending bill that’s not specifically for a wall.

Congress readies for border wall fight neither party seems to want

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., also pushed for interpreting “border wall” as border security in general. “I know it’s being generally referred to as a border wall, but I think it’s the efforts to make sure that Border Patrol can have adequate funding for the people, technology and infrastructure they think they need to secure [the border],” Tillis said. “I think we can be less prescriptive about exactly what the structure looks like and more focused on the fact that we need to secure the border.”

Both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Schumer have signaled openness to funding border security in the spending bill as long as it doesn’t go to construction of a wall or the “deportation force” Trump mentioned during the campaign. The Democrats could theoretically agree to funds for more surveillance technology on the border, or to hire and train more border patrol agents. But it’s harder to imagine them supporting an increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, since they enforce immigration laws internally in the United States and not at the borders.

Meanwhile, one of the president’s staunchest defenders in Congress defended the delay of the president’s campaign promise, urging Americans to be patient.

“He said we would build a wall and Mexico would pay for it, … but he never said when,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said Monday night on Fox Business. “Some things just take time and don’t occur real quick. I think that’s the way with the wall.”

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/trumps-big-beautiful-wall-collides-congress-102804089.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

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

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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 

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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 840, February 16, 2017, Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 1: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Educates The Big Lie Media (Democratic Newspapers and Television Networks) with Fake News Spinning Propaganda — Videos

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 Story 1: President Trump’s First Press Conference Part 1: President Trump Speaks Directly To The American People — Videos — 

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Image result for cartoons president trump press conference

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Image result for cartoons president trump press conference

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Image result for cartoons 2017 branco president trump press conference

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Sorry media — this press conference played very different with Trump’s supporters

 Far from dead, he was positively exuberant. His performance at a marathon press conference was a must-see-tv spectacle as he mixed serious policy talk with stand-up comedy and took repeated pleasure in whacking his favorite pinata, the “dishonest media.”

“Russia is a ruse,” he insisted, before finally saying under questioning he was not aware of anyone on his campaign having contact with Russian officials.

Trump’s detractors immediately panned the show as madness, but they missed the method behind it and proved they still don’t understand his appeal. Facing his first crisis in the Oval Office, he was unbowed in demonstrating his bare-knuckled intention to fight back.

He did it his way. Certainly no other president, and few politicians at any level in any time, would dare put on a show like that.

In front of cameras, and using the assembled press corps as props, he conducted a televised revival meeting to remind his supporters that he is still the man they elected. Ticking off a lengthy list of executive orders and other actions he has taken, he displayed serious fealty to his campaign promises.

Trump goes on marathon rant against the media

Sure, sentences didn’t always end on the same topic they started with, and his claim to have won the election by the largest electoral college margin since Ronald Reagan wasn’t close to true.

Fair points, but so what? Fact-checkers didn’t elect him, nor did voters who were happy with the status quo.

Trump, first, last and always, matches the mood of the discontented. Like them, he is a bull looking for a china shop. That’s his ace in the hole and he played it almost to perfection.

The immediate impact of his performance is likely to calm some of the jitters among Republicans in congress and supporters elsewhere, especially after the beating he took in the last few days.

On Monday night, Trump suddenly removed Gen. Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, over circumstances that still are not entirely clear. And on Wednesday, his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, withdrew after Republicans said he didn’t have the votes to be confirmed.

Combined with courts blocking his immigration and refugee order, unflattering leaks of confidential material from intelligence agencies and numerous demands for investigations into any Russian connections, Trump’s fast start suddenly hit a wall.

Just three weeks into his term, Democrats, in and out of the media, smelled blood. Many already were going for the kill.

They won’t get it, at least now. Trump bought himself time yesterday.

Yet those determined to bring him down won’t give up, and the insidious leaks of secret material suggest some opponents are members of the permanent government who are willing to use their position and the media to undermine him.

Indeed, the most serious leaks seem to vindicate a warning that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer made in early January after Trump criticized leaders of the spook agencies.

“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told an interviewer. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

That incredible statement reflects what a dangerous game rogue agents are playing. The world is on fire yet the president is the target of partisan revenge in his own government. It’s a scandal and it’s outrageous, but it’s a fact that Trump must confront.

Finding the leakers and prosecuting them, which he promises to do, is part of the solution.

rAnother part comes Saturday, when Trump takes his solo act to Florida for a massive public rally. It’s smart for him to get out of Washington and soak in the enthusiasm of the populist movement he leads.

He should do it regularly, and also hold smaller, town-hall style forums where ordinary citizens can ask him questions in more intimate settings. Any way he can speak directly to the American people and hear from them democratizes his presidency and reduces the power of big biased media and the Washington establishment.

Yet the only sure and lasting way to keep ahead of the lynch mob is by producing results. Success will be Trump’s savior.

And nothing says success like jobs, jobs, jobs. Getting the economy to reach lift-off speed is essential so it can deliver the good-paying jobs and prosperity that he promised and the nation needs.

While Republican honchos in congress say they’re getting ready to move on tax cuts and replacing ObamaCare, nothing will happen without presidential leadership. That means Trump’s fate is in his own hands and he must keep himself and his White House team focused on delivering an economic revival.

If he does that, the lynch mob will be left holding an empty rope.

http://nypost.com/2017/02/16/sorry-media-this-press-conference-played-very-different-with-trumps-supporters/

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The Pronk Pops Show 821, January 20, 2017, Story 1: President Trump’s New Vision of Restoring The American Dream and Making America Great Again — America First! — Videos

Posted on January 20, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Benghazi, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Empires, Employment, Fast and Furious, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, Networking, Obama, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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

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Pronk Pops Show 812: December 12, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 806: December 2, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 805: December 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 804: November 30, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 802: November 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 801: November 22, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 799: November 18, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 770: October 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 769: October 5, 2016 

Pronk Pops Show 768: October 3, 2016

Story 1: President Trump’s New Vision of Restoring The American Dream and Making America Great Again — America First! —  Videos

Image result for Presidential Oath of Office donald j. trump and Mike Pence Image result for 20 January 2017 Presidential donald j. trump and Vice President Mike Pence Image result for 20 January 2017 Presidential donald j. trump and Vice President Mike Pence Image result for Presidential Oath of Office donald j. trumpImage result for 20 January 2017 Presidential donald j. trump and Vice President Mike Pence Image result for Presidential Oath of OfficeImage result for Presidential Oath of OfficeImage result for Presidential Oath of Office donald j. trumpImage result for Presidential Oath of Office donald j. trumpImage result for Presidential Oath of Office donald j. trumpImage result for cartoons president donald j. Trump inauguration speechImage result for Presidential Oath of Office donald j. trump and Mike Pence Image result for 20 January 2017 Presidential donald j. trump and Vice President Mike Pence Image result for cartoons president donald j. Trump inauguration speechImage result for 20 January 2017 Presidential donald j. trump and Vice President Mike Pence Image result for 20 January 2017 Presidential donald j. trump inaugration reviewing the parade
Image result for 20 January 2017 Presidential donald j. trump and Vice President Mike Pence Image result for 20 January 2017 Presidential donald j. trump Image result for Presidential Oath of Office donald j. trump and Mike Pence

President Donald Trump’s Full Inauguration Speech 2017

Watch the full speech from 45th US President Donald Trump

Watch Full Parade Ceremony For President Donald J. Trump Inauguration 2017

WATCH President Donald Trump Blow Away Crowd With MESMERIZING Inauguration Speech January 20th 2017

The future under President Donald Trump

Stirewalt, Kurtz react to Trump’s inaugural address

‘The Five’ react to the inauguration of President Trump

“THANK YOU BABY!” DONALD TRUMP TO KELLYANNE CONWAY AT INAUGURAL EVE DONORS DINNER

Rachel Maddow Says Trump’s Speech Was Hard to Hear

Donald Trump sworn in as 45th president of the United States

Donald Trump is now President

Trump takes his first official actions as president

President Trump calls for action in inaugural address

Hannity: President-elect Trump is inheriting a big mess

Report: Trump considering cuts to government spending

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, fellow Americans and people of the world – thank you.

We the citizens of America have now joined a great national effort to rebuild our county and restore its promise for all our people.

Together we will determine the course of America for many, many years to come.

Together we will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.

And we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent, thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another – but transferring it from Washington DC and giving it back to you the people.

For too long a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. While they have celebrated there has been little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America today.

This is your day.

This is your celebration.

And this – the United States of America – is your country.

What truly matters is not what party controls our government but that this government is controlled by the people.

Today, January 20 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now.

You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement –  the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the centre of this movement is a crucial conviction – that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighbourhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.

An education system flushed with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge. And the crime and the gangs and the drugs which deprive people of so much unrealised potential.

We are one nation, and their pain is our pain, their dreams are our dreams, we share one nation, one home and one glorious destiny.

Today I take an oath of allegiance to all Americans. For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidised the armies of other countries, while allowing the sad depletion of our own military.

We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own.

And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We have made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, shutters have closed on our factories without even a thought about the millions and millions of those who have been left behind.

But that is the past and now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, in every hall of power – from this day on a new vision will govern our land – from this day onwards it is only going to be America first – America first!

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every bone in my body and I will never ever let you down.

