Trump administration ends Obama-era landmine restriction

As predicted, via the Trump White House — the Pentagon is relaxing its policy on the use of landmines by U.S, forces, so that landmines can be used on the Korean peninsula. Read the rest

Landmines are actually good, says Defense Sec as Trump prepares to undo Obama-era landmine ban

The Trump administration is planning to make landmines great again. Read the rest

Rocket falls in Northern Iraq near Balad air base which houses US troops

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

IRAQ: Multiple Katyusha rockets fall in Baghdad's Green Zone (VIDEO)

By various reports, multiple (two or three) Katyusha rockets hit targets inside Baghdad's Green Zone in the past hour. Read the rest

Iraq: Chevron evacuates staff from Kurdistan oil site, will Russia's Rosneft benefit?

Chevron said Monday it has evacuated all expatriate oil workers from Iraq, following last week's Trump airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Read the rest

House Intel chair Adam Schiff on Iran: 'We have to expect retaliation'

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

Iran War: As U.S. sends 3,500 more troops to mideast, the vibe in Baghdad is bad

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.

As the U.S. sends some 3,500 additional troops to the mideast, Washington Post reporter Mustafa Salim [@Mustafa_salimb on Twitter] describes the mood in Baghdad as grim. Read the rest

Devastating remix of Ellen's lecture on befriending George W. Bush disappears after copyright takedown ... then reappears in force

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

Turkey attacks Syria, UN Security Council to meet in northern Syria on Thursday

Trump gave Erdogan green light, Putin nods in approval from Moscow. Read the rest

Trump gives Turkey blessing to attack Kurds, U.S. allies in war on ISIS

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.

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."

Read the rest

Trump tells reporters he's considering 'ultimate option' for Iran (what?)

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

America can only go to war against Iran if it reinstates the draft

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

"The Grand Dark": Kadrey's latest is a noir, dieselpunk masterpiece that's timely as hell

Regular readers will know Richard Kadrey (previously) from his bestselling Sandman Slim series, but as much as I love those books, I think I love his latest, "The Grand Dark" -- a noir/dieselpunk novel set in a fictionalized weimar city in a brief, hectic interwar period -- even more. Read the rest

John Bolton has always been at war with Iran, soon America will be too

Anyone else getting Iraq déjà vu?

Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry gave 6 secret authorizations to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia

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

Shrapnel drone kills 6 at Yemen military parade

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."

Indeed, the military death toll of 6 equals that of the 2018 cruise missile campaign launched by Trump against Syria. Read the rest

Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old is a stunning act of remembrance

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

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