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Thread: World War Three Thread....

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Syrian Coalition Leader: ‘It Is Far Too Late to Issue Any More Warnings’ About ISIS as ‘Disaster Has Struck’


    by
    Bridget Johnson
    Bio



    June 19, 2014 - 7:20 am


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    The president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, considered by the U.S. to be the sole legitimate representative of Syrians, blasted world leaders for allowing the resurgence of terrorism in Iraq by not supporting Syrians who oppose Bashar al-Assad.


    Ahmad Jarba, a former political prisoner, told foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that “it is far too late to issue any more warnings — disaster has now struck, and the threats of which we’ve repeatedly warned the world are now a nightmarish reality threatening the entire region with implications to world security and peace.”

    “In the past, I warned the world that Syria will become a place from where terrorist acts will be planned and launched against countries around the world. Our cries were heard, however, no serious action was taken to combat these new threats of terrorism,” Jarba said. “Let me be frank; the bloodbath that started in Syria is spreading to Iraq and unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let me be honest; some leaders believed they could use terrorists as hired mercenaries but suddenly found themselves stuck with terrorists who used the opportunity to advance their own interests and agenda.”


    “Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.”


    Jarba said he wanted to remind the OIC members “that trading Syrian blood and playing with fire will torch the whole region.”


    “So I ask, what are you waiting for? Are we going to wait until the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) establishes its emirate state in two countries violating their sovereignty and sanctity? Are we going to wait until Hezbollah militias arrive in Iraq to carry on spreading their sectarian hatred? Are we going to wait for a new country to witness a new massacre? It is time for action,” he said, stressing that “condemnation is not enough anymore.”


    “We have many statements by all countries and international organizations, but have only seen death and destruction in Syria. This is also a cry of anger at Arab and Islamic states who do not realize the difference between the killer and the victim. In fact, some countries still insolently support the aggressors in the name of resistance and other banal slogans. Let me be frank and ask the following question: How can hundreds or even thousands of ISIS members capture large areas in Iraq? ISIS, with atrocities that has taken the world aback, is not a monster from a different world. It is the result of years of political, social, and security depravity. It is a historical first that the Syrian people were forced to fight the Assad regime, Hezbollah militias, Assaib Ahl al Haq militias from Iraq, and ISIS, all at the same time.”


    Jarba added that Syrian have had to battle this nightmare scenario “all without direct or indirect international intervention, with exception to the assistance of our sisterly countries; in particular the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we are grateful to them.”


    “As I stand here before you, the heroes of the Free Syrian Army and the Arab tribes in Deir Ezzor are fighting ISIS terrorists. They have fought for four months, and it is their steadfastness that prevents the establishment of a terrorist state stretching from Mosul in Iraq to Raqqa in Syria,” he said. “I would like to remind those who promised us assistance and didn’t follow through is a push for terrorists to win. And I ask here: Will there be a strike against ISIS in Iraq to push ISIS back into Syria? Will sectarian militias be left to do evil in Iraq and Syria? Will dealing with ISIS be an arbitrary process as per usual, or it will be based on a strategic plan to rid us of this cancer called ISIS?”


    “Finally, let us be realists and face the facts on the ground together. We cannot remain silent about ISIS’s activities in Iraq and Syria. It is shameful to cut off an arm of a sinister octopus and leave the head intact to continue to move the rest of its evil arms.”
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Obama to speak about Iraq in about 90 minutes from now.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Israeli air force raids Gaza Strip

    Published June 19th, 2014 - 14:21 GMT via SyndiGate.info




    The Israeli army said the airstrikes were in response to rocket fire from Gaza (File/AFP)





    A Palestinian man was moderately injured overnight Wednesday as Israeli warplanes launched airstrikes across the Gaza Strip.

    The unidentified man was hit by shrapnel when an Israeli missile landed in the Sheikh Zayed neighborhood near Jabalia in northern Gaza.

    Israeli airstrikes also targeted a military site used by the Popular Resistance Committees west of Gaza City while two missiles hit the Abu Jarad military base of Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades south of Gaza City

    Airstrikes also targeted the Younis military base of the al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza City and another training site near Gaza's power plant.

    No injuries have been reported.

    Israel's army said in a statement that in response to rocket fire from Gaza "aircraft targeted a terror activity site, a terror infrastructure site and a concealed rocket launcher in the northern Gaza Strip and 2 terror activity sites in the central Gaza Strip."
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-27928255

    19 June 2014 Last updated at 10:26 ET

    Thousands flee Pakistan army offensive in North Waziristan

    Thousands have fled the fighting in recent days


    Tens of thousands of people are fleeing North Waziristan tribal region in north-west Pakistan after the army began an offensive against militants.
    A camp for displaced people has been set up near Bannu but it lacks food, water and electricity, locals say.


