Sunday, May 28, 2017

German Chancellor Merkel: Europe Can No Longer Rely On The U.S. And Britain



DW: Merkel: Europe can no longer rely on US and Britain

The German chancellor's comments came after contentious meetings with US President Donald Trump at NATO and G7 summit meetings. Trump clashed with America's allies over global warming, mutual defense and trade.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that Europe has to forge its own path forward, as the United States and Britain were no longer reliable partners.

"The times when we could fully rely on others have passed us by a little bit, that's what I've experienced in recent days," she said while speaking at a campaign rally in Munich.

Her reference was to the contentious G7 Summit meeting in Sicily, which ended Saturday with the world's democratic powers divided. Most notably they were split "six against one," as Merkel described it Saturday, on the man-made threat posed by global warming.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: If she believes that Europe is going to follow the German lead on where Europe should go .... she is in complete denial on how many Europeans view Germany. To put it bluntly .... for as long as I can remember European animosity towards Germany has always been there .... it just differs in intensity from state to state ... and on the issue.  So why did German Chancellor Merkel make the speech .... in the eyes of some in the U.S. press this is because of President Trump .... Trump's Trip Was a Catastrophe for U.S.-Europe Relations (David Frum, The Atlantic). In my eyes.... this is all about German politics. The Germans are going to the polls in a few months .... and my friends in Germany are telling me that President Trump is being bashed by the German media on a level that even the U.S. press does not approach. German Chancellor knows this .... and she believes that criticising Trump while boosting German nationalism and Germany's leadership role in Europe on her election stumps are a winner for her. Is it a winner for her .... I do not know. But I do know that Germans do not like to be lectured (even when they are wrong) .... and President Trump was very blunt and focused on what was important to him when he met Merkel .... terrorism/NATO defense/countries running trade deficits with the U.S.. On a final note .... and one that just rubbed me the wrong way .... German Chancellor Merkel believes that she speaks for Europe when she says that they can no longer rely on the U.S. and Britain. I say the opposite .... the U.S., Britain, and many EU states can no longer rely on Germany.

More News On German Chancellor Merkel's remarks That Europe Can No Longer Rely On The U.S. And Britain

Merkel warns US, Britain no longer reliable partners -- AFP
After Summits With Trump, Merkel Says Europe Must Take Fate Into Own Hands -- NBC/Reuters
While campaigning, Merkel says Europeans can't 'completely' rely on US, others -- CNN
Merkel: Europe 'can no longer rely on allies' after Trump and Brexit -- BBC
Merkel Signals New Era for Europe as Trump Smashes Consensus -- Bloomberg
Post-summit, Merkel says Europe 'must take our fate into our own hands' -- USA Today
Merkel: Germany can no longer 'rely fully' on allies, including U.S. -- UPI
Merkel, After Discordant G-7 Meeting, Is Looking Past Trump -- NYT
Following Trump’s trip, Merkel says Europe can’t rely on ‘others.’ She means the U.S. -- Washington Post

Russian Parliamentarian: We Will Use Nuclear Weapons If The US Or NATO Enter Eastern Ukraine Or Crimea



Patrick Tucker, Defense One: Russian Lawmaker: We Would Use Nukes if US or NATO Enters Crimea

The Western alliance’s troop buildup in Eastern Europe has Moscow spooked.

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Russia would be forced to use nuclear weapons in any conflict in which U.S. or NATO forces entered eastern Ukraine, a member of Russia’s parliament told an international gathering of government security officials on Sunday.

“On the issue of NATO expansion on our borders, at some point I heard from the Russian military — and I think they are right — If U.S. forces, NATO forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict,” Russian parliamentarian Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov told attendees at the GLOBSEC 2017 forum in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Russian military leaders have discussed Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons in a conflict with military leaders in NATO, as part of broader and increasingly contentious conversations about the alliance’s expansion, Nikonov later told Defense One.

Read more ....

WNU editor: For those who may not know .... Russian parliamentarian Vyacheslav Nikonov (the Russian lawmaker who is quoted in this post) is the grandson of Vyacheslav Molotov, the former Soviet foreign minister under Stalin. Over the years he has served on the staff of Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin .... and he is regarded to be one the "wise men" in the Russian government. I have met him also once .... and it was in a forum where I was giving the presentation on the need for Russia to reform its judicial system. He begins to participate at the 14:00 mark of the above video .... and he provides (IMHO) a good explanation on what is the current  Russian position on East-West tensions.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Editor's Note

It is the GF's birthday this Sunday. And as the BF .... I have a full day ahead of me. Blogging will be sporadic from now to Sunday evening.

Darn!!!! I am in good blogging mood right now (my version of being in the zone) .... but I must go to bed.

Update Sunday 6:45 EST: Full day ahead for me .... GF's birthday and all. Blogging will return late tonight.

What Is President Trump's Strategy For Afghanistan?

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in Kabul, Afghanistan on April 24, 2017. DoD Photo

Ehsan M. Ahrari, Small Wars Journal: Trump’s Imaginary “Strategy” for Afghanistan

Everyone was waiting for President Donald Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan. But the announcement of that strategy came as a repeat of President Barack Obama’s original version of that strategy. It stated that Trump is likely to send as many as 5000 additional US troops to Afghanistan.

Like almost all policies in the realm of domestic and foreign policy, Trump liked nothing about his predecessor’s way of conducting the Afghan war. So, the expectation was that he would announce a different approach to that war. But Afghanistan has a forbidding way of surprising everyone.

After sending his Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, and his National Security Advisor, Lt. General H.R. McMaster, to Afghanistan on “fact finding missions,” Trump found out that the Afghan war is not a winnable one; and the United States has no choice but to stay put and find some sort of a negotiated solution. In the interim, increasing ground troops appears to be a make-believe version of a strategy. That was precisely what Obama was doing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis sums it up ....

.... “We’re under no illusions about the challenges associated with this mission. 2017 is going to be another tough year” for the Afghan and coalition security forces.

In short .... there is no path to victory.