America will start winning again. America will start winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs, we will bring back our borders, we will bring back our wealth, we will bring back our dreams.

We will bring new roads and high roads and bridges and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labour.

We will follow two simple rules – buy American and hire American.

We see good will with the nations of the world but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their nations first.

We will shine for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and untie the world against radical Islamic terrorism which we will eradicate from the face of the earth.

At the bed rock of our politics will be an allegiance to the United States.

And we will discover new allegiance to each other. There is no room for prejudice.

The bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when god’s people live together in unity.

When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

There is no fear, we are protected and will always be protected by the great men and women of our military and most importantly we will be protected by god.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. As Americans, we know we live as a nation only when it is striving.

We will no longer accept politicians who are always complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over, now arrives the hour of action.

Do not allow anyone to tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail, our country will thrive and prosper again.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, to harvest the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.

We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag and whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look at the same night sky, and dream the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath by the same almighty creator.

So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean – hear these words – you will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes and dreams will define your American destiny.

Your courage, goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America safe again and yes – together we will make America great again.

Thank you.

God bless you.

And god bless America.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-inauguration-speech-transcript-text-full-read-a7538131.html

What you need to know about Trump’s first speech as president

Guardian US writers examine President Trump’s take on national security, the economy, climate change, healthcare, justice, immigration and gender

The economy

Donald Trump’s economic nationalism was on full display in his inauguration speech. The president spoke of the “American carnage” he claims has been wrought on America, leaving “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones” across a nation with “little to celebrate”, and blamed it on the outsourcing of US jobs. “America first” will be his presiding philosophy.

Those people left behind by the globalization and the deindustrialization of America helped elect Trump and they will be cheered by his message. But who benefitted from this transformation? According to a report published in Decemberby University of California at Berkeley economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the average pre-tax income of the bottom 50% of adults has stagnated since 1980 at about $16,000 per adult while the average pre-tax income of the top 1% rose from $420,000 to about $1.3m. The wealthiest 1% now owns over 37% of household wealth, the bottom 50% – some 160 million people – owns a mere 0.1%.

Trump’s supporters can blame outside forces for their feelings of economic insecurity but it is people like Trump and his cabinet, set to be the richest in history, who have been the main beneficiary of the economic forces that have reshaped America. Trump’s supporters will have to trust them to work against their own interests if they want to Make America Great Again. Dominic Rushe

Justice

Trump continued to position himself as a “law and order” president, painting a stark image of a country ridden with “the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential”.

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he pledged.

Obama spent the past two and a half years trying to delicately push forward both gun control laws and a fraught debate over how to reduce police violence towards black Americans. He repeatedly emphasized the good work of most police officers, but also refused to dismiss the mistrust and frustration many black Americans feel towards law enforcement.

Trump famously claimed during the campaign that Chicago police could stop the city’s sudden spike in gun violence “in one week” by “being very much tougher”. “Using tough police tactics,” was the key, he said, “which is OK when people are being killed”.

After years of record lows in murder and violent crime, the United States saw a troubling 10.8% uptick in murders in 2015 – the biggest single-year increase in decades, though one that left the number of murders roughly the same they had been in 2009.

Experts say it’s too soon to know how serious this increase might be – much less what has caused it. But Trump has selectively taken the worst statistics and waved them like a bloody flag.

The new president has made clear that he will take a tough-on-crime stance. despite the building bipartisan consensus that a less-punitive, less-costly criminal justice system is likely to make Americans safer. Lois Beckett

National security

Of all the striking moments in Donald Trump’s caustic inaugural address, few were more discordant than a president whose associates are under investigation for their connections to a foreign power using “America first” as a slogan.

The intelligence agencies that Trump has been feuding with since his electoral victory have concluded Russia interfered in the election for his benefit. They have sought a foreign-intelligence surveillance warrant to examine his associates’ connections to Russia and reportedly are combing through foreign communications and financial transaction records to that end. Additionally, the Senate intelligence committee has initiated an inquiry into the same subject, and has signaled its willingness to subpoena Trump aides.

The course of those inquiries will be the backdrop under which Trump conducts US foreign policy and stewards its national security.

In his address, which portrayed him as leading the nation out of an era of “American carnage” unleashed by parasitic elites, Trump beat a loud nationalist drum. Every foreign capital will soon learn, “it’s only going to be America first”, Trump said. His only sop to a universalist vision of America was to say that every nation has the right to similarly place their interests first.

Trump alluded to forging new alliances – a seeming reference to his oft-stated desire to bring the US closer to Russia – in order to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the earth.” While moments earlier, Trump lamented the loss of “trillions of dollars” through wasteful foreign conflicts, he set a rhetorical commitment to an expansive war against an undifferentiated adversary.

For years, the far right has argued that only a willingness to blame an amorphous concept called “radical Islam” – often conflated with Islam itself, and understood that way by millions of Muslims in the US and worldwide – can precipitate a victorious conclusion to the 9/11 era. They are about to have their test case in president Trump.

Trump’s inaugural speech in full

“It’s going to be America first” is a statement that conceals more than it reveals, particularly on national security.

While Trump offered few specifics, he criticized the US “subsidiz[ing] the armies of foreign countries while allowing the depletion of our own military”. That “subsidy” is the “by, with and through” approach to training foreign militaries that gave Barack Obama’s Pentagon an alternative to the ponderous ground warfare Trump first embraced in Iraq and then repudiated. Several of those armies, including Kurdish peshmerga irregulars, Iraqi soldiers, Syrian rebels and Libyan government forces – Muslims all – comprise the forces fighting the Islamic State across Mosul, on the approaches to Raqqa and in Sirte. An early test of Trump’s stewardship will come when he decides whether to revoke such subsidies or jettison his inaugural rhetoric. Spencer Ackerman

Health

Trump was inaugurated with just a nod to one promise he campaigned on – making America’s healthcare great again.

Though Trump devoted portions of his dark speech to crime, trade, immigration, jobs and even gangs, his only reference to American’s struggles to afford their healthcare was a promise to “to free the Earth from the miseries of disease”.

However, if the new president is interested in fulfilling promises to listen to the American people made during his speech, he might take a second look at Congressional Republican’s plan to repeal Barack Obama’s signature health law, the Affordable Care Act.

Only 20% of the public wants Congress to repeal the ACA without a replacement in hand, according to a January Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Another 47% don’t want the law repealed at all, and a remaining 28% want a plan first. But, so far, Republicans have been coy with details.

Barack and Michelle Obama stand with President Trump and Melania Trump at the inauguration. Repealing Obama’s signature healthcare plan is high on the Republican agenda.
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Barack and Michelle Obama stand with President Trump and Melania Trump at the inauguration. Repealing Obama’s signature healthcare plan is high on the Republican agenda. Photograph: POOL/Reuters

Trump’s speech did touch on one specific health problem: addiction. “The crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential,” said Trump. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

In fact, there is one significant reform that helped cover millions of Americans’ addiction treatment – the Affordable Care Act. Jessica Glenza

Climate

Unsurprisingly given its anonymity during the election, there was no mention of climate change or the environment in Donald Trump’s inauguration speech. He mentioned mountains and oceans, but only in context of locations in America that will be great again once he solves all of its maladies.

Trump did mention the US foolishly spending “trillions of dollars overseas” which partly references climate spending that the new president wants to axe. Barack Obama managed to push $500m out of the door for developing countries threatened by rising seas and droughts in his final week in office. Further assistance is now unlikely.

Most telling was what was happening off-stage. The White House website’s expansive section on climate change has now been deleted. In its stead is an “America first energy plan” in which Trump promises to scrap the “harmful and unnecessary” climate action plan. This move, as well as Trump’s speech, is a clear indication the president will simply ignore climate change, as if it does not exist, during his term. Oliver Milman

Immigration

President Trump referred to border protection three times throughout his short inauguration speech, a sure sign of the emphasis he will place upon it as he attempts to enforce the draconian immigration reforms he pledged on the campaign trail.

“We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own,” Trump said.

Critics would argue the remark is patently false. The Obama administration deported more undocumented immigrants than any before it, and took significant measures to secure America’s southern border.

Now the majority of migrants crossing the southern border come from Central America, many of whom are women and children seeking asylum from violence and instability in the region.

Trump has also pledged to suspend America’s intake of Syrian refugees, who are already subjected to substantial security vetting before they enter the country, and it seems likely the president will move forward with this promise within the next few days.

Coupled with Trump’s infamous promise to erect a wall across the entire southern border, it remains unclear just how much damage he will do to some of the world’s most vulnerable people in the name of border defense.

Gender

Trump didn’t mention gender issues in his inaugural speech. But in the days leading up to his swearing-in, his transition team unveiled a plan to eliminate $480m in Violence Against Women grants and his nomination for education secretary, Betsy DeVos,refused to commit to upholding the Obama administration’s aggressive stance on campus sexual assault or the rights of trans students.

