Iraqi soldiers killed in operation to reclaim Ramadi from Islamic State

December 13, 2015 David Gilbert 0


The Anbar Operations Command complex and Taamim neighborhood retaken by counter-terrorism forces are strategically significant because they overlook other parts of Ramadi which are still under the militants’ control. Iraqi troops also managed to confiscate a large amount of weaponry.

Ramadi, a provincial capital in the fertile Euphrates valley just a short drive west of Baghdad, was Islamic State’s biggest conquest since previous year, and reversing it would be a major victory for the Iraqi government and its spectrum of allies that include both the United States and Iran. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama has not yet signed off on the Apaches and they would only be used at the request of Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. He didn’t go into details, and other officials say the Pentagon has yet to fully develop what was little more than a concept when Carter announced it last week. “So in the end, while we can enable them, we cannot substitute for them”, Carter said. “In the near term, it would be a significant undertaking that, much as we may wish otherwise, realistically, we would embark upon largely by ourselves; and it would be ceding our comparative advantage of special forces, mobility, and firepower, instead fighting on the enemy’s terms”, Carter told lawmakers.

But leaving isn’t necessarily easy.

However, he admitted that it was hard for those residents still inside the city to leave.

“We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria”. “The insurgents have sectioned Ramadi into a group of smaller segments and do not permit the passage of civilians from one area to the other because they suspect anyone at the moment of being an informant for the security forces”, he said.

Another told CNN that most people were unable to leave due to the threat of being caught fleeing by ISIS. “The government is not proving us any guarantees that we will be safe during our trip south”.

Taken together, the comments by Dunford and Carter counter President Barack Obama’s claim that the extremists have been contained in Iraq and Syria after a $5.2 billion bombing campaign over the last 16 months. At that point, Iraqi forces had established positions in the city’s suburbs, he said. “We believe now is the time for the final push into Ramadi“.

Since overrunning Ramadi, Daesh has destroyed all the bridges around the city.

Last month, USA military personnel worked with Kurdish guerrilla commanders behind the front lines to retake the city of Sinjar in northwest Iraq.

So far, the US DoD has deployed 3,500 troops in six locations to support Iraqi security forces.

The spokesman said US airstrikes also killed Abu Maryam, an IS “enforcer and senior leader of their extortion network”, and Abu Rahman al-Tunisi, described as an IS executive officer who coordinated the transfer of information, people and weapons. Turkey is a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Col Warren said there had been an estimated 600 to 1,000 Isis fighters inside Ramadi, but officials are reluctant to predict how long it may take to reclaim the city. Mosul remains firmly in the hands of Islamic State militants.…

ASEAN meeting: U.S. president Barack Obama urges halt to island building in

November 22, 2015 David Gilbert 0

The Philippine president also slammed China’s reclamation works in disputed waters.

He then urged his fellow ASEAN leaders to develop a post-2015 ASEAN Connectivity Agenda “that articulates both our aspirations and the complexities we have to contend with”.

Meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the Summit, Modi said the two countries should raise their strategic coordination to tackle the threat of terror.

The two leaders shook hands and smiled broadly Saturday as their delegations watched on.

Obama described them as outstanding and courageous people.

“The United States is working…to uphold the freedom of navigation and ensure disputes in the region are resolved peacefully”, he said.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the Japanese Prime Minister’s vision for the bilateral relationship, and said he looks forward to the visit of Mr. Shinzo Abe to India.

Noting that science, technology and innovation constituted a vital pillar of cooperation and supported economic partnership, Modi said India would enlarge the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund from the current Dollars one million to USD 5 million.

Earlier, wooing foreign investors, Prime Minister Modi today promised reforms “with speed and boldness” along with a transparent and predictable tax regime and protection of intellectual property rights. ASEAN’s economy continues to forge ahead with dynamism and energy. Now, it is India’s turn. And we know that our time has come. We are at a take-off stage. “That is why I am here to invite you”.

After his speech, Obama visited a school where numerous children are Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar.

“They are terrorists and should be confronted as such, with the full force of the law”.

Mr. Abe said that Japan was partnering India in a number of initiatives such as the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), which had transformative potential. Modi will address the East Asia Summit tomorrow.

He added: “We do not impose our culture on others… we think together and move together with the local people”.

“You can set an example”, Obama said.

This story corrects Japan’s financial pledge. “The answer is to do trade the right way – and that’s what TPP does”, he said.

Obama has tried to keep the focus on promoting what he says are his successful efforts to expand US ties to Asia, specifically the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

Bilateral trade between China and ASEAN countries reached 397.2 billion USA dollars in the first 10 months of 2015, while 14.3 percent of China’s overseas investment went to ASEAN countries by the end of 2014, making China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation the most substantial and fruitful in East Asia, said Gao. “They are terrorists.”US President Barack Obama condemned the violence typified by the “appalling” jihadist hostage siege in Mali that left at least 21 dead, including an American citizen”.

‘This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge, ‘ he said in Kuala Lumpur. This came a week after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in coordinated attacks in Paris.