    Many displaced families are seeking shelter with friends and relatives.


    A curfew has been lifted to allow people in North Waziristan to escape - and officials expect thousands more to flee to safety in the coming days.
    The army says at least 160 militants have been killed since it began air strikes on militant targets in Shawal and other areas of North Waziristan on Sunday.

    There is no independent media access to the area and no way of confirming the casualty figures.


    Tanks and troops are also being sent in for a full-scale operation to target Taliban and foreign militant networks based near the Afghan border, the military says.

    Eyewitness: Riffatullah Orakzai, BBC Urdu, Bannu region



    Displaced people are arriving carrying their few belongings and their children and trying to reach safety on foot, in the scorching heat.
    They look tired and hungry. There are no places for them to stop and rest.


    A few religious parties have now set up some relief camps along the way, with food and water, but not a single government camp could be seen.
    Most of the families are choosing to stay with relatives and friends, because it is also considered culturally unacceptable to live as a displaced person in a camp.


    On Monday, locals asked the government to allow them safe passage to leave the tribal agency.
    The army had initially blocked all roads leading out of North Waziristan, ahead of the military operations.
    Despite the lifting of the curfew, the government appears ill-prepared to accommodate the thousands who have been streaming out of the area since Wednesday.
    Only one camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) has been set up in the semi-autonomous tribal area of Bakakhel near Bannu.
    Only three or four families have settled there. They say they have not been provided adequate food or water supplies in scorching summer temperatures. The area also has a proliferation of snakes and scorpions, another discouraging factor for families trying to seek shelter there.
    North Waziristan has a population of almost seven million. Officials on the ground say approximately 80% of the population is still living in the area as the military strikes escalate.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    I think at this point, it's best to dissolve the idea of Iraq and break it into 3 regions. Kurdish North, Sunni middle, Shiite south.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    I agree completely. Stop trying to make it into one country, allow those people to have their own areas.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Obama to deliver statement on Iraq at 12:30 pm ET

    CNBC.com staff | @CNBC
    CNBC.com





    COMMENTSJoin the Discussion




    This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.



    President Barack Obama will meet with members of his national security team and will deliver at statement on the situation in Iraq at 12:30 pm ET. CNBC.com will be streaming this event live.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Obama Not Asking Congress’ Permission on Iraq (Updated)

    By Steven Dennis and Humberto Sanchez Posted at 4:51 p.m. on June 18
    Updated 11:18 p.m. | President Barack Obama is still considering what to do about Iraq, but he told the top congressional leaders Wednesday that he doesn’t think he needs Congress’ permission to act.


    “We had a good discussion,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arriving back at the Capitol after the meeting. “The president basically just briefed us on the situation in Iraq and indicated he didn’t feel he had any need for authority from us for the steps that he might take and indicated he would keep us posted.”
    Obama met for about an hour in the Oval Office with McConnell, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
    (Get breaking news alerts from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.)
    Pelosi told reporters that she agreed that the president has all of the authorities that he needs in the authorizations to use military force passed by Congress previously.
    “All of the authorities are there. That doesn’t mean I want all of them to be used, especially boots on the ground,” she said. “But I definitely think the president has all of the authority he needs by dint of legislation that was passed in 2001 and 2003.”


    She appeared to be referring to the authorizations to use military force passed after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the 2002 authorization to use force in Iraq. Neither of those authorizations have expired, although the official White House position is that the Iraq authorization should be repealed.



    Pelosi said the president didn’t lay out what actions he intended to take but instead laid out his thinking on what was happening in Iraq.


    Reid also called the meeting “a good meeting.”


    “Everybody seemed satisfied,” Reid said. “The president is going to keep us as informed as informed as he can as the process moves forward.”


    Reid later issued a formal statement that had a qualitatively different tone than McConnell’s.


    “We had an informative and productive meeting discussing the current situation in Iraq and several other topics,” Reid said. “On Iraq, the President said he is not currently considering actions that would require Congressional approval but was very clear that he would consult with Congress if that changed.”


    A senior Democratic aide briefed on the meeting disputed McConnell’s characterization of Obama’s remarks. “Whether intentionally or not, Senator McConnell’s comments mischaracterize the tone and the substance of the meeting. The President was very clear that he would keep Congress in the loop.”


    But Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted a link to this story saying, “The President is wrong and I will oppose him. He needs to come to Congress. More on this tomorrow…”


    The White House issued a readout of the meeting saying the president talked about a possible increase in security assistance to Iraq, but did not mention strikes.