Republicans in Congress have moved swiftly to repeal Obamacare, which expanded contraception access and prohibited insurers from charging women more for health care, and to cut off Planned Parenthood’s participation in Medicaid. Molly Redden

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=23799&action=edit

I will be the People’s President: Trump pledges to put America first in brutally uncompromising first speech as POTUS 45 in full frontal assault on elites at home and with a warning for nation’s rivals abroad

  • President-elect Donald Trump has taken the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States
  • In his inaugural address, Mr Trump delivered an elegy to Americans who felt neglected by their government
  • ‘I will fight for you with every breath in my body,’ he pledged. ‘And I will never, ever, let you down’  
  • Trump promised ‘America first’ would become the central organizing principle of his new government
  • Among those in the stands for the ceremony was Hillary Clinton – Trump’s rival in the election  

Donald Trump delivered a populist rallying call to Americans who felt left behind enough to send a non-politician to do the most powerful job on earth, after he was sworn in Friday as America’s 45th president.

‘I will fight for you with every breath in my body,’ he pledged. ‘And I will never, ever let you down.’

Trump promised ‘America first’ would become the central organizing principle around which his government is organized.

‘We will follow two simple rules. Buy American and hire American,’ Trump declared.

At 1,453 words, his inaugural address was the shortest since Jimmy Carter’s in 1977. His slogans were just as tight.

‘America first,’ a mantra that he put into common use as he campaigned for the White House, found some flesh on its bone Friday.

‘Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration on foreign affairs, will be made to protect American workers and American families,’ he said.

Trump’s oath of office – which he called ‘an oath of allegiance to all Americans’ – was marred by a protester blowing a whistle and another handful shouting muffled slogans in the distance.

But the moment passed. Trump spoke his vows. And America had a new leader.

President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President Donald Trump speaks after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Melania Trump looks on during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (R) with his wife Melania, and children Barron, Donald, Ivanka and Tiffany at his side during inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) takes the oath of office from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (R) with his wife Melania, and children Barron, Donald, Ivanka and Tiffany at his side during inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017

President Donald Trump hugs his family after taking the oath of office during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President Donald Trump escorts former president Barack Obama from the U.S. Capitol as Vice President Mike Pence and former vice president Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

President Trump and first lady Melania saw the Obamas off Friday afternoon

Former President Obama gave one last wave before boarding Marine One. He and his family are taking a vacation to Palm Springs

Marine One, carrying outgoing President Barack Obama and outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama, takes off from the capitol after Donald J.Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of The United States on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Marine One, carrying outgoing President Barack Obama and outgoing First Lady Michelle Obama, takes off from the capitol after Donald J.Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of The United States on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Karen Pence wave as former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama depart during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S.

President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Karen Pence wave as former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama depart during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S.

Newly inaugurated President Donald Trump and Pence preside over a military parade during Trump's swearing in ceremony 

Newly inaugurated President Donald Trump and Pence preside over a military parade during Trump’s swearing in ceremony

What Trump left out of his teleprompter-aided remarks was just as obvious as what he kept in.

There was no act of reconciliation with journalists, who have become his ink-armed foils and a new enemy as vexing to Trump as the Democratic Party.

Absent, too, was a spoken olive-branch to women who felt alienated after evidence of his ‘locker room talk’ and past coarseness around the fairer sex became part of his political epic.

Asked if Trump hit the right tones of contrition, Senator John McCain of Arizona told DailyMail.com: ‘I just think it was a continuation of his campaign.’

Asked if that was as it should be, McCain shrugged: ‘It’s his choice; he’s the president-elect.’

Other senators and top Trump advisers were more enthusiastic.

‘I loved it,’ said Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Trump’s national security advisor.

‘I think it was an amazing speech,’ Flynn told DailyMail.com. ‘I think the American people know that they have a president that stands for them – and I mean for all Americans.’

‘And I think the world actually heard a great message today.’

Asked if Trump hit all the right notes, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama – soon to be U.S. attorney general, said: ‘Yeah. It was a good day.’

Donald Trump signed his first orders as president surrounded by his children and grandchildren

One of Trump's grandsons hammed it up for the cameras as the president got to work on Friday

One of Trump’s grandsons hammed it up for the cameras as the president got to work on Friday

HILLARY’S HUMILIATION AT ATTENDING TRUMP’S INAUGURATION

Hillary Clinton finally came face-to-face with her political rival, President Donald Trump, as he entered Sanctuary Hall to take part in the traditional inaugural lunch.

Clinton, a guest of her ex-president husband, had her presidential ambitions swamped by Trump’s populist November victory.

She gamely participated in America’s famed peaceful transfer of power, despite falling short of being the day’s focus – but her face told the story of how she felt.

US President Donald Trump greets Hillary Clinton in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol for the Inaugural Luncheon following Donald Trump's inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017

US President Donald Trump greets Hillary Clinton in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol for the Inaugural Luncheon following Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States, in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017

Clinton was Trump's rival in the election. She attended his election as the wife of a former president 

Clinton was Trump’s rival in the election. She attended his election as the wife of a former president

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and former President Bill Clinton (R) arrive on the West Front of the US Capitol for the inauguration ceremony of Donald J. Trump taking the oath of office to be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, DC, USA, 20 January 2017. Trump won the 08 November 2016 election to become the next US President

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and former President Bill Clinton (R) arrive on the West Front of the US Capitol for the inauguration ceremony of Donald J. Trump taking the oath of office to be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, DC, USA, 20 January 2017. Trump won the 08 November 2016 election to become the next US President

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet former President Bill Clinton at the Inaugural Luncheon in the US Capitol January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump will attend the luncheon along with other dignitaries after being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump greet former President Bill Clinton at the Inaugural Luncheon in the US Capitol January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump will attend the luncheon along with other dignitaries after being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States

And among the crowd some people chanted ‘lock her up’ at the moment she and her husband were announced.

Some Democrats, including many in Congress, have questioned that decision, saying it tended to normalize the incoming president while their party aims to ostracize him.

But she showed up in a white pantsuit and coat, alongside Bill and their daughter Chelsea, smiling for cameras during an appearance she never thought she would make without hearing ‘Hail to the Chief’ played in her honor.

And she used Twitter to issued a veiled to rebuke to those who boycotted it – saying: ‘I’m here today to honor our democracy & its enduring values. I will never stop believing in our country & its future.’

Clinton won points from a former adversary for bucking up for the occasion.

‘I think it takes a lot to show up in that situation after the kind of campaign that was run against her,’ said Tad Devine, a top adviser to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton in the Democratic primaries.

Trump hinted at economic decline in America’s rust belt and breadbasket during his predecessor’s eight years in office.

‘The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and redistributed all over the world,’ he claimed. ‘But that is the past. We are looking only to the future.’

And in a hat-tip to one of his most famous catch-phrases, one that made hundreds of appearances on the campaign trail, the unlikeliest president promised that ‘America will start winning again, winning like never before.’

‘We will bring back our dreams,’ Trump said, and ‘determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.’

‘We will face challenges, we will confront hardships, but we will get the job done.’

The billionaire’s improbable resonance with the middle class and the poor found new voice on Friday, as he framed his election and inauguration as a power-shift from Washington to the rest of America.

‘We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people,’ he said to cheers.

‘For too long a small group in our nation’s capital have reaped the rewards of government while the people bore the costs.’

View of the West Front as President-elect Donald Trump arrives on the platform of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017, during his swearing-in ceremony

View of the West Front as President-elect Donald Trump arrives on the platform of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017, during his swearing-in ceremony

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Vice President Mike Pence takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as wife Karen Pence holds a bible on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: Vice President Mike Pence takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as wife Karen Pence holds a bible on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today’s inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

Trump's half-empty ceremony, which expected a turn out of 900,000 people, saw temperatures in the 40s and some rain was expected
Obama's 2009 ceremony saw nearly double than Trump's expected turn out
 

The historic National Mall sits half-empty during Trump’s inauguration (left). At Obama’s 2009 inauguration (right) there was an estimated 1.8million people in attendance despite the below freezing weather��

Vice President Mike Pence is sworn in as this wife Karen holds the bible during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence is sworn in as this wife Karen holds the bible during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump pumps his fist as he arrives for his Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump pumps his fist as he arrives for his Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump flashes a thumbs up during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump flashes a thumbs up during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

‘The jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself. But not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories,’ he said.

‘That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.

‘It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day, this is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country.’

Speaking of the ‘American carnage’ of inner city blight, crime and failing schools, he vowed that it ‘stops right here, and stops right now.’

‘We are one nation, and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.’

Trump pumped a fist in triumph after he finished speaking.

Asked how it felt moments after the ceremony concluded, Eric Trump grinned and flashed a thumbs-up.

Former Trump rival Ohio Governor John Kasich was in no mood to reflect on the change of leadership.

‘I’m not doing any interviews right now,’ he told DailyMail.com inside the Capitol.

Trump didn’t let the threat of Washington, D.C. rain showers spoil his inauguration, the long-time-coming culmination of an improbable political revolution that shows no sign of letting up.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S INAUGURAL ADDRESS

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.

And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.

An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.

And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.

Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example.

We will shine for everyone to follow.

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.

We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms and we all salute the same great American flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator.

So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again.

And, yes, together we will make America great again.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.