The Story About Three U.S. Marine Officers And What Happened When They Lost A Bogota Pub Crawl

Marine Brig. Gen. Kevin M. Iiams, left, ordered the investigation, and handed off the report to Maj. Gen. David G. Bellon, right, who took command of the Southern Command subsidiary U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South in Doral on May 22, 2017. SGT. JACOB SMITH U.S. MARINE CORPS

Miami Herald: Marine officers are drugged, robbed after Bogotá pub crawl and could face charges

Three married U.S. Marine officers have found themselves under investigation for a night in February that went off the rails in Bogotá, involving allegations they went drinking with some local women, were slipped illicit drugs, robbed of U.S. property and landed in a local hospital emergency room.

The men may have fallen prey to what is known as “burundanga poisoning,” according to a report on the investigation conducted by the Marine Corps Forces, South, a Southern Command subsidiary, and obtained by the Miami Herald.

The report recommended that Marine Col. Roger T. McDuffie, a Harrier pilot who serves as the chief of operations at the unit known as MARFORSOUTH; Maj. Andrew L. Mueller, described as a theater security cooperation planner; and Maj. Mauricio Saenz, exercise planner, face “appropriate administrative or judicial proceedings.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I do not understand why they should be punished. It is bad enough that these officers .... yes officers (one colonel and two majors) .... were drugged and robbed in the company of prostitutes .... but they lost a Bogota pub crawl!!!!!!! Their fellow Marines are going to rib them about that for years (if they remain in the service). But this pales to what they must have faced when they got home .... these guys are married .... and I suspect that their wives must have demanded some serious answers. The sheer thought of what they had to go through gives me the shivers. But it is also moments like this that reminds me of a quote that I always enjoy repeating .... "in war time .... it is better that the other guy gets it than you". :)

U.S. To Deploy A 3rd Aircraft Carrier Strike Group To Korea

(Asahi Shimbun)

VOA: Sources: 3rd US Naval Strike Force Deployed to Deter North Korea

The United States is sending a third aircraft carrier strike force to the western Pacific region in an apparent warning to North Korea to deter its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, two sources have told VOA.

The USS Nimitz, one of the world’s largest warships, will join two other supercarriers, the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Ronald Reagan, in the western Pacific, the sources told VOA's Steve Herman.

Read more ....

Update #1: U.S. to deploy 3rd carrier group to deter North Korea (Asahi Shimbun)
Update #2: Third US Aircraft Carrier Headed Toward Asia-Pacific Region Amid N Korean Crisis (Sputnik)
Update #3: US Deploys Third Aircraft Carrier Toward North Korea (Zero Hedge)

WNU Editor: Three aircraft carrier strike groups near North Korea .... this is big news. When we start hearing of B-2 deployments to Guan .... that is when we start to worry. The USS Nimitz will be leaving port this Thursday .... USS Nimitz headed out for deployment on Thursday (Kitsap Sun).

Hat tip to Steven Krische for this link.

Is President Trump Powerless To Stop Leaks?


Washington Post: Trump seems powerless to stop leaks

A few weeks after Inauguration Day, White House policy adviser Stephen Miller declared on national television that “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

Three months later, it is increasingly clear that the powers of the president to stop leaks are rather unsubstantial and will be questioned almost daily.

The Washington Post reported Friday — based on information from U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports — that President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, discussed setting up a secret communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin using Russian facilities in Washington when he met in December with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Stopping leaks is not going to be as hard as most people like to believe it is .... it is the consequences of what is needed to stop these leaks .... and we are talking mass firings and dismissals .... where the damage to America's intelligence community and national security is going to be felt. In the case of President Trump .... these leaks started during the campaign, and it became a torrent between his election victory and his inauguration. Who were these leakers .... considering the sensitivity and importance of some of the leaks .... it does not take a rocket scientist to know that it had to come from senior officials. What also did not help the situation at the time was the perception that FBI Director Comey was not concerned about investigating these leaks .... to the point that I do not even know right now if there is even an investigation. But because of this lack of concern from the FBI Director (and talk about giving a green light) .... these leaks have exploded exponentially after the inauguration to the point where U.S. intelligence officials are now disclosing the most sensitive of all secrets. Case in point .... in yesterday's Washington Post a story ran where anonymous sources disclosed that the Russian Ambassador's secured communications were compromised .... and these intel officials did this just to push a leak that Jared Kushner wanted a back-channel to Russia. I do not know if this story true .... the Washington Post has written a lot of stuff since the election that ended up going nowhere .... but if it is true .... the repercussions of this leak are disturbing. And then there are the other leaks .... like details on the Manchester bomber being posted in the New York Times while the investigation was ongoing .... or even the leaks from the White House itself.

Bottom line .... something has to be done .... because the situation has now gone out of control and it is endangering U.S. national security interests and how the U.S. President conducts business. What are the options .... in a normal situation an administration comes in .... puts its people in place (which always takes a long time) .... and those who are replaced move on. In this case .... when one looks at all the leaks that have been consistently pouring out since the campaign .... one can only assume that the intel community has become politicised .... and because some of them disagree with an elected President and his policies .... they feel entitled that they have the right to stop him. The fact that the main stream media and the opponents of President Trump have jumped onto this bandwagon .... makes the situation even worse ... and yes .... more politicised.

My prediction .... President Trump is going to first fire/replace/re-assign key White House officials .... and if in the coming weeks/months the replacements act the same way .... remove them also. Is this going to be messy .... yes. But that is always the problem when an outsider wins the reigns of power .... the political establishment has a different agenda and they are always reluctant to change. The intelligence community is another story. But in this case President Trump can take President Obama's handbook on how to solve the problem. When President Obama assumed the office the first thing that he did was to make a vow that he was going to close Guantanamo, and to make sure that those who pushed and favoured renditions/torture/etc. would be held accountable. WNU at the time posted numerous stories from intel officials saying that President Obama was destroying the morale within the US. intel community .... and in the words of many of the leakers at the time ..... crippling the war against terror. President Obama's response .... firings/dismissals/and replacing those who were from the Bush era with his own people. He also tracked down and prosecuted leakers ..... even obtaining the phone records of the AP to accomplish these goals. Was President Obama successful .... the way I see it .... when he opened his back-channel with Iran to do his nuclear deal .... the public did not learn the details until long after the deal was made.

