Story 1: Turkey Votes To Change From Parliamentary to Presidential System of Government — Videos —
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
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
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. PHOTO: JOHN MOORE/GETTY IMAGES
Dion Nissenbaum in Washington and
Maria Abi-Habib in Beirut
Updated April 14, 2017 10:29 p.m. ET
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.
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.
—Jessica Donati and Habib Khan Totakhil in Kabul and Carol E. Lee in Washington contributed to this article.
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 fled to Raqqa, boosting the ISIL forces that were already present in their de facto capital city.
The SDF officially announced the start of the operation on 6 November in the village of Ayn Issa. 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. The SDF general command called for the international coalition against ISIL to support the operation. 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”.
Phase One: Isolating Raqqa from its northern hinterland
Tal Saman, ISIL headquarters in the northern Raqqa countryside, after being captured by the SDF.
On 6 November, the SDF captured six small villages, including the villages of Wahid, Umm Safa, Wasita, Haran, al-Adriyah and Jurah south and southeast of Ayn Issa. The Islamic State detonated four car bombs on the first day of the offensive.
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. 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. 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.
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.The SDF had also begun to besiege Tal Saman, the largest village and ISIL headquarters north of Raqqa, 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. On the next day, the SDF advanced into Tal Saman, resulting in a fierce battle with its ISIL defenders. At the same time, the SDF also captured 10 more villages and farms. By 19 November, the SDF had fully captured Tal Saman and had driven ISIL completely from the surrounding countryside. With this, the first phase of the offensive was considered completed.On 20 November 2016, 200 fighters completed training, joined the SDF, and were sent to participate in the offensive.
The second phase of the offensive aimed to enforce a full blockade of the city of Raqqa. On 21 November, the SDF captured two more villages, while ISIL launched a counter-attack near Tal Saman. Over the next days, the SDF attempted to further advance, such as at al-Qalita, but was unable to break through ISIL’s defense line south of Tal Saman. 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.
On 25 November, ISIL received reinforcements from Iraq, among them explosive experts and defected Iraqi Army personnel. 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. 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. Iraqi military however later stated in April 2017 that he might still be alive.
On 27 November, the SDF announced the offensive’s second phase was due to start, though this was then delayed. At least five SDF fighters were killed in renewed clashes north of Raqqa on 29 November. Meanwhile, ISIL suffered from the defection of two senior commanders, who fled from Raqqa to join Jabhat Fateh al-Sham in Idlib. 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. 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. 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.
Phase Two: Isolating Raqqa from its western countryside
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. The United States announced that it would send 200 more troops to assist the SDF. The next day, the SDF captured seven more villages from ISIL. On 12 December, the SDF captured four villages as well as many hamlets south of Tishrin Dam. The SDF captured five villages during the next two days. On 15 December, the SDF captured three villages, taking the total number of villages captured by them in the second phase to 20.
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. On 19 December, ISIL launched a counter-attack to regain four villages in the northwestern countryside, but the attack was repelled after a few hours. The following night, ISIL forces retreated largely unopposed from the besieged 54 villages, leaving them to be captured by the SDF. The SDF declared that they had captured 97 villages overall during the second phase, and had begun to advance against Qal’at Ja’bar.
On 21 December, the SDF seized five villages near Qal’at Ja’bar, including Jabar, which served as the main weaponry storage and supply centre for ISIL in the northwestern countryside. The coalition then began to move toward Suwaydiya Saghirah and Suwaydiya Kabir, the last villages before Tabqa Dam. Even though an ISIL counter-attack managed to retake Jabar village soon after, the SDF attacked again on 23 December, and once again took control of it, while also capturing another village. This prompted ISIL to launch yet another counter-attack later that day, which was accompanied by several suicide car bombs. 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, though some ISIL holdouts persisted in Jabar.
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, and by 26 December, the SDF had finally fully secured the main Jabar village, with the last ISIL defenders being expelled after heavy fighting. An ISIL counterattack on the village later that day failed, 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Also on January 1, the SDF resumed its offensive on the northern front, reportedly advancing 6 km south of Tell Saman against ISIL positions. The SDF reportedly captured nine more villages in this area, within the next three days. 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. Another two villages and hamlets were captured by the SDF on 5 January.
SDF fighters examine Qal’at Ja’bar. ISIL had built tunnels and weapons depots into the medieval castle.
The SDF captured Qal’at Ja’bar (Ja’bar Castle) from ISIL on 6 January. The same day, ISIL was reported to have moved its 150 prisoners from Tabqa city due to the offensive. The SDF later captured eight villages and five hamlets at the Ayn Issa front. On 7 January, the SDF captured five villages including the strategic Suwaydiya Gharbi and Suwaydiya Saghirah, reaching the outskirts of Tabqa Dam. ISIL reportedly recaptured Suwaydiya Saghirah by the next day after a counterattack, while a local leader of the group was killed in clashes. Meanwhile, ISIL was reported to have withdrawn 150 of its fighters towards Raqqa city.
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. 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.
On 9 January, the SDF captured another village, along with three hamlets.
On 10 January, ISIL launched a large-scale counter-attack at the Jabar frontline and reportedly recaptured several sites; with pro-Free Syrian Army sources claiming Qal’at Ja’bar and the village of Jabar were among these. ISIL consequently released photos of dead SDF fighters, while claiming that over 70 of them had been killed in the counter-attack. However, the SDF was reported to still be in control of Jabar village and Qalat Jabar a few days later.
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. 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, besieging a large pocket of about 45 villages and 20 hamlets. All of them were captured by the next day, resulting in the alliance gaining about 460 square kilometres (180 sq mi) of land. Another village was captured by the SDF on 13 January. On 15 January, the SDF progressed to Suwaydiya Kabir village, while ISIL launched a large-scale counter-attack against Mahmudli and a nearby village, resulting in clashes within these settlements. The attack was repelled after several hours of fighting. The SDF captured three villages during the day, while Suwaydiya Saghirah was also reported to be under its control again. On 17 January 2017, 28 Arab tribes from Raqqa announced their support for the offensive and encouraged locals to join the SDF.
The SDF attacked Suwaydiya Kabir on the next day, leading to heavy clashes in the village. Meanwhile, it was announced that about 2,500 local fighters had joined the offensive since it began. On 19 January, ISIL launched a counter-attack against Suwaydiya Saghirah, supported by mortars and heavy machine guns, killing or wounding several YPG fighters. Despite this, the SDF made further progress on the next day, capturing a village and advancing against many other ISIL-held villages. 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.
Tabqa Dam raid and further SDF advances in the north
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.
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, and caused the water level of the Euphrates to rise to its highest level in 20 years, leading to record flooding downstream. Coinciding with this, pro-SDF sources reported that US special forces and SDF units had launched a raid against Al-Thawrah across the river. 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.
Over the next three days, ISIL repeatedly launched fierce counter-attacks against SDF positions in the western and northern countryside. ISIL managed to retake ground in the area around the dam, but the attack was later repelled.
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”. 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.
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, which the coalition had already unsuccessfully attacked in November. ISIL maintenance crews managed to fix the pipelines during 3 February, restoring Raqqa’s water supply. On 3 February, 251 Arab fighters in Hasaka completed their training and joined the SDF.
Phase Three: Isolating Raqqa from its eastern countryside
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. 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. On the next day, the Kurdish-led forces captured another two villages along with a hamlet and two farms, and besieged Bir Said, while especially intense airstrikes hit several ISIL targets in Al-Thawrah. Bir Said, along with another village, was eventually captured by the SDF on 6 February. In addition to these villages, the SDF also captured another five villages on two fronts. The SDF made further progress, capturing three more villages on 7 February. 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. 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.
As these advances continued, ISIL responded by launching several unsuccessful counter-attacks against Suwaydiya Kabir and other strategic territories captured by the SDF. 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. The SDF captured Mizella the next day. 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; the next day, the SDF attempted to cross the Balikh River northeast of Raqqa, leading to heavy fighting with local ISIL defenders. On 12 February, a large-scale counter-attack by ISIL reportedly succeeded in retaking Suwaydiya Kabir and four other nearby villages. However, pro-YPG sources denied these reports. 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. Clashes continued over the next few days. On 16 February, 165 more SDF fighters completed training and joined the offensive.
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. 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, while the Russian Air Force conducted airstrikes on ISIL forces in Raqqa city for the second time since its entry into the war. 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. On 18 February, the SDF stormed a prison a few kilometres northeast of Raqqa, freeing some of the inmates. They later captured three villages in Deir ez-Zor’s northern countryside. On the next day, the SDF captured five villages to the east of Raqqa. 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.
On 21 February, the SDF captured two villages on the Makman front and another one near Raqqa. ISIL later again assaulted Suwaydiya Kabir, attacking it from three fronts, leading to heavy fighting around it. 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. The SDF stated that it had entered Deir ez-Zor Governorate for the first time in the offensive. On the next day, they captured six villages and sixteen hamlets.
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. They captured the strategic Abu Khashab village later that day. On 25 February, they captured another three villages on the fourth front.
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. 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. On 28 February, it was reported that the US-led coalition had completely destroyed the Tabqa Airbase in an airstrike.
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.
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. The area captured by SDF forces on that day was about 19 square kilometers, and about 32 ISIL militants were killed in the clashes. 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, and reached the Euphrates River. The SDF captured six villages, the Al-Kubar Military Base (a former nuclear facility), and the Zalabiye Bridge, during the day. On 8 March, the SDF took control of the strategic West Menxer hill in the eastern countryside, 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. 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.
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. 244 Arab fighters from the Raqqa countryside also joined the SDF during the day, for the protection of the people in the region. On the next day, SDF forces advancing from the Abu Khashab front captured three villages, including two near Kubar. On 12 March, the SDF captured Khas Ujayl village, to the southeast of Raqqa, on the Abu Khashab front, while ISIL continued to launch repeated counterattacks in the area, in an attempt to check the SDF advances. Meanwhile, 230 ISIL fighters entered Raqqa to reinforce the city.
On 14 March, the SDF captured the Khass Hibal village, as well as the Al-Kulayb grain silos, along the Raqqa-Deir Ezzor highway. 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). The SDF captured the Hamad Asaf silos and the Al Kulayb village the next day. Hamad Assaf was also reportedly captured. 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. Meanwhile, clashes continued to take place around Khas Ujayl.
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. On the next day, SDF captured al-Karama, along with Jarqa village as well as a train station and water pumping station nearby. On 21 March, it was reported again that the SDF had captured Hamad Assaf in the eastern countryside from the Abu Khashab front. Another village was captured on 22 March from the Abu Khashab front. 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. 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.On 24 March, the SDF took control of two more villages in the eastern countryside of Raqqa.
Battle for al-Tabqa countryside and other advances
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. SDF and US forces also landed on the Jazirat al-‘Ayd Island (or Peninsula) to the west of Tabqa Dam, capturing it as well. 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. 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.
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. Airstrikes by the coalition on Tabqa city were reported to have killed about 25 civilians. 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. 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. 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. 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. ISIL’s Amaq News Agency later denied later that the SDF had captured the dam.
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. 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. On the same day, it was also reported that the SDF had captured 8 villages to the southwest of Al-Thawrah. On 25 March, pro-Kurdish news agency Kurdistan24 reported that the SDF had announced the capture of the Tabqa Dam. On the same day, the SDF advanced on Al-Tabqa Airbase, setting off clashes in the vicinity.Amaq meanwhile claimed SDF had withdrawn from the dam.
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.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.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. 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. 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. They later announced that they had completely captured the Al-Tabqa Airbase, following a 24-hour battle.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.
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. A day later however SDF announced they were temporarily pausing their offensive for the dam. 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. SDF also captured 2 villages to the west of Raqqa on the same day. It resumed the offensive against ISIL at the Tabqa Dam on 28 March. 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.
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. On 31 March, SDF forces attacked the town of Al-Safsafah, to the east of Al-Thawrah, in an attempt to besiege the city. 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. The SDF announced during the day that over 220 new recruits had joined the offensive. Meanwhile, leaflets were dropped on the city calling on ISIL to surrender. Clashes continued in the countryside of Tabqa on next day as both sides attempted to advance.
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. 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. SOHR, however, stated that they were still trying to besiege the city. SDF fighters continued battling for Safsafah and Ibad, on the next day, to fully encircle Tabqa. 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. 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. The village was captured by the next day, resulting in SDF completely encircling Tabqa city.
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. ISIL also launched unsuccessful counterattacks on Safsafah, while also attacking Al-Tabqa Airbase. The SDF captured another village near Tabqa on the next day.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. A plan to attack Raqqa city itself was also scheduled to for April 2017, but it was postponed due to the Battle of Tabqa. SDF was reported to have captured a village in the northern countryside of Raqqa on the same day.
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. 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. They also cleared the Mushayrifah village near Tabqa, killing 27 ISIL fighters.
On 17 April, the SDF captured 3 villages in the northern countryside of Raqqa along with four hamlets.
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.”
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. 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. 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. On the same day, the Raqqa Civil Council announced that it had taken over the administration of the eastern countryside.
A YPJ sniper during the offensive on 13 November 2016
A boat carrying SDF fighters cross Lake Assad on 9 April 2017
Toyota Hilux and other vehicles of the YPG and YPJ near Tabqa, 9 April 2017
Jump up^Most Leftist Western volunteers fight as part of the YPG, though some have also formed an independent unit, the Antifascist International Tabur, or joined the International Freedom Battalion. The latter is a larger unit, mostly composed of Kurdish and Turkish communists.
Jump up^1,500 volunteers from villages captured by the SDF during phase one; 1,000 volunteers from villages captured during phase two, 750 volunteers from villages captured during phase three, 200 more joined in April
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.ARA News, on the other side, reported that only 5 Western volunteers had been killed.
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.”
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
By Gareth Davies For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 06:48 EDT, 3 March 2017 | UPDATED: 07:05 EDT, 3 March 2017
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.
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
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
Iraqi soldiers fire a rocket toward Islamic State militants on the outskirt of the Makhmour south of Mosul, Iraq
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.
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
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
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
‘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
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
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.
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?
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. 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.
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.
Some historians have correlated a connection between Corduene with the modern names of Kurds and Kurdistan;T. A. Sinclair dismissed this identification as false, while a common association is asserted in the Columbia Encyclopedia.
Some of the ancient districts of Kurdistan and their corresponding modern names:
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 SasanianMarzban 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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”. 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, augmented by Turkey’s move towards acceptance of such a state although it opposes moves toward Kurdish autonomy in Turkey and Syria.
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.
In an attempt to deny their existence, the Turkish government categorized Kurds as “Mountain Turks” until 1991. The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan”, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government. Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life. Many people who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, political parties that represented Kurdish interests were banned.
In 1983, the Kurdish provinces were placed under martial law in response to the activities of the militant separatist organization, Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 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. Many villages were reportedly set on fire or destroyed. Food embargoes were placed on Kurdish populated villages and towns. More than 20,000 Kurds were killed in the violence and hundreds of thousands more were forced to leave their homes.
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.
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. 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. Various sources have reported that Al-Nusra has issued a fatwā calling for Kurdish women and children in Syria to be killed, and the fighting in Syria has led tens of thousands of refugees to flee to Iraq’s Kurdistan region. As of 2015, Turkey is actively supporting the Al-Nusra.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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. This act caused Baghdad to threaten to revoke Exxon’s contract in its southern fields, most notably the West-Qurna Phase 1 project. Exxon responded by announcing its intention to leave the West-Qurna project.
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). 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.
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).
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.
Story 1: President Trump Honors U.S. Navy SEAL Killed in a Weekend Raid in al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen — Videos —
PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKES UNANNOUNCED VISIT TO HONOR SLAIN NAVY SEAL
President Trump departs for Dover Air Force Base
FOX NEWS ALERT , SOON: President Trump at dover air force base to honor fallen seal killed in yemen
News Wrap: Trump makes surprise visit to honor Navy SEAL killed in Yemen
Navy SEAL Team 6 carries out daring raid in Yemen
Trump Releases Statement About SEAL Team Six Warrior Killed in Yemen Raid
U.S. Special Forces launch Raid against Al-Qaeda in Yemen
Raid in Yemen results in first U.S. combat death under Trump administration
Trump Leaves D.C. to Honor Fallen U.S. Navy Seal
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AP) — Assuming the somber duties of commander in chief, President Donald Trump made an unannounced trip Wednesday to honor the returning remains of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed in a weekend raid in Yemen.
Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, a 36-year-old from Peoria, Illinois, was the first known U.S. combat casualty since Trump took office less than two weeks ago. More than half a dozen militant suspects were also killed in the raid on an al-Qaida compound and three other U.S. service members were wounded.
More than a dozen civilians were also killed in the operation, including the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical cleric and U.S. citizen who was targeted and killed by a drone strike in 2011.
Trump’s trip to Delaware’s Dover Air Base was shrouded in secrecy. The president and his daughter, Ivanka, departed the White House in the presidential helicopter with their destination unannounced. A small group of journalists traveled with Trump on the condition that the visit was not reported until his arrival.
Marine One landed at Dover shortly before a C-17 believed to be carrying Owens’ remains touched down. The president met with Owens’ family during a two-hour visit to the base. The sailor’s family had requested that Trump’s visit and the return of Owens’ remains be private.
Former President Barack Obama lifted a ban on media coverage of the casualty returns, though families may still request privacy. A spokeswoman at Dover said about half of families choose to allow media coverage.
Owens joined the Navy in 1998 and was the recipient of two Bronze stars, a Joint Service Commendation and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, among other honors. In a statement following his death, the Navy Special Command called Owens a “devoted father, a true professional and a wonderful husband.”
His death underscores the human costs of the military campaigns Trump now oversees. Far fewer troops are serving in combat now than in the wars Trump’s predecessors led in Afghanistan and Iraq, but thousands of Americans remain in hotspots around the world.