President-elect Donald Trump kisses his wife Melania Trump before the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump kisses his wife Melania Trump before the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Melania Trump arrives for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017

Melania Trump arrives for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017

Melania Trump (R) embraces Barron Trump on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

Melania Trump (R) embraces Barron Trump on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today’s inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

President Barack Obama, left, arrives with Vice President Joe Biden before the 58th Presidential Inauguration for President-elect Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President Barack Obama, left, arrives with Vice President Joe Biden before the 58th Presidential Inauguration for President-elect Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

The brash billionaire capped off a three-day parade of dinners, speeches, prayers and a concert with pomp and circumstance in front of the U.S. capitol as hundreds of thousands of Americans who he has said were ‘forgotten’ during the Obama years cheered him on.

The 45th president’s hated ‘dishonest media’ watched as storm clouds threatened, along with four former presidents, most of the U.S. Congress and a sea of ‘Make America Great Again’ devotees.

The sea of faces on the National Mall was dotted with red caps, Trump’s signature campaign items bearing that slogan, itself an artifact from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign.

When Trump was introduced, he turned and faced the crowd, smiled, and offered a wave.

Quoting Abraham Lincoln, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who headed the inaugural committee in the Congress, told the nation: ‘What we do here is both commonplace and miraculous.’

Blunt called it ‘not a celebration of victory,’ but ‘a celebration of democracy.’

Other senators visible on the balcony overlooking reporters included West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who met with Trump at Trump Tower, and Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr will oversee a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian election-year hacking.

Across the balcony to the south, House Appropriations chair Harold Rogers of Kentucky, who will oversee funding of Trump’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, picked a prominent standing position.

Standing next to Rogers was Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who had been a candidate for secretary of state.

Donald Trump's children Ivanka Trump (L), Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Eric Trump arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

Donald Trump’s children Ivanka Trump (L), Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr, and Eric Trump arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today’s inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

President Obama and Donald Trump are pictured above leaving the White House Friday morning on their way to the Inauguration 

President Obama and Donald Trump are pictured above leaving the White House Friday morning on their way to the Inauguration

Mrs Obama and future first lady Melania were seen leaving the White House after tea 

Mrs Obama and future first lady Melania were seen leaving the White House after tea

The President and President-elect make the drive from the White House to Capitol Hill on Friday 

The President and President-elect make the drive from the White House to Capitol Hill on Friday

US First Lady Michelle Obama (L) and Dr. Jill Biden arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2017

US First Lady Michelle Obama (L) and Dr. Jill Biden arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2017

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets Michelle Obama as former President Bill Clinton and former President George W. Bush look on at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets Michelle Obama as former President Bill Clinton and former President George W. Bush look on at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today’s inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

President-elect Donald Trump's children, from left, Tiffany, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump arrive for the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol for President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump’s children, from left, Tiffany, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump arrive for the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol for President-elect Donald Trump in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Ivanka Trump arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, for the presidential inauguration of her father Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, for the presidential inauguration of her father Donald Trump

Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of their father Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2017

Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump arrive for the Presidential Inauguration of their father Donald Trump at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 20, 2017

Tiffany Trump (L) and Eric Trump arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

Tiffany Trump (L) and Eric Trump arrive on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today’s inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States

A U.S. Marine Corps band played Sousa marches. Chants of ‘U.S.A.!’ broke out. Cheers erupted when the vice-president elect, Mike Pence, was announced, among the standing-room crowd stretching more than a mile to the west.

And as giant TV screens flashed mobs of Americans their first glimpse of the new president behind the scenes, a rock concert-like whoop went up. Before he was introduced, screams of ‘Trump! Trump! Trump!’ reverberated on a scale even though he has never seen or heard.

Among Trump’s living predecessors, only George H.W. Bush failed to make the trip, owing to his hospitalization in Texas. He sent his regrets to Trump, writing that his doctor warned sitting outside in the cold would put him ‘six feet under.’

Standing on the dais were his son, George W. Bush; Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton; and Barack Obama.

Trump’s crowd applauded the outgoing chief executive of the U.S., audibly surprising some members of the media whose seats were far to the front.

They were less kind to Sen. Charles Schumer, the newly minted Democratic minority leader. As his speech stretched beyond their patience, they broke into shouts of ‘We want Trump!’

Obama and the former first lady released a video message Friday morning, saying they would take a break from public life and ‘sit still for a little bit’ as they become private citizens again.

The message was an appeal for supporters to weigh in on the future of the Obama Presidential Center on the south side of Chicago.

Clinton’s wife, the Democrat whom Trump defeated soundly in the Electoral College more than ten weeks ago, also participated Friday in America’s peaceful transition of power.

The Obamas welcomed the Trumps to the White House Friday morning, ahead of the swearing-in ceremony

As is tradition, the current president and first lady welcome the president-elect and his wife to the White House for a pre-Inauguration tea

Mrs Trump brought a large gift from Tiffany's which she then handed over to Mrs Obama. It's unclear what was in the box

Mrs Trump brought a large gift from Tiffany’s which she then handed over to Mrs Obama. It’s unclear what was in the box

President Obama asked how Mr Trump was doing and shook his hand. Their wives then hugged

President Obama asked how Mr Trump was doing and shook his hand. Their wives then hugged

Before Mr Trump arrived at the White House, the Obama shared a sweet kiss - one of their last moments as president and first lady 

Before Mr Trump arrived at the White House, the Obama shared a sweet kiss – one of their last moments as president and first lady

Some Democrats, including many in Congress, have questioned that decision, saying it tended to normalize the incoming president when their party should be ostracizing him.

But she gamely attended in a white pantsuit, alongside Bill and their daughter Chelsea, smiling for cameras during an appearance she never thought she would make without hearing ‘Hail to the Chief’ played in her honor.

Clinton won points from a former adversary for bucking up for the occasion.

‘I think it takes a lot to show up in that situation after the kind of campaign that was run against her,’ said Tad Devine, a top advisor to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Devine spoke to The Hill newspaper.

Trump castigated Mrs. Clinton repeatedly as ‘Crooked Hillary,’ interrupting her during debates and projecting a generally belligerent attitude as he unseated the would-be first female president.

Even in victory, he has thrown a few shoulders.

Jared Kushner and a guest attend the inauguration ceremonies to swear in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017

Jared Kushner and a guest attend the inauguration ceremonies to swear in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017

epa05735079 Donald Trump, Jr. (C) and his wife Vanessa Trump (2-L) arrive on the West Front of the US Capitol for the inauguration ceremony of Donald J. Trump taking the oath of office to be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, DC, USA, 20 January 2017. Trump won the 08 November 2016 election to become the next US President. Others are not identified

epa05735079 Donald Trump, Jr. (C) and his wife Vanessa Trump (2-L) arrive on the West Front of the US Capitol for the inauguration ceremony of Donald J. Trump taking the oath of office to be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in Washington, DC, USA, 20 January 2017. Trump won the 08 November 2016 election to become the next US President. Others are not identified

Donald Trump Jr and his wife are seen with two of their children heading to the Inauguration Friday morning

Donald Trump Jr and his wife are seen with two of their children heading to the Inauguration Friday morning

Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival in the election, is attending today’s ceremony as the wife of former President Bill CLinton. As is tradition, all living presidents attend the Inauguration of a new president

Clinton's all-white outfit may have been a subtle nod to the Suffragettes. If she had won the election, she would have been the first female president

Clinton’s all-white outfit may have been a subtle nod to the Suffragettes. If she had won the election, she would have been the first female president

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura arrive at the Capitol Building on Friday. President Bush told reporters that his parents, former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush, are doing better at the hospital

Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura arrive at the Capitol Building on Friday. President Bush told reporters that his parents, former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush, are doing better at the hospital

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn arrive for the 58th Presidential Inauguration for President-elect Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn arrive for the 58th Presidential Inauguration for President-elect Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Senator Bernie Sanders, left, who lost the Democratic nomination arrives at the Capitol on Friday. He's pictured next to Arizona Senator John McCain, who ran a failed campaign against President Obama in 2008. McCain has now become a main opponent of Trump, despite being a senior member of the president's party

Senator Bernie Sanders, left, who lost the Democratic nomination arrives at the Capitol on Friday. He’s pictured next to Arizona Senator John McCain, who ran a failed campaign against President Obama in 2008. McCain has now become a main opponent of Trump, despite being a senior member of the president’s party

Senator Elizabeth Warren (in a pink scarf) arrives at the Capitol Building. Warren is a liberal voice in the Democratic party and a front runner for the 2020 ticket 

Senator Elizabeth Warren (in a pink scarf) arrives at the Capitol Building. Warren is a liberal voice in the Democratic party and a front runner for the 2020 ticket

L-R(FRONT) US Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Clarence Thomas, Back L-R: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Stephen Bryer on the platform of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017, before the swearing-in ceremony of US President-elect Donald Trump.

L-R(FRONT) US Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Clarence Thomas, Back L-R: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Stephen Bryer on the platform of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017, before the swearing-in ceremony of US President-elect Donald Trump.

Thursday night during a candlelight dinner at Washington’s Union Station, Trump jabbed at the Clinton campaign for planning a fireworks display in New York City when they thought they had the presidency locked up.

Ultimately, Team Clinton canceled its fireworks permit as Election Day closed in.

‘They spent $7 million on fireworks. And they canceled it – and that’s because history has proven that if you’re going to lose, you don’t want fireworks, right?’ Trump joked.

Trump’s sprawling family, the most visible sign of his softer side as he stumped for the White House, were out in force Friday.