President Trump is now back in the U.S. .... and I expect him to look very hard at what needs to be done. He has caused a lot of this flak .... but a lot of this is also a deliberate and targeted campaign to destroy his Presidency As I explained above .... there is a precedent that he can follow. Firings and dismissals .... coupled with tracking down and prosecuting the leakers. Will he do it .... President Obama had the will to do it .... now is the time to see if President Trump does also.

Update: I should also add that President Trump must clean up his own communications .... message discipline and clarity is a must at this level. And while I have learned to understand when Trump is Trump .... and as a consumer of news to appreciate his tweets .... I also know that many do not, and that is when the message gets lost.

Protests Erupt In Kashmir After Rebel Leader Is Killed


L.A. Times: Violent protests erupt in Kashmir after Indian forces kill 8 suspected militants

Stone-throwing protesters clashed with security forces across the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir on Saturday after Indian soldiers killed eight suspected militants as part of a months-long crackdown in the disputed Himalayan territory.

At least one civilian was killed as police forces tried to subdue the protesters, and dozens of others were injured, according to medical officials.

Anti-Indian protests in Kashmir have grown in size and intensity in the year since the Indian army killed a charismatic young militant, Burhan Wani, in a targeted operation in July.

Scores of civilians have been killed and thousands injured, many blinded by pellets fired by Indian police and paramilitary forces struggling to maintain order in a territory that India and Pakistan have fought over for 70 years.

Read more ....

More News On Protests Erupting In Kashmir After A Key Rebel Leader Is Killed

Kashmir conflict: Top militant Sabzar Bhat killed, police say -- BBC
Militant leader's killing prompts violent Kashmir protests -- UPI
Protests erupt in India's Kashmir after militant commander is killed -- Washington Post
Fresh clashes break out in Kashmir after key militant leader Sabzar Ahmad Bhat is shot dead -- International Business Times
Clashes erupt after top Kashmir rebel is killed -- Gulf Times
Who is Sabzar Bhat? All you need to know about Burhan Wani's successor who was killed in J&K's Tral -- Financial Express

Russia Is Running Out Of Bombs

A Russian Aerospace Defense Force jet bombs Islamic State facilities in Syria. © Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation / RIA Novosti

Robert Beckhusen, War Is Boring: Russia’s Military Is Burning Through Its High Explosives

The war in Syria has depleted military stockpiles.

An air campaign requires a sprawling, complicated supply chain. Fire enough missiles and drop enough bombs, which require a heavy investment in materials and chemicals, and there will come a point when the logistics trail starts to strain.

Nearly 20 months into Russia’s intervention in Syria’s civil war, the strain is starting to show.

Russia has heavily relied on air power to support Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad. At times, the Russian air force has dropped bombs at a faster pace than the United States in Syria, benefiting from significantly shorter flight times, and being hampered by the need to rely on a greater number of unguided bombs.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Russian military's supply chain is a left-over of the Soviet era. Fixed production quotas and dates .... with no room to quickly change production in the event that circumstances (like the war in Syria) results in a shortfall. And everyone in Russia saw this coming years ago .... when large number of these military factories and production facilities were being closed down and demolished .... but no one cared at the time. Flash forward to today .... the U.S. has the same problem, but they are solving their bomb supply/production production by attracting more workers with better salaries/benefits .... The U.S. Military Is Running Out Of Bomb Kits (March 31, 2017) .... but on the Russian side the pay is still lousy, and no one is really interested in taking this type of work. My prediction .... this is a problem that the Russian Defense Ministry is not going to have an easy time solving .... which for us who live in the West should take some comfort from.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, Has Passed Away At 89



Blomberg: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Security Adviser to Carter, Dies at 89

* National security adviser took hard line on Soviet Union
* Brzezinski helped plan failed Iran hostage rescue mission

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who as national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter advocated a hard line toward the Soviet Union and helped develop the unsuccessful military mission to rescue American hostages in Iran, has died. He was 89.

His death was announced in a tweet on Friday by his daughter, Mika Brzezinski, co-host of the MSNBC program “Morning Joe.” “He was known to his friends as Zbig, to his grandchildren as Chief and to his wife as the enduring love of her life,” Brzezinski wrote on Instagram.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: My father never liked Zbigniew Brzezinski .... there was something about the former national security adviser that always rubbed my father the wrong way .... especially on east-west issues. My father passed away 12 years ago at 82, and now Zbigniew Brzezinski is also gone. From my vantage point I see this as two Cold War warriors from different sides passing away .... and like the era itself .... the door slowly closing and waiting for the few who are left .... Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, etc .... to also pass on.

More News On The Death Of Zbigniew Brzezinsk

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter National Security Adviser, Dies at 89 -- Time/AP
Zbigniew Brzezinski, foreign policy intellectual who served as Carter’s national security adviser, dies at 89 -- Washington Post
Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter, Dies at 89 -- NYT
Foreign Policy Thinker Zbigniew Brzezinski Dies At 89 -- NPR
Zbigniew Brzezinski, US Cold War national security advisor, dies at 89 -- RT

Melania Trump: 'This Trip Has Been Incredible For Me'

Photo: The first lady held her husband's hand as they made their way to Air Force One in Italy on Saturday after addressing US military personnel at a naval base

Daily Mail: 'This trip has been incredible for me': Proud Melania holds her husband's hand as she says farewell after winning hearts across Europe and the Middle East on the president's first foreign trip

* First lady addressed US military personnel at a naval base in Italy on Saturday
* In a rare speech, Melania Trump paid tribute to the sick children she had met in Europe and the Middle East in her first trip abroad as first lady
* Mrs Trump also said she was honored and blessed to have met Pope Francis
* Melania, dressed in a black custom-made Dolce & Gabbana dress, later held Trump's hand as their boarded Air Force One to head back to Washington

Melania Trump has proudly signed off from her first foreign trip as first lady before walking to Air Force One hand-in-hand with the president.