    Earlier, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney deflected a question about congressional authorization, saying, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, if we come to it.”


    Carney repeatedly said, however, that the president wants to avoid Iraq becoming a safe haven for terrorists.



    Obama’s own party has been wary of getting entangled in Iraq again, although Obama has ruled out sending ground forces into combat.


    Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.
    Related stories:
    Amendments Opposing Iraq War Could Put House Democrats in Tough Spot
    Obama’s Democrats Wary of Military Action in Iraq
    Obama Could Bomb Iraq Without Congress Because War Authorization Act Never Expired
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Is a third Iraq war imminent?



    By K.T. McFarland
    FoxNews.com







    The latest Iraq war is between Iraq’s pro-Iranian Shiite government and pro-Al Qaeda Sunni rebels. It boils down to Iran vs. Al Qaeda, radical Shiites versus radical Sunnis.

    The first rule of foreign policy is if your enemies are killing each other, don’t step in to stop them.


    What we’ve seen in Syria, and now in Iraq, is the early phase of a 30-year civil war between Shiites and Sunnis, which will go from region to region, country to country, tribe to tribe. Fighters will become increasingly radical and brutal, and they will be fueled by Arab oil money. For them, it is a fight about religion, power, geography and resources. And it could well be a fight to the finish.


    America has a choice: We can be caught in the middle of this generational war, propping up this side or that, sometimes switching sides. Or we can figure out what our underlying strategic interests in the region are and find a way to achieve them that doesn’t involve U.S. forces or military assistance.
    America has a choice: We can be caught in the middle of this generational war, propping up this side or that, sometimes switching sides.
    Sadly, our leaders are spending their efforts blaming each other for what went wrong rather than finding a way out of the mess. It’s like listening to your kids arguing, “It’s not my fault, he started it” . . . “No, it wasn’t me, she’s the one who started it!”


    Iraq is descending once again into a brutal civil war, and what’s Washington doing? Wringing its hands and blaming the other guy! Bush supporters say it’s all Obama’s fault for failing to leave a residual force in Iraq after we won the war. Obama supporters say the original sin was Bush’s flawed decision to invade Iraq over a decade ago.


    Enough already! Let’s just agree it’s everybody’s fault. Bush shouldn’t have gone into Iraq and Obama shouldn’t have gotten out. There is plenty of blame to go around for past mistakes, but we are where we are and the question now is, what do we do?


    An important but often forgotten test for American foreign policy decisions is what is in our country’s national interest. It’s not about what is best for Iraq or Afghanistan or anyone else. The question is what’s best for America. We have three sustaining vital strategic interests in the Middle East: oil, terrorists and Israel. We want their oil, we don’t want their terrorists and we want Israel to survive in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood.


    Oil

    As the region descends into generational civil war, Shiites and Sunnis will target each other’s oil fields and refineries. Unless we’re prepared to occupy the entire region for decades, we should face the fact we, America plus the world, are not going to get our oil from a war zone. Arab oil will no longer be cheap, abundant or secure, and it is unlikely to be so ever be again.


    At a minimum, America needs to be energy independent. We should work with our Canadian and Mexican allies to create a North American energy corridor. In the last several years American technology, perseverance and ingenuity have developed ways to find, extract and bring to market our own oil and natural gas. American shale energy is so plentiful it will satisfy our own needs and soon be enough to make us the energy supplier to the world. American oil and natural gas can replace Arab oil and gas, but only if we have the political will to take the shackles off the American energy industry. There is violence today in Iraq, and experts are talking about a new floor of $5-per-gallon gasoline. We can no longer hold our economy hostage to warring tribes in the Middle East.


    Fracking and horizontal drilling can be done safely and environmentally responsibly if we require the best industry practices. Approving the Keystone XL pipeline, immediately, would show the world that America has set out on a different course and is committed to developing an alternative to Middle East oil.


    Terrorists

    Some say we must re-engage in Iraq to prevent Al Qaeda from seizing control and using it as a launching pad for attacks against Americans. That’s the same argument the same people used to justify our decade-long, unsuccessful, nation-building efforts in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has established a presence in dozens of countries throughout North Africa, the Middle East, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, all the way to South Asia. Al Qaeda can use countries from Libya to Syria to Pakistan to threaten Americans; an American military presence in all of them is unrealistic.


    To keep terrorists from our shores, we must commit to securing our borders and focus our intelligence-gathering on possible terrorists rather than the broad American public. Our airline security system gives Granny from Grand Rapids, who is taking the grandkids to Disney World, the same level of scrutiny it gives a young man who has traveled multiple times to the tribal regions of Pakistan. We gather intelligence on hundreds of millions, rather than zeroing in on those with terrorist profiles. By focusing on everyone, we’re focusing on no one. Our current system wastes time and resources. We need to fix it.