Wife Melania, daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, and sons Don Jr., Eric and Barron beamed, along with three spouses and assorted Trump grandchildren.

Ivanka Trump’s power-husband, real estate investor Jared Kushner, will soon move into a White House office to become a ‘senior adviser’ to the president.

The wealthy and well-connected Orthodox Jew (Ivanka converted before their wedding) is expected to have a broad foreign-policy portfolio that includes a Middle-East peace mission to reconcile Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Trump relied heavily on Kushner’s counsel during the campaign. He said Thursday night at the dinner that ‘all my life I’ve been hearing that’s the toughest deal in the world to make. And I’ve seen it.’

‘But I have a feeling Jared’s going to do a great job,’ Trump said, addressing his son-in-law. ‘If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can.’

Donald Trump and Melania attend church Friday morning to kick off Inauguration Day. Melania channeled Jackie Kennedy in a matching dress, jacket and gloves in powder blue

Melania Trump channeled Jackie O in a powder blue sheath dress topped with a fitted bolero jacket. She matched her conservative frock with a pair of stiletto pumps and opera length gloves for a look that was both elegant and sophisticated.

We love the high neckline and wrap silhouette that gives an air of modesty to Melania’s ensemble, a perfect choice to accompany her husband’s classic navy blue suit. It’s a custom piece by Ralph Lauren so sadly you won’t find it online.

But you can emulate the new First Lady’s style with a cropped jacket of your very own from the edit below. From Oscar de la Renta to Le Bos all budgets are covered.

A view inside St John's Episcopal Church Friday morning 

A view inside St John’s Episcopal Church Friday morning

Mr Trump, his wife, Vice President-elect Mike pence and his wife sat in the front row of the church

Mr Trump, his wife, Vice President-elect Mike pence and his wife sat in the front row of the church

Rev Luis Leon greets President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania as they arrive for a church service at St. Johnís Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, on Donald Trump's inauguration day

Rev Luis Leon greets President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania as they arrive for a church service at St. Johnís Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, on Donald Trump’s inauguration day

All of Trump's children were with him, except youngest son Barron, age 10. Pictured above from left to right: Vanessa Trump with daughter Kai, Donald Trump Jr with one of his sons and Eric Trump holds hands with his wife Lara

All of Trump’s children were with him, except youngest son Barron, age 10. Pictured above from left to right: Vanessa Trump with daughter Kai, Donald Trump Jr with one of his sons and Eric Trump holds hands with his wife Lara

Tiffany Trump and her boyfriend

Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner pictured left. Tiffany Trump, Trump’s daughter with second wife Marla Maples, pictured attending church with her boyfriend

Rev Luis Leon greets Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife Karen upon their arrival for church service at St. Johnís Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, on Donald Trump's inauguration day

Rev Luis Leon greets Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife Karen upon their arrival for church service at St. Johnís Episcopal Church across from the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, on Donald Trump’s inauguration day

Kellyanne Conway, advisor to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, departs for a church service before the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017

Kellyanne Conway, advisor to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, departs for a church service before the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017

Washington, DC was bathed in red light this morning, hours before President-elect Donald Trump was set to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States 

Washington, DC was bathed in red light this morning, hours before President-elect Donald Trump was set to be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States

Trump will take the oath of office around 11:30am outside the Capitol Building (pictured Friday morning), before giving his Inaugural Address 

Trump will take the oath of office around 11:30am outside the Capitol Building (pictured Friday morning), before giving his Inaugural Address

As is tradition, Donald Trump stayed at the president's guest house, Blair House (white townhouse above), Thursday night 

As is tradition, Donald Trump stayed at the president’s guest house, Blair House (white townhouse above), Thursday night

Soon-to-be President Donald Trump left Blair House Friday morning to kick off Inauguration Day in Washington, DC. His wife Melania wore a chic blue jacket and skirt 

Soon-to-be President Donald Trump left Blair House Friday morning to kick off Inauguration Day in Washington, DC. His wife Melania wore a chic blue jacket and skirt

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FOR INAUGURATION DAY

BEFORE THE CEREMONY

8:30am – Donald and Melania Trump attend service at St. John’s Church

9:40am – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcome the Trumps to the White House

9:45am – Obamas host a coffee and tea reception for the Trumps.

10:30am – Trumps, Obamas leave White House for U.S. Capitol

AT THE CAPITOL

11:16am – Sen. Roy Blunt, Inaugural Committee chairman, delivers opening remarks

11:21am – Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez and Pastor Paula White-Cain deliver invocations

11:30am – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer delivers remarks

11:35am – Vice Presidential oath is administered by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas

11:47am – Presidential oath is administered by Chief Justice John Roberts

11:51am – President Donald Trump delivers inaugural address

12:12pm – Rabbi Marvin Hier, Rev. Franklin Graham and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson deliver benedictions

12:18pm Jackie Evancho performs the National Anthem

AFTER THE CEREMONY

12:30pm Obama departs by helicopter from East Front

12:54pm President’s Room signing ceremony

1:08pm – Luncheon

2:35pm – Review of the troops

3pm – Parade from the Capitol to the White House

7pm – Inaugural balls get underway

Nearly 70 Democrats from the House of Representatives said they would skip Trump’s swearing-in, however. Trump allies decried them as politically motivated crybabies.

The U.S. hasn’t seen as large an inaugural boycott since southern Democrats stayed away from the Capitol when Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in 1861.

At that time, seven southern states had already declared war on the Union.

New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone was one Democrat who decided to attend on Friday. But he told DailyMail.com that the new president’s remarks were ‘not at all’ sufficiently unifying.

‘I think that it was very contemptuous of the previous administration,’ Pallone said.

‘I think in many ways he was suggesting that, you know, President Obama and the previous administration were not looking out for the needs of the people. And I would say just the opposite. I would say that the Trump policies are going to hurt the average American, not help.’

Trump seemed to brush off the partisan rancor over what some Democrats called his ‘illegitimate’ victory, tweeting positive messages in the run-up to the most consequential day of his 70-year life.

‘It all begins today!’ he wrote on Twitter, his preferred method of mass communication.

‘I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!’ he added.

Crowds began pouring into the National Mall as the sun rose, and steady lines stretched behind security checkpoints

Kellyanne Conway, the pollster-turned-campaign manager who will be among the new president’s closest counselors in the West Wing, promised Friday morning that Trump would show himself throughout the day as ‘a man of action, a man of resolve.’

Conway, who celebrated her 50th birthday as the inauguration unfolded, arrived in a red, white and blue Gucci outfit with buttons that resembled snarling cats. The dress was a cross between continental soldier and Christmas nutcracker.

She told San Francisco-based NBC reporters that it was ‘Trump revolutionary wear.’

Conway said during a morning CBS interview that as the Obama era ends, America was ‘a divided country’ – but Trump ‘will lay down an important marker to try to unify’ Americans.

Some of that division was on display early in the morning, as so-called ‘J20’ protesters tried to interfere with inaugural ticket-holders entering security-screening north of the Capitol building.

Some held signs reading ‘Let freedom ring.’ Others hoisted ‘Free Palestine’ messages, blurring the protesters’ more pointed anti-Trump theme.

A few wore orange jumpsuits in protest of the continued operation of a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Police held the agitators at bay, standing between them and the steady river of ticket-holders streaming onto the heavily secured Capitol grounds.

A few black clad protesters 20 blocks away, including some in black masks, drew pepper spray from police as they smashed a window of a Starbucks coffee shop.

Far larger protests are planned for Saturday – a ‘women’s march’ that could draw up to 200,000 feminists who rejected Trump from the beginning.

As is tradition, President Obama was seen leaving a letter for the incoming president on the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office

As is tradition, President Obama was seen leaving a letter for the incoming president on the Resolute Desk of the Oval Office

As he left the West Wing one last time, President Obama told reporters he was feeling nostalgic 

As he left the West Wing one last time, President Obama told reporters he was feeling nostalgic

Vice President Joe Biden, and wife Dr Jill Biden, are seen walking out of the Oval Office Friday morning 

Vice President Joe Biden, and wife Dr Jill Biden, are seen walking out of the Oval Office Friday morning

Trump kicked off Friday as usual - with a tweet. He said: 'It all begins today! I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES - THE WORK BEGINS!'

Trump kicked off Friday as usual – with a tweet. He said: ‘It all begins today! I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!’

This view taken January 20, 2017 shows people gathering on the mall to witness President-elect Donald Trump take the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States

This view taken January 20, 2017 shows people gathering on the mall to witness President-elect Donald Trump take the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States

The event’s organizers have framed it as a wholesale repudiation of Trump’s long-past comments about women that surfaced as he ran for the White House, including an 11-year-old tape in which he describes the ease with which famous men can get away with sexual assault.

The march’s leaders attracted unwanted attention this week when they decided to exclude a contingent of women who oppose abortion rights. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is among the event’s sponsors.

As is usually the case when single-issue protesters gather in the nation’s capital, hangers-on representing other interest groups will march on the margins.

Some will shout against the darkness of Trump’s loud condemnation of Mexican illegal immigrants, whose numbers he claimed – in his campaign’s first speech – include drug dealers and rapists.