In a rare speech for Mrs Trump, the first lady addressed US military personnel at a naval base in Italy on Saturday afternoon ahead of the trip back to Washington with Donald Trump.

The first lady, dressed in a black custom-made Dolce & Gabbana dress with button-embellishments, said she would never forget the women and children she met during her nine days on the road in Europe and the Middle East.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Her style is definitely different from Michelle Obama ... and (IMHO) she was definitely a welcome diversion away from her husband and the other leaders. But meeting the Pope was probably for her .... a Roman Catholic .... the highlight of the entire trip.

Are Trudeau And Macron The New 'Bromance' On The World Stage?

Macron and Trudeau at the G7 summit. AFP

Bloomberg: Macron Erupts On World Stage With Trump Snub and a Bromance

* At NATO, French president walks past Trump to embrace Merkel
* At G-7: bonds with Trudeau, tells May no Brexit parallel talks

On a sun-kissed terrace overlooking the sea, the image of Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau staring into each other’s eyes had social media swooning over the budding bromance between the two young leaders at the Group of Seven in Sicily.

But just 24 hours earlier in Brussels, Macron had crushed Donald Trump’s hand until his knuckles turned white and walked past the U.S. president to embrace German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the blue NATO welcome carpet.

At his debut on the world stage, the new French president revealed a steeliness that belies his 39 years and relative inexperience. There was the power play with Trump when during the war of handshakes he spoke at some length in French with no translator. He then spoke English with Theresa May, offering cooperation in light of the U.K. terror attack, while not ceding an inch on the prime minister’s request for parallel Brexit talks.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like Canadian Prime minister's Justin Trudeau's "honeymoon" is coming to an end .... Stop running from the truth: Justin Trudeau is playing us with his PR stunts (Ashifa Kassam, The Guardian).

The G-7 Summit Ends -- A News Roundup



Reuters: G7 leaders end summit split on climate change, more united on trade

Under pressure from allies, U.S. President Donald Trump backed a pledge to fight protectionism on Saturday, but refused to endorse a global climate change accord, saying he needed more time to decide.

The summit of Group of Seven wealthy nations pitted Trump against the leaders of Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan on several issues, with European diplomats frustrated at having to revisit questions they hoped were long settled.

Trump, who has previously called global warming a hoax, tweeted that he would make a decision next week on whether to back the 2015 Paris Agreement on curbing carbon emissions following lengthy discussions with G7 partners.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Apparently German Chancellor Merkel is not happy with President Trump's position on climate change .... Germany’s Merkel: G-7 will agree to act against protectionism; Climate discussion was “unsatisfactory” (AP). More details here .... Merkel Furious With Trump After "Unprecedented" G-7 Failure To Reach Consensus On Climate Change (Zero Hedge). What's my take .... the G7 group wanted to focus on climate trade and anti-protectionism, President Trmp's focus was on decreasing the U.S. Trade deficit, defense, and putting climate change on the back-burner. To put it bluntly .... both sides were not on the same page.

The G-7 Summit Ends -- A News Roundup

Trump makes G-7 deal on trade, takes rain check on climate -- AP
Trump promises climate decision next week after G7 stalemate -- AFP
Trump Goes His Own Way as G-7 Cobbles Together an Awkward Truce -- Bloomberg
Trump fails to commit to Paris climate agreement as he concludes first overseas trip -- Washington Post
Leaders issue G7 declaration with U.S. a holdout on climate change -- Politico
Trump wraps overseas trip with thanks to US troops, standing firm on terrorism, climate change concerns -- FOX News
Trump maps new course with allies and autocrats in first foreign trip -- L.A. Times
President Trump Calls His First Trip Abroad a 'Home Run' -- Time/AP

An A-10 Elephant Walk



Popular Mechanics: The Air Force Assembled 30 A-10 Warthogs Just to Show That it Can

The "Elephant Walk" in Georgia was a USAF show of force.

The U.S. Air Force just staged an "elephant walk" of A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack jets as a show of force. The May 22 exercise took place at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. In a statement on Facebook, the base stated the exercise "was conducted in order to demonstrate the wing's ability to rapidly deploy combat ready forces across the globe."

The exercise involved 30 A-10 Warthogs of the 23rd "Flying Tigers" Fighter Group, as well as one HH-60G Pave Hawk and two HC-130J Combat King II transports of the 347th and 563rd Rescue Squadrons. The Air Force periodically stages such exercises around the world, including KC-135R tankers earlier this month and F-15 Eagle fighters in Okinawa in April. The phrase "elephant walk" dates back to World War II.

Read more ....

The Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan Have Cost The U.S. $6 Trillion


Linda J. Bilmes, RCD: Iraq and Afghanistan: The U.S. $6T Bill for America's Longest War Is Unpaid

On Memorial Day, we pay respects to the fallen from past wars – including the more than one million American soldiers killed in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam.

Yet the nation’s longest and most expensive war is the one that is still going on. In addition to nearly 7,000 troops killed, the 16-year conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost an estimated US$6 trillion due to its prolonged length, rapidly increasing veterans health care and disability costs and interest on war borrowing. On this Memorial Day, we should begin to confront the staggering cost and the challenge of paying for this war.

The enormous figure reflects not just the cost of fighting – like guns, trucks and fuel – but also the long-term cost of providing medical care and disability compensation for decades beyond the end of the conflict. Consider the fact that benefits for World War I veterans didn’t peak until 1969. For World War II veterans, the peak came in 1986. Payments for Vietnam-era vets are still climbing.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Sobering numbers. You can look at the current costs of these wars here.

US And Coalition Airstrikes In Afghanistan Are At Their Highest Levels In 5 Years

A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter aircraft taxi to their parking spots upon arrival on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 31, 2013. The aircraft are part of a new deployment from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney)

Air Force Times: US, coalition strikes in Afghanistan spike, hit highest number in five years

The number of weapons released by U.S. and allied aircraft in Afghanistan sharply spiked in April, hitting the highest point in nearly five years.