In Afghanistan, where America’s longest war continues, about 8,400 U.S. troops are training and advising local forces. More than U.S. 5,100 troops in Iraq and about 500 in Syria are involved in the campaign against the Islamic State group. The U.S. also engages in counterterrorism operations – mainly drone strikes – in Yemen, where Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited the chaos of the country’s civil war.
Sunday’s pre-dawn raid – which a defense official said was planned by the Obama administration but authorized by Trump – could signal a new escalation against extremist groups in Yemen.
As a candidate, Trump said he would be willing to “take out” the families of terrorists in order to root out extremism. On Tuesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said no Americans “will ever be targeted” in raids against terror suspects.
The president’s trip to Dover comes as he begins weighing whether to reshape U.S. military activities around the world. As a candidate, he vowed to be tougher on the Islamic State and at one point said he would be willing to send up to 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the extremist group in Iraq and Syria. Last week, Trump gave the Pentagon and other agencies 30 days to submit a plan for defeating the Islamic State.
Trump has said little about his approach to Afghanistan. Obama had pledged to end the war there on his watch, but continuing security concerns prompted him to extend the U.S. military campaign, handing the war off to a third American president.
Trump, who never served in the armed forces and received student and medical deferments during the Vietnam War, had an uneven relationship with the military community during the presidential campaign.
About 60 percent of voters who served in the military supported Trump in the presidential election, compared with 34 percent who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. But Trump was also criticized by military groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, for his feud with the Khan family, whose Muslim-American son was killed while serving in Iraq.
Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor and AP Polling Director Emily Swanson contributed to this report.
President Trump honors first military casualty of his presidency by meeting fallen SEAL’s coffin – and takes Ivanka with him
The body of fallen SEAL Team 6 member Officer William Owens arrived Tuesday afternoon at Dover Air Force Base
President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka flew to Delaware to meet him
Officials said that in the President’s first strike ‘almost everything went wrong’
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer got emotional on Wednesday as he talked about the raid, which he admitted was not a ‘100% successs’
Nawar al-Awlaki, 8, was among several non-combatants killed in Trump’s first raid; she was the daughter of the American al Qaeda leader killed in a 2011 raid
By Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent and Abigail Miller For Dailymail.com
PUBLISHED: 15:39 EST, 1 February 2017 | UPDATED: 18:46 EST, 1 February 2017
Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens, a 36-year-old from Illinois, was killed in Sunday’s botched raid
President Donald Trump is mourning the death of a SEAL Team Six member killed in hisfirst military raid as president.
Trump and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, arrived at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon, after making the short flight to Delaware from Washington in Marine One, to receive the body of Chief Special Warfare Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens.
They touched down at Dover AFB at 3:51 pm.
The president and first daughter were accompanied by Delaware Sen. Chris Coons at the private return ceremony that Owens’ family also attended.
He is survived by his wife, Karen, and their three children. They are believed to have arrived after the president and his daughtr in a Air Force C-17 transport.
Owens was killed in a pre-dawn raid, in which officials have said ‘almost everything went wrong,’ on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula last Sunday.
It was Trump’s first clandestine strike, and it was not one that had previously been ordered by former President Barack Obama.
Eight-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, known as Nora, was also among the non-combats killed in the raid, which resulted in the death of several Yemeni women.
Owens was a 36-year-old from Illinois.
Scroll down for video
President Donald Trump is mourning the death of a SEAL Team Six member killed in his first military raid as president
Trump and his eldest daughter, Ivanka, arrived at Dover Air Force Base this afternoon, after making the short flight to Delaware from Washington, to receive the body of Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens
Today’s journey is Ivanka’s first trip on Marine One
The pair exited the Oval Office to make the journey
President Trump salutes a marine as he boards Marine One Wednesday afternoon from the South Lawn of the White House
Marine One flew with a decoy and support helicopters to Dover Air Force
Ivanka Trump leaves her home in Washington D.C. on Wednesday lunchtime
She met her father at the White House and they rode together on Marine One to Dover
SEAL Team 6 is the US Navy’s special forces team that gained worldwide fame for killing Osama bin Laden.
Dover AFB is traditionally the arrival point for service members killed in action.
Obama’s first trip to Dover was on Oct. 29, 2009, nine months into his administration.
He received 18 American soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. He reflected several hours later, in Oval Office remarks on the toll of war. ‘It is something that I think about each and every day,’ he stated.
The U.S. president was back at Dover again two years later, in 2011, to receive the remains of 30 soldiers who died in Extortion 17, a helicopter mission in Afghanistan that resulted in the most American military casualties in a single day since the beginning of the war on terror.
The Sunday raid that resulted in the death of Owens involved ‘boots on the ground’ at an AQAP near al Bayda in south central Yemen, officials confirmed in a statement to NBC news.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was visibly affected by the tragedy as he addressed it in his daily briefing with reporters before Trump’s trip to Dover.
The president’s spokesman admitted that the raid was not a ‘100 percent success.’
‘I think it’s hard to ever say something was successful when you lose a life,’ Spicer said.
The White House official said Owens deployed 12 times ‘because he loved his country and he believed in the mission.’
Spicer said that 14 AQAP members were killed and U.S. forces gained ‘an unbelievable amount of intelligence’ in the raid ‘that will prevent potential deaths or attacks on American soil.’
‘You never want to call something a success 100 percent when someone is hurt or killed and that was the case here. But I think when you recognize that an individual like this loved this country so much and deployed over and over again because he knew the mission that he was conducting was so important to our protection, our freedom, our safety.’
Ivanka has been filling in for some traditionally first lady roles with Melania in New York
The First Lady is in New York until at least June, leaving Ivanka to fill the role
Marine One with US President Donald Trump and Ivanka on board, just before it lands at Dover Air Force Base
Ivanka’s husband, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence watched from the Rose Garden as they left
An eight-year-old, Nora, killed in the raid was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki (pictured), an American al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a US strike ordered by President Obama five years ago
Anwar al-Awlaki’s daughter killed in first Trump sanctioned raid
Owens’ wife, Karen, stressed in her conversation with the president that while it is ‘an unbelievably sad and emotional time for her and her family that he loved doing this.’
‘And so again, I don’t think you ever call anything 100 percent success, but what he did for this nation and what we got out of that mission, I think, I truly believe and I know the president believes is going to save American lives.’
The eight-year-old who was killed in the raid, Nora, was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born al Qaeda leader, born in New Mexico, who was killed in a U.S. strike Obama ordered five years ago.
Al-Awlaki was killed by a drone on September 30, 2011 after the Justice Department approved the strike in a memorandum that was not disclosed until 2014.
The memo said: ‘We do not believe that al-Awlaki’s US citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action.’
United States intelligence officiers believed that al-Awaki was a potential successor to Osama Bin Laden.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said of Owens in a statement, ‘Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service.’
This was the president’s first clandestine strike, and not one that was originally ordered by former President Obama. It involved ‘boots on the ground’ at an al Qaeda Camp near al Bayda in south central Yemen (pictured)
Nora’s grandfather, Nasser al-Awlaki, is Yemen’s former agriculture minister. He told NBC news, ‘My granddaughter was staying for a while with her mother, so when the attack came, they were sitting in the house, and a bullet struck her in the neck at 2:30 past midnight. Other children in the same house were killed.’
He said she died two hours after being shot.
Mr. al-Awlaki said hte SEALS ‘entered another house and killed everybody in it, including all the women. They burned the house. There is an assumption there was a woman from Saudi Arabia who was with al Qaeda. All we know is that she was a children’s teacher.’
Nawar al-Awlaki, also known as Nora, was among the non-combatants killed in the raid, which also resulted in the death of several Yemeni women
The girl’s mother survived, NBC says, and sustained a minor wound. Al-Awlaki’s brother-in-law, however, was killed in the raid.
An official told NBC that the raid was directed from a U.S. base in Djibouti. Officially, it was to search for ‘information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terrorist plots’.
After American service members landed on the ground, a two-hour gun battle ensued. Some al Qaeda fighters were women, and they were among the casualties, reported the San Diego Union Tribune.
Al Qaeda has claimed that 30 civilians have died, and the Tribune reported that four other Americans were wounded in the raid and complications in the aircraft landing.
National security experts believe that the death of the girl will be used as a part of al Qaeda propaganda methods.
Trump said in December of 2015 that he wouldn’t fight a ‘politically correct war’ against ISIS. In a interivew on Fox & Friends, Trump said, ‘The other thing with the terrorists, you have to take out their families.
‘They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. But when they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families,’ he said.
The Geneva Conventions, of which the United States is a signatory, bars the killing of civillians.
Trump, then a GOP candidate for president, reversed his position in March, saying in a statement, ‘I will use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies.
‘I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters.’
After Nora al-Awaki was killed in Sunday’s raid, the White House went a step further on Tuesday and Spicer unoquicivocally stated: ‘No American citizen will ever be targeted.’
One of Spicer’s deputies walked back her boss’ claim later that day. She said in a statement that the Trump administration would abide by the legal standard adopted by the Obama administration.
‘U.S. policy regarding the possible targeting of American citizens has not changed,’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that was reported on by Bloomberg.
Pictured: The rubble of a building destroyed by a US drone air strike that targeted suspected al Qaeda militants. The strike killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, son of Anwar and brother of Nora. National security experts believe that the death of the girl will be used as a part of al Qaeda propaganda methods
One US service member killed, 3 injured in raid on Al Qaeda in Yemen
Published on Jan 29, 2017
DEVELOPING: One U.S. service member was killed and three wounded in a raid against a group of senior Al Qaeda leaders in central Yemen, officials said.
The U.S. Central Command said in a statement Sunday that another service member was injured in a “hard landing” in a nearby location.
The aircraft used in the landing unable to fly afterward and “was then intentionally destroyed in place.”
A total of 14 fighters from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed in the assault, and U.S. service members captured “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots,” according to the military.
Yemeni security and tribal officials said the assault in central Bayda province killed three senior Al Qaeda leaders.
The surprise dawn attack killed Abdul-Raouf al-Dhahab, Sultan al-Dhahab, and Seif al-Nims, Yemeni officials said. The al-Dhahab family is considered an ally of Al Qaeda, which security forces say is concentrated in Bayda province. A third family member, Tarek al-Dhahab, was killed in a previous U.S. drone strike years ago. It was not immediately clear whether the family members were actual members of Al Qaeda.
Just over a week ago, suspected U.S. drone strikes killed three other alleged Al Qaeda operatives in Bayda province in what was the first-such killings reported in the country since Donald Trump assumed the U.S. presidency.
The tribal officials said the Americans were looking for Al Qaeda leader Qassim al-Rimi, adding that they captured and departed with at least two unidentified individuals.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, long seen by Washington as among the most dangerous branches of the global terror network, has exploited the chaos of Yemen’s civil war, seizing territory in the south and east.
The war began in 2014, when Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies swept down from the north and captured the capital, Sanaa. A Saudi-led military coalition has been helping government forces battle the rebels for nearly two years.
An 8-year-old American girl was killed during the SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen
Nawar Anwar al-Awlaki, known as Nora, was shot during the raid carried out by the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 against an Al Qaeda camp,according to NBC News.
“She was hit with a bullet in her neck and suffered for two hours,” her grandfather Nasser al-Awlaki told Reuters. “Why kill children? This is the new administration. It’s very sad — a big crime.”
SEAL Chief Petty Officer William (Ryan) Owens was also killed during the hourlong gun battle, and three other American commandos were injured. An MV-22 helicopter that crash-landed had to be destroyed before the SEALs left.
“Almost everything went wrong,” a senior US military official told NBC News of the operation, which was the first clandestine strike approved by President Donald Trump.
Born in New Mexico, Anwar al-Awlaki spoke at the Capitol and the Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks but eventually left the US in 2002. The process of his radicalization accelerated after he was imprisoned in Yemen — with US encouragement — and he became a top recruiter and mentor to several Al Qaeda operatives, including Nidal Malik Hasan, who killed 13 people during the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down an American airliner in 2009 with explosives hidden in his underwear.
Awlaki was killed in a CIA Predator drone strike in 2011, the first time an American citizen was targeted and killed in such a way. Another US citizen, Samir Khan, who published the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire, was also killed in the strike.
About two weeks later, a US drone strike killed Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman. US officials denied he was their target.
Anwar al-Awlaki’s fiery online video sermons have continued to inspire militants in the years since his death.
His daughter’s death will likely be used in militant propaganda efforts, especially since she is the second of Anwar al-Awlaki’s children killed by the US. It was not immediately clear where she was born, but having an American father would have given her automatic dual citizenship in the US and the country of her birth.
“The perception will be that it’s not enough to kill al-Awlaki — that the US had to kill the entire family,” Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University’s Center on National Security, told NBC.
According to Middle East Monitor, the US is already being accused on social media of “assassinating children.”
US servicemember killed in raid on al Qaeda in Yemen
By Ryan Browne, CNN
Updated 2:18 PM ET, Tue January 31, 2017
US service member killed in raid01:13
(CNN)A US Navy Seal died of wounds suffered during a raid in Yemen against al Qaeda — the first American combat death under President Donald Trump, US Central Command said Sunday.
Six other servicemembers also were wounded, all non-life threatening.
On Monday, the Pentagon identified the service member who was killed as Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday callled Owens’ family, the White House said.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer described the call as a “very somber and lengthy conversation” with Owens’ wife, father and children.
“Ryan gave his full measure for our nation, and in performing his duty, he upheld the noblest standard of military service,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said.
“In a successful raid against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) headquarters, brave US forces were instrumental in killing an estimated 14 AQAP members and capturing important intelligence that will assist the US in preventing terrorism against its citizens and people around the world,” Trump said in a statement Sunday.
“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” he added. “My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member. I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries.”
A US military official said the raid was not directed against specific individuals, but aimed at “site exploitation,” a military term to describe intelligence-gathering actions.
Sources in Yemen told CNN that three senior al Qaeda leaders were among those killed. That was later confirmed by a US official.
Donald Trump’s Middle East challenges03:06
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our elite servicemembers,” Commander of US Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel said. “The sacrifices are very profound in our fight against terrorists who threaten innocent peoples across the globe.”
Ongoing civil war
Central Command said an aircraft assisting in the operation experienced a hard landing, resulting in three US troops being injured. That aircraft, which a US defense official said was a V-22 Osprey, was unable to fly after the landing and was then intentionally destroyed in place.
The US operation resulted in an estimated total of 14 members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) being killed and the capture of information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.
A US defense official said the operation was authorized by Trump. The military said there were no civilian casualties as a result of the raid.
American military raids in Yemen are rare. The US did conduct several drone strikes on AQAP targets there last week.
The starving victims of Yemen’s civil war02:18
Yemeni officials told CNN that the raid took place in the Gaifa region in Yemen’s northern Baitha province.
US military officials believe AQAP is exploiting the ongoing civil war in Yemen to solidify its presence there.
Yemen is currently beset by a conflict between Houthi rebels, a minority Shia group from the north of the country, and the internationally recognized government led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Saudi Arabia is leading a military intervention against the Houthis in support of the government.
CNN’s Hakim Al-Masmari and Tim Lister contributed to this report.
Story 2: Trump Administration Condemns Iran for Provacative Guided Ballistic Missile Launch and Violates United Nations Resolution — Officially Putting Iran on Notice’ — Videos
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn: ‘As of Today, We Are Officially Putting Iran on Notice’
UN To Hold Emergency Meeting Over Iran’s Missile Tests
Netanyahu Iran missile test must not go unanswered
Alleged missile test strains Iran nuclear deal
Iran tests medium-range ballistic missile
Iran Test-Fire Of Medium-Range Missile Ends In Failure
Published on Jan 31, 2017
According to two U.S. defense officials, Iran has test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile, the first launch of its kind since President Donald Trump took office.
According to the officials who spoke to NBC News on Monday, the United States deemed the launch to be a failure, after the missile flew more than 500 miles before crashing. The official spoke on Monday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the press.
The test-fire poses a challenge for Trump’s fledgling administration. During the campaign, he took several stances on the Iran nuclear deal signed by Barack Obama and other world powers in 2015. He vowed to strictly police the agreement or renegotiate it entirely.
Trump White House Puts Iran ‘On Notice’ After Missile Launch
Security adviser condemns Iran, but doesn’t specify action
U.S. national security adviser Mike Flynn speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.PHOTO: NICHOLAS KAMM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
By CAROL E. LEE and MICHAEL C. BENDER
Feb. 1, 2017 3:09 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—The White House on Wednesday sharply condemned Iran’s recent ballistic missile test launch and accused Tehran of threatening the U.S. allies in the region, and warned of unspecified consequences.
“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” national security adviser Michael Flynn told reporters during a daily press briefing.
Mr. Flynn said the latest missile test was a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution. He said similar actions by Iran in the past six months weren’t met with a sufficiently stern U.S. response and that President Donald Trump’s administration would take a tougher approach to blunt Tehran’s “destabilizing influence.”
“Iran is now feeling emboldened,” Mr. Flynn said.
White House officials declined to elaborate on what Mr. Flynn meant by his warning to Iran, but Mr. Trump has a number of options, including new sanctions. There is bipartisan support in Congress for additional sanctions, some of which were opposed by former President Barack Obama because he said they would violate the 2015 international deal with Iran to restrain its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Mr. Flynn’s declaration came as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis heads to Asia for his first overseas trip and on the day Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has been confirmed.
The test launch was the first Iran has conducted since Mr. Trump took office almost two weeks ago, and the White House’s rhetoric suggested the two countries are headed for an early confrontation.
Mr. Trump staked out an antagonistic stance toward Tehran during the presidential campaign, and Iran was among seven Muslim-majority countries whose citizens he barred from the U.S. in an executive order Friday, calling it a needed move to keep terrorists from entering the country.
Khamenei ally says useless for U.S. to threaten Iran over missile test: Fars
By Parisa Hafezi
Reuters February 2, 2017
ANKARA (Reuters) – A top adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday Iran will not yield to “useless” U.S. threats from “an inexperienced person” over its ballistic missile program.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, said on Wednesday the United States was putting Iran on notice over its “destabilizing activity” after it test-fired a ballistic missile.