Gay-rights demonstrators will also attend, although Trump has broken with the evangelical wing of the Republican Party by embracing and defending the LGBT community.

Trump will likely be a far more disruptive agitator in his own way, bringing to the White House his take-no-prisoners business instincts and an internal bias toward action that at times seems hard-wired into his DNA.

Insiders told DailyMail.com to expect a flurry of executive orders on Monday including a few high-impact pen strokes affecting healthcare policy, taxes and diplomatic missions.

In particular, one senior aide said Wednesday that Trump is mulling an order that would give his State Department a clear path to immediately move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the nation’s ‘eternal capital.’

Trump in many ways is expected to be the yin to President Barack Obama’s yang, executing one 180-degree turn after another in ways that will dismiss the federal government’s tendency to move in slow, stepwise motion.

Another senior aide said Thursday that Trump plans to institute some form of a federal hiring freeze for non-essential personnel in departments not linked to national security.

Such a move would, as bureaucrats retire or quit, give the new president a quick route to budget savings that would not be subject to congressional review or interference from government workers’ unions.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: People gather on the National Mall prior to Donald Trump's Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20: People gather on the National Mall prior to Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States

Thousands of people were out in the streets before sunrise to get their spot for the Inauguration and parade 

Thousands of people were out in the streets before sunrise to get their spot for the Inauguration and parade

This view taken January 20, 2017 shows people in their seats at the US Capitol where President-elect Donald Trump will be taking the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States

This view taken January 20, 2017 shows people in their seats at the US Capitol where President-elect Donald Trump will be taking the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States

People gather on the National Mall prior to Donald Trump's Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States

People gather on the National Mall prior to Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump is being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States

A worker cleans steps on the inaugural stand on January 20, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, before the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump

A worker cleans steps on the inaugural stand on January 20, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, before the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump

Spectators wait in line to pass through security checkpoints for President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington

Spectators wait in line to pass through security checkpoints for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington

The newly sworn-in President Trump will watch his Inagural Parade from this covered structure outside of the White House. It's pictured above before dawn on Friday

The newly sworn-in President Trump will watch his Inagural Parade from this covered structure outside of the White House. It’s pictured above before dawn on Friday

Military personnel man a security checkpoint ahead of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC

Military personnel man a security checkpoint ahead of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC

In addition, Trump may use an executive order to rescind Obama’s ‘DACA’ and ‘DAPA’ programs, a collective promise that the federal government won’t deport illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, or their parents.

A Trump aide speculated Thursday that the president-elect is not planning a mass-deportation, but sees the programs as an impediment to ejecting ‘criminal aliens’ from the United States if they fall into one of those two groups.

Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, told DailyMail.com on Friday that he has no idea what kind of executive orders Trump is cooking up for his first days in office.

‘All I’ve heard is that Monday he’s going to sign a lot of what he can sign,’ Grassley said.

‘I haven’t heard anything specific about what that would be. Since I haven’t talked to anybody in the new administration I don’t have any basis for saying what they might do or might not do.’

Sessions offered no opinion about reports that the FBI is part of a multi-agency task force examining whether wire intercepts and financial records might show Russian interference in the 2016 election.

‘I’m not commenting on any of that, and I haven’t seen it either,’ he told DailyMail.com.

America’s political soothsayers never saw Friday’s inauguration coming 18 months ago, when Trump descended a lobby escalator in his Trump Tower skyscraper to announce his candidacy.

Newspaper editorials mocked him as a ‘carnival barker’ and a ‘charlatan.’ His fellow Republican White House hopefuls snickered as they plotted to undermine him, even as his star power seemed to monopolize the national media landscape.

Journalists and the pundit class, however, missed a groundswell of support from disaffected Republicans and independent voters who were ready for Trump’s message of economic populism.

As they pummeled him with bombshell accusations of misogyny and questioned the degree to which Russia-directed computer hacking gave him a decisive edge over Democrat Hillary Clinton, he never batted an eye.

Reporters and their employers became the enemy. Some were banned from campaign events. Others found themselves called out by name as thousands of chanting Trump fans egged him on.

Those same scribes will have to make their peace with covering ‘The Donald’ as he brings what actor Matthew McConaughey conceded to the Associated Press would be ‘a dynamic four years.’

Unlike most of institutional Hollywood, which supported Clinton almost unanimously, McConaughey said Americans should ’embrace’ their new leader and ‘shake hands with the fact that this is happening and it’s going down.’

Filmmaker Robert Redford, too, seemed resigned to reality on Thursday at his Sundance Film Festival.

‘Presidents come and go, the pendulum swings back and forth,’ he mused during the festival’s opening press conference.

Barbara Streisand, however, vented her spleen Trump-ward with a Huffington Post essay titled ‘Clueless, Reckless, Graceless, Mindless and Heartless: Our President Elect.’

‘He has demonstrated he is both dangerous and unfit for office,’ the aging actress and singer wrote.

A Rasmussen daily tracking poll released Friday showed that 56 per cent of Americans who were ‘likely voters,’ including 85 per cent of Republicans, have a positive view of Trump’s job performance as he takes over the Oval Office.

More than half – 55 per cent – of independent voters, those unaffiliated with either major political party, give Trump a thumbs-up. But 70 per cent of Democrats disagree.

Obama entered office with a 67 per cent approval rating in the same poll, as the nation’s first black president.

But he and the outgoing first lady embraced Friday’s transition, warmly greeting Donald and Melania Trump to the White House for the traditional pre-inauguration coffee and tea reception in the Blue Room.

The Trumps presented Michelle Obama with a gift, wrapped in an unmistakable Tiffany box.

Trump Tower adjoins the luxury jeweler’s New York City flagship store in, which this week reported a sales decline since airtight security began disrupting foot traffic on Fifth Avenue.

Donald and Melania Trump attended a black-tie dinner in Washington D.C. on Thursday night, their final engagement before he is sworn in as the 45th president

The dinner came after a busy day of inaugural events for the future First Family. At around 7pm, they waved goodbye to crowds at Lincoln Memorial after a concert 

The dinner came after a busy day of inaugural events for the future First Family. At around 7pm, they waved goodbye to crowds at Lincoln Memorial after a concert

Following the tradition of previous presidents, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery with Mike Pence to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier later 

Following the tradition of previous presidents, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery with Mike Pence to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier later

A presidential inauguration is a day of sometimes awkward adjustments, including one as the Trumps arrived following a prayer service at nearby St. John’s church.

Melania approached Michelle Obama for a handshake. Mrs. Obama went in for a hug. They ended up embracing – a hopeful gesture on display for the world to see, and to ponder.

The staff who oversees the White House residence presented the Obamas with a token of respect: the flag that flew over the presidential mansion Friday morning, and one that flew on the first day of his presidency.

After his inauguration, Trump is scheduled to attend a traditional luncheon with members of Congress, before participating in a parade that ends at the White House – where he will get used to sitting behind the Resolute Desk as he begins to shift from campaigning poetry to governing prose.

The first thing he will see is a letter from Obama, another tradition meant as a warm welcome as the baton is passed.

Obama aides wouldn’t say on Friday morning what the outgoing president wrote.

Trump’s inauguration didn’t set an attendance record – that honor belongs to Obama’s historic 2009 swearing-in.

But he did distinguish himself as the incoming president accompanied by the most prayers and invocations.

Three separate invocations at the beginning, and three benedictions after Trump’s speech, bookended the ceremonies as a rabbi, a Catholic bishop, and several protestant leaders bowed their heads along with the nation.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4140152/Donald-Trump-Jr-says-father-s-doing-great.html#ixzz4WMB0Wqpz

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The Pronk Pops Show 797, November 16, 2016, Story 1: Will Trump Stop The Dumbing Down of Education By Appointing Larry P. Arnn The Last Secretary of the Department of Education? –American People Would Cheer!– Videos

Posted on November 16, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Addiction, American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Networking, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Science, Senate, Social Science, Social Security, Taxation, Taxes, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Will Trump Stop The Dumbing Down of Education By Appointing Larry P. Arnn The Last Secretary of the Department of Education? –American People Would Cheer!– Videos

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Larry P. Arnn Wins 2015 Bradley Prize

Published on Jun 16, 2015

Dr. Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, was presented with the 2015 Bradley Prize for Outstanding Achievement.

Trump and Conservatism – Constitution Day Celebration

Published on Sep 17, 2016

Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg, and Professor of Political Science John Marini discuss presidential candidate Donald J. Trump’s role in conservatism in America.

“Education and Politics” – Larry P. Arnn

Dr. Larry P. Arnn at Freshman Convocation | Hillsdale College

Larry Arnn on Reclaiming America’s First Principles

What Problem Does the Constitution Solve?

“Conservatism and Constitutionalism” – Larry P. Arnn

Education, Self-Government and Our Current Crisis

Time to Give Up or Time to Fight On?