According to an airpower summary posted online this week by U.S. Air Forces Central Command, coalition aircraft released 460 weapons last month, more than double the 203 weapons released in March. It was the most in a single month since August 2012, when 589 weapons were released. The only months that came close in recent years were August and September 2014, when 437 and 441 weapons were released, respectively. But most other months saw fewer than 200 weapons released.

In a statement Friday, Navy Capt. Bill Salvin, the public affairs director for the Resolute Support mission, said that the renewed focus on eliminating an Islamic State subsidiary called ISIS-Khorasan is leading the coalition to conduct more offensive operations, which is contributing to the increase in weapons released. Also, Salvin said, this is the first spring fighting season since former President Obama expanded the military's authority to attack Taliban forces last June.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Coalition aircraft released 460 weapons in April .... or about 15 per day. With the fighting season now in full swing, I will not be surprised if this numbers goes up even higher.

NATO Leaders Smirk At President Trump


DW: Some NATO leaders smirk, others support Trump's tough NATO message

Critics saw the US president's NATO debut as the latest in a series of political missteps. But for his supporters, Donald Trump delivered a slam dunk by pushing his views - and himself - into the spotlight.

NATO is calling its long-awaited, highly choreographed leaders' summit a "success." For many observers both inside and outside the alliance headquarters, the bar was set merely at preventing explosions. And not just in the sense of a security threat at the new NATO HQ but also as far as tempers around the table during a working dinner Thursday evening.

US President Donald Trump's first visit to NATO played out in what many are describing simply as the Donald Trump way. While European governments may have been hoping to hear him recommit the United States to collective defense - standing next to the "9/11 and Article V" memorial was a heavy hint - few were surprised he didn't.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: President Trump went to the NATO meeting representing the interests of the U.S. .... and for this I give him kudos. He articulated the U.S. position very clearly. He did not buy into the chorus line that everyone is doing their part. And he questioned THEIR commitment to NATO by pointing out their lack of money and resources in their defense budgets. And yes .... I saw the smirks .... your typical elitist European politician/bureaucrat altitude of entitlement and privilege. And as for the criticism of President ignoring Article 5, which commits members to collective defense .... oh please .... no one believes otherwise .... and the knowledgeable know that this is nothing more but deflection from the real issue .... which is again the lack of commitment of money and resources by these member states to NATO.

Russia's Next U.S. Ambassador Will Be Anatoly Antonov.

Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation (Wikipedia)

Al-Monitor: Russia picks 'bull terrier' as new ambassador to US

Fresh people and ideas are badly needed as Russia seeks to bridge the gap between Moscow and Washington, amid a tide of highly polarized information.

The person who is supposed to be Russia’s key facilitator in the process — Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak — has been in that position since 2008. During that time, Kislyak took the heat for Russia’s most bitter foreign policy crises — the war in Georgia in 2008, the war in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s takeover of the Crimean Pensinsula and the gay rights protests, which were largely reported in the Russian media as an anti-Russian campaign in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He is a hard-liner. The above Al-Monitor post is spot-on .... especially on the 3 reasons it gives on why he was appointed.

Report: NSA Director Rogers Admits That President Trump Colluded With The Russians

FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency head Adm. Michael Rogers

John R. Schindler, Observer: Exclusive: NSA Chief Admits Donald Trump Colluded With Russia

When will Admiral Rogers say publicly what he told his agency’s workforce?

President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey continues to reverberate in the KremlinGate scandal, which threatens to consume the Trump administration. By abruptly removing Comey, then mangling his excuses for why he did so, Trump created a needless crisis for the White House which shows no signs of abating.

The impartial observer might think that Trump fired Comey because he feared what the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the president’s contacts with Russia might reveal—as the commander in chief has essentially admitted. Moreover, Trump’s inappropriate efforts to secure Comey’s personal “loyalty” had fallen flat—the FBI director rightly assured the president of his honesty but abjured any fealty to Trump personally—after which the president is reported to have developed a palpable fear of the incorruptible Bureau boss. To protect Team Trump, Comey had to go.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is an incredibly explosive story .... if it is true. And what is that story .... apparently John R. Schindler from the Observer was told by anonymous sources in the NSA that NSA Director Rogers had a town hall meeting with NSA employees where he told them that President Trump had colluded with the Russians. When I read that story .... I immediately did a search to find out if someone else had heard the same thing. I found nothing. There is no main stream media coverage of this story. I know that it is an opinion piece .... but John R. Schindler is a good reporter and a former intelligence officer with good contacts. Did a little digging and I found out why. The Observer is owned by President Trump's son-in-law .... Jared Kushner (see link here) Yup .... Jared Kushner's own publication is putting the knife into his father-in-law. I can't make this stuff up. No one knows that the story is out there .... because no one in the main stream media reads the Observer because they think it is all biased in favour of the Trumps. But I do know that many in the U.S. main stream media do read this blog (hint CBS, BBC, etc. as well as the editors of some very big blogs). So here is my prediction .... this will be on the news in the next 6 hours. As to whether it is true or not .... who knows.

Tweet For Today

Did Jared Kushner Want A Secret Communications Channel With The Kremlin?

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and President Donald Trump at the White House last week. Photo Credit: @RusEmbUSA

Washington Post: Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is not the first time that the Washington Post (and the same reporters) are pushing a Trump back-channel to Russia story .... Was A Trump-Putin Back Channel Established Between The Founder Of Blackwater And A Close Friend of Putin? (April 3, 2017). The April 3 story on Erik Prince being the back-channel to Russia became a dud when no evidence or collaboration from other "anonymous" sources came forward. Is this new Washington Post story on Jared Kushner also a dud .... I do not know. But the template on how this story is being pushed is following the same pattern on how the Erik Prince story was pushed 2 months ago.... anonymous intel officials tell the Washington Post that the Trump administration wants to have a direct line of communications to Moscow that is independent from all other U.S. agencies .... and the rest of the media carry the story. As to what is my take .... quoting from my April 3 post ....