Trump echoed that language on Thursday, saying in a tweet “Iran has been formally put on notice” after his administration said it was reviewing how to respond to the launch that Iran said was solely for defensive purposes.
Iran said on Wednesday it had tested the new ballistic missile but said it did not breach a nuclear deal reached with six major powers in 2015 or a U.N. Security Council resolution that endorsed the accord.
“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran … the American government will understand that threatening Iran is useless,” Ali Akbar Velayati said, without identifying any U.S. official specifically in his comments.
“Iran does not need permission from any country to defend itself,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency. Khamenei is the country’s most powerful figure.
A U.S. official said Iran had test-launched the medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday and it exploded after traveling 630 miles (1,010 km). Iran said it had been a successful launch.
A series of tests conducted by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in 2016 caused international concern, with some powers saying any launch of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles would violate U.N. Security Council resolution 2231.
The IRGC maintains an arsenal of dozens of short and medium-range ballistic missiles – the largest in the Middle East, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Under the nuclear agreement, most U.N. sanctions were lifted a year ago. But Iran is still subject to an U.N. arms embargo and other restrictions, which are not technically part of the deal.
Trump has frequently criticized the Iran nuclear deal, which restricts Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of the sanctions, calling the agreement weak and ineffective. He tweeted on Thursday that Iran “should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them”.
Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan told the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Thursday: “The missile test on Sunday was successful … the test was not a violation of a nuclear deal with world powers or any U.N. resolution.”
German newspaper Die Welt, citing unspecified intelligence sources, reported on Thursday that Iran had tested a home-made cruise missile called “Sumar” that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
Tasnim news agency two years ago published pictures of the Sumar missile, reporting that it was successfully test-fired.
While Iran says its missile program is aimed at displaying the country’s “deterrent power and its ability to confront any threat”, some IRGC commanders have said that Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles were designed to be able to hit Israel.
Story 3: Yemen Houthis Rebels Destroy Saudi Missile Frigate — Videos
Houthis Destroy Saudi Navy War Ship
Saudi Frigate Attacked by Houthi Rebels
TRUMP MAKES PHONE CALL TO SAUDI KING SALMAN
Why Do Saudi Arabia And Iran Hate Each Other?
What Is Happening In Yemen?
The US may be aiding war crimes in Yemen
Origins of the crisis in Yemen
Will’s Take: Saudi Arabian Intervention in Yemen Is Good News for U.S.
YEMEN UPDATE 30 01 2017 RISKING FAMINE!
When Houthis attack | January 2017 | Yemen – Saudi Arabia
EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon believes attack on Saudi frigate meant for US warship
By Lucas Tomlinson, Jennifer Griffin
Published January 31, 2017
Suicide bomb attack may have been meant for American warship
The Iranian-backed suicide attack targeting a Saudi frigate off the coast of Yemen on Monday may have been meant for an American warship, two defense officials told Fox News.
The incident in question occurred in the southern Red Sea and was carried out by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Two Saudi sailors were killed and three were wounded. At first the ship was thought to have been struck by a missile.
U.S. defense analysts believe those behind the attack either thought the bomber was striking an American warship or that this was a “dress rehearsal” similar to the attack on the USS Cole, according to one official.
The attack, near the Bab al Mandab Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, occurred in the same area where U.S. Navy warships came under missile attack in October.
An American destroyer shot down those incoming missiles — the first successful engagement in combat using an American SM-2 missile.
USS Nitze, an American destroyer, retaliated soon after, launching Tomahawk missiles on October 13 at multiple Houthi radar sites in Yemen.
This latest incident came a day after President Trump spoke by phone with the Saudi King to discuss setting up safe zones for refugees in Syria and Yemen. Senior U.S. defense officials who spoke with Fox News say they’re concerned by this latest incident, but are confident American warships can defend themselves.
The United States has supported a Saudi-led air campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015.
Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews
Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel . She joined FNC in October 1999 as a Jerusalem-based correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at @JenGriffinFNC.
Warships have been deployed in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden as part of what the coalition says is an operation to stop the Houthis receiving weapons from Iran, which backs the rebels but denies providing military support.
“A Saudi frigate came under a terrorist attack by three suicide boats belonging to the Houthi militias while on patrol west of the port of Hudaydah,” the official Saudi Press Agency quoted the coalition statement as saying.
“The Saudi ship dealt with the boats as necessary. However, one of the boats collided with the rear of the vessel, resulting in the explosion of the boat and a fire at the rear of the ship. The crew extinguished the fire,” it added.
“Two members of the ship crew fell as martyrs and three others were injured.”
The Houthi-controlled Saba news agency cited a military source as confirming a warship had been targeted off western Yemen on Monday. But the source said the vessel had been hit by a guided missile as it tried to approach the coast.
Image captionThe Houthi rebel movement said its fighters had fired a guided missile at the warship
“The targeting of this warship comes within the framework of the legal right of Yemen to defend the homeland and its sovereignty,” the source added.
Coalition and pro-government forces are also currently attempting to advance up the west coast in an attempt to drive the rebels out of Hudaydah and other ports.
The coalition warned that the Houthis’ use of Hudaydah “as a launching pad for terrorist operations is a serious development that would affect the international navigation and the flow of humanitarian and medical assistance into the port”.
The coalition’s naval blockade and the wider conflict have caused a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, leaving more than seven million people severely food insecure.
The Houthis (Arabic: الحوثيون al-Ḥūthiyyūn IPA: [ħuːθijuːn]), officially called Ansar Allah (anṣārallāhأنصار الله “Supporters of God”), is a Zaidi Shia-led religious-political movement that emerged from Sa’dah, northern Yemen in the 1990s and has fought against the government of the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh on and off since 2004. In late 2014, Houthis fixed their relationship with the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and with his help, Houthis took control of the capital and much of the north.
Like many of Iranian-backed military militia such as Hezbollah, the Houthi movement attracts its Zaidi-Shia followers in Yemen by promoting regional political-religious issues in its media, including the overarching US-Israeli conspiracy and Arab “collusion”. In 2003, the Houthi’s slogan “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”, became the group’s trademark. Beside, the movement claims that it has some local-political agenda such as ending the economic under-development, political marginalization in Yemen, as well as seeking autonomy in only the areas where they are predominant not all of Yemen. Tension between the Houthis and the central government steadily grew in the 1990s, with war breaking out in 2004 with the group’s founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, leading a rebellion against then President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The group is now led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, brother of the first leader, who was reportedly killed by Saleh’s Yemeni army forces in 2004.
The Houthis had some role in the 2011 Yemeni Revolution, participating in the street protests and coordinating with other opposition groups. Houthis also had joined National Dialogue Conference in Yemen which is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative. However, after they took over the government with the help from the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, they announced their rejection of the provisions of the November 2011 Gulf Cooperation Council deal, claiming that it did not fundamentally reform governance and describe it as “a conspiracy” against them. In addition, they have also some other claims such as that it will transform the country into a federation of six regions, arguing that “it divided Yemen into poor and wealthy regions” and saw it as a blatant attempt to weaken them by dividing areas under their control between separate regions.
Current territorial situation in Yemen. Houthi forces are shown in green.
The Houthis belong to the Shia tribesmen of North Yemen who are renowned among Yemeni tribes for their ruggedness, sharpshooting abilities, honour, and bravery in combat. This is while they are also disregarded as being ignorant or backward, by more metropolitan Yemenis, such as Sana’anis or Adenites. They have been known for being very moderate and are the closest to Sunni Islam of all the Shi’a sects.
According to Ahmed Addaghashi, a professor at Sanaa University, the Houthis began as a moderate theological movement that preached tolerance and held a broad-minded view of Yemeni people. Their first organization, “the Believing Youth” (BY), was founded in 1992 in Saada Governorate:1008 by either Mohammed al-Houthi,:98 or his brother Hussein al-Houthi.
The Believing Youth established school clubs and summer camps:98 in order to “promote a Zaidi revival” in Saada. By 1994–1995, 15–20,000 students had attended BY summer camps. The religious material included lectures by Mohammed Hussein Fadhlallah (a Lebanese Shiite scholar) and Hassan Nasrallah (Secretary General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Party) “:99
The formation of the Houthi organisations have been described by Adam Baron of the European Council on Foreign Relations as a reaction to foreign intervention: shoring up Zaidi support against the perceived threat of Saudi-influenced ideologies in Yemen and a general condemnation of the former Yemeni government’s alliance with the United States, which, along with complaints regarding the government’s corruption and the marginalisation of much of the Houthis’ home areas in Saada constituted the group’s key grievances.
Although Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed in 2004, had no official relation with Believing Youth, according to Zaid, he contributed to the radicalisation of some Zaydis after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. BY-affiliated youth adopted anti-American and anti-Jewish slogans which they chanted in the Saleh Mosque in Sana’a after Friday prayers. According to Zaid, the followers of Houthi’s insistence on chanting the slogans attracted the authorities’ attention, further increasing government worries over the extent of the al-Houthi movement’s influence. “The security authorities thought that if today the Houthis chanted `Death to America’, tomorrow they could be chanting `Death to the president [of Yemen]”. 800 BY supporters were arrested in Sana’a in 2004. President Ali Abdullah Saleh then invited Hussein al-Houthi to a meeting in Sana’a, but Hussein declined. On 18 June 2004 Saleh sent government forces to arrest Hussein. Hussein responded by launching an insurgency against the government but was killed on 10 September 2004. The insurgency continued intermittently until a ceasefire agreement was reached in 2010.
As the revolution went on, Houthis gained control of greater territory. By 9 November 2011, Houthis were said to be in control of two Yemeni governorates (Saada and Al Jawf) and close to taking over their third governorate (Hajjah), which would enable them to launch a direct assault on Yemeni capital Sana’a. In May 2012, it was reported that the Houthis controlled a majority of Saada, Al Jawf, and Hajjah governorates; they had also gained access to the Red Sea and started erecting barricades north of the capital Sana’a in preparation for more conflict.
By 21 September 2014, Houthis were said to control parts of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, including government buildings and a radio station.While control of the capital expanded to the rest of Sana’a, as well as other towns such as Rada’, control was strongly challenged by Al-Qaeda. It was believed by the Gulf States that the Houthis had accepted aid from Iran while Saudi Arabia was aiding their Yemeni rivals.
In a televised speech on 22 March, Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused the US and Israel of supporting the terrorists attacks. He blamed regional Arab states for financing terrorist groups operating inside Yemen. On 27 March 2015, in response to perceived Houthi threats to Sunni factions in the region, Saudi Arabia along with Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan led a gulf coalition airstrike in Yemen. The military coalition includes the United States which is helping with the planning of air strikes, as well as logistical and intelligence support.
According to a 2015 September report by Esquire magazine, the Houthis, once the outliers, are now one of the most stable and organised social and political movements in Yemen. The power vacuum created by Yemen’s uncertain transitional period has drawn more supporters to the Houthis. Many of the formerly powerful parties, now disorganised with an unclear vision, have fallen out of favour with the public, making the Houthis — under their newly branded Ansar Allah name — all the more attractive.
The Houthis avoid assuming a singular tribal identity. Instead, the group strategically draws support from tribes of the northern Bakil federation, rival to the Hashid federation which had been a traditional ally of the ousted central government. The Houthis’ lack of centralised command structure allows them to generate immense support, as Yemenis from diverse backgrounds have joined their cause.
Membership of the group had between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters as of 2005 and between 2,000 and 10,000 fighters as of 2009. In 2010, the Yemen Post claimed that they had over 100,000 fighters. According to Houthi expert Ahmed Al-Bahri the Houthis had a total of 100,000-120,000 followers, including both armed fighters and unarmed loyalists.
As of 2015, the group is reported to have managed to pick up swaths of new supporters outside their traditional demographics. On 5 February 2016, Iranian TV named PressTV reported that Men of Hamdan, one of Yemen’s most powerful tribes, rallied to the north of the capital, Sana’a, vowing to provide support in the form of potential mobilisation for the country’s fighters resisting the current elected Yemeni government. In a gathering held in the capital, hundreds of tribesmen from the southern parts pledged union against what they described as a U.S.-Israeli initiative targeting the country, which was being implemented by Saudi Arabia.
Houthis belong to the Zaidi branch of Islam, also known as Fivers, a sect of Islam almost exclusively present in Yemen.
Zaydis make up about 45 percent of the population, Sunnis make up 53 percent, and there are also tiny minorities of Muslims who are members of other Shia sects — the Ismaili and Twelver communities. Al-Houthi Zaydis are estimated to make up about 30 percent of the population, according to Hassan Zaid, secretary-general of the al-Haq opposition party. The Zaydis ruled Yemen for 1,000 years up until 1962. During this time they ferociously defended their independence and fought off foreign powers (Egypt, the Ottomans) who controlled lower Yemen and tried to extend their rule to the north.
Similar to Shia Muslims in matters of religious law and rulings, the Houthi belief in the concept of an Imamate as being essential to their religion makes them distinct from Sunnis. As of 2014 it has been observed that “The Houthi group’s approach is in many ways similar to that of Hizbollah in Lebanon. Similarly religiously based and Iran-backed, both groups follow the same military doctrine and glorify the Khomeini revolution in Iran”.
As a consequence, the Houthis have regularly been accused, even by many fellow Zaidis, of secretly being converts or followers of the Twelver sect, which is the official religion of their ally and backer Iran.
Ethnoreligious groups in 2002. ZaidiShia followers make up over 42% of Muslims in Yemen.
The Houthis have asserted that their actions are to fight against the expansion of Salafism in Yemen, and for the defence of their community from discrimination, whereas the Yemeni government has in turn accused the insurgents of intending to overthrow the regime out of a desire to institute Zaidi religious law, destabilising the government and stirring anti-American sentiment. The Yemeni government has also accused the Houthis of having ties to external backers, in particular the Iranian government. In turn, the Houthis have countered with allegations that the Yemeni government is being backed by al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia, The discord has led some publishers to fear that further confrontations may lead to an all-out Sunni-Shiite war.
Some Houthi supporters stress that their ire for the U.S. and Israel is directed toward the governments of America and Israel. Ali al-Bukhayti, the spokesperson and official media face of the Houthis, tried to reject the literal interpretation of the slogan by stating that in one of his interview “We do not really want death to anyone. The slogan is simply against the interference of those governments [i.e. U.S. and Israel]”. However, in the Arabic Houthi-affiliated TV and radio stations they use religious connotations associated with jihad against Israel and the US. They also call Saudi Arabia a U.S. puppet state.
Charges of harassment against Jews
The Houthis have been accused of expelling or restricting some members of the ancient and impoverished rural Jews of Yemen. There have been also reports about supporters of the Houthis bullying or attacking the members of the Yemeni Jewish community. Houthi officials, however, have denied any involvement in the harassment, asserting that under Houthi control Jews in Yemen would be able to live and operate freely as any other Yemeni citizen. “Our problems are with Zionism and the occupation of Palestine, but Jews here have nothing to fear,” said Fadl Abu Taleb, a spokesman for the Houthis. But despite insistence by Houthi leaders that the movement is not sectarian, a Yemeni Jewish rabbi has reportedly said that many Jews remain terrified by the movement’s slogan. As a result, Yemeni Jews reportedly retain a negative sentiment towards the Houthis, who committed persecutions against them. According to Ayoub Kara, Houthi militants had given an ultimatum telling Jews to “convert to Islam or leave Yemen”.
Fares Mana’a – Houthi-appointed governor of Sa’dah and former head of Saleh’s Presidential committee
Motives and objectives
When armed conflict for the first time erupted back in 2004 between the Yemeni government and Houthis, the then-Yemeni President accused Houthis and other Islamic opposition parties of trying to overthrow the government and the republican system. However Houthi leaders for their part rejected the accusation by saying that they had never rejected the president or the republican system but were only defending themselves against government attacks on their community.Zaidi Shi’ites compose one-third of the population of Yemen and Houthis have often voiced the grievances of the Zaidi population.
The group has also exploited the popular discontent over corruption and reduction of government subsidies. According to a February 2015 Newsweek report, Houthis are fighting “for things that all Yemenis crave: government accountability, the end to corruption, regular utilities, fair fuel prices, job opportunities for ordinary Yemenis and the end of Western influence”.
Hassan al-Homran, a former spokesperson for Ansar Allah, has said that “Ansar Allah supports the establishment of a civil state in Yemen. We want to build a striving modern democracy. Our goals are to fulfil our people’s democratic aspirations in keeping with the Arab Spring movement.” In an interview with Yemen Times, Hussein al-Bukhari, a Houthi insider, said that Houthis’ preferable political system is a republic with elections where women can also hold political positions, and that they do not seek to form a cleric-led government after the model of Islamic Republic of Iran for “we cannot apply this system in Yemen because the followers of the Shafi (Sunni) doctrine are bigger in number than the Zaydis.”
Ali Akbar Velayati, International Affairs Advisor to Supreme Iranian Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, stated in October 2014 that “We are hopeful that Ansar-Allah has the same role in Yemen as Hezbollah has in eradicating the terrorists in Lebanon”.
Activism and tactics
During their campaigns against the ousted Hadi government, Houthis used civil disobedience. Following the Yemeni government’s decision in 13 July 2014 to increase fuel prices, Houthi leaders succeeded in organising massive rallies in the capital Sana’a to protest the decision and to demand resignation of the incumbent government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi for “state-corruption”. These protests developed into the 2014-2015 phase of the insurgency. Similarly, following 2015 Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthis which claimed civilians lives, Yemenis responded to the Abdul-Malik al-Houthi‘s call and took to streets of the capital, Sana’a, in tens of thousands to voice their anger at the Saudi invasion.
The Houthis have also held a number of mass gatherings since the revolution. On 24 January 2013, thousands gathered in Dahiyan, Sa’dah and Heziez, just outside Sana’a, to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birth of Mohammed. A similar event took place on 13 January 2014, but this time at the main sports stadium in Sana’a. On this occasion, men and women were completely segregated: men filled the open-air stadium and football field in the centre, guided by appointed Houthi safety officials wearing bright vests and matching hats; women poured into the adjacent indoor stadium, led inside by security women distinguishable only by their purple sashes and matching hats. The indoor stadium held at least five thousand women — ten times as many attendees as the 2013 gathering.