Introduction to the U.S. Constitution – 2011-09 – Dr. Larry Arnn

Charlotte Iserbyt – Deliberate Dumbing Down of the World

Charlotte Iserbyt: The Miseducation of America

Trump says he’s going to cut Dept of Ed and EPA

Donald trump on cutting the EPA an department of education (CleanAirMatters)

Abolish Public Education: Privatize All Schools – Ron Paul (1988)

Rand Paul – Eliminating the Department of Education

Ted Cruz Abolish the Dept of Education AFP Defending the American Dream Summit 08 22 2015

The Cruz Radical Agenda: Eliminate the Dept. of Education

Glenn Beck -4-14-2010-The Plan Part 3- Abolish The Department of Education Part 1

National Campaign Launched to Abolish U.S. Education Department

THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION FOR PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP SHOULD BE … NOBODY

By: Brian Darling | November 14, 2016

Now that President-elect Donald J. Trump has shocked the world and won the presidency, the talk has quickly shifted to the individuals he should consider for positions in his administration.

Politico reported on November 9, 2016 in a story titled “Meet Trump’s Cabinet-in-waiting” the following:

President-elect Donald Trump does not have the traditional cadre of Washington insiders and donors to build out his Cabinet, but his transition team has spent the past several months quietly building a short list of industry titans and conservative activists who could comprise one of the more eclectic and controversial presidential Cabinets in modern history.

As USA Today reports, there are plenty of names being floated for various administration positions. However, the best way to make the federal government great again (if that is even possible) is to shrink it. One interesting appointment should be Trump’s decision on who is to be the next Secretary of Education, and he could use that appointment to send a strong small government message. In Trump’s book, as reported by Business Insider, Trump has implied that the U.S Department of Education should be abolished.

During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly hit at the role of federal government in education, arguing instead for increased local control of schools. He has also hinted that the Department of Education should be abolished.

“A lot of people believe the Department of Education should just be eliminated. Get rid of it. If we don’t eliminate it completely, we certainly need to cut its power and reach,” he wrote in his book “Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America.”

It would be a bold move for President Trump to refuse to nominate a new head of the Department of Education to show that he is committed to abolishing it. For years, abolishing the Department of Education was part of the Republican platform until President George W. Bush teamed up with a liberal icon, the late Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, to pass No Child Left Behind that expanded federal intervention in education.

Education is best left to the states. That issue came into focus again when in May the Obama administration issued a letter ordering every public school in America to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of the opposite sex. Furthermore, the Department of Justice sued North Carolina over a law that prohibited people from the opposite sex to use public bathrooms. This action showed all followers of national news that the power of the federal government over education policy has gone haywire.

When one scans the Constitution, one cannot find any reference to education policy as an enumerated power of the federal government. Education has traditionally been a function of the states and ideas like No Child Left Behind have perverted that concept.

The time is now to create some incremental change in federal policy, particularly with regard to education. A good first step to at least scaling back the Department of Education would be for President Donald J. Trump to refuse to appoint anyone to be the next Secretary of Education.

Bruce Fein, former Associate Deputy Attorney General and General Counsel to the FCC under President Ronald Reagan takes my recommendation a few steps further and tells Conservative Review,

Trump should refuse to fill Department of Education, HUD, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Department of Labor, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Consumer Finance Protection Board. If there are one or a few serious things any of these agencies do, Trump should transfer them to another Cabinet Department, like DOE control over nuclear facilities.

That would be a bold, bold move and would show that Trump truly is coming to Washington to dismantle big government.

The time is now to create some incremental change in federal policy, particularly with regard to education.

At a minimum, leaving the Secretary of Education position vacant would be a daring move that would help in convincing conservative and libertarian Republicans that the president-elect is serious about implementing small government reforms.

https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/11/secretary-of-education-for-president-elect-trump-should-be-nobody#sthash.b5nJ00OW.dpuf

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And the truth is that these appointments really do matter. As the old saw has it: “Personnel is policy.” It’s the appointees in the various departments who will ultimately shape the Trump administration’s educational priorities and agenda. This has never been truer than now, given how much of Trump’s educational platform is a blank slate—or one filled with only the broadest of notional directives (e.g. school choice good, Common Core bad).

I’ll be clear: I don’t know who will populate the Trump administration’s Department of Education. I do have a few thoughts on some of the folks I’d like to see in the mix, though—and I figured I’d share them with you, if only so that fewer folks feel obliged to inquire. Please understand that this isn’t an exhaustive, careful, or complete list. After all, I have no particular thoughts, for instance, on the commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration. It’s more an eclectic mix of some names I’d like to see considered. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some names that I’d have included if I’d given this more thought, and it’s obviously limited to individuals who I’m guessing/hoping might be willing to serve in this choice-friendly, Common Core-skeptical, Republican administration. I’ve also omitted some of the most outspoken NeverTrumpers (like John Bailey and Mike Petrilli), for obvious reasons.

Mitch Daniels. Credit: Flickr

Keep in mind that I have no juice in any of this and there’s no reason to expect anyone to listen to me. But so it goes. With all that in mind, here are some of the names I’d love to see considered for a dozen of the top jobs (I’m not bothering with bios or current positions; if you don’t know who someone is, just ride the google):

U.S. Secretary of Education: Mitch Daniels, Scott Walker, Bill Evers, Gerard Robinson
Deputy Secretary: David Cleary, Brian Jones, Lisa Graham Keegan, Larry Arnn
Under Secretary: Nina Rees, Paul Pastorek, Jim Peyser, Vic Klatt, Hanna Skandera
Assistant Secretary – Civil Rights: Joshua Dunn, Greg Lukianoff, Robert Scott
Assistant Secretary – Communications and Outreach: Jenna Talbot, Joy Pullmann, Holly Kuzmich
Assistant Secretary – Elementary and Secondary Education: Dwight Jones, Robert Pondiscio, Tom Luna, Matt Ladner, Jim Stergios
Assistant Secretary – Legislation and Congressional Affairs: Lindsay Fryer, D’arcy Philps, Lindsey Burke
Assistant Secretary – Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development: Peter Oppenheim, Brad Thomas, Andy Smarick, Robert Enlow
Assistant Secretary – Postsecondary Education: Andrew Kelly, Jason Delisle, James Bergeron
Assistant Secretary – Special Education and Rehabilitative Services: Joe Siedlecki, Mike McShane, Max Eden
Assistant Secretary – Vocational and Adult Education: Tom Stewart, Tony Bennett
Institute of Education Sciences – Director: Patrick Wolf, Jay Greene, Caroline Hoxby, Martin West, Rick Hanushek

https://www.aei.org/scholar/frederick-m-hess/

Who Could Be Donald Trump’s Education Secretary?

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UPDATED

President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t have a track record on education, which means that his choice of education secretary will send a really important signal on where he wants to go in terms of policy on the Every Student Succeeds Act, higher education, and more.

So who is on the short list? Tough to say, but here are some names making the rounds inside the Beltway:

Dr. Ben Carson: The neurosurgeon was among Trump’s opponents in the Republican presidential primaries and later endorsed him. As a candidate, Carson’s proposed education agenda, like Trump’s, centered on school choice. It’s easy to imagine that Carson, who is famous for separating conjoined twins, would spend a lot of time as secretary talking about the importance of science education. It’s unclear what form that would take though, given some of Carson’s other views. As secretary, Carson could revive the culture wars over how to teach evolution, since he’s said in the past he doesn’t believe in it. UPDATE: It doesn’t look like Carson is interested in serving in Trump’s cabinet, according to Bloomberg.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin: Walker, also a one-time Trump GOP primary rival, is probably best known for rolling back collective bargaining rights for public employees, including teachers, in Wisconsin. It’s unclear if he wants to sit at the helm of the education department, but a lot of Republicans in Washington have him on the top of their wish list. Since Walker is, or at least was, a rising star in the party, such a pick could elevate the importance of the issue.

Gerard Robinson: The former state chief in Virginia and Florida is now a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and a leader of Trump’s transition team on education. Check out Andrew’s interview with him here on what he hopes to see from a Trump administration. (Robinson was speaking only for himself in the interview, not on behalf of any organization.)

Williamson Evers: A research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, he served in a top policymaking role—assistant secretary of planning, evaluation, and policy—during the tail end of the President George W. Bush’s administration. Evers, who has worked for past GOP presidential campaigns, is also a leader of the Trump transition team. He’s a veteran of the so-called “math wars” in California, has opposed teacher tenure, and was part of the Bush administration’s efforts to restart K-12 education in Iraq. More in this story. One possibility: Evers doesn’t become secretary, but gets a key role in the administration that could matter just as much on K-12, such as deputy secretary (the No. 2 post in the department).

Rep. Luke Messer, of Indiana: The GOP congressman pushed legislation that would allow Title I money for disadvantaged kids to follow students to the school of their choice, including a private school. That proposal ultimately foundered, but Messer has done some deep thinking on the question of how small-government-friendly Republicans could push choice. And he has a track record of working in a bipartisan way. He’s teamed up with Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., on student data privacy legislation, for instance.

Former Indiana state chief Tony Bennett: Bennett, who was a driving force in Chiefs for Change in its early days, is close to both former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and incoming Vice President Mike Pence, who served as governor of Indiana. As state chief, Bennett, a Republican, pushed for an ambitious education redesign agenda, including teacher evaluation through student outcomes, A through F grades for schools, an expansion of charter schools and vouchers, and more. He was also a consistent supporter of the Common Core State Standards, which Trump doesn’t like. But his hard charging style didn’t sit well with some educators, and he was defeated in his bid for re-election by Glenda Ritz, a Democrat. (Ritz went on to lose her own re-election bid this year.) Later, Bennett became Florida’s state chief.