    Israel

    We may not have a formal defense treaty with Israel, but we do have moral and strategic interests in helping it survive in a dangerous neighborhood that is about to get even more dangerous. We should do everything possible to give Israel the tools it needs to defend itself. Period.


    Some say we’ve paid too high a price in Iraq to lose it now. Nearly 5,000 Americans lost their lives and tens of thousands were injured in the Iraq War. They and their families will bear the mental and physical scars of battle for their lifetimes. We’ve spent well over a trillion dollars in American treasure in oil-rich Iraq. All of that is true, and it’s tragic. But it is also in the past. There is nothing we can do to erase that, and very little we can do to “save” Iraq.


    The brutal truth is we wanted Iraq to be a democratic and free nation more than the Iraqis did. There are 65,000 American-trained and equipped soldiers in the Iraqi Army running away from 2,000 Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) marauders. The sight of Iraqi soldiers taking off their uniforms and throwing aside their weapons in hopes of blending into the crowd as Al Qaeda/ISIS advances says it all. The Iraqi military and government are not failing for lack of numbers, funds, training or equipment. They’re failing for lack of will. We handed them democracy on a silver platter, and they didn’t want it.


    Our main concern in Iraq today is the 20,000 American civilians who are still there. They are vulnerable, and we should do everything possible to bring them home quickly and safely. No one wants to see the YouTube video of black-masked, machete-wielding Al Qaeda terrorists ready to strike at blindfolded, kneeling Americans.


    What we have failed to understand throughout our wars of intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan is that we see war and peace through a different lens than our enemies do.

    Americans see peace as the normal state of affairs, with war occurring when peace breaks down. When war does break out, we believe it is temporary and that peace will be restored when it is over. We believe in wars that have winners and losers and, perhaps most importantly, that every war eventually ends.


    The people we have been fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq do not see war and peace the same way. For them, war is never over. Peace is merely a pause while both sides regroup to fight again.


    Some of our brave men and women who bore the brunt of battle in Iraq are now questioning whether their sacrifices were in vain. What they must remember is they weren’t fighting for Iraq, or for its various tribes. Our soldiers and sailors and marines and pilots fought for America. They fought nobly, and bravely. If there is any failure, it is not with America’s military, but with our political leaders.


    I was a young National Security Council staffer working in the West Basement of the White House the night we evacuated the last American forces from Vietnam. My colleagues and I pledged that we would never again see Americans fight and die in a war we couldn’t win, in an effort to impose Western democracy on a country halfway around the world that didn’t want it.


    But America made many of the same mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan that it did in Vietnam. Americans are once again war-weary, and once again determined not to send our troops to fight for dictators who don’t like us in countries that don’t matter. Hopefully the lesson sticks this time.


    Just because there is no U.S. military solution for Iraq isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for President Obama to do nothing. All too often he sets up the straw man argument: We don’t want to go to war, so therefore we do nothing.


    The United States has vital strategic interests in the region – oil, terrorists and Israel – that will not be met if the president uses the excuse of no boots on the ground to do nothing. Lobbing a few missiles into Iraq or bombing a few areas may look like “action,” but neither will do anything to change the battle’s outcome. America’s national security does not always mean sending in the Marines, but it does mean taking concrete steps to guarantee our vital interests.


    If the president fails to do so, he cannot hide behind the excuse that Iraq was Bush’s war, and losing it was Bush’s failure. If he fails to take the steps available to him to develop American energy resources, to protect Americans from terrorist attacks and to offer full support to our ally Israel, it will be on his watch, and on his head.


    Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland is a Fox News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com's "DefCon 3." She served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations. She was an aide to Dr. Henry Kissinger at the White House, and in 1984 Ms. McFarland wrote Secretary of Defense Weinberger's groundbreaking "Principles of War " speech. She received the Defense Department's highest civilian award for her work in the Reagan administration.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Will Obama send U.S. special forces to Iraq?

    By Barbara Starr and Tom Cohen, CNN
    updated 12:21 PM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • FIRST ON CNN: Green Berets, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs may go to Iraq
    • President Obama scheduled to make a statement on Iraq at 12:30 p.m. ET
    • CNN military analyst: "It is boots on the ground"
    • The U.S. forces would advise Iraq's military, collect intelligence





    Watch President Obama's statement on Iraq on CNN and CNN.com at 12:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.



    Washington (CNN)
    -- Up to 100 U.S. special forces -- probably Green Berets, Army Rangers and Navy SEALs -- would go to Iraq to advise its military and collect intelligence under a Pentagon plan offered to President Barack Obama, according to several U.S. officials.