He suggested evolving specific plans for cooperation with the 10-member grouping in key areas of maritime security, counter-piracy and humanitarian and disaster relief.

He spoke in Malaysia during a regional summit.

Malaysia’s prime minister has used his opening speech at the 27th ASEAN Summit to lash out at those who commit extremism and terrorism, saying that Malaysia was ready to provide any help towards eliminating a “new evil that blasphemed Islam”.

The attacks included the bombings and assaults in Paris and Beirut, the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt, and the taking of captives in Bamako, Mali, on Friday.…

Pakistan Army Chief meets Central Intelligence Agency head

November 21, 2015 David Gilbert 0

Afghan owned reconciliation process, challenges, and way forward were also discussed during the meeting.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif held meetings with top United States defence officials at Pentagon, with defence cooperation between the two countries dominating the discussion, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Lt Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted on Wednesday.

Senator McCain lauded the efforts, sacrifices and steadfastness of the Pakistan armed forces, especially the leadership of Gen Raheel, in fighting terrorists on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Often switching to a dark suit instead of a military uniform, Sharif met Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, defense secretary Ash Carter, secretary of state John Kerry, and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in between engaging his military counterparts. For the first time since the nascent peace process in Afghanistan collapsed in August, Pakistan blamed Kabul government for “leaking information” that led to the fall of talks with the Taliban.

He further stated that Pakistan was a significant ally and U.S. will continue its support for the country in the fight against terrorism. “America will help Pakistan in every way to curb terrorism inside Pakistan”, ISPR told the press.

Generak Raheel Sharif emphasized terrorism a global threat, warrants coordinated global response.

General Raheel highlighted the Pakistan’s perspective of regional security and reiterated the desire to solidify Pak-US relations based on mutual interest and respect.

The Army Chief discussed defence cooperation, strengthening military to military relations, regional security, need for enhanced coordination and increased training exchanges during meeting with top U.S. military officials.

Gen. Sharif, during his visit, will also meet vice-president Joe Biden.…

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Paris Bloodbath Suspect Salah Abdeslam Sighted in Brussels

November 21, 2015 David Gilbert 0

A man who investigators believe is the 26-year-old fugitive misfired his AK-47 after aiming the assault rifle at the head of a young woman outside the café, the Mail reported.

The left side shows Abdeslam in a normal outfit and without any accessories, while the right side shows him donning a dark wig and glasses. He confessed he was the getaway driver in a Seat Leon – along with his brother Ibrahim and another French suspect – but denied being one of the shooters, insisting his role in the attack was simply make French contacts on behalf of the gang. She added that they hope Salah will surrender after hearing about the death of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged mastermind of the attacks that killed at least 129 people and injured about 350 others.

Belgian police posted a video message, warning the public that Abdeslam is unsafe, and likely armed.

A friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I met Salah on Tuesday night”. His current whereabouts are not clear.

They report that he may be using the name Yassine Baghli to pass through borders undetected.

Although Van Der Sypt admitted the Belgian authorities knew the brothers were radicalized and capable of joining ISIL, he said warning French authorities would probably not have made a difference.

Pictures of victims are placed behind candles outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, Sunday, November 15, 2015. “This could have consequences for his family”, implying that he feared members of Isis would take revenge.

Police said Abdeslam is believed to be one of the gunmen who fired indiscriminately at a series of restaurants and cafes during the Friday night massacre that in all claimed 130 lives.

“It is possible he panicked or chickened out of killing himself”, he said.

“It is possible that he was disgusted by what he had been involved in or that his explosive suicide belt failed to detonate”.…

Hopes rise of nuclear breakthrough as United Nations chief visits North Korea

November 19, 2015 David Gilbert 0

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said that the South Korean government will roll up its sleeves in attracting infrastructure investments of up to US$63 billion annually for North Korea and other parts of Northeast Asia if Pyongyang gives up its nuclear program.

Ban had been all set to make the trip in May, before Pyongyang canceled the plan at the last minute. “He will be in NY most of next week and then travel to Malta for the Commonwealth Summit”, Stephane Dujarric said, in a statement.

Earlier reports had said that he was due to visit for four days and would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. As Ban would also face questions over the whole point of his visit, it is possible that he demanded a guarantee of a meeting with Kim.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency indicated that negotiations may be under way regarding a visit by Ban, saying the case was in the process of confirmation.

Prior to his career at the United Nations, Ban served in the South Korea’s ministry of foreign affairs.

Two serving United Nations chiefs have travelled to the North. Kurt Waldheim visited the capital, Pyongyang, in 1979 and again in 1981, followed by Boutros Boutros-Ghali in 1993.

North Korea’s rights record has been called abysmal and led to a recommendation that the country be prosecuted by the global Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The North Korean travel firm has “more than 200 foreign counterparts”, it said.

Under global sanctions over nuclear and missile ambitions, North Korea has promoted tourism as a source of earning much-needed hard currency since Kim took power in late 2011.

“The draft resolution is the product of political confrontation and vicious slander of the hostile forces against my country and it has nothing to do with the genuine promotion of human rights”, North Korean ambassador-at-large Ri Hung-sik told a news conference.…