.... Back channels are always established when new administrations are sworn in. Did the Obama administration have back channels with Russia .... most definitely. Does the Trump administration have back channels with Russia .... I can only say that I hope so. Should I be surprised that someone like Blackwater founder Erik Prince (and I can now say Jared Kushner) was trying to set one up in the Seychelles .... I would just say that because he is well known, he is probably the wrong person to be involved.

Update: The more that I think about this Washington Post exclusive .... the more I realise that it has a lot of holes in it. One .... the Russians would never permit such a communications link. Two .... Michael Flynn who was present at the meeting would know that they would never permit it. Three .... what's the point of having a secret communications channel via through the Russian embassy to the Kremlin .... where it would not be secret at all. Four .... President Trump is the President .... he can do anything he wants with the executive branch .... including having his own direct line to the Kremlin should he (and Putin) want to. But I digress .... what the Trump administration wanted (and I am sure the Kremlin wanted it too)  was a private back-channel .... and for those who may not know .... this is how it works. If the Trump administration wanted Putin to know something independent from normal diplomatic channels .... it will be done by having someone President Trump trusts telling someone that President Putin trusts inperson (that Russian official will be living in the U.S. .... probably near Washington DC). That person .... once the message has been received .... will then be taking the first flight to Moscow. The best example that I can think of are the Henry Kissinger and Anatoly Dobrynin back channels of the early 1970s (check the link here). This is what exactly Michael Flynn was trying to do .... he was Henry Kissinger, and Ambassador Sergei Kislyak was Anatoly Dobrynin. Unfortunately for Michael Flynn .... he lied to Vice President Pence on what he was doing and the rest is history. As for Jared Kushner .... I am willing to bet that this is what he was also told to do .... set up the structure so that a top U.S. official can meet a top Russian official where they can discuss issues in private that will not be shown on any visitor log. I should also add that IMHO this back-channel is now in operation .... as evident by the unannounced but surprising close cooperation of the U.S. and Russian military over the skies of Syria right now .... U.S. And Russia Are Not Hindering Each Other Over The Skies Of Syria (May 24, 2017). As for the main stream media's hyper-ventilation on this story .... please .... every administration has done this .... and all future administrations will.

Update #2: Former Bush-Clinton-Obama officials are horrified that this type of back channel was being established .... Lawyer: Kushner ‘has no recollection’ of reported undisclosed Russian contacts (Politico). LOL ..... coffee pot calling the tea kettle black.

Update #3: Someone who reads this blog  has just emailed me to tell me that if this story is true .... it is a massive intelligence leak. The Washington Post's anonymous source has just revealed that Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak private communications .... and these communications must be ultra-secured .... have been compromised by U.S. intelligence.

More News On Reports That Jared Kushner Wanted A Secret Communications Channel With The Kremlin

Kushner Is Said to Have Discussed a Secret Channel to Talk to Russia -- New York Times
Washington Post: Kushner proposed secret communication channel with Kremlin -- CNN
Kushner, Russians discussed secret communication link, reports say -- USA Today
Jared Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Russia, new report alleges -- FOX News
Report: Russian Amb. said Kushner sought secret communications back channel -- ABC News

Picture Of The Day

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
An opposition demonstrator argues with a National Guard riot policeman during protests against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 22. © AFP 2017/ JUAN BARETTO

These Are The Three Men Who Are Responsible For North Korea's Missile Program

FILE PHOTO : North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts during the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) test launch with Ri Pyong Chol (2nd L), Kim Jong Sik (C) and Jang Chang Ha (2nd R). in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS/File Photo

Reuters: Exclusive: Kim's rocket stars - The trio behind North Korea's missile program

After successful missile launches, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un often exchanges smiles and hugs with the same three men and shares a celebratory smoke with them.

The three, shown with Kim in photographs and TV footage in North Korean media, are of great interest to Western security and intelligence agencies since they are the top people in the secretive country's rapidly accelerating missile program.

They include Ri Pyong Chol, a former top air force general; Kim Jong Sik, a veteran rocket scientist; and Jang Chang Ha, the head of a weapons development and procurement center.

The photographs and TV footage show that the three are clearly Kim's favorites. Their behavior with him is sharply at variance with the obsequiousness of other senior aides, most of whom bow and hold their hands over their mouths when speaking to the young leader.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This type of information is usually classified top secret. Hmmm .... more leaks from the intel community .... or some excellent investigative work by Reuters?

Friday, May 26, 2017

U.S. To Attempt First-Ever ICBM Intercept Test Over The Pacific Next Week

Flight Test 06b Ground-Based Interceptor launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. © US Missile Defense Agency / Flickr

The Hill: US to attempt first ICBM intercept test

The Pentagon will attempt to shoot down an intercontinental missile for the first time in a test next week, with the goal of preparing for such a strike from North Korea, ABC News reported.

The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency on Tuesday will shoot an interceptor from the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system — a network meant to protect the country against a limited nuclear attack — at a custom-made missile meant to simulate an ICBM.

The target is not a mock-up of an actual North Korean ICBM, Christopher Johnson, spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, told ABC.

Read more ....

More News On Next Week's ICBM Intercept Test

Pentagon to conduct first-ever ICBM intercept test -- ABC News
Leery of North Korea, US plans first test of ICBM intercept -- AP
US military to test anti-ICBM system -- AFP
US to carry out first-ever test to see if missile defense system can intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile at a time when North Korea is trying to develop one -- Daily Mail
Amid North Korea dangers, US to launch first-of-its-kind missile intercept test -- FOX News
U.S. Plans Missile Defense Test Amid Concern Over North Korea -- WSJ
Long shot: Pentagon to test ICBM interceptor amid North Korea tensions -- RT
As North Korea Claims Missile Progress, Pentagon Plans ICBM Interceptor Test -- Sputnik
U.S. to test an ICBM 'interceptor' as threat from N. Korea grows -- Digital Journal

Heavy Fighting Between Rival Factions Reported In The Libyan City Of Tripoli

Smoke rises Friday after an explosion inTripoli, Libya. (Lorenzo Tugnoli /For The Washington Post)

Al Jazeera: Rival factions clash in Libya's Tripoli

Explosions and artillery fire shatter period of relative calm in the capital amid signs of a split in pro-Haftar forces.