    An announcement on the plan could come Thursday, though the officials made clear that Obama will decide whether to accept it and when to announce it.


    The White House said Obama would make a statement on the situation in Iraq at 12:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, after he meets with his national security team.


    Obama is under pressure to help the embattled Iraqi government stave off a lightning advance toward Baghdad by Sunni fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.


    So far, his administration has ruled out combat troops on the ground in Iraq.


    While the special forces in the Pentagon plan would be advisers, officials acknowledge the American special forces would likely face danger based on their location.


    Boots on the ground
    CNN military analyst Rick Francona called the distinction a loophole, declaring the Pentagon plan amounts to "boots on the ground."


    "This is the first step. This is how you get drawn into these situations," said Francona, adding that the mission must be clearly defined to avoid greater U.S. military involvement after withdrawing forces in 2011 to end an eight-year war that ousted Saddam Hussein from power.


    U.S. officials familiar with the plan, who spoke to CNN on condition of not being identified, said the deployment would begin with several small military teams and grow larger over time.


    Teams would be placed around Iraq in the headquarters of Iraqi military brigades and tasked with gathering intelligence on ISIS forces, such as their location, numbers and weaponry, the officials said.


    Such information could provide needed intelligence if Obama decides to proceed with airstrikes on ISIS fighters, as requested by Iraq.


    Iraq: Baghdad tense as military seeks to halt ISIS militants' advance


    Air strikes an option
    For days, military sources have said ISIS fighters are dispersed and mixed in with local populations, making them difficult to target precisely with airstrikes.


    Francona noted that the U.S. special forces would be "in a great position to call in any air strikes" if Obama decided to use that option too.


    On Wednesday, the President met with congressional leaders and later with Secretary of State John Kerry on the Iraq crisis, which has prompted Republican criticism of U.S. foreign policy in the hyper- partisan environment of an election year in Washington.


    According to a White House statement, Obama went over efforts to "strengthen the capacity of Iraq's security forces to confront the threat" from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters, "including options for increased security assistance."


    Earlier, spokesman Jay Carney spelled out one limit to any help, saying: "The President hasn't ruled out anything except sending U.S. combat troops into Iraq."


    Congressional authorization
    While the White House statement emphasized Obama would continue to consult with Congress, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the President "basically just briefed us on the situation in Iraq and indicated he didn't feel he had any need for authority from us for the steps that he might take."


    House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California agreed with McConnell's assessment, adding she believed congressional authorization for military force in Iraq back in 2001 and 2003 still applied.


    A few hours earlier, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said they were working out details on possible U.S. steps that could include airstrikes on Sunni militants advancing through northern Iraq.


    They noted that final details, especially for airstrikes requested by the Iraqi government, required more intelligence on the ISIS fighters whose advance has raised the specter of a partitioned Iraq and a broader Sunni-Shiite regional war.


    Dempsey and Hagel agreed with subcommittee members that the Iraq crisis amounted to a threat to U.S. interests in the region and, down the road, a possible threat to the U.S. homeland if northern Iraq and neighboring Syria become a safe haven for al Qaeda-affiliated Islamists.


    Ultimate objective
    At the White House on Wednesday, Carney made clear that Obama's "ultimate objective" was to protect national security interests and prevent the region from becoming a safe haven for ISIS extremists.


    "Any action that he might contemplate when it comes to ... the use of military force will be to deal with the immediate and medium-term threat posed" by the militants, Carney said, noting that 170 U.S. military personnel have been sent to Baghdad to assist in securing embassy personnel inside Iraq, while another 100 moved into the region to "provide airfield management security and logistic support, if required."


    Kerry: U.S. would communicate with Iran, not work with it, against ISIS



    Washington politics
    Obama has advocated less unilateral U.S. intervention abroad than his predecessor, GOP President George W. Bush, who led America into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


    Now Republicans hoping to win control of the Senate and maintain their House majority in the November election have sought to depict Obama's foreign policy as weak and ineffective. They claim that a U.S. failure to intervene more forcefully on behalf of Syrian opposition forces created an opening for the Sunni militant movement now marching toward Baghdada.


    House Speaker John Boehner, who attended the White House meeting with Obama a day earlier, told reporters on Thursday that the Iraq crisis amounted to a broader foreign policy failure by the administration.


    "When you look it is not just Iraq," the Ohio Republican said. "It is Libya, it's Egypt, it's Syria. The spread of terrorism has increased exponentially under this President's leadership."


    Administration officials blame Iraq's crisis on the failure of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to govern more inclusively over a nation with major sectarian divisions, especially between the Sunni-dominated north and Shia-dominated south.


    Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said al-Maliki needs to be convinced that his retirement would be in his country's best interest.


    "I think that most of us that have followed this are really convinced that the Maliki government, candidly, has got to go if you want any reconciliation," she said this week.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Watch for Russia to step in.

    Ukraine rebels speak of heavy losses in battle against government troops

    By Aleksandar Vasovic
    SIVERSK Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:24pm EDT

    22 Comments

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    1 of 2. Pro-Russian separatists stand guard at a checkpoint near a burnt truck outside Luhansk, June 18, 2014.
    Credit: Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov




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    (Reuters) - Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists were locked in fierce fighting in the east of Ukraine on Thursday and a rebel commander acknowledged big losses among separatists heavily outgunned by government forces.
    Even as President Petro Poroshenko and his team prepared to unveil their blueprint for ending more than two months of rebellion, government forces, using artillery and heavy armour, said they were tightening the noose on separatists near Krasny Liman, north of the main regional hub of Donetsk.
    Government forces said the fighting erupted in the early hours after rebels refused to lay down their arms as part of Poroshenko's peace plan.
    Both Ukrainian government and rebel accounts of the fighting suggested a major battle involving armored vehicles including tanks.
    One military source said 4,000 separatists were involved, while rebels sources in Donetsk said Ukrainian infantry supported by 20 tanks and many other armoured vehicles were storming the village of Yampil, about 12 km (7 miles) east of Krasny Liman.
    A top rebel commander, Igor Strelkov, reported "heavy losses" in equipment and arms among the separatists, faced with a huge superiority in heavy armour on the government side at Yampil.
    "We beat off the first attack and destroyed one tank. But it is difficult to take on 20 tanks. The battle is going on. Our people are holding but we can't rule out that they (government forces) will break through," Strelkov, who is also known as Girkin, said in a videoed statement. He urged Moscow to "take some measures".
    There was no word on casualties from the government side.
    From the nearby town of Siversk, artillery blasts, small arms fire and machinegun-fire could be heard from about 3 km away. From high ground, smoke could be seen billowing from rebel positions under attack.
    Poroshenko, installed as a president on June 7, is pushing a peace plan to end the rebellion which he said would be unveiled soon and presented to European Union ministers early next week.
    It includes an offer of a unilateral ceasefire by government forces and amnesty for the separatists - but only if they lay down their weapons.
    REBELS "REFUSED TO DISARM"
    A government forces spokesman said on Thursday that it was when rebels refused a call to disarm - made in leaflets fired by big guns into rebel positions - that fighting broke out in the early hours of the morning.
    "We issued an ultimatum to the terrorists overnight to surrender their weapons. We guarantee their safety and investigation in line with Ukrainian law ... They refused," said government forces spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov.
    "Now we are trying to narrow the encirclement. They are trying to break out," Seleznyov said.
    Separatist rebellions erupted in eastern Ukraine in early April after street protests in Kiev toppled the Moscow-backed leader Viktor Yanukovich and Russia in turn annexed the Crimean peninsula. Eastern rebels have called for union with Russia.
    The violence has cost the lives of 147 Ukrainian soldiers and wounded 267 up to now, the defense ministry said on Wednesday. Many scores of separatist militia, civilians and members of other military bodies such as the national guard have also been killed and the overall death toll is much higher.
    Kiev has accused Russia of fomenting the unrest and of allowing volunteer fighters from Russia to cross into Ukraine to support the rebels.
    This is denied by Moscow, which has been urging Poroshenko to end "punitive action" against the rebels.
    The United States and its Western allies largely share Ukraine's view. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden assured Poroshenko late on Wednesday there would be "further costs on Russia" unless it used its influence to stop the separatist violence, the White House said. (Full Story)
    NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen meanwhile sounded a new alarm about Russia's possible intentions, saying that at least a few thousand more Russian troops were now on Ukraine's long eastern border.
    "I consider this a very regrettable step backwards. It seems Russia keeps the option open to intervene further in Ukraine," he said in London.
    "The international community would have to respond in a firm manner if Russia were to intervene further in Ukraine." (Full Story)
    BOOST FOR POROSHENKO
    In Kiev, Poroshenko received a boost when parliament resoundingly endorsed his nominations for three key posts including that of foreign minister.
    Speaking to journalists later, he said he himself would sign an association agreement with the European Union on June 27 which will decisively shift Ukraine away from Russia's influence and rule it out from joining a Moscow-led customs union.
    It was Yanukovich's sudden refusal last November to sign that pact and upgrade relations with Moscow that precipated his own ousting and Russia's annexing of Crimea, and sparked the worst crisis in Russia-West relations since the Cold War.
    But Poroshenko knows he has to impress the West with his intentions of reaching a peaceful settlement to the eastern crisis by using minimum force. He said his new foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, would unveil his peace plan for the east on June 23 at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
    Ukrainian forces, which lost 49 servicemen on June 14 when separatists brought down a military helicopter in Luhansk region, have been gradually tightening their encirclement of rebel positions to the south and east of Krasny Liman including the rebel stronghold of Slaviansk.
    Olesya, a woman in Yampil, said Ukrainian forces had entered the village in armoured vehicles bearing the Ukrainian flag.
    "There was fighting all night. Mines were flying over our heads. Planes flew over and we could hear heavy weapons. It's awful what is going on here," she said.
    Sergei, a 45-year-old who was leaving the village of Zakitne by scooter, said people had been sheltering in cellars for days and his wife had already left because there was no food, electricity or gas.
    He was now leaving because "there are homes on fire and dead people on the streets".
    "There is an ongoing active phase of the ATO (anti-terrorist operation) in the region of Krasny Liman," said government forces spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov
    Asked about the report that 4,000 separatists could be involved, Seleznyov, the government forces spokesman, replied: "Then, there'll be 4,000 coffins".
    (Additional reporting by Lina Kushch in Donetsk and Pavel Polityuk in Kiev; Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Roche)
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    U.S. using carrier-based F-18s for Iraq surveillance flights: official