Combat and military
In 2009, US Embassy sources have reported that Houthis used increasingly more sophisticated tactics and strategies in their conflict with the government as they gained more experience, and that they fought with religious fervor and courage.
Situation in March 2012
Saudi and former Yemeni officials have claimed that the Houthis have received significant support from Iran in the form of weapons, money and training since 2004, while Houthi leadership denies having received weapons or financial support from Iran. Also, Tehran denied the allegation of Houthis arm support by Iran. A December 2009 cable between Sanaa and various intelligence agencies disseminated by WikiLeaks states that US State Dept. analysts believed the Houthis obtained weapons from the Yemeni black market and corrupt members of the Republican Guard. On the edition of 8 April 2015 of PBS Newshour, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that the US knew Iran was providing military support to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, adding that Washington “is not going to stand by while the region is destabilised”.
Despite being less in numbers and equipment than the Saudi-led coalition, Ansar Allah managed to inflict heavy losses and destroy dozens of invading vehicles in the city of Ma’rib on 14 September 2015. In addition, Ansar Allah managed to capture a Saudi soldier, Ibrahim Araj Mohammad Hakami whose confession was broadcast on Ansar Allah news channel Al-Masirah TV. Recently on late 2015, Houthis announced the local production of short range ballistic missile Qaher-1 on Al-Masirah TV.
Allegations of Iran’s support
Phillip Smyth of the Washington Institute on Near East Policy told Business Insider that Iran views Shia groups in the Middle East as “integral elements to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).” Smyth confirmed to Business Insider the strong bond between Iran and the Houthi uprising working to overthrow the government in Yemen. According to Smyth, in many cases Houthi leaders go to Iran for ideological and religious education, and Iranian and Hezbollah leaders have been spotted on the ground advising the Houthi troops.These Iranian advisers are likely responsible for training the Houthis to use the type of sophisticated guided missiles fired at the US Navy. For Iran, supporting the revolt in Yemen is “a good way to bleed the Saudis,” Iran’s regional and ideological rival. Essentially, Iran is backing the Houthis to fight against a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf States fighting to maintain government control of Yemen.
In 2013, photographs released by the Yemeni government show the United States Navy and Yemen’s security forces seized a class of shoulderfired antiaircraft missiles not publicly known to have been out of state control.
According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, Fars News Agency, which is the official news agency of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has admitted to arming Houthis with missiles and training. The agency quoted “a prominent analyst” Seyed Sadeq al-Sharafi as saying that militias “are developing their missile power to target Riyadh and Dubai in the future, after they increased their missile and military capabilities and expanded the range of their military operations against the enemies”
In April 2016, the Pentagon announced that the U.S. Navy ship stopped a massive Iranian arms shipment dead in its tracks, seizing thousands of weapons, AK-47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers that likely were headed to Yemen.
Also, the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in conflicts with them for 2 decades and currently allied with them, has accused Iran of supporting the Houthi many times. Saleh stated in a New York Times’ interview that “The real reason they received unofficial support from Iran was because they repeat same slogan that is raised by Iran death to America, death to Israel”. He also said “The Iranian media repeats statements of support for these Houthi elements. They are all trying to take revenge against the USA on Yemeni territories”.
Allegations of human rights violations
Houthis have been accused of violations of international humanitarian law such as using child soldiers, shelling civilian areas, forced evacuations, executions and human shielding. According to the Human Right Watch, Houthis have inclined up their recruitment of children in 2015. The UNICEF mentioned that children with the Houthis and other armed groups in Yemen comprise up to a third of all fighters in Yemen. Human Rights Watch has further accused Houthi forces of using landmines in Yemen’s third-largest city of Taizz which has caused many civilian casualties and prevent the return of families displaced by the fighting. HRW has also accused the Houthis of interfering with the work of Yemen’s human rights advocates and organizations.
The Yemen Times reported that most children working for the Houthis are not combatants.
An HRW researcher, quoted in 2009 US embassy report, has downplayed the repeated allegations by the former government of Yemen accusing the Houthis of using civilians as human shields, by saying that they did not have enough evidence to conclude that the Houthis have been intentionally using civilians as human shields.
According to the 2009 US Embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks, Houthis have reportedly established courts and prisons in areas they control. They impose their own laws on local residents, demand protection money, and dispense rough justice by ordering executions. AP‘s reporter, Ahmad al-Haj argued that the Houthis were winning hearts and minds by providing security in areas long neglected by the Yemeni government (currently ousted) while limiting the arbitrary and abusive power of influential sheikhs. According to the Civic Democratic Foundation, Houthis help resolve conflicts between tribes and reduce the number of revenge killings in areas they control. The US ambassador believed that the reports that explain Houthi role as arbitrating local disputes were more likely than the sinister[unbalanced opinion] suggestions.
Areas under administration
Map last updated 30 January 2015
The Houthis exert de facto authority over the bulk of North Yemen. North Yemen was united with South Yemen in 1990; the Yemen government has repeatedly suppressed separatist protests by force. The Houthis’ direct administration includes the following territories:
Part 1, Story 1: Trump Plans For Islamic State — No More Nation Building and No More Policemen of The World — Extreme Vetting Of Immigrants –War of Civilizations — The West vs. Radical Islam — A New Hot War — Let The Games Begin –Greatest Foreign Policy Speech of Any Candidate in Over 50 Years — A+ Must Viewing — Videos
“It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world”
~George Washington’s Farewell Address
“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.”
~ Thomas Jefferson, The inaugural pledge
Donald Trump vows ‘extreme vetting’ of immigrants
Donald Trump’s full terrorism speech (Entire speech)
Barry Goldwater: “Extremism in the defense of liberty…”
Dissecting Trump’s anti-terror plan
Gingrich on why Trump’s ISIS strategy is the right strategy
Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton wants to be America’s Angela Merkel – Youngstown, OH
Full Speech: Donald Trump Foreign Policy Speech in Youngstown, Ohio (August 15, 2016)
Full Event: Donald Trump Foreign Policy Speech in Youngstown, Ohio (August 15, 2016)
Clash of Civilizations 1/2 ‘West, Islam, Orthordox, Chinese, Hindu, Japan, Latin America, Africa’
Clash of Civilizations 2/2 ‘Islam is very divided, Muslims are Fighting Themselves’
The Myth of the “Clash of Civilizations”. Edward Said
Edward Said On Orientalism
Edward Said on Culture and Imperialism
Edward Said The Last Interview 2003
Christopher Hitchens on American Imperialism, Iran, Iraq War, Israel, Palestine (1991)
Christopher Hitchens – The Axis of Evil revisited 
Christopher Hitchens — Clash of civilizations (2009)
Christopher Hitchens on Iran and Iranians
Christopher Hitchens on Barack Obama
On The Day Christopher Hitchens died
Fact-checking Donald Trump’s ‘major’ speech on the Islamic State
By Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee August 16 at 3:00 AM
Donald Trump traveled to Youngstown, Ohio, to deliver what was billed as a “major” speech on how to deal with the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group, a.k.a. ISIS. For reasons known only to Trump, he continued to repeat false statements that have been repeatedly debunked in the past. So here’s a roundup of some of the more notable claims made in the speech. As is our practice, we don’t award Pinocchios in roundups, but readers by now should be able to tell the real whoppers.
“This summer there’s been an ISIS attack launched outside the war zones of the Middle East — hard to believe — every 84 hours.”
This number comes from IntelCenter, a private counterterrorism intelligence company, but the time frame that Trump uses is cherry-picked.
The group’s data from June 8 to July 20, 2016, have gotten attention for the number of terrorist attacks directed or inspired by ISIS: one attack every 84 hours. That’s why Trump says that’s how many attacks there have been “this summer,” though the data cover approximately six weeks of the summer so far. CNN reported that the group’s count mirrors the outlet’s tracking data, but it’s just a brief snapshot.
IntelCenter has tracked attacks since the Islamic State announced its “caliphate” in June 2014. Since then, there have been 76 attacks in 21 countries, killing 966 and injuring 2,812, the website says. Those data cover June 29, 2014, to Aug. 6, 2016. That means there were about three attacks every month over the 26 months covered by the data.
“The rise of ISIS is the direct result of policy decisions made by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.”
This is false and facile. The terrorist group is the direct result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as we explored in our interview with Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book on the rise of the Islamic State. (Trump, of course, supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003.) At best, one could argue that actions that Obama failed to take (over Clinton’s opposition) helped contribute to the growth of ISIS.
“Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, is now flush with $150 billion in cash released by the United States.”
Trump always makes it sound like this is U.S. taxpayer money —and he always uses a too-high estimate. Because of international sanctions over its nuclear program, Iran had billions of dollars in assets that were frozen in foreign banks around the globe. With sanctions lifted, in theory those funds would be unlocked.
But the Treasury Department has estimated that once Iran fulfills other obligations, it would have about $55 billion left. (Much of the other money was obligated to illiquid projects in China.) For its part, the Central Bank of Iran said the number was actually $32 billion, not $55 billion.
“It all began in 2009 with what has become known as President Obama’s global ‘Apology Tour.’”
Trump resurrects an old — and discredited — Republican talking point. His prepared text even cited an April 2009 article written by Karl Rove as its source. As we demonstrated more than five years ago, Rove took Obama’s quotes out of context and twisted their meaning in order to build a tendentious case. The whole notion of an Obama apology tour was a fiction from the start — and was worthy of Four Pinocchios.
“It all began in 2009 with what has become known as President Obama’s global ‘Apology Tour.’”
in a speech – Monday, August 15, 2016
“The failures in Iraq were compounded by Hillary Clinton’s disaster in Libya. President Obama has since said he regards Libya as his worst mistake.”
First of all, Trump was a fervent advocate of intervening in Libya. On a video uncovered by BuzzFeed, Trump declared in 2011: “Gaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people. Nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around. We have soldiers all over the Middle East, and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage, and that’s what it is: It’s a carnage …. Now, we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick.”
Second, Trump misquotes Obama. In the quote cited by the Trump campaign, Obama said that intervening was “the right thing to do.” What he regretted as his worst mistake was failing to plan for “the day after.”
“I was an opponent of the Iraq War from the beginning — a major difference between me and my opponent.”
What will it take for Trump to just admit that he had supported the Iraq invasion before he opposed it, after the invasion already took place? This is yet another Four Pinocchio claim.
There is no sign that Trump made headlines about his vocal Iraq War stance in 2003, nor that Trump clearly opposed the Iraq War prior to the invasion. We compiled a complete timeline of his comments leading up to the invasion and found that his comments were not “loud,” “clear” nor in “headlines” as he repeatedly claimed on the campaign trail.
Yet Trump continues to use this line, even though numerous news outlets have debunked it. This time, Trump cherry-picked his own quote to back up his claim: “Three months before the invasion, I said in an interview with Neil Cavuto … that perhaps we shouldn’t be doing it yet. And that the economy is a much bigger problem.”
He was referring to a January 2003 interview on Fox Business, about two months before the invasion. During it, Trump gave a lukewarm reaction to the Iraq invasion and urged then-President George W. Bush to make a decision. Below is the context for that claim. As readers can see, Trump did not weigh in on whether the United States should attack or not (“either you attack or you don’t attack”).
Cavuto: If you had to sort of break down for the president, if you were advising him, how much time do you commit to Iraq versus how much time you commit to the economy, what would you say? Trump: Well, I’m starting to think that people are much more focused now on the economy. They are getting a little bit tired of hearing, we’re going in, we’re not going in, the — you know, whatever happened to the days of the Douglas MacArthur. He would go and attack. He wouldn’t talk. We have to — you know, it’s sort like either do it or don’t do it. When I watch Dan Rather explaining how we are going to be attacking, where we’re going to attack, what routes we’re taking, what kind of planes we’re using, how to stop them, how to stop us, it is a little bit disconcerting. I’ve never seen this, where newscasters are telling you how — telling the enemy how we’re going about it, we have just found out this and that. It is ridiculous. Cavuto: Well, the problem right there. Trump: Either you attack or you don’t attack. Cavuto: The problem there, Donald, is you’re watching Dan Rather. Maybe you should just be watching Fox. Trump: Well, no, I watch Dan Rather, but not necessarily fondly. But I happened to see it the other night. And I must tell you it was rather amazing as they were explaining the different — I don’t know if it is fact or if it is fiction, but the concept of a newscaster talking about the routes is — just seems ridiculous. So the point is either you do it or you don’t do it, or you — but I just — or if you don’t do it, just don’t talk about it. When you do it, you start talking about it. Cavuto: So you’re saying the leash on this is getting kind of short here, that the president has got to do something presumably sooner rather than later and stringing this along could ultimately hurt us. Trump: Well, he has either got to do something or not do something, perhaps, because perhaps shouldn’t be doing it yet and perhaps we should be waiting for the United Nations, you know. He’s under a lot of pressure. He’s — I think he’s doing a very good job. But, of course, if you look at the polls, a lot of people are getting a little tired. I think the Iraqi situation is a problem. And I think the economy is a much bigger problem as far as the president is concerned.
“I was an opponent of the Iraq War from the beginning — a major difference between me and my opponent.”
in a speech – Monday, August 15, 2016
“In August of 2004, very early, right after the conflict, I made a detailed statement to Esquire magazine in an interview [opposing the invasion].”
Trump clearly was outspoken about his opposition to the Iraq War starting in 2004, the year he reportedly considered a presidential bid. (Instead, he launched his popular TV series, “The Apprentice.”) Trump did sharply criticize the war in Iraq in the August 2004 cover story of Esquire magazine. But this was nearly 18 months after the invasion in March 2003.
Trump also has pointed several times to a July 2004 Reuters article as proof he opposed the war from the outset. The Reuters article is a preview of the August 2004 Esquire cover story. Somehow, in Trump’s mind, 2004 has turned into 2003, and Trump now says he “was against the war from the very beginning,” even prior to the March 2003 invasion.
“But I have been just as clear in saying what a catastrophic mistake Hillary Clinton and President Obama made with the reckless way in which they pulled out.”
Trump criticizes the 2011 withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, saying Obama “got us out the wrong way.” But Trump supported rapid withdrawal as early as March 2007, saying the United States should “declare victory and leave.” So once again Trump criticizes Obama and Clinton for taking action he advocated.
“I have long said that we should have kept the oil in Iraq.”
This is nonsensical. The Bush administration invested a lot of diplomatic effort in assuring Middle Eastern allies that the United States was not invading because of Iraq’s oil fields. Moreover, oil revenue was crucial to ensuring a functioning Iraqi state — which is why insurgents often targeted the oil sector in Iraq.
In any event, seizing the oil of a sovereign nation after invading it would be considered a “grave breach” of the Geneva Conventions, one of the cornerstones of international law, as well as other international agreements. Maybe Trump’s staff should arrange a tutorial on international law.
“I had previously said that NATO was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism. Since my comments, they have changed their policy and now have a new division focused on terror threats.”
NATO has disputed Trump’s repeated claim that NATO created a new assistant secretary general for intelligence because of his critique. “There’s no connection to any national election campaign,”NATO said, noting that the post had been under consideration several years before Trump began saying the organization was obsolete. NATO first committed to increased counterterrorism activities at a summit in Wales in 2012.
“Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has risked so many lives with her careless handling of sensitive information, my administration will not telegraph exactly military plans and what they are.”
Tellingly, Trump’s prepared text offered no footnote for this claim. There is little evidence that Clinton disclosed military plans through use of a private email server for State Department communications.
There indeed was sensitive information in Clinton’s emails, as the FBI found in its investigation into her use of her private server. Some of the emails were in reference to specific drone strikes being planned, the Wall Street Journal reported. But Trump exaggerates to say they “telegraph exactly military plans and what they are.”
Rather, these were vaguely worded emails forwarded by Clinton’s aides to her private email account. The Journal reported that the emails “were written within the often-narrow time frame in which State Department officials had to decide whether or not to object to drone strikes before the CIA pulled the trigger, officials said. Law-enforcement and intelligence officials said State Department deliberations about the covert CIA drone program should have been conducted over a more secure government computer system designed to handle classified information.”
“We admit about 100,000 permanent immigrants from the Middle East every year.”
Trump overstates the figure here. The number of people seeking lawful permanent resident status (“a green card”) adds up to about 76,000 people if you include the Arab countries in the Levant, Persian Gulf and North Africa, according to 2014 Department of Homeland Security figures.
You get to around 100,000 only by including Afghanistan and Pakistan, which of course are outside the traditional “Middle East.” Other Muslim countries, such as Indonesia (2,139) and Somalia (5,190), do not significantly add to the total.
“The United States subcommittee on Immigration estimates that Hillary Clinton’s plan would mean roughly 620,000 refugees from all current refugee-sending nations in her first term, assuming no cuts to other refugee programs.”
This figure stems from the unverified assumption that Clinton, who has called for 55,000 additional refugees from Syria, would continue at that pace for every year of her first term, on top of the Obama administration’s proposal for 100,000 refugees for fiscal year 2017. The committee then multiples 155,000 times four years to reach 620,000 refugees. Clinton has never proposed such a “plan,” so this is an invented figure. Clinton only has proposed an increase of 55,000 refugees for one year.
“A neighbor saw suspicious behavior. Bombs on the floor and other things, but didn’t warn authorities because they said they didn’t want to be accused of racial profiling.”
There is no evidence this was the case. There have been unconfirmed second- or third-hand reports— a friend of a friend of a neighbor — that a neighbor claimed to have noticed suspicious activity but did not report anything for fear of doing racial profiling. The religion of this supposed neighbor is unknown, but presumably a fear of racial profiling would suggest the neighbor was not Muslim.
Trump ad-libbed the phrase about “bombs on the floor.” Even the secondhand reports don’t suggest a neighbor saw “bombs on the floor” — just that they received numerous packages at their home and were in their garage late at night.