Heavy clashes marked by loud explosions and heavy artillery fire have erupted between rival factions in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The fighting on Friday was concentrated in the Abu Salim, Salahedeen and Qasr Bin Ghashir districts.

Plumes of black smoke could be seen rising above the city's skyline. Shooting continued throughout Friday prayers.

Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, cited security forces as saying that at least 12 people were killed in the violence.

Read more ....

More News On Today's Clashes Between Rival Factions In Tripoli

Heavy fighting between rival militias erupts in the Libyan capital -- Washington Post
Fierce clashes as rival factions battle in Libyan capital -- Reuters
Libya turmoil: Rival armed groups clash in capital, Tripoli -- BBC
At least 13 killed, nearly 80 wounded in Libya clashes -- Al Arabiya/AFP
28 killed and dozens wounded in Libya militia fighting -- Independent.ie
Update: Deadly clashes erupt in Tripoli -- Libya Observer
Heavy fighting breaks out in Libyan capital -- The National

Egypt Launches Air Strikes Against Libyan Militant Bases After Today's Massacre Of Christians In Central Egypt



DW: Egypt hits Libya training bases with airstrikes after attack on Christian Coptics

After a bus carrying Christians to a monastery was attacked by masked gunmen, Egypt has launched airstrikes against militant bases in Libya. Pope Francis called the attack on the Christians a senseless act of hatred.

Egyptian air force planes have carried out six strikes directed at camps near Derna in Libya where Cairo believes militants responsible for a deadly attack on Christians earlier in the day were trained, Egyptian military sources said on Friday.

The report came minutes after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had announced Egyptian forces struck jihadist camps but without saying where the strikes took place.

Read more ....

More News On Egypt Launching Air Strikes Against Libyan Militant Bases After Today's Massacre Of Christians In Central Egypt

The Latest: Egypt strikes bases in Libya after Copts attack -- AP
Egypt hits jihadists after attack on Christians kills 28 -- AFP
Egypt launches air raids on Libya after Christians killed -- Reuters
Egypt hits 'jihadist camps' after attack on Coptic Christians -- BBC
Egypt strikes militant bases after 28 Coptic Christians killed in ambush -- USA Today
Sisi says Egypt has carried out airstrike on terror camps; sources confirm location is Libya -- Ahram Online
Egypt strikes 'terrorist camps' in Libya in response to attack on Coptic Christians (VIDEO) -- RT
A look at extremist attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christians -- AP

Tonight's Movie Is 'Napoleon'

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- May 26, 2017

US President Donald Trump speaks by phone with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington January 28, 2017. Reuters

Eli Lake, Bloomberg: Trump's Allies, Convicted of High Crimes Without a Trial

Maybe Flynn committed treason. But so far no one has presented any evidence, just innuendo. That's not justice.


Heard any good Mike Flynn jokes lately?

How about this one from "Morning Joe," this week? "When it comes to legal issues, he's like Charmin. You just keep squeezing." Maybe you've seen Stephen Colbert's segment from February about Trump's former national security adviser: "It's funny 'cause it's treason."

Don't miss this exchange in the New Yorker last month with former acting attorney general Sally Yates. Reporter Ryan Lizza asked Yates about how she informed the White House counsel that Flynn had lied to his colleagues about his monitored conversations with the Russian ambassador. "You didn't just text, 'Heads-up, your N.S.A. might be a spy'?" Lizza asked. Yates quipped: "Is there an emoji for that?"

Well it's nice to see our elites are in such good humor about something so grave. If there truly was treason, it's no joking matter. If there was not, then this man's name is being tarnished unfairly. Ha. Ha.

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- May 26, 2017

The Mystery Behind the Half-Million Dollars Michael Flynn Received as a Foreign Agent -- David Corn, Mother Jones

Law Enforcement Turns on the Law and Order President -- Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast

The US leaks British secrets. Our special relationship should be with Europe -- Martin Kettle, The Guardian

Former CIA chief Michael Hayden says U.S. let down by intel agencies: ‘Disappointment and shame’ -- S.A. Miller, Washington Times

Something Is Deeply Wrong in the U.S. Intelligence Community -- American Interest

How Trump Really Could Make a Difference in the Middle East -- Liz Peek, Fiscal Times

NATO: Too big to fail, too small to matter? -- Seth A. Johnston, The Hill

Trump Hands Putin a Win at First NATO Meeting -- Robbie Gramer, Foreign Policy

At NATO Headquarters, Trump Again Fails to Lead -- Amy Davidson, The New Yorker

Trump’s defense budget looks a lot like Obama’s defense budget -- Alex Ward, VOX

Russian Electronic Warfare in Ukraine: Between Real and Imaginable -- Sergey Sukhankin, Eurasia Daily Monitor

The rapid rise of Libya's General Hifter -- Mustafa Fetouri, Al-Monitor

The Islamization of Kashmir's separatist movement -- Shamil Shams, DW

Forget North Korea's Nuclear Arsenal. Its Chemical and Cyber Weapons Are Already a Threat. -- Patrick M. Cronin, National Interest

Why civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria are increasing -- AFP

What is Iran's endgame in Syria? -- Up Front/Al Jazeera

World News Briefs -- May 26, 2017 (Evening Edition)



BBC: Egypt hits 'jihadist camps' after attack on Coptic Christians

Egyptian forces have struck "terrorist training camps" in retaliation for an attack on Coptic Christians, President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has said.

State media say six strikes hit the town of Derna in neighbouring Libya.

Gunmen earlier attacked a bus carrying worshippers in central Egypt, killing at least 28 people and wounding 25 others.

President Sisi said he would "not hesitate to strike terrorist camps anywhere".

Announcing the strike in a TV speech late on Friday, he promised to "protect our people from the evil".

Countries supporting terrorism should be punished, he said, as he appealed to US President Donald Trump for help.

Read more ....

MIDDLE EAST

UN braces for up to 200,000 Iraqis to flee Mosul.