    WASHINGTON Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:16am EDT

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    The aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush transits the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea in this February 27, 2014 picture provided by the U.S. Navy.
    Credit: Reuters/U.S. Navy/Lt. Juan David Guerra/Handout via Reuters





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    (Reuters) - The United States is flying F-18 attack aircraft launched from the carrier USS George H.W. Bush on missions over Iraq to conduct surveillance of insurgents who have seized part of the country, a U.S. official said on Thursday.
    The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the F-18s were being flown from the carrier, which was ordered into the Gulf several days ago, because it is sovereign U.S. territory and can deploy tanker refueling planes if needed.
    General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers on Wednesday the United States has been carrying out manned and unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions over Iraq and was devoting a number of planes and Navy ships to the effort.
    U.S. officials have said that President Barack Obama is considering manned or unmanned air strikes as one option for countering gains by insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. But they say Washington lacks the kind of precise intelligence it needs to conduct strikes effectively.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Live News on Ukraine

    Reuters live coverage of events around the world. Follow @ReutersWorld on Twitter for top news and @ReutersLive for live video events.





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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Obama to speak on Iraq, expected to announce plan to send Special Forces

    FoxNews.com


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    President Obama is expected to announce a plan to send a limited number of U.S. Special Forces into Iraq to help the country's beleaguered military, as congressional lawmakers ramp up criticism of the administration's handling of this and other foreign crises.


    The president was meeting with his national security team Thursday morning and planned to make a statement at the White House at 12:30 p.m. ET.


    According to senior U.S. officials, he is considering sending dozens of additional special military advisers into Iraq to assist the Iraqi Security Forces. He is expected to announce a plan to send Special Forces, but not to approve airstrikes at this time, sources say.


    Lawmakers were getting impatient. "These recent events ... are not intelligence failures. They are policy and leadership failures," Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said on the floor, claiming the president's Middle East policy has "totally unraveled."


    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., blamed the decision to withdraw entirely from Iraq for the current quagmire.


    "You've seen a collapse of the Iraqi Army that I think could have been prevented," Graham said.


    The back-to-back string of speeches on the floor were the latest show of pressure from congressional lawmakers aimed at getting the administration, broadly, to reconsider its foreign policies and, specifically, to get more involved in protecting the Baghdad government from Sunni Muslim militants sweeping across the country's north.


    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also told reporters Thursday that terrorism has "increased exponentially" under this administration. "You look at this presidency, and you can't help but get the sense that the wheels are coming off," Boehner said.


    The president met Wednesday afternoon in the Oval Office with the top four congressional leaders, including Boehner, but apparently did not announce any decisions for the way forward in Iraq.


    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials met with Obama late Thursday morning, ahead of his remarks.


    In the strongest sign yet of U.S. doubts about Iraq's stability, the Obama administration also is weighing whether to press the Shiite prime minister in Baghdad to step down in a last-ditch effort to prevent disgruntled Sunnis from igniting a civil war.


    More so than airstrikes or other American military action, top U.S. officials believe that giving more credence to Sunni concerns about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can stave off another deadly round of sectarian fighting of the kind that engulfed Iraq less than a decade ago.