But he came under scrutiny when emails showed that, during his tenure in Indiana, he had changed the grade of a charter school from “C” to “A.” The school, Christel House, was run by a philanthropist who donated to Bennett’s campaign. Bennett left his gig in Florida, and was ultimately cleared of ethics violations by the Indiana State Ethics Commission. He was found guilty of using state resources for political purposes, and had to pay a $5,000 fine.

Admiral William McRaven: He is a former United States Navy admiral who oversaw special operations, and is the current chancellor of the University of Texas system. He’d be the first secretary with a primarily higher education background since Lauro Cavazos who served as education secretary under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Tony Zeiss: The former president of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C. retired in February after more than two decades of service. The school became a national leader in workforce development under his watch, according to the Charlotte Observer. His work even got a shout-out in President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address. Zeiss, whose name surfaced late Tuesday, would be another higher education pick. And like Pence, he’s a Hoosier.

Eva Moskowitz or Michelle Rhee: Both of these “reformey” Democrats were floated by a Trump spokesman during an appearence on MSNBC. Moskowitz is the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, Rhee is the controversial former chancellor of public schools in the District of Columbia, where she pushed through policies like performance pay. Both are Democrats, so their policies could be pretty different from most of the other folks on this list.

Jeanne Allen: She’s a long-time school choice advocate who founded the Center for Education Reform, which champions vouchers and charter schools. Allen served as a senior aide at the U.S. Department of Education under President Ronald Reagan. In May, Allen said she rejected the opportunity to advise Trump’s campaign on education issues, telling us, “I don’t want my issues coming out of his mouth.”

It sounds like Allen may have reconsidered since then. She was heartened by the selection of Pence, and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, she said on Twitter.

A Total Outsider: Before the election, Carl Paladino, a school member in Buffalo, N.Y., and Trump surrogate, told the Council of the Great City Schools that Trump could go completely outside the box on the education secretary pick and choose a business leader or someone with experience outside of education.

In addition, two other school choice advocates, Betty DeVos, a philanthropist, and Kevin Chavous, a former D.C. City council member and a Democrat, are also possibilities. Both sit on the board of directors of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy organization. (Hat tip: Politico). And CNN has reported that Michelle Rhee, the former DC schools chancellor, is on the short list.

Of course, filling the lower-level positions at the department, such as the deputy secretary and assistant secretaries, can have an equally outsized impact on K-12. Over at Rick Hess Straight Up, the education policy director at AEI has some ideas.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2016/11/who_could_be_trumps_education_.html

 

 

Dumbing down

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dumbing down is the deliberate oversimplification of intellectual content within education, literature, cinema, news, video games and culture in order to relate to those unable to assimilate more sophisticated information. The term “dumbing down” originated in 1933 as movie-business slang, used by motion picture screenplay writers, meaning: “[to] revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence”.[1] Dumbing-down varies according to subject matter along with the reasons for lowering the intellect of the subject or topic. It often involves diminishment of critical thought involving the undermining of intellectual standards within language and learning; thus trivializing meaningful information, culture, and academic standards, as is the case of popular culture.

Philosophically, the term “dumbing down” is a relative definition, because what is considered dumbing down depends on the taste, value judgement, and intellectual level of the person involved in the matter. In Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (1979), the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) proposed that, in a society in which the cultural practices of the ruling class are rendered and established as the legitimate culture of that society, that action then devalues the cultural capital of the subordinate social classes, and thus limits their social mobility within their own society.

Education

In the late 20th century, the proportion of young people attending university in the UK increased sharply, including many who previously would not have been considered to possess the appropriate scholastic aptitude. In 2003, the UK Minister for Universities, Margaret Hodge, criticised Mickey Mouse degrees as a negative consequence of universities dumbing down their courses to meet “the needs of the market”: these are degrees conferred for studies in a field of endeavour “where the content is perhaps not as [intellectually] rigorous as one would expect, and where the degree, itself, may not have huge relevance in the labour market”: thus, a university degree of slight intellectual substance, which the student earned by “simply stacking up numbers on Mickey Mouse courses, is not acceptable”.[2][3]

In 2007 Wellington Grey, a high school physics instructor in London, published an Internet petition objecting to what he described as a dumbed-down curriculum. He wrote: “I am a physics teacher. Or, at least, I used to be”; and complained that “[Mathematical] calculations – the very soul of physics – are absent from the new General Certificate of Secondary Education.”[4] Among the examples of dumbing-down that he provided were: “Question: Why would radio stations broadcast digital signals, rather than analogue signals? Answer: Can be processed by computer/ipod” to “Question: Why must we develop renewable energy sources?” (a political question).

In Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1991, 2002), John Taylor Gatto presented speeches and essays, including “The Psychopathic School”, his acceptance speech for the 1990 New York City Teacher of the Year award, and “The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher”, his acceptance speech upon being named as the New York State Teacher of the Year for 1991.[5] Gatto writes that while he was hired to teach English and literature, he came to believe he was employed as part of a social engineering project. The “seven lessons” at the foundation of schooling were never explicitly stated, Gatto writes, but included teaching students that their self-worth depended on outside evaluation; that they were constantly ranked and supervised; and that they had no opportunities for privacy or solitude. Gatto speculated:

Was it possible, I had been hired, not to enlarge children’s power, but to diminish it? That seemed crazy, on the face of it, but slowly, I began to realize that the bells and confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of the national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think, and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior.[5]

In examining the seven lessons of teaching, Gatto concluded that “all of these lessons are prime training for permanent underclasses, people deprived forever of finding the center of their own special genius.” That “school is a twelve-year jail sentence, where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school, and win awards doing it. I should know.”[5]

Mass communications media

Increased business competition and the introduction of econometric methods changed the business practices of the mass communications media. The business monopoly practice of media consolidation reduced the breadth and the depth of the journalism practiced and provided for the information of the public. The reduction of operating costs (overhead expenses) eliminated foreign news bureaus and reporters, in favour of presenting the public relations publications (news releases) of governments, businesses, and political parties as fact.

Refinements in measurement of approval ratings and audience size increased the incentive for journalists and TV producers to write simplistic material, diminishing the intellectual complexity of the argument presented, usually at the expense of factual accuracy and rationality. Cultural theorists, such as Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, Neil Postman, Henry Giroux, and Pierre Bourdieu, invoked these effects as evidence that commercial television is an especially pernicious contributor to the dumbing-down of communications. Nonetheless, the cultural critic Stuart Hall said that the people responsible for teaching critical thinking – parents and academic instructors – can improve the quality (breadth and depth) of their instruction by occasionally including television programmes.

In France, Michel Houellebecq has written (not excluding himself) of “the shocking dumbing-down of French culture and intellect as was recently pointed out, [2008] sternly but fairly, by TIME magazine.”[6]

In popular culture

The science fiction film Idiocracy (2005) portrays the U.S. as a greatly dumbed-down society 500 years later, in which the low cultural condition was achieved with dysgenics, over-reproduction by people of low intelligence being greater than the rate of reproduction of people of high intelligence. Similar concepts appeared in earlier works, notably the science fiction short story The Marching Morons (1951), by Cyril M. Kornbluth which also features a modern-day protagonist in a future dominated by low-intelligence persons. Moreover, the novel Brave New World (1931), by Aldous Huxley, discussed the ways that society was effectively dumbed down in order to maintain political stability and social order.

The social critic Paul Fussell touched on these themes (“prole drift”) in his non-fiction book Class: A Guide Through the American Status System (1983)[7] and focused on them specifically in BAD: or, The Dumbing of America(1991).

The musical groups Chumbawamba, The Divine Comedy, Ugly Duckling, and Lupe Fiasco, each have a song titled “Dumb It Down”.

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Algeo, John; Algeo, Adele (1988). “Among the New Words”. American Speech. 63 (4): 235–236. doi:10.1215/00031283-78-3-331.
  2. Jump up^ ‘Irresponsible’ Hodge under fire“, BBC News, 14 January 2003. URL accessed on 24 June 2006.
  3. Jump up^ 50% higher education target doomed, says thinktank“, EducationGuardian.co.uk, 14 July 2005. URL accessed on 24 June 2006.
  4. Jump up^ “Physicists protest at GCSE change”. BBC News. 28 June 2007.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c The Odysseus Group Web site of John Taylor Gatto [1], retrieved 23 February 2009
  6. Jump up^ Michel Houellebecq/Bernard-Henri Lévy, Public Enemies (2011) pp. 3-4
  7. Jump up^ Fussell, P. (1983). Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. New York: Summit Books

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbing_down

Larry P. Arnn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Larry Paul Arnn has served as the twelfth president of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, United States since May 2000.[1][2][3][4][5]

He is a political conservative who has been influenced by the thought of Leo Strauss and his teacher Harry V. Jaffa.[6]

Biography

Born in Pocahontas, Arkansas, Arnn received his B.A. (1974) in Political Science and Accounting from Arkansas State University.[1][3][4] He earned graduate degrees in Government from Claremont Graduate School — an M.A. in 1976 and a Ph.D. in 1985.[1][3][4] Arnn studied in England from 1977 to 1980, at the London School of Economics studying International History and then at Worcester College, Oxford University in Modern History