US-led strikes kill scores of civilians in east Syria, rights monitor reports. 'Coalition strikes kill 106 civilians' in Al Mayadeen. US-led Syria strike kills scores of relatives of IS fighters.

American service member dies in northern Syria: Pentagon.

Syria army takes control of Damascus-Palmyra road: monitor.

Iraqis demand compensation after US probe into Mosul strike.

Iraqi journalist claims country's elite special forces unit tortures, executes civilians (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT).

Turkey shuns US resolution on Turkish bodyguards violence.

Gaza Palestinians: Hamas kills three 'collaborators'.

UN fears Gaza energy crisis could spark fresh violence.

ASIA

U.S., Japan agree to enhance North Korea sanctions: White House.

Russia, China urge caution in countering North Korea's nuclear program.

Two Chinese fighters intercept US plane in S. China Sea.

Philippines army battles IS-linked group in southern city. 'They kill defenceless people': thousands flee Philippine city of Marawi.

Philippines says foreign fighters part of Islamic State 'invasion'. Marawi: Foreign fighters 'among militants in Philippine city'.

At least 15 Afghan soldiers killed in Taliban attack. Taliban kill 15 at Afghan army base in Kandahar. New Taliban attack on Afghan base kills at least 15 soldiers.

Conflict rages in Thailand’s south.

Trump meets with Abe on 'big problem' North Korea.

China tightened border controls with North Korea, US diplomat says.

China slams U.S. operations in South China Sea.

Heavy rains cause deadly landslides in Sri Lanka. 91 killed, 110 missing in Sri Lankan floods, mudslides.

India opens longest bridge on China border.

AFRICA

Gunmen kill at least 28 Coptic Christians in central Egypt.

Egypt hits Libya training bases with airstrikes after attack on Christian Coptics.

Tears and anger as Egyptian Copts bury attack victims.

Rival militias clash in Libya capital.

Attempt to broker South Sudan political agreement fails.

South Sudan refugees scrounge for scraps as rations slashed in Uganda camps.

Tunisia opens trial over 2015 Sousse beach killings.

DR Congo opposes international probe into deaths of UN investigators.

Nigeria moves closer to long-delayed overhaul of oil sector.

Zambia expels South Africa's Mmusi Maimane.

Burundi orders couples to wed amid drive to 'moralise society'.

EUROPE

Hundreds of migrants rescued in major operation off Libya.

Estonia to expel 2 Russian diplomats; Moscow blasts move.

UK police say they've arrested some key players behind Manchester bombing.

Manchester attack: 'Immense progress' made by police. What we know about the Manchester attacker's bomb.

Europeans making sales pitch to Trump on climate accord.

Trump ruffles feathers by calling Germans ‘bad’ on trade.

EU's Tusk calls on G7 to maintain Russia sanctions.

Mediterranean refugee crisis looms over the G7 summit.

IOM: More than 60,000 migrants reach Europe by sea in 2017.

UN envoy calls off Cyprus talks, no deal on peace summit.

AMERICAS

Trump on attack on Copts in Egypt: 'The bloodletting of Christians must end'.

US growth rate revised up to 1.2%.

Trump meeting with G-7 leaders after going on offensive.

Jared Kushner says he will cooperate with Russia inquiry after reports he is under scrutiny.

Senate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer.

Venezuela military defends protests role, backs Maduro Congress.

Venezuelan unrest results in month-long public transport closures.

Troops pull out of Brazil capital; president under pressure.

UN Peacekeepers: How a Haiti child sex ring was whitewashed.

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

G7 leaders pressure tech firms on removing terror propaganda.

Three top Islamic State militants killed in Iraq, Syria: Pentagon.

Libya and UK ‘work closely’ to investigate Manchester bombing.

No link found between cancer and conditions at Guantanamo.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Wall St. drifts before long weekend; consumer stocks up.

G7 leaders reach impasse on climate, urge cyber crackdown.

Cyber-insurance market bound to explode.

Trump's first G7 summit gets down to work in Sicily.

Trump, G-7 peers seek deals on terrorism, trade, climate.

CEO pay by the numbers: How big were last year’s raises?

Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates May 26, 2017



New York Times: Iraqi Forces in Mosul Plan ISIS Assault, but Fight Could Be Long

LONDON — Although the Iraqi military on Friday began leafleting areas of western Mosul still controlled by the Islamic State, warning people to evacuate because an offensive was imminent, the American military is not predicting a speedy resolution to the battle for the city.

Speaking at a news conference in London, Col. Ryan S. Dillon, the American coalition spokesman for Iraq and Syria, would not predict a timeline for the Iraqi military, supported by American advisers and air power, to finally oust the extremists. “I am confident they will retake Mosul,” he said. “This is inevitable. It will happen.”

Islamic State militants overran the city of more than one million, as well as other large stretches of the country, over just a few days in June 2014. More than two years later, in October 2016, Iraqi forces trained and advised by Americans and other coalition countries began an offensive to retake the city. Iraqi officials predicted success within a few months, but Islamic State fighters have managed to hold onto important parts of the city’s west side, including its historic center.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The above video is a must see look at how the battle for Mosul is evolving on the ground.

Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates May 26, 2017

Exclusive: Inside the battle for Mosul, chaos on the ground -- France 24
Dozens of Islamic State militants killed in airstrike, west of Mosul -- Iraqi News
Iraqi forces call on civilians to flee Mosul’s Islamic State held Old City -- Reuters
Mosul neighbors refute U.S. claim that ISIS stored explosives in building leveled in airstrike -- Washington Post
Iraq demands compensation for devastating airstrike on Mosul -- NYP/AP
What's that drone flying in over the horizon? It's a scout from Islamic State -- Los Angeles Times
Iraq investigating elite unit accused of human rights violations in Mosul campaign -- Washington Post
Journalist’s Footage Shows Iraqi Forces Torturing Civilians, ABC Report Says -- NYT
Iraq official admits to war crimes in Mosul -- Middle East Monitor
UN envoy: Liberation of Mosul 'imminent,' IS days numbered -- FOX News