    It is unclear whether Obama or other administration officials would publicly call for al-Maliki to resign. U.S. officials said there is concern within the administration that pushing al-Maliki too hard might stiffen his resolve to stay in office and drive him closer to Iran, which is seeking to keep the Shiite leader in power.


    However, officials said, the administration does want to see evidence of a leadership transition plan being put in place in Iraq.


    Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Iraqi leader Wednesday and emphasized the need for him to govern in an inclusive manner. Biden also spoke to Iraq's Sunni parliamentary speaker and the president of Iraq's self-ruled northern Kurdish region.


    Al-Maliki, who has long faced criticism for not making his government more inclusive, went on a diplomatic offensive Wednesday, reaching out in a televised address to try to regain support from the nation's disaffected Sunnis and Kurds. His conciliatory words, coupled with a vow to teach the militants a "lesson," came as almost all Iraq's main communities have been drawn into a spasm of violence not seen since the dark days of sectarian killings nearly a decade ago.


    Iraq's government, though, has asked the U.S. to launch airstrikes to contain the fast-moving militant group that has seized Mosul, Tikrit and other towns in Iraq as the country's military melted away. U.S. officials say Obama has been weighing that request, but strikes have not been the focus of his deliberations.


    Obama's decision-making on airstrikes has been complicated by intelligence gaps that resulted from the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in late 2011, which left the country largely off-limits to American operatives. Intelligence agencies are now trying to close gaps and identify possible targets that include insurgent encampments, training camps, weapons caches and other stationary supplies, according to U.S. officials.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Quote Originally Posted by Malsua View Post
    I think at this point, it's best to dissolve the idea of Iraq and break it into 3 regions. Kurdish North, Sunni middle, Shiite south.
    Completely agree. The Kurds never wanted to be a part of modern Iraq from the start. Saddam kept them in from the barrel of his gun. The Sunni's and Shia are incapable of living together. The only nation building that can happen here is to build 3 new nations.

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Apparently advisers going in.

    Not sure how many, who or where or whom they are helping.....
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    I just heard 200 Special Forces in non-combat roles. (Advisors?)

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Obama: U.S. Prepared to Take 'Targeted' Action in Iraq

    President Barack Obama said Thursday that the United States is prepared to take “targeted and precise” military action against Islamist militants in Iraq, but he pledged that American forces “will not be returning to combat.”
    He said the United States is prepared to send as many as 300 American military advisers to train, advise and support Iraqi security forces.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    I heard we were trading John Kerry for Peace. or something.
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    By the way, I haven't been looking at what's going on at our own border right now, but that's absolutely appalling as well.
    THOUSANDS are crossing each day, getting let go inside of cities in this country and ignored. Kids, adults, people with horrible diseases, all being released into the wilds of Innercities in America.


    June 19, 2014, 12:42 pm Boehner: Obama's 'wheels are coming off'

    By Russell Berman
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    Greg Nash
    Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday castigated the Obama presidency on a slew of issues, saying the White House was unprepared for, and often exacerbated, a series of crises at home and abroad.
    Opening his weekly Capitol press conference, Boehner offered up a global tour of problematic flash points for the administration and blamed Obama for squandering U.S. gains in Iraq, the scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service, lackluster economic growth and the influx of immigrant children flooding at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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    “You look at this presidency, and you can’t help but get the sense that the wheels are coming off,” Boehner said.The Speaker and other congressional leaders met with Obama at the White House on the deteriorating situation in Iraq, and while he said he learned “a little bit,” it appeared to be less than the full strategy he was hoping the president would outline.
    Boehner characterized Iraq in the context of what he described as a broader foreign policy failure by the administration.
    “When you look, it’s not just Iraq,” he said. “It’s Libya, it’s Egypt, it’s Syria. The spread of terrorism has increased exponentially under this president’s leadership.”
    Boehner said the U.S. could execute a counterterrorism strategy in Iraq without sending ground troops, but that he wanted to hear more from the president before weighing in on specific options.
    On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans spent nearly an hour slamming the president's foreign policy failures that "created a more dangerous world" instead of a safer one.
    “The president has weakened the national security posture of the United States,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “He’s displayed an inflexible commitment to policy positions that would erode America’s standing in the world. And he’s refused to change course as circumstances have changed.”
    GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Richard Burr (N.C.), James Inhofe (Okla.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Jeff Sessions (Ala.) joined McConnell.
    Boehner, like his fellow Republicans, blamed the administration for the flood of children immigrants from Central America.
    “We’re seeing a humanitarian disaster, one of the administration’s own making,” he said. “The administration’s actions only serve to encourage more illegal crossings. It’s another situation that appears to have caught the administration flat-footed.”
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