A rocket is reported to have fallen in Iraq's northern Salahuddin province, reports Reuters reports, citing police sources. The strike is close to the Balad air base which houses US troops. Read the rest
By various reports, multiple (two or three) Katyusha rockets hit targets inside Baghdad's Green Zone in the past hour. Read the rest
In remarks to reporters about the U.S.-led assassination of top Iran general Qasem Soleimani, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff [D-CA] said that the United States must now “expect retaliation” by Iran, which today vowed a “crushing response” against the United States and its allies. Read the rest
PHOTO - In this 2016 photo released by the office of Iran's supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran. Soleimani was killed yesterday in U.S. airstrike on the Baghdad airport in Iraq.
Ellen DeGeneres's friendship with ex-President George W. Bush became controversial this week, in light of the progressive values she claims and the 600,000 corpses left by his occupation of Iraq. She delivered a monologue on her show in response, casting their friendship as an example of civility, overcoming political differences, and having "faith in America". So Rafael Shimunov added a simple backdrop of Iraq war scenes to her monolog, in the hopes DeGeneres might better understand the complaints. In response, copyright takedown notices flew and it was removed from the 'net, so it is at least getting under her skin.
Here's a copy, which I'll update if and when it disappears. Read the rest
Trump gave Erdogan green light, Putin nods in approval from Moscow. Read the rest
In a late-night press release, the White House announced that Turkey "will soon be moving forward" with an invasion of northern Syria—areas currently occupied by Kurds.
Mr. Trump’s decision goes against the recommendations of top officials in the Pentagon and the State Department who have sought to keep a small troop presence in northeast Syria to continue operations against the Islamic State, or ISIS, and to act as a critical counterweight to Iran and Russia. Administration officials said that Mr. Trump spoke directly with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on the issue on Sunday. And the officials indicated that the 100 to 150 United States military personnel deployed to that area would be pulled back in advance of any Turkish operation but that they would not be completely withdrawn from Syria.
The Kurds were key allies in the war on ISIS, and Trump is fully aware that withdrawing U.S. support for them could mean ethnic cleansing by the Turks, because he's boasted of stopping it in the past by not withdrawing.
Read the rest
On Monday a spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - who occupy former IS territory in north-eastern Syria - strongly condemned the US move.
"There were assurances from the United States of America that it would not allow any Turkish military operations against the region," Kino Gabriel told Arabic TV station al-Hadath.
He added: "The (US) statement was a surprise and we can say that it is a stab in the back for the SDF."
If you take him at his word, Trump just said he wants to nuke Iran. The man is nuts, the man is also President. Are we going to start another war? No one knows. Read the rest
Gil Barndollar -- a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, the Republic of Georgia, Guantanamo Bay and Bahrain, who also holds a PhD in History from Cambridge -- writes in USA Today about what a US regime change effort in Iran would mean, logistically speaking. Read the rest
U.S. Department Of Energy Secretary Rick Perry gave “six secret authorizations by companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia,” Reuters reports, based on a copy of a document seen by reporters on Wednesday. Read the rest
Les images de l'explosion d'un drone pendant une parade militaire dans une base loyaliste du sud du #Yémen. Six militaires ont été tués et 12 autres personnes, dont des officiers et des responsables locaux, blessées, selon un hôpital local #AFP pic.twitter.com/qn4kEcVYrD
— Agence France-Presse (@afpfr) January 10, 2019
Video footage captures the moment when an explosive drone, piloted by Houthi rebels, exploded over a military parade in Yemen. It killed six soldiers and injured at least 20 more, including the army's chief of staff.
Tobias Schneider, a Research Fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute, identifies it as a Qasef-1 loaded with shrapnel.
"Very effective attack. Houthi drone tactics are fascinating. Commonly used to blind Saudi/Coalition radars to cover missile launches (tactic pioneered by Hezbollah vs Isreal), sometimes as impromptu cruise missile itself."
Everyone raised in my hometown learned to recite In Flanders Fields in school. Every year, as November 11th, Remembrance Day, drew near, we were taught about the First World War. We made poppies. We prepared for a concert to honor our veterans. Elderly men with often vacant, watery eyes would visit our classrooms and talk to us about their time overseas. Sometimes they cried. Other times, they laughed as they talked about long absent friends and their lost youth. As I grew older, I marched in my town's annual Remembrance Day parade: first as an cadet and later in a different uniform. Each year as we gathered at the armory after the parade had ended, there were fewer survivors of the First and Second World War there to greet us. Decades have passed since those days. The men and women who served their fellows and the future generations that would become of them have largely passed on.
No matter where I am in the world, I take pause on November 11th, as many others do, to remember those that gave up their lives in the name of democracy and decency. I try to hold the millions that died from hate, xenophobia and greed. I give thanks that I am now too old and too broken to fight. I fear for those in uniform today that will see things that will never leave them and for those who deployed who will never come home.Amidst these meditations, I wonder over who will carry the torch of remembrance of wars and atrocities past, once those who survived them are no more. Read the rest
Britain, like most of western Christendom, celebrates Christmas with ornamented trees. The British mark Remebrance Day for World War I on November 11 by wearing paper poppies. A shopping mall in Salisbury, England, has ingeniously combined the two events by making a giant Christmas tree out of paper poppies.
One tweet described the red tree as an oddity, saying: "Christmas and Remembrance Sunday, together at last in one oddly conceived package."
Another comment described it as "tasteless", while a further tweet said it was "disrespectful". But the Royal British Legion said it was "grateful to all individuals, as well as any shops, pubs and other commercial enterprises, which choose to show their support for the Armed Forces Community".
There's something about the way monumental paganism remains an emergent property of the British condition, even (especially) when it's trying to do blithely inoffensive corporate promotional material.MARKETING CONSULTANT: George, something's come up about the sign by the poppy tree. It's Selfridges. They object to some of the text.
GEORGE: What now?
CONSULTANT: It's the line that reads "KNEEL BEFORE THE BLOOD TREE! FUCK BEFORE THE BLOOD GOD!" They're wondering if it could say "copulate" or "make love" instead of "fuck".
GEORGE: (sighs angrily) There's always something. Read the rest
The latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has proven a sumbitch to contain. Since this latest "oh shit" moment in the history of this infectious outbreak started on August 1st, the brave healthcare professionals and epidemiologists throwing their shoulders into the problem have reported 200 total cases of the disease, 117 confirmed Ebola-related deaths and 35 deaths that are probably related to the illness. This latest outbreak, the 10th to have cropped up in Congo since 1976, is proving more difficult, logistically, than past outbreaks have been. The epicenter of the outbreak is in North Kivu Province: chockablock with danger as government forces, local militias and regional warlords get their violence on. This makes getting folks in the region to the care that they need and, just as vital, containing the disease, far more difficult than it already is.
From The New York Times:
Congolese rebels have killed 15 civilians and abducted a dozen children in an attack in the center of the latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, Congo’s military said Sunday. The violence threatened to again force the suspension of efforts to contain the virus.
Congo’s health ministry has reported “numerous aggressions” in the new outbreak against health workers, who have described hearing gunshots daily. Many are operating under the armed escort of United Nations peacekeepers or Congolese security forces, and ending work by sundown to lower the risk of attack.
The World Health Organization hasn't classified the outbreak as a world health emergency, yet. Read the rest