The phrase itself was earlier used by Albert Camus in 1946, and by Bernard Lewis in an article in the September 1990 issue of The Atlantic Monthly titled “The Roots of Muslim Rage”.Even earlier, the phrase appears in a 1926 book regarding the Middle East by Basil Mathews: Young Islam on Trek: A Study in the Clash of Civilizations (p. 196).
This expression derives from “clash of cultures,” already used during the colonial period and the Belle Époque.
Huntington began his thinking by surveying the diverse theories about the nature of global politics in the post-Cold War period. Some theorists and writers argued that human rights,liberal democracy, and the capitalist free market economy had become the only remaining ideological alternative for nations in the post-Cold War world. Specifically, Francis Fukuyama argued that the world had reached the ‘end of history‘ in a Hegelian sense.
Huntington believed that while the age of ideology had ended, the world had only reverted to a normal state of affairs characterized by cultural conflict. In his thesis, he argued that the primary axis of conflict in the future will be along cultural and religious lines.
As an extension, he posits that the concept of different civilizations, as the highest rank of cultural identity, will become increasingly useful in analyzing the potential for conflict.
In the 1993 Foreign Affairs article, Huntington writes “The Clash of Civilizations?” At the end of the article, he writes:
This is not to advocate the desirability of conflicts between civilizations. It is to set forth descriptive hypothesis as to what the future may be like.
In addition, the clash of civilizations, for Huntington, represents a development of history. In the past, world history was mainly about the struggles between monarchs, nations and ideologies, such as seen within Western civilization. But after the end of the Cold War, world politics moved into a new phase, in which non-Western civilizations are no longer the exploited recipients of Western civilization but have become additional important actors joining the West to shape and move world history.
Major civilizations according to Huntington
The clash of civilizations according to Huntington (1996), as presented in the book.
Huntington divided the world into the “major civilizations” in his thesis as such:
Western civilization, comprising the United States and Canada, Western and Central Europe, Australia and Oceania. Whether Latin America and the former member states of the Soviet Union are included, or are instead their own separate civilizations, will be an important future consideration for those regions, according to Huntington. The traditional Western viewpoint identified Western Civilization with the Western Christian (Catholic–Protestant) countries and culture.
Instead of belonging to one of the “major” civilizations, Ethiopia and Haiti are labeled as “Lone” countries. Israel could be considered a unique state with its own civilization, Huntington writes, but one which is extremely similar to the West. Huntington also believes that the Anglophone Caribbean, former British colonies in the Caribbean, constitutes a distinct entity.
There are also others which are considered “cleft countries” because they contain very large groups of people identifying with separate civilizations. Examples include India (“cleft” between its Hindu majority and large Muslim minority), Ukraine (“cleft” between its Eastern Rite Catholic-dominated western section and its Orthodox-dominated east), France (cleft between Latin America, in the case of French Guiana; and the West), Benin, Chad,Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Togo (all cleft between Islam and Sub-Saharan Africa), Guyana and Suriname (cleft between Hindu and Sub-Saharan African), Sri Lanka (cleft between Hindu and Buddhist), China (cleft between Sinic and Buddhist, in the case of Tibet; and the West, in the case of Hong Kong and Macau), and the Philippines (cleft between Islam, in the case of Mindanao; Sinic, and the West). Sudan was also included as “cleft” between Islam and Sub-Saharan Africa; this division became a formal split in July 2011 following an overwhelming vote for independence by South Sudan in a January 2011 referendum.
Huntington’s thesis of civilizational clash
Russia and India are what Huntington terms ‘swing civilizations’ and may favor either side. Russia, for example, clashes with the many Muslim ethnic groups on its southern border (such as Chechnya) but—according to Huntington—cooperates with Iran to avoid further Muslim-Orthodox violence in Southern Russia, and to help continue the flow of oil. Huntington argues that a “Sino-Islamic connection” is emerging in which China will cooperate more closely with Iran, Pakistan, and other states to augment its international position.
Huntington also argues that civilizational conflicts are “particularly prevalent between Muslims and non-Muslims”, identifying the “bloody borders” between Islamic and non-Islamic civilizations. This conflict dates back as far as the initial thrust of Islam into Europe, its eventual expulsion in the Iberian reconquest and the attacks of the OttomanTurks on Eastern Europe and Vienna. Huntington also believes that some of the factors contributing to this conflict are that both Christianity (which has deeply influenced Western civilization) and Islam are:
Missionary religions, seeking conversion of others
Universal, “all-or-nothing” religions, in the sense that it is believed by both sides that only their faith is the correct one
Teleological religions, that is, that their values and beliefs represent the goals of existence and purpose in human existence.
Religions that perceive irreligious people who violate the base principles of those religions to be furthering their own pointless aims, which leads to violent interactions.
More recent factors contributing to a Western-Islamic clash, Huntington wrote, are the Islamic Resurgence and demographic explosion in Islam, coupled with the values of Western universalism—that is, the view that all civilizations should adopt Western values—that infuriate Islamic fundamentalists. All these historical and modern factors combined, Huntington wrote briefly in his Foreign Affairs article and in much more detail in his 1996 book, would lead to a bloody clash between the Islamic and Western civilizations. The political party Hizb ut-Tahrir also reiterate Huntington’s views in their published book, The Inevitability of Clash of Civilisation.
Why Civilizations will Clash
Huntington offers six explanations for why civilizations will clash:
Differences among civilizations are too basic in that civilizations are differentiated from each other by history, language, culture, tradition, and, most important, religion. These fundamental differences are the product of centuries, so they will not soon disappear.
The world is becoming a smaller place. As a result, interactions across the world are increasing, which intensify “civilization consciousness” and the awareness of differences between civilizations and commonalities within civilizations.
Due to economic modernization and social change, people are separated from longstanding local identities. Instead, religion has replaced this gap, which provides a basis for identity and commitment that transcends national boundaries and unites civilizations.
The growth of civilization-consciousness is enhanced by the dual role of the West. On the one hand, the West is at a peak of power. At the same time, a return-to-the-roots phenomenon is occurring among non-Western civilizations. A West at the peak of its power confronts non-Western countries that increasingly have the desire, the will and the resources to shape the world in non-Western ways.
Cultural characteristics and differences are less mutable and hence less easily compromised and resolved than political and economic ones.
Economic regionalism is increasing. Successful economic regionalism will reinforce civilization-consciousness. Economic regionalism may succeed only when it is rooted in a common civilization.
The West versus the Rest
Huntington suggests that in the future the central axis of world politics tends to be the conflict between Western and non-Western civilizations, in Kishore Mahbubani‘s phrase, the conflict between “the West and the Rest.” He offers three forms of general actions that non-Western civilization can take in response to Western countries.
Non-Western countries can attempt to achieve isolation in order to preserve their own values and protect themselves from Western invasion. However, Huntington argues that the costs of this action are high and only a few states can pursue it.
According to the theory of “band-wagoning” non-Western countries can join and accept Western values.
Non-Western countries can make an effort to balance Western power through modernization. They can develop economic, military power and cooperate with other non-Western countries against the West while still preserving their own values and institutions. Huntington believes that the increasing power of non-Western civilizations in international society will make the West begin to develop a better understanding of the cultural fundamentals underlying other civilizations. Therefore, Western civilization will cease to be regarded as “universal” but different civilizations will learn to coexist and join to shape the future world.
Core state and fault line conflicts
In Huntington’s view, intercivilizational conflict manifests itself in two forms: fault line conflicts and core state conflicts.
Fault line conflicts are on a local level and occur between adjacent states belonging to different civilizations or within states that are home to populations from different civilizations.
Core state conflicts are on a global level between the major states of different civilizations. Core state conflicts can arise out of fault line conflicts when core states become involved.
These conflicts may result from a number of causes, such as: relative influence or power (military or economic), discrimination against people from a different civilization, intervention to protect kinsmen in a different civilization, or different values and culture, particularly when one civilization attempts to impose its values on people of a different civilization.
Modernization, westernization, and “torn countries”
Critics of Huntington’s ideas often extend their criticisms to traditionalcultures and internal reformers who wish to modernize without adopting the values and attitudes of Western culture. These critics[who?] sometimes claim that to modernize it is necessary to become Westernized to a very large extent, so that sources of tension with the West will be reduced.
Japan, China and the Four Asian Tigers have modernized in many respects while maintaining traditional or authoritarian societies which distinguish them from the West. Some of these countries have clashed with the West and some have not.
Perhaps the ultimate example of non-Western modernization is Russia, the core state of the Orthodox civilization. Huntington argues that Russia is primarily a non-Western state although he seems to agree that it shares a considerable amount of cultural ancestry with the modern West. According to Huntington, the West is distinguished from Orthodox Christian countries by its experience of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Enlightenment; by overseas colonialism rather than contiguous expansion and colonialism; and by the infusion of Classical culture through ancient Greece rather than through the continuous trajectory of the Byzantine Empire.
Huntington refers to countries that are seeking to affiliate with another civilization as “torn countries.” Turkey, whose political leadership has systematically tried to Westernize the country since the 1920s, is his chief example. Turkey’s history, culture, and traditions are derived from Islamic civilization, but Turkey’s elite, beginning with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who took power as first President in 1923, imposed western institutions and dress, embraced the Latin alphabet, joined NATO, and is seeking to join the European Union.
Mexico and Russia are also considered to be torn by Huntington. He also gives the example of Australia as a country torn between its Western civilizational heritage and its growing economic engagement with Asia.
According to Huntington, a torn country must meet three requirements to redefine its civilizational identity. Its political and economic elite must support the move. Second, the public must be willing to accept the redefinition. Third, the elites of the civilization that the torn country is trying to join must accept the country.
The book claims that to date no torn country has successfully redefined its civilizational identity, this mostly due to the elites of the ‘host’ civilization refusing to accept the torn country, though if Turkey gained membership in theEuropean Union, it has been noted that many of its people would support Westernization, as in the following quote by EU Minister Egemen Bağış: “This is what Europe needs to do: they need to say that when Turkey fulfills all requirements, Turkey will become a member of the EU on date X. Then, we will regain the Turkish public opinion support in one day.” If this were to happen, it would, according to Huntington, be the first to redefine its civilizational identity.
Huntington has fallen under the stern critique of various academic writers, who have either empirically, historically, logically, or ideologically challenged his claims (Fox, 2005; Mungiu Pippidi & Mindruta, 2002; Henderson & Tucker, 2001; Russett, Oneal, & Cox, 2000; Harvey, 2000). In an article explicitly referring to Huntington, scholar Amartya Sen (1999) argues that “diversity is a feature of most cultures in the world. Western civilization is no exception. The practice of democracy that has won out in the modern West is largely a result of a consensus that has emerged since the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, and particularly in the last century or so. To read in this a historical commitment of the West—over the millennia—to democracy, and then to contrast it with non-Western traditions (treating each as monolithic) would be a great mistake” (p. 16).
In his 2003 book Terror and Liberalism, Paul Berman argues that distinct cultural boundaries do not exist in the present day. He argues there is no “Islamic civilization” nor a “Western civilization”, and that the evidence for a civilization clash is not convincing, especially when considering relationships such as that between the United States and Saudi Arabia. In addition, he cites the fact that many Islamic extremists spent a significant amount of time living and/or studying in the Western world. According to Berman, conflict arises because of philosophical beliefs various groups share (or do not share), regardless of cultural or religious identity.
Edward Said issued a response to Huntington’s thesis in his 2001 article, “The Clash of Ignorance“. Said argues that Huntington’s categorization of the world’s fixed “civilizations” omits the dynamic interdependency and interaction of culture. A longtime critic of the Huntingtonian paradigm, and an outspoken proponent of Arab issues, Edward Said (2004) also argues that the clash of civilizations thesis is an example of “the purest invidious racism, a sort of parody of Hitlerian science directed today against Arabs and Muslims” (p. 293).
Noam Chomsky has criticized the concept of the clash of civilizations as just being a new justification for the United States “for any atrocities that they wanted to carry out”, which was required after the Cold War as the Soviet Union was no longer a viable threat.
Mohammad Khatami, reformistpresident of Iran (in office 1997–2005), introduced the theory of Dialogue Among Civilizations as a response to Huntington’s theory.
In recent years, the theory of Dialogue Among Civilizations, a response to Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, has become the center of some international attention. The concept was originally coined by Austrian philosopher Hans Köchler in an essay on cultural identity (1972). In a letter to UNESCO, Köchler had earlier proposed that the cultural organization of the United Nations should take up the issue of a “dialogue between different civilizations” (dialogue entre les différentes civilisations). In 2001, Iranian president Mohammad Khatamiintroduced the concept at the global level. At his initiative, the “dialogue among civilizations” was the basis for United Nations’ resolution to name the year 2001 as the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations. The year 2001 was proclaimed as the “United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations”.
Geert Wilders, a Dutch politician best known for his intense criticism of Islam, has stated on several occasions that there is a clash between Western civilization and barbarism, referring to Islam.
Huntington’s geopolitical model, especially the structures for North Africa and Eurasia, is largely derived from the “Intermediate Region” geopolitical model first formulated by Dimitri Kitsikisand published in 1978. The Intermediate Region, which spans the Adriatic Sea and the Indus River, is neither western nor eastern (at least, with respect to the Far East) but is considered distinct.
Concerning this region, Huntington departs from Kitsikis contending that a civilizational fault line exists between the two dominant yet differing religions (Eastern Orthodoxy and Sunni Islam), hence a dynamic of external conflict. However, Kitsikis establishes an integrated civilization comprising these two peoples along with those belonging to the less dominant religions of Shia Islam, Alevism, and Judaism. They have a set of mutual cultural, social, economic and political views and norms which radically differ from those in the West and the Far East.
In the Intermediate Region, therefore, one cannot speak of a civilizational clash or external conflict, but rather an internal conflict, not for cultural domination, but for political succession. This has been successfully demonstrated by documenting the rise of Christianity from the hellenized Roman Empire, the rise of the Islamic caliphates from the Christianized Roman Empire and the rise of Ottoman rule from the Islamic caliphates and the Christianized Roman Empire.
Story 1: Islamic State Founding Father Barack Obama and Founding Mother Hillary Clinton Engaged In Covert Actions — The Clippers — Crooked Lying Incompetent Progressive Politician Eugenic Racists — Trump on Offense — Brilliant Move — On Obama’s Orders The Central Intelligence Agency Trained, Equipped and Armed Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadists — The Islamic State! — Video
Obama ‘founded ISIS’ – Donald Trump
Donald Trump on Hillary Clinton and the Second Amendment (C-SPAN)
Mainstream Media Going Hysterical Over Donald Trump’s Second Amendment Remarks
Donald Trump’s Spokeswoman Tries to Explain the “2nd amendment people stopping Clinton”
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
It’s no secret that CNN and pretty much the entire American media, save Fox News, is sold out for Hillary Clinton.
Witness CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the man who called Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort a liar and debated Rudy Giuliani for 32 break-less minutes on the ridiculous liberal interpretation of Trump’s Second Amendment statement, wax eloquent during a 2014 segment during which he and another host were discussing Clinton’s potential entry into the race.
“It’s a problem because she’s doing what they call in politics “freezing pockets,” because the donors are giving her money thinking she’s going to run, that means they’re not going to have available money for other candidates if she doesn’t.” Cuomo said. “And I don’t think she’s going to give it to them. We couldn’t help her any more than we have, she’s got just a free ride so far from the media, we’re the biggest ones promoting her campaign, so it had better happen.
Hey, at least he’s being honest, for once. Regardless if it hurts them in the ratings, because it clearly has, the liberal media is determined to ride that broken down mule all the way to the halls of power because, for them, ideology is what matters, and theirs is the clearly the ideology of the Left.
By Wesley Pruden – The Washington Times – Thursday, August 11, 2016
It’s the conceit of every generation that horses have never been faster, whisky has never been older, beautiful women have never been younger — and politics have never been rowdier. But maybe our generation has a legitimate claim.
The clown vs. the crook, the vulgarian vs. the witch, both stained worthies that neither party wants. One is a big talker who can’t keep his mouth shut and his tongue at ease, the other driven by greed, lies and avarice, ever on the scout for loose valuables. Has the republic ever had such a choice?
Well, politics were particularly rowdy in the decades after the War of Northern Aggression, and rarely rowdier than in the year 1884, with Gov. Grover Cleveland of New York, the Democrat, suiting up against James G. Blaine of Maine, the Republican. The Democrats rehashed old allegations of bribes, graft and grease suborned by Blaine, the man in the pocket of railroad barons, the Wall Street villains of his day. Like a presidential candidate we could name, Blaine didn’t brook allegations of sordid behavior but haughtily dismissed them as “stale slander.” This gave Democrats the famous rallying cry, “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the state of Maine.” Not quite as to the point as “lock her up!” But it stirred the masses.
For his part, Cleveland, a Presbyterian preacher’s son of starchy upright reputation, was accused of fathering an illegitimate child when practicing law in Buffalo. (A preacher’s son misbehaving? A naughty lawyer? Surely not.) The woman was a lady of wide acquaintance, and Cleveland, the only bachelor in the circle of usual suspects, manned up, and unlike another president we could name, took responsibility for his sporting life, and paid child support. But in turn the Democrats accused Blaine and the missus of not having been married when their eldest child was born. Bastardy was not fashionable in that backward day, and the rumor was disproved only after the sell-by date.
Passion is as passion does, and we’ve seen passion aplenty already in this campaign, and the campaign doesn’t even officially begin until Labor Day. Rage has replaced mere rowdiness as the fuel of presidential politics. “Anger is all the way around in this cycle,” Bart Rossi, a “political psychologist” tells CBS News. “People sometimes feel a rage, an anger against someone or something, and they act impulsively. In this case, Trump really kind of ‘gets’ you, really agitates some people to act out impulsively and that retained anger shows up.”
Hillary really “gets” a lot of other people. A Pennsylvania woman painted the broad side of her barn as an enormous American flag, and nearby spelled “Trump” in letters the size of a boxcar. “Sometimes we’ll get a lot of honks and waves, and sometimes I’ll get a thumb’s down, but we’ll just wave back, anyway.”
Missing Mateen: Top Newspapers Even WORSE Than TV In Hillary v. Trump Controversy Coverage
By Tim Graham | August 11, 2016
Our number-crunchers found the networks gave Trump’s “Second Amendment” crack about stopping Hillary-nominated judges drew five times as much air time as Hillary’s embarrassment when the father of mass-murdering Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen showed up behind her on TV at a Florida rally.
Guess what? The nation’s top newspapers were even worse in demonstrating a double standard on these two bad-news moments from the campaign trail in their Wednesday editions.
The New York Times printed a 1,287-word article at the top right of the front page headlined (all caps) “TRUMP SUGGESTS GUN OWNERS ACT AGAINST CLINTON: ALARM AT HIS REMARK.” Just to the left of that on top of the front page was an article headlined “G.O.P. Women Are Retreating From Nominee.” The Times also wrote a scathing staff editorial leading that page with the headline “Further Into the Muck With Mr. Trump.”
But the Times offered absolutely nothing in the print edition on Mr. Mateen, dismissing the story in a 440-word feature online by Matt Flegenheimer with the headline “Clinton Campaign Plays Down Appearance at Rally by Orlando Gunman’s Father.”
The Washington Post wasn’t much better. Like the Times, it plopped the Trump story on top right of Page One, a 1,409-word story headlined “Trump decried for gun remark: Critics see his comments on 2nd Amendment as a threat against Clinton.” Also like the Times, its lead staff editorial piled on, with the headline “An ugly call to ‘Second Amendment people’: Mr. Trump seems to offer a veiled threat in comments about Mrs. Clinton and gun rights.”
So where was the story on Papa Mateen in the Post? There wasn’t a story. On the back page came an article byAnne Gearan headlined “Clinton prods GOP congressional leaders to take emergency action on Zika.” In the sixth paragraph of the Zika article, the Post offered a measly two sentences adding up to 54 words:
Separately, the Clinton campaign said it was unaware that Seddique Mateen, the father of the suspect in the June mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, secured a prime seat at a Clinton rally on Monday in Kissimmee, near Orlando. Mateen told Florida television station WPTV that he had been “invited by the Democratic Party.”
The Trump story carried over to the back page, where the Post reprinted the 41-word Trump ‘Second Amendment people’ quote in headline-size type, taking up about 24 column inches of space.
The Post’s free tabloid Express also showed the double standard. It published a 16-paragraph version of the regular front-page article on Trump, and only ran a 20-word “Verbatim” quote from Papa Mateen at the bottom of the same page (13). The quote was “Clinton is good for the United States, versus Donald Trump…I was invited by the Democratic Party. I’m a member.” Aligned next to the Trump story on page 13 was a five-paragraph story on how Hillary is spending more than $13 million in political ads on the Olympics broadcasts while Trump airs nothing.
USA Today isn’t exactly in the same territory. They offered a front-page story on Trump’s Second Amendment remarks, as well as a front-page story headlined “Never Trump Ranks Grow.”
There was also an article of some depth on the Mateen embarrassment…but not by a news reporter. It was a column on the editorial page by conservative “Instapundit” blogger/professor Glenn Reynolds.
PS: My longtime colleague Rich Noyes thought this example should be added:
The Wall Street Journal posted a front-page article Wednesday headlined “New Flap for Trump Over Gun Comments” that went on for 29 paragraphs on how “Trump touched off another firestorm Tuesday.” The Wednesday paper had no article on Seddique Mateen. Late on Wednesday night, the Journal posted an article on Trump pointing out the Mateen problem, then added the liberal retort on former Congressman Mark Foley in Trump’s TV picture on Wednesday.
Tech Companies Apple, Twitter, Google, and Instagram Collude to Defeat Trump
There is no such thing as Pro-Trump free speech as Clinton corporate allies serve up a carefully curated view of the campaign
By Liz Crokin
My dad always told me that conservative candidates have to work twice as hard as their liberal opponents to win elections because they’re fighting two opponents: the Democratic Party and the media.
The usual suspects from left-leaning major media outlets like The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN and even entertainment networks are doing everything in their power to ensure a Clinton victory. Look no further than to Wolf Blitzermincingaround and drinking wine at the Democratic convention, celebrating Hillary’s nomination. But the propaganda skewing this election runs much deeper than just the media: our iPhones, iPads, social media networks, Google and even video games are all in the tank for Hillary Clinton—and it’s chilling.
I began looking into how strong the bias and censorship runs in these forums after I did an interview on the pro-Trump podcast, MAGAPod. The show’s host, Mark Hammond, was disappointed Apple wouldn’t run his show without an “explicit” warning. Hammond’s podcast didn’t contain content that would be deemed explicit under Apple’s policy, and most other shows in the News & Politics category aren’t labeled as such.
On June 18, Hammond talked to Sandra, a representative from Apple. She explained that, since the description of his show is pro-Trump, his show is explicit in nature—because the subject matter is Donald Trump. So, an Apple employee concluded the Republican presidential candidate is explicit.
iTunes has dozens of podcasts discussing Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler—none of which is marked explicit. I encouraged Hammond to contact Apple again, via email to their podcast support team. Within 48 hours he received a response from “Tim,” who informed Hammond that his podcast would be updated to “clean” within 24 hours.
Further digging on Apple revealed more evidence that the computer giant is feeding users pro-Hillary and anti-Trump propaganda.
Over the past year, Apple twice refused to publish a satirical Clinton Emailgate game, “Capitol HillAwry,” claiming it was “offensive” and “mean spirited” even though the game’s developer, John Matze, cited in communications with Apple that the game fits the standards of Apple’s own satire policy. Apple has, however, approved dozens of games poking fun at Donald Trump—including a game called “Dump Trump,” which depicts the GOP nominee as a giant turd.
On July 25, Breitbart exposed this blatant double standard and favoritism toward Clinton. A few days after the article was released, Apple caved and published Capitol HillAwry, 15 months after Matze’s first attempt to go live.
While it’s commendable that Apple resolved both situations, Trump supporters and conservative users should never have faced such biased treatment in the first place.
Around the same time I was a guest on MAGAPod, a friend complained to me about how biased his Apple News feed is against Trump. I set up an Apple News account on my iPhone.
First step: select an outlet. Fox News. Conservative. But my news feed? Liberal.
And if there are articles above the fold from more right-leaning sites? They paint Trump in a negative light and Hillary in a positive light. Of all the channels listed in the Apple News politics section, only two of the 16 arguably lean right—the rest are reliably left-wing.
This has, of course, been pointed out before, and anyone with an iPhone or iPad can go to Apple News to determine on his or her own if Apple is pushing leftist propaganda. Apple claims not to endorse candidates, but their actions suggest otherwise, and some of their executives—including CEO Tim Cook—actively support Clinton’s campaign. Buzzfeed recently obtained an invitation to a private $50,000-per-plate fundraiser Cook is hosting for Clinton with his Apple colleague, Lisa Jackson, at the end of this month.
Apple isn’t the only corporation doing Clinton’s bidding. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said Clinton made a deal with Google and that the tech giant is “directly engaged” in her campaign. It’s been widely reported Clinton hired Eric Schmidt—chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google—to set up a tech company called The Groundwork. Assange claims this was to ensure Clinton had the “engineering talent to win the election.” He also pointed out that many members of Clinton’s staff have worked for Google, and some of her former employees now work at Google.
So it should come as no surprise that there have been multiple reports accusing Google of manipulating searches to bury negative stories about Clinton.SourceFed details how Google alters its auto-complete functions to paint Clinton in a positive light.
For example, when you type “Hillary Clinton cri” into other engines like Yahoo! or Bing, the most popular autofills are “Hillary Clinton criminal charges” but in Google it’s “Hillary Clinton crime reform.” Google denies they changed their algorithm to help Clinton, and insists the company does not favor any candidate. They also claim their algorithms don’t show predicted queries that are offensive or disparaging.
But Google has gotten into hot water on multiple occasions for connecting Trump to Adolf Hitler. In June, when users searched “when Hitler was born” it generated the expected information on Hitler but also an image of Trump. In July, searches for Trump’s book, Crippled America, returned images of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto Mein Kempf. Google has since fixed both—but again, why do these issues always conveniently disparage Trump and help Clinton?
Twitter is another culprit. The company has gotten a lot of slack for banning conservatives and Trump supporters such as Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos and, most recently, rapper Azealia Banks after she came out in support of Trump. Twitter has provided vague answers as to why conservative voices have been banned while they’ve allowed other users to call for the killing of cops.
Just yesterday, Buzzfeed revealed that the social media giant’s top executive personally protected the President from seeing critical messages last year. “In 2015, then-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo secretly ordered employees to filter out abusive and hateful replies to President Barack Obama.”
This year, Twitter isn’t just banning conservatives—the platform also changed its algorithms to promote Clinton while giving negative exposure to Trump.
The founders of some of the most popular pro-Trump Twitter handles—including @USAforTrump2016 and @WeNeedTrump—insist Twitter is censoring their content. They’ve pointed out that Twitter changes trending hashtags associated with negative tweets about Clinton (which has been reported before). On August 4, shortly after the hashtag “HillaryAccomplishment” began trending, it was taken over by anti-Clinton users, who used it to mention Benghazi or Emailgate. Eric Spracklen, @USAforTrump2016 founder, noticed the hashtag was quickly changed—pluralized to #HillarysAccomplishments.
“They take away the hashtag that has negative tweets for Clinton and replace it with something that doesn’t so the average person doesn’t see what was really trending,” Spracklen said. “This happens every day.”
Jack Murphy, founder of @WeNeedTrump, says followers complain they often aren’t able to retweet his pro-Trump tweets.
Instagram has also banned accounts that depict Clinton in a negative light. In June, a conservative comedy group called Toughen Up America was banned with no warning or explanation. Last week, the popular Australian-based graffiti artist, Lushsux, was banned from Instagram after he posted photos of a bikini-clad Clinton mural he painted.
“I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist with a tin foil hat, but the timing of the Hillary Clinton mural posting and the deletion that ensued can’t just be a coincidence,” he told the Daily Mail Australia. Lushsux has posted photos of way more graphic murals, including a topless Melania Trump and a naked Donald with his package in full sight. These images did not trigger any censorship from Instagram.
Facebook has a long history of shutting down pages and blocking conservative users while promoting progressive voices like Black Lives Matter activists. The problem became so transparent that Sen. John Thune sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to explain their practices.
Facebook denies it discriminates against “any sources of ideological origin” and Zuckerberg did meet with conservatives in an attempt to resolve this issue. While some walked away from the meeting encouraged that Zuckerberg wants to repair their relationship, other prominent conservatives rejected the invitation as a publicity stunt. It should be noted that Facebook employees have donated more to Clinton than to any other candidate.
Many conservatives have come to expect this kind of thing from the mainstream media. CNN, which paints itself as the centrist antidote to right-leaning Fox News and left-leaning MSNBC, has actually been among the most disingenuous offenders during this cycle, fully earning its derisive nickname “Clinton News Network.” For example, as NewsBusters pointed out for just one day, “CNN set aside nearly half of its air time on Wednesday’s New Day to various recent controversies involving the Trump campaign — 1 hour, 24 minutes, and 18 seconds over three hours. By contrast, the program clearly didn’t think much of the Wall Street Journal‘s revelationthat the Obama administration secretly airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran. John Berman gave a 27-second news brief to the report, but didn’t mention that the payment was sent on “an unmarked cargo plane.” New Day, therefore, devoted over 187 times more coverage to Trump than to the millions to Iran.”
Another favored CNN trick is to present a “balanced” panel comprised of two Republicans, two Democrats and a host, as they did on the afternoon of July 29, just to name one instance of a hundred. However, the Republican side always features one Trump supporter and one “Never Trump” Republican, with the host grilling the Trump Supporter—often a beleaguered Jeffrey Lord—in what amounts to a 4-on-1. So much for balance.
Right now, CNN has a story on its site called “Which Republicans oppose Trump and why?” There’s no corresponding story about Democrats who oppose Clinton, even though her underdog challenger in the primary lasted far longer and received far more votes than any of Trump’s Republican challengers.
No Republican willing to criticize Trump is too insignificant to merit coverage on CNN. When a minor Christie staffer announced on her personal Facebook that she’d be backing Hillary, she somehow merited a 1200 word story on CNN’s website and euphoric coverage on the air by Brooke Baldwin for “splitting with her party.”
So that’s the traditional media. But this new strand, where one cannot even search for alternative viewpoints amid technology companies who stand to benefit from the free-trade policies and eased immigration regulations of a Clinton presidence, represents a dangerous sea change. There’s absolutely no question the digital forums we use every day are censoring conservatives and favoring Clinton. You can’t simply scroll through photos on Instagram, look for a video game in the App Store or do a quick Google search without being fed anti-Trump and pro-Clinton propaganda.
These companies are engaging in activity that can quickly lead down a very dangerous slippery slope and this should concern all freedom-loving Americans—not just conservatives. If you don’t know when the election is, no problem! Just Google it and see for yourself what comes up…
Those in power see people at the bottom as aliens whose bizarre emotions they must try to manage.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the refugee crisis, Sept 7, 2015. E
By PEGGY NOONAN Aug. 11, 2016
This is about distance, and detachment, and a kind of historic decoupling between the top and the bottom in the West that did not, in more moderate recent times, exist.
Recently I spoke with an acquaintance of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and the conversation quickly turned, as conversations about Ms. Merkel now always do, to her decisions on immigration. Last summer when Europe was engulfed with increasing waves of migrants and refugees from Muslim countries, Ms. Merkel, moving unilaterally, announced that Germany would take in an astounding 800,000. Naturally this was taken as an invitation, and more than a million came. The result has been widespread public furor over crime, cultural dissimilation and fears of terrorism. From such a sturdy, grounded character as Ms. Merkel the decision was puzzling—uncharacteristically romantic about people, how they live their lives, and history itself, which is more charnel house than settlement house.
Ms. Merkel’s acquaintance sighed and agreed. It’s one thing to be overwhelmed by an unexpected force, quite another to invite your invaders in! But, the acquaintance said, he believed the chancellor was operating in pursuit of ideals. As the daughter of a Lutheran minister, someone who grew up in East Germany, Ms. Merkel would have natural sympathy for those who feel marginalized and displaced. Moreover she is attempting to provide a kind of counter-statement, in the 21st century, to Germany’s great sin of the 20th. The historical stain of Nazism, the murder and abuse of the minority, will be followed by the moral triumph of open arms toward the dispossessed. That’s what’s driving it, said the acquaintance.
It was as good an explanation as I’d heard. But there was a fundamental problem with the decision that you can see rippling now throughout the West. Ms. Merkel had put the entire burden of a huge cultural change not on herself and those like her but on regular people who live closer to the edge, who do not have the resources to meet the burden, who have no particular protection or money or connections. Ms. Merkel, her cabinet and government, the media and cultural apparatus that lauded her decision were not in the least affected by it and likely never would be.
Nothing in their lives will get worse. The challenge of integrating different cultures, negotiating daily tensions, dealing with crime and extremism and fearfulness on the street—that was put on those with comparatively little, whom I’ve called the unprotected. They were left to struggle, not gradually and over the years but suddenly and in an air of ongoing crisis that shows no signs of ending—because nobody cares about them enough to stop it.
The powerful show no particular sign of worrying about any of this. When the working and middle class pushed back in shocked indignation, the people on top called them “xenophobic,” “narrow-minded,” “racist.” The detached, who made the decisions and bore none of the costs, got to be called “humanist,” “compassionate,” and “hero of human rights.”
And so the great separating incident at Cologne last New Year’s, and the hundreds of sexual assaults by mostly young migrant men who were brought up in societies where women are veiled—who think they should be veiled—and who chose to see women in short skirts and high heels as asking for it.
Cologne of course was followed by other crimes.
The journalist Chris Caldwell reports in the Weekly Standard on Ms. Merkel’s statement a few weeks ago, in which she told Germans that history was asking them to “master the flip side, the shadow side, of all the positive effects of globalization.”
Caldwell: “This was the chancellor’s . . . way of acknowledging that various newcomers to the national household had begun to attack and kill her voters at an alarming rate.” Soon after her remarks, more horrific crimes followed, including in Munich (nine killed in a McDonald’s) Reutlingen (a knife attack) and Ansbach (a suicide bomber).
The larger point is that this is something we are seeing all over, the top detaching itself from the bottom, feeling little loyalty to it or affiliation with it. It is a theme I see working its way throughout the West’s power centers. At its heart it is not only a detachment from, but a lack of interest in, the lives of your countrymen, of those who are not at the table, and who understand that they’ve been abandoned by their leaders’ selfishness and mad virtue-signalling.
On Wall Street, where they used to make statesmen, they now barely make citizens. CEOs are consumed with short-term thinking, stock prices, quarterly profits. They don’t really believe that they have to be involved with “America” now; they see their job as thinking globally and meeting shareholder expectations.
In Silicon Valley the idea of “the national interest” is not much discussed. They adhere to higher, more abstract, more global values. They’re not about America, they’re about . . . well, I suppose they’d say the future.
In Hollywood the wealthy protect their own children from cultural decay, from the sick images they create for all the screens, but they don’t mind if poor, unparented children from broken-up families get those messages and, in the way of things, act on them down the road.
From what I’ve seen of those in power throughout business and politics now, the people of your country are not your countrymen, they’re aliens whose bizarre emotions you must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage.
In Manhattan, my little island off the continent, I see the children of the global business elite marry each other and settle in London or New York or Mumbai. They send their children to the same schools and are alert to all class markers. And those elites, of Mumbai and Manhattan, do not often identify with, or see a connection to or an obligation toward, the rough, struggling people who live at the bottom in their countries. In fact, they fear them, and often devise ways, when home, of not having their wealth and worldly success fully noticed.
Affluence detaches, power adds distance to experience. I don’t have it fully right in my mind but something big is happening here with this division between the leaders and the led. It is very much a feature of our age. But it is odd that our elites have abandoned or are abandoning the idea that they belong to a country, that they have ties that bring responsibilities, that they should feel loyalty to their people or, at the very least, a grounded respect.
I close with a story that I haven’t seen in the mainstream press. This week the Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson reported that recent Syrian refugees being resettled in Virginia, were sent to the state’s poorest communities. Data from the State Department showed that almost all Virginia’s refugees since October “have been placed in towns with lower incomes and higher poverty rates, hours away from the wealthy suburbs outside of Washington, D.C.” Of 121 refugees, 112 were placed in communities at least 100 miles from the nation’s capital. The suburban counties of Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington—among the wealthiest in the nation, and home to high concentrations of those who create, and populate, government and the media—have received only nine refugees.
Some of the detachment isn’t unconscious. Some of it is sheer and clever self-protection. At least on some level they can take care of their own.
Story 1: When Will Obama and Kerry Walk Like Men Out Of Negotiations With The World Leading Terrorist Nation The Islamic Republic of Iran? Never! — Yakety Yak– Where Is The Written Signed Agreement/Treaty Stopping Iran From Having Nuclear Weapons President Obama? — Time To Release Some Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) — Bunker Busters on Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Factories — Bombs Away — Videos
Divine – Walk Like A Man (1985) HQ
Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons
Walk Like A Man – Jersey Boys Movie
“Walk Like A Man”
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
Walk like a manOh how you tried
To cut me down to size
by telling dirty lies to my friends
But my own father
Said give her up, don’t bother
The world isn’t coming to an endHe said walk like a man
Talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman’s worth
Crawling on the earth
So walk like a man my sonoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-ooFine eyed baby
I don’t mean maybe
We’re gonna get along somehow
Soon you’ll be crying
On ‘count of all you’re lying
Oh yeah, just look who’s laughing nowI’m gonna walk like a man
Fast as I can
Walk like a man from you
I’ll tell the world
Forget about it girl
And walk like a man from youoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
Walk Like a Man Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Lyrics
July 2015 Breaking News USA ready to attack Iranian nuclear facilities with awe-inspiring plan B
30,000 Pound Bunker Buster Bomb designed to detour Iran Nuclear Threat
As negotiations with Iran continue towards a nuclear arms agreement, the United States still holds a trump card. The 30,000 Pound Boeing GBU-57 Bunker Buster bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon in U.S. inventory, designed to destroy nuclear weapons bunkers in Iran and North Korea. The bunker buster, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg.) and has been improved with “adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and hi-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex.”
“Hopefully we never have to use it, but if we had to, it would work.”
The existence of a bomb that has the capability of destroying the underground facility from the air could also give the West extra bargaining power in nuclear negotiations with the Iran.
US officials believe the improved MOP will serve to convince Israel to hold off on unilaterally attacking Iran and give Washington more time to diplomatically neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat.
US military chiefs openly admitted the weapon was built to attack the fortified nuclear facilities of “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea. Although the Pentagon insists that it is not aimed at a specific threat, unnamed officials within the ministry have repeatedly claimed the bomb is being tailor-made to disable Iranian nuclear facilities at Fordo.
Vienna talks on Iran nuclear deal will continue over weekend
U.S.’s Kerry says not in rush to get Iran nuclear deal
Iran Nuclear Deal Deadlocked Over Arms
Weapons of War: Pentagon Upgrades Biggest ‘Bunker Buster’ Bomb
Bunkers & Bunker Busting Bombs
MOP Massive Ordnance Penetrator GBU-57A-B Penetrator bunker buster bomb Iran United States
World War 3 Pentagon unveils 30,000 pound M O P Bunker Buster Bomb against Iran May 03, 2013
Israeli Air force NASTY SURPRISE for Iran military
World War 3 Pentagon unveils 30,000 pound M O P Bunker Buster Bomb against Iran May 03, 2013
Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) 37,000 LB Bombs To The USAF – GBU-57
ONE BOMB KILLS 40 TANKS us air force CBU 105 cluster bomb
Israel Air Force Refuels Mid-air
Only on AP: US Tankers Refuel for IS Fight
WATCH OUT IRAN Israeli Air Force unveils Refueling aircraft for possible Airstrike
Israel To Buy 25 More F-35 Lockheed Stealth Fighters: Sources
December 2014 Breaking News USA F35 Israel to buy second squadron of stealth F35 jets
News Wrap: As deadline looms, Kerry says Iran nuclear talks not ‘open-ended’
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons In Concert Live
Frankie Valli And 4 Seasons Live on Ice 2008
The Coasters – Yakety Yak – ORIGINAL MONO VERSION
Yakety Yak – The Coasters with lyrics
Where Have all the Flowers Gone: Eve of Destruction
Iran Made Illegal Purchases of Nuclear Weapons Technology Last Month
The question is not whether Iran can be trusted to uphold the nuclear deal now being negotiated in Vienna (it can’t), but whether the Obama administration and its P5+1 partners can be trusted to punish Iran when it violates the agreement?
Experience shows that unless Iran violates the deal egregiously, the temptation will be to ignore it. For instance, Iran got away with selling more oil than it should have under the interim agreement. More ominously, Tehran repeatedly pushed the envelope on technical aspects of the agreement—such as caps on its uranium stockpile—and got away with it. The Obama administration and other Western powers have so much invested in their diplomatic efforts that they’ll deny such violations ever occurred.
More evidence of Iranian violations has now surfaced. Two reports regarding Iran’s attempts to illicitly and clandestinely procure technology for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs have recently been published. They show that Iran’s procurement continues apace, if not faster than before the Joint Plan of Action was signed in November 2013. But fear of potentially embarrassing negotiators and derailing negotiations has made some states reluctant to report Tehran’s illegal efforts. If these countries have hesitated to expose Iran during the negotiations, it is more likely they will refrain from reporting after a deal is struck.
The first report was released last month by the U.N. panel of experts in charge of reporting compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iran. The panel noted that U.N. member states had not reported significant violations of U.N. sanctions and speculated as to why: either Iran was complying, or countries did not wish to interfere with negotiations.
Paddle, pedal, jog or Segway through North America’s largest urban parkland—Edmonton’s river valley.
The second report, released last week by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, is less ambiguous. The agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, confirmed to us that Iran continues to seek illicit technology for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.
Iran has had a long history of trying to obtain nuclear technology from German companies, particularly by seeking ways to transport merchandise in circumvention of international sanctions. Since November 2013, Tehran has sought industry computers, high-speed cameras, cable fiber, and pumps for its nuclear and missile program. It appears that Iran’s readiness to negotiate does not reflect any substantive policy change. Rather, it is a diplomatic tactic retreat forced by economic distress, not a strategic rethinking of its priorities.
Iran’s cheating should give Western negotiators additional resolve to impose ironclad guarantees in the agreement. They should compel Iran to reveal its past activities, including its post-JPOA procurement efforts, and impose tough, intrusive, “anytime, anywhere” inspections before sanctions are suspended, let alone lifted.
Instead, the lack of reporting to the U.N. despite evidence of cheating suggests a lack of resolve on the part of Western nations, and their willingness to downplay all but the most egregious violations. This does not bode well for the future. If Western powers are reluctant to penalize Iran for trying to evade sanctions because they’re afraid of spoiling the negotiations, what will happen in the future when Western powers have even more invested in preserving an agreement?
Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow.
In 2002, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin were working on the development of a 30,000-lb (13,600 kg) earth-penetrating weapon, said to be known as “Big BLU“. But funding and technical difficulties resulted in the development work being abandoned. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, analysis of sites that had been attacked with bunker-buster bombs revealed poor penetration and inadequate levels of destruction.This renewed interest in the development of a super-large bunker-buster, and the MOP project was initiated by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to fulfill a long-standing Air Force requirement.
The U.S. Air Force has not officially recognized specific military requirement for an ultra-large bomb, but it does have a concept for a collection of massively sized penetrator and blast weapons, the so-called “Big BLU” collection, which includes the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst) bomb. Development of the MOP was performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida with design and testing work performed by Boeing. It is intended that the bomb will be deployed on the B-2 bomber, and will be guided by the use of GPS.
Northrop Grumman announced a $2.5-million stealth-bomber refit contract on 19 July 2007. Each of the U.S. Air Force’s B-2s is to be able to carry two 14-ton MOPs.
On 6 October 2009, ABC News reported that the Pentagon had requested and obtained permission from the U.S. Congress to shift funding in order to accelerate the project. It was later announced by the U.S. military that “funding delays and enhancements to the planned test schedule” meant the bomb would not be deployable until December 2010, six months later than the original availability date.
The project has had at least one successful Flight Test MOP launch. The final testing will be completed in 2012.
The Air Force took delivery of 20 bombs, designed to be delivered by the B-2 bomber, in September 2011. In February 2012, Congress approved $81.6 million to further develop and improve the weapon.
On 7 April 2011, the USAF ordered eight MOPs plus supporting equipment for $28 million.
On 14 November 2011, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and that the deliveries “will meet requirements for the current operational need”. The Air Force now has received delivery of 16 MOPs as of November 2011. And as of March 2012, there is an “operational stockpile” at Whiteman Air Force Base.
In 2012, the Pentagon requested $82 million to develop greater penetration power for the existing weapon. A 2013 report stated that the development had been a success, and B-2 integration testing began that year.
MOP being offloaded in preparation for its first explosive test, 2007.
Mock up of MOP inside a bomb bay of a B-2 simulator, 2007.
B-52 releases a MOP during a weapons test, 2009.
Next-generation Penetrator Munition
On 25 June 2010, USAF Lt. Gen. Phillip Breedlove said that the Next-generation Penetrator Munition should be about a third the size of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator so it could be carried by affordable aircraft. In December 2010, the USAF had a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Next Generation Penetrator (NGP).
Global Strike Command has indicated that one of the objectives for the Next-Generation Bomber is for it to carry a weapon with the effects of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. This would either be with the same weapon or a smaller weapon that uses rocket power to reach sufficient speed to match the penetrating power of the larger weapon.
One of the current limitations of the MOP is that it lacks a void-sensing fuze and will therefore detonate after it has come to a stop, even if it passed by the target area.
Whether Iran is racing toward nuclear weapon capabilities is one of the most contentious issues challenging the West, including the United States and Israel, which has been involved in a shadow war with the country.
April 2, 2015
April 2, 2015
Iran Agrees to Nuclear Limits, But Key Issues Are Unresolved
Iran and European nations say they have reached an understanding about next steps, but key issues need to be resolved before a final agreement by June 30.
According to European officials, roughly 5,000 centrifuges will remain spinning enriched uranium at Natanz, about half the number currently running. The underground enrichment site at Fordo — which Israeli and some American officials fear is impervious to bombing — will be partly converted to advanced nuclear research and the production of medical isotopes.
A major reactor at Arak, which officials fear could produce plutonium, will operate on a limited basis that will not provide enough fuel for a bomb.
In return the European Union and the United States will begin to lift sanctions, as Iran complies.
Kerry Announces Extension to Iran Talks Video by Reuters/ Photo by Roland Schlager/European Pressphoto Agency
U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months
A yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure fell short, forcing the United States and its allies to declare a seven-month extension, but with no clear indication of how they plan to bridge fundamental differences.
The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, Catherine Ashton, who is representing the European Union, and Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna. Leonhard Foeger/Reuters
Negotiators Scrambling as Deadline Looms in Nuclear Talks
As six world powers and Iran race to meet a Monday deadline for an agreement that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the United States stakes out an ambitious goal for what an accord should accomplish.
American officials say the agreement should slow the Iranian nuclear program enough that it would take Iran at least a year to make enough material for a nuclear bomb if it decided to ignore the accord.
It has become increasingly unlikely that any accord announced on Monday would be a complete one. And whatever deal is reached, it may not matter if Iranian hard-liners have their way. In Iran, the final decision on a nuclear deal lies with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.
Under a proposed deal, Russia will convert uranium into specialized fuel rods for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.Majid Asgaripour/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Role for Russia Gives Iran Talks a Possible Boost
Iran tentatively agrees to ship much of its huge stockpile of uranium to Russia for conversion into specialized fuel rods for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial reactor. The agreement is potentially a major breakthrough in talks that have until now been deadlocked.
A key question remains about the negotiations that American officials have been loath to discuss in public: In a final deal, would Iran be required to publicly admit its past activities, or merely provide a mechanism for monitoring its actions in the future?
Iran’s nuclear reactor in Arak, about 150 miles southwest of Tehran, is being redesigned.Hamid Foroutan/Iranian Students News Agency, via Associated Press
Iran Altering Arak Reactor in Bid for Nuclear Deal
Atomic power engineers in Iran start redesigning a partly constructed reactor in Arak to limit the amount of plutonium it produces, Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, says, expressing hope that the change will help alleviate Western objections that the plutonium can be used in weapons.
Iran, the United States and the five other countries agree to a four-month extension of the negotiations, giving them more time to try to bridge a major difference over whether the country will be forced to dismantle parts of its nuclear infrastructure, according to senior Western diplomats involved in the talks.
Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, accuses the West of trying to sabotage a reactor being built near Arak.Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal; Accepts Limit
As the deadline for the talks approaches on Sunday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the country could accept a freeze on its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years, provided it could eventually produce fuel unhindered.
The proposal will effectively extend a limited series of concessions Iran made last November as part of a temporary deal to get negotiations started on a permanent accord. In return, Iran wants step-by-step relief from sanctions that have substantially weakened its economy.
Iran Is Providing Information on Its Detonators, Report Says
The I.A.E.A. releases a report stating that Iran is beginning to turn over information related to its nuclear detonators. The agency says that Iran has provided “additional information and explanations,” including documents, to substantiate its claim that it had tested the detonators for “a civilian application.”
From left, Foreign Ministers Laurent Fabius of France and William Hague of Britain, and Secretary of State John Kerry with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan, in Paris. Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images
Negotiators Put Final Touches on Iran Accord
Iran and a group of six world powers complete a deal that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran’s nuclear program starting Jan. 20, in exchange for limited relief from Western economic sanctions.
The agreement faced opposition from Iranian hard-liners and Israeli leaders, as well as heavy criticism from some American lawmakers, who have threatened to approve further sanctions despite President Obama’s promise of a veto.
The negotiators in Geneva early Sunday morning. President Obama hailed the agreement. Denis Balibouse/Reuters
Deal With Iran Halts Nuclear Program
The United States and five other world powers announce a landmark accord that would temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement.
The aim of the accord, which is to last six months, is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive accord that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could only be used for peaceful purposes.
Iran is in a much different position now to negotiate on its nuclear program than it was four years ago when President Obama first broached the subject.
Iran Says It Agrees to ‘Road Map’ With U.N. on Nuclear Inspections
The I.A.E.A. says that Iran has agreed to resolve all outstanding issues with the agency, and will permit “managed access” by international inspectors to two key nuclear facilities. But the promise does not extend to the Parchin military site, which inspectors have been trying to see for months.
Marathon talks between major powers and Iran fail to ease sanctions on the country and produce a deal to freeze its nuclear program.
Iran and a group of six world powers say that they have engaged in “substantive” and “forward-looking” discussions on the disputed Iranian nuclear program and that they will reconvene on November 7.
The account of the two days of talks in Geneva came in a rare joint statement from Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, who is the lead negotiator with Iran.
President Obama says he has spoken by phone with President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct contact between the leaders of Iran and the United States since 1979. Mr. Obama, speaking in the White House briefing room, said the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program and said he was persuaded there was a basis for an agreement.
Moments before Mr. Obama’s announcement, Mr. Rouhani’s Twitter account posted this now-deleted message: “In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @HassanRouhani: “Have a Nice Day!” @BarackObama: “Thank you. Khodahafez.”
Rouhani, Blunt and Charming, Pitches a Moderate Iran in First U.N. Appearance
Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, turns himself into a high-speed salesman offering a flurry of speeches, tweets, televised interviews and carefully curated private meetings, intended to end Iran’s economic isolation.
At the United Nations General Assembly, he preaches tolerance and understanding, decries as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and says nuclear weapons have no place in its future. He takes aim at Israel’s nuclear arsenal in a public – while the country’s leaders caution over what they deem as an empty charm offensive.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new leader, received a private letter from President Obama about easing tensions between the countries.Vahid Salemi/Associated Press
Iran Said to Seek a Nuclear Accord to End Sanctions
Seizing on a perceived flexibility in a letter from President Obama to President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s leaders are focused on getting quick relief from crippling sanctions, a top adviser to the Iranian leadership says.
The adviser says that Mr. Obama’s letter, delivered about three weeks ago, promised relief from sanctions if Tehran demonstrated a willingness to “cooperate with the international community, keep your commitments and remove ambiguities.”
Iran Slows Its Gathering of Enriched Uranium, Report Says
I.A.E.A. inspectors say that Iran is slowing its accumulation of enriched uranium that can be quickly turned into fuel for an atomic bomb. The report’s disclosure is significant politically because it delays the day when Iran could breach what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel last fall called a “red line” beyond which Iran would not be allowed to pass — the point at which it has enough purified uranium to quickly make a single nuclear weapon.
Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, has been elected the next president of Iran.
Iran Elects New President
Voters overwhelmingly elect Hassan Rouhani, 64, a mild-mannered cleric who advocates greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.
The diplomat sheik played a key role in Iran’s voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment in 2004, which Western powers responded to by asking for more concessions from Iran.
Mr. Rouhani replaces his predecessors’ foreign minister with Mohammad Javad Zarif, an American-educated diplomat known for his understanding of the West, and makes him responsible for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Rouhani also removes a hard-line nuclear scientists as head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, and replaces him with the former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. In September, Iran’s longtime ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency will be replaced as well.
The Obama administration escalates sanctions against Iran for the fourth time in a week, blacklisting what it describes as a global network of front companies controlled by Iran’s top leaders, accusing them of hiding assets and generating billions of dollars worth of revenue to help Tehran evade sanctions.
The White House also accuses Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of personally directing an effort to bypass them.
The United States also blacklists Iranian petrochemical companies, its automotive industry and more than 50 Iranian officials, and threatens to sanction foreign banks that trade or hold Iran’s national currency, the rial.
The I.A.E.A. says Iran has made significant progress across the board in its nuclear program, while negotiations with the West dragged on this spring. But it said that it has not gone past the “red line” that Israel’s leaders have declared could trigger military action.
In its last report before the Iranian elections next month, the agency also gives details that point to an emerging production strategy by the Iranians. One strategy involves speeding ahead with another potential route to a bomb: producing plutonium. The report indicates that Iran is making significant progress at its Arak complex, where it has built a heavy-water facility and is expected to have a reactor running by the end of next year.
The United States expands its roster of those violating Iran sanctions, blacklisting four Iranian companies and one individual suspected of helping the country enrich nuclear fuel. It also singles out two other companies, including a Venezuelan-Iranian bank, accused of helping Iran evade other Western-imposed prohibitions on oil sales and financial dealings.
The penalties came a day after the Senate introduced legislation that could effectively deny the Iran government access to an estimated $100 billion worth of its own money parked in overseas banks, a step that proponents said could significantly damage Iran’s financial stability.
Iranians rush to supermarkets to buy cooking oil, red meat and other staples, stockpiling the goods over new fears of price spikes from a change in the official exchange rate that could severely reduce the already weakened purchasing power of the rial, the national currency.
Prices of staples are set to increase by as much as 60 percent because of the currency change.
Economists say the result is from a combination of severe Western sanctions and what many call the government’s economic mismanagement.
Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon. Next week he will travel to the Middle East to finalize the arms sale.Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
U.S. Arms Deal With Israel and 2 Arab Nations Is Near
The Defense Department is expecting to finalize a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week that will provide missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran.
Israeli Officials Stress Readiness for Lone Strike on Iran
In an interview with the BBC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, saying Israel has “different vulnerabilities and different capabilities” than the United States. “We have to make our own calculations, when we lose the capacity to defend ourselves by ourselves.”
Israeli defense and military officials have been issuing explicit warnings this week that Israel was prepared and had the capability to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
US Blacklists an Iranian and Businesses Over Violation of Sanctions
The United States blacklists an affluent Iranian business executive, Babak Morteza Zanjani, and what it describes as his multibillion-dollar money laundering network, accusing them of selling oil for Iran in violation of the Western economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
On March 14, The Treasury Department, which administers the government’s Iran sanctions, blacklisted a Greek shipping tycoon, Dimitris Cambis, over what it called his scheme to acquire a fleet of oil tankers on Iran’s behalf and disguise their ownership to ship Iranian oil.
Family members of slain nuclear scientists stood with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, far right, a nuclear official. Arash Khamoushi/Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, via Associated Press
After Talks End, Iran Announces an Expansion of Nuclear Fuel Production
Iran’s president announces an expansion of the country’s uranium production and claims other atomic energy advances, striking a pugnacious tone in the aftermath of diplomatic talks thatended in an impasse with the big powers on April 6 in Kazakhstan.
A look, provided by the United States Navy, at how its laser attack weapon works. The video is silent.
Navy Deploying Laser Weapon Prototype Near Iran
The U.S. announces that the Navy will deploy a laser weapon prototype in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.
The laser will not be operational until next year. It has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.
President Obama traveled to Israel on March 20, in a symbolic two-day visit to the country, the first of his presidency.
Iran Nuclear Weapon to Take Year or More, Obama Says
President Obama tells an Israeli television station that his administration believes it would take Iran “over a year or so” to develop a nuclear weapon.
Mr. Obama’s estimated timeline contrasts with Mr. Netanyahu’s stated belief that Israel and its Western allies are likely to have to intervene by the spring or summer, when, he says, Iran’s scientists will have enriched enough uranium to become a nuclear threat.
Iran meets with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Kazakhstan, but talks end with no specific agreement over a proposal that would sharply constrain Iran’s stockpile of the most dangerous enriched uranium, in return for a modest lifting of some sanctions.
The six powers also agreed that Iran could keep a small amount of 20 percent enriched uranium — which can be converted to bomb grade with modest additional processing — for use in a reactor to produce medical isotopes.
Iranian oil sales have been reduced by half as a result of the international pressure on the country, and restrictions on financial transactions and transportation have created many difficulties for its leaders.
The state news agency IRNA quotes a report by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, saying that it had found significant new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations.
Iran’s raw uranium reserves now total around 4,400 tons, including discoveries over the past 18 months, IRNA quoted the report as saying.
A few weeks earlier, Ayatollah Khamenei said that his country was not seeking nuclear weapons but added that if Iran ever decided to build them, no “global power” could stop it.
Speaking to air force commanders in Tehran on Feb. 6, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran “will not negotiate under pressure.” Khamenei Official Web site, via European Pressphoto Agency
U.S. Bolsters Sanctions
A new round of American sanctions take effect which state that any country that buys Iranian oil must put the purchase money into a local bank account. Iran cannot repatriate the money and can use it only to buy goods within that country. Violators risk severe penalties in doing business with the United States. Oil exports from Iran have already dropped by a million barrels a day.
A week earlier, Iran announces that it would deploy a new generation of centrifuges, four to six times as powerful as the current generation.
Most of that decline comes in a frenzy of speculative selling by Iranians worried that rapid inflation could render their money worthless. The government responds with a crackdown in which some money traders are arrested.
The depressed value of the rial forces Iranians to carry ever-fatter wads of bank notes to buy everyday items. But the sanctions also present a new complication to Iran’s banking authorities: they may not be able to print enough money.
Meanwhile, the European Union toughens sanctions against Iran, banning trade in industries like finance, metals and natural gas, and making other business transactions far more cumbersome.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, displaying his red line for Iran’s nuclear program. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
Israel’s ‘Red Line’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel tells the United Nations that Iran’s capability to enrich uranium must be stopped before the spring or early summer, arguing that by that time Iran will be in a position to make a short, perhaps undetectable, sprint to manufacture its first nuclear weapon.
The United Nations atomic agency reports that Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges needed to complete a deep-underground site under a mountain near Qum for the production of nuclear fuel.
The I.A.E.A. also says that Iran may have sought to cleanse another site where the agency has said it suspects that the country has conducted explosive experiments that could be relevant to the production of a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, the United States imposes more punishing sanctions against Iran, aimed at its oil and petrochemical sectors, as well as its shipping trade, intensifying existing sanctions intended to choke off the revenue that Iran reaps from its two largest export industries.
The Neptune, an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, is part of a fleet of about 65 Iranian tankers serving as floating storage facilities for Iranian oil, each one given a nautical makeover to conceal its origin and make a buyer easier to find. Thomas Erdbrink
Embargo on Iranian Oil
A European Union embargo on Iranian oil takes effect, playing a large role in severely restricting Iran’s ability to sell its most important export.
In retaliation, Iran announces legislation intended to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf shipping lane, and tests missiles in a desert drill clearly intended as a warning to Israel and the United States.
In January 2013, Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, acknowledged for the first time that petroleum exports and sales had fallen by at least 40 percent in the previous year, costing the country $4 billion to $8 billion each month.
Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in Baghdad. Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters
Talks With West Falter
After a brief spurt of optimism, talks between Iran and six world powers on its disputed nuclear program fail to produce a breakthrough in Baghdad. The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany wanted a freeze on Iranian production of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, which is considered a short step from bomb grade. The Iranians wanted an easing of the onerous economic sanctions imposed by the West and a recognition of what they call their right to enrich. The countries agree to meet again in June, but talks were further slowed after a new regimen of harsh economic sanctions and a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency that said Iran had made ”no progress” toward providing access to restricted sites it suspects of being used to test potential triggers for nuclear warheads.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad surveying the centrifuges at Iran’s underground complex at Natanz in March 2007.Office of the Iranian President
Meanwhile, I.A.E.A. inspectors are still trying to gain access to the Parchin site, 20 miles south of Tehran, to ascertain whether tests have been carried out there on nuclear bomb triggers.
But satellites images show that the site has been extensively cleaned by the Iranians.
Jan. 11, 2012
Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency supplied this photo of what it said was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s car after the bombing.Meghdad Madadi/Fars News Agency, via Associated Press
Bomb Kills Nuclear Scientist
A bomber on a motorcycle kills Mostafa Ahmadi Rosha, a scientist from the Natanz site, and his bodyguard. Iran blames Israel and the United States. The Americans deny the accusation, but Israel is more circumspect.
Iran displayed the drone for propaganda purposes, with photographs of ayatollahs who led Iran’s revolution behind it and a desecrated version of the American flag. Revolutionary Guards, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
A Blow to U.S., as Drone Crashes
A stealth C.I.A. drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, crashes near the Iranian town of Kashmar, 140 miles from the Afghan border. It is part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into Iran to map suspected nuclear sites.
Iran asserts that its military downed the aircraft, but American officials say the drone was lost because of a malfunction.
Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz.Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press
Natanz Plant Recovers
After a dip in enriched uranium production in 2010 because of the cyberattacks, Iranian production recovers. While the United States and Israel never acknowledged responsibility for the cyberprogram, Olympic Games, some experts argue that it set the Iranians back a year or two. Others say that estimate overstates the effect.
With the program still running, intelligence agencies in the United States and Israel seek out new targets that could further slow Iran’s progress.
A poster of an Iranian gas field is a backdrop to passers-by in Asaluyeh. Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times
West Expands Sanctions, and U.N. Offers Evidence on Nuclear Work
Major Western powers take significant steps to cut Iran off from the international financial system, announcing coordinated sanctions aimed at its central bank and commercial banks. The United States also imposes sanctions on companies involved in Iran’s nuclear industry, as well as on its petrochemical and oil industries.
The United Nations atomic agency releases evidence that it says make a “credible” case that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” at its Parchin military base and that the project may still be under way.
Unidentified attackers riding motorcycles bomb two of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, killing one and prompting accusations that the United States and Israel are again trying to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.
The scientist who was killed, Majid Shahriari, reportedly managed a ”major project” for the country’s Atomic Energy Organization. His wounded colleague, Fereydoon Abbasi, is believed to be even more important; he is on the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for ties to the Iranian nuclear effort.
The Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, with his 7-year-old son, greeting family members in Tehran.Newsha Tavakolian/Polaris, for The New York Times
Iranian Scientist Defects to U.S., Then Reconsiders
Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who American officials say defected to the United States in 2009, provided information about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and then developed second thoughts, returning to Iran. (After a hero’s welcome, he was imprisoned on treason charges and tortured, according to reports from Iran.)
The bizarre episode was the latest in a tale that has featured a mysterious disappearance from a hotel room in Saudi Arabia, rumors of a trove of new intelligence about Iran’s nuclear plants and a series of contradictory YouTube videos. It immediately set off a renewed propaganda war between Iran and the United States.
Ambassadors to the United Nations, from right: Susan E. Rice of the United States, Mark Lyall Grant of Britain and Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda voted to affirm a Security Council resolution on Iran while Turkey’s ambassador, Ertugrul Apakan, voted against it. Mario Tama/Getty Images
U.N. Approves New Sanctions
The United Nations Security Council levels its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions curtail military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program.
The Security Council also requires countries to inspect ships or planes headed to or from Iran if they suspect banned cargo. In addition, Iran is barred from investing in other countries’ nuclear enrichment plants, uranium mines and related technologies, and the Security Council sets up a committee to monitor enforcement.
The United States and Israel realize that copies of the computer sabotage program introduced in Natanz are available on the Internet, where they are replicating quickly. In a few weeks, articles appear in the news media about a mysterious new computer worm carried on USB keys that exploits a hole in the Windows operating system. The worm is named Stuxnet.
President Obama decides not to kill the program, and a subsequent attack takes out nearly 1,000 Iranian centrifuges, nearly a fifth of those operating.
Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.Herwig Prammer/Reuters
Work on Warhead
The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declare for the first time that they have extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead.
The report also concludes that some Iranian weapons-related activity apparently continued “beyond 2004,” contradicting an American intelligence assessment published in 2008 that concluded that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in 2011. Francois Lenoir/Reuters
Leaked Gates Memo on U.S. Policy
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warns in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability.
When the memo becomes public in April, Mr. Gates issues a statement saying that he wishes to dispel any perception among allies that the administration had failed to adequately think through how to deal with Iran.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Obama, in Pittsburgh, accused Iran of building a secret nuclear fuel plant.Doug Mills/The New York Times
Warning on Nuclear ‘Deception’
American, British and French officials declassify some of their most closely held intelligence and describe a multiyear Iranian effort, tracked by spies and satellites, to build a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain.
The new plant, which Iran strongly denies is intended to be kept secret or used for making weapons, is months from completion and does nothing to shorten intelligence estimates of how long it would take Iran to produce a bomb. American intelligence officials say it will take at least a year, perhaps five, for Iran to develop the full ability to make a nuclear weapon.
The negotiators Saeed Jalili of Iran, left, and William J. Burns, third from right, in Geneva. Pool photo by Denis Balibouse
Talks End in Deadlock
International talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions end in deadlock despite the Bush administration’s decision to reverse policy and send William J. Burns, a senior American official, to the table for the first time.
Iran responds with a written document that fails to address the main issue: international demands that it stop enriching uranium. Iranian diplomats reiterate before the talks that they consider the issue nonnegotiable.
President George W. Bush rejects a secret request by Israel for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wants for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. The Bush administration is alarmed by the Israeli idea to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz and decides to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Mr. Bush will hand off the major covert program to President Obama.
The United States works with Israel to begin cyberattacks, code-named Olympic Games, on computer systems at the Natanz plant. A year later, the program is introduced undetected into a controller computer at Natanz. Centrifuges begin crashing and engineers have no clue that the plant is under attack.
The Security Council unanimously approves sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions ban the import and export of materials and technology used in uranium enrichment and reprocessing and in the production of ballistic missiles.
The heavy-water plant in Arak, south of Tehran.Iran/Reuters
Iran Opens a Heavy-Water Reactor
Just days before Iran is supposed to suspend enrichment of uranium or face the prospect of sanctions, President Ahmadinejad formally kicks off a heavy-water production plant in Arak, 120 miles southwest of Tehran, which would put Iran on the path to obtaining plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear weapons.
In November, Iran seeks international assistance to ensure safe operation for a 40-megawatt reactor it is building. Citing broader doubts about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the United Nations atomic agency, the United States and European countries oppose offering help.
A satellite image of Natanz in 2007.GeoEye/SIME, via Associated Press
Natanz Production Is Restarted
Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Natanz after negotiations with European and American officials collapse.
The I.A.E.A. approves a resolution to report Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council, citing “the absence of confidence” among the atomic agency’s members “that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”
President Ahmadinejad offended Israel in his speech on the rule of law at a United Nations conference in 2012. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Ahmadinejad Elected President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known only as a secular conservative and a former mayor of Tehran, becomes president. He becomes a divisive figure in world affairs, cheering on the development of Iran’s nuclear program despite orders from the United Nations Security Council to halt it, calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map’’ and describing the Holocaust as “a myth.”
With Laptop Files, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims
Senior American intelligence officials present the International Atomic Energy Agency with the contents of what they say is a stolen Iranian laptop containing more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments — studies for crucial features of a nuclear warhead.
Intelligence reports reveal that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a little-known Iranian scientist, leads elements of Iran’s weaponization program known as Project 110 and Project 111.
But doubts about the intelligence persist among some experts, in part because American officials, citing the need to protect their source, have largely refused to provide details of the origins of the laptop beyond saying that they obtained it in mid-2004 from a source in Iran who they said had received it from a second person, now believed to be dead.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi talking to reporters in Tehran ahead of nuclear talks in Paris. Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency
Violation and New Agreement
Iran violates the agreement, charging that the Europeans reneged on their promises of economic and political incentives. After 22 hours of negotiations, an Iranian delegation and senior officials from France, Germany, Britain and the European Union come to a preliminary agreement to immediately suspend Iran’s production of enriched uranium. The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, praises the so-called Paris Agreement but emphasizes that any suspension will be temporary.
In a few weeks, the I.A.E.A verifies Iran’s suspension of its enrichment activities, with one exception: its request to use up to 20 sets of centrifuge components for research and development.
An Iranian missile displayed by the Revolutionary Guards under a portrait of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, in September 2003. Henghameh Fahimi/Agence France-Presse
Nuclear Program Is Suspended
Possibly in response to the American invasion of Iraq, which was originally justified by the Bush administration on the grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Ayatollah Khamenei orders a suspension of work on what appear to be weapons-related technologies, although he allows uranium enrichment efforts to continue.
Inspectors with the United Nations atomic agency find traces of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, and Iran concedes to demands, after talks with Britain, France and Germany, to accept stricter international inspections of its nuclear sites and to suspend production of enriched uranium.
Discovery of Secret Plants
Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian dissident group also known as the M.E.K., obtains and shares documents revealing a clandestine nuclear program previously unknown to the United Nations.
The program includes a vast uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak. In December, satellite photographs of Natanz and Arak appear widely in the news media. The United States accuses Tehran of an “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” but takes relatively little action because it is focused on the approaching invasion of Iraq the next year.
Iran agrees to inspections by the I.A.E.A. It also signs an accord with Russia to speed up completion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr.
Mohammad Khatami in 2009. Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press
Proposal for Nuclear-Free Mideast
President Mohammad Khatami of Iran goes to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first Iranian leader since 1979 to visit the Arab world.
He issues a joint statement with King Fahd expressing concerns about Israel’s nuclear weapons program and support for ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. In 2003, Iran supports such a proposal initiated by Syria.
President Bill Clinton addressing reporters in July 1996. Joe Marquette/Associated Press
Sanctions Against Iran and Libya
With growing intelligence estimates that Iran may secretly be trying to build a nuclear weapon